Sunday, October 28, 2012

Argo's #1 in slow week

1.  Argo - $12.36 million ($60.78) - 3 wks (WB) -24.9%
 . . . 2855 screens / $4327 per screen
2.  Hotel Transylvania - $9.5 ($130.43) - 5 wks (Sony) -26.9%
 . . . 3276 / $2900
3.  Cloud Atlas - $9.4 - 1 wk (WB)
 . . . 2008 / $4681
4.  Paranormal Activity 4 - $8.68 ($42.63) - 2 wks (Par) -70.1%
 . . . 3412 / $2542
5.  Silent Hill Revelation - $8 - 1 wk (OR)
 . . . 2933 / $2728
6.  Taken 2 - $8 ($117.39) - 4 wks (Fox) -39.7%
 . . . 2995 / $2671
7.  Here Comes the Boom - $5.5 ($30.61) - 3 wks (Sony) -34.6%
 . . . 2491 / $2208
8.  Sinister - $5.07 ($39.52) - 3 wks (Sum) -42.5%
 . . . 2347 / $2160
9.  Alex Cross - $5.05 ($19.37) - 2 wks (Sum) -55.7%
 . . . 2541 / $1987
10. Fun Size - $4.06 - 1 wk (Par)
 . . . 3014 / $1347
11. Pitch Perfect - $3.98 ($51.33) - 5 wks (U) -41.1%
 . . . 1999 / $1990
12. Chasing Mavericks - $2.2 - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 2002 / $1099
13. Looper - $2.1 ($61.5) - 5 wks (TriS) -50%
 . . . 1189 / $1766

Cloud Atlas has a $100 million budget, but it's another big bomb for the Wachowskis (The Matrix, Speed Racer).  I think it also does damage to what above-the-title star power Tom Hanks has left.  The other new wide releases (Silent Hill Revelation, Fun Size, Chasing Mavericks) will be quickly forgotten.

Paranormal Activity 4 had a 70% drop in week two.  Shows that word-of-mouth is catching up that this was the weakest of the series.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 is #1

For the weekend of Oct 19-21.

1.  Paranormal Activity 4 - $30.2 million - 1 wk (Par)
 . . . 3412 screens / $8851 per screen
2.  Argo - $16.63 ($43.19) - 2 wks (WB) -14.6%
 . . . 3247 / $5120
3.  Hotel Transylvania - $13.5 ($119) - 4 wks (Sony) -21.7%
 . . . 3014 / $4479
4.  Taken 2 - $13.4 ($105.97) - 3 wks (Fox) -38.7%
 . . . 3489 / $3841
5.  Alex Cross - $11.75 - 1 wk (Sum)
 . . . 2539 / $4628
6.  Sinister - $9.03 ($31.95) - 2 wks (Sum) -49.9%
 . . . 2542 / $3552
7.  Here Comes the Boom - $8.5 ($23.2) - 2 wks (Sony) -28.1%
 . . . 3014 / $2820
8.  Pitch Perfect - $7 ($45.77) - 4 wks (U) -24.4%
 . . . 2660 / $2635
9.  Frankenweenie - $4.43 ($28.34) - 3 wks (BV) -37.1%
 . . . 2362 / $1877
10. Looper - $4.2 ($57.8) - 4 wks (TrS) -32.3%
 . . . 2223 / $1889
11. Seven Psychopaths - $3.31 ($9.19) - 2 wks (CBS) -20.8%
 . . . 1480 / $2233

Paranormal Activity 4 may not have opened as high as its predecessors, and it may have the worst reviews of the bunch, but it still opened to $30 million on a $5 million budget.  PA5 is guaranteed for October 2013.

Argo is showing great staying power.

Tyler Perry didn't direct Alex Cross, and it doesn't seem like the kind of movie his fanbase would see.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Random Movie Stuff - 10/19/12

- Warner Bros. plans to release a Justice League movie in Summer 2015. No director have been announced. Christopher Nolan passed on the offer to produce it.  Will Beall has a written a script.  No word if Henry Cavill (Superman), Christian Bale (Batman) and Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern) will be attached, but it's said to use those characters as well as Wonder Woman and the Flash.  The Avengers 2 is also scheduled to open Summer 2015.

- Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters has been moved back to January 25.  It stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the famous gingerbread-house-visiting siblings, grown up and determined to fight all witches.

- Jason Statham will star in Homefront, about a DEA agent who retires to a small town only to find out the town has its own drug underbelly.  Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay.  It co-stars James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Frank Grillo (The Grey) and Rachelle LeFevre (Twilight).

- Liam Neeson, James Franco, Kim Basinger, Adrien Brody, Mila Kunis, Maria Bello and Olivia Wilde will star in Paul Haggis's next drama Third Person, which will weave together three storylines, one in Paris, one in New York, and one in Rome.

- Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) has joined the cast of Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman (Swordfish) as a man who takes the law into his own hands after his wife and child are kidnapped.  Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) co-star.

- Watched some trailers recently.  This has been my lowest movie-attending season in about ten years so I watch them online.  The most moving one for me was The Impossible, based on the true story of a family separated during the 2004 tsunami. It stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.  We have yet another Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake too.  Once again, five kids go into a big house they shouldn't.  Silver Linings Playbook looks good.  Jennifer Lawrence's presense is always a plus, but Bradley Cooper's character looks like it could be his most interesting work to date.

- Saw MIRROR MIRROR (★★) on DVD and it's just far less interesting than Snow White & the Huntsman.  It's more comical, more aimed at kids.  I liked Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and the dwarves fine. I was embarrassed for Armie Hammer as the prince; this did not do him any favors and doesn't give me much hope for The Lone Ranger.

Taken 2 - Movie Review

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Sherbedgia and Luke Grimes.
Directed by Olivier Megaton.


The first Taken had a visceral drive behind it.  His daughter was kidnapped. He didn't know who or why, but he knew he was going to hunt them down and kill anyone who got in his way, and it drove him all the way to an Albanian sex-slave ring.

This time around, he invites his ex-wife and daughter to join him on a vacation to Istanbul. Istanbul? I would think his daughter would never want to leave the US again after the events of the first movie, but why visit a country just a hop, skip and jump away from all those men he killed?  Yes, he has some business there, but why not say "And afterwards, we'll go to DisneyWorld!"

The father of one of the men he killed wants revenge, and he has dozens of henchmen at his disposal.  Unfortunately for him, they're the type of henchmen who sit around and smoke and watch futbol and don't notice the trained killer entering the room until it's too late.

Taken 2 feels like a straight-to-DVD sequel where they figured they'd get Wesley Snipes to do it, but then Neeson said no, he'll do it, so they rewrote it back to being him two weeks before shooting.  It's 92 minutes long, and it's not exciting. We never feel like he or his wife or his daughter is in real danger, but we know pretty much every unshaven Albanian we meet is going to get killed.  Neeson also is getting up there in age, and every fight scene is obviously chopped and edited to death.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Argo - Movie Review

Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Clea DuVall, Tate Donovan, Kyle Chandler, Rory Cochrane, Chris Messina and Bob Gunton.
Directed by Ben Affleck.


At this point, I'd have to say Ben Affleck is a must-see director.  The first three movies of his directing career - Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and now Argo - have all been fantastic.

This is the true story of the rescue of six Americans in 1979 from Iran.  When the US Embassy was overrun and all 50 Americans inside were taken hostage, six employees had escaped and hid in the home of the Canadian ambassador.

Affleck cast himself as Tony Mendez, the CIA operative charged with getting those six out.  He comes up with the idea of pretending he's a Hollywood producer doing a location scout, and pretending that the six are part of his film crew to get them out.

The Iranian parts are as suspenseful and tense as a prison-break movie, the Washington parts flow like a good West Wing episode, and the Hollywood parts are like any good satire.  And there's not one wasted moment.  It moves and crackles.

This movie seems a shoo-in for nominations for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and a few others, and lest that makes the movie sound like stodgy homework, fear not.  It flies by.

Taken 2 is #1, Argo #2, Sinister #3

For the weekend of Oct 12-14.

1.  Taken 2 - $22.5 million ($86.76) - 2 wks (Fox) -54.6%
 . . . 3706 screens / $6071 per screen
2.  Argo - $20.12 - 1 wk (WB)
 . . . 3232 / $6225
3.  Sinister - $18.25 - 1 wk (Sum)
 . . . 2527 / $7222
4.  Hotel Transylvania - $17.3 ($102.19) - 3 wks (Sony) -36.1%
 . . . 3375 / $5126
5.  Here Comes the Boom - $12 - 1 wk (Sony)
 . . . 3014 / $3981
6.  Pitch Perfect - $9.34 ($36.09) - 3 wks (U) -37.1%
 . . . 2787 / $3350
7.  Frankenweenie - $7.01 ($22.04) - 2 wks (BV) -38.5%
 . . . 3005 / $2334
8.  Looper - $6.3 ($51.44) - 3 wks (TriS) -48%
 . . . 2605 / $2418
9.  Seven Psychopaths - $4.28 - 1 wk (CBS)
 . . . 1480 / $2889
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - $2.17 ($6.15) - 4 wks (Sum) +38%
 . . . 726 / $2983
11. Atlas Shrugged Part II - $1.71 - 1 wk (ADC)
  . . . 1012 / $1688
12. End of Watch - $1.7 ($36.38) - 4 wks (OR) -57.5%
 . . . 1551 / $1098

Suddenly there are a lot of choices at the multiplex, and the rewards vary.  Critics may hate Taken 2, but audiences are still flocking to it.  Ben Affleck's Oscarbait bid Argo did very well, and I expect it to have long legs.  Sinister filled the void of the lack of horror movies out right now, wisely opening before Paranormal Activity 4.

Here Comes the Boom is the lowest opening ever for a Kevin James movie.  Seven Psychopaths and Atlas Shrugged Part II opened on fewer screens, and their per-screen average suggests wisdom by the studio/theaters to not try for more.

It's too bad about The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It had good reviews, but I guess the teens went to see Pitch Perfect instead.

Friday, October 12, 2012

AMC's Hell on Wheels - TV Review

I've stuck with this show for two years, and it really hit its stride the past few episodes.  Just when I thought it was reachings levels of greatness, it betrayed me.  Whatever artistry the show was beginning to achieve, the last fifteen minutes unravelled it for me.

The camp has been getting restless, and the Sioux have been that lingering threat in the background.  The Swede has been stirring them up, playing the White Spirit.  Mrs. Durant has entered the camp and upset the balance of power.  Mr. Durant knows his embezzling is going to come back to bite him.

The finale exploded the series wide open.  The Sioux rejected the Sede and left him on death's door.  Nearly every structure was burned to the ground.  After Mr. Tool killed himself, we knew that more death was to come, and no one was safe.

Well, we knew Bohannon was safe. he's the lead, right?  And then there's Lilly, the heart of the show.  They wouldn't put her through all that just to kill her, would they?  In the end, Lilly came back to her room to find the Swede waiting, and it reminded me of Anton Chigurh going after Llewellyn Moss's widow.  Lilly's gun was out of bullets and I kept waiting for someone to burst in and save her.  Bohannon?  Elam?  One of the Irish brothers?

But no one came.  The Swede strangled Lilly to death.  The heart of the show stopped beating.

So the playing field's been levelled.  We know Durant's in custody, so they could easily not return for Season 3, though I don't see why you just let Colm Meaney and Virginia Madsen walk.  Elam will presumably stay to be Bohannon's right-hand man, now that he's in charge of the railroad, and Elam's babymama is now a widow and free to stay by him and raise their child with him.  Either Irish brother could leave, or both.  The Swede might have survived his jump into the shallow river.  He's become a mystical force of evil.  I assume he's going to resruface in Season 3, and Bohannon's going to make sure his death is slow.

But Lilly won't be back.  I've been surprised by characters' deaths before, but this one just makes no sense to me.  They can really go any direction for Season 3 but I'm not as enthused as I might have been had their final kill been anyone else.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ABC's 666 Park Avenue - TV Review

This show has the blessing of getting Terry O'Quinn as its main villain.  It also has the curse of opening in a universe where FX's American Horror Story already exists.

666 Park Avenue refers to a hotel where people who check in tend to make deals with the devil.  It centers on two new managers (Rachel Taylor, Dave Annabele) who move and will be learning the secrets of the hotel over the next few weeks.  Meanwhile there's an anthology approach, where a tenant of the week goes through the struggle for their soul.

I liked the episode I saw okay, but not enough to follow, and since it's not doing too well in the ratings, I don't see it surviving for a second season.

Monday, October 8, 2012

2016 Obama's America - Movie Review

Directed by Dinesh D'Souza & John Sullivan.


It's still in some theaters but I saw it for free on YouTube.

This right-leaning documentary (I say with the same euphemistic flourish I'd use to describe Michael Moore as "left-leaning") proposes that most of America doesn't know the "real" Obama.  Filmmaker/author Dinesh D'Souza decides to go on a journey to discover who the real man is, and he uses Obama's book "Dreams of My Father" as a blueprint.

First we must learn who D'Souza is, so we can see where he's coming from. I'm not a fan of "re-created" scenes in documentaries, and this one has an actor playing D'Souza, having conversations while he was in college.  He talks about his time at Stanford, his debate with Jesse Jackson, his fondness for Ronald Reagan, and his job at the White House.

Then we get more into Obama, and D'Souza globetrots to immerse himself in the places Obama grew up.  He goes to Kenya and interviews Obama's half-brother.  He goes to Hawaii, he goes to the Philippines, back to the United States, and he has a slick trick of interviewing an expert, either in person or by phone, to re-enforce whatever theory's he's put forward.

The film is well-paced and good-looking.  Many political docs look slapped together and done as a cash-grab, but this one aspires to be a real movie.  It also makes effective use of Obama's own voice, narrating his own words.

This actually builds like Rosemary's Baby.  Everything seems pleasant at first, but we know we're building to something horrific, and dread seeps through and spreads slowly, like ink in a swimming pool.

The finale is when D'Souza brings in his final expert, to share what the world would look like if Rosemary gives birth to Satan's baby.  I mean, if Obama gets a second term.  (Spoiler alert!)  "What would happen if America is no longer America?" By 2016, the debt will shoot past $20 trillion, more Middle Eastern countries will fall until they form a giant Muslim Brotherhood alliance against the West, and America will forever be weakened in the world.

I didn't feel very informed, because the back of my mind kept wondering if I wanted to fact-check this.  I don't really feel a need to, as it didn't change my mind about anything.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taken 2 gets $50 million

1.  Taken 2 - $50 million - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 3661 screens / $13,657 per screen
2.  Hotel Transylvania - $26.3 ($76) - 2 wks (Sony) -38.1%
 . . . 3352 / $7846
3.  Pitch Perfect - $14.7 ($21.6) - 2 wks (U) +185.5%
 . . . 2770 / $5307
4.  Looper - $12.2 ($40.3) - 2 wks (TriS) -41.4%
 . . . 2993 / $4076
5.  Frankenweenie - $11.5 - 1 wk (BV)
 . . . 3005 / $3827
6.  End of Watch - $4 ($32.85) - 3 wks (OR) -48.8%
 . . . 2370 / $1688
7.  Trouble with the Curve - $3.87 ($29.71) - 3 wks (WB) -46.8%
 . . . 3003 / $1289
8.  House at the End of the Street - $3.7 ($27.53) - 3 wks (Rel) -48.1%
 . . . 2720 / $1360
9.  The Master - $1.84 ($12.31) - 4 wks (Wein) -31.4%
 . . . 864 / $2130
10. Finding Nemo - $1.56 ($38.97) - 4 wks (BV) -61.5%
 . . . 1746 / $891
11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - $1.53 ($3.3) - 3 wks (Sum) +38%
 . . . 221 / $6900

I'd wager the Taken 2 numbers slip to something like $48.6 million on Monday, but for now they have the headline.

Frankenweenie suffered from opening the week after Hotel Transylvania, and between this and Dark Shadows, the bloom appears off the rose for Tim Burton.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hotel Transylvania - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, David Spade, CeeLo Green, Molly Shannon and Jon Lovitz.
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.


Well, hey, Adam Sandler has evolved to the next logical level - animation.  He's learned the lesson from his first attempt, with 8 Crazy Nights.

What we have here is a conventional 3-D animated movie that riffs on monsters like so many have before, from Mel Brooks to Abbott & Costello.  Sandler voices Dracula, owner of Hotel Transylvania, a refuge from monsters to be able to stay somewhere human-free. And it's all to keep his daughter Mavis safe.

But a human (Andy Samberg) wanders in and throws everything into a tizzy.  He's someone Mavis (Selena Gomez) finds cute and so Dracula spends half the movie just trying to keep him away from her and still sneak him out of the hotel before anyone else finds out he's a real human.

Since it's a Sandler movie, he's hired his buddies to round out the monster voices, with mixed results.  Kevin James is Frankenstein, Steve Buscemi is the Wolfman, David Spade is the Invisible Man, and Jon Lovitz is Quasimodo.  The movie is at its best when it focuses on the father-daughter-beau triangle.

It's a pleasant enough diversion. There's a ton of fart jokes.

Female Expendables movie is happening

- Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) is set to join Gina Carano (Haywire) in what's been described as a female-centric Expendables movie.

So who else should they recruit to be in this?  My suggestions:

ANGELINA JOLIE - Lara Croft.  Evelyn Salt.  Mrs. Smith.  If you're rounding up female action stars, you have to include her.

UMA THURMAN - All that training she had as The Bride in the Kill Bill movies would probably come back to her like riding a bicycle.

MILLA JOVOVICH - Picture a woman jumping backwards firing two guns.  Is she not the first actress who pops in your head?

KATE BECKINSALE - Her vampire Selena was much more dangerous than any Cullen.

PAM GRIER - Hey, if they're inspired by Expendables, you need some older action heroines called back into action, and who better to call back than Foxy Brown?

MICHELLE YEOH or ZHANG ZIYI - At least one of the Crouching Tiger women has to be in it.  Ziyi is younger, but the edge for me might go to former Bond-girl Yeoh.

LINDA HAMILTON - Who can forget the guns she sported in Terminator 2?  Not to mention the weapons she fired.

SIGOURNEY WEAVER - The queen mother, Ellen Ripley, simply must be involved.

Who am I missing?