MCN Originals Archive for April, 2017

The Weekend Report

The third weekend of The Fate of the Furious again led weekend viewing with an estimated $19.4 million and a global gross that crossed into the rarified realm of $1 billion box office. The session had but one wide national release but it was international day-and-date newcomers that stole the thunder. The storm came from the Hispanic comedy How to Be a Latin Lover that ranked second with $11.8 million and highly-anticipated Indian historic epic Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which smashed global records, including a U.S. debut of $10.3 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

Here’s something you don’t see every week… a Telugu-Tamil-Hindi-Malayalam language film release coming in #2 on the charts. These narrow releases do solid business and are on the chart almost every weekend. But rarely are the major U.S. distributors pushing so softly that you see a title in the Top 3. The #3 for Friday was another crossover, as Lionsgate pushes out a film to their developing Spanish-language market starring popular Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez. The third newcomer is STX’s The Circle, which has Beauty & The Hanks, but marketing that spoke no one’s language.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Summer 2017: Here We Go (Wide)!

As for esthetics… who knows?

What I do know is that there are at least 14 movies that I am really, really looking forward to seeing. If most of those are worth the time, it’s a pretty great summer.

Read the full article » 16 Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Girl With All the Gifts, Girl From Brothel, Underworld V, Detour, Catfight, We Are X, Borowczyk, Three Brothers and more

The more I learn about the business of distributing DVDs, Blu-ray and VOD, the less sense key business decisions make. Take, for example, Colm McCarthy and writer Mike Carey’s very representative horror flick The Girl With All the Gifts. Apart from being extremely well made and unusually thought-provoking, it features a performance by Glenn Close that almost has to be seen to be believed. Looking a bit like her cross-dressing butler Albert Nobbs – for which she won an Obie and received an Oscar nominated – but with an authoritative bearing not unlike her Nova Prime, in Guardians of the Galaxy, Close plays Dr. Caroline Caldwell, a no-nonsense biologist determined to find a vaccine for a zombie plague. The novelty of such casting, alone, would appear to be sufficient cause for an arthouse release. After debuting at last year’s Locarno, Stuttgart Fantasy Film and Toronto festivals – where it received excellent reviews — The Girl With All the Gifts was accorded little more than an Internet premiere, in January. Then, apparently, no one could figure out what to do with the darn thing,

Read the full article » No Comments »

A Farewell To Jonathan Demme

He will be remembered mostly for his many achievements as a film director, but I am sure he would feel no slight to be remembered as simply a great human being.

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (spoiler-free)

Guardians 2 is the epitome of a sequel to an unexpected smash hit.

With the sequel, James Gunn gets the room to run. An extra million here or there? Great. An even more complicated storyline than the original? Hell, audiences loved that convoluted ride… not going to argue much. Etcetera. Elements that audiences loved in the original? Pile ’em on!

Read the full article » 8 Comments »

The Gronvall Report: Jason Connery and Company on Tommy’s Honour

The hero’s gait is definitely jaunty, with a bit of swagger. Tommy Jr. tilts full speed ahead for most of the movie, slanting toward the future; he may not know what that future is, but it’s not going to be what insufferable toffs like Boothby dismiss as “nothing.” In today’s golf, you’re looking at highly paid, elite athletes—although considering what the broadcasters make, more power to the players if they can get it, right?—but the sport in Tommy’s Honour is about the common people.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

Not truly turb0charged, but way out in front, The Fate of the Furious cruised to an estimated $38.6 million to lead in its second weekend. A clutch of new releases proved disappointing overall, though Disney’s annual wildlife doc Born in China (opening on Earth Day) was comparatively okay with a $5 million debut.

The rest of the national debuts were below par with distaff revenge thriller Unforgettable bowing with $4.7 million, and the Armenian genocide romantic drama The Promise struggling to $4.1 million. Also grim was the Blair Witch-like Phoenix Forgotten at $1.8 million.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

A big, but not unexpected Friday-to-Friday drop for The Fate of The Furious, as the domestic engine of this franchise fades while the rest of the world keeps revving. Newcomers barely register, as barely-marketed Unforgettable, Disney doc Born in China and political passion project The Promise will each open to under $5 million for the weekend. Only one exclusive release will even hit $10k per-screen.

Read the full article » No Comments »

STRIKE! (oh oh oh oh oh oh) What Is It Good For?

The mostly-unlikely-to-occur Writers Guild Strike that is being threatened is a blurry mess. If you read media reports about what is happening and why it is happening, you get a parade of takes so varied that a showrunner would scream at a writer to find the damned idea they are writing about for 22 minutes,…

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Founder, Punching Henry, Paris 05:59, Apocalypse Child, Donnie Darko, Woman of the Year, Tampopo, Handmaid’s Tale and more

As McDonald’s struggles once again to figure out how it wants to be perceived in markets in the U.S. and around the world, The Founder reminds of us of what made the concept so revolutionary in the first place. There’s a scene in John Lee Hancock’s appealing biographical drama in which Ray Kroc visits an early franchisee, where the operator has chosen to change the menu’s emphasis on hamburgers, fries and shakes and garishly promote its chicken entrees. The look on Kroc’s face made me think that he might take a cue from the New Testament and banish the blasphemers from his golden-arched temple, turning over tables and upending trash cans. Heaven only knows what he’d do if he returned to Earth, today, and visited my local McDonald’s, My guess is that he’d prefer spinning in his grave than sampling an Angus Mushroom & Swiss on a “premium bakery style bun.”

Read the full article » 2 Comments »

The Weekend Report

It was top gear as the debut of The Fate of the Furious left the pack eating dust with an estimated $100.1 million. It was the only egg opening wide in this year’s Easter roll. A couple of limited releases strived to get into the marketplace (and failed) including the animated Spark: A Space Tail, which grossed $108,000 and golfing origin tale Tommy’s Honour with $220,000.

Exclusive freshman saw an up-tempo start for biodoc Chasing Trane with $15,200 on a solo riff. Also strong were the political “what if” Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer that grossed $100,000 at five sites and a potent $114,000 bow for period adventure The Lost City of Z from four expeditions.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

The Fate of the Furious opened well in North America by every standard but the last F&F movie, Furious 7. But the rest of the world, particularly China, is making up for that in a big way, where Fate is having a $200 million weekend, which, even with Universal only getting a quarter of that, amounts to a huge worldwide opening. The rest of the Top 10 is holding well in spite of the big new opener. A $100 million opening just doesn’t stretch the marketplace to anything close to its max anymore. The Lost City of Z, Maudie and Chasing Trane all opened well in limited.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Review: The Fate of the Furious (spoiler-free)

Stuff happens… and then there is a sequence in New York that doesn’t just strain credulity, but muddles it, shreds it, chews it up, swallows out, and craps it out. Really, this is the filmic opposite of the chase in The French Connection.

Read the full article » 12 Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Lion, Toni Erdmann, Worlds Apart, Daughters of the Dust, Ludwig, Cathy’s Curse and more

Films made about children appropriated by authorities and handed over to politically connected or wealthy families as orphans aren’t all that unusual. Lion’s happy ending is what sets it apart from other stories.

Read the full article » No Comments »

The Weekend Report

The Boss Baby again edged out Beauty and the Beast for weekend bragging rights with two family movies grossing respective estimates of $26.4 million and $24.7 million. Smurfs: The Lost Village opened with a softish $13.7 million while the octo-heist yarn Going in Style had a surprisingly resilient $12.3 million launch. Best of the exclusive debs were the monster-relationship drama-comedy Colossal, which grossed $121,000 at four playlots and stiff-upper-lipped Brit Their Finest with $78,400.

Read the full article » No Comments »

Friday Box Office Estimates

It will be a close race for the Meaningless Box Office Title, as Boss Baby and Beauty & The Beast start the weekend neck & neck. Saturday will tell the tale, but Sunday estimates of the weekend for the two films will be as political as they are mathematical. Newcomers Going in Style and poorly-timed Smurfs: The Lost Village will also battle for position, though only for a soft third. Ghost in the Shell falls into the abyss (domestically). Three new limited releases with high profiles land, with the strongest looking like the Anne Hathaway “monster movie,” Colossal.

Read the full article » No Comments »

False Trends: The End Of Movie Stars

It is factually unreasonable to expect any movie star to open any movie that isn’t led with IP goodness to over $75 million. Really, anything over $50 million is extraordinary. $20 million is still a solid standard for movie stardom. And there are as many of those as ever.

Read the full article » 5 Comments »

False Trends Sidebar: How The Myth Of The Death Of The Movie Star Came About

When Hollywood started saying, “no,” the agents – who create 70% of the press in this town – freaked out. The sky was falling. They couldn’t deliver the way they were delivering. And that is when the “movie stars are over” mythology started taking hold.

Read the full article » 6 Comments »

The DVD Wrapup: Rogue One, Office Party, Three, Story of Sin, Actor Martinez and more

The first things longtime fans will notice is the absence of a crawl, as well as an overture by a composer not named John Williams, although his aural fingerprints can be heard throughout the score. Buffs probably were already aware of the absence of Jedi in the cast of characters and the difference in narrative tone from the other episodes. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and co-writers Chris Weitz (Cinderella) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Identity) have emphasized that “Rogue One” was conceived as a war story with a sometimes ambiguous moral code.

Read the full article » No Comments »

MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many recappers, while clearly over their heads, are baseline sympathetic to finding themselves routinely unmoored, even if that means repeating over and over that this is closer to “avant-garde art” than  normal TV to meet the word count. My feed was busy connecting the dots to Peter Tscherkassky (gas station), Tony Conrad (the giant staring at feedback of what we’ve just seen), Pat O’Neill (bombs away) et al., and this is all apposite — visual and conceptual thinking along possibly inadvertent parallel lines. If recappers can’t find those exact reference points to latch onto, that speaks less to willful ignorance than to how unfortunately severed experimental film is from nearly all mainstream discussions of film because it’s generally hard to see outside of privileged contexts (fests, academia, the secret knowledge of a self-preserving circle working with a very finite set of resources and publicity access to the larger world); resources/capital/access/etc. So I won’t assign demerits for willful incuriosity, even if some recappers are reduced, in some unpleasantly condescending/bluffing cases, to dismissing this as a “student film” — because presumably experimentation is something the seasoned artist gets out of their system in maturity, following the George Lucas Model of graduating from Bruce Conner visuals to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenwriting.”
~ Vadim Rizov Goes For It, A Bit

“On the first ‘Twin Peaks,’ doing TV was like going from a mansion to a hut. But the arthouses are gone now, so cable television is a godsend — they’re the new art houses. You’ve got tons of freedom to do the work you want to do on TV, but there is a restriction in terms of picture and sound. The range of television is restricted. It’s hard for the power and the glory to come through. In other words, you can have things in a theater much louder and also much quieter. With TV, the quieter things have to be louder and the louder things have to be quieter, so you have less dynamics. The picture quality — it’s fine if you have a giant television with a good speaker system, but a lot of people will watch this on their laptops or whatever, so the picture and the sound are going to suffer big time. Optimally, people should be watching TV in a dark room with no disturbances and with as big and good a picture as possible and with as great sound as possible.”
~ David Lynch