MCN Originals Archive for August, 2013

Friday Box Office Estimates

Morgan Spurlock tops the box office charts with his insightful documentary about a little-known musical group called One Direction. But the real surprise of the weekend is Lionsgate’s Spanish-language, 347-screen opening for Instructions Not Included doing $1.9 million on Friday, well ahead of The Getaway and more than doubling the mainstream release Closed Circuit.

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The DVD Wrapup

The Great Gatsby, Pain & Gain, Shadow Dancer, Painting, Reluctant Fundamentalist, Smiley’s People, Me & My Gal and more.

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The Weekend Report

Lee Daniels’ The Butler continued to serve it up and take top spot among weekend moviegoers with an estimated $16.9 million. A sure sign of summer’s end is the lack of new product to buttress the declining days until the Labor Day holiday. Three new national releases failed to ignite much fire with the best of the batch being third-ranked The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a teen lit fave that fell short of Twilight potential with an opening weekend launch of $9.4 million. On its tail was apocalyptic comedy The World’s End at $9 million and the horror entry You’re Next with $7.1 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Three new wide releases in the marketplace, but all three are niche players, so the top of the chart looks very familiar. Blue Jasmine expands its way back into the Top Ten. And a quartet of disappointing August releases fills out the Top Ten from Planes‘ inability to truly lift off, to a massive 78% Friday-to-Friday drop for Kick-Ass 2.

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MCN Gurus o’ Gold: Pre-Fall-Fest Edition

The Gurus are putting their turbans back before the festival madness from Venice to Telluride to Toronto (and eventually, New York) begins, offering their top 15 picks with no order at this time. It’s a bit early to be making placements with so many of the films unseen.

पार्टी शुरू करते हैं

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The DVD Wrapup

Amour, Floating City, Martin Bonner, Don’t Stop Believin’, Wither, Tortoise in Love, Q, Life of Muhammad… and more.

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Interview: A Few Choice Details From Lee Daniels on THE BUTLER

“What are they doing to me? Y’know, the last thing I want to see is ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler.’ Y’know, what are you doing to me? You’re drawing attention to, you’re trying to, you’re like… The MPAA, what are you doing? I don’t know, I have to look at it as a gift from the universe, I gotta not look at the negative. I tend to look at the negative, so I have to look at it as a gift from the universe. And just say, okay, let me go for this. Let me just go with this and let it just wash over me.”

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The Weekend Report

Weekend box office went topsy-turvy as The Butler served up the top dish with an estimated $25.1 million opening. Three other films debuted nationally, including Kick-Ass 2 that was expected to rank first but had to settle for position three with $13.5 million. Also new were the biopic Jobs with $6.8 million and the thriller Paranoia down the list with $3.5 million. Exclusive debuts were largely blah with better results for French import You Will Be My Son of $13,200 at a solo engagement and Sundance-prized Ain’t Them Bodies Saints grossing $25,700 from three initial playdates.

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Wilmington on Movies: Lee Daniels’ The Butler

The Butler is a stretch, and a sentimental exaggeration of course.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Premature speculation about the debut numbers for The Butler have turned a strong performance into a minor disappointment at the hands of a media that has taken to using shoddy box office analysis as The New Normal. Opening weekend will still be over $20m, but will likely be at least 25% off original media spin. Kick-Ass 2 will take a step backwards from the original’s opening and a partof that fall has to be attributed to Jim Carrey, who is one of the great actor/promoters ever. The whirlwind of activity that Carrey can produce in the media was missing… and certainly cost the films many millions in publicity opportunities. Jobs just didn’t happen. The film ate all the mockery about Kutcher and got none of the “but surprisingly, it’s quite good” love.

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The DVD Wrapup

Adele Blanc-Sec, Reality, Errors of Human Body, Odd Angry Shot, Guillotines, Seconds, Damned, Shane, Community and more.

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Wilmington on DVDs: To the Wonder

To the Wonder is one of those pictures that either knocks you out or irritates you—or maybe does a little of both.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Ran; Kagemusha

Akira Kurosawa’s lavish and violent epic Ran, inspired by “King Lear,” is one of the most famous and admired of all Shakespearean films. Most aficionados rank it at or near the top of the Bard’s film canon, even though Ran dispenses with the main element that makes Shakespeare so great and imperishable, jettisoning all of the bard’s British poetry (substituting a spare Japanese translation), along with a good deal of the play’s brilliant plot and unforgettable characters.

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Wilmington on Movies: Elysium

We are shown a future world where things have gone to hell and are about to get worse (maybe), due to the devastating consequences of greed, violence, brutality, authoritarian government, social and racial prejudice, and the insane selfishness of that era‘s one-percenters. It’s our world, of course, taken to extremes, Philip K. Dick or Robert Heinlein style.

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The Weekend Report

It was a crowded house at the multiplex with four new releases taking the top spots in the marketplace. The sci-fi allegory Elysium topped the charts with an estimated $30.3 million with the antic comedy We’re the Millers not far behind with $26.4 million. Family films trailed as the animated Planes prop-elled to $22.2 million and the flagging franchise Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters at the tail-end at $14.5 million. The limited launch of Lovelace failed to penetrate with a $183,000 tally from 111 exposures.

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Friday Estimates

Four new films on top of the chart, three of which started pretty well. Elysium won’t open to District 9 numbers, but still a decent start. We’re The Millers opened a little stronger than 40-Year Old Virgin… but that hit was all about legs. The number on Planes may seem a little soft, but as August goes, it may turn out to be Disney’s biggest opening in this month ever… or number 2 or 3. And Percy Jackson becomes the latest wannabe franchise to open well off of the original, though international is where the money for the first film was, so only time will tell on the overall success or failure of this sequel.

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Wilmington on Movies: We’re the Millers

The disrobing of the legendary Rachel isn’t the epic sex fantasy scene one might imagine, but just another misjudged scene in a somewhat daring but basically lousy movie comedy—a forced, crude, often senseless show about a group of misfits or outsiders (played by Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter), pretending to be a typical American suburban bourgeois family (called the Millers), while smuggling dope across the border from Mexico,

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“A shot is a story. A shot on its own should be a piece of a story. Which is why I talk a lot about watching films, even the films we’re working on, with the sound off. Just to analyze how the film works, because a film should work for an audience without any sound. The biggest problem I see is that someone may have a superficial understanding of what a shot is propositionally, but they don’t have an understanding of how all of these shots are part of a family that needs to connect, and so you’ll get something that’s like a sentence arranged poorly with six nouns in a row. That surprises me, because I think that’s something that can be learned. Some things can’t be, but that can. It’s a grammar. In a classroom I could walk somebody through the difference between a sequence in which the filmmaker has a deep understanding of how images connect, and someone who doesn’t. It’s not really an intellectual process. Some people are just born with it and are just sort of savants at that deep mathematical understanding of shot construction.  I’m better than I used to be, but there are some people I’m just never going to catch. Spielberg. His staging ability. I’m never going to catch him. But when you’re trying to figure out how to get better—I’m not competitive in the sense of looking around at other filmmakers and comparing myself to them. What I do have to think about in trying to navigate myself through a career is: what can I get better at, and what do I have that I can enhance that somebody else doesn’t have?”
~ Steven Soderbergh

“It’s not going to be huge. He and I had been corresponding for a while. When I finally met him, he said, ‘We should collaborate.’ When John Ashbery says that to you, you don’t say when, you just say yes. It has not been easy to conjure this out of nothing. Sean Price Williams and I spent time with him, and it will appear on FilmStruck before the year is out…. I have figured out how to streamline things. I still have dreams of making movies with bigger budgets, and they might be considered to have more of a voice in pop culture. I don’t want to let go of that. I also realize that you grow up a lot of your life with wishful thinking and waiting. I have figured out ways to avoid doing that. I am working on a bigger movie about Nikola Tesla, set in the past, so it is not an easy film to make. I am also working on an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s ‘White Noise.’ That seems more likely to catch fire.”
Michael Almereyda Steps It Up