Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Movie Review

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields and Amanda Plummer.
Directed by Francis Lawrence.


I liked the first movie. I read the books, felt the first book was the strongest, and the movie was a pretty faithful adaptation. I had reservations about how the rest of the franchise would go, but I was impressed at how they were able to improve not only on the second book but on the first movie.  Yes, it is one of those rare sequels where it's better than the first one.

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is living in District 12, almost a year since the Games. She's having nightmares and other symptoms of PSTD, but before the next Hunger Games begin, she and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are supposed to do a victory lap through the districts before meeting back at the Capital.

Pres. Snow (Donald Sutherland) isn't happy with their being two winners from the last Hunger Games, and he doesn't like the symbol of hope that Katniss is becoming. He and new gamesmaster Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise a way to crush her. They change the rules of the Hunger Games and make the next one an All-Star edition, where 24 previous winners will be forced to fight.

I was grateful to see the shaky-cam style of Gary Ross gone. Director Francis Lawrence knows how to direct spectacle. The story also benefits from having adults in the Games. No chance for a scared kid to get offed here; these are all experienced winners.  Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer are among the contestants, and they do great.

The movie's success still hinges on its leading lady, and Jennifer Lawrence once again shows she's going to rule Hollywood for the next decade.

Ender's Game - Movie Review

Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley and Abigail Breslin.
Directed by Gavin Hood.


It's been forever since I read the book so while I remember the basics and the ending, there was still a good amount of discovery for me to do.
I liked the central performance of Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as Ender, a brilliant but alienated child, in training to become the next great military tactitian on a future Earth that's being threatened by an alien race.  There are times it can feel confining (most of it takes place on a space station), but the plot is paced nicely between progress and discovery.

Ford, Davis and Kingsley are the adults who provide the gravitas, and this is the best Ford's been in years, as though he actually cared about this movie being good.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire sets November box-office record

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has the new record for highest box-office opening in November. It out-opened the original by $9 million, and the original went on to gross $400 million domestic and $691 million worldwide.  It looks to go about even on the domestic front but they're expected more success overseas this time around.

Delivery Man was the alternative title, and it just showed Vince's days of carrying a picture are behind him.  Dallas Buyers' Club, hailed as containing the best performance of Matthew McConaughey's career, did okay in expansion, but it could use the Golden Globe nominations being announced right about now, as could 12 Years a Slave.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Thor: The Dark World - Movie Review

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Rene Russo, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi and Jaimie Alexander.
Directed by Alan Taylor.


The sequel to the superhero movie is the one with the most opportunity to be interesting. You've done your origin-story heavy-lifting in the first one, now give us a regular adventure.  Superman II, Spider-Man 2, and The Dark Knight are some examples of the successful superhero sequel.  Was Thor able to achieve the same success?

For the most part, yes. While The Dark World won't be hailed as a classic, it's still a ripping yarn that combines elements of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings with the already established Marvel sensibilities.

Thor is a little grounded after his first film and his detour helping The Avengers.  Now he must restore peace in Asgard and the nine realms, but a new, ancient menace has reawakened.  There's this billion-year-old space blob of destruction hidden in the middle of a distant planet, but when Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds herself sucked through a wormhole, she lands next to it and wakes it up.  Ruh-roh.

It takes us a while to get to that point.  I appreciated that most of this movie took place away from Earth, and it gave Jane the chance to be the fish-out-of-water this time around.  Portman seems to be having a lot of fun, and Hemsworth is more relaxed in his role. The real star though is Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  The villain in Thor's story the past two movies, he's been imprisoned for life in Asgard's dungeons, but Thor hits a point where he needs Loki's help, and I liked watching the whole time wondering if Loki was capable of turning a new leaf, or when was that inevitable betrayal going to happen?

Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo make fine godly parents, and they actually gave Russo a little more to do.  Idris Elba's back as the Guardian, although I could have sworn his character died in the first one.  No complaints.  Jaimie Alexander should be the next Wonder Woman. This movie had a little too much Kat Dennings for my taste.  She's fine here and there, but her shtick grew tiresome for me, like she still expected to have her 2 Broke Girls laughtrack follow her every line.

Monday, November 18, 2013

12 Years A Slave - Movie Review

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Adepero Oduye, Garret Dillahunt, Michael K. Williams, Bryan Batt, Taran Killam, Scoot McNairy and Quvenzhane Wallis.
Directed by Steve McQueen.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender

Probably the best movie on slavery since Roots. But very difficult to watch.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, Salt) stars in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man living in 1841 New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South.  Solomon is an educated man, well off from what we can tell as a violinist for hire.  He is our window to the experience, and it's a shrewd way to let us in.  Solomon is not a slave, nor is anyone in the audience, and so it makes easier to relate to the horrors thrust upon him, as opposed to someone who just grew up with it as their lot in life.

I've read some articles recently on trauma and PSTD, both what it does to children and to adults, but then there's the entire spectrum of damage done by slavery.  What does it do to generations beaten and imprisoned their entire life, family routinely removed from them, dehumanized daily.  What does it do to generations to raise them believing these humans over here aren't really humans so you can torture them and degrade them all you like.

Some of us descend from psychopaths who were okay with treating other people worse than animals.  Some of us descend from those other people who lived their entire lives at the mercy of those psychopaths.  How can a nation heal from such origins?

There's a scene where Solomon, on his way to the store, runs into some white men about to hang two black men.  And it's all treated so casually by everyone else in the scene.  The white men are just doing what's done, the black men know they can't do anything to resist, and Solomon has to walk away in despair as he hears the death throes of the slaves behind him.

Director Steve McQueen has an unflinching eye in the brutality.  There's another scene where Solomon is strung by his neck and his toes can barely touch the muddy ground.  We keep hoping the scene will cut away to something else, but it stays on him, and we hear him choking, and in the background, we see the other slaves ignore and go about their day. This is just the way life is.

Solomon spends most of his 12 years under a mentally unstable alcoholic named Epps (Michael Fassbender).  Epps has a mantra that "a man can do whatever he likes with his property." Epps' wife (Sarah Paulson), in ways, is as evil as he is, for when she gets upset, she wants to see some slaves beaten.  Slavery in all its brutality could only happen if there were women in on it.

I view it similar to Passion of the Christ, in that it's very violent, but it also leaves you with a lingering sense of the scope of suffering.  I was impressed with the pacing of it, and the way each event led to the next.  This is sure to get award nominations for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor (Fassbender) and Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o, as slave-girl Patsey who unfortunately is liked by Epps).

One other note: there's a scene when a supervisor played by Paul Dano starts singing "Run N----r Run" to the slaves. It shows off his own deranged joy at keeping slaves in their place, but it also seems relevant to the headlines of today with Richie Incognito and others are still using the word. Let's just say I agree with Isiah Thomas's take on it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Noah - Movie Trailer

NOAH, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone and Logan Lerman. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan).

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thor wins weekend box office

From BoxOfficeMojo:

Marvel's mega-domination of the box-office continues.  As unlikely a giant franchise Iron Man was before we saw it, I'm even more impressed by the Thor franchise.

Ender's Game saw a big drop in week 2, but with only one wide release next week (The Best Man Holiday) the top ten could enjoy small declines until next week, when Catching Fire and Delivery Man hit.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

TV Ratings for week of November 3-9

First number is the 18-49 demo; second number is total viewers.

1 Sun NBC Sunday Night Football (8:30-11PM)           6.3   17.04
2 Thu CBS   The Big Bang Theory                                  4.9   16.89
3 Wed ABC The 47th Annual CMA Awards (8-11PM) 4.7 16.76
4 Mon NBC The Voice (8-10PM)                                 3.6   11.75
5 Tue NBC The Voice (9-11PM)                                 3.4   11.3
6 Sun NBC Football Night in America/ Pre-Kick          3.4 9.42
7 Mon CBS   How I Met Your Mother                            3.4   8.67
8 Sun CBS  60 Minutes                                                3.2 15.81
9 Tue CBS  NCIS                                                         2.9   19.18
10 Mon NBC The Blacklist                                              2.9   10.34
11 Thu ABC Scandal                                                        2.8   8.66
12 Thu ABC Grey's Anatomy                                           2.7 8.68
13 Thu CBS  The Millers                                                 2.6   10.38
14 Mon CBS  Mike & Molly -P                               2.6   9.22
15 Mon CBS  2 Broke Girls                                             2.6   8.12
16 Thu NBC  The Voice (8-9PM) -R                                2.5  9.74
17 Wed CBS  Survivor Blood vs Water                            2.5 9.29
18 Tue ABC Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.                 2.5   7.15
19 Mon FOX Sleepy Hollow                                            2.5   7.08
20 Sun FOX Family Guy                                                 2.5 4.87
21 Tue CBS  NCIS: LA                                                 2.4 14.76
22 Sun FOX The Simpsons                                              2.4 5.43
23 Wed CBS  Criminal Minds                                             2.3 9.7
24 Sun ABC Once Upon A Time                                        2.3 7.55
25 Mon ABC Castle                                                         2.2 10.87
26 Sun CBS  The Amazing Race                                         2.1 9.38
27 Thu CBS  The Crazy Ones                                         2.1 8
28 Tue NBC The Biggest Loser                                         2.1 6.82
29 Mon ABC Dancing with the Stars (8-10PM)                 2 13.72
30 Thu CBS  Two and a Half Men                                   2 8.27
31 Mon CBS  Mom                                                         2 7.38
32 Fri ABC Shark Tank                                                 2 7.25
33 Mon FOX Bones                                                         2 6.97
34 Tue FOX New Girl                                                         2 3.85
35 Tue CBS  Person Of Interest                                         1.9 11.79
36 Sun FOX American Dad                                                 1.9 3.75
37 Fri CBS  Undercover Boss                                         1.8 9.34
38 Wed CBS  CSI                                                                 1.8 9.08
39 Thu CBS  Elementary                                                 1.8 8.89
40 Sun FOX Bob's Burgers                                                 1.8 3.75
41 Sun ABC Revenge                                                         1.7 6.33
42 Sun CBS  The Good Wife                                           1.6 10.22
43 Tue FOX Brooklyn Nine-Nine                                         1.6 3.84
44 Wed NBC Law And Order: SVU                                 1.5 5.65
45 Tue ABC The Goldbergs                                                 1.5 4.89
46 Wed FOX The X Factor (8-10PM)                                 1.5 4.54
47 Fri FOX MasterChef Jr                                              1.5 4.21
48 Thu FOX Glee                                                                 1.5 4.01
49 Tue FOX The Mindy Project                                         1.5 2.88
50 Fri CBS  Hawaii Five-0                                             1.4 9.39
51 Fri ABC Last Man Standing                                         1.4 6.18
52 Fri ABC 20/20                                                         1.4 5.98
53 Wed NBC Revolution                                                  1.4 5.21
54 Thu NBC Sean Saves the World                                 1.4 4.55
55 Tue FOX Dads                                                         1.4 3.65
56 Fri CBS  Blue Bloods                                                 1.3 10.98
57 Fri NBC Grimm                                                         1.3 4.94
58 Thu NBC Parenthood                                                 1.3 3.88
59 Thu CW   The Vampire Diaries                                         1.3 2.59
60 Thu FOX The X Factor                                                 1.2 3.67
61 Mon CBS  Hostages                                                         1.1 4.79
62 Fri ABC The Neighbors                                               1.1 4.55
63 Wed NBC Dateline NBC                                                 1.1 4.4
64 Tue ABC Trophy Wife                                                 1.1 3.66
65 Fri NBC Dateline                                                         1 5.6
66 Thu NBC The Michael J Fox Show                            1 3.45
67 Sun ABC Betrayal                                                      1 3.44
68 Fri NBC Dracula                                                      1 2.99
69 Wed CW   Arrow                                                         1 2.8
70 Thu ABC Once Upon A Time in Wonderland                 0.9 3.55
71 Tue CW   Supernatural                                                 0.9 2.15
72 Tue CW   The Originals                                                 0.9 2.03
73 Tue ABC Spotlight With Robin Roberts: CMA Awards 0.7 3.39
74 Fri FOX Sleepy Hollow -R                                         0.6 1.86
75 Thu CW   Reign                                                         0.6 1.64
76 Wed CW   The Tomorrow People                                 0.6 1.56
77 Fri CW   America's Next Top Model                         0.4 1.05
78 Mon CW   Hart Of Dixie                                                 0.4 1
79 Fri CW   The Carrie Diaries                                         0.3 0.8
80 Mon CW   Beauty And The Beast                                 0.3 0.68

What works for them?  
Football, The Voice, The Blacklist, The Biggest Loser
What doesn't? Sitcoms, non-Spader dramas, Dateline

Dateline's dirt cheap to produce so NBC is okay plugging it in here and there. Dracula and The Michael J. Fox are guarantees to be cancelled, and this should be the last year for Parenthood and Revolution.  Sean Saves the World just might last because NBC has no other choice.

What works for them?  Award shows, dramas.
What doesn't?  Sitcoms. Modern Family is a hit and anything that gravitates near it does okay, but their Tuesday bloc of comedy is failing.

Guarantees for cancellation:  Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Trophy Wife, Betrayal, The Neighbors.

What works for them?  Just about everything.
What doesn't? Luring in younger viewers. If the networks cared mostly about total viewers, CBS would be the undisputed king.  Person of Interest may have triple New Girl's viewers on Tuesday, but New Girl has the 18-49 edge.

Guarantees for cancellation:  Hostages. And The Mentalist shouldn't stay comfortable.

What works for them?  Sleepy Hollow and cartoons.
What doesn't? The X Factor. The Simon Cowell competition show is just one too many. The Voice is more fun, and American Idol is more of a staple when it returns in the spring. Glee has also had a big drop in viewers since the Cory Monteith curiosity factor has faded.

Guaranteed to be cancelled: Dads, and maybe The X Factor.

They're in last.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thor wins Friday box-office

Box office for Friday, November 8, 2013:

1.  Thor: The Dark World - $31.63 million - 1 day
2.  Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa - $3.37 ($70.82) - 15 days
3.  Last Vegas - $3.22 ($25.65) - 8 days
4.  Ender's Game - $2.91 ($36.66) - 8 days
5.  Free Birds - $2.6 ($21.62) - 8 days
6.  Gravity - $2.3 ($225.01) - 36 days
7.  12 Years a Slave - $1.85 ($12.6) - 22 days
8.  Captain Phillips - $1.6 ($86.78) - 29 days
9.  About Time - $1.5 ($3.02) - 8 days
10. Cloudy with Meatballs 2 - $.58 ($107.75) - 43 days

Thor: The Dark World should get $85-$90 million for the weekend. It will outperform the original Thor's opening of $60 million and it's another example of why November-December is just as good a release time as May-June-July.  In fact, the move of Star Wars Episode VII from May 22, 2015, to December 18, 2015, didn't just give the studio time to make sure the movie was made right, but Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time by opening in December.

Ender's Game had a disappointing drop. The year-long negative campaign against Orson Scott Card couldn't have helped, but the reviews, while good, aren't screaming "must-see."  It'll need to make its money back overseas.  Last Vegas looks like it'll have decent legs with older moviegoers, who aren't as "must see it opening weekend!" as younger ticket-buyers tend to be.  Free Birds is in freefall as families say to themselves, "Let's just wait for Disney's Frozen."

About Time expanded, but it's not going to be a hit.  Rachel McAdams romances tend to do best when her leading man is famous enough to get his name above the title next to hers (The Notebook, The Vow).

Shadow Dancer - DVD Review

Starring Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson, Aiden Gillam and Domhall Gleeson.  
Directed by James Marsh. 


Well-acted but morose tale of an IRA fighter forced by British police to serve as mole and betray her comrades planning a terrorist attack.  Andrea Riseborough, perhaps best known currently as Tom Cruise's "wife" in Oblivion, gives Mirielle Enos a run for her money in how to remain interesting while glumly staring into space. And I get a kick out of seeing Game of Thrones alum pop up anywhere else. In this case, Aiden Gillam (Petyr Baelish) is the boss of her IRA group.

You have to be in the right mood for it, as it doesn't really break new ground.

Broken City - DVD Review

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Natalie Martinez and Michael Beach. Directed by Allen Hughes. 


I can see why this drama flopped in its initial release. For one thing, the trailer gave away the ending of the movie. Even if it hadn't, the "mystery" is mostly a wheel-spinning exercise while its commentary on corrupt politicians was better handled in any two episodes of cable dramas like Starz's Boss or Showtime's Brotherhood. The bright spot was Jeffrey Wright as a cop who keeps us guessing which side he's on.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Summer 2013 Domestic Box-Office

Here's a final look at the domestic box-office numbers from Summer 2013.

1. Iron Man 3 - $409.01 million
2. Despicable Me 2 - $364.78
3. Man of Steel - $291.05
4. Monsters University - $267.84
5. Fast & Furious 6 - $238.68
6. Star Trek into Darkness - $228.78
7. World War Z - $202.36
8. The Heat - $159.48
9. We're the Millers - $149.22
10. The Great Gatsby - $144.84
11. The Conjuring - $137.4
12. Grown Ups 2 - $133.32
13. The Wolverine - $132.28
14. Now You See Me - $117.72
15. Lee Daniels' The Butler - $115.07
16. The Hangover III - $112.2
17. Epic - $107.52
18. Pacific Rim - $101.8
19. This Is the End - $101.47
20. Elysium - $92.53

21. Planes - $89.33
22. The Lone Ranger - $89.3
23. Turbo - $82.75
24. 2 Guns - $75.61
25. White House Down - $73.1
26. The Smurfs 2 - $70.78
27. Percy Jackson : Sea of Monsters - $67.35
28. The Purge - $64.47
29. After Earth - $60.52
30. Red 2 - $53.26

31. The Internship - $44.67
32. Instructions Not Included - $44.14

Total Bombs:
RIPD - $33.62
The Mortal Instruments - $31.17
Kick-Ass 2 - $28.8
Jobs - $16.13
Getaway - $10.5
Peeples - $9.18
Paranoia - $7.39

Indie Success:
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain - $32.24
Blue Jasmine - $32.21

Low-Budget, Didn't Break Out:
One D1rection: This Is Us - $28.87
The World's End - $25.96
The Way Way Back - $21.48
You're Next - $18.49
Fruitvale Station - $16.1
The Spectacular Now - $6.83
The Grandmaster - $6.59
The Bling Ring - $5.85

This is the first the 7th-highest grossing film of summer still crossed the $200 million mark, and the first time the 19th-highest grossing film crossed the $100 million mark.  Wealth was spread.

For my own guesses, I though Man of Steel would outdo Iron Man 3 (til I saw MoS's reviews), I overestimated Hangover III, Epic, Smurfs 2, and After Earth; I underestimated Despicable Me 2, The Wolverine, World War Z, Grown Ups 2, The Great Gatsby, Now You See Me, The Conjuring, Planes and This Is the End; I had Monsters U and Star Trek 2 switched; and I was about right on the rest.

I think World War Z and Pacific Rim showed that even if it costs a few million more, it's better to have Brad Pitt than Charlie Hunnam.

Per studio -

DISNEY - Iron Man 3, Monsters University, Planes, The Lone Ranger

The stand-out disappointment was The Lone Ranger, which is actually better than a couple of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, but the marketing came into focus too late, and the movie couldn't recover from its central problem of acting embarrassed by the squareness of its lead character.  Disney's ended its deal with mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer this year, and this flopping did not make Disney regret their decision. Meanwhile they're going to make out like kings with their Marvel deal.

UNIVERSAL - Despicable Me 2, Fast & Furious 6, 2 Guns, The Purge, RIPD, Kick-Ass 2

DM2 and F&F6 saved their summer.  2 Guns wound up being a break-even project with Denzel and Mark. The Purge was a nice cheapie that made quick bucks.  RIPD was an expensive failure for them; they lost at least $150 million on it when all is said and done.  KA2 was its own failure, unaided by bad reviews and co-star Jim Carrey condemning it months before it opened.

WARNER BROS - Man of Steel, We're the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, The Hangover III, Pacific Rim, Getaway

They threw a lot of things at the wall this summer. The delay of Great Gatsby from December 2012 to summer wound up being a smart move.  Man of Steel made enough, and the semi-sequel Batman vs. Superman should make more, even if it's Ben Affleck taking over Dark Knight duties from Christian Bale. We're the Millers and The Conjuring were low-risk high-reward projects. Pacific Rim might break even someday thanks to its success overseas.  Hangover III made its money, and thank goodness not enough to get the band back together again. Getaway was a tax write-off.

PARAMOUNT - Star Trek into Darkness, World War Z

They've been putting out fewer films per year, and it seems to be a sound plan. They've also found success in the spring (Hansel & Gretel, GI Joe 2, Pain & Gain) and fall (Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa).

FOX - The Heat, The Wolverine, Epic, Turbo, Percy Jackson 2, The Internship

The Heat was big, The Wolverine was big.  Two animated films, neither of which took the world by storm, but Epic's already experienced a lot of success in PPV/DVD sales. Percy Jackson 2 was a risk to try to rejuvenate a potential franchise but it just doesn't look like it's going to happen.

SONY - Grown Ups 2, This Is the End, The Smurfs 2, After Earth

Hard to make a Will Smith movie bomb, but if you pair him with M. Night Shyamalan and give his kid the larger role, well, that's how you do it.  Sony found more success with the Sandler formula and the Rogen formula, not to mention Smurfs 2 made enough overseas to justify Smurfs 3.  in fact, Smurfs is one of those franchises made with overseas in mind over domestic.

LIONSGATE - Now You See Me, Red 2, Instructions Not Included, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, You're Next, Peeples

Lionsgate's working its way up.  Red 2 may have disappointed, but when you look at budgets, NYSM, INI and KH:LME were all successful. You're Next didn't make its budget back, but I predict cult status on DVD for it.

The rest:
WEINSTEIN - The Butler, Fruitvale Station, The Grandmaster
TRISTAR - Elysium, One D1rection: This Is Us
SONY PICTURES CLASSIC - Blue Jasmine, Before Midnight
SCREEN GEMS - The Mortal Instruments,
FOCUS - The World's End, Closed Circuit
A24 - The Spectacular Now, The Bling Ring

Worldwide Box Office Grosses for 2013

So far...

1. Iron Man 3 - $1.215 billion
2. Despicable Me 2 - $911.8 million
3. Fast & Furious 6 - $788.7 million
4. Monsters University - $742.9 million
5. Man of Steel - $662.8 million
6. The Croods - $587.2 million
7. World War Z - $540 million
8. Oz the Great and Powerful - $493.3 million
9. Star Trek Into Darkness - $467.4 million
10. Gravity - $426.4 million
11. The Wolverine - $413.5 million
12. Pacific Rim - $407.6 million
13. GI Joe: Retaliation - $375.7 million
14. Now You See Me - $351.7 million
15. The Hangover III - $351 million
16. The Great Gatsby - $348.8 million
17. The Smurfs 2 - $344.2 million
18. The Conjuring - $313.6 million
19. A Good Day to Die Hard - $304.7 million
20. Oblivion - $286.2 million

Sequel, sequel, sequel, sequel, franchise, animation, original, franchise, sequel, original.
Sequel, original, sequel, original, sequel, original, sequel, original, sequel, original.

Those are the movies that fund the rest of the film industry.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ender's Game is #1

For the weekend of November 1-3, 2013.

1.  Ender's Game - $28 million - 1 wk (LG)
 . . . 3407 screens / $8218 per screen
2.  Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa - $20.5 ($62.06) - 2 wks (Par) -36%
 . . . 3345 / $6129
3.  Last Vegas - $16.52 - 1 wk (CBS)
 . . . 3065 / $5390
4.  Free Birds - $16.2 - 1 wk (Rel)
 . . . 3736 / $4336
5.  Gravity - $13.13 ($219.2) - 5 wks (WB) -34.8%
 . . . 3024 / $4342
6.  Captain Phillips - $8.5 ($82.55) - 4 wks (Sony) -27%
 . . . 3021 / $2814
7.  12 Years a Slave - $4.6 ($8.76) - 3 wks (FS) +115.5%
 . . . 410 / $11,220
8.  Cloudy with Meatballs 2 - $4.2 ($106.2) - 6 wks (Sony) -33.1%
 . . . 2430 / $1728
9.  Carrie - $3.4 ($31.97) - 3 wks (SG) -43.2%
 . . . 2252 / $1510
10. The Counselor - $3.25 ($13.37) - 2 wks (Fox) -58.6%
 . . . 3044 / $1068
11. Escape Plan - $2.28 ($21.6) - 3 wks (LG) -50%
 . . . 1966 / $1160
12. About Time - $1.1 - 1 wk (U)
 . . . 175 / $6286

Despite all the controversy around boycotting the movie, Ender's Game had a solid debut.  Last Vegas also has to be see as a success with its $28 million budget.  Now had it opened 20 years ago with that cast - Douglas, DeNiro, Freeman, Kline - it probably would have been one of the biggest movies of the year.

Free Birds had a weak opening but might benefit from being Thanksgiving month. Reviews haven't been kind.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Random Movie Stuff - 11/1/13

- In light of the Ender's Game movie opening, and the publicity against its author Orson Scott Card, I present two great reads. One is a Grantland land piece by a Muslim sci-fi fan who resolves his feelings about loving Card's book with loathing his political views. The other is a Wired interview with Card himself.

- Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) will be starring in an updated remake of the musical Annie. Jamie Foxx will play Daddy Warbucks (renamed Benjamin Stacks) and Cameron Diaz will play Miss Hannigan.  It also co-stars Rose Byrne, Bobby Canavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and David Zayas. It's directed by Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits) and will open December 19, 2014.  Wallis can currently be seen in a small role in 12 Years A Slave.

- Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Savages) will play Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Meanwhile Evan Peters (American Horror Story) will play Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

- Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) is directing The Expendables 3. It opens August 15, 2014, and will star Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and newbies Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Kellen Lutz, and UFC's Ronda Rousey.

- Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) will direct a live-action Star Blazers movie. He will also be directing Mission Impossible 5 starring Tom Cruise.

- A few months ago it was announced that Gina Carano (Haywire) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Riddick) would star in an Expendables spinoff. Tentatively titled ExpendaBelles, the producers are also pursuing Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich, Linda Hamilton, Sharni Vinson and Pam Grier. They're looking for a female director as well.

- Mark Bomback (The Wolverine) has been hired to do some polishing to the Fifty Shades of Grey screenplay by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks). It'll star Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street) and Jamie Dornan (ABC's Once Upon A Time).