MCN Originals Archive for October, 2013

20W2O: Choking On The Tea Leaves

In the last week, there have been a series of attacks on the box office potential of 12 Years A Slave, which is “dirty tricks”-speak for “there is something less than great about this movie about the black people you have no responsibility for to which They are trying to force you to give a Best Picture Oscar.” These two stories ran, by the way, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, the day before the film’s first expansion to 123 screens, and then in the New York Times, two days after the film’s first expansion.

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DVD Geek: Pacific Rim

The 62 minutes of excellent production featurettes that accompany the film reveal how incredibly thorough del Toro was in overseeing the movie’s creation, which is why, boxoffice shortcomings or not, the film is going to be around for a very long time to come. As he explains, “This movie was made by people who love giant monsters and robots, for people who love giant monsters and robots.”

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The DVD Wrapup

War of the Worlds, Byzantium; Gift Guide 1: Del Toro, McQueen, Pulp Fiction, Dark Knight, Mama’s Family, Deano and so much more.

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The Weekend Report

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the debut of Bad Grandpa led weekend movie going with an estimated $31.8 million. The Counselor, the session’s other major national debut, got clobbered in a fourth place finish that courted a dismal $8 million. Exclusive newcomers were also generally disappointing though nonfiction The Square on the Egyptian Arab Spring posted $12,600 from a solo rally. Also strong was the U.S. release of Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Color with a $105,000 box office from four screens following its bow in Quebec three weeks ago.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Bad Grandpa killed the Gravity star… Bad Grandpa killed the Gravity star…” Sing it! No real surprise here. The Jackass brand is golden in late September and October, the last Jackass film opening to $50 million in 2010. This “Jackass presents” film will not be that big, but it will probably be the second highest opener amongst all of their releases. Fox couldn’t get the Mexican drug cartel pirates to excite people like Somali pirates and saw this relatively weak opening coming a mile away.

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20W2O: LA Times A1 Piece On 12 Years A Slave Could Be A Hit Job By An Awards Rival

This story is a textbook example of how to give a hard backhand slap to a movie that someone sees as having vulnerabilities. None of the Oscar Whisperers out there could have asked for anything better, short of a series of stories that people had actually gotten ill or had to run out of the theater to avoid the horrors of this film. It’s a marketing story! Why would that be bad?

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Wimington on DVDs: The Haunting, Eyes Without a Face, The Conjuring

Horror movies are usually often judged by how much they get under our skins: how much sheer emotional discomfort they generate. By that measure, and several others, the James Wan-directed scary show The Conjuring, failed to get to me.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Late October And Still No True Frontrunner

Truth is, We have usually set the field pretty effectively by mid-November. 80%-plus of nominees are pretty well guessed at by then. So then it gets even weirder, as We fight over the last 20% and attempt to “win” by guessing the winners before anyone else. Every minor shift gets overemphasized because it – how dare it! – surprises Us. What started as somewhat rational prognostication turns personal… and sometimes ugly. And the people who have jobs trying to convince Us of this or that get sharper edged, which is often misconstrued as “dirty tricks,” but outside of the bubble is just called “publicity.”

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The DVD Wrapup

Conjuring, Internship, Monsters U, Oka!, Pawn Shop, Shepard & Dark, Faust Redux, La Notte, Trejo!, Beauty of Devil and much more.

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20 Weeks To Oscar Special: London Film Festival & Oscar

I would argue, always, that world premiering a movie at a film festival with limited media access is a terrible idea if you are trying to get into the awards race—specifically Oscar—unless you figure out a way to embrace all of the awards press and mainstream media in the US at the same time or earlier. Why?

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The Weekend Report

Gravity continued to spin in a high orbit with an estimated $31.1 million to top session movie going. The industry had to be thankful for the film’s momentum as a trio of new national releases failed to reach their presumed apex. The re-imagined Carrie bowed to $16.4 million and slotted third behind Captain Phillips. The combo of Stallone and Schwarzenegger provided Escape Plan with a tepid $9.7 million and the ripped from the headlines The Fifth Estate grossed a WeakiLeaks $1.7 million. A flood of exclusives provide only a couple of bright spots including the stranded at sea All is Lost with Robert Redford not such a victim to the elements on a box office of $94,400 from six berths. But the big noise was the phenomenal $960,000 launch of 12 Years a Slave from 19 screens.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Gravity continues to (bad pun) above the pack, as the remake of Carrie will likely end the weekend about $10m behind the Clooney’s unlikely sequel to Up In The Air, Up In The Lack of Air. (Or is it Ms. Bullock’s unlikely sequel to Speed? Too bad Dennis Hopper wasn’t around to voice flight command.) The Fifth Estate goes down in flames. Escape Plan needs to go back to the drawing board.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Post New York Film Festival

This week, in our last pre-November rankings, The Gurus are looking at the Best Picture race, split into films that have been widely seen by the industry (in theatrical release, wide screenings or at festivals) and those that have not.

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The DVD Wrapup

The Heat, Pacific Rim, Drug War,Cockney Rejects, Maniac, Untold History, Vikings, Jug Music, Jumper, and a whole bunch more.

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The Weekend Report

The attraction was considerable as Gravity retained a commanding pull in the marketplace with an estimated $43.6 million, a relatively modest 22% lower orbit from its opening box office. That meant that the critically-acclaimed Captain Phillips had to settle for second mate with a solid debut of $25.8 million. The session’s only other national newcomer was genre actioner Machete Kills, which grossed $3.7 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Gravity continues to hold down the lead, as Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips line up for what could arguably be the best October opening for a drama since The Departed and Training Day.

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Wilmington on DVDs: House of Wax (1953); After Earth; The Purge

The Purge may be well-named. The movie‘s eventually almost non-stop brutality and terror have a kind of emetic effect, which is what happens in most of these pictures.

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The DVD Wrapup

Laurence Anyways, Exorcist, Hangover, After Earth, Chucky, Midnight’s Children, American Horror, Mea Culpa and so much more.

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The Weekend Report

You can’t hear a shout-out in space. But on Earth, Gravity handily pulled down an estimated $54.8 million to rest atop the box office charts. The frame’s only other national release was thriller Runner Runner that turned third place with $7.6 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Gravity opens so well that we will avoid any pun describing its numbers (for now). Word of mouth is mighty and it could well be the rare film not driven by children that gets a big Saturday bump. The record for October openings is $52.6 million. Getting crushed under the weight of the big October opening is the horribly titled Runner Runner (a term known to poker players, but not the mainstream audiences that need to show up to drive business for a mainstream movie). The film could well have a nearly identical opening weekend to the first Koppelman/Levien-written feature, Rounders (circa 1998).

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MCN Originals

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Dunkirk 19.7 3720 New 19.7
Girls Trip 11.6 2591 New 11.6
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 6.5 3553 New 6.5
Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.4 4130 -53% 236.1
War for the Planet of the Apes 6 4100 -66% 83.3
Despicable Me 3 3.7 3525 -40% 204.3
Baby Driver 1.7 2503 -36% 79.9
The Big Sick 1.4 2597 -43% 20.9
Wonder Woman 1.2 1971 -38% 385.7
Wish Upon 0.8 2154 -65% 8.8
Also Debuting
Fidaa 0.39 139
Vikram Vedha 61,300 48
The Black Prince 33,500 67
Munna Michael 19,800 72
Landline 19,400 4
The Midwife 5,100 3
Bloody Crayons 4,400 18
Meow 1,850 13
First Kill 1,550 12
The Fencer 1,450 2
The Untamed 1,100 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