MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

Twas Beauty killed the Beast to an estimated record-breaking debut of $171.7 million. The frame’s other new wide release, the James Gunn-penned eerie thriller The Belko Experiment was a slim counterprogrammer with a $4 million launch.

Exclusive newcomers included Terrence Malick’s allegorical musical romantic triangle Song to Song with $51,700 from four bookings and the long-gestating sequel T2: Trainspotting that bowed domestically on five screens to $177,000 following two months of overseas exposure that’s injected $34 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Tale as old as 1991… loved to say the least… throngs come out for Belle, critics ring death knell, Beauty and the Beast

It’s the fourth biggest opening day outside of the summer/holiday windows. $155 million seems like the floor for the weekend. This kind of huge success seemed inevitable when incisive critics started reviewing Disney’s business model instead of the movie. Canaries in the coal mine.

In exclusives, Boyle & Malick will each go over $10k per screen in throwaway releases.

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The DVD Wrapup: Fences, Elle, Passengers, Solace, Film/Not Film, Robert Flaherty, Drunk History and more

A few eyebrows were raised when playwright-screenwriter Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) was hired to build on a draft written by Wilson before his death in 2005. Finally, though, Wilson was given sole authorship of the adapted screenplay, as well as an Academy Award nomination, while Kushner is credited as co-producer. It explains why Fences sometimes feels as if it were transplanted directly from the stage and the establishing exteriors are limited to a few shots of Troy and Bono working in the streets of Pittsburgh, his visit to downtown headquarters to be promoted to driver and a shot of kids playing stickball. The movie never feels stagebound or contrived, however. Wilson’s genius for turning conversations into poetry is as evident as ever.

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DVD Geek: ARRIVAL, 100 RIFLES, HACKSAW RIDGE, FLASH S2

Arrival never waits for the viewer to catch up, even as it cleverly and even stupefyingly shifts from language to emotion, to remind the viewer that regardless of our destiny in the stars, the very core of our reason for existence is family.

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The Weekend Report

Kong: Skull Island, the only nationwide opener, sounded the right chord with an estimated $61.1 million debut.

Exclusive newcomers were led by Cannes’ Personal Shopper with a $80,700 credit line at four boutiques, and Brit import The Sense of an Ending, which grossed $42,400 from four sites.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Godzilla opening day 2014: $38m. Kong: Skull Island… a little better than half of that. If the opening trajectory holds, Kongwill open to almost $50 million and will fight to get to $100m domestic. The question is, will the rest of the world bail out this turkey… uh, monkey? And a nice rebound weekend for exclusives: three films will do over $10,000 per-screen, led by Personal Shopper.

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The DVD Wrapup: Moana, Brand New Testament, Weissensee Saga, 100 Streets, and more

Disney recruited a variety of experts on Polynesian history and culture to ensure authenticity and pre-empt what had become almost pro-forma accusations of cultural insensitivity in earlier features. Throughout the production process, revisions to everything from language and characterizations, to hair styles,, tattoos and ancillary products, were suggested and made. The result is a wonderfully entertaining family movie whose Oceania influences are reflected in the color palate, music, dance, dress, physical backdrops and customs.

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Wilmington On Movies: Table 19

Table 19 may be too good-humored and civilized. Movie comedy works better when we sense it’s capable of a bit more savagery and bile, or at least more comic realism. But even when Table 19 turns a little mean, it never strikes us really as getting out of hand.

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The Weekend Report

The debut of Logan cut a mean figure estimated at $85.5 million to easily lead weekend movie going. Other national releases saw good returns of $16.2 million for the faith-based The Shack and a crash landing of $4.7 million for the brooding drama Before I Fall.

Also disappointing in limited wide release was the relationship comedy Table 19 with $1.6 million. New imports from India all flat lined and the best of the myriad exclusive freshmen was the dramady The Last Word with a $33,900 tally from four screens. In Canada the animated Ballerina expanded into English-language venues to solid returns of $718,000.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Fox had its second very successful hard-R Marvel opening in 13 months, defining a unique place for itself in the Marvel eco-system unlikely to be explored by Disney. Logan opened to X-Men: Days of Future Past numbers, which did $90m for the opening weekend, $234 domestic and $748m worldwide. So, well behind Deadpool domestically, but catching up in international.

Also opening to modest but not-too-exciting numbers, Sony’s The Shack and Open Road’s Before I Fall.

And Moonlight gets an Oscar bump that should amount to a couple million this weekend, while Hidden Figures and La La Land continue normal drops, still topping the Best Picture winner.

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The DVD Wrapup: Moonlight, Doctor Strange, Arrival, Before Trilogy, Chronic and more

Moonlight is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical text, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” written in 2003 to cope with his own mother’s death from AIDS. Never produced, it was ten years before Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy) – who grew up only a few blocks from McCraney, in Miami’s poverty- and crime-wracked Liberty City projects – was pushed to begin work on a second film. The characters are informed by people who influenced both men at various times in their lives. If Moonlight feels hyperreal, it’s because McCraney and Jenkins endured many of the same powerful forces as Chiron and Kevin.

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The Weekend Report

Get Out got in with an estimated $30.5 million debut. The session’s other two national openers had less fortuitous results. Animated Rock Dogs charted 11th with $3.6 million. Collide bumped into $1.5 million.

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Remembering Bill Paxton

The phone rang.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Get Out is an ironic hit on #OscarWeekendSoRacial. Will the trajectory of the film across the weekend be horror movie or comedy date film? Fifty Shades Darker continues to drop like a lead balloon, but will pass $100m domestic and $300m worldwide today as its producer prepares to present the Oscar telecast. Lion continues to expand, and Hidden Figures stays slightly ahead of La La Land at the domestic box office (but way behind internationally). Animated Feature nominee My Life As A Zucchini opens as the only $10k+ limited/exclusive.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Our Final Votes

In this final look at the field before Oscar Sunday, The Gurus bet heavy on La La Land. Also, a long list of categories where The Gurus think upsets are still possible, though the only La La upset with any traction is Huppert over Stone (and still, all voting Gurus went Stone and only 5 consider the upset possible). Plus, the Gurus are still fuzzy on the shorts.

Thanks for joining us for another season. We predict we will see you again in August.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: 4 Days Away…

It wasn’t complex. It wasn’t full of surprises. And nothing in its nature has suggested any real change at The Academy or inside The Industry.

The Academy is still old and white. Young people still tend to spark what is new about the industry. But the process of “becoming” for non-actors tends not to be an overnight event.

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The DVD Wrapup: Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester, Arrival, Bad Santa 2, Tharlo, Chabrol X 3 and more

When a Hollywood movie is said to have been based on a true story, it’s safe to assume that the actions of the protagonist were embellished to make the character more heroic or saintly. In his multiple Oscar candidate, Hacksaw Ridge, director Mel Gibson was faced with the opposite problem. The real-life story of U.S. Army medic Desmond Doss — the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor – was too good to be true, even for the movies. If anything, the truth behind Doss’ actions during the Battle of Okinawa, in World War II, had to be scaled back, so that viewers wouldn’t think they were pumped up for dramatic effect. In Gibson’s first directorial effort since 2006’s Apocalypto – or, to be more precise, since he disgraced himself after being stopped in Malibu on suspicion of driving while drunk – the number of men Doss saved or rescued was limited to 75, when it probably was much higher.

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The Film Industry Sky Continues Not To Fall

When executives are in a job for 12 or 15 or 15-16 years or 18 years as Brad Grey, Jim Gianopulos, Amy Pascal, and Ron Meyer have been in the major exit formation of the last two years, the idea that “these days, a studio chief is lucky to get to bat” is just a punchline for a joke about self-delusion.

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The Weekend Report (4-Day Estimates)

Not much change from the 3-day, except for A Cure For Wellness dropping out of the Top 10 altogether in the 4-day estimates.

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The Weekend Report

The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker once again topped weekend releases. The films were estimated at $34 million and $20.9 million for the three-day portion. All figures reflect the 3-day portion. A trio of new national releases failed to catch fire with the Chinese epic The Great Wall fairing best with good results of $18 million. The comedy Fist Fight bowed to a disappointing $12 million while thriller A Cure for Wellness debuted with a moribund $4.3 million.

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MCN Originals

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Beauty and the Beast 64.2 4210 New 64.2
Kong: Skull Island 7.3 3846 -64% 88.5
Logan 4.7 3687 -55% 171.2
Get Out 3.7 2979 -38% 123.6
The Shack 1.6 2825 -40% 38.1
The Belko Experiment 1.5 1341 New 1.5
The Lego Batman Movie 1.2 2735 -30% 163.9
Hidden Figures 0.4 1162 -45% 164.4
Before I Fall 0.3 2346 -67% 10.6
John Wick: Chapter 2 0.3 2031 -57% 88.9
Also Debuting
Goon: Last of the Enforcers 0.2 244
T2: Trainspotting 63,900 6
Jindua 41,100 41
Song to Song 17,400 4
After the Storm 6,700 6
Angamaly Diaries 6,500 9
Bluebeard 5,100 14
Le Jardinier 4,000 3
Frantz 3,900 2
Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness 3,600 7
Weirdos 3,300 4
La Mecanique de l'ombre 2,450 3
Betting on Zero 1,850 4
Tickling Giants 1,800 1
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4