Tag Archives: If I Stay

US Box Office Report: 26/9/14 – 28/9/14

The Equalizer has no equal, The Boxtrolls live underneath The Maze Runner, take Pride in that film’s per-screen average, these are some of the worst puns you will see all week, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Now that that awful headline has chased off anybody without a strong enough constitution, let’s get down to business.  The Equalizer is your new number one with $34 million in ticket sales and a per-screen average of over $10,000.  You know, despite it looking like garbage.  Still, that didn’t stop it becoming the fourth-highest September opening in history behind Hotel Transylvania, Insidious: Chapter Two, and Sweet Home Alabama which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be googling right now to find out what the hell that was.  Chalk up the success to the presence of Denzel Washington, the Patron Saint of movies that inexplicably make a lot of money despite immediately fading from memory after viewing.  Don’t believe me?  OK, then: what year did 2 Guns come out?  The correct answer was August of last year, not that you’d get that seeing as you actually had to google 2 Guns to remember what it was.

As for the week’s other new release, The Boxtrolls, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that the film now has the second biggest opening for a stop-motion animated film ever, behind Chicken Run, said opening is more than the ones for both Coraline and ParaNorman, and the lack of any family-focussed films on the release docket for next week gives it a strong chance of holding well!  The bad news is that it opened in third with only $17 million in ticket sales.  Again, that’s still a lot considering the genre, but, dammit, Laika deserve even more success!  I may be a bit more down on The Boxtrolls than most people, but it’s still better than most animated films I’ve seen so far this year and the company deserve a full-blown financial success after the outstanding ParaNorman barely broke even!

In limited release town: The Skeleton Twins began its move towards a wide-ish release by expanding to 385 theatres and netting a total of $1.231 million from them, for a decent per-screen average of $3,200.  Christian (the faith, not the professional wrestler) musical-drama The Song hit many bum notes on the 340 screens it infected, taking only $568,596.  Más Negro Que La Noche, a Mexican remake of the 1975 Mexican horror film of the same name (so never let it be said that only the American film industry is out of ideas), did slightly better by netting $550,000 from 178 screens.

The real winner, though, was Pride, which began its charm offensive on the American shores with a measly 6 screens.  It more than made the most of them, though, raking in a per-screen average of $13,662 for a weekend total of $81,971.  Some box office reporting outlets describe this success as “decent”, seemingly forgetting that not every limited release is a f*cking Wes Anderson project that can rack up a $200,000+ per-screen average from 4 cinemas.  Pride expands a bit further in a couple of weeks and, if you’re not sold to go and see it just yet, here’s my review to persuade you to part with your cash.  See what I did there?  Seamless, wasn’t it?

Also, If I Stay decided not to this week.  I am absolutely not a hack writer.


the equalizer

The enjoyment that you will derive from this Full List is equal to or greater than your appreciation for those four prior paragraphs.

Box Office Results: Friday 26th September 2014 – Sunday 28th September 2014

1] The Equalizer

$34,137,828 / NEW

There should be a review of this up soon somewhere on here, although not by me as I haven’t seen it yet.  Cut me some slack, I was busy last weekend and, besides, this looks like garbage.  I mean, that clearly hasn’t stopped me from going to anything this past year, as you may be able to tell, but everything I hear about this film just fills me with dread and bile.  Ugh, just bring on Gone Girl already, please.

2] The Maze Runner

$17,437,020 / $57,955,347

Only a 46% drop between weekends which bodes incredibly well for its long-term financial prospects.  And it’s also apparently pretty good?  That last part bodes well for its critical prospects with myself, but we’ll have to see.  Besides, it’s not like I’m not seeing it in two weeks.  What am I gonna skip it for?  Annabelle?  In the words of one Lana Kane: NNNOOOOPPEE!

3] The Boxtrolls

$17,275,239 / NEW

Dammit, people!  “Good, not great” does not equate to “skip it almost entirely”!  In fact, what do you all seem to have against stop-motion animation?  Not one has been able to break past the $18 million opening barrier (unless you count the wide-release expansion of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride which, as you may have already guessed, I do not); what gives?  Why are you not enamoured by the medium?  What, do you hate seeing love, effort and attention being lavished on every frame?  Look, I am not leaving here until I get answers as to why The Motherf*cking Nut Job opened with more cashola than The Boxtrolls did!

4] This Is Where I Leave You

$6,894,340 / $22,441,091

Now, on the one hand, this film has only had a 40% drop between weekends.  On the other hand, there’s a difference between third and fourth place of over $10 million.  I’m just saying, it looks bad.

5] Dolphin Tale 2

$4,788,153 / $33,618,190

Oh, Christ, I have to watch the first one of these before Friday, don’t I?  Dammit, I don’t have time!  I have been busy!  I still am busy!  Why did there have to be a sequel to Dolphin Tale, for f*ckssake?!

6] No Good Deed

$4,509,127 / $46,532,221

Well, it could be worse.  It could be a film version of Kevin Williamson’s new TV show, Stalker.

7] A Walk Among The Tombstones

$4,192,785 / $20,830,290

An almost literal plummeting of 67%.  Seems like Liam Neeson will not be becoming the next Denzel Washington any time soon.  Both with regards to box office and also with regards to the fact that, for the most part, his films are actually good.  Yeah, I went there.

8] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$3,765,941 / $319,169,216

Now officially the third highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe film domestically, having passed the original Iron Man last weekend.  Worldwide, it’s still only at number five, but it should pass Thor: The Dark World soon enough, seeing as there is still the very lucrative China market still to go.  On a related note: man, did Thor: The Dark World have foreign legs or what?  I mean, I loved it (unlike pretty much everyone else I talked to) but I didn’t picture it as the kind of film that would do as extremely well as it did.

9] Let’s Be Cops

$1,516,021 / $79,628,884

This is still making money?  How?!  Who in their right mind decides, on the seventh week of its release, to go and see Let’s Be Cops again, or even for the first time?  What, did those involved go, “Well, Ferguson has been on the back-burner for a while, I can watch this without it weighing on my conscience” or something?  Cos, news flash, that’s still going too!  Never let it be said that this feature doesn’t keep you in the loop with regards to current events.

10] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$1,450,177 / $187,182,309

Go, ninja, go, ninja, go!  Go, ninja, go, ninja, go!  Far, far, far, far, far away, if possible, please.

Dropped Out: The Drop, If I Stay

Callum Petch can only ask himself, oh where you all are going.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 19/9/14 – 21/9/14

The Maze Runner out-runs the competition, audiences leave This Is Where I Leave You, refuse to invite in The Guest, and ask Tusk to go away, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

In what should come as a surprise to pretty much no-one, giving audiences the opportunity to watch brand new movies at the cinema stimulates box office income.  Therefore, this past weekend was the most alive the American box office has been in a good month or so.  Leading the charge was The Maze Runner, working title “Attempt To Capture That Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games Lightning Again #749”, and its status as the first new Event Film to come along since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paid dividends as it cruised easily to first place with $32 million in ticket sales.  That’s a pretty good opening, although it’s nowhere close to Divergent levels ($50 mil) and I imagine that 20th Century Fox will have wanted it a bit higher in general.  That sequel is still going ahead, though, so I guess this is another bunch of interchangeable pretty faces and stupid character names that I’m going to have to learn.  Swell.

Fairing a lot worse, we have the Liam Neeson-fronted A Walk Among The Tombstones and perhaps Neeson-fatigue is setting in, as this one could only manage $13 million for second place.  Now, yes, that is a second place opening but, more importantly, that’s only $13 million.  Maybe people are just sick of seeing Liam Neeson vehicles every 12-or-so months, or maybe everybody saw the trailer and correctly said to themselves, “Great!  Thanks for that!  Now I don’t need to see the movie!”  Below that we have the Shawn Levy-directed dramedy This Is Where I Leave You, starring pretty much any well-liked American comedic actor primarily found on television that you can think of, which could only muster a little under $12 million in tickets and which continues Mr. Levy’s failed attempts to be seen as anything other than “The Director Of The Night At The Museum Movies”.

Meanwhile, artier cinemas practically groaned under the weight of new debuts filling their boots this past weekend.  Audiences of said cinemas proceeded to groan in exasperated derision in the general direction of Tusk, the first of what currently amounts to 4 films that Kevin Smith postponed his retirement to make (although, this being Kevin Smith, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number jump up to 11 by the time I finish this sentence).  Advertising was supposedly only focussed on Kevin Smith fans, and I get the feeling that an opening weekend total of $886,000 from 602 screens (for a per-screen average of $1,472) accurately displays the amount of patience that Kevin Smith fans have left for Kevin Smith nowadays.  Still, could be worse.  Could be an action film about 15 year-old yoga aficionados starring Johnny Depp, Johnny Depp’s daughter and Kevin Smith’s dau… that’s exactly what his next film is?  For fu…

In sadder limited release news; audiences, for some utterly bizarre reason, decided to collectively stay away from writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard’s latest, despite it being one of the best films of the year so far.  The Guest only managed to bank $82,100 from 19 screens for a per-screen average of $4,321, which is decidedly average.  Of course, if you add on Wednesday and Thursday, that total goes up to $111,700, but that’s still not enough for me, goddammit!  Everybody should watch The Guest al-frickin-ready!  Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, meanwhile, finally got its US debut this week and, fittingly for a Terry Gilliam movie where nothing seemed to go catastrophically wrong during the production process, it crashed and burned at cinemas with only $82,000 from 63 screens and a $1,302 per screen average because the man is CURSED!

Beating both of them in terms of audience demand was Hector & The Search For Happiness which took $46,000 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $11,500.  Goddammit, America.


THE MAZE RUNNER

Take a walk among the Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 19th September 2014 – Sunday 21st September 2014

1] The Maze Runner

$32,500,000 / NEW

OK, I was rather overly mean when I referred to The Maze Runner’s cast as “interchangeable pretty faces” earlier.  There are actually a fair few I recognise from other places.  Like, look, it’s Will Poulter from Son Of Rambow and Wild Bill (and also Plastic, which we don’t talk about)!  And there’s Thomas Sangster, otherwise known as Jojen from Game Of Thrones and Ferb from Phineas & Ferb!  Kaya Scodelario from Skins has found the vehicle to bring her worldwide mainstream attention!  So you know what?  Even if this film sucks uncontrollably (which it may not, it’s not out here in the UK for another three weeks), I’ll be glad it exists, letting me know that talented people are getting steady paycheques for the next few years!

2] A Walk Among The Tombstones

$13,126,000 / NEW

My review, for those of you who have seen the trailer but are still undecided.  Will point out that if you have seen the trailer, you have basically seen the movie.  The only things it doesn’t show, not kidding here, are the identities of the killers (which the film promptly gives up on hiding about 45 minutes in, anyway) and the fact that Brian “Astro” Bradley from Earth To Echo is also in this.  It’s not a bad film (it’s pretty good but totally forgettable), but there’s no reason to turn up if you only see films for the plot and have been exposed to the trailer.

3] This Is Where I Leave You

$11,860,000 / NEW

Disappointed to hear that this one is bad.  I realise that stacked casts mean absolutely nothing if the material isn’t fantastic or engaging (I learnt that one the hard way when Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy did absolutely nothing for me), but that still won’t stop me from being bummed out when I hear that a film with Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver and Jane Fonda is exactly as disappointing as the underwhelming trailer threatened it to be.

4] No Good Deed

$10,200,000 / $40,100,000

A pretty precipitous 58% drop between weekends, perhaps as word got around that the “GIANT SHOCKING TWIST” the marketing company pivoted the film on at the last minute could have been figured out by anyone within two minutes of hearing about the film’s premise.  I mean, take away the “GIANT SHOCKING TWIST” hook and all you’ve got to sell the film with is that it looks offensively awful which, as marketing hooks go, is not exactly a strong base to sucker punters in with.

5] Dolphin Tale 2

$9,005,000 / $27,070,000

Dolphin Tale 1 used its second weekend to leapfrog to the top of the chart.  Just saying: don’t expect a Dolphin Tale Part III.

6] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$5,180,000 / $313,669,000

So… what’s Chris Pratt’s flaw?  You know what I’m talking about.  The man’s pretty much perfect.  He’s a talented actor, he’s very funny, a total beefcake and a half, he’s charitable, he steals his costume from film sets so he can visit kid’s cancer wards dressed as said characters, and he can spit Eminem’s verse from Dr. Dre’s “Forgot About Dre” at double speed at the drop of a hat.  So, what’s his flaw?  What’s wrong with him?  Does he have a pile of dead bodies buried in his wine cellar?  If I have learnt anything these past few years, it’s that anybody who seems amazing or cool or perfect is actually a complete sh*tbag in some department!

Except Anna Kendrick.  For, as we all know, Anna Kendrick is a goddess who can do no wrong, sent down from heaven to remind us all that the world is not completely without merit.

7] Let’s Be Cops

$2,675,000 / $77,196,000

Well, this has been a pretty poor year for comedy, hasn’t it?  I count 22 Jump Street, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Bad Neighbours (and, if you really want to stretch the comedy definition, The Double) as the only ones that have been great, and everything else (with the exception of The Inbetweeners 2, which was just good) has been meh to awful.  I know that this is usually the ratio for comedy every year anyway, but it hurts extra bad this year because there have been so many of them.  You’d figure that at least a few more would hit it out of the park to some degree.

8] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$2,650,000 / $185,018,000

This list is based off of the Weekend Estimates and I expect that these two may actually swap positions when the Actuals come in, it being that close between the pair and all.  Do not expect me to update this list if they do, though.  My time is far too occupied with watching and writing about the crappy period in DreamWorks Animation’s lifespan to take 10 minutes out of my life to writing a new pithy addition should such a thing occur.  Accept it and move on.

9] The Drop

$2,050,000 / $7,690,000

Don’t make the obvious joke.  Don’t make the obvious joke.  Don’t make the obvious joke.

10] If I Stay

$1,835,000 / $47,672,000

Hey!  It actually outlasted The Fault In Our Stars after all!  Way to… go… bad movie… ah, crap.  At least Chloë Grace Moretz has a decently-performing box office success to add to her resume!  Now she can go back to starring in great movies that I li…  “She’s appearing in that dull-looking Denzel Washington-starring film reboot of The Equalizer next week?”  (*flips table in frustration and storms off*)

Dropped Out: The November Man, The Giver, The Hundred-Foot Journey

Callum Petch is trying to cuss and see, trying to figure it out.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 12/9/14 – 14/9/14

No Good Deed goes without an accompanying first-place victory, America shrugs at Atlas Shrugged Part III, Dolphin Tale had a sequel, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Hey!  It finally happened!  Americans were finally given films to see that weren’t Guardians Of The Galaxy!  Unfortunately, in their combined crazed panic to get to the cinema and see these new films, lest they be taken away at the last second and they end up having to see Guardians yet again for the 27th goddamn time, American moviegoers failed to realise that most of the films that they were seeing were actually utter sh*t.  But, hey, when has that ever stopped anything from becoming popular, right?  In first place is No Good Deed, the Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson starring home invasion thriller that absolutely does not have anything disagreeable going on under the surface no siree bob, with $24.5 million in ticket sales.  Behind that we have Dolphin Tale 2, a sequel to Dolphin Tale and one I whose existence I will never not be bewildered by, which managed to con $16.5 million worth of families out of their monies because they don’t have Netflix in those far flung corners of the country (along with electricity, heat, and running water) and had to take what entertainment they could get.

In the more limited release-y side of proceedings, The Drop, a crime drama starring Tom Hardy and featuring James Gandolfini’s final role, succeeded best out of being the one released in the most screens, managing to break into the Top 10 with $4.2 million banked.  As for those films that didn’t have that luxury benefit of a screen count that barely counts as “limited”; awards-season-hopeful that-will-be-nominated-for-jack-sh*t-because-it-was-released-too-early The Skeleton Twins did the best of the bunch taking $411,000 from 15 screens for a $27,000 per-screen average.  Next up is My Old Lady, a comedy-drama that looks conspicuously lacking in both comedy and drama but managed to overcome those handicaps to take $134,000 from 11 screens, for a per-screen average of $12,182.  After that we have The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, the smushed-together cut of a romance-drama that is supposed to have its separate “Him” and “Her” cuts (which view events exclusively through the perspective of him or her) released at some point but you know the Weinsteins, which disappeared $77,200 from moviegoers pockets at 4 separate screens.  Ha.  Ha.

In the midst of all of this, though, spare a thought for poor old Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?  The final instalment in the film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s landmark novel that continued pressing on regardless of the fact that audiences said “no” twice before, having to raise the second film’s budget by selling the debt of the first one due to it bombing spectacularly, and taking to Kickstarter to fund the finale (not joking), escaped into the wild, this week.  Now, normally, I’d sit here and laugh ultra-derisively at its pathetic opening of $355,000 from 242 cinemas (for comparison, Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opened on 299 screens in 2011 and made $1.6 million), but I kinda pity the thing more than anything.  Everyone involved kept shouldering on, regardless of the financial bombs, the critical paddling, and the fact that they had to replace the entire cast between each film, because they wanted to tell their story.  They desperately wanted to tell the story of Atlas Shrugged on the big screen and they weren’t going to let such a little thing as “repeated total systemic failure” get in their way!  That’s kinda admirable, in a deluded way, and I applaud them for keeping on!  Then I remember that the movies are absolute garbage and return to laughing at their quixotic endeavour.

Elsewhere, As Above, So Below bottomed out spectacularly in only its third week, slipping from sixth to twelfth; The Trip To Italy, otherwise known as “the cut-down film version of The Trip’s second series for fat stupid Americans with short attention spans”, extended its reach to 71 more screens and managed to take another $481,000 overall; The Identical, otherwise known as last week’s only new release, plummeted from an already dreadful opening by 75%; and Guardians Of The Galaxy became the first film this year to cross $300 million domestic.  Which, you know, is a sign that Hollywood is f*cked and all that.  Rather than deservedly doom-mongering for a couple of minutes, though, can we at least just celebrate the fact that a brilliant goddamn movie is making serious money, with China still to go?  …  …  …  …OK, that’s long enough.


This full list just broke into your house and is standing right behind you.  I’m joking, of course.  But one day, I might not be.

no good deed 2

Box Office Results: Friday 12th September 2014 – Sunday 14th September 2014

1] No Good Deed

$24,500,000 / NEW

So, this is a film in which a big scary black man basically forces his way into a small defenceless woman’s home and tortures her mentally and physically for about 70 of the film’s 85 minutes?  Nope, can’t see anything wrong with that set-up!  Absolutely nothing that makes it tone-deaf in today’s societal climate!  Not at all!  Thank goodness the woman was black instead of white, otherwise then, and only then, would things have just crossed the line of good taste!

2] Dolphin Tale 2

$16,550,000 / NEW

Right, I want answers, which of you asked for a sequel to Dolphin Tale?  Who honestly left the cinema after seeing the first film three years ago and went, “I need a sequel to that yesterday!”  Who was it?  Was it any of you on the Failed Critics staff?  Was it you, Shawky?  Don’t try to deny it!  You’re the kind of guy who has seen Guardians Of The Galaxy 18 times in the cinema!  Seeing this there once would not surprise me in the slightest!

3] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$8,041,000 / $305,926,000

Speaking of, I finally fulfilled my promise to my cousins to get them to the cinema to see this, this past weekend.  They loved it, the elder one even forgot he had sweets for the entire first hour of the movie because he was so transfixed by the film on display.  They both declared it “BEST FILM EVER” which I imagine was just as much because it was my treat as well as it being a great damn movie, but it was still refreshing to see just how much of an impact a good film can have on younger children who haven’t hit the “jaded teenager” mark yet.  Ah, to be young…

Oh, sorry.  Forgot for a sec that you don’t give a sh*t about my personal life.  Moving on.

4] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$4,800,000 / $181,041,000

On the subject of films with uncomfortable treatments and scenarios for women, is anyone else really kinda disturbed by how the turtles treat April O’Neal in this trailer?  They tower over her, menacingly intimidate her, one of them lays claim to her, and then they all threaten to “find her” if she reveals their existence.  Err… our heroes, ladies and gentlemen?  Maybe things are better in the finished film but, this being a film with Michael Bay involved in some capacity, I’m not holding my breath.

5] Let’s Be Cops

$4,300,000 / $72,972,000

So, I suspect that we will be getting that sequel notification any day now.  Oh, you think there won’t be one?  We are just two months away from a sequel to Horrible Bosses and seven months away from Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.  We will be getting a sequel to Let’s Be Cops, just wait for it.

6] The Drop

$4,200,000 / NEW

Yay!  Tom Hardy’s starring in movies again!  Which reminds me, I need to get around to seeing Locke.  Would have seen it already, I love me a film with a purposely constraining premise, but it never came to any of my cinemas.  Also, last time we’ll see James Gandolfini in a role.  😦  At least this gives me an excuse to link you to his scenes from In The Loop.  Not that I need the excuse, mind.

7] If I Stay

$4,050,000 / $44,937,000

Just one more week in the Top 10 and it beats The Fault In Our Stars’ run!  Let it have this one, America.  It’s going to spend the rest of its life being unfavourably compared to that film, in terms of quality, financial success, impact and staying power; might as well give it this one break.  Course, there are 4 wide release films next week, so that’s pretty unlikely, but wouldn’t it be something if it did succeed?  And what if it beat The Maze Runner into bloody submission!  Oh, wouldn’t that be something!

8] The November Man

$2,750,000 / $2,495,000

Right, forget this crap; have you seen the trailer for John Wick yet?  Tell me you have!  It is the most brilliantly ridiculous nonsense!  If you somehow don’t want to see this film immediately after watching this trailer, then you and I are no longer on speaking terms.  In fact, I’m going to embed the trailer below this entry so that there is no possible way for you to miss it!

9] The Giver

$2,626,000 / $41,329,000

Oh.  Sh*t.  Right.  So, I didn’t actually expect this one to stick around this week, which means that my world-beating pun from last week is now rendered premature and wasted.  Fantastic.  F*ck you very much, The Giver.

10] The Hundred-Foot Journey

$2,461,000 / $49,409,000

HIS DOG WAS A GIFT FROM HIS DYING WIFE AND THE BAD GUYS KILLED IT!!  That is pure gold, folks!  Why are you not as hyped for that crap as I am?!

Dropped Out: As Above, So Below, When The Game Stands Tall, Lucy

Callum Petch will shoot your mouth if he knows where he’s aiming.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 5/9/14 – 7/9/14

Absolutely nothing happened, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Well.  This is embarrassing.  Here I was, all set to begin a re-launch of my US Box Office Reports on the site that has been willing to tolerate my deranged ramblings and draining of their resources for the past six months, bringing you the same verve, insight and poor stand-up that I did on a weekly basis for the last site I did this stuff for… and absolutely nothing happened.  There was one new release that was even close to Wide and that’s it.  Almost literally nothing happened.  Teade outlets are already reporting on this being the worst weekend at the US box office for two years, but, well, I think we all knew that this outcome was inevitable when we all looked at the release schedule and saw this giant void where films are supposed to be.  Calling this the worst weekend in years in an alarmed and surprised fashion is like calling a child foolish and in the worst shape of his life after voluntarily choosing to try and jump a 10 mile wide gorge on a unicycle only to fall face first into the thing; duh, why are you surprised at this completely expected outcome?

Eh, anyways, similarly surprising no-one due to its completely expected nature, Guardians Of The Galaxy three-peated at the top of the chart with $10 million in ticket sales.  Also surprising no-one, the film is now the biggest August release ever, smashing past The Sixth Sense’s prior record of $293 million, has become only the fourth film in the last 10 years to top the charts for four weeks (alongside such company as The Dark Knight, Avatar No Not The Great TV Show The Crappy James Cameron Film, and The Hunger Games), and maintained its position by being the only decent film that’s playing in over 2,000 theatres.  Behind that, as it has been for the last several weeks as well as in life itself, we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which eased to $6.5 million.  Seems that we will be very much getting those sequels after all, the people involved taking the canny “shove it out in a month where there is literally nothing else coming out to give everyone a collective feeling that they have to see it” approach to maximising profits.

The lone new wide-release for this week was The Identical, a faith-based piece of speculative fiction, inexplicably featuring Seth Green in the supporting cast, about what might have happened if non-copyright-infringing Elvis Presley’s twin brother hadn’t died at childbirth and which looks exactly as awful as that sounds.  Thankfully for everyone involved, nobody liked the sound of it either and it only made $1.9 million from just under 2,000 screens for 11th place continuing the trend of faith-based movies that don’t explicitly reference religion in their titles (like devout Christians are way too busy to actually do some research about films beyond their titles or something) bombing spectacularly.  Also attempting to kick up the vaguest spurts of activity for me to talk about, Forrest Gump received an IMAX re-release for some bizarre reason and a nation collectively dug out their DVDs of it instead; only managing $405,000 from 337 screens.  In better news, the documentary Last Days In Vietnam managed to take $30,500 from 2 screens, and the debut feature from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl, swindled $12,800 also from 2 screens.

And… yeah, that’s about it.  I imagine we’ll have a very similar sort of situation next week, as well, when the only new films are the Idris Elba-starring thriller No Good Deed and Dolphin Tale 2, a sequel to Dolphin Tale 1.  No, really, they made a sequel to Dolphin Tale.  You know what’s even crazier?  Dolphin Tale was actually a box office number 1.  Not kidding.  So, yeah, the American box office doesn’t get going for another two weeks.  Just goes to show you how lucky we Brits got it this weekend, don’t it?


This full list is almost Identical to last week’s.  Do you get it?  Cos there’s a film called The Identical and the list is basically the same as last week’s.  It’s a play on words.  We call these things “puns”.  Can’t help but notice you’re still not laughing at my Identical pun, so I’ll take this to mean you don’t understand humour in general.  You see, “humour” is based on subverting…

gotg2

Box Office Results: Friday 5th September 2014 – Sunday 7th September 2014

1] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$10,160,000 / $294,567,000

All of these accolades that Guardians keeps racking up are thoroughly deserved.  Couldn’t have happened to a better movie!  Unless said movies were Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes or The Raid 2.  Cough.

2] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$6,500,000 / $174,647,000

This hits the UK two days after my birthday, so thanks for the wonderful belated birthday present, Paramount!  How did you know that I wanted an absolutely abysmal-looking movie for my 20th?  You shouldn’t have!

3] If I Stay

$5,750,000 / $39,663,000

Think it’s fair to say that this one hasn’t quite caught on in the Fault In Our Stars way that I imagine Warner Bros. and New Line were hoping it would.  Still, all it has to do is hang on for another two weeks and it will have outlasted The Fault In Our Stars’ run in the Top 10.  Next week will be dead easy, because we’ve already established that nothing is coming out.  The week after, maybe not so much.

4] Let’s Be Cops

$5,400,000 / $66,598,000

Look, my jokes may stink, but at least they’re funnier than pretty much the entirety of this movie.  OH, SNAP!

5] The November Man

$4,200,000 / $17,870,000

You know, as his post-Bond career keeps trundling along, I’m starting to get the impression that only we Brits know how to use Pierce Brosnan right.  I mean, there’s The Ghost Writer, The World’s End, The Love Punch, Mamma Mia!, A Long Way Down… actually, disregard pretty much everything I just said.

6] As Above, So Below

$3,723,000 / $15,576,000

A precipitous 57% drop between weekends.  Does this mean that we can finally retire found-footage now?  The gimmick has been run into the ground, then run a bit further for good measure and then run a little bit further still.  Find something else to abuse for your horror movies!

7] When The Game Stands Tall

$3,700,000 / $23,490,000

I… I got nothing for this one, folks.  Not even a decent pun or pithy aside.  Sorry to waste your time.

8] The Giver

$3,591,000 / $37,835,000

I couldn’t Giver f*ck about this movie.  OOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!  PUNS!

9] The Hundred-Foot Journey

$3,200,000 / $45,669,000

Saw and reviewed this one at the weekend.  It’s OK.  I was bored to tears, but I could appreciate the decent craft on display and the film isn’t bad or anything.  It is two hours, for some genuinely inexplicable reason, though and I will definitely hold that against it.  If you were able to get some enjoyment out of it, good on you, I won’t stop you.  And besides, why should you listen to what I think?  I put 47 Ronin on my Top 10 Films of 2013 list, tied with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, no less!

10] Lucy

$1,950,000 / $121,207,000

It’s up to $313 million worldwide, at the moment, and this news pleases me to absolutely no end.  It proves that Scarlett Johannson is a full-fledged box office star who can open pretty much anything by herself, it proves that gloriously dumb films that aren’t insultingly so really can find an audience, it proves that female-led films (along with Maleficent, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Frozen and The Fault In Our Stars) do succeed no matter what idiots may think, and it proves that Hollywood will once again not pay one damn iota of attention to all of this, instead continuing to just do what they always do despite this past Summer proving that that may not be the best idea.  It’s the little victories, folks, it really is.

Dropped Out: The Expendables III

Callum Petch is the changingman built on shifting sands.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

If I Stay

The only thing that If I Stay has going for it is that Chloë Grace Moretz is in it.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

if i stayIf I Stay gets off to a really bad start by playing like every bad Young Adult adaptation ever made.  Overly portentous narration by the lead character, so much soft focus that it looks like every camera lens has been laced with nine coats of Vaseline, enough lens flares to wonder whether JJ Abrams is involved in production, irritatingly perfect characters swapping “witty” lines that sound like rejects from a wannabe Aaron Sorkin script, soft indie rock/indie folk on the soundtrack because that’s the one part of Garden State that people remember a decade later…  However, whilst first impressions mean a lot, they don’t mean everything.  You can have a bad, off-putting opening and still come through with the goods.  Example: The Fault In Our Stars, which If I Stay will be negatively compared to a lot during this review so be prepared, had a really off-putting opening that gave me the strong impression that the next two hours were going to be pure hell to sit through, only to end up turning it around and sending me home in floods of tears.

However, that film managed to dig through the melodrama and find the reality of the situation, the heart.  Fault In Our Stars managed to make its cast, although they were still rather perfect in all honesty, feel human, feel real and managed to do the same to its proceedings.  It is an exceedingly manipulative film but it manages to disguise that manipulation through strong character work, excellent performances from everyone and enough self-awareness to know just when to pull back (mostly, that Anne Frank house scene in particular will forever be a black mark against the film for me).  If I Stay has none of those things.  Its characters remain irritatingly perfect and fake the whole time, nobody except Chloë Grace Moretz is trying, and there are several points where I was practically drowning in the open and ham-fisted manipulation.  If The Fault In Our Stars is a really smart and clever person sat across from you breaking you down mentally by knowing exactly what to say when in order to send you into floods of tears, If I Stay is like a brick sh*thouse repeatedly punching you in the kidneys and screaming at you to start crying, dammit!

The story that the film would like for you to start crying at, dammit, revolves around Mia Hall (Moretz).  She’s a high school senior who has an irritatingly perfect family, is a prodigy at the cello, and is currently waiting to hear back from Juliard about her application.  Then, on a snow day, tragedy strikes when the family ends up in a car accident and Mia goes into a coma, during which time she has an out-of-body-experience and has to weigh up whether or not she wants to keep on living or cross over into the afterlife (primarily represented by a blinding white light poorly pasted onto a scene because this is the kind of film we’re dealing with).  And wouldn’t you just know it, fate keeps twisting the knife to such an extent that her choice depends on a boy (Jaime Blackley), whose relationship with Mia forms the focus of the flashbacks that make up the film’s structure.

So, as you may have already gathered, it’s a teen weepie, one that even comes with a built-in fan base due to being an adaptation of a YA book.  None of this is inherently a problem, I must stress; my cynicism my rise significantly upon hearing these things but I am always more than willing to get invested in proceedings and have a good cry – I cry at least three times throughout every viewing I’ve had of ParaNorman, for example.  It becomes a problem when I spend nearly two hours in the company of a group of characters and not once do I see them as actual people, which is the case here.  If I Stay’s cast of characters are sickeningly perfect and practically flawless.  Maybe it’s supposed to make the tragedy sting that much more, but all it did for me was make me pray for that car accident to travel back through time and knock off everybody sooner.  It’s the usual stuff: scenes of stilted actors trading lines that would look low-quality even in a play written by high school drama students, characters blowing up (metaphorically, pretty much everybody is way too bored to bother to display emotion) over petty little misunderstandings, a world where everything is going amazingly for everyone until it suddenly isn’t…

Proceedings don’t feel real, is what I am getting at.  Nobody involved feels real, nothing that occurs does anything to mask the fact that this is all being cynically designed to wring tears from you.  I kept being held at arm’s length, never able to get invested, despite the fact that the concept of death is one that never fails to immediately kill my mood and bring me to the verge of tears.  Not helping matters is the incredibly generic way that proceedings are presented.  As previously stated, there’s the extreme amount of soft focus, the lens flares and the licensed soundtrack that played everything but some Bon Iver (there was one point where I was sat thinking that the only act the film hadn’t utilised yet was Mazzy Star… and then, ten seconds later, Mazzy Star came on).  But there’s also the over-egged score, the dreary narration that aspires to say something profound and insightful but is more the equivalent of an 11 year-old who read one book of poetry once and decided that they could do that, piece of piss, the lethargic pacing and awkward structure (I feel the film actually loses something by flitting back and forth between pre and post-accident), the uninspired cinematography…  I’ve seen all of this stuff before and executed far better, the result here just comes off as completely lifeless (make your own jokes).

Oh, and then there are the times when the film goes so overboard that it’s like being stuck on the Titanic as it splits in half whilst sinking.  There’s a bit at the halfway point (that’s been spoilt in the trailers, natch) that should be the film’s big emotional shanking, except that the scene instead turns into self-parody by performing all of the following: soft focus, lens flares, that bit where the diegetic sound cuts out, old memories shot in grainy Super 8 and which jump around the screen like the film has been worn to the bone, practically ordering the otherwise great Chloë Grace Moretz to overact as much as she possibly can, frequent cuts to that stupid white light effect, and the score turns into the kind of overegged melodramatic ridiculous theatricality that you can accurately (and I am not exaggerating here, this is what it sounded like) recreate by flinging a symphony orchestra and a withered old grand piano down five flights of stairs, recording the result and then syncing up the resultant mess so that the resultant cacophony is all playing at the same time as one another.  If you think that that description of the score was overblown, you haven’t experienced this scene.  The film tries way too hard and the result just had me on the verge of laughter, especially when they do it all again two-thirds in!

The one thing that If I Stay really has going for it is the fact that Chloë Grace Moretz has turned up as the lead role and, as I’m sure we’re all know by now, Chloë Grace Moretz does not half-ass a performance.  She spends the film’s entire runtime trying desperately to find the humanity in Mia, trying to break through the script’s “perfect girl in every single way” characterisation, and she does frequently succeed.  Some of the film’s clunkier “people do not talk that way” lines flow convincingly when delivered by her (there’s a bit in a coffee shop that really threw into sharp relief just how much better she is at this than the rest of her cast-mates), and she’s on a never-ending mission to sell the romance with Adam, the boy I mentioned earlier.  Unfortunately, on-screen romances and relationships are a two-way street and her efforts at propping up the film end up mostly for naught as nobody else is trying to root out the character depth and humanity the script lacks, or just not trying period.  Least of all Jaime Blackley as Adam, who always comes off as less “cool, mysterious dreamboat” and more “bored, flat paycheque-seeker” and his complete lack of interest stifles any potential chemistry between him and Moretz.  If there’s anyone to place the primary blame on for the wasting of Moretz’s efforts, it’s him; he is dreadful here.

All this being said, I don’t hate If I Stay.  It doesn’t work, it’s way too clichéd and blatantly manipulative to get me fully invested in proceedings, and it’s too cynically calculated in its manipulations, but I don’t hate it.  I might find it generic, but it is at least competently made and Chloë Grace Moretz shows up to act (which she pretty much always does anyway, but that’s beside the point).  The only major issue I have with it, as in it’s the only thing that prompted a full-on change of thought in my brain beyond boredom, is its ending or, rather, the lack of one.  It may have worked in the book (I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read it), where such a sudden cut to black can be better conveyed and carry great emotional weight due to well-written prose, but here it just feels like the last fifth of the last reel had been eaten by somebody at some point.  I felt tempted to ask out loud, “Err, don’t you still have another 10 minutes of story to tell, Movie?” but then I realised that that would have meant being indifferently bored for another 10 minutes if it were there, so I kept schtum.

I should probably also mention that in my screening, of which there were about 20 people, I was the only one who wasn’t openly and loudly sobbing at some point during If I Stay.  So, I dunno, maybe I’m just the heartless monster.

Callum Petch push in, push in, 1, 2, 3, pull out!  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!