MCN Originals Archive for October, 2015

Friday Box Office Esitmates

Holdovers enjoyed excellent Friday holds based on a combination of no new competition (unintentionally) at the box office and, perhaps, people going to the movies Friday in anticipation of not going on Saturday (Halloween night) in normal numbers. The last time Halloween fell on a Saturday was 2006, and holdovers had a normal Saturday uptick, while the new film in the market took a Saturday hit and then had an unusual upsurge on Sunday. The last occurrence before that was 1998, so not a lot to work with in direct comparisons. Burnt is toast. And WB continues Hell Year with its smallest wide release (over 400 screens) this year and its second worst opening for a film that it signaled clearly for months was unimportant to the studio. Paramount’s two-week-window stunt continues, with Paranormal 5 dropping 65% Friday-to-Friday and the launch of Scout’s Guide To The Apocalypse to $444 per screen last night. So much for changing the face of distribution.

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DVD Wrapup Gift Guide I: W.C. Fields, IndiePix, Grinchmas, Human Centipede, Flowers, Neon God, Home Fires … More

The Marx Brothers have stood the test of time, delighting every new generation of comedy lovers. I wonder if W.C. Fields has demonstrated the same resilience with kids whose only knowledge of gin blossoms comes from the rock band, not one of the most famous lushes in Hollywood history.

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18 Weeks To Oscar: Why The Martian Is Currently The Movie To Beat

As I look down the barrel at this season, aiming at Best Picture, it is looking more and more like 2000 or 2006, when the Best Picture statue ended up going to the big, well-made, not terribly shocking, but very entertaining movie over a series of films that critics and “serious film people” liked better. Those two winners were Gladiator and The Departed.

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The Weekend Report

The Martian rose back to the top of weekend viewing with an estimated $15.9 million that was roughly $500k better than last frame leader Goosebumps. The string of newcomers looked a lot like a late August onslaught. Best of the bunch was The Last Witch Hunter with $10.7 million, fourth in the lineup. Also chilling was Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension grossing $8.1 million. Still, the really big chill was encountered by Afghan sar satire Rock the Kasbah and musical Jem and the Holograms that opened respectively to $1.4 million and $1.3 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Pretty solid holds for the films that have been in the market for a while, but the story of the weekend is that none of the new releases look likely to crack $10 million. The range of “not quites” goes from a Vin Diesel action film, to the 1656-screen-2-week-to-VOD-window-horror-sequel, to a highly-touted Oscar aspirant.

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19 Weeks To Oscar: Season of Less

There were a lot of questions about the role of the festivals when Venice, Telluride, and Toronto didn’t offer the award explosion that media has been hyping into a frenzy for the last few years. In the lull between the end of the New York Film Festival and the Jolie-Pitt-driven opening night of AFI, it’s clear that there is more writing about awards, earlier in the season than ever… but a lot less to write about.

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The DVD Wrapup: Larry Fessenden, My Favorite Martian, Testament of Youth, A Special Day and more

Like Clint Howard, Larry Fessenden is a seemingly tireless supporting actor whose horror-perfect face is far better known than his name, at least outside of Hollywood and fan conventions. If they hadn’t found work in the pictures, both could easily be mistaken for carnies, roustabouts, road-crew workers and reprobates of all stripe. Fessenden’s background may smack of East Coast establishment, but he caught exploitation fever in his teens and hasn’t had time to look back since then. At 52, he has more than a dozen credits as an actor (84), director (22), producer (58), writer (13), editor (15) and cinematographer (14).

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The Weekend Report

Kid-lit staple Goosebumps made the big-screen translation well as it scared up an estimated $23.4 million. However, it and the frames other two national newcomers all fell below expectations. Cold War drama Bridge of Spies slotted third with $15.3 million while Gothic romance Crimson Peak grossed $12.8 million.Steve Jobs is looking like a solid commercial hit-to-be, expanding to 60 screens and still managing a chart-leading $26k per screen.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

With four new major releases and one mid-sized Christian-draw film, it’s a full boat at the box office. The only film likely to squeeze out over $20 million is Goosebumps, which is a strong, if narrow (8-16) play. The Martian remains a rock, well off of Gravity‘s pace in terms of October releases and well ahead of Gone Girl‘s. The newest Spielberg, Bridge of Spies, is in a usual place for Spielberg openings. It’s not quite as strong a start as Lincoln (about 17% off), but like Lincoln, it’s head-and-shoulders above the openings of other “smaller” Spielberg movies… the dramas. Crimson Peak is one of Guillermo del Toro’s slowest starters, having not had a wide opening of less than $23m since 1997’s Mimic. The question for this one will be the domestic multiple and the international return for a rare kind of genre play.

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The DVD Wrapup: Tomorrowland, Aladdin, Dope, Big Eden, Requiescant, Alleluia and ore

Despite releasing Tomorrowland and Aladdin on Blu-ray almost simultaneously, Disney may not be asking consumers to draw any conclusions about the company’s past, present and future, but, what the hell, what better time?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: 20 Weeks To Go

Oh, the lists are flying fast & furious now. It’s open season again. Many possibilities.

In honor of everyone and their brothers (all absolute experts, make no mistake), I will throw some stuff at the wall today, as we are now 20 Weeks To Oscar.

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The Weekend Report

It was close encounters of a second kind for The Martian as it retained top spot in session movie going with an estimated $37.2 million. Debuting wide releases had a much tougher ride with the family adventure Pan slotting third with a disappointing $15.4 million. The Walk, following last week’s special engagement, failed to get a toehold with a $3.7 million box office.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Top 2 will remain the Top 2, as panned newcomer Pan fails to pan for gold in them-thar box offices. The Walk stumbles on its expansion from 448 extra-large screens to 2509 standard venues and now looks unlikely to reach the better side of $15 million domestically, hoping to recover its modest budget from international venues that are still wild for 3D. And Steve Jobs lands strongly in a four-screen exclusive with $100k+ per-screen for the weekend, much like both Birdman ($42m dom) and The Imitation Game ($91m dom) last year.

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The DVD Wrapup: Escobar, Manglehorn, People Places Things, Pee-wee… and more

In Andrea Di Stefano’s intense revisionist biopic, Escobar: Paradise Lost, we’re led to believe that his generosity toward the citizens of Medellin didn’t necessarily extend to a Canadian surfer dude who couldn’t help himself from falling in love with Escobar’s niece.

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Review: Bridge of Spies (spoilers)

Spielberg is telling us, right up front, that people willing to give up liberty for safety deserve neither. But then it turns out there is a second Tom “Everyman” Hanks movie coming. And it’s not particularly subversive.

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The Weekend Report

There were clear skies for The Martian with a debut estimated at $54.4 million. The only other launch in wide release was the expansion of the drug opus Sicario that scored third with $11.7 million. In limited wide release in IMAX, The Walk grossed a disappointing $1.5 million. Among encouraging freshmen, teen Nobelist doc My Name is Malala petitioned $57,100 at four; Jafar Panahi’s third film while under Iranian sanction, Taxi, grossed $18,300 onat two journeys; gay rights drama Freeheld with $38,300 from five screens; and German Oscar submission Labyrinth of Lies took $20,500 at three sites.

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Friday Estimates

Mission to Martian succeeds with $17.8 million in the tanks.

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The DVD Wrapup: The Connection, Aloft, Duke of Burgundy, Patricio Guzman and more

It probably would have been impossible for Cédric Jimenez and his writing partner, Audrey Diwan, to duplicate in The Connection all of the thrills and heart-pounding intrigue William Friedkin built into his groundbreaking police thriller, The French Connection, even though they’re based on the same series of events. Instead, they succeeded in telling the story of a major heroin bust, this time from the perspective of the French police and heroin traffickers.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott