MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took top spot for the holiday frame with an estimated $27.1 million. Not far behind with $18.6 million was The Post that went wide after three weeks in exclusives. (All figures reflect 3-day figures; chart will be updated tomorrow). Three national debuts opened respectably. Ticking-clock The Commuter landed third with $13.2 million while family-targeted Paddington 2 cuddled up to $10.5 million. Proud Mary, advertised as kin of John Cassavetes’ 1980 thriller Gloria, bowed to $9.8 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Jumanji continues as king of the jungle. The Post expands pretty much as expected. Liam Neeson and Jaume Collet-Serra team up again and do a little better than Run All Night, but not as well as Non-Stop. Proud Mary comes up short of tracking, but not as badly as it probably deserves. And Paddington 2 starts slow, but should pop up to #4 for the weekend as kids flood the room today and tomorrow.

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The Gronvall Report: Ziad Doueiri on THE INSULT

“My biggest happiness is that The Insult opened in Lebanon, to became #1 there at the box office, and that the government secretly submitted the film to the Motion Picture Academy for Oscar consideration. For me, this is the cherry on the cake.”

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Gurus o’ Gold: On The Eve of DGA Nominations

The Gurus offer their insight in the days between the Golden Globes and the Director’s Guild nominations, musing on what five directors will get the greenlight from the DGA and whether the Oscar 5 will be different. (Greta and Steven might want to wake up early.) Also, Picture and the four acting categories, where The Shape of Water is up and The Post is down.

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The DVD Wrapup: 68 Kill, Bad Day for the Cut, Friend Request, Tiger Hunter, CERN, Conduct!, Macon County Line and more

January is also prime time for studios to dump disappointments and question marks into theaters, before a fast turnaround on video. Occasionally, an overlooked gem will sneak into circulation – last year’s The Founder and Split, for example — but it won’t be because anyone saw it coming. I’ve found a few titles that fit that description.

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The Weekend Report

Unlike Blade Runner 2049 moviegoers were undeterred that they hadn’t seen 1995’s Jumanji (both were box office disappointments at the time of their respective releases) and put its sequel Welcome to the Jungle on top of the weekend chart with an estimated $36.1 million. The session’s sole new wide release – from a more vigorous franchise – Insidious: The Last Key was close behind with a $29.2 million debut.

With the Golden Globes hours away, a number of titles did strategic expansions including such contenders as Darkest Hour, I, Tonya and Molly’s Game. The trio maintained strong commercial momentum.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Season of Assumption

There has never been less plain talk in an Oscar season.

The field lacks many frontrunners and has representation on many fronts, which is stirring passion amongst a wider-than-usual range of interested observers.

This is a good thing.

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Globes Party On

The Gurus return from the holidays with a mostly unchanged view of Best Picture, along with picks of all the winners at Sunday’s Golden Globes, with strong consensus in only five of 14 categories.

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The DVD Wrapup: Chavela, Teacher, Shadowman, Shock Wave, Laugh-In and more

After getting sober, with the help of natural healing agents introduced to her by an Indian family that took her in, Vargas returned to the stage in 1991, performing at a bohemian Mexico City nightclub called “El Hábito.” Many fans of her recorded music, including Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, had assumed that she had succumbed years earlier. When he learned that Chavela was performing in Mexico, Almodóvar arranged for his personal muse to headline sold-out concerts in Madrid, Paris and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Although she had long dreamed of singing in such venues, her “overnight success” came late in her life. In her autobiography, Vargas also came out, which opened the door to a new demographic.

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The Weekend Report 4-Day Chart

The 4-day holiday doesn’t vary much from expectations set in the 3-day estimates, aside from Pitch Perfect 3 being softer and All The Money In The World, Molly’s Game and Darkest Hour being stronger. It’s all within a couple percentage points and not really a story to worry about on New Year’s Day.

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The Weekend Report

The final weekend of 2017 was a horse race between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with the former grossing an estimated $52.7 million and the latter close behind with $50.9 million. There were no new national releases but All the Money in the World and Molly’s Game had their first full weekends, with the poker opus surprisingly strong in its limited wide exposure.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Star Wars: The Last Jedi becomes the second fastest release to pass $500 million domestic today, ahead of Jurassic World and showing no signs of negative drag, aside from not matching the phenomenal opening of The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars movie in a decade. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is living up to box office expectations, heading to over $175 million domestic through the holiday, making it the biggest non-F&F Dwayne Johnson movie ever. Things are less happy after these two, with Pitch Perfect 3, The Greatest Showman, Ferdinand, All The Money In The World, Darkest Hour, and Downsizing are all underperforming even modest hopes.

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The DVD Wrapup: The Year’s Top Titles, plus True Love Ways, Killing Gunther, Rock Docs, Unabomber and More

Titles that received a limited release in theaters or none at all make up my year-end list of DVDs and Blu-rays. Some are restored classics, while others are genre specimens that got lost in the crowd.

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The Weekend Report

Star Wars: The Last Jedi dominated with an estimated $68.8 million box office for the three-day portion of the weekend (all figures reflect three-day grosses). Five new movies leapt into the holiday melee to mixed results.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The arrival of five, count ’em, five wide releases looking to take advantage of the Christmas window with one more landing on Christmas Day means… well… there are two more wide releases than last year in this window, and in limited releases meant to go wide, one fewer than last year’s five. So as the marketplace shows that people are willing to go see movies they are interested in on virtually any date, the industry keeps packing them into the traditional windows. Theatrical isn’t in trouble… but myopia causes problems, even on the holiday weekend. It’s not that the market can’t expand to allow for multiple big hits. It’s that the messaging is getting so thin with so many titles in play at one time, it can’t get an attentive foothold to propel bigger numbers.

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Gurus o’ Gold: And The Horses Are In The Gate (And Going On Vacation)…

As Oscar voters head to the beach or the snow or lands of eternal beauty and dysentery, The Gurus take one more look at Best Picture, the Acting races, Director and Screenplay, Also, some suggestions about which DVDs should make the journey with you and fill your happy holiday nights. Even better, find a movie theater with these films and buy a ticket. You can afford it… you just got a big tax break! Happy, happy holidays from the Gurus o’ Gold.

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The DVD Gift Guide 3: 100 Years Olympics Films, One Day at a Time, Monterey Pop, 4K UHD/HDR Action Editions, Coens, Nutcracker, Stronger, mother!, Leatherface… and more

If the Olympics could bounce back from two world wars, there’s no reason to think peace isn’t be possible in our time. “100 Years of Olympic Films” spans 41 editions of the Olympic Games, from 1912-2012, in 53 surprisingly comprehensive and impeccably restored movies.

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The Weekend Report

Four decades have not tarnished the Star Wars universe as The Last Jedi debuts domestically with an estimated $219.6 million. More than three of every four tickets sold this past weekend were spent on the eighth installment of the series. Efforts to counterprogram put Ferdinand, the animated bull, in the ring, where he landed a distant second with $13.3 million.

There were no significant exclusive debuts but previously limited titles had significant expansions. Wonder Wheel added 489 playdates and fizzled with a $460,000 box office. Slow rollouts of awards contenders The Shape of Water, Darkest Hour and Call Me by Your Name maintained strong five-figure averages.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

In what should not be a shocker, Star Wars: Episode 8 The Next Of Many did not have the explosive launch that Star Wars: Episode Seven – The First In a Decade. Still, the best December opening ever – aside from the aforementioned last Star Wars Mainframe – and a 30%+ bump from Rogue One, aka, the first offshoot episode. We know that Empire did a third less than Star Wars, right? Let’s not be surprised and horrified if The Last Jedi grosses only $600 million domestic, making it the sixth biggest domestic grosser of all-time. Attempting to counterprogram, Fox released a Blue Sky animated movie that will skew young, Ferdinand, to a brutal level of disinterest. The irony of the two openers this weekend is, also, brutal.

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The DVD Wrapup: Trip to Spain, Lucky Goat, Viceroy House, Victoria & Abdul, Manolo and more

I wonder how much, if at all, estimable Brit director Michael Winterbottom was influenced by Louis Malle’s indie sensation My Dinner With Andre – or, for that matter, Andy Kaufman in My Breakfast with Blassie – before embarking on the first BBC mini-series, The Trip. In Malle’s film, quintessential New York City raconteurs Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory meet for dinner at a fancy restaurant to reconnect after one of them disappeared for a few years. The don’t particularly like each other, but they manage to share two hours in each other’s company, engaged in the lively art of conversation. Dinner was so convincing that many, many viewers assumed that their conversation played out in real time and was wholly improvised. In fact, it was scripted, rehearsed and shot in a chilly Virginia restaurant that was closed for the winter. It still holds up. In The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are asked by the Observer to tour the finest restaurants in the Lake District and document the experience. Their goofy exchanges, impersonations and kvetching only occasionally detract from the magnificent scenery.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people fucking nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.”
Ellen Pompeo

“I am, as you indicate, no stranger as a novelist to the erotic furies. Men enveloped by sexual temptation is one of the aspects of men’s lives that I’ve written about in some of my books. Men responsive to the insistent call of sexual pleasure, beset by shameful desires and the undauntedness of obsessive lusts, beguiled even by the lure of the taboo — over the decades, I have imagined a small coterie of unsettled men possessed by just such inflammatory forces they must negotiate and contend with. I’ve tried to be uncompromising in depicting these men each as he is, each as he behaves, aroused, stimulated, hungry in the grip of carnal fervor and facing the array of psychological and ethical quandaries the exigencies of desire present. I haven’t shunned the hard facts in these fictions of why and how and when tumescent men do what they do, even when these have not been in harmony with the portrayal that a masculine public-relations campaign — if there were such a thing — might prefer. I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.”
~ Philip Roth