MCN Originals Archive for April, 2016

Friday Box Office Estimates

In the dead weekend before the “official” start of summer, there are no challenges to the king of the April jungle. Three new movies, but only one from a major and all three chasing alternative audiences. Keanu chases the Key & Peele audience with a kitty cat… one scaring away guys and the other scaring away kids who love kitties. Mother’s Day is warmed over Garry Marshall hash… Four big heads on the poster is all they could do. And Ratchet & Clank is a cartoon from a popular video game… which we are still waiting to work as a movie for the first time.

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The DVD Wrapup: Son of Saul, Phoenix, Losing Ground, Jane Got a Gun, Driftless Area, Packed in a Trunk, Dillinger, Sexploitation, What?, Krampus and more

As much as we’d like to put World War II in our rearview mirror and move on to less nightmarish film fodder, the sad truth is that we need constant reminders of what happened then and what could happen again, if hate is allowed to trump cries for peace and sanity. The sick legacy of Third Reich simply refuses to disappear into the fog of history, either in real life or in the movies. What’s amazing is that even 70 years after peace treaties were signed, ever more heart-wrenching stories continue to surface from the conflagration. How many more remain to be told is anyone’s guess. The concurrent release of Son of Saul and Phoenix on DVD/Blu-ray suggests that European historians, writers and filmmakers – the children and grandchildren of the silent generation — still have plenty to say on the subject.

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The Weekend Report

The Jungle Book continued to hold sway at the box office with a top branch estimate of $61.4 million. The session’s sole wide national release The Huntsman: Winter’s War was a distant second with $20.1 million. There were also a trio of limited wide openers that included the Mexican slacker comedy Compadres at $1.4 million; the offbeat drama A Hologram for the King grossing $1.1 million and the historic Elvis & Nixon trailing with $473,000.

There was also a flurry of quickly engineered playdates for Purple Rain to honor Prince’s untimely death. A Warner Bros. spokesman said it numbered roughly 150 engagements (many single projections) with box office reporting expected Monday or Tuesday.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a movie for which the title character wasn’t sold and the studio tried to bend the film’s premise into a 30something, CGfied version of Frozen, opened to a little better than 1/3 of its predecessor. Universal has another month before what should be their first breakout hit of 2016, Neighbors 2. The only indie with a shot at $10k per screen is The Meddler, the Susan Sarandon comedy, on just four screens this weekend.

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The DVD Wrapup:  Ip Man 3, Lady in the Van, Chainsaw 2, Antonia’s Line, Gangster VIP, Dangerous Men, Lamb and more

The story of the truly legendary Chinese martial-arts teacher, Ip Man, has been told many times on film over the last 22 years. He was introduced in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story(1993),, but mostly as a sidebar reference in an overly reverential biopic about the world’s most famous kung fu fighter. It wasn’t until 2008 that Ip Man, who introduced the Wing Chun technique to Lee 50 years earlier, would be lionized in movies in which the more famous studentLee would be an incidental character. Ip Man 3 marks the end of a trilogy starring Donnie Yen and directed by Wilson Yip. Although exaggerated, the series remained faithful to the spirit of the man and influence Wing Chung had on the discipline. In 2013, Hong Kong writer=director Wong Kar-Wai (In the Mood for Love) chimed in the on the subject in The Grandmaster, which did well at the international box office and was nominated for Academy Awards in the cinematography and fashion-design categories. Just as that film covered much of the same territory as Yip’s first two installments, Ip Man 3 adds biographical material also introduced in The Grandmaster.

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Review: HOLOGRAM FOR A KING

A Hologram for the King is an experimental film, albeit with considerable assets. All the elements one might want are present even if the equation hasn’t properly been worked out.

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The Weekend Report

The Jungle Book swung wide and was the frame’s big winner with a potent debut estimated at $103.3 million. Two films made national bows as counter-programmers with Barbershop: The Next Cut sweeping a tidy $20.2 million in second spot and Criminal opening to a grim $5.8 million. Best of the exclusives freshmen were the Irish musical Sing Street with $65,800 from five screens and an unexpectedly strong $85,900 for the thriller Green Room in three engagements.

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Leonard Klady Remembers Dan Ireland

The news of Dan Ireland’s death is about as tough as it gets.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A solid opening for The Jungle Book. There is likely $30 million or more in what was the opening weekend pot waiting on word-of-mouth from non-critics to determine whether the under-8 set should see or avoid the movie, which is an action sell. This opening isn’t a game changer, especially given the cost of the film. But it is plenty good enough, especially with a good international start as well. Universal will be aiming to beat whatever this 3-day ends up being with its second Huntsman film to focus on the women, not the Huntsman. Barbershop: The Next Cut opening day-ed right between the original and the sequel. BvS drops 60% again.

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The DVD Wrapup: Burns on Robinson, The Force Awakens, Dylan/Zappa, Jorg Buttgereit, Tony Perkins and more

Considering that Ken Burns put a tight focus on Jackie Robinson several times in his epochal 1994 documentary series, “Baseball,” and MLB has bent over backwards since 1997 to remind a new generation of fans of his significance to the game and beyond, it may seem curious that he would devote another four hours to this great African-American athlete and humanitarian. Fact is, though, there isn’t a superfluous moment in the entire 240-minute length of PBS’ tremendously compelling “Ken Burns: Jackie Robinson.”

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The Weekend Report

The dust won’t settle until tomorrow but today’s estimates give the slightest of edges for bragging rights to the Melissa McCarthy comedy The Boss. Its weekend debut is $23.5 million while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is sitting at $23.4 million. The only other wide opener, Hardcore Henry, ran down a disappointing $5 million.

Best of the exclusive bows was the U.S. indie thriller The Invitation that won best film at the prestigious Sitges festival last year. It grossed $53,400 from six sit-downs. Expansions this weekend included good response for slow rollouts of Everybody Wants Some!! and Miles Ahead and limp results for the ramped-up break of Midnight Special.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

The solid opening of The Boss seems less like news than a 2nd-3rd Friday drop for Batman v Superman of 60%… which is ugly. Hardcore Henry, which STX tried very hard to launch, didn’t get far off the pad, hoping to get just over $5m for the weekend. A lot of indie firepower this weekend has led nowhere much. Quality, high indie profile films Demolition, The Invitation, and Louder Than Bombs will all miss the $10k per screen standard for a big indie launch (though to be fair, the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer will come in close to $1m for the weekend).

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The DVD Wrapup: Stealing Cars, Dixieland, Great Hypnotist, The Forest, Dreams Rewired, Giallo, Zydeco, Alice’s Restaurant and more

If this affecting teen drama had been made in the 1930s, it might have starred Mickey Rooney as the most unrepentant juvenile delinquent in a reform school full of hard cases. Or, it could have provided the perfect ensemble vehicle for the Dead End Kids, with Leo Gorcey standing up to the brutal screws and finding redemption in the nifty car he’s assigned to wax for the warden. In Stealing Cars, Emory Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines) plays the self-destructive Billy Wyatt, a too-smart-for-his-own-good wiseass whose criminal behavior lands him in the Bernville Camp for Boys. Seemingly without any concern for his own safety, Billy shoves his education in

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Review: Louder Than Bombs

Louder Than Bombs is a family drama about the emotional fallout of the death of a woman death on her husband and her two sons. The filmmakers take up the story three years after the tragedy, when her work—she was a war zone photographer—is to be exhibited, along with the publication of a monograph.

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The Weekend Report

It was the proverbial case of “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice took a hard hit but nonetheless emerged as the top choice in the marketplace with an estimated $52.3 million. The only new national release was faith-targeted God’s Not Dead 2 that kneeled at fourth with a disappointing $7.7 million.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Batman v Superman v word-of-mouth: BvS falls from yet another high place with a record 72% drop.

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The DVD Wrapup: Hateful 8, Winter, Child of Century, Chantal Akerman, Mediterranea, Leon Russell, Death Valley Days and more

The impeccable Blu-ray and digital edition includes the 167-minute version that was released into the many theaters that weren’t retrofitted for 70mm projection. It’s likely that the 187-minute road-show edition will be released sometime down the road, with a few more featurettes than the perfunctory “Beyond the Eight: A Behind the Scenes Look” and slightly more insightful “Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm.”

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MCN Originals

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton