Friday, May 31, 2013

Box Office Tracking - 5/31/13

Opens June 7
THE PURGE - $22 million, $53 total
THE INTERNSHIP - $16 million, $45 total

Opens June 14
MAN OF STEEL - $112 million, $340 total
THIS IS THE END - $24 million, $90 total

Opens June 21
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY - $80 million, $275 total
WORLD WAR Z - $40 million, $105 total

Opens June 28
WHITE HOUSE DOWN - $40 million, $112 total
THE HEAT - $37 million, $152 total

Opens July 4
DESPICABLE ME 2 - $76 million, $353 total
THE LONE RANGER - $32 million, $122 total

Opens July 12
PACIFIC RIM - $55 million, $185 total
GROWN UPS 2 - $40 million, $128 million

Opens July 19
RED 2 - $22 million, $71 total
TURBO - $21 million, $80 total
THE CONJURING - $20 million, $64 total
R.I.P.D. - $12 million, $30 total

Opens July 26
THE WOLVERINE - $63 million, $150 total

Interesting numbers currently for some of these future releases.  The Purge has been steadily creeping up in awareness, and since there hasn't been a suspense thriller in the market for a while, it fills the void.  Ethan Hawke's carving out a nice second career headlining these B-movies.

Man of Steel is still tracking large.  It won't do Iron Man 3 numbers, but if they want to reserve the first weekend of May 2016, they should do so now. (Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Avengers 2 have 2014 and 2015 reserved, respectively.)  The sequel might go the more Nolan route and open in July next time.  Meanwhile the Justice League movie is scheduled for July 4, 2015, and Henry Cavill is expected to be part of it.

Monsters University will be successful for Pixar, but it looks like Despicable Me 2 is going to be the largest animated film of the year.

Further down the road, R.I.P.D. has a lot of work to do in order to get people not to dismiss it as a Men in Black ripoff.

The Wolverine, meanwhile, has surprisingly strong numbers.


Gangster Squad - DVD Review

Starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, Troy Garity, Sullivan Stapleton, Jon Polito and John Aylward.  Directed by Ruben Fleischer.


This is a pulpy True Detective dime-store cops-and-mobsters movie.  As such, it's attracted a stellar cast. I imagine the talent all in one room, looking at each other, and then saying "Since we're here, should we try to make an actual good movie? Nah, let's just have fun!"

Remember Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy?  Remember Christian Slater and Patrick Dempsey as Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky in Mobsters? This movie has more in common with those ventures than, say, The Untouchables.  Josh Brolin is assigned by the LAPD chief (Nick Nolte) to go after gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), a man who enjoys killing apologizing underlings more than Darth Vader.

Meanwhile Cohen's dame (Emma Stone) is having an affair with another cop (Ryan Gosling), who joins Brolin's crew.

Everyone in this movie looks like they're having a blast, but it follows the old Siskel rule. "Is this movie better than just watching these actors sitting around talking over lunch?" The answer is no.

Penn's Cohen seems like he came out of the Sin City sequel, both in stylized overacting and make-up.  Gosling takes this amusing soft-slide to his voice, reminiscent of Mickey Doyle from Boardwalk Empire.  Stone's too modern to comfortably walk in her moll's shoes.

The whole thing though is relentlessly shallow.  It has no desire to leave an imprint. It just wants to shoot Tommy guns and cackle like Cagney.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekend Box Office - 5/26/13

1.  Fast & Furious 6 - $98.53 million - 1 wk (U)
 . . . 3658 screens / $26,935 per screen
2.  The Hangover Part III - $42.42 ($54.2) - 1 wk (WB)
 . . . 3555 / $11,931 per screen
3.  Star Trek into Darkness - $38 ($146.83) - 2 wks (Par) -45.8%
 . . . 3907 / $9726
4.  Epic - $34.2 - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 3882 / $8810
5.  Iron Man 3 - $19.42 ($367.51) - 4 wks (BV) -45.7%
 . . . 3424 / $5673
6.  The Great Gatsby - $13.71 ($114.43) - 3 wks (WB) -42.8%
 . . . 3090 / $4435
7.  Mud - $1.93 ($14.54) - 5 wks (RA) -13.7%
 . . . 712 / $2708

Once again, Vin Diesel and fast cars prove to be as reliable a box-office splasher as any superhero.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Movie News - 5/23/13

- Drew Pearce, who wrote Iron Man 3 and the upcoming Pacific Rim, has been hired to write Mission Impossible 5.

- Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, The Master) is putting quite a cast together for his next film.  Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Benecio Del Toro and now Sean Penn are on board for Inherent Vice, based on the comedic Thomas Pynchon novel about a private detective in 1960's Los Angeles.

- Assassin's Creed is slated to open May 22, 2015.  Based on the best-selling video game, it will star Michael Fassbender.

- Evan Peters (American Horror Story) has signed on to play Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

- The cast is shaping up for Rob Marshall's Into the Woods.  James Corden (never heard of him) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) are in line to play the Baker and his Wife, Meryl Streep (Hope Springs) will play the Witch, Johnny Depp (Nick of Time) will play the Wolf, Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) will play Cinderella's Stepmother, and Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch) are circling the parts of the two Princes.

Now when it comes to musicals, it seems like a no-brainer for Into the Woods to get the treatment, and I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.  Rob Marshall directed Chicago, but he also directed Nine, and now he has to prove that he can make Into the Woods without having Red Riding Hood do her number in black lingerie.  I like how the cast is shaping up, if all those people can sing. I'm surprised Eddie Redmayne isn't already signed on for Jack.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek 2 is #1, Iron Man 3 is #2

For the weekend of May 17-19, 2013.

1.  Star Trek into Darkness - $70.56 million ($84.09) - 1 wk (Par)
 . . . 3868 screens / $18,241 per screen
2.  Iron Man 3 - $35.18 ($337.07) - 3 wks (BV) -51.5%
 . . . 4237 / $8304
3.  The Great Gatsby - $23.42 ($90.16) - 2 wks (WB) -53.2%
 . . . 3550 / $6596
4.  Pain & Gain - $3.1 ($46.57) - 4 wks (Par) -38%
 . . . 2429 / $1276
5.  The Croods - $2.75 ($176.75) - 9 wks (Fox) -23.8%
 . . . 2373 / $1159
6.  42 - $2.73 ($88.74) - 6 wks (WB) -40.5%
 . . . 2380 / $1147

It's a blockbuster world, and we're all just living in it.

Star Trek into Darkness is the third successful weekend launch in a row.  It's about on course with the four-day launch of the first film, which went on to gross $257 million domestic and a worldwide total of $385 million. I get the feeling the domestic will be less this time around but the worldwide will be more, and therefore it'll be about as profitable.

Iron Man 3 remains huge.  It's already passed $1 billion worldwide.

The Great Gatsby is Baz Luhrmann's highest-grossing film to date. The decision to move it to this summer has proven to be a smart one. I don't think it would have hit $100 million in the Christmas 2012 crowd.

Everything else still in theaters is lucky to be there.  This coming week will see three more wide releases (Epic, Fast & Furious 6, Hangover 3) consume more screens.

The Great Gatsby - Movie Review

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Amitabh Bachchan and Adelaide Clemens.  Directed by Baz Luhrmann.


I'll never forget the hyper little conductor that appeared at the bottom of the screen to conduct the 20th Century Fox song at the beginning of Moulin Rouge. It was a taste.  It was a signal that this is the ride you're about to take.

Luhrmann's flourishes are intact with The Great Gatsby, a 3-D party movie that revives F. Scott Fitzgerald for an audience that knows he was played by Loki in Midnight in Paris.  The 1920's are alive with the sound of hip-hop.

It starts with a flashback narrative structure, where Nick Carraway is looking back on the events that transpired with a psychiatrist.  We go to when Nick is an optimistic 29-year-old Wall Street broker, played by 37-year-old Tobey Maguire, perhaps a little too old to be full of wide-eyed naivete.  He moves in next door to the elusive Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio, a few months old than Tobey but easier to buy at age 32).  Gatsby is a multimillionaire who throws elaborate parties in his mansion-castle every week, but no one seems to know much about him.  Is he more of a Bruce Wayne or Citizen Kane type?

Gatsby takes an interest in Nick, not only because they are neighbors but because Nick is cousin to Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), the rich wife of Tom, who lives in his own lavish estate across the bay.

I'll say at this point the thing that bothered me most about my experience was the sound.  The sound was very toward the front, and the music sounded like it was all coming out of one speaker in the upper right-hand corner of the theater. I asked management about it mid-movie and then once it was over. They said their booth technician calibrated and everything looked normal, that it was the fault of the studio that the 3-D Great Gatsbys were off on sound.  Music is so crucial to a Luhrmann movie and it was frustrating to not hear the soundtrack pop.

As to the movie itself, I rather enjoyed it. I would've preferred someone else in Maguire's role, but he was fine.  DiCaprio's always interesting, and I was impressed with the stylized work of Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan.

I do wish the screenwriter had cut out about 90% of the uses of "old sport." I swear DiCaprio used it as often as Django Unchained used the n-word.  Toward the end of the movie, I wanted Tobey to scream, "Nick! My name is NICK! Not 'Old Sport'!"

The movie made me want to read the book. (Yeah, never got assigned it in high school.)

Also amusing to see Zero Dark Thirty's Edgerton and Jason Clarke reunite as completely different characters.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Survivor Finale

This was a pretty good season of Survivor. Fans v Favorites brings an exciting mix. We know the Fans are going to play like fools, and the Favorites will boil down to a smart core and win.  Sherri doesn't get enough credit for instigating voting out the girls of Eddie and Reynold and making sure the high school clique didn't rule their beach.  Then you had Shamar med-evac'd out, who'd been a giant lump of cranky in camp but great for challenges.

The Favorites dominated challenges, so everyone had to put up with Phillip's Stealth R Us.  Cochran and Dawn were actually set up well early, always in the majority alliance within the Favorites.  I think they would have stuck by Phillip, which would have meant Dawn would be out sooner.

Due to Reynold's cockiness, he could never get back in with anyone, and therefore Eddie the self-admitting idiot had to suffer the same fate.

Sherri never had much of a chance to strategize, since she had so little power from the merge onward, so her only hope was a social game, but few players seemed to like her.

Dawn's fatal move was ousting Brenda.  If she'd betrayed Cochran right then, then Erik would have gone out, Brenda would have held Dawn to the final three.  And Dawn probably would have received some votes.  But Cochran was good about playing therapist and keeping Dawn in his corner.

The jury usually has some bitter people, some grandstanding. I actually loved how Sherri slapped Erik down and wasn't going to let him just sit there and insult her.  I also liked how Michael pointed out that Cochran and Dawn played pretty much the same game, but Dawn was taking all the heat while Cochran sat unscathed. Didn't stop Michael from voting for Cochran either.  Brenda was understandably hurt, but all my sympathy went away when she made Dawn take out her teeth. That was just mean and ugly.

The reunion finale wasn't great.  For the first time, non-jury players weren't even allowed on the stage (partially to hide that producers did not want Brandon Hantz to come back.)  Jeff wasted time interviewing some 11-year-old girl, publicity hog Boston Rob coincidentally ready to shill for his new book, Rudy wondering where his queer pal Richard was, and yet all those players who went before the jury got zip. Corinne only got a camera shot because Dawn said her name.

Anyway, Cochran is one of my favorites to actually win the game.  Great character.

Sidenote: I've seen some of the social media hate directed toward Dawn, and it is evil.

Other sidenote: Next season is Blood v Water, which I believe means some of the contestants will be related.

Iron Man 3 #1, Gatsby gets $50 million

For the weekend of May 10-12.

1.  Iron Man 3 - $72.53 million ($284.95) - 2 wks (BV) -58.4%
 . . . 4253 screens / $17,053 per screen
2.  The Great Gatsby - $50.09 - 1 wk (WB)
 . . . 3535 / $14,169
3.  Pain & Gain - $5 ($41.61) - 3 wks (Par) -33.4%
 . . . 3303 / $1514
4.  Peeples - $4.61 - 1 wk (LG)
 . . . 2041 / $2259
5.  42 - $4.59 ($84.67) - 5 wks (WB) -24.2%
 . . . 2930 / $1566
6.  Oblivion - $4.11 ($81.91) - 4 wks (U) -27.1%
 . . . 2770 / $1485
7.  The Croods - $3.61 ($173.22) - 8 wks (Fox) -14.1%
 . . . 2650 / $1362
8.  Mud - $2.54 ($8.56) - 3 wks (RA) +17.3%
 . . . 852 / $2976

The second weekend of May has seen success.  2010's Robin Hood opened to $36 million, 2011's Bridesmaids to $26 million, 2012's Dark Shadows to $29 million, but $50 million for The Great Gatsby guarantees it as one of the hit movies of summer.  It also bolsters Leonardo DiCaprio's street cred as still one of the most bankable leading men in Hollywood.

Iron Man 3 has $300 million in the bag, and the question now is can the momentum carry it past $400 million domestic?  It's already at $949 million worldwide, well on its way to join the Top 5 Grossing Movies of All Time!

Meanwhile having "Tyler Perry Presents" in front of its title couldn't help Peeples attract much of an audience.

Opens Thursday
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS with Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Opens May 24
FAST & FURIOUS 6 with Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker and Luke Evans.
THE HANGOVER PART III with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zack Galifianakis.
EPIC with the voices of Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried and Beyonce.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DVD Reviews - Anna Karenina, Hitchcock, This is 40, The Possession

ANNA KARENINA (★★★) - Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfayden, Kelly Macdonald, Emily Watson and Olivia Williams.  Directed by Joe Wright.

I loved the artistic decision by the makers when faced with the challenge of adapting a thick book to film.  They made it like a stage play.  Sets become real locations, then back into sets, allowing for quick scene changes and transportations, and a heightened sense of theatricality.

Knightley's great as Anna, the proud wife of a boring general (Law) who has an affair.  My biggest problem with it was her lover, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Savages).  There was nothing attractive or charismatic about him. It made no sense why Anna would destroy her life over having an affair with this dork.

I liked everyone else.  Bonus points to Matthew Macfayden for showing the flair of a young Kevin Kline.


HITCHCOCK (★★) - Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott, Ralph Macchio and Kurtwood Smith.  
Directed by Sacha Gervasi.

Maybe it's just me, but I would hope that someone making a movie about Alfred Hitchcock would have a little more directorial flare to telling the story.  This felt like it could've been directed by Dennis Dugan.

It centers on the struggles Hitchcock went through to get Psycho made. He was riding a high from the success from North by Northwest, yet he faced many obstacles trying to get this tale told.  The whole thing flows along at almost a sitcom pace, and Mirren even gets one monologue that feels inserted in there strictly for Golden Globe nominating bait.  James D'Arcy does some interesting things as Anthony Perkins but it's a surprisingly small role.

It's not bad; it's just not good.  It's a paperback beach novel of a movie.


THIS IS 40 (★½) - Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Chris O'Dowd, Robert Smigel and Melissa McCarthy.  Directed by Judd Apatow.

This is hell.  This is a whiny, self-indulgent, meandering, laugh-free, plot-free demonstration of an upper-middle-class white family going through their first-world problems and general malaise of hitting the halfway point in their lives.

(Okay, it's not laugh-free; Melissa McCarthy's extended cameo was pretty funny. And how can you not smile at a movie that has Albert Brooks in the cast?)

Paul Rudd and Mr. Judd Apatow's wife and kids reprise their roles from Knocked Up to show how lame life is when you turn forty.  At least it can be.  "You reap what you sew" could be one of the morals of this movie.  Don't like your kids swearing? Maybe you shouldn't have sworn around them all the time.

I actually turn 40 later this year, so I could argue I was the target audience.  Not impressed.


THE POSSESSION (★) - Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport and Natasha Calis.  Directed by Ole Bornedal.

If you ever want to see a movie featuring a Jewish exorcist but want it to make The Unborn look like a modern classic, you're in luck!  Someone made this movie to fulfill your needs.

This movie is an Elvis impersonation of a horror thriller.  It hits the same beats of a hundred other movies, has the same pacing and ominous soundtrack, but it never succeeds to present an original idea or provide an actual moment of suspense.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who's resembling Javier Bardem more the older he gets, gives a sincere performance as a concerned father whose daughter is possessed, but it's for a lost cause.

Random Entertainment News - 5/7/13

- The Avengers 2 is slated for May 2015, but not all of the actors are pinned down, most notably Robert Downey Jr.  Downey made $50 million on the first Avengers and could wind up in the $70 million range for the sequel.  Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and others also haven't agreed, and Marvel may replace some of them if they can't settle salary disputes.

- Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) is in talks to join Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.  Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) wrote the script, and it's set to open November 7, 2014.

- Johnny Depp (The Baker) and Meryl Streep (The Witch) are in talks to star in a big-screen version of Into the Woods for director Rob Marshall (Chicago).

- Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are teaming up for a remake of Guys & Dolls.  The original film version starred Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra.

- Meanwhile, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill will return for 21 Jump Street 2, set to open June 6, 2014.

- Megan Fox will play April in a new live-action/CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Will Arnett co-stars.

- Jason Statham will star in a remake of Heat, not the 1995 classic with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, but the 1987 drama that starred Burt Reynolds.  It's about a gambler who takes on the mob after his friend is brutally beaten.  Sofia Vergara, Stanley Tucci. Jason Alexander, Anne Heche and Michael Angarano co-star.

- NBC has renewed five dramas for this fall - Grimm, Law & Order: SVU, Revolution, Parenthood and Chicago Fire.

- Angus T. Jones will not return as a regular on CBS's Two and a Half Men this fall.  Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer have signed new one-year deals to continue with Season 11.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oblivion - Movie Review

Starring Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.  Directed by Joseph Kosinski.


This movie reminded me of three other sci-fi movies.  One was Wall-E, and the other two I don't want to mention simply because it'd give away some second-half developments if I did.

Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a technician working clean-up crew on Earth in 2077.  A long time ago, or a few years from now, some aliens destroyed the Earth's moon, and it killed half the planet.  Then the aliens invaded, so the countries of the world launched their nukes.  Now the Earth is a wasteland, and most of humanity that has survived has moved to Titan, one of Saturn's moons.  Meanwhile there's a giant triangular space-station in the sky called the Tet that overseas the conversion of Earth's ocean-water to fusion energy.  Once the water's dried up, the Tet and the last of humanity will abandon Earth for good.

Jack and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are the only two humans on Earth's surface (or are they?) and each morning, he goes out to repair the drones that protect the fusion converters from the "Scavs", the aliens left behind that steal or sabotage any machinery they can find.

Jack flies the ship; Victoria serves as eyes-and-ears back home, and she then relays any information to Mission Control, played with a suspiciously honeyed accent by Melissa Leo.

Here's a catch though: Jack and Victoria had their memory wiped before their five-year mission. If they ever captured by the Scavs, they'll have no information to be pried out of them.

All of this is fine and good.  The movie takes its time with setting up the world and the rules.  Jack puts on his uniform each day to go fly; Victoria puts on her dress and heels before she mans her desk.  Since the air is breathable, I wondered why Jack wore his uniform, and as for Victoria, wouldn't she do her job in pajamas most days?

Now everyone who saw the preview knows that Morgan Freeman will show up eventually and the twists will begin.  I think it's just before the halfway mark when he lights his cigar in the dark to show Jack that he's not the last man on Earth after all.

This movie has more twists, none of which are surprising, but it's still a pleasurable experience because the story is told so well.  So if you go to see Iron Man 3 and it's sold out, this isn't a bad alternative.

Iron Man 3 with record weekend

1.  Iron Man 3 - $175.3 million - 1 wk (BV)
 . . . 4253 screens / $41,218 per screen
2.  Pain & Gain - $7.6 ($33.92) - 2 wks (Par) -62.5%
 . . . 3287 / $2312
3.  42 - $6.21 ($78.34) - 4 wks (WB) -41.7%
 . . . 3345 / $1857
4.  Oblivion - $5.8 ($75.97) - 3 wks (U) -67.4%
 . . . 3430 / $1690
5.  The Croods - $4.23 ($168.74) - 7 wks (Fox) -37.2%
 . . . 2915 / $1449
6.  The Big Wedding - $3.88 ($14.21) - 2 wks (LG) -49%
 . . . 2633 / $1472
7.  Mud - $2.15 ($5.16) - 2 wks (RA) -3%
 . . . 576 / $3733
8.  Oz the Great & Powerful - $1.82 ($228.57) - 9 wks (BV) +.6%
 . . . 1160 / $1571
9.  Scary Movie 5 - $1.44 ($29.6) - 4 wks (Dim) -58.2%
 . . . 1857 / $773
10. The Place Byond the Pines - $1.3 ($18.68) - 6 wks (Foc) -52.4%
 . . . 1162 / $1117
11. GI Joe: Retaliation - $1.28 ($118.76) - 6 wks (Par) -65.6%
 . . . 1804 / $707
12. Olympus Has Fallen - $1.19 ($95.37) - 7 wks (FD) -58.6%
 . . . 1632 / $726

Iron Man 3 had the second-highest opening in box-office history, behind only The Avengers.  Champagne for everyone!  It means all other titles saw stark drops in their gross, and theater chains can't wait to get Scary Movie 5 and GI Joe 2 out of their places of business.

The indie film Mud was able to hold its ground, and for some reason the Oz movie didn't see a decrease.  In limited release, The Iceman was able to get $93,100 on only 4 screens.

Opens Friday
THE GREAT GATSBY with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
PEEPLES with Craig Robinson and Kerry Washington.