Tag Archives: A Walk In The Woods

US Box Office Report: 25/09/15 – 27/09/15

The public checks back into Hotel Transylvania, The Intern gets paid (unlike actual interns), Stonewall crumbled, The Green Inferno immolated, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Much like the first film before it, Hotel Transylvania 2 is officially your new Best September Opening Weekend Ever.  Yes, despite the first film exiting all of our collective memories almost as soon as it entered them – and it really pains me to say that because I love Genndy Tartakovsky so very, very much – it turns out that the Hotel Transylvania brand is strong with the audience that matters: kids and, even more importantly than that, the desperate parents who just want them to be quiet for 90 goddamn minutes.  They both helped power Transylvania 2 to an excellent $47.5 million haul, a good $5 mil more than the first one made… three years ago?!  Oh, GOD, time won’t stop getting away from me!

Kids weren’t the only underserved market being thrown a (possibly juicy it’s kinda hard to tell until I can see these films) bone this weekend, though, as Nancy Meyers finally returned from exile to provide yet another film that ITV2 can add to their schedules whenever they need to fill a spot and the Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift file is too worn out.  This one, The Intern, did the usual Nancy Meyers business, slotting comfortably into second place with $18 million, although that is a step down from what It’s Complicated made 6 years ago ($22 million).  Also returning from exile was Eli Roth with his evil-savage-cannibal-tribe movie The Green Inferno, but nobody gives a sh*t about Eli Roth so it barely made $3.4 million from 1,540 theatres for ninth place.

Meanwhile, the world of Limited Releases was just bursting with activity this week.  To start with, Sicario went up to 53 screens ahead of its nationwide expansion next weekend and managed to crack the Top 10 with an astonishing $30,000 per-screen average.  In terms of the weekend’s actual openers, though, the biggest success came from Lost In Hong Kong, the second feature from Xu Zheng and a massive hit in its native China, which rode a 28 screen opening to a very strong $558,900 and a per-screen average of $19,961.  Next up was Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, a film that features Michael Shannon yelling so I’m sold, which did a very strong $32,807 from 2 screens and a per-screen average of you can figure that out.  And, finally, Half Nelson writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck returned with Mississippi Grind which opened on just the one screen but managed a very respectable $14,335 nonetheless.

Bountiful weekend for the Limited Releases then!  Well, unless you’re Stonewall.  Yeah, Roland Emmerich’s apparently-thoroughly-misguided passion project crashed and burned on the 129 screens it opened on, taking an absolutely pitiful $112,414 for a per-screen average of $871.  Just goes to show: trying to turn one of the most important and diverse moments in LGBT history into a whitewashed Wizard of Oz-ification about a generic bland White guy because stories about events like these can’t just be for LGBT audiences, oh no, they must also provide easy “ins” for White straight audience members too, will just get you a tsunami of backlash, scathing reviews, and nobody will see your ‘accessible’ movie in the first place.  This almost feels like justice, it really does.


 

hotel transylvania 2

Oh, it’s been one hell of a week for me, so let’s crack on with this Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 25th September 2015 – Sunday 27th September 2015

1] Hotel Transylvania 2

$47,500,000 / NEW

OK, Sony Animation.  Now, maybe, pretty please, can you let Genndy just make whatever he goddamn wants?  He’s given you two solid hits whilst tethered to the sinking Sandler brand, can you just let him off the leash and make his own damn films now?  Please?  I’m still bitter that you shoved that brilliant-looking Popeye movie he was developing back into the basement for this.

2] The Intern

$18,225,000 / NEW

This looks like hot garbage.  That said, I haven’t actually seen any Nancy Meyers films yet, although I want to try and find the time to get at least one watched before I sit down on Saturday and spend… 121 minutes?!  …how?

3] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

$14,000,000 / $51,685,672

For those who missed it a couple of weeks back, here’s my review.  Still waiting for a point to appear in this franchise, some reason as to why I am spending this much time with these non-characters, but I will say that I would take this series over the Divergent films any day of the week.  For one, despite them having nothing going on so far, at least Maze Runner isn’t drop dead boring like Divergent is.  And for two, unlike Divergent, there are only going to be three of these things instead of four.  Hopefully.  Please.

4] Everest

$13,090,000 / $23,129,805

Oh, yeah, this one went to actual cinemas this week.  Think we can see that this genius release strategy hasn’t really worked at all.  Just because something worked for a Mission: Impossible movie, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for your film as well.  Your film doesn’t feature Tom Cruise, after all.

5] Black Mass

$11,510,000 / $42,608,179

A lot of my university friends are really, really excited about this one, for some reason.  In fact, if it weren’t for them, it’d probably have flown under my radar near-totally.  The fact that it’s not coming out in the UK until mid-November for some bizarre reason might have something to do with that.  Plus, I’m mega-excited for The Peanuts Movie whilst those heathens couldn’t give two sh*ts, so…

I don’t actually have a punchline for this entry, so we should probably just move on.

6] The Visit

$6,750,000 / $52,260,580

OK, I’m hearing from a lot of people that this is actually alright and that is very disconcerting to me.  Because, well, it sounds awful and it’s Shyamalan.  But it’s apparently alright?  I dunno, this sounds wrong to me.  Or, you know, maybe I’m just worried that it being OK and doing decent business will lead to him trying to make a second Avatar movie.  I know that that series will never hit cinema screens again, but he’s already ruined it once and I don’t much like going through the rest of my life being terrified that he may try again.

7] The Perfect Guy

$4,750,000 / $48,871,135

I got nothing.  In fact, to tell you the truth, I completely forgot this thing existed until I just typed in the words for this entry.  Remember when this was number 1 two weeks back?

8] War Room

$4,275,000 / $55,999,681

Oh, please, October.  Please hurry up and eject nonsense like this from the chart.  God, September is the worst.

9] The Green Inferno

$3,494,000 / NEW

Right, this won’t be sticking around next week so let me get both of my commentaries for this film out of the way in one go.  1] This film stars Sky Ferreira, who is primarily a pop singer and should be way bigger than she is (due to lots of bad luck, mainly).  If you haven’t listened to her 2013 debut Night Time, My Time, go do so.  2] American movie goers, it worryingly sounds like critics are going to give a passing grade to Knock Knock in a few weeks when that finally drops on your side of the pond.  Do not believe them, stay away from it.

10] Sicario

$1,770,000 / $2,350,594

Got to see this one early on Wednesday as part of an Unlimited Screening.  My review’s not up cos I can’t crack it – left it too long for various personal issues you don’t care about – although I may try it again after I see the film again when it properly comes out, but for now…  oh, you need to see Sicario.  You need to book your tickets in preparation for Sicario right now.  Right.  Now.

Dropped Out: A Walk in the Woods, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton, Grandma

Callum Petch can’t feel his face when he’s with you.  He now writes for his own site (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

A Walk in the Woods

a walk in the woods“I spent half my life chasing pussy and drinking. And I wasted the other half.”

On paper, a film about two pensioners going on a hike is, without a shadow of a doubt, a film that would never hit my radar. Not that I would actively avoid watching a movie like A Walk in the Woods, but I would much prefer to only use the edge of my cinema seat for a good thriller or come out with my ears bleeding from that insane volume and a ton of explosions. That being said, with not an awful lot to do on a Friday after work and a screening at my local with just enough time to grab a Starbucks beforehand, this evening I watched a film about two guys chatting and walking.

Robert Redford is Bill Bryson, an author whose time has been spent writing books on his travels around the world, but for the last few years, he’s been spending, or wasting, his time at home watching his books gather dust and feeling old. After an annoying, abrasive TV interview and yet another funeral, Bryson goes for a walk and finds himself inspired to walk the 1,100 mile Appalachian trail that stretches between Georgia and Maine. After his wife Catherine (Emma Thompson) reads up on the risks of the walk and the things that can go wrong, she insists he finds a partner to do the walk with; a real issue for a man whose friends are all the same pension drawing age that he is, or dead, and don’t want to die in the forest! Enter Nick Nolte’s Stephen Katz, a friend from Bill’s past who volunteers to walk the trail with the author.

Katz is one of those friends everyone’s dad has; he’s got seedy stories about your old man’s past and a few tales that no-one wants to hear. And we all had that friend didn’t we? For me, it’s the guy whose name causes my wife’s eyes to roll because she knows I won’t come home in one piece! Stephen Katz is the perfect bodiless of all those friends and now he’s following Bill Bryson around in the woods. The pair make their way to the start of the walk in Georgia and after a night in a nice hotel, they head off uphill and begin the adventure that will see them spending a few months together in the woods. The old friends go up against Mother Nature as they try their hardest to walk the thousand mile trail through wind, rain and snow; coming up against bears and weirdos as the bonding experience takes them to their limits.

There’s not much to say about A Walk in the Woods if I’m honest. It’s a comedy adventure films that is perfectly suited to a good Sunday matinee. There’s little drama, a slight hint of peril and a whole lot of walking. I mean, if it wasn’t for Nick Nolte’s constant swearing, it’d be a family film about two mates going for a walk. Like Homeward Bound, but with real people. The pair have great chemistry and there’s a real sense that they like each other throughout the whole film, these two guys that have grown apart and gone on to lead completely different lives have come back together after so many years and can still spend that much time in each other’s company without killing themselves. Even when the inevitable arguments happen, it’s over in a flash and they are back to laughing and joking.

And man! The laughing! Robert Redford is great as the sensible and determined Bill Bryson, but Nick Nolte is absolutely the star of the show. Every single thing that comes out of his mouth is pure gold; from the smut to the insults, his character is a comedy genius and I genuinely laughed myself stupid throughout the whole thing. Every story Stephen Katz has, and every time he shuts down Bryson’s know-it-all attitude is a beautiful moment and you can’t not love Nolte for the performance he puts on. Once you add the brilliantly funny cameos from people like Nick Offerman and Kristin Schaal, the film really shines as a comedy and I happily sat and giggled my way through the whole thing.

A Walk in the Woods is a buddy cop comedy, but the cops are retired and bored and looking for something to do. It’s got no explosions, no guns, no kidnappings, no murders and no nudity; but what it does have is charm, wit and a brisk feeling 100 minute run time. It’s a breath of fresh air with all the loud explody films we get to experience. You can chill out for a couple of hours, watch old men make awkward sex jokes and come out good and relaxed. And while I know I haven’t helped my image of being an old man in a thirty-something year old’s body at all, the film did inspire me. No, I don’t want to walk the damn Appalachian trail, it’s not that life affirming a film, I just want to grow up to be Nick Nolte.

US Box Office Report: 11/09/15 – 13/09/15

The Perfect Guy charms his way to the top, The Visit proves surprisingly prosperous, $2 million In Heaven is better than $1 million In Heaven, Sleeping With Other People is a rather lucrative past-time, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Ah, September.  That time of the year where nothing much of interest comes out, yet the box office does all kinds of weird things, regardless.  Specifically, it’s about time for a low-budget thriller of questionable value fronted by big name black actors and actresses to hold onto the top spot for a week.  Yes, following in the footsteps of last year’s No Good Deed and 2009’s Obsessed, The Perfect Guy fought its way to a hard-earned victory with $26 million in ticket sales from just over 2,000 theatres, making this the fifth straight week in a row that a film predominately starring black actors and actresses has taken the top spot – after Straight Outta Compton’s three-peat and War Room’s surprising victory last week – which is news that Hollywood should really pay attention to.

It wasn’t always so certain for The Perfect Guy, however.  Much like the movie industry itself, audiences decided to actually give M. Night Shyamalan one more shot – seriously, the fact that, despite everything post-Signs, this guy keeps getting funding for movies is proof that Hollywood is either incredibly forgiving or is just giving him more rope to embarrass himself with as a cruel joke – and turned up to see The Visit despite, y’know, it being a modern-day Shyamalan movie.  In any case, it did surprisingly decently, with $25 million in ticket sales, just barely losing to another crappy thriller.  Like, I said, interesting stuff happens on this chart in September, but that doesn’t mean that the films are actually any good.

Meanwhile, we have more terrible movies designed to suck money from devout Christians’ pockets, because there’s gotta be another God’s Not Dead sometime soon, right?  This month’s attempt to shamelessly shake down its target audience is 90 Minutes In Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen for reasons that are both incredibly self-explanatory and incredibly unclear.  Presumably because the audience still feels betrayed by the film’s lead actor having slaughtered the younglings all those years ago, this latest Lifetime-Movie-Disguised-As-Worthwhile-Entertainment did not take with moviegoers, and the film managed a pathetic 9th place and $2 million from 800 screens.

In Limited Release Land, the big story was the director of the criminally-underseen Bachelorette Leslye Headland’s second film, Sleeping With Other People.  Riding some strong press from those who like it, and opening in the always profitable New York/Los Angeles scenes, the rom-com managed an excellent $103,125 opening on 5 screens, for a per-screen average of $20,625.  It was not the only success story this weekend, mind.  Meet the Patels, a documentary about an Indian-American trying to use traditional Indian dating methods to find the woman of his dreams and it looks way more charming than that sounds trust me, had a similarly strong 5 screen opening, with $75,597 for a $15,119 per-screen average.  Finally, A Brilliant Young Mind – released in the UK as X+Y and which I have heard from a very trustworthy friend of mine is complete garbage – opened on 3 screens to a very respectable $36,000.


the perfect guy

This Full List is pretty baffling to me, so I’m not going to do a pun intro.  Just see for yourself.

Box Office Results: Friday 11th September 2015 – Sunday 13th September 2015

1] The Perfect Guy

$26,700,000 / NEW

This… seems to be becoming a thing.  Terrible mid/low-budget thrillers about men stalking women, usually with a non-white lead, I mean.  No Good Deed, The Boy Next Door, now this.  I’m all for diversity in films, but this… I’d prefer that this not become a trend.  Or, at least, I’d prefer that good versions of this movie become a trend, if they must become a trend.

2] The Visit

$25,690,000 / NEW

The words “rapping child” keep getting brought up around this movie, so absolutely no way am I ever seeing this.  White people rapping is often rather cringeworthy as is – non-professionally, I mean – I do not see how making said White rapper a young boy is supposed to improve this situation.

3] War Room

$7,400,000 / $39,188,327

This is what made it to number 1 last weekend?  This?  This looks awful!  In fact, no, it looks worse than awful, it looks absolutely incompetent.  Look, American members of the Christian faith: I realise that you’re not well-served by the film industry, but hold yourselves up to higher standards, for crying out loud!  If you tell the film industry that you’re going to turn up to any old crap, they’re going to keep making absolute crap.

4] A Walk In The Woods

$4,620,099 / $19,877,024

This looks… pleasant.  I really got nothing else, folks.  Not until I get to see it this weekend, I mean.

5] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$4,150,000 / $188,172,518

Wait, what?!  This is still here?  And this highWHY?!  I mean, it was OK, I guess, but it wasn’t particularly brilliant and certainly not “Hell yes, Week 7 showing!” material.  Why are you all still seeing this movie and, more importantly, where the fuck were all of you when Edge of Tomorrow was flopping painfully towards a way-too-low $100 million domestic?

6] Straight Outta Compton

$4,090,000 / $155,712,600

Thanks to this sudden frustratingly crippling inability to write whilst I’m at home, I never did get around to properly reviewing Straight Outta Compton [Owen: although Brooker did for Failed Critics].  So, Short Version: as a film, it’s brilliant – exceptionally acted, well-directed, very decently paced, only occasionally lapses into Walk Hard self-parody, glad that it had a socially relevant message instead of just “N.W.A. were great”.  Outside of that, though, it’s deeply problematic – it feels rather whitewashed, the misogyny is uncommented on, and the homophobia is suspiciously almost non-existent.  In a way, I get the intention – if it depicted something like Dre’s woman-beating tendencies, then that risks dragging the audience’s attention and discussion away from the issue of institutionalised racism – but it still feels disingenuous and wrong, especially for this story.

In other words, it feels like a film version of N.W.A.’s work and of rap music and culture in general, something deeply problematic yet at the same time amazing and a force for some kind of good.  And, therefore, I love it in the same way I love rap music.

7] No Escape

$2,879,000 / $24,155,935

This bullshit is racist.  Just wanted to remind you of that.

8] The Transporter Refueled

$2,700,000 / $13,343,496

You can hear more in-depth thoughts on last week’s Screen 1 – which also includes my going nuclear on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl for those of you who like that sort of thing – but I surprisingly had fun with this one.  Ed Skrein’s ‘tough guy’ voice is really grating, and the film really misses Statham’s effortless charisma, but I still had some fun regardless.  Nothing great, nothing special, but some decent fun nonetheless.

9] 90 Minutes In Heaven

$2,160,911 / NEW

Remember when Hollywood tried to make Hayden Christensen a star?  Fun times, fun times…

10] Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos

$1,900,000 / $6,667,352

…you know what, I’m just going to embed the trailer for this one and let you be the judge.  I genuinely can’t decide whether this looks charming and somewhat fun, or the worst animated thing that has ever happened.

Dropped Out: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Sinister 2, Inside Out

Callum Petch is gonna find out, he’s gonna get low.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!