MCN Originals Archive for December, 2017

Review-ish: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Spoiler-Free)

Have we ever had a relaunch followed immediately by a reboot?

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is not, as many hoped, a “middle” Star Wars movie, with the emotional impact of The Empire Strikes Back. And that is why many reviews will come off as disappointed. But they are dead wrong.

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The Weekend Report

It was a Coco three-peat as the animation led weekend biz with an estimated $18.5 million in a not-terribly festive frame. In one of the lowest-attended weekends of 2017, the sole new national opener was Just Getting Started, at tenth with $3.2 million.

The national expansion of The Disaster Artist laughed up $6.4 million. Also continuing slow roll-outs were Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  Among exclusives, I, Tonya pulled off the box office equivalent of a triple axel with a $248,000 debut from four rinks.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A second consecutive abandoned weekend by the majors. Broad Green tries to take advantage of the hole by quietly rolling out Just Getting Started as the only wide release, but can’t come close to numbers that majors saw as failing when they opened this date in years past (including last year’s Office Christmas Party, which opened to $16.9m). As a result, soft drops across the board for holdovers and room for expanding awards hopefuls. The big winner is The Disaster Artist, which had a strong launch last weekend on 19 screens and expanded to 840 this weekend with a $6 million-plus weekend coming. Lady Bird passes $20 million today. And I, Tonya launches with a likely $70k-ish per-screen on four.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Precursors Narrow The Field

The Gurus lay out Picture, Acting, Directing and Screenwriting in the hours before Golden Globes nominations. The groups of potential nominees get smaller as the year gets shorter.

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The DVD Wrapup: Letter From An Unknown Woman, Despicable Me 3, Crucifixion, Maurizio Cattelan, A New Leaf, Silent Night and more

Letter From an Unknown Woman is an old-fashioned Hollywood melodrama I might have watched for a few minutes on television long ago and abandoned in favor of a baseball game. Black-and-white films, no matter how opulent or romantic, never looked the way they were supposed to on television. Even when Laserdiscs and TCM came, analog sets couldn’t do justice to the director and cinematographer’s shared vision. Scratches were left in disrepair, just as fuzz and other artifacts clung to prints as if intended. The digital revolution made restoration miracles possible, transforming tired old movies into the classics they actually are. High-resolution screens made everything even better. Even so, I might not have accepted the challenge of watching Letter From an Unknown Woman – its title is as inviting as a warm beer or cold cup of coffee – if I hadn’t already seen the Criterion Collection editions of Max Ophüls’ La ronde, Le Plaisir, The Earrings of Madame de … and Lola Montès, all of which were made after he returned to Europe after World War II. After absorbing the lessons dispensed in the bonus features, it was easy to appreciate this widely admired film from his surprisingly unproductive Hollywood sojourn. Now, at least, I knew what to look for in the upgraded Olive Signature release.

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The Weekend Report

Coco led the session with an estimated $26.2 million. The first weekend of December has traditionally been one of the lowest grossing of the calendar, so a lack of new national releases wasn’t unexpected.

Exclusive newcomers were ablaze, with Wonder Wheel, the latest from Woody Allen, circling $142,000 from five locales. The Disaster Artist laughed out a $1.2 million box office from 19 rooms. And Venice best-picture winner The Shape of Water flowed to $163,000 from just two movie palaces. Significant expansions of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird bolstered award campaigns for both.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

On one of the weeks that’s a Hollywood dead zone, no new wide releases. The story, aside from the ongoing deterioration of Justice League, is the small pictures, most of which have awards ambitions. A24’s The Disaster Artist leads the pack with $26,000 per screen on 19 in its debut. That’s about what Lady Bird started with, but on 19 screens instead of four. Impressive, though on a quicker burn. Searchlight’s The Shape of Water also debuts at roughly the same per-screen, but on two. Wonder Wheel is looking at a per-screen in the 20s in a five-screen debut. Three Billboards more than doubles its screen count, leaping to 1,430 screens, while Lady Bird expands to 1,194, with the films neck-and-neck for the weekend.

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Gurus o’ Gold: Now We’ve Seen It All

The Gurus recovered from Thanksgiving and have seen the final two expected Oscar contenders, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. Looking only at Best Picture, Directing, Acting and Screenwriting, The Gurus consider in which categories these two newcomers might strike gold or not. And as always, the full Best Picture field, with some big movers and a debut.

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MCN Originals

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Would I like to see Wormwood in a theater on a big screen? You betcha. I’d be disingenuous to argue otherwise. But we’re all part of, like it or not, an industry, and what Netflix offers is an opportunity to do different kinds of films in different ways. Maybe part of what is being sacrificed is that they no longer go into theaters. If the choice is between not doing it at all and having it not go to theaters, it’s an easy choice to make.”
~ Errol Morris

“As these stories continue to break, in the weeks since women have said they were harassed and abused by Harvey Weinstein, which was not the birth of a movement but an easy and highly visible shorthand for decades of organizing against sexual harassment that preceded this moment, I hope to gain back my time, my work. Lately, though, I have noticed a drift in the discourse from violated rights to violated feelings: the swelled number of reporters on the beat, the burden on each woman’s story to concern a man “important” enough to report on, the detailed accounting of hotel robes and incriminating texts along with a careful description of what was grabbed, who exposed what, and how many times. What I remember most, from “my story” is how small the sex talk felt, almost dull. I did not feel hurt. I had no pain to confess in public. As more stories come out, I like to think that we would also believe a woman who said, for example, that the sight of the penis of the man who promised her work did not wound her, and that the loss she felt was not some loss of herself but of her time, energy, power.”
~ “The Unsexy Truth About Harassment,” by Melissa Gira Grant