“That’s it. Game over man. Game over…”
…although it’s not quite “game over” yet for Andrew Brooker who continues his challenge to watch 365 films in 365 days.
“That’s it. Game over man. Game over…”
…although it’s not quite “game over” yet for Andrew Brooker who continues his challenge to watch 365 films in 365 days.
“These timelines are so confusing.”
2016 has been a real arse of a year, hasn’t it? With only a few days until this awful, awful year is behind us, I thought I would take a few words – OK, a lot of words – to share with you not only my challenge of the last twelve months, but my 365 day long journey towards failure.
I’ve been writing regularly for Failed Critics for more than a year now; closer to two, in fact. Between forcing Owen to constantly edit my pointless rants into something readable (sometimes two or three times a week) and being lucky enough to be invited to appear on the podcast every few weeks, I’m always watching something. But I got to the end of last year and thought that, considering what was becoming start a large part of my life, I wasn’t watching nearly enough. So I set myself simple enough challenge…
A film a day throughout 2016. That’s at least 365 unique films by the time we hit New Year’s Day 2017. They didn’t need to be brand new films, although of course some would have to be, but the list just needed to have 365 films on it.
Sadly, I failed. Miserably.
I started so well too. All those award season films we didn’t get until the new year and all those blu-rays I got for Christmas padded my numbers out nicely early on. With me making a real effort to watch everything in time for the Oscars podcasts in February, everything was looking peachy. The start of my year was looking great.
An early guest spot on fellow Failed Critic Tony Black’s Pick-a-Flick podcast in time for The Hateful Eight meant I banged through three Quentin Tarantino films in one night as preparation, not only filling in my spreadsheet super quick, but giving me the chance to have a night off. Similar super-fast binges followed for specials on South Korean cinema, Shane Black’s filmography and Batman Vs. Superman. It was all going so well.
Then, Deadpool happened.
Within our little echo chamber of people, there are a couple of things I’ve become a bit notorious for this year. The second of these was my explosion of hate and abuse that was my Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie review. A few hundred words of such utter contempt for a film that saw some of the worst things I’ve ever written put to paper for all to see. Everyone seemed to love it.
But the first was the fact that in its short theatrical run, I managed to see Deadpool ten times in the various cinemas local to me that, even with various Unlimited cards to my name, I still paid to see several times. It became the first movie this year that I pre-ordered on American iTunes to ensure I could watch it again as soon as possible, as well as buying a lovely looking steelbook blu-ray when it came out in the U.K.
As of right now, 2016 has seen me watch The Merc with the Mouth an insane sixteen times. But as great as that is, it had a pretty detrimental effect on my list of watched films. Filling out numbers with multiple viewings is great – more on that in a bit – but I wanted a unique film every day; and it was starting to look like it’d be a tough one to pull off now.
Months pass and, while I’m certain I’m going to fall short, I’m kept pretty busy. Between watching entire series’ within franchises before their latest instalments come out (*cough* The Purge: Election Year *cough*) and enjoying Suicide Squad enough to fit in multiple screenings, my numbers aren’t looking too bad. This might even be doable. Especially by the time August came around.
Baby’s first FrightFest!
I’m a long time horror fan. It’s usually my genre of choice and going to Fright Fest has been a dream of mine for years. This writing nonsense was the perfect (extra) excuse to spend a couple of hundred quid and get my arse to London. Sadly, work commitments (namely: hating my job), meant that my trip was kind of gimped and I could only manage three of the five days. But I saw some amazing stuff, including Rob Zombie’s latest gorefest, 31. It broke into my top ten instantly and is another film that I’ve paid to watch at least three times since I first saw it – including a trip to the hallowed grounds of the Prince Charles Cinema to see it on the big screen again.
Three days of non-stop horror added something like twenty films to my list in a short space of time. A welcome boost to my spreadsheet. The introduction of “Netflix of Horror” service Shudder to the UK certainly didn’t hurt either.
One of the reasons I set myself this challenge was because there was so much stuff taking up film watching time that I wanted to make space for more. But I also wanted to share it with the family. Obviously, my three year old can’t be watching Ringu, Suburra or Pet Sematary – all films that are on the list – but there’s a huge amount of children’s films that we can watch together. I could kill two birds with one stone; I can show Nikita a variety of films, avoiding the dross that is kid’s TV, and pad out my numbers during the day.
This backfired horribly. Instead of getting a ton of extra films on my list, I ended up watching thirteen films 83 times. EIGHTY THREE! This included sixteen views of Big Hero 6. We watched Zootropolis eight times, all of them at the cinema; and one ‘movies for juniors’ trip to see Kubo and the Two Strings, not at all influenced by the bollocking I took from Callum Petch for having not watched it yet. (Excellent little film, by the way). But, you know, she’s also squeezed in multiple watches of Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book and the much hated Ghostbusters reboot, so I’m not going to complain too hard, even if the little git did ruin my numbers!
Of course it’s all well and good me blaming everyone else for me failing this ridiculous challenge. Once October rolled around, I had no one but myself to blame. It turned out that convincing Failed Critics head honcho Owen to give up his feed to me and my mate to chat bollocks about video games once a fortnight was the easy part to starting the Character Unlock podcast. Losing a night to record and a night (sometimes two) to editing eats away at your valuable film watching time. More than that, if you wanna talk about games, it helps if you’ve played them first! There goes more hours that could have been spent with my hands down my pants watching films. Damn, whatever was I thinking?
And that brings us to today. Where I’m sitting in the house on my own watching Scuzz TV and writing this instead of adding more films to my list. It’s no wonder I failed at this challenge this year. Hitting a little over half of the intended 365 unique films, I managed a measly 213. Once I tallied up the films I’d watched multiple times, whether it be with the little one or because I was weirdly obsessed with Ryan Reynolds’ spandex covered arse, my total is a slightly more respectable 344. Still not good enough, but I’m getting there.
So what does 2017 hold? Well, I’m looking to try the same challenge again once January kicks in, but I’ll be happy if I can beat this year’s numbers. I’ll be leaving Letterboxd aside and sticking to my Numbers spreadsheet and hoping for the best. With several long running franchises getting sequels this year, I’ll be binging through collections like Alien, Saw and The Fast and the Furious early on. I have every intention of hitting FrightFest stronger this year and getting to a few shows at the London Film Festival after having to skip it this year.
This time around though, I’m dragging you lot along with me. To try and force me to keep better track of what I’m doing, and hopefully to embarrass me enough to actually work at it, I’ll be putting together a monthly article covering the best and worst of what I’ve seen that month and hopefully start a bit of a running tally. I might not make it to 365, but I’m damn sure going to have fun trying. See you in January.
The main release reviews this week see the team chat about Matthew Vaughn’s new action-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service starring Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong and Taron Egerton; as well as the latest in Disney’s recent animation resurgence, Big Hero 6.
From Steve’s second excursion through the Harry Potter franchise and Callum’s complete bafflement at Luxembourgian comedy The Notorious Guys, to Owen’s elongated gushing over German high-brow arty-farty Werner Herzog film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, there’s plenty to mull over in this week’s edition.
The team also managed to fit in conversations about the Sundance Film Festival and Annie Award winners, even with Steve’s threat to up the ante in the quiz after finally forcing himself to watch I, Frankenstein looming over proceedings. Uh oh!
Join us again next week as we’ll be reviewing The Interview, Jupiter Ascending and picking through the weekend’s BAFTA winners.
Fun, funny, and quietly heartbreaking, Big Hero 6 overcomes what minor flaws it has through some of the strongest character work I have seen in an animated movie in years.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
As a kid who grew up during the Disney Renaissance, was too young to understand the significance of it, but was plied with their Golden Age output on various VHS tapes, few things make me happier than seeing Walt Disney Animation Studios once again return to a position where everything they put out is Must-See-Viewing. What groundwork Bolt managed to lay has proved more than stable as the studio have just been knocking it out of the park consistently for the last five films – The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie The Pooh, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frozen – with commercial success following them (almost) every step of the way.
Big Hero 6 continues that trend, completely cementing for those that don’t already know that Disney is very much back, which I imagine comes as a surprise for many people. After all, it appears to be a superhero film – many snobbier members of the critical spectrum being sick to death of them, by this point – based on a Marvel Comics series – themselves at risk of oversaturation due to that aforementioned comics boom. Expecting something transcendental from a superhero film, and especially what appears to be a B-grade Disney film, plays like wishful thinking at this point – I enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I’m not going to kid myself into believing that they’re not formula-driven popcorn flicks.
The real masterstroke of Big Hero 6, though, is that the superhero stuff actually makes up comparatively little of the film yet is still a vital part of it. See, the film follows Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a brilliant but directionless 14 year-old who finally seems to have found a purpose in his life – joining his similarly brilliant older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) at San Fransokyo’s finest robotics university – when tragedy strikes and Hiro once again has to deal with loss. Wallowing in his depression, Hiro accidentally activates Tadashi’s latest invention, Baymax (Scott Adsit), a soft, gentle “personal health care companion” who takes it upon itself to help Hiro deal with his depression – in this case throwing themselves into solving the mystery of the tragedy in question, which may not have been as random as it first seemed.
Therefore, the core of Big Hero 6 is not whizz bang superheroics. It is instead this central relationship between Hiro and Baymax as the latter tries to help the former overcome depression and grief without ever completely understanding the concepts it’s having to grapple with. That manifests itself via superheroics, but the film makes it clear that this is Hiro’s way of dealing with that loss, choosing to fixate on something to get his mind off the giant hole that has appeared in his life. Crucially, this is not the solution to his problems, it’s just the method, and the film never purports to claim that Hiro has or ever truly will overcome that loss. It offers no concrete answers, although Hiro does end the film happily, and its refusal to do so is what makes that thematic centre work – there’s a level of trusting maturity there that more animated films should have.
Helping that thematic centre is the fact that Hiro and Baymax are wonderful, incredibly lovable characters. Baymax, obviously, is the standout of the whole film, an absolutely adorable AI whose pacifist and childlike nature resonated totally with me. It is a creation of pure kind-hearted good and its little pre-programmed procedures and affectations manage to bring it close enough to humanity to make its more robotic moments that much more surprising and, occasionally, heartbreaking. Hiro is also likeable from the word “go”, his archetype forming the base of his character but not forming his entire character which enables him to feel unique and three-dimensional even from the opening few minutes.
Those qualities are enhanced too by their respective voice actors. Ryan Potter, previous of live-action Nickelodeon series Supah Ninjas, proves himself surprisingly adept at voice acting. A lot of the film is carried on Hiro’s shoulders, as well as that aforementioned weighty central theme, but he is more than up to the task, never over or under-playing any of his lines and excellently communicating the heartbreak, occasional anger and eventual somewhat recovery in a natural and convincing way. As for Scott Adsit… I really don’t know what to say, he is Baymax. From the second that Baymax communicates, Scott Adsit is it. His voice is that kind of genius immediate “no, this is perfect” casting that Disney have just been on a roll with recently – John C. Reilly as Ralph, Kristen Bell as Anna, Kristen Schaal as Mabel – and it fits Baymax so perfectly that he makes anything the character says a million times better than it already sounded on paper.
You may have noticed that I have yet to talk about the rest of the members of the Big Hero 6. Well, there’s a reason for that. See, this is Hiro’s movie. It’s about his grief and his fight with depression. Opening up to his friends – who for the record are GoGo Tamada (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez), Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr.), and Freddie (T. J. Miller) – at all, let alone asking them for help, is a major step for him and so, naturally, it takes about an hour for that to happen. As such, these guys and gals don’t get much of a focus in this movie and end up, like most of the superhero stuff which is the way that Hiro seeks closure in an attempt to move on, only coming into play in the final 40 minutes.
Not that this is a problem, mind you, as they all, even with their limited screen time – and the relegation of their backstories to promotional material, again not a problem – feel… well, real. They really do. Even with a comparatively tiny glimpse into their lives and personalities, they already feel like fully-formed, fully-defined, characters who exist and I can see existing outside of the confines of this film. GoGo, in particular, is given little material in this film yet I already adore her, thanks to what little we do find out – “Woman up!” is a phrase that fills me with indescribable joy, you have no idea – her character animations, and her voice actresses’ performance.
I get the impression that Disney wants this to be the start of some new franchise and that this will be something addressed in future media, but I don’t want a franchise in the traditional sense. I don’t want the big budget action-packed sequel, I don’t want a traditional television series, and I don’t want any of the superhero stuff. I just want more of Hiro, GoGo, Honey Lemon, Wasabi, and Freddie – with the occasional intrusion by Hiro’s wonderful Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph, having a ball) – hanging out together being them. The downtime, the non-action, non-dramatic stuff that conventional wisdom says is too boring to depict – with conflict and drama being the essence of narrative – because the little glimpses I got were so wonderful and tantalising that I just want more of that. I want more time with these characters…
…and also San Fransokyo. Seriously, the city of San Fransokyo is absolutely beautiful, a bustling metropolis with little details in architecture, signage, transport and just general design to make it feel like a genuine place that I would like to move to immediately. The camerawork also helps by borrowing that How To Train Your Dragon technique of bobbing, weaving and zooming like a live-action camera, adding a heft and dynamism to proceedings. Ditto the character animations which, whilst the designs are very much that Tangled-style of 3D Disney, are smoother and weightier than those in Frozen. In fact, that’s a perfect comparison: if the world of Frozen feels very much like a constructed movie set, with an artificial and loosely connected world and doll-like character designs and animations, then the world of Big Hero 6 feels like a real world that I can go to and live in.
There are flaws with Big Hero 6 – I wish that they didn’t play the Fall Out Boy song during the Montage montage, I wish the film had enough faith in its loss theme to not reverse the traditional Disney Death near the ending, that very last (non-post-credits) scene does not need to be there at all, and it telegraphs said tragedy way too obviously – but they really are just minor nitpicks for me. Big Hero 6 gets its core, both thematically and emotionally, spot-on, crafts a group of outstanding characters I just want to spend more time with, and a world I am genuinely sad about not really existing. From there, everything else slides into place – the humour, the fun, the excitement, what few action sequences there actually are – and what little it does wrong is rendered inconsequential in my mind.
As soon as I left the screen for Big Hero 6, I was left with two burning desires: to see it again, and to get down on my knees to Walt Disney Animation Studios and beg for them to make more shorts of just the core group of friends hanging out together. I adored it. Do not miss this one.
Big Hero 6 is due out in UK cinemas on January 30th.
The Hobbit sorta loses its battle against its five prior armies, the sun sorta came out today for Annie, sorta not many people wanted to spend one last Night At The Museum… it’s a weekend of qualifiers is what I’m getting at, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
… … … … …hm? Yes? … …oh, shit, Box Office Report! Totally almost forgot! Sorry about that, truly. Just been super, super busy! Films to watch, radio shows to do, essays to write, articles to write. Just the most full plate! And I have absolutely spent all of my free time committing totally to that full plate! Absolutely! Totally didn’t end up spending most of the time that I should have spent working re-watching certain segments of The Legend Of Korra finale and browsing the internet for fan drawings and such to help placate both the new empty hole in my heart and the little skips of joy it performed over the ending. Nope. Not at all. (*furiously closes browser tabs hoping you don’t notice*)
Anyways, this was the last weekend before Christmas and that meant a whole bunch of new releases tripping over themselves to appear as The Family Film Of The Holiday Season or something like that. It also, however, meant counter-programming against The Hobbit for the first time. After Desolation Of Smaug dropped $10 million opening weekend compared to An Unexpected Journey – and closed with $50 million less overall – other studios smelt blood in the water and felt that they could successfully programme against Peter Jackson’s immaculate advert for New Zealand’s finest green screens. Battle Of The Five Armies, though, was having none of that sh*t. Not only did it take $56 million over the weekend, its Wednesday opening added another $34 million to the total, bringing us an opening of $90 million. Now, technically, that’s the lowest weekend opening for any Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings-related movie ever – with the exception of Fellowship all those years ago – but…
…that’s still more than the rest of the Top 6 put together. So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that The Hobbit steamrolled the other new releases. Those ended up being Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, an incredibly meh sequel that quite literally nobody was ever asking for, and Annie, an incredibly horrendous remake that nobody was asking for and failed to do anything with its updated conceit. Technically, Night At The Meh-seum was the winner of the two, as it came in second place and made slightly more money than Annie. But, let’s face it, Annie was only $1 million behind, opened on less screens, had a higher per-screen average than NATM, and is probably going to confiscate a fair amount of Into The Woods’ money next week. The real losers, though, are the film-going audiences, because neither of these films are any good.
In limited release news, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner – which everybody else adores but did absolutely nothing for me because I am an uncultured cretin who ships cartoon characters and freaks out when everything becomes glorious canon – finally made its way to American shores to sneak in under the deadline for awards consideration (that it won’t get because Mike Leigh never gets noticed in America). From 5 screens, it managed a very respectable $109,000 for a per-screen average of $21,800. Meanwhile, Song Of The Sea, a traditionally animated fantasy OH MY GOD I WANT TO SEE THIS IMMEDIATELY, was dropped onto 2 screens with pretty much zero fanfare and made a very respectable considering the circumstances $21,920. The Nut Job, for comparison, was dumped onto 3,427 screens and opened to $19,423,000 because this world f*cking sucks.
Let’s go there and back again with the Full List.
Box Office Results: Friday 19th December 2014 – Sunday 21st December 2014
1] The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
$56,220,000 / $90,627,000 / NEW
I was on the latest edition of the Failed Critics Podcast where we, eventually, talked about this film! You can get most of my thoughts over there! I’m not hard to miss but, if you’re having trouble, I’m the one that sounds like a drunken fratboy at a conference panel. Yeah, I don’t feel like I did good on that episode.
2] Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
$17,300,000 / NEW
So this one is weird. It tries to be this big send off for the series as a whole – implying that Night At The Museum is THE series that captured and defined a generation, but sure whatever – but nobody except Dan Stevens as Lancelot seems particularly happy to be here, and the film itself is just going through the motions for large swathes of its runtime. So the final 15 minutes, which aim to be this big backslapping sentimental goodbye, ring hollow and only achieve poignancy when we share our last scenes with a very obviously tired Robin Williams because… well, you know. It just doesn’t give any decent reason to exist, except to further the giant man crush I have on Dan Stevens – his eyes just pierce straight into my heart!
$16,300,000 / NEW
OK, can we officially call a ban on musicals that are embarrassed to be musicals? Annie is a film that spends pretty much every frame of its existence openly apologising to its audience for being a musical. It even has characters in the film call out how lame singing and dancing is after a big musical number. What is this 21st Century cynical bullsh*t? It doesn’t make the film cooler or more appealing, it just insults your audience and exposes your cast and crew as completely disinterested which, last I checked, is a death knell for a musical. Either embrace the fact that you’re a musical or don’t f*cking bother. Musicals are fun! More films should be like musicals!
Yeah, I really didn’t like this one.
4] Exodus: Gods And Kings
$8,065,000 / $38,902,000
Guess everybody found their DVDs of The Prince Of Egypt laying around their house after all and watched them instead. Yay! Good choice, people!
5] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
$7,750,000 / $289,227,000
The Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack is really bloody good, just so you all know. It’s been backing most of my writing sessions this past week and it makes a very good accompaniment to having to metaphorically vomit 3,000 words onto virtual paper about film topics or essay concepts you don’t fully understand before deadline approaches. Pick it up if you get the chance.
$4,150,000 / $7,211,000
I hear this is really good, so I am going to refrain from commenting until I see it in the middle of January. Glad to see that Reese Witherspoon has managed to escape that black hole of suck she got stuck in for most of the late 00s, though! Four Christmases came on TV the other night and, my word, it was dreadful. Just awful.
7] Top Five
$3,570,000 / $12,456,000
Oh. Well. Shit. Dammit, America, you couldn’t have tried turning this into a hit?!
$3,565,258 / NEW
That’s from 272 theatres, by the by. Bollywood may finally be coming a thing in America. Good for Bollywood! Good for it! I should really try more. I saw Bang Bang! for a Cineworld Unlimited screening back in October and I was alternately entertained, amused, baffled, and assaulted with a thumping headache. I’d like to try other Bollywood films and see if that’s an anomaly or the general reaction I’ll end up having.
9] Big Hero 6
$3,563,000 / $190,441,000
Well, it’s been a good run, Big Hero 6. You didn’t make Frozen money, but to expect anything to make Frozen money is to have unreasonably high standards. You did really well, the public loved you, and you may even be fondly remembered. Now, if you could just HURRY THE FUCK UP AND RELEASE OVER HERE ALREADY BECAUSE FORCING ME TO WAIT THREE MONTHS IS DICKWEED BEHAVIOUR I’d much appreciate it.
10] Penguins Of Madagascar
$3,525,000 / $64,172,000
This is officially DreamWorks Animation’s lowest grossing CG film of all-time domestically. I doubt that even a superhuman overseas showing – the film has cracked 11 markets so far and most of those are the ones that prior Madagascar films have performed well in – is going to drag this one anywhere close to the land of profitability. I am now worried, I imagine that studio executives are sweating spinal fluid. This is not good.
Dropped Out: Interstellar, Horrible Bosses 2, Dumb And Dumber To, The Theory Of Everything
The people were rather unmoved by Exodus: Gods And Kings, Top Five thankfully makes the top five, Inherent Vice has the worst opening of anything ever, Wild runs wild on you, brother, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
For those of you keeping track at home, 2014 has only had one faith-based drama that was worth anybody’s time released in its twelve months, despite this sub-genre being strangely thriving this past year. I am of course referring to Darren Aronofsky’s sublime and surprisingly moving and beautiful Noah, and most certainly not Ridley Scott’s, by all accounts, insipid Exodus: Gods And Kings. Fortunately, in this instance, it seems that most of the public agreed and, although Exodus is still our new box office #1 by dint of being the first new wide release in two weeks, it reached that summit with only $24.5 million in ticket sales. Noah, meanwhile and having to follow surprise hit Divergent, opened to $43 million. VICTORY!!
In more good news, Chris Rock’s Top Five, which by most accounts I’ve heard is something really special, was an out-of-the-box success! Playing at 979 theatres, with a full-on nationwide release coming soon, the film broke into the top five with wondrous ease, finishing in fourth with $7.2 million in ticket sales and a $7,000 per-screen average. That’s $1.6 million more than Chris Rock’s last directing gig, 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife, opened with and that film had the luxury of almost double the number of screens that Top Five did! So, not only did Top Five manage to send Chris Rock back on the interview circuit – seriously, I want him to keep making movies purely so he can keep going around giving interviews like this one and this one – it’s also apparently a really damn great movie and managed to make a fair bit of money! DOUBLE VICTORY!!
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news, folks. Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice was released in those five New York and Los Angeles art-house cinemas that all major awards season wannabes have to start off their life in if they want to taken seriously, apparently. It managed $330,000, which sounds really great, and a per-screen average of $66,000, which is probably more than anybody working for this site or reading this article makes in a year. But that’s also less than There Will Be Blood and The Master made opening weekends (per-screen in Blood’s case, overall and per-screen in Master’s case), so therefore Inherent Vice is a colossal failure of epic proportions that has ruined the careers of everyone involved. Sorry Inherent Vice, thanks for trying!
In further limited release news, the Weinstein-backed The Imitation Game – so look for Benedict Cumberbatch to steal the Best Actor awards of whoever we’ve arbitrarily decided as a collective hive mind deserves it this year – continues to rake in the cash like Scrooge McDuck on a hot streak at the casino Blackjack table. Expanding to 25 screens, the film took $875,000 this weekend for a per-screen average of $35,000, so look for it to crack the full list some point soon. And finally, before we get down to business, we have Wild, which added 95 more screens this past weekend, cracked the Top 10 and allowed me to make a dreadful Hulk Hogan reference in the headline. Yay films!
This Full List used to be a visionary, but has spent the past decade phoning it in with boring sh*tty spectacle pieces instead of anything decent.
Box Office Results: Friday 12th December 2014 – Sunday 14th December 2014
1] Exodus: Gods And Kings
$24,500,000 / NEW
Nope, can’t do it. I can’t get over the fact that they cast white actors to play the roles of Middle East natives. Especially since the good leads are lightly tanned, whilst the bad leads are made much darker in skin, and that the slaves are still people of colour. I mean, sweet lord, how f*cking tone deaf do you have to be to not get that?! We were raking The Last Airbender over the coals for trying to pull this sh*t back in 2010, and you thought that you were honestly going to get away with it now?! Ridley Scott’s explanation doesn’t help matters, either, as all it does is remind us all of just how broken the Hollywood system is and… well, it’s not like casting recognisable names has helped much at the box office, has it?
2] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$13,200,000 / $277,398,000
This is going to close around $750 million, I’d say. It’s already at $611 million, it’ll pass The Hunger Games some point in the next week or two, and it shows no real signs of slowing down. It’ll wrap up lower than Catching Fire’s $865 million worldwide, but it’s definitely going to be, in be within spitting distance of being, the biggest grossing film domestically of 2014 when all is wrapped up. Does this mean we’re now done calling this a box office disappointment, even though it never was one to begin with?
3] Penguins Of Madagascar
$7,300,000 / $58,839,000
Well, sh*t. At least I’ll be at the forefront of the “This movie was criminally overlooked at the box office!” brigade in a few years’ time! Or more likely, considering how quickly we are to label things as underrated and “cult classics” and the like nowadays, two months’ time.
4] Top Five
$7,210,000 / NEW
March 20th. March 20th. What did I do to deserve withholding of this level, American film industry? Huh? Got a halfway acceptable answer you’d like to share with me or are you withholding that, too? Look at you, getting off!
5] Big Hero 6
$6,145,000 / $185,325,000
You should see how quickly I sprint out of whatever screen I’m seeing new release movies in when the trailer for this comes on. I refuse, I completely refuse, to have even one second of this film spoiled for me. It’s a new Disney film, I am there. You don’t need to throw jaw-dropping setpieces, trailer-ready quips, Fall Out Boy songs or anything else at me to get me in. Just, “YO! DISNEY PUTTING OUT NEW FILM! IT’S CALLED [X], IT’S OUT [Y]!” and you have my attention.
$5,500,000 / $166,800,000
Next week is The Hobbit, so expect this to sink like a stone as Peter Jackson confiscates all of its IMAX screens. Still, pretty good run, all things considered. In fact, I find it strange that people keep insisting that the box office has been in a horrendous state of affairs this past year when, week in week out, I keep typing out Total Grosses that stretch into 9 figures for many films featured in this list…
7] Horrible Bosses 2
$4,630,000 / $43,601,000
I don’t really have anything to put here. Here’s an It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia clip instead.
8] Dumb And Dumber To
$2,757,000 / $82,117,000
This isn’t tracking particularly well overseas. Still, I do find it rather comforting that the only people who were crying out for a Dumb And Dumber sequel 20 years later are apparently all contained on one mass of land. Good to know the crazy is bottled up, kept from being spread, and not in control of anything particularly important.
9] The Theory Of Everything
$2,525,000 / $17,148,000
Adds 394 screens, to cross the 1,000 screen mark, makes less money than the week before. Maybe this signals the upcoming slide out of my goddamn chart! It’s all going to be OK, folks! It’s all going to be OK.
$1,550,000 / $2,423,000
The Dissolve’s Tasha Robinson, following on from her piece this past Summer about The Trinity Effect (which I referenced in this week’s DreamWorks Retrospective entry, *plugplug*), wrote an excellent piece last Monday about how the new breed of genuinely strong female characters are those that are relatively weak. You should go and read it. Like, right now. Don’t worry about missing anything, we’re done here for the week.
Dropped Out: Gone Girl, The Pyramid, Birdman
Self-fulfilling prophecy comes true as nothing really makes money or switches places since nothing came out, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Well. Hello, there. Welcome to the Box Office Report, I guess. How are you doing? Not too bad? That’s good to hear. Call your parents recently? See any movies this past weekend? No? Yeah, well, that’s you and everybody else, don’t fret. Post-Thanksgiving weekend is a dead zone according to studios, so nobody ever releases anything that weekend. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you ask me, but that’s how it is. Also means that nothing happened in the chart this week, which makes writing up this report rather pointless. I, however, have nothing better to do, so let’s see what scraps we can work with instead, eh?
Ooh, there were two new releases this past weekend! First off we have The Pyramid, a dreadful looking and barely marketed horror movie crapped out at the beginning of December because it’s not like there’s any better weekend for it. Dumped into 589 screens to die a painful death, it did meh-y, raking in $1.3 million for ninth place and a $2,292 per-screen average. Second off we have Wild, an adaptation of the memoir of the same name about a woman who did a solo 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Coast Trail in order to better herself as a human being and deal with her traumatic life beforehand. Notice how I didn’t make any jokes, there? I am capable of compassion! Anyways, opening on 21 screens, the Reese Witherspoon-starring, Nick Hornby-adapted, Jean-Marc Vallee-directed awards season contender managed a very great $630,000 and a per-screen average of $30,000.
In expanding news, The Imitation Game doubled its screens to 8 and managed another $402,000 for a per-screen average of $50,250. The Homesman jumped up a good 104 screens to 154 total and banked a good $501,000 for the weekend, although its per-screen average was a decidedly not-good $3,253. The Babadook, meanwhile, terrified 19 new screens, bringing its total up to 22 and a weekend haul of $66,600. I will refrain from making the obvious hack joke to instead sadly inform you that the thing’s per-screen average is still only $3,027, which at least is slightly more than The Pyramid’s if nothing else.
And… yeah, that’s about it. Everything else that’s worth mentioning is located in the Top 10 and I don’t much fancy blowing my material all early. Also, Penguins Of Madagascar collapsed 56% between weekends and is now pretty much guaranteed not to cross $100 million. That is really bad news for both DreamWorks as a whole – Christ, even Mr. Peabody & Sherman crossed $100 mil domestic and that was their lowest non-Antz CG earner ever – and for the movie – which is one of the absolute best animated films released this year. For f*ckssake, America, can’t you at least try making decent animated movies successful!? If this ends up finishing lower than The Nut Job domestically, then I am going to take out a vendetta on the lot of you. First The Boxtrolls, then The Book Of Life, now this! When will the bad public film-skipping choices end?!
This Full List… Nope, I got no particularly great puns for this week. Such is the state of the chart. Let’s just get on with it.
Box Office Results: Friday 5th December 2014 – Sunday 7th December 2014
1] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$21,600,000 / $257,700,000
I have actually had a desire to go and see this again recently. A real full-on, “I should find time to go and see this again” desire. Consider me completely amazed at this development. Of course, I’m not sure how much of that is just down to that “Hanging Tree” song randomly worming its way into my brain at every opportunity, but it’s there none the less. I’m referring to both the desire and the song. “Are you, are you…”
2] Penguins Of Madagascar
$11,100,000 / $49,591,000
Saw it first thing on Friday, finished the review the same day, was posted on Saturday, obviously. I loved this movie and need to find the time to go and see it again. Seriously, I haven’t had this much pure fun in a cinema since Lucy, which doesn’t sound like that long but one needs to remember that fun has been in rather short supply this past year in film, so a film that is pure fun is going to get a very high grade from yours truly. Also, my heart went all fuzzy and warm whenever something nice happened to Private and I liked that feeling.
3] Horrible Bosses 2
$8,600,000 / $36,075,000
A pretty strong hold – only a 44% drop – which doesn’t sound too bad until one remembers that the film opened to $15 million and that this thing will be very lucky if it crosses $60 million. Ah, well, least everybody realised they could just stay home and watch It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Netflix instead! I call that a win!
4] Big Hero 6
$8,130,000 / $177,548,000
My local Cineworld now has a big inflatable Baymax stood up in some out-of-reach corner of the lobby to advertise this film and it is so freakin’ adorable! I just want to take it home with me, install it in the corner of my uni apartment and give it hugs whenever I feel close to down!
$8,000,000 / $158,657,000
It’s within spitting distance of $600 mil overall, with China and South Korea going wild for the thing, so I think it’s safe to say that Christopher Nolan’s box office rep isn’t going to take that big of a hit after this is all said and done. Weirdly, in real life, most everybody I’ve talked to loves the heck out of this movie and my “Eeeehhhh” keeps getting misconstrued as pure outright hate for the thing. It’s weird, what did I not get when I saw the film?
6] Dumb And Dumber To
$4,169,000 / $78,081,000
Only one more weekend left to go until I get to join in with everyone’s strangely high disappointment to this thing! I mean, it’s a 20 years’ late sequel to a comedy film, The Farrelly Brothers haven’t made anything worthwhile in over a decade, Peter Farrelly helped mastermind Movie 43… and you actually thought this was going to be good? That’s just wilful ignorance, is what that is.
7] The Theory Of Everything
$2,688,000 / $13,613,000
… … … … … That’s how little I care about this thing.
8] Gone Girl
$1,500,000 / $162,861,000
If you had told me back in September that Gone Girl would be one of the year’s most successful films financially and would even make it to double digits on the “Weeks In The Top 10” counter, I genuinely would not have believed you. Yet, that is the world we live in because sometimes, just sometimes, good and just things occur. If it makes it to 11 weeks, I will be utterly astounded but I don’t think it will. Thanks for everything, Gone Girl! Sorry about Life Itself stealing the “My Favourite Film Of The Year” title from you!
9] The Pyramid
$1,350,000 / NEW
Well, that looks like yet another indistinguishable crappy horror movie crapped out for a quick buck! Guess we’ll just mov… wait… is that James Buckley?! Is that… no! No! Jay from The Inbetweeners is not in this thing! He can’t be! He jus… WHAT?!
$1,150,000 / $18,919,000
It’s going to be between this and Boyhood for all Best Picture awards this season, isn’t it? Brilliant. I look forward to seeing Birdman, disliking it immensely and therefore just not giving a shit about all award bodies this coming January and February! I kid, of course; I really want Birdman to be good and I’ve got a good feeling about it! I just really, really, really, really dislike Boyhood and the fact that it’s guaranteed all of the awards forever irritates the living hell out of me. I really want to be proven wrong on this, but we all know what award bodies are like.
Dropped Out: St. Vincent (which was fantastic, by the by)
Mockingjay insults the rest of the chart, Penguins Of Madagascar smile and wave goodbye to a lot of money, nobody particularly like Horrible Bosses now, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
This past weekend, Americans were witness to a dystopian future. One with barely restrained tensions, majorly unfair financial differences, and a complete lack of fairness and generosity. These disparate groups would congregate under one roof to try and make it through proceedings in a civilised fashion, until one side insulted Peeta at which point all bets were off. Proceedings were violent, conflicts escalated, both sides exited wondering who had really won that round, filled with feelings of unsatisfaction, like the resolution had been postponed for another year or something. But enough about Thanksgiving with your family. At the box office, much like my joke construction, The Hunger Games repeated its Thanksgiving first place status to diminishing returns with Mockingjay, Part 1 taking home $56 million this year. Expect history to repeat itself next year and for me to basically copy-paste this dreadfully unfunny paragraph again in the hopes that you won’t notice.
It’s not like Mockingjay, Part 1 had much in the way of competition, though. Continuing an absolutely dismal year for DreamWorks Animation, Penguins Of Madagascar decidedly underwhelmed in its opening weekend. Even with the 5-Day Thanksgiving bump, it could only manage $36 million. Without it, that’s $25 million over the weekend which, for a spin-off of one of the few remaining cash-cows that DreamWorks has and as promoted to hell and back as this film has been, is dismal. The one saving grace for the film is that Annie and Night At The Museum 3 aren’t out for another 3 weeks, so there’s still a chance that it can make up some of that cash before it gets dogpiled. I’m sorry, you were expecting snark? Nope, no snark here, this news genuinely bums me out and has me majorly worried considering the position DreamWorks is in right now.
Still, could be worse. You could be Horrible Bosses 2. Yes, the widely-trashed comedy sequel that quite literally nobody was ever asking for didn’t do so hot. Over the five-day weekend, it barely reached $23 million and over three days it could only make $15.7 million for fifth place. Yeah, safe to say we are all being spared from Horrible Bosses 3: The Final Chapter, Part 1. What we are unfortunately not being spared from, however, is The Theory Of Everything which went nationwide this past weekend and managed to bank $5 million from 800-odd screens. If Eddie Redmayne takes the Best Actor Oscar from Dan Stevens in The Guest (or Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler), then tables will be flipped. Just warning you Academy; you don’t want no part of this shit.
In more limited release news, The Imitation Game finally reached American shores this weekend and the typical Weinstein push ensured a very solid opening. $482,000 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $120,500, putting it only behind The Grand Budapest Hotel in Best Limited Release Openings of 2014, is most definitely more than “very solid”. One can only imagine how the latter film would have done if it had a legion of Benedict Cumberbatch fangirls and fanboys filling the back rows with their… Yeah, OK, I’m just going to move on. Foxcatcher added another 48 theatres to its run and broke past $1 million, meaning we should see it in the Top 10 soon enough. The Babadook, meanwhile, finally got a release in America and it did OK: $27,000 from 3 theatres for a per-screen average of You Do The Math. In other words, it’s The Guest all over again. Goddammit.
This Full List is gonna take ya riiii-ght in-to the DANGER ZONE!!
Box Office Results: Friday 28th November 2014 – Sunday 30th November 2014
1] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$56,875,000 / $225,693,000
Have you heard the CHVRCHES track from the Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack, yet? If not, go do so immediately! It is SO GOOD! Like, “this could’ve gone on their debut album” good, and The Bones Of What You Believe is a bloody damn good album! In fact, from what I’ve experienced of the soundtracks to all three films so far, everybody brings their A-game when they’re called upon for a track. Nobody coasts. I love that about them. Think it’s time I took the plunge and bought the lot.
2] Penguins Of Madagascar
$25,800,000 / $36,000,000 / NEW
Friday. It’s out here Friday, I am seeing it first thing Friday, I will not go to bed that day until there is a review ready to run on Saturday. I’m genuinely really excited for this. In the meanwhile, the DreamWorks! A Retrospective archive is here. Go amuse yourself and make me feel like I haven’t wasted 5 months of my life.
3] Big Hero 6
$18,770,000 / $167,209,000
Only a 7% drop between weekends, which is pretty darn astou-WHY IS THIS MOVIE NOT IN FRONT OF MY EYEBALLS RIGHT NOW?!! IT’S NOT FAIR!! (*proceeds to have a mini-breakdown*)
$15,800,000 / $147,090,000
I would really like to go and see this again on the big screen for a second try, especially since I’m still not 100% solid on my opinions on it. However, six films are coming out this week in the UK and I have way too much work to do to find time to see it again. Plus, I have to give up a good 15 hours of my life to The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit in the next 11 days. I genuinely don’t have the time.
5] Horrible Bosses 2
$15,700,000 / $23,010,000 / NEW
Saw it on Friday and I’ll see if I can find time to get a review out – I’m currently working on one for Paddington in between essay work, DreamWorks work, other articles, and social commitments so this will more than likely fall by the wayside – but the skinny is this: I laughed a good consistent amount, but it is still an utterly pointless sequel and it drops the ball and crosses the line on the Julia stuff spectacularly. Think of it as the American equivalent of The Inbetweeners 2 and you’re about there. If you have nothing better to do or just want to get some easy laughs for 100-odd minutes, this is fine but it’s still ultimately pointless.
6] Dumb And Dumber To
$8,295,000 / $72,205,000
So… Jim Carrey’s not making a full-on box office comeback, is he? (*dejected sigh*)
7] The Theory Of Everything
$5,082,000 / $9,604,000
Still refuse to believe that this is anything other than dreadfully mediocre slop. Still can’t be proven right or wrong until New Year’s Day. Still going to bitch and moan about its existence until then.
8] Gone Girl
$2,470,000 / $160,557,000
I was going to say that we must bid adieu to Gone Girl, but then I looked at the release schedule for next week and saw that nothing at all is coming out. Wild is only in 5 theatres, and The Pyramid is being sent to die on 550 screens, like Fox have been reading the signs with regards to Horror films at the box office this past year or something. So, we’ve got one more week before this inexplicably long-lasting flick finally drops out. Seriously, I love this film to death and I have absolutely no idea how it has managed to make over $330 million worldwide.
$1,880,000 / $17,237,400
10] St. Vincent
$1,773,000 / $39,327,000
So maybe it won’t have the courtesy to stick around for its UK release after all. That sounds very much like Bill Murray. Always leaving the parties that he crashes before I have the chance to book the plane ticket to take me there! That prankster! Of course, this joke only works if I actually went to parties and nobody ever invites me to theirs because I’m… I’m… (*breaks down sobbing*)
Dropped Out: Beyond The Lights, Fury
Mockingjay fails to catch Fire – a headline that literally every other writer has already used in a week where literally nothing else happened, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Well… Er… Hi. … … …how are you all doing? I am tired, I will tell you that much. I’m currently running on less than six hours sleep, and that is currently the lowest reason on my list as to why I could faceplant this keyboard at any second today. My life has just been non-stop these past few weeks, just one thing after another like “boom, boom, boom” without stopping. So many commitments, films to see, articles to write, essays to prep and pen, lectures to attend, radio stuff to thing-that-you-do-to-stuff… is this what being a responsible adult is like? I both hate and love it, I’ll tell you that much. Anyways, I still have a written review to crank out and a radio show to do before I can collapse onto my bed, so let’s just get this blasted article done and over with, eh?
The good news for my slowly vacating sanity, and my long vacated energy, is that there was literally only one release this past weekend. Seriously; just the one. No other saturation releases, no wide, no limited, nothing. Everything else vacated November the 21st of 2014 in order to avoid The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. For comparison’s sake, there will be two big saturation releases going up against The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies this December. That should demonstrate just how commanding an amount of power that The Hunger Games currently has, as every other release possible went “f*ck that noise!” and upped sticks. Mockingjay, Part 1, then, would prove just how much those fears were worth by underwhelming majorly opening weekend.
Now, of course, I need to specify that a $123 million opening weekend – the biggest that we have seen, and will see, all year – is not in itself underwhelming. I mean, $123 million is a lot to the likes of you and I. Unfortunately, though, we have to look at that opening through Hollywood Accounting in order to understand why people aren’t exactly rushing to break out the party poppers. For one, there’s the fact that many people had predicted Mockingjay, Part 1 to open in the $150 million range, so seeing it come up short, and so thoroughly at that, is gonna sting. For two, the previous Hunger Games both opened in the $150 mil range, and third instalments in popular franchises are supposed to not retreat so much opening weekend. For three, it didn’t magically cure Hollywood’s haemorrhaging money problem that’s been plaguing it all year, so f*ck the film.
So, yes, unfortunately The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is a major financial failure. That $123 million domestic and $152 million overseas – which combine to already make both this and Part 2 break even financially – means absolutely nothing. Jennifer Lawrence’s box office clout has been majorly hit, Lionsgate stock is plummeting to an all-time low, Elizabeth Banks will never be involved in another movie ever again because this is all her fault somehow, and it seems that the search for the next true successor to the box office invincibility that Harry Potter held for a full decade goes on!
I mean, that’s what I’m supposed to write, yeah? Because we can’t just congratulate the thing and realise that this dip only exists because it’s “Part 1 of 2”, can we? We have to get out the Doom Parade and have a whinge and a moan, don’t we? I mean, Christ, lighten up, would ya? Sure, it’s been a bad year at the box office. Let’s maybe temper the gloom with some positivity about the few films that are actually making money, eh? Instead of crying about successful movies that make executives rich arseholes not being mega-successful movies that make executives even richer arseholes.
This Full List is locking up everyone that ever laid a finger on it.
Box Office Results: Friday 21st November 2014 – Sunday 23rd November 2014
1] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$123,000,000 / NEW
Saw this Thursday, review will be up tomorrow at some point. Short version: loved what I got, but its one flaw is major, near-fatal, and right there in the title.
2] Big Hero 6
$20,086,000 / $135,708,000
If you live in America and have seen this, know that I hate you. Nothing personal, and I love the fact that you’re making Disney films mega-smashes again, but I am stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic being punished for something severe that I must’ve done in a past life, and so can’t see this until January as I will keep complaining about until somebody at Disney FIXES THE GODDAMN ISSUE!!
Also, turns out that The Wild, which wasn’t even made by them, is in the Disney Animated Classics canon in the UK. I’ll have to tell you about that sometime.
$15,100,000 / $120,692,000
I wrote a piece last Thursday where I lamented the lack of notable scores from 2014, and somebody wrote back listing a good 4 more than the ones I put in my article. Whilst I appreciate his disagreement and concede that none of the scores he listed jumped out at me during the viewing of those films in question, I think he may have missed the point. It’s not that 2014 hasn’t had any good scores, it’s that the majority of cinema for a good while now hasn’t bothered to try to create scores with any distinct personality. There are exceptions to the rule, but that’s what they are: exceptions, and I want those exceptions to become more frequent than they currently are.
That, or my article was terribly written and I was talking out of my arse. … …it’s probably the second one.
4] Dumb And Dumber To
$13,820,000 / $57,473,000
Mega-steep 62% drop between weekends signalling that everybody has wizened up to the fact that The Farrelly Brothers have been incapable of creating anything good for, ooh, 13 or 14 years now. You know, in case the fact that Peter Farrelly was the diabolical monster responsible for helping Movie 43 come together hadn’t already given that away.
5] Gone Girl
$2,185,000 / $156,823,000
You know what’s amazing? This is Gone Girl’s eighth straight week in the Top Five. You know what’s pretty much unbelievable? I think I’ve found a film from this year that I love more than it. Stay tuned to the site this week, you’ll know when the relevant review goes up.
6] Beyond The Lights
$2,630,000 / $10,124,000
I got nuthin’. Moving on…
7] St. Vincent
$2,354,000 / $36,613,000
I have no idea how this has managed to hang around in the Top 10 for so long. I really, really don’t. Hey! Maybe it’ll stick around for another two weeks, when it actually comes out in the UK and I can therefore actually talk about it, instead of just spouting nonsense! Wouldn’t that be something?
$1,900,000 / $79,150,000
In the most tenuous link possible – Fury, The Furious Five – allow me to use this space to ask you to check out this week’s entry into the DreamWorks Animation Retrospective, Kung Fu Panda! In fact, if you have a spare afternoon or, more accurately, a spare day, why not get caught up on the series so far? Seriously, I put a hell of a lot of effort into those and am really proud of how most of them have turned out – and I am never proud of anything I ever do, so this means a lot – so if you could take time out to give them a read and fling feedback or insults my way, it would be highly appreciated!
$1,855,000 / $14,407,000
So, I guess this isn’t going to break out of the art scene, after all. Figured as much. More pertinent question, is Birdman in any way related to Dayman? These are the questions that need answering, folks!
10] The Theory Of Everything
$1,500,000 / $2,796,000
This film is sh*t until it can prove itself otherwise. Unfortunately for it, the UK release date is New Year’s Day, so I have plenty more time to rag on just how absolutely putrid this film looks until then!
Dropped Out: Nightcrawler, Ouija
Dumb and Dumber audiences turn up in droves for Dumb And Dumber To, Beyond The Lights exists an imaginary pile of cash, Christmas is doomed, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Surprisingly, it turns out that the audience size for a sequel to Dumb & Dumber is about equal to that of the audience for a second week Disney film, which I genuinely did not see coming. Dumb And Dumber To ended up taking the top spot this weekend with about $38 million in ticket sales, just $2 million more than what Big Hero 6 managed. For those wondering, my surprise keeps alternating between “that many people turned up for a 20 years later sequel to Dumb And Dumber?” and “only that many people turned up for a 20 years later sequel to Dumb And Dumber?” I dunno. I’m in shock, I just don’t know what I’m in shock at.
In any case, unlike next week, there was more than one new release this weekend. With regards to the wide releases, bottom of the pack was Beyond The Lights – a film whose trailer just caused me to vomit profusely in sickening anger – which could only manage a very mediocre $6.5 million from 1,800 screen for a distant fourth place. Birdman continued its slow expansion nationwide and managed to crack the Top 10, albeit with about the same haul as last week but in more theatres. Whiplash, meanwhile, continues to be punished for NOT BEING IN FRONT OF MY EYEBALLS RIGHT NOW DAMMIT by struggling to find a non-arthouse audience – its expansion to 441 theatres could only manage $801,000.
In limited release land, we have a pair of successes, an OK performer, and a hilarious failure in more ways than one. Most successful of the lot was the speculative fiction drama Foxcatcher which rode a near-literal wave of buzz and good press to a weekend total of $288,000 from six theatres – a ridiculous per-screen average of $48,000. Performing much less great than that – but still great, it must be said – is the Tommy Lee Jones-directed western drama The Homesman which managed a very respectable $48,000 from 4 screens for a $12,000 per-screen average. Whilst in expanding news, The Theory Of Everything infected another 36 theatres and raked in an average of $18,000 from each of them. Yes, I do think that film looks insufferable, don’t act surprised.
Elsewhere, John Stewart of The Daily Show (as every mention of his name must be suffixed with by royal decree) released his directorial debut this past weekend and Rosewater did… OK. It managed $1.2 million from 371 theatres for a per-screen average of $3,325, which is OK. Not great, not poor, OK. It’s fine, could’ve been better but still enough to crack the Top 15. Much less OK, and more closer to straight up “bomb” territory, was Saving Christmas which could only manage $1,012,000 from 410 screens for a dismal $2,468 per-screen average. This means that either Americans don’t give a sh*t about the threat that faces Christmas, or that stoners who want to laugh at inept entertainment with no redeemable value except MST3K sessions were too busy staying at home watching Adult Swim. In either case, America is doomed.
Oh, and The Book Of Life collapsed out of the Top 10 because you people hate good movies.
This Full List is Dumberer than the other box office reports you could be reading elsewhere. Also, it just reminded you that Dumb And Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd existed and now you hate life.
Box Office Results: Friday 14th November 2014 – Sunday 16th November 2014
1] Dumb And Dumber To
$38,053,000 / NEW
So the film that my Secondary School Physics teacher would throw on almost quite literally whenever he couldn’t be bothered to teach us finally got a sequel, eh? Well, if it leads to a late-career resurgence for Jim Carrey then I won’t complain. I still really like Jim Carrey and that streak he had in the mid-to-late 90s still predominately holds up! I’d like to see him get one last run at the spotlight.
2] Big Hero 6
$36,010,000 / $111,653,000
There are people on this world that do not like The Emperor’s New Groove. I do not know who these people are or why they are incapable of experiencing joy, but they exist and I want nothing to do with them. I defy you to watch scenes like this, or this, or this without cracking a smile at least once – I think science has deemed doing so to be physically impossible.
$29,190,000 / $97,810,000
Not too bad a drop, quite frankly, especially considering the near-non-stop toxic word-of-mouth on this thing. Look, folks, I am not Interstellar’s biggest fan either – I barely think it’s good, even if I did enjoy it – but maybe calm the vitriol somewhat, eh? It’s not the worst film ever, it’s nowhere near the worst film this year! It’s just a rather disappointing mess that tried to do too much and failed in its lofty ambitions. Perspective, people!
Now, if you wanna talk Worst Film Of The Year candidates, let me talk to you about Nativity! 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?!…
4] Beyond The Lights
$6,500,000 / NEW
Will this be the next Ride Along or the next Obsessed? Well, which do you think it’s going to be? Come on.
5] Gone Girl
$4,625,000 / $152,699,000
Rosamund Pike is not going to get a Best Actress nomination, is she? Let’s get real, we all know that the Academy are not going to go for Gone Girl, despite the fact that I still haven’t seen anything that comes even slightly close to its level so far this year. Since we all know that Scarlett Johannson getting a Best Actress nomination – let alone deservedly running away with the statue before the nominees have even been announced – for Under The Skin isn’t happening, Pike would have been my backup “I approve” choice. But, again, getting realistic, that probably isn’t going to happen. Siiiigh…
6] St. Vincent
$4,025,000 / $33,258,000
You should really listen to St. Vincent’s self-titled album if you haven’t already. It’s one of the best albums of the year.
$3,810,000 / $75,941,000
I… err… don’t really have anything to put here. What can I say? Not every film has an endless bountiful stream of material to mine on a week-by-week basis. And so it goes.
$3,038,000 / $25,000,000
Going back to the cinema to see this again on Tuesday. I’ve wanted to go and see it again for a good while now, but I have just been way too busy and way too swamped. Bright side: cinema screen should basically be empty! Woo! In the meanwhile, and on a related note, Matt Lambourne has a short piece on why we are all to blame for his crappy movie choices up on the site if you have a spare five minutes.
$3,025,000 / $48,105,000
Oh, just fuck off.
$2,450,000 / $11,575,000
As I mentioned last week, this doesn’t hit the UK until January. You know what else I found out doesn’t hit the UK until next year? Chris Rock’s Top Five which looks brilliant and doesn’t get here until March. MARCH. I’ll tell you right now, Penguins Of Madagascar better be next-level amazing because it’s the sole thing making up for this incredibly dull-looking Rest Of 2014 Schedule for me.
Dropped Out: John Wick, Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, The Book Of Life
Interstellar’s opening isn’t so stellar, Big Hero $56 million, The Theory Of Everything lacks an easy pun for this headline, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
A lot of people, myself included, felt that Disney were signing Big Hero 6’s death warrant when they chose to schedule it directly against Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. I mean, it’s Christopher Nolan! You all have seen how much his last films made, right? I get the idea of counter-programming, but Nolan films are events, and you, Disney, have only just solidified your second renaissance! Are you insane?! Those fears, however, conveniently forgot one key part of this equation: Disney always wins. Disney. Always. Wins. No matter how long it takes, no matter the force against them; Disney will always win.
And win they did, quite handily at that. Big Hero 6 opened in first at an excellent $56 million estimated, the second biggest opening for an animated film in 2014 only behind The Lego Movie. Interstellar had to settle for an estimated $50 million, one that more than likely will not hold when the actuals come in, which puts it below Inception, Gravity and even Prometheus – as Box Office Mojo notes, likely whilst applying salt liberally to the film’s various wounds. If one were to include Wednesday and Thursday IMAX-only screenings, then the total would rise to $52 million, but we don’t include such cheat tactics around these here parts! This is the weekend Box Office Report and, last I checked, the weekend doesn’t include Wednesday or Thursday! Nice try, Nolan! Thanks for playing!
Activity elsewhere on the chart is limited, as seemingly everybody else realised that they have better things to do than be crushed by Disney and Nolan and so got the hell out of dodge whilst they were still able to do so. The one major release was the none-more-blatant piece of awards bait known as The Theory Of Everything, in which Eddie Redmayne metaphorically gets down on his hands and knees and begs for awards by playing Stephen Hawking in a biopic about his life. So, naturally, the film also did pretty great in limited release, as folks cued up to have an opinion to spout come Oscars time, taking $207,000 from 5 screens for a $41,400 per-screen average.
That just leaves a trio of documentaries that were likely dumped here because all the prime spots on the release schedule were taken. Doing the best in terms of pure gross, primarily because it played in the most amount of theatres, was On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, a pseudo-sequel to the 1971 Steve McQueen-fronted doc, which took $344,000 from 231 screens (for a per-screen average of $1,489) full of people with nothing better to do that given Sunday. Next, and most successful in terms of per-screen gross, was National Gallery which made $9,700 from 1 theatre full of people who couldn’t be arsed to just book a plane ticket to London and see the place in person. Finally, Death Metal Angola, about soft rock in the Maldives, made $2,500 from 1 screen populated with people who had a very strangely specific urge that needed scratching.
This Full List is really rather pissed that Big Hero 6 is giving the UK a miss. Hey, that rhymed sorta!
Box Office Results: Friday 7th November 2014 – Sunday 9th November 2014
1] Big Hero 6
$56,200,000 / NEW
Yup, you heard that right! Big Hero 6 doesn’t hit the UK until January of next year, adding to a pile that already includes Whiplash, John Wick, Inherent Vice, Birdman, Foxcatcher and a hell of a lot more. That also means that the only film I’m really excited for from now until the end of the year is – and I kid you not here – Penguins Of Madagascar. Look, American studio execs, I get that you want to capitalise on the inevitable awards hype that all of these films are going to get, and I get that we forcibly colonised your country one f*cking time, but come on! There are giant empty gaps in our release schedules that are being plugged with dreck like a third goddamn Nativity movie! You can do better, dammit!
$50,000,000 / $52,151,000 / NEW
Owen has reviewed it here because I am way too busy to crank out a review right now. But also because, honestly, I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. I did enjoy it, but the film is incredibly fatally flawed in ways that are too numerous and lengthy to explain here. I’ll try and find time go into detail on it at some point, but for now I will say that Hans Zimmer’s score is absolutely atrocious, like a church orchestra that’s being disembowelled and expressing the feelings of said disembowelling via their instruments as they slowly bleed out.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that “overwrought” doesn’t even begin to cover it, and I’m pretty sure the guy in charge of the organ dropped dead at some point and nobody bothered to move his corpse from the keys he face-planted.
3] Gone Girl
$6,100,000 / $145,428,000
I have a friend who works at a cinema and she managed to snag me a Gone Girl poster from work today. I have good friends.
$6,017,000 / $43,472,000
The fact that this hasn’t sunk like a stone since its release genuinely confuses the hell out of me. Like, nobody liked this one, critics and audiences, so who’s still going to this?
5] St. Vincent
$5,707,000 / $27,356,000
Chris O’Dowd’s slow breakthrough into America is one of the more bewildering things that I have come across recently. I mean this in a good way, for once, though. I like Chris O’Dowd, I think he’s a funny actor – although Moone Boy did quite literally nothing for me – but I thought he’d be an exclusively British thing. You know, like how Steve Coogan has never broken through into the US despite being STEVE F*CKING COOGAN?
$5,512,000 / $19,756,000
OUCH. I mean, I really should’ve seen this coming, Nightcrawler is not exactly the kind of film that will sit well with general audiences, but still. This really isn’t the fate that one of the year’s best films deserves. It might survive next week, as Dumb And Dumber To is the only wide release that will make money, but this still deserves way more love. If you’ve yet to see it, go now!
$5,500,000 / $69,268,000
This was pretty darn great. Took a while to warm up and ultimately didn’t do much that many other war dramas haven’t already done better, but its cast is great, its individual scenes are really good, and the whole is the sum of its pretty good parts. Glad to see that Sabotage appeared to be a fluke for David Ayer after all!
8] John Wick
$4,075,000 / $34,745,000
Wha…? Huh…? Wh…? IT’S JOHN WICK, YOU GUYS!! I don’t even know you people anymore.
9] Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
$3,495,000 / $59,208,000
Yes, I did end up seeing this. No, it wasn’t awful. I mean, it’s not that good, but it is pacey, incredibly earnest, and has committed performances from a game cast. It’s that earnestness that keeps it from being an intolerable slog, because the film is that happy and sincere that it overwhelms any cynical boundaries. It’s not a good film, we can’t forget that, but it’s not an awful one so I’m willing to chalk this up as the most minor win possible.
10] The Book Of Life
$2,800,000 / $45,215,000
This has yet to cross $80 million worldwide. Why do you people hate nice things?
Dropped Out: The Judge, Dracula Untold