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MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

The audience enjoyed the scams of Focus led weekend viewing with an estimated $18.9 million. The session’s other wide newcomer The Lazarus Effect slotted fifth with $10.7 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Focus unlikely to open to $20 million, which is not good news for any of the already superstar-deprived studios. The Lazarus Effect heads right back into the grave. Fifty Shades of Grey continues to drop like a pair of Anastasia’s panties.

And Oscar bumps arrive, but in minor fashion, for Birdman (estimated $530k Friday from last week’s $247k) and Still Alice ($750k from $685k).

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51 Weeks To Oscar

The Academy is acting like a supermodel who is deeply worried that her boyfriend is going to leave because she has a zit. And the answer is, men do leave supermodels. And that insecurity haunts the most beautiful and the most plain. But when you are going out there for the show, if people start noticing you are insecure, your career is over. When you are in public, you need to be all in, turned on, rocking the world because you “know” you have what everyone else wants.

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The Gronvall Report: Shlomi Elkabetz on GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM

Divorce court in the movies has never been as suspenseful as the proceedings at the center of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.

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The DVD Wrapup: Whiplash, The Connection, Fellini, Godard, Ozu, Gene Autry and more

What R. Lee Ermey was to Full Metal Jacket, J.K. Simmons is to Whiplash.

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Review: Focus (non-spoiler until marked)

Focus is the kind of movie that could drive a film critic mad. It’s like a feast of Soderbergh, both Thomas Crown Affairs, The Sting, The Lady Eve, Heist, The Grifters, and even some Tony Scott.

But it doesn’t quite work.

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The Weekend Report

Although it took a sharp hit, American moviegoers continued to top Fifty Shades of Grey with an estimated $23.2 million. The session saw three new national releases open to fair if not-so-astounding figures headed by the inspiring (true) sport saga McFarland, USA with $11.1 million. Just a step behind was the high school comedy The Duff at $11 million with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 trailing with $5.8 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Not unexpectedly, Fifty Shades of Grey takes a big Friday-to-Friday drop, but still still dominate the weekend chart. Kingsman falls less sharply, as it settles into its sharpened, bouncy legs. Newcomer The Duff, released by Lionsgate for CBS Films, has a modest, but not Mortdecai launch that will actually be Top 4 all-time for CBS (out of 18 titles released). McFarland USA opens soft for Disney, but could find itself headed up the chart if it finds the family audience through the weekend. And Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens to half what the original did.

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20 Weeks To Oscar… 3 Days Left

The irony of this moment is that with almost nothing left to say, the world’s media suddenly feels compelled to say EVERYTHING all at once.

Here’s the deal, as concisely as I can offer it…

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Gurus o’ Gold: The Final Vote – Every Category (1 of 2)

In the final vote of the season, The Gurus project only three changes in category leaders. They also envision The Grand Budapest Hotel winning the most Oscars, but not Best Picture. Boyhood will be the second most awarded with three. And two each for Birdman and American Sniper.

Are they right? The answers are coming on Sunday…

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The DVD Wrapup: Theory of Everything, Princess Kayuga, Big Hero 6, The Chair, Fear Clinic, Skating to New York, Brotherhood of Blades, Captain Scarlett … More

Having already won top honors in BAFTA, Golden Globes and SAG competition, Eddie Redmayne is as close to a mortal lock for a rare Grand Slam of acting awards as these things get.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: One Week Left

So the question… is it the failure of the system that there isn’t more clarity… or the genius?

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The Weekend Report

Valentine’s Day provided considerable ardor for movie going with a record-breaking bow of approximately $81.8 million for the highly-anticipated 50 Shades of Grey, dominant internationally as well. Despite its potency, $35.6 million debut for runner-up Kingsman: The Secret Service seems to have been properly contracted submissive counterprogramming. The bigger story, however, is that with the strong openings of Kingsman and Spongebob, February 2015 has offered up two of the Top Six February openings of all-time and three of the Top 16 all-time. The only February explosion that comes close is when there were five $30m+ openings in February 2010. But this year’s three openings are just 8% short of the total opening grosses for all five of those 2010 films.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

50 Shades of Grey is not exactly as earth-shattering a grosser as has been made out in the press, but it is mighty impressive nonetheless. It’sjust behind American Sniper as the best “opening” Friday of the year, though it had Thursday screenings. And it seems unlikely to match The Passion‘s February opening record of $83.8 million, but even if it did, Passion did $125 million by the end of opening weekend after a Wednesday opening. But again… super-strong not-so-record-breaking numbers.

Significantly behind 50 Shades, but still looking like the #4 opening of the year to date (not including American Sniper), is Kingsman: The Secret Service, which is a lot more kinky than 50 Shades. Look for a three-day in the mid-20s and a four-day just over 30.

American Sniper will crack $300 million domestic this long weekend. The only other Best Picture nominee still in the Top 10 is The Imitation Game, which is closing in on an $80m domestic gross.

What We Do In The Shadows leads in indie per-screen with about $4k-per yesterday on 5.

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David Carr Exits

David Carr’s magic was that he was the most human person you could imagine. He was far from perfect. But his flaws were gloriously sharp, like the scars that showed, the ones you could hear, and the ones that were not so carefully hidden. He cheated death, and not only came back to life, but…

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The DVD Wrapup: Kink, Maison Close, Dragon 2, Nekromantik 2 and more

Not having read the book upon which Fifty Shades of Grey was based, I won’t hazard a guess as to whether the movie is any more faithful to the source material than Adrian Lyne’s 9½ Weeks was to Elizabeth McNeill’s slim novel. Now, as then, reporters have begged their editors to be allowed to bring a professional dominatrix with them to a screening of Fifty Shades of Grey, merely to have her point out the differences between R-rated BDSM and the real deal, readily available on niche websites. As a public service to viewers who might be sufficiently titillated by what Christian Grey does to the virgin English-lit-major, Anastasia Steele, I suggest they work their way up the ladder to the revelatory documentary, Kink, by first checking out Luis Buñuel’s Belle de jour, Barbet Schroeder’s Maîtresse, Just Jaeckin’s Histoire d’O and Radley Metzger’s The Image, all of which are more artistic and couples-friendly than the horizon of hardcore and gonzo stuff on the Internet.

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Gurus o’ Gold: 6 Days Of Voting Left

It’s almost time for the party. The Gurus’ Best Picture chart features just one film moving up.

In addition, The Gurus offer which name they would not be surprised to hear on Oscar night when conventional wisdom says otherwise. And in that category, the is one clear standout.

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The DVD Wrapup: Nightcrawler, John Wick, Eleanor Rigby, Dear White People, Overnighters and more

If all that writer/director Dan Gilroy was attempting to do in Nightcrawler was, as he’s previously stated, shape an indictment of local television news and viewers who’ve sanctioned “If it bleeds, it leads” reporting, he’d be selling his movie terribly short. As a working principle, “If it bleeds, it leads” has informed news broadcasts for more than 30 years and now covers brush and warehouse fires, far-flung meteorological events, car crashes and Kardashian sightings.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: What We Talk About When We Talk About Best Picture

The die is likely already cast, even if all the votes are not. My experience of talking to voters is that those who are waiting are trying to see the short film selections and perhaps a doc or foreign language film, not hedging on Best Picture.

But what that answer is… I can make a list… I make a list every week… but do I know? I must admit, I have never felt this far from knowing this far into the season in 17 years of doing this.

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The Weekend Report

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge in the Water was the undisputed champion with a flushing estimated debut of $55.8 million. That left only disappointment for two other national newcomers. The futuristic Jupiter Ascending slotted third with $18.7 million while the supernatural power struggle Seventh Son bowed to $7.1 million.

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Focus 6.4 3323 NEW 6.4
The Lazarus Effect 3.7 2666 NEW 3.7
Fifty Shades of Grey 3.5 3383 -56% 140.4
Kingsman: The Secret Service 3.1 3282 -41% 77
The Duff 2.1 2622 -50% 15
SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water 2.1 3467 -47% 131.2
McFarland, USA 2 2765 -45% 16.2
American Sniper 1.9 2914 -30% 325.3
Still Alice 0.75 765 11% 10
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 0.7 2880 -70% 8.6
Also Debuting
A La Mala 0.43 374
Maps to the Stars 40,700 66
Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal 26,500 23
Kaaki Sattai 28,300 33
71 14,700 4
The Haunted Ground 9,300 2
Deli Man 8,200 14
After the Ball 7,900 36
Tokyo Fiancee 1,900 4
Autrui 1,850 4
Everly 1,800 17
The Salvation 1,450 2
Futuro Beach 1,200 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
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