MCN Originals

Friday Box Office Estimates

Seven studio Christmas weekend releases, four going wide, with three in exclusive runs. There is no comparative title for Sing, but the closest seems to be Alvin & The Chipmunks, which ended up with over $200m domestic. Passengers is looking to be Jennifer Lawrence’s worst wide opening, though not disastrously so, as international is anticipated as a big part of the box office total. Why Him? is soft, though not far off Sisters last December. And Assassin’s Creed seems to be Fox betting that the title will be the next Warcraft, which did only 10% of its business domestically. Silence will be the per-screen winner for the weekend by far, with Patriots Day poised to eventually do better wide than in exclusive release.

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Gurus o’ Gold: ChristmaChanukah Time!

The Gurus answer the question on everyone’s mind… what are the best gifts The Academy could give us this holiday season? And, as always, the latest look at Best Picture, where there isn’t a lot of change. Happy Holidays!!!

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The DVD Gift Guide 2: Da Cubs, Hellraiser, Downton Abbey, Bill & Ted; Bob Hope, Klown and more

.The nation’s longest-running soap opera ended this fall, after many generations of drama, romance, comedy, misplaced expectations, broken hearts, dismally small audiences and finally over-the-top ratings. It ran for more than a century, spanning the first isolated radio broadcast, in 1921, and the era of Internet streaming. Millions of fans lived and died without closure. It would come on a rainy early-November night in Cleveland, itself no stranger to heartbreaking losses, in an extra-inning baseball game fraught with tension and mixed emotions. Anyone who hasn’t already guessed that the subject of this review is the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championship – ending a 108-year drought — need never consider auditioning for “Jeopardy!” or any sports game show.

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The Weekend Report

Rogue One was the kind of rebel the movie industry adores as it hurtled into cinemas with an estimated $155.4 million, accounting for about 70% of all weekend movie sales. That didn’t leave much for the competition including the session’s other wide freshman opener, Collateral Beauty, which ranked fourth with a grim $6.9 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

What more is there to say than, “Star Wars: Rogue One?” It is impossible to say exactly what the $70m Friday-plus opening will lead to this weekend, but using The Force Awakens as a comp, it should do about $150m over the 3-day-plus opening. Nothing to sneeze at, but not Top 10 all-time either. Also opening, Collateral Beauty, for which there is more than enough room in the marketplace as a counterprogrammer, meaning that it is not collateral damage, just a flop in its own right Also, expansions of La La Land and Manchester by the Sea go well, if not shockingly so.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Golden Goose & Those Lovely Eggs

The illusion of free will that is foisted on Phase I becomes much more real in Phase II. Because the power of narrowing choices actually shifts to the Academy voters and away from the media and the consultants.

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Gurus o’ Gold: What Films Are On The Edge & Who Will Win Golden Globes?

The Gurus tighten things up, with only 10 Best Picture picks. They ask, “What films are on the edge of being in or out of Best Picture contention?” Also, in honor of the Golden Globes nominations, The Gurus pick their winners. Only two of eight categories are unanimous, but all but Best Drama have overwhelming leads.

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The DVD Wrapup: Streep Sings, Obama’s Date, Seagal Kills, Noir Classics, Roma, Driller Killer and more

Florence Foster Jenkins: Blu-ray Anyone who watches Florence Foster Jenkins and opines, “That’s a role only Meryl Strep could play,” would only be half right. As terrific as Streep is, playing the most innocently delusional opera diva of the twentieth century, her characterization was equaled months earlier by perennial César Award candidate Catherine Frot, in Marguerite,…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: #GlobesSoWhite

The other three “black” films? Fences was good enough for its two big stars of color to be nominated. Loving was good enough for its two likely Oscar nominees to be nominated. Hidden Figures was good enough for its Oscar-winning star to be nominated along with, uh, Best Score.

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The Weekend Report

Moana remained atop the marketplace for the third week with an estimated $18.9 million, ahead of incoming Office Christmas Party, at $17.4 million. The session’s only other wide opener (following two weeks exclusive), Miss Sloane, lobbied only $1.9 million. Also sputtering was romantic comedy The Bounce Back with a $229,000 tally from 608 dates.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The top grosser of the weekend will be Office Christmas Party. But the lead story will be La La Land, which, on five screens, will be behind only 1995’s Pocahontas and 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in per-screen opening average on more than two screens.

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The DVD Wrapup: Secret Life of Pets, JT Leroy, Just Eat It, Howard’s End, Quiet Earth, Henry, Phantasm and more

Somehow, it took almost a quarter-century for an animation studio – in this case, Universal’s ambitious Illumination Entertainment division — to merge the core elements of “America’s Funniest Pets” and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise into a spanking-new entertainment franchise. Emboldened by the success of Despicable Me and Minions, IE wisely invested its financial resources in The Secret Life of Pets, a 3D computer-animated buddy/adventure/comedy about what happens when our pets are left to their own devices. The A-list cast of voice actors probably had something to do with the stunning box-office appeal as well.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Top 8 Categories A Few Days Before The Globes Nominations

Thirteen Best Picture titles have votes from more than half the voting Gurus this week, after all the movies expected to be in play, aside from Passengers, have been seen. That is the field from which 7-10 will get Best Picture nominations. Scorsese’s Silence didn’t rise… but it didn’t fall either. Denis Villeneuve, Andrew Garfield, Isabelle Huppert and Janelle Monáe are on the rise.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Host & The Show

Taking a little air out of the balloon is always a pleasure. But when you become self-mocking, the brand is being damaged… at least when the brand is the 800-pound gorilla in the category. And Oscar is that.

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DVD Geek: Hail, Caesar!; House Of Cards; It Came From Outer Space; Independence Day: Resurgence

With Hail, Caesar!, Joel and Ethan Coen again prove that the Bros. do not make normal movies.

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The Weekend Report

Moana continued to hold top spot among moviegoers with an estimated weekend gross of $28 million. The seasonal tradition of audiences giving priority for holiday preparation has translated into low box office in early December for as long as anyone can remember. This year was no exception and the sole national release for the frame – the bargain-budget Exorcist-inspired Incarnate – struggling for a top 10 spot with a $2.6 million box office.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

It’s one of Hollywood’s least favorite weekends, the first weekend of December. The only new wide release is from a little-known independent. The bright light is Fox Searchlight’s Jackie, which is on five screens, averaging $18k on Friday alone, suggesting a weekend per-screen of over $50,000 per.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Directing, Animated, Screenplay

This week, in a vote taken before the critics groups weighed in on Thursday, the Gurus take on Director, Animated Feature and the two Screenplay categories, in addition to the BP Top 10.

If there are any surprises, it is The Gurus’ unwillingness to take movies set in the 1960s very seriously or that the Top 5 Directors right now are all American.

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The DVD Wrapup: BFG, Pete’s Dragon, Baked in Brooklyn, Weng Weng, T.A.M.I./T.N.T. and more

With great numbers already recorded for Disney’s Moana, it’s difficult to look back at the last two years and imagine studio executives not being completely thrilled about what they’ve accomplished. Several releases have exceeded or threatened to hit the billion-dollar barrier and critical response has generally been friendly, even for those titles with lower financial expectations.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Beginning Is The End

You know it’s already over, right?

No, I’m not saying we know who is going to win Oscars this year. We don’t. But we know who is realistically in the running, and who is not.

To use a sports metaphor, we are in the playoffs. But teams still have to play the games.

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MCN Originals

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“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson