Tag Archives: Inside Out

Failed Critics Podcast: End of Year Awards 2015

awards 15

Votes have been counted, booze has been consumed and a resulting two hour long podcast has been produced, examining each of the winners (and some of the losers) in this year’s Failed Critics Awards.

With Steve Norman absent, it’s up to Matt Lambourne to step in and host our final podcast of the year as Owen Hughes runs through who has won what in all eight of the different categories that our listeners have submitted votes in. Accompanying them both are special guests Callum Petch and Phil Sharman, who duke it out in the opening quiz, before laughing/lamenting the choices for:

Best soundtrack of 2015

Best documentary

Best film not in the English language

Best British film

Best male performance

Best female performance

Worst film of 2015

and of course the definitive Top 10 films of the year.

Thank you to everybody who spared 5 minutes to send in your picks for each of the above – and thanks to all of you who have downloaded our podcast over the past 12 months. You’ve made this year the most successful in our relatively short history and without you, it’d just be Steve and I talking over Skype each week to an invisible audience. Which, quite frankly, would be a bit weird. So thanks for sparing us that indignity, at least!

We’ll be back again the first week of January to review Joy, The Danish Girl and no doubt some other stuff too.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE (including bookmarks for each category)

DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK

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

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

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

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

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

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

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


the perfect guy

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

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

1] The Perfect Guy

$26,700,000 / NEW

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

2] The Visit

$25,690,000 / NEW

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

3] War Room

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

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

4] A Walk In The Woods

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

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

5] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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

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

6] Straight Outta Compton

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

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

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

7] No Escape

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

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

8] The Transporter Refueled

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

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

9] 90 Minutes In Heaven

$2,160,911 / NEW

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

10] Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos

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

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

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

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

Failed Critics Podcast: The Failedastic Four

fantastic four posterOn an audio-pod adventure, they got hit by cosmic rays. And the four would change forever, in some most fantastic ways! Oh, Steve Norman is sarcastic, Brian Plank’s unusually polite. Carole is obsessed with Bill Murray, and Owen’s opinions are a crock of shite. Call for Four… Failedastic Four!

Yes, that’s right listeners. This week’s main release review is the not particularly well received [ahem] latest superhero film from Josh Trank, Fantastic Four. Or Fantfourstic if you’re going to take the poster literally (and we do.) We try to work out what exactly didn’t work and why it didn’t work with our special guests Carole Petts and Brian Plank, both of whom contributed to the Avengers Assemble and The Incredible Hulk episodes respectively in our Avengers Minisodes series from earlier in the year.

Staying with the comicbook theme, the team also take a look at the divisive Deadpool trailer that officially launched last week and react to the news that Bill Murray will be cameoing in the new Ghostbusters film. There’s even enough time for: Brian to spread the joy of Pixar’s recent hit, Inside Out; Carole questions the BBFC and their decision to rate The Diary of a Teenage Girl as an 18; Steve continues to be impressed by Ben Affleck’s directorial prowess with Gone Baby Gone; and Owen stares into the Heart of Darkness by watching Apocalypse Now.

Join us again next week for reviews of Pixels, Paper Towns and The Man From UNCLE.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

DIRECT LINK

US Box Office Report: 07/08/15 – 09/08/15

The Fantastic 4 are dead, audiences tentatively accept The Gift, Ricki and the Flash got booed off-stage, motherfuckers didn’t go and see Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

We’re probably never going to get another Fantastic 4 movie again.  Not only is the one that was dropped into theatres this past weekend a complete steaming abomination, so venomously destroyed by critics it makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 look like Schindler’s List, and dogged by so many rumours of troubled and failed production that the thing more resembled a turd that is being swarmed by hungry flies – hope you’re enjoying your breakfast this morning – even the public wanted nothing to do with it.  Most stayed away, smelling a stinker, and even those $26 million worth of people who chose to brave the cinema anyway despised it, giving it an atrocious C- Cinemascore.  This franchise is done.  Even if Marvel get their toys back, it’s done.  There is no coming back from a bomb like this, the brand has been tainted irreparably, it is done.

So, whilst 20th Century Fox was dragging Marvel’s original super-team through the mud one more time out of seemingly nothing more than spite, Joel Edgerton was making his directorial debut with the surprisingly great The Gift.  Having been promised a horror/thriller in the vein of producer Jason Blum’s other works – namely: Damn Near Every Single Horror Movie of the Last 3 Years – audiences arrived in a somewhat healthy amount and were instead presented with a drama with thriller elements.  Whether or not they were happy about this is still up to debate, but it led to a strong $12 million opening, one of the few unqualified successes of this miserable weekend, and people actually seeing The Gift, so mission accomplished!

Yeah, this was one really bad weekend at the box office.  In Wide-ish releases, Jonathan Demme’s return to directing films for a somewhat mainstream audience, Ricki and the Flash, was unceremoniously shrugged to death by audiences, raking in a paltry $7 million for seventh place despite featuring Meryl Streep as an aging rocker.  You’d think that that’d be something that people would be dying to see!  But at least it wasn’t Shaun the Sheep Movie.  Despite being one of the year’s best films, having rave reviews from critics, and me being on your case about seeing it for the last several months, the film didn’t even crack the Top 10 despite opening on well over 2,000 screens.  For fucksake, America!  It’s Aardman!  What do you people have against Aardman, you cretins!?

Things improved slightly in the world of limited releases, though.  Whilst The End of the Tour expanded to 36 locations and flailed about for dear life with only $253,000, The Diary of a Teenage Girl was making a pretty decent $55,000 from 4 screens considering the whole “underage sex” part and everything.  Jon Watts’ sophomore feature, the pretty decent-looking thriller Cop Car, managed a strong $27,000 from 3 screens, whilst Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, an animated adaptation of exactly what it says, managed an excellent $26,000 from two screens because FUCKING LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THIS THING IS!

Also worthy of note is Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.  The film’s been out since Tuesday and has been blowing people away by posting strong numbers during the week – nearly $2 million on the first day and $1.5 million on the second.  Now, I can’t report anything about its weekend for certain, cos FUNimation have been playing weird “now it’s here, now it’s not” games with it, but Dragon Ball is on course to have earned well over $5 million in its first 6 days, whilst remaining in limited release the entire time, never breaking more than 1,000 theatres.  Considering that Anime doesn’t do well in Western cinemas, that is majorly impressive.


MIRN

“It’s Full List time!” is what my older brother used to say before he beat the sh*t out of me.  I’m just kidding, I only have a younger brother.

Box Office Results: Friday 7th August 2015 – Sunday 9th August 2015

1] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$29,400,000 / $108,654,000

Forgot to mention this at all last week, but this movie has one of the most blatant examples of Fridging – the art of brutally murdering a character, typically a wife and almost always a woman, for cheap heat/motivation – that I have seen in a Hollywood film in ages.  Like, good lord, even Tak3n was less blatant about it!  But, despite these things usually riling me up to no end, this one did nothing for me.  I just sorta sighed resignedly.  It’s like when a bratty kid tries to microwave the family hamster; you’re not angry, you just sigh because you know they’re just doing it for the attention.

2] Fantastic 4

$26,200,000 / NEW

I’m done.  I’m not going to waste any more words on this.  Here’s my review, go read that.  I’m not going to waste any more column inches on this thing because, as I detailed extensively in my review, this is not a film.  This is 100 minutes of 20th Century Fox mooning Marvel Studios over the fact that they can’t have their toys back.  You could shoot and release bowel movements of mine and they’d be closer to being actual f*cking movies than this piece of sh*t is!  So, no, I’m done.  Let’s move on.

3] The Gift

$12,007,000 / NEW

Review will be up on my site on Tuesday, but I will say that I really enjoyed this one.  I’m even coming around to its ending, which initially rubbed me up the wrong way for a number of reasons but is growing on me as time goes on.  Make sure you give this a shot, even if you’re averse to thrillers since it’s actually mainly a drama.

4] Vacation

$9,145,000 / $37,325,000

Not too bad of a slide, only 37%, but there also wasn’t much to slide from, so let’s maybe not bust out any party poppers or anything, OK?

5] Ant-Man

$7,826,000 / $147,436,000

Oh, man, I really hope that Fantastic 4’s utter abysmalness doesn’t have a knock-on effect to the good comic book movies.  For one, the last thing we need are people believing that the only way to make successful versions of these are to have white male leads, because you know some arsehole pillock studio head is going to correlate the Johnny Storm race-lift to the film’s total box office failure.  Plus, my brother, who is way more down the Marvel rabbit hole than I am, thought that this was a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was therefore planning on seeing this until I corrected him.  Just saying, some people are just going to see the Marvel logo and assume they make all of these movies, even the terrible ones, and that’s the last thing they want.

6] Minions

$7,400,000 / $302,754,000

Despicable Me 2 is now on UK Netflix for those of you who have yet to see it.  I recommend giving it a shot, it’s really crazy and funny but it’s also legitimately sweet…

Look, I’m going to keep working my arse off to ensure you all realise that you don’t hate the Minions because of their films.  You hate them because of advertising oversaturation and appropriation by the kind of evil, heartless, mindless drones who force Facebook memes into existence.  *shudders*

7] Ricki and the Flash

$7,000,000 / NEW

Having watched the trailer for the first time whilst writing this piece, I now understand why this face-planted right out of the gate.  This looks awful, like a Lifetime movie inexplicably granted cinema space.  I’m still optimistic, because it’s Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody and I know that trailers are oftentimes just dreadful, but I get why nobody really turned up to it.

8] Trainwreck

$6,300,000 / $91,102,000

Four more days!  Oh, thank the Maker for this weekend!  This, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Absolutely Anything back-to-back-to-back!  It’s like the Movie Gods looked down on me and went, “Callum.  Buddy, old pal.  Sorry for the last few weeks, and sorry for pushing Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 out of your Bottom 5 Films of 2015 list.  But you’ve made it through with your love and enthusiasm for this medium still intact, so here’s a week of nothing but good-looking films you’re excited for as a reward!  Good show!”

9] Pixels

$5,430,000 / $57,645,000

Oh, yeah, that spoiler piece on Pixels that I was supposed to write.  I haven’t forgotten, I’ve just been busy.  And my interest in doing it has gone.  Heh.  OK, here’s the deal, if it’s not up on my site by Thursday, it ain’t coming and y’all will just have to deal with it.  Sound good to everyone?  Bully for you if it doesn’t.

10] Southpaw

$4,764,000 / $40,726,000

You people watched this again instead of Shaun the Sheep?  You’re all a disgrace to humanity.

Dropped Out: Paper Towns, Inside Out, Jurassic World

Callum Petch weathered the storm.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 31/07/15 – 02/08/15

Mission: Impossible doesn’t self-destruct, nobody wanted to go on Vacation cos they’d reached The End of the Tour, you should all Listen To Me Marlon, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Good morning, readers.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out all of the latest Box Office happenings as relayed to you by a tired British hack who has spent way too much time staring at open Word and WordPress documents these past few weeks.  The mission will be perilous, as he makes hacky jokes and the occasional generalisation about films that he hasn’t seen, and he may be acting on false information, since the actuals don’t come in until this afternoon, but if there is anyone who can survive this task it is you, and if there was anybody more qualified to run one simple gag into the ground in an attempt to disguise the fact that he has next-to-no material this week then they’d be doing this instead of me.  I mean, him.  I, err… This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

OK, with that nonsense out of the way, let’s do this properly.  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest in the series that I’ve never quite gotten and whose sequel naming is officially the enemy of the English language, managed to continue the series rise back from the brink of failure with an easy number one opening of $56 million, the second-biggest opening of the entire series barring Mission: Impossible II’s $57.8 million.  I’d say that the film “Cruise-d” its way to victory, but I’m full enough of self-loathing so let’s pretend that never happened and move on.

Not that it had much of a challenge.  The only other wide-release of the weekend came from somebody at Warner Bros.’ New Line Cinema division insisting that we needed a Vacation sequel/reboot/thing – probably the same person who greenlit the Hot Pursuit shooting script – and so one was dumped into our laps even though we already had plans, full of people we didn’t want to spend time with (with apologies to Christina Applegate), and we didn’t want it.  Much like a real family vacation.  Unlike a real family vacation, however, attending Vacation wasn’t compulsory, so most Americans opted out and the film finished the weekend in a distant second with just under $15 million.

In limited release news, The End of the Tour, the controversial semi-biopic about David Foster Wallace directed by the criminally underrated James Ponsoldt, was the roaring success managing to nab $126,000 from 4 screens for a fantastic per-screen average of $31,500 and me sat here wondering in a very irritated fashion as to why it doesn’t have a UK distributor, dammit!  Less successful, but also doing pretty decently, was the Marlon Brando documentary Listen To Me Marlon which picked up $29,000 from 2 screens for a per-screen average of you do the math.  Falling flat on its face, by comparison, was the glorified informercial A LEGO Brickumentary which could only sucker in $92,000 worth of people from 93 screens for a per-screen average of $452.  I guess the dulcet tones of Jason Bateman are nothing compared to those of Marlon Brando when he’s talking about himself.  Although, in fairness, that could also be said about most things.


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This Full List is running running and running running and running running.  That was both a Mission: Impossible gag and a Black Eyed Peas reference because this is that joke that is my life.

Box Office Results: Friday 31st July 2015 – Sunday 2nd August 2015

1] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$56,000,000 / NEW

Saw this Saturday, but there won’t be a review because it would just consist of something close to 2,000 words of me trying and failing to identify the reason(s) why this series does nothing for me besides “these are technically strong action movies”.  Seriously, this fact bugs the hell out of me.  The Mission: Impossible series presses so many of my personal Things I Love buttons – practical effects action sequences, spy stuff, writing characters into tight impossible situations and seeing how they get out, gambits in spades – but the films themselves just leave me somewhat cold.  Answers on a postcard, please.

2] Vacation

$14,850,000 / NEW

This reminds me, I need to actually watch the old Vacation movies before I get subjected to this in two weeks.  Yeah, the trailer did nothing to me except make my eyes glaze over.  In fairness, I could say that about nearly any comedy trailer, but we are in a f*cking nadir for feature-length comedies with this year’s offerings, and I really doubt that this is going to be the thing that pulls us out.

3] Ant-Man

$12,619,000 / $132,148,000

Oi, you!  Have you watched Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp yet?  If not, go do that!  Actually, wait.  Have you watched Wet Hot American Summer first?  If no, go and do that and then go watch First Day of Camp.  Seriously, you’ll thank me later.  I basically spent my Friday doing nothing but watch First Day of Camp and it was SO WORTH IT!

4] Minions

$12,200,000 / $287,391,000

This appeared at no. 10 on Mark Kermode’s Mid-Term Best Of list this week, which was a surprise.  A pleasant one, because Minions is great, but a surprise nonetheless.  Relatedly, I have only seen 3 of the films on his list and would put none of them on mine because I am a tasteless heathen.

5] Pixels

$10,400,000 / $45,611,000

So, last week, somebody on Twitter, not gonna name any names and they’re not in trouble don’t worry, made the perfectly reasonable statement that we shouldn’t lambast films that we haven’t seen yet.  I actually agree with him, both in the article itself (with my worry about dogpiling) and here, which is why I keep my slams based on what I’ve managed to see and have heard about the film, saving any proper slams and such for when I have actually seen the film.  Open mind, and all that!

I tell you this because it turns out that I should never have given this utterly reprehensible piece of turd shit any benefits of any doubts.  God, I hate this movie.

6] Trainwreck

$9,700,000 / $79,709,000

So, I was in a screening of Hot Pursuit on Saturday and an advert for Trainwreck comes on.  It’s funny, everybody laughs, and then Amy Schumer on screen says “Make sure to come back and see my new movie when it hits theatres on August 14th.”  To which I overhear this old lady, who just seconds earlier had been audibly laughing at the advert, say in a voice that is loud enough for other people to hear whilst still in theory only talking to her friend, “I don’t think so!”

This woman also found Hot Pursuit utterly hysterical so I don’t know what to believe.

7] Southpaw

$7,519,000 / $31,577,000

Wake me up when Creed comes out, OK?

8] Paper Towns

$4,600,000 / $23,816,000

Saw this on Saturday at a nice early screening.  Review will be along on my site on Tuesday, but I really enjoyed this one.  It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s sweet heart-warming viewing for myself.  Man, I might actually be a John Green fan, which is especially weird since the edited Q&A highlights I was forced to sit through prior to the start of the film didn’t make him look like a particularly tolerable guy.  Still, at least he wasn’t Dan & Phil who I’m still not convinced aren’t just the mannequins from the first series of new Doctor Who attempting to pass themselves off as regular human beings.

9] Inside Out

$4,517,000 / $329,594,000

Gonna go see this again this weekend, will probably cry profusely again.  As I’ve said before, I can’t separate myself emotionally from this movie, not enough to offer up a proper objective critical review.  It hits too close to home and is way too personal to me for me to be able to do that.  On the bright side, I guess we now know what a film that is Fury Road’s equal/possible better for me looks like!

10] Jurassic World

$3,800,000 / $631,500,000

IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Shaun The Sheep Movie is finally getting a nationwide cinema release in your country next week.  Go and see it.  That is an order.  Go and see it.  Go and see it multiple times over, it’s one of the best animated features released in the last few years.  Go and see it instead of Fantastic 4, please.  Don’t let me down, folks!  I wanna be reporting strong numbers this time next week!

Dropped Out: Mr. Holmes, Terminator: Amiga

Callum Petch’s red hat gets a rap from the critics.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com)!  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 24/07/15 – 26/07/15

Pixels has insufficient quarters, Southpaw goes down in the fifth, Paper Towns exposes the flimsy construction of the John Green empire, nobody wanted to see what The Vatican Tapes didn’t want us to see, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Folks, you did it.  You kept Pixels from the number 1 slot.  And you kept it from making any decent amount of money, as it closed the weekend in second place with just $24 million.  You did it, gang!  You really did it!  You proved that you are over Adam Sandler.  His scurrying away to the darkest bowels of Netflix with the rest of Happy Madison is like when the exploited villagers of a cynical, money-grubbing dicksh*t finally rise up against him and drive him out of town with pitchforks and torches!  You did it, folks!  Admittedly, it was a close call, since Ant-Man is currently only sitting pretty at the top by $750,000, but you did it anyway!  And that’s what counts!

In fact, it was a rather miserable and underwhelming week all around, to be honest.  Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw, for example, was released this weekend.  Remember how excited we all were for that movie?  When we saw Jake Gyllenhaal all scary-jacked up, and how amazing Rocky was, and how this was going to be this big awards season contender that one time and that finally Jake Gyllenhaal would have to be recognised in all Best Actor races after being bewilderingly shut out last year?  You know, until that trailer came out and… yeah, there’s a reason this one was dumped mid-Summer.  Audiences agreed, and so the film opened in fifth place with $16.5 million.  On the bright side, I got to make a Snatch reference in the headline, so this whole thing wasn’t a total waste!

Meanwhile, the John Green Empire took a critical hit in its formative stages thanks to Paper Towns.  Compared to the runaway smash success of The Fault In Our Stars from last year – of a $48 million first place kind – Paper Towns struggled to reach $12.5 million and sixth place.  Is this because teenagers are fickle as f*ck?  Is it because everyone had places to be this weekend?  Or is it just because a subpar adaptation of an author’s inferior-to-his-much-better-work novel wasn’t going to make any money anyway?  It’s probably the last one.  After all, people weren’t exactly tripping over themselves to race to the box office to see that 2013 adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, were they?  Just goes to show that not every novel by an author is worth adapting just because one of them was good and/or popular.  If somebody could pass that message along for me to the people who keep pumping out insufferable Nicholas Sparks movies, that’d be just swell.

In The Land Of Really Stretching The Term Limited Releases, Mark Neveldine – of Neveldine/Taylor of Crank 2: High Voltage more commonly known as THE GREATEST ACTION MOVIE RELEASED THIS CENTURY – decided that he was going to try and be the Shawn Michaels to Bryan Taylor’s Marty Jannetty and split off to direct the found-footage exorcism flick The Vatican Tapes.  As karma for this act of betrayal/insolence, the film sat on the shelf for a good year and a bit before finally getting dumped in 427 theatres, trashed by critics, and managing a pathetic $850,000 for a sub-$2,000 per-screen average.  Hopefully now he and Taylor – whom I was just reminded was supposed to direct and release a Twisted Metal movie this year, which caused me to laugh for a solid minute – will recognise that they are stronger together and go back to making movies as a cohesive unit!  Daddy needs Crank 3D, dammit.

Also, the best performing film of the weekend was Woody Allen’s Irrational Man, which added 21 screens (for a total of 28), and took home $261,000 for a $9,321 per-screen average.  Once again, you all do know that you don’t have to give him money for everything he does, right?


ant man

A winner is you with this Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 24th July 2015 – Sunday 26th July 2015

1] Ant-Man

$24,765,000 / $106,075,000

Again, this is currently real tight, so things may switch when the actuals come in, but everything’s great for now!  Also, allow me to highlight this well-argued piece by Umberto Gonzalez about how he was offended by the character of Luis in Ant-Man.  I personally don’t agree with the piece – as I mention in my review, I feel that the film’s commitment to ensuring that everyone gets enough development to be a character keeps characters like Luis from being just a racist stereotype – and most of the article’s (mostly Latino) commenters don’t seem to agree either, but it’s well-written and I have huge respect for him bringing the issue forward.  Even when it seems like we’re being too sensitive, it’s still important to call out these things and have these discussions.

2] Pixels

$24,000,000 / NEW

Seeing this on Tuesday for an Unlimited Screening and a review will be along the following day, so I’m restraining any sick burns or easy jokes until then.  Hell, I’m even going to flush them out of my mind completely!  With films like Pixels, I worry that we all take a little too much pleasure in dumping on easy targets, that we get a little carried away and just devolve into strings of (often admittedly) hilarious insults because we can be united in attacking a common low-effort target.  That’s why I try really hard to avoid doing that in my reviews of such films – my Paul Blart and Entourage reviews do have the occasional funny lines, but mostly stick to explaining the legitimate genuine faults those movies have instead of going for comedy gold.

What I’m saying is that I like the middle-part of Moviebob’s Pixels review, where he breaks down in detail why the film sucks, but that review blew up for all of the wrong reasons and that makes me sad and/or mad.

3] Minions

$22,100,000 / $261,620,000

Look, you all like to insult the Minions and claim that their kind and their movies are abominations and the downfall of civilisation.  OK, whatever.  But, have the Minions ever made an allegedly videogame-themed theme song for their movie by Waka Flocka Flame (featuring two people from Good Charlotte who I am not 100% convinced aren’t just clones of one another), where the lyrics barely reference videogames, barely rhyme, and are performed on a beat that sounds like Maroon 5 covering a Panic! At The Disco cover of a 2015 Fall Out Boy song?  I rest my case.

4] Trainwreck

$17,300,000 / $61,545,000

I hate to bring the mood down, but let’s all just take a moment to mourn those killed at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana this past weekend.  I could use this space to get incredibly angry – at the lax gun control laws, to the fact that the media keeps painting the cause of the shooting as a mystery despite the fact that it took place during a feminist film by a feminist movie star and that the victims were women who were shot by a man with a history of abusive behaviour towards female members of his family – but I’m honestly just kinda numb to all of this by this point.  It’s clear that nothing’s going to change – not gun control laws, and certainly not the toxic sexism that has been ingrained into our society – and I just can’t muster up any emotions about this anymore.  Like, seriously, what is it going to take to get something to change?

OK, sorry for springing that on you folks in what is supposed to be a fun and silly space.  Back to our regularly scheduled programme.

5] Southpaw

$16,500,000 / NEW

Saw this Friday and a review will be along tomorrow – it got held up by the length of time it took for me to write about Inside Out – but I will tell you that this one was incredibly disappointing.  A film that actively steers itself away from anything remotely interesting or new in favour of yet another tale about male masculinity and fatherly redemption, but this time with extra excess melodrama.  It’s fine for what it is, but I’m tired of seeing films like Southpaw.  Tell me something new!

Also, I do kinda have to agree with my friend Matt: making a non-Rocky-related boxing movie over an MMA movie in 2015 is pure wankery.

6] Paper Towns

$12,500,000 / NEW

So, question: who, what, where, why, and how Cara Delevingne?  Seriously, I go to bed one night, and then wake up the next morning to find people incapable of not talking about her and that she’s appearing in the something like 7 films over the next 12 months.  What gives?  I mean no disrespect for her or anything, she might be a fine actress and a perfectly upstanding human being, I’m just naturally cautious about anybody who blows up overnight and is in everything.  Last time this happened, we got The Walking Embodiment of Beige, commonly known as Jai Courtney.  Just saying.

7] Inside Out

$7,356,000 / $320,335,000

Here is my attempt to offer up a straight review, where I only talk about the film and why it’s brilliant and I love it on its own merits.  That took 8 hours to write.  Here is my in-depth, personal, and spoiler-y piece on why Inside Out is so emotionally attached to me in ways that I really can’t separate it from.  That took about 3 hours to write.  Writing, everybody!

8] Jurassic World

$6,900,000 / $623,803,000

Ladies, gentlemen, and others… your third highest grossing film domestically AND worldwide of all-time.  I’ll leave the thinkpieces to you folks, I really don’t care either way about this.

9] Mr. Holmes

$2,849,000 / $6,432,000

Hey!  This actually broke into the chart!  Yay and stuff!

10] Terminator: Game Gear

$2,400,000 / $85,666,000

On the one hand: YIPPEE!  This piece of dog sh*t is bidding us adieu!  We might be spared a sequel after all!  On the other hand: dammit!  I had all of these videogame console name substitutions lined up for usage, and now they’re all going to go to waste!  What good is a once-slightly-clever gag escalation if I don’t get to run it into the ground?!  Life is the worst!

This is a situation with no clear-cut answer, so I’m just going to embed the unquestionably godawful Pixels theme song below and call it for the week.

Dropped Out: Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ted 2

Callum Petch won’t be around.  He now mainly writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Inside Out

Inside Out is beautiful.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

inside outI’ve sat here for the last three hours trying to figure out how to start this review.  See, Inside Out is a fantastic movie – that much is not up for debate.  It’s not only the best Pixar movie released this decade, it might genuinely be the best thing that they have ever done.  It’s certainly their most emotional and their most emotionally honest, no surprise given that the film’s director and main creative force is Up and Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter whose work is characterised by emotional honesty and an uncanny ability to zero in exactly on everyone’s weak-spots.  This is quite possibly the best film that I have seen all year, and if it hasn’t bested Mad Max: Fury Road then it is right up there.

It’s also a film that gains a lot of its power from my own emotional baggage.  This is a film that is fantastic as a movie in many objective ways, but it’s also a film that connected with me so thoroughly, so totally, and so attuned to myself that my opinions and thoughts on it are mostly informed by that fact.  In other words: this film is amazing by itself, but it is transcendental to me because of my various issues and experiences.  So, to properly explain that, I would have to talk about this film and myself in-depth for a very prolonged stretch of time: both no-nos in the world of film reviewing.

Therefore, you can expect this review to be much less in-depth, and much shorter, than my other animation reviews because I’m going to stick to surface-level criticism and analysis.  By which I mean, why the film is a fantastic film.  For those of you who do care about why I love the film as much as I do, there will be a spoiler-filled and very personal post on my own new website – callumpetch.com, tell your friends – later in the week where I will engage in all of the writer no-nos in an attempt to properly explain how the film connected with me and why I put it right up there with Fury Road.  That all OK?  If not, too bad, I’m the one writing this stuff.

So, Inside Out.  Now, normally when we label an animated feature as small-scale, what we mean is that the main cast is smaller than usual and that the stakes are slightly more personal than usual.  Look at something like Big Hero 6.  Most of that movie pivots around Hiro and Baymax, and the main stakes come from Hiro working through his grief.  However, the film still has a rather large secondary cast, the stakes outside of Hiro’s emotional state are much wider-reaching, and the film still has multiple large-scale action beats and setpieces.  In a way, Big Hero 6 is a small-scale film, but in many respects it’s not that much different from your standard big studio animated movies nowadays, that often trade more and more on bigness.

Not so with Inside Out.  Pete Docter’s newest masterpiece commits completely to that small-scale, utilising it to wrestle with big concepts and never once succumbing to the requirements of The Big Studio Animated Family Feature Factory.  Throughout Inside Out, the stakes remain deeply personal and the events on screen reflect it.  When 11 year-old Riley Anderson (Kaitlyn Dias) finds herself uprooted without warning from her lovely home and life in Minnesota to inner-San Francisco by her parents, her emotions, led by Joy (Amy Poehler), try and help her adjust to this change.  Things swiftly go wrong, however, when Sadness (Phyllis Smith) accidentally turns a joyous core memory sad and, in the chaos, she and Joy are ejected from Riley’s headquarters with all of the core memories.  Dumped into Long-Term Memory, the pair have to make their way back whilst Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader) attempt to perform damage control since Riley can no longer feel Joy or Sadness.

Essentially, the stakes are purely about whether Riley can avoid emotionally shutting down now that she’s been forced away by circumstances beyond her control from her enjoyable life.  There is no villain, no purposefully antagonistic force – one would think that Anger or Disgust would work to make Riley’s life hell but, in reality, they’re just trying their best to stand in for Joy – and there is no one major specific event that brings this issue to light.  It’s all the little things – the disappointment in a new house, the loneliness that comes from not knowing anyone, the discovery that your friends’ lives don’t stop once you leave them, finding out that your new nearby pizza place makes garbage food – that slowly break someone down as they struggle to adjust.  How someone who has spent most of the best moments of their life feeling happy struggles to understand that feeling sad and showing that you feel sad are not bad things.

Those are the stakes, that’s the scale, and Inside Out commits completely to them.  There’s no giant threatening outside force, there’s no big action-packed finale.  This is a quiet melancholy tale about emotional maturation, and specifically the emotional maturation of a young girl as represented via a look at her cute and often funny little emotions.  The film is funny – it has many gut-busters and ends on what will quite frankly be the funniest gag I see in any film this year – and it has many utterly inspired scenarios and usages for its central conceit of a glimpse into one’s brain, but it is primarily this low-key story about a serious subject and it never once contradicts or downplays that in favour of big setpiece sequences or excess melodrama.

Instead, the film hits upon something real and never loses sight of that kind of honesty.  It never pulls its punches, never sugarcoats anything, and that leads to some of the most emotionally affecting sequences in Pixar’s history.  Because they’re working so close to reality, and only very slightly dressing it up with distancing parallels – like how Monsters, Inc. uses monsters and scaring as a parallel for our natural resources, or (more relatedly) how Toy Story uses the toys we played with as a kid to look at growing up – there ends up being this unavoidable directness with how it handles these vital sequences, and the fact that it never plays a single one of these as anything other than these quiet moments of important realisation and self-improvement adds to that.  The most drastic action that Riley takes is still befitting that intimate feel, raising the stakes but not in an excessively dramatic way.

And that abounds throughout.  From the way that Joy and the others treat Sadness because they don’t understand her necessity, to the way that the film is always on Sadness’ side even when it’s mining her for quality jokes, to the way that the film keeps its focus locked firmly on Riley and her headspace – it only steps into the heads of other characters once during the movie itself, before using that idea during the credits for a series of rapid-fire gags to send the audience home happy – to the way that the film is able to take advantage of things like how Riley’s dreams are made but doesn’t outstay its welcome in them.  Every aspect of this film has clearly been carefully deliberated on to achieve that balance between realistic and distancing buffer, fun joy and heartbreaking sadness.  It’s a perfectly melancholy movie whose tight personal view is never once sacrificed for any reason.

That’s why Inside Out works.  There’s also some outstanding voice work – especially from Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith – some gorgeous animation, and another brilliant score by Michael Giacchino (who just always seems to create his best work when associated with Pixar), but those are really by-products of Pete Docter nailing that scale and tone.  By remaining small-scale throughout, by remaining openly emotional throughout, and by remaining honest and upfront about the subject that it is handling throughout (because it would have been so easy to put in some kind of antagonistic force in order dilute the emotional potency), he and the entire team at Pixar have created one truly mesmerising piece of cinema.

This is the kind of film that puts most grown-up dramas about emotional wellbeing to shame, this is the kind of film that proves what animation is capable of, this is either the best or the second-best film that I have seen all year.  Inside Out is not optional.  This is mandatory viewing.  Go and see this movie right the hell now.

Callum Petch is waking up feeling good and limber.  He now writes primarily for his own website, callumpetch.com.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 17/07/15 – 19/07/15

Ant-Man shrinks the standard Marvel opening, Trainwreck is anything but a, Mr. Holmes effortlessly cracks The Mystery of How To Get Into the Top 10, these puns are awful even by my standards, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

So, here’s the deal.  I am really frickin’ tired.  Not gonna lie.  I’ve been really busy these last few days working on something big, and I’m just plain not sleeping well, so Sunday night is currently not the time where my brain is most engaged.  Right now, all I really want to do is lie down in bed and alternate between Phineas & Ferb and Parks & Rec episodes until my brain just collapses into Sleepsville.  However, my “job” involves providing fresh Box Office Reports for your fine self to read first thing on a Monday morning, and if there is one thing that I am committed to it is my “job”!  I spent just over 30 straight weeks pumping out giant DreamWorks Animation essays after all!  So, let’s just try and get through this together, eh?

Keeping those doom-saying think pieces that pretty much every Box Office commenter and Internet writer has had prepped for the last three years in storage just a little while longer, Ant-Man is your new box office number 1, with $58 million in ticket sales!  Of course, those think pieces could still be trotted out if everyone wanted to, as that $58 million opening is the second-worst in Marvel Cinematic Universe history (only besting The Incredible Hulk’s $55 million), but it’s only one film and a number 1 opening is still a number 1 opening however you slice it.  Besides, I don’t think we need to be encouraging these things.  I honestly don’t know which will be worse at this point: the incredibly smug “I told you so” attitude that every single card-carrying member of Film Twitter and Film Internet will sport when these films do start failing, or the whiney defensive attitude that will come from the part of the Internet that keeps painting Marvel as some kind of victim being bullied by Film Snobs.  It’s like Aliens vs. Predator only somehow even worse than that.

In much happier news, Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck was a huge success, coming in third with $30.2 million!  No, that wasn’t sarcasm.  See, Trainwreck is Apatow’s second-biggest opening weekend as a director, just behind Knocked Up’s $30.6 million, and the film itself is an R-rated female-focused comedy starring an untested talent in the world of film and being released against the newest instalment in the Marvel juggernaut.  This is genuinely a roaring success!  Woo-hoo!  Go Amy Schumer!  Between this, Spy, and Pitch Perfect 2, this has been quite the year for female-fronted comedies.  Now, if we could get some movies fronted by non-white female comediennes, that would be just peachy…

In “really stretching the definition of ‘limited’ release” news, Bill Condon’s excellent Mr. Holmes – a film that just missed out on my Top 5 of 2015 So Far list – crossed the pond to 363 theatres this past weekend, and managed to crack the Top 10 with $2.48 million in tickets and a respectable $6,800 per screen average.  Almost matching it on 100 less screens, and perhaps another sign that Indian cinema is about to finally break somewhat big in America, was Bajrangi Bhaijaan which took $2.42 million for eleventh place and a per-screen average of $9,400.  These two may even switch places when the actuals come in, but, as you all know, I only work from these final estimates cos I have sh*t to do, thank you kindly.

Meanwhile, in actual limited release news, Woody Allen’s latest “older man falls for much, much, much younger woman” tale, this one going by the name Irrational Man, made $188,000 from 5 screens of die-hard Woody Allen fanatics with nothing better going on in their lives.  Everybody does know that they don’t have to help him film everything he comes up with, right?


This Full List is brought to you by the warm dulcet tones of Ringo Starr.  Because Thomas the Tank Engine is featured in Ant-you know what never mind.

Box Office Results: Friday 17th July 2015 – Sunday 19th July 2015

1] Ant-Man

$58,040,000 / NEW

Saw this on Friday and the review should hopefully be up soon – it’s not yet because I didn’t finish writing it until Saturday afternoon, because my brain currently hates me, and Owen was off enjoying The First-Ever Failed Critics Meet-Up so couldn’t get to posting.  Short version: I really dug this one.  It has problems, but I really, really dug it!  There’s a second article that’s going up later this week that may make it seem like I hate this movie, but I do actually really like it.  That’s the thing about criticism, taking issue with a certain aspect doesn’t mean that the rest of the film can’t win you over!  It’s almost like opinions are these multi-faceted and nuanced things or something.

2] Minions

$50,200,000 / $216,692,000

Steeper-than-expected 56% drop, which looks really bad compared to the second-week drops of the first (42%) and second (47%) Despicable Mes.  But, of course, neither of those opened to $115 million domestic and this $50 million second weekend is about in line with those films’ low $30 million and low $40 million weekends.  Yeah, this is doing more than OK, although that unfortunately means that Illumination now have a green-light to run this franchise into the ground.  I mean, they were probably going to anyway, but now they have an excuse to.

3] Trainwreck

$30,200,000 / NEW

Absolutely cannot wait for this.  Really, truly, cannot wait for this.  I think that Amy Schumer is one of the most important voices in comedy right now and I am dying to see what she can with two hours and the romantic comedy template.  News from America indicating that this is way more traditional and less subversive than I was hoping it would be has tempered my expectations and excitement but only slightly.  Seriously: bring this baby on already!

4] Inside Out

$11,660,000 / $306,363,000

When we next meet, folks, I will have seen Inside Out.  I would like to thank Owen for cordoning off review privileges for this on this site for myself and myself alone.  It’s like he understands that I live to be the sole person reviewing all of the animated films.  He gets me, he really does.

5] Jurassic World

$11,400,000 / $611,174,000

I… I really got nothing for this one anymore, folks.  Enjoy this song from Phineas & Ferb, instead.

6] Terminator: 2600

$5,400,000 / $80,640,000

I’m just going to bury my head in my hands and hope against hope that this one just goes away, if that’s alright with everyone else.  Emilia Clarke deserves better, dammit!

7] Magic Mike XXL

$4,500,000 / $58,636,000

I hope this becomes a Cult Movie Night fixture.  You know the ones: those special screenings full of die-hard fans who know the film front-to-back, love and appreciate every last second of it, get its progressive sexual politics completely, and are completely comfortable in their love for this movie.  They’ll all meet up once every few months and make a night out of seeing this film, the cinema will provide each attendee with a roll of (convincingly) fake dollar bills to rain down upon the screen at the appropriate times, and everyone will just have the most fun and best time together shrieking in pure glee.

I hope this happens, at any rate, cos that’s a film screening experience I want to have!

8] The Gallows

$4,005,000 / $18,007,000

THIS JUST IN: Shitty Horror Movie That Nobody Liked Plummets In Its Second Weekend.  More at 11.

9] Ted 2

$2,700,000 / $77,457,000

So, Ted 2I was promised some Rachael MacFarlane in your movie.  I went to see your movie and I noticed no Rachael MacFarlane.  I feel very much betrayed by this, and you can expect a very strongly worded letter expressing my disappointment to be along in the post shortly!

10] Mr. Holmes

$2,489,000 / NEW

I wanted to write a review of this after I saw it, but I never got around to it due to this whole “being back at home and feeling miserable” lark causing me to have trouble putting words to paper.  In any case, I highly recommend it, especially if you’re sick of Sherlock Holmes adaptations cos it’s not really one.  It’s more a mediation on death, aging, memory, regret, and selfishness that ties back into Sherlock Holmes in specific ways but is mostly a movie that just happens to feature Sherlock Holmes.  I loved this one and cannot recommend it enough to you!

Just don’t be one of those berks who marks it down because “the mystery wasn’t that difficult or compelling” otherwise you and I will be having words.

Dropped Out: Self/Less, Baahubali: The Beginning, Max

Callum Petch is not sleeping, cold wind blowing.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 10/07/15 – 12/07/15

The Minions are their own boss, The Gallows has made back its budget 100x over, people were selfish and didn’t see Self/Less, it’s not been a good week to be a limited release, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

It was only a matter of time.  They started off innocuously in 2010’s Despicable Me, cute little comic relief characters whom we all collectively agreed were the best part of that otherwise mediocre movie.  Then the merchandising flood started and we happily accepted it because they were adorable.  Then their involvement in the films increased exponentially with Despicable Me 2 and we cheered because Despicable Me 2 was a great film, so what’s the problem?  Then those irritating Facebook memes started – useless, insincere attitude stock phrase bullsh*t that pasted random Minions onto their rubbish and called it a day – and we shook our heads in dismay but did nothing.  And then it happened.  Universal drowned us in marketing for the Minions spin-off movie, and you couldn’t avoid them.  Everywhere you turned.  Merchandise, posters, adverts, Amazon packaging.  Nowhere was safe, nowhere was free.  The takeover had occurred, we had to submit to our new Minion overlords for they had won.  They had conquered.

Therefore, Minions opened to $115 million this past weekend, making it the second-biggest opening weekend for any animated feature ever.  May God have mercy on us all.

Meanwhile, like it or not, The Gallows is actually a roaring success.  Oh sure, a fifth place opening of $10 million may not seem like a success, but that’s ignoring the fact that the film allegedly only cost $100,000 to make.  Such is the beauty of Blumhouse Productions, a production company that can get a horror movie made so cheaply that it is almost literally impossible for them to make a film that bombs.  It’s kinda like how Uwe Boll used to be able to write off half of the budgets for his various “movies” through complicated tax breaks except, y’know, Jason Blum has actually produced a good film or two in between his crap.  Plus, he quite literally has three more films coming out in the next two months, so it’s not like this mediocre performance is going to slow him down or anything.

Elsewhere, Tarsem Singh tried to bring back intellectual sci-fi with Self/Less, a film about whether it’s morally justifiable to force Ryan Reynolds to do bad things that he doesn’t want to do, as opposed to those bad things he chose to do like Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past.  Unfortunately, this is Tarsem Singh we’re talking about here, and so the director of Mirror, Mirror proceeded to apparently make a terrible movie that squanders all of its potential.  Consequently, since reviews are make or break for these kind of films, the film has tanked with barely $5 million for eighth place.  Dammit, people!  You can’t stop the Reynoldssaince!  No matter how hard you try, it won’t be stopped!

Having a similarly bad weekend was pretty much every limited release that came out this week.  Doing the best of the lot was Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary examining the stereotype of the gay voice that brought in a decent $11,000 from its one screen.  Next up there was Boulevard, an apparently underwhelming drama that we will all see anyway because it’s Robin Williams’ final role, with $7,000 from one screen.  “Globe-trotting” comedy Meet Me In Montenegro, and I don’t need to see or hear any second of that movie after seeing the phrase “globe-trotting” used non-ironically when describing a film’s genre in 2015, did poorest with $6,000 from 10 screens for a dismal per-screen average of you work it out.  All of these movies were out-performed by a re-issue of the 1992 Mel Gibson romance flick Forever Young, which took $70,000 from 14 screens for a $5,000 per-screen average.  Not one part of that last sentence makes any sense to me.


minions

This Full List, like seemingly everything else on the planet right now, is brought to you by the Minions.  Give into the yellow pill-shaped fellas.  Resistance is futile.

Box Office Results: Friday 10th July 2015 – Sunday 12th July 2015

1] Minions

$115,200,000 / NEW

Watched this again with a friend I hadn’t seen in years this past weekend because we got to the cinema too late to catch the first showing of Ted 2 and way too early for the next screening of Amy so had to see something, and also I am why you people are suffering so.  And guess what?  I still liked it!  So all of you Minion haters out there can go suck something that doesn’t make this insult homophobic!

Also, Fun Fact: the animated movie with the biggest opening weekend of all-time is still Shrek The Third with $121 million because you are all far worse than I am.

2] Jurassic World

$18,100,000 / $590,638,000

This will cross $600 million domestic next weekend which is quite literally insane.  It is now the third highest grossing film of all-time worldwide (or it will be, since Box Office Mojo isn’t immediately up-to-date on foreign totals anymore so there may or may not be a delay), which is also insane.  The backlash is insane, the extreme love is insane, the film itself is insane.  It’s all just one big melting pot of insanity.

3] Inside Out

$17,108,000 / $283,638,000

Turns out that this did, in fact, beat Jurassic World when the actuals came in for the three-day weekend last week.  Therefore, it is no longer the only Pixar film to not hit number 1 on the charts!  Yay!  After all, if this apparently amazing film couldn’t hit number 1 but Cars 2 could, then what does that say about us as a collective society?

4] Terminator: 3DS XL

$13,700,000 / $68,718,000

WOO HOO!  It’s failing!  It’s failing!  Uh huh!  Yeah!  Alright!  And even with foreign grosses factored in, it’s still only made $225 million against a $155 million budget!  Ah, life is good, folks.  Life is good.

(*suddenly remembers that the film has yet to open in China*)

Oh, hell, no.  If the Terminator: Vita sequel moves ahead but the Mad Max: Fury Road one doesn’t, sh*t is going to get royally f*cked up, I am warning you right now.

5] The Gallows

$10,015,000 / NEW

Have you seen the initial trailer for this?  In case you haven’t, it’s embedded below, but Cliff Notes are that it’s literally just a girl sobbing for 80 seconds before being Jump Scare Killed.  Does that rub anyone else the wrong way?  I don’t mean in the way that horror is supposed to make you uneasy, I mean in the sense that it seems more than a little exploitative and fetishizing of a woman in distress?  I guess I can give it points for being honest, but still.  You know.  Yeah.

6] Magic Mike XXL

$9,640,000 / $48,359,000

Allow me to use this space to pay my respects to The Dissolve, real quick.  A beacon of pure light and excellence in an Internet film space that seems to be in a race to the bottom, it was the film site that managed to be intellectual without coming off as snobby, diverse without looking down on mainstream film, clever and witty without coming off as snarky, proof that it was possible to write about films without having to be a closed-off academic cretin or a click-bait listicle doofus.  The only real upside to this incredibly sad news is that at least the site is still up for the time being, so you can still read fine articles like Tasha Robinson’s look at how Magic Mike XXL treats female pleasure.

R.I.P. you beautiful angel.  We apparently don’t deserve you, and that just isn’t goddamn fair.

7] Ted 2

$5,600,000 / $71,619,000

Saw this this past weekend and a review will be along in short order.  Man, I wish Seth MacFarlane would write actual jokes again.

8] Self/Less

$5,379,000 / NEW

Bummed to hear that this apparently sucks, although I will in theory get to find out for myself this week, but at least I get to inform you that The Voices is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray!  Seriously, go buy that damn movie.

9] Baahubali: The Beginning

$3,575,000 / NEW

I didn’t mention this in my limited release roundup for two reasons.  The first is that 236 screens is really stretching the definition of “limited” for my liking.  The second is that it broke on through to the top 10 so I can talk about it here instead.  Plus, if I mentioned that this film managed an utterly ridiculous $15,148 per-screen average in the limited release section, then that would have discredited my headline, and I really cannot be arsed to go back and change it now.  It’s late, I’m tired, let’s just push on through.

10] Max

$3,420,000 / $33,705,000

I… I really got nothing for this.  This movie’s premise just makes me too sad.  God knows how I’ll make it through the actual movie, I might singlehandedly put a whole load of Kleenex executives’ kids through college.

Dropped Out: Spy, San Andreas, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Dope

Callum Petch, bring it close to my lips, yeah.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 03/07/15 – 05/07/15

Terminator: Genisys’ order to “Come with [it] if [we] want to live” is studiously ignored, Magic Mike XXL only ends up in a light shower of dollars, they tried to make people watch Amy and people said “Yes, yes, yes”, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Ah, 4th of July weekend!  The five-day stretch where everybody, in their great patriotic American duty, travels down to the cinemas to watch the latest wares that Hollywood has to peddle!  Past years have seen films like Despicable Me 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, various Transformers movies, a Twilight instalment, and (obviously) Independence Day launch in this lucrative and prestigious slot in order to help fuel that great American past-time: ignoring your families and friends by sitting down and shutting up for two and a bit hours!  And, sure, last year was kind of a major disappointment, but those movies weren’t going to set any box offices on fire, anyway.  This year had two supposedly highly anticipated sequels to beloved franchises, plus the continuing success of two of the strongest box office holdovers to come along in an age!  Everything was going to be peaches and cream, right?

Well, not exactly.  If you’re a holdover, this weekend was pretty great for you, at least.  In the three-day statistics (which are the only numbers that matter in this house), Jurassic World grabbed a hold of that number one slot for the fourth straight week in a row with just under $30.9 million, whilst Inside Out just cannot seal the deal with $30.1 million for second place.  Of course, with numbers that close, things could switch when actuals come in, and Inside Out apparently won the five-day weekend quite handily if we looked at things like that, so this isn’t exactly information that is going to send Pixar executives in existential crises about whether their time is really up or not.  After all, it’s neck-and-neck with Jurassic World and has been for three straight weeks.  That’s like if I lasted 12 rounds against Brock Lesnar.  Sure, I didn’t win, but I got some good hits in as he was treating my body like a Stretch Armstrong!

Good News, folks!  Terminator: Mega Drive is a failure!  For an expensive blockbuster with a beloved franchise attached to it and the intention of starting a brand new trilogy from it (like every single blockbuster ever nowadays), it did appallingly!  Over the five-day weekend, the film could only manage $44 million, whilst the three-day weekend cut that down to just $28 million!  To make matters even better, it was crushed by Jurassic World, another expensive blockbuster with a beloved franchise attached to it, in proof positive that people will skip your film if it as utter miserable shit as Terminator: CD is!  Also in Good News: in the land of limited releases, Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary directed by Asif Kapida (the man responsible for 2011’s excellent Senna), got off to a fantastic start with $220,000 from 6 screens for a $37,000 per screen average.

Bad News, folks!  Magic Mike XXL has crashed and burned!  Perhaps forever cautioning Hollywood studios from making movies solely for the female or homosexual gaze, XXL could only scrape together $26 million from the five-day weekend, and $11 million from the three-day weekend.  Who knows why this happened?  Maybe everybody saw the trailer to this one, remembered the trailer to the first Magic Mike and went, “Oh, no!  I’m not falling for that again!”  Maybe certain prospective audience members didn’t have anyone to go with and felt too ashamed to go alone?  Maybe everybody who saw it the first time was in too much pleasure to risk going back for seconds, or incapable of communicating to their friends just how brilliant the film is?  Or maybe, just maybe, it could have something to do with the fact that THE MOVIE OPENED ON A WEDNESDAY, YOU BLITHERING IMBECILES!  Why would you do that?!  Do you hate making money?  Do you?


terminator genisys

Much like Judgement Day and Jai Courtney’s inexplicable leading man career, this Full List cannot be stopped.  It can only be delayed for a short period.

Box Office Results: Friday 3rd July 2015 – Sunday 5th July 2015

1] Jurassic World

$30,900,000 / $558,137,000

Good lord, this might actually reach $2 billion.  It’ll at least get close enough that it’ll cross that threshold when its inevitable re-release comes along in a few years’ time, and maybe even dethrone Avatar at that point, too.  This is mind-blowing to me.  In fact, everything about everything that isn’t to do with the film itself is mind-blowing to me: the rampant mega-success with the public, the extreme vitriol with which it’s been received by everybody I know and follow on Twitter, with many all but claiming its success to be an indicator of the death of cinema with the general public.  I don’t get that, but nor do I get the earth-shattering success it’s been having.  I stand by my review but… it’s a fun dinosaur movie that’s honestly kinda terrible.  It’s not brilliant and it’s not an abomination.  Can somebody please fill me in on how both sides got to their respective stations?  I’m confused, and I don’t like not understanding people, it’s one of the many reasons why I’m so miserable all the time.

2] Inside Out

$30,105,000 / $246,160,000

Have I ever mentioned that I love Amy Poehler?  Because I do, and I think that she’s amazing, and that this train of praise and adoration that she’s currently on is more than deserved.  Seriously, she’s wonderful and I admire the ever-loving heck out of her.

3] Terminator: 32x

$28,700,000 / $44,156,000 / NEW

I hate this movie.  I hate this movie with a burning passion.  I hate its simultaneously needlessly complex and nowhere-near-as-clever-and-complex-as-it-thinks-it-is plot.  I hate its dreadful special effects.  I hate how I was not once scared or intimidated by a skinless Terminator.  I hate its insipid exposition-heavy and grade-school level dialogue.  I hate how dreadful absolutely everybody is in this movie despite many people showing that they are far better actors and actresses elsewhere.  I hate the fact that it restages so many moments from the first two Terminator films and expects easy nostalgia points for doing so under the untrue guise of “subversion”.  I hate its utterly pathetic excuse of a Sarah Connor.  I hate its awful action scenes.  I hate how it won’t even reach for being obviously and extravagantly bad, instead just settling for mediocrity and expecting everyone to not get angered enough to take it to task for that.  I hate the fact that it was fucking right about doing that and that everyone is letting this one pass with a shrug of their shoulders instead of the righteous fury it deserves.  I hate it I hate it I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate it!

I don’t hate Terminator: Jaguar as much as I hate Entourage, but I hate it more than Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and the fact that 2015 Film is trying so very hard to keep Paul Blart from the Top 5 of my Bottom Films of 2015 list is a genuine thing that we should be concerned about.

4] Magic Mike XXL

$11,600,000 / $26,656,000 / NEW

In complete contrast to Terminator: Dreamcast, I adore Magic Mike XXL, as my super peppy review helpfully demonstrates.  It is a thing of wondrous majestic beauty, especially in the way that it is super progressive in all of these brilliantly quiet ways whilst still being nearly two hours of blatant wonderful fan-service.  I really cannot stop thinking about this movie, and I’m probably going to see it again next week.  I might even see if Lucy’s up for coming again, although I get the feeling that that first time was enough for her.  You seriously should have heard her when Backstreet Boys started on the soundtrack, it was magnificent and I was feeling exactly the same as her!

5] Ted 2

$11,000,000 / $58,334,000

Well, in four days’ time, I guess I’ll find out if my fondness for Seth MacFarlane has to once again be affixed with a giant specific asterisk and hidden from sight unless directly brought up.  At least we still have American Dad! and his excellent voice acting.  Those can’t ever be taken away from me.

6] Max

$6,610,000 / $25,349,000

Oh.  I guess the fact that this is apparently rubbish has cut those seemingly long legs short after all.  Or maybe we all saw Marley & Me and are now automatically sceptical about any film with a dog because we don’t want to cry when something bad happens to it.  Either works.

7] Spy

$5,500,000 / $97,846,000

Ex-Disney CEO and Professional Tit Michael Eisner stated his belief, at the Aspen Ideas Festival (which is a real thing and I can’t believe that either) on Thursday, that “the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman.”  Prefacing the following with an acknowledgement that “I am going to get in trouble, I know this goes online”, which should be as clear an indicator as humanly possible to stop talking, he believes that “usually, unbelievably beautiful women… are not funny.”

I don’t think I need to add anything more to that.  Although I will say that I bet that Eisner’s wife is just thrilled to know that her husband finds her either ugly or a humourless shrill.

8] San Andreas

$3,030,000 / $147,373,000

How many of you spent your 4th of July watching Independence Day?  Come on, don’t be shy!  It’s good to remind yourself of how much dumb, slightly guilty fun that movie is before the sequel comes along and is inevitably terrible!

9] Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

$1,320,000 / $4,004,000

God, this is like my own personal version of the monster from It Follows.  It’s coming, it can’t be stopped, there is no way of getting away from it, and it will get me.  Urgh.  I just want to get this over with, already, please.  Films that are clearly going to be terrible but that I have to see anyway are the worst.

As for It Follows, it is pencilled in for October 31st.  I’ll explain more closer to the time.

10] Dope

$1,098,000 / $14,104,000

You people disgust me.

Dropped Out: Insidious Chapter 3, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Callum Petch knows when to go out and when to stay in.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 26/06/15 – 28/06/15

People REALLY f*cking love dinosaurs, Ted ends up like Flash Gordon – a thing we all liked as a kid and now want to distance ourselves from, [Insert Tasteless Mean-Spirited Batkid Begins Gag Here], and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

For the third week in a row, somehow, Jurassic World has taken the top spot at the box office, this time with $54 million in ticket sales, pushing its domestic total to over $500 million.  There’s a part of me that’s surprised that Jurassic World is doing this well, but I guess it’s gonna take a while for a film like this to stop posting non-ridiculous numbers when it opened over $200 million.  That, incidentally, is still something I definitely can’t get over.  Meanwhile, Pixar’s Inside Out is probably going to become the first Pixar film to not hit the number one slot, since Jurassic World managed to keep it off of the top even with $52 million in ticket sales.  I guess everyone prefers velociraptors fighting genetically-modified dinosaurs to intimate tales of depression.  In entirely unrelated news, Pixar have just delayed The Good Dinosaur yet again.  Apparently they’ve finally cracked the ending.

“But wait, Callum,” I hear you, imaginary reader calling out to nobody in particular.  “Weren’t there new films out this last weekend?”  Indeed there were, astutely attuned and likely very attractive reader!  Indeed there were!  Specifically, Ted 2 happened and, in the grand tradition of Seth MacFarlane works, was apparently nowhere near as good brought back from its at-the-time great original self.  The film regressed.  Significantly.  Whilst the first Ted managed to break box office records with a $54 million opening, Ted 2 could only manage $33 million for third place.  It’s not as bad as A Million Ways To Die In The West’s $16 million third place opening, but it’s still troubling.  Now, thanks to this, Seth MacFarlane is going to have to make and unleash that Family Guy movie upon the world.  Thanks, you lot.  Thanks a million.

In “Films That Are Guaranteed To Make Me Weep Like A Three Year-Old” news, Max, the family drama about the loyal dog of a deceased soldier that returns home and suffers from PTSD…  sorry, you’ll need to give me a second.  Just typing that sentence is causing my eyes to water.  …OK, I’m good.  Anyways, that film got off to a pretty good start for a low budget and thinly advertised family drama, managing $12 million for fourth place.  Its limited release equivalent, Batkid Begins, which is a documentary about how the city of San Francisco came together to help Make-A-Wish kid Miles Scott’s dream to be Batkid for a day… … …OK, I can keep going.  Anywho, that film didn’t get off to such a good start, only managing $23,000 from 4 screens because YOU ARE ALL HEARTLESS BASTARDS!

Elsewhere in the part of these articles where I kill time before we get to the Full List, The Third Man received a special re-release to celebrate its restoration and managed an alright $24,000 from 3 screens because who wants to watch old movies at the cinema anymore, AMIRIGHT LADS?  A Little Chaos, a movie I fell asleep watching at the cinema for what it’s worth, finally debuted in 83 American theatres and was collectively shrugged out of the room with only $186,000 and a $2,241 per-screen average.  Runoff, a festival darling that’s finally managing to get a theatrical release, was the only real bright spot for limited release films this weekend, managing $10,000 from a single theatre.

Actually, no, wait!  There was another good slice of news in limited release!  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl expanded to 354 locations and couldn’t even manage $1 million!  THE SYSTEM WORKS!


jurassic world

This Full List is nowhere near as good as it was before it got cancelled the first time.

Box Office Results: Friday 26th June 2015 – Sunday 28th June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$54,200,000 / $500,100,000

Highest grossing film of the year domestically.  Add another $737 mil onto that and you have its current worldwide total.  This will beat Frozen in the all-time worldwide totals by the time I finish writing this sentence, and will probably cross Age of Ultron off the list on its journey for world dominance by the end of next week.  This is a literal juggernaut.  A quite literal juggernaut.  How?!  I had a lot of fun with it, and even I am perplexed by the sheer non-stoppery of this thing!  If Terminator: Mega Drive falls to this next week, I will not be surprised, believe me.

2] Inside Out

$52,128,000 / $184,945,000

Accidentally found out that Inside Out is all about a young girl who has to move house and goddammit Pixar why don’t you just stab me in the heart and get it over with!  Seriously, it doesn’t matter if this movie ends up being garbage, I will cry seven hundred times watching it.

3] Ted 2

$33,000,000 / NEW

I honestly just don’t know why Seth MacFarlane hasn’t just made a musical already.  He clearly loves them, he’s already recorded two big-band and swing albums, and his voice would probably be able to carry the musical you just know he’d have a starring role in.  I mean, it would certainly be better if he just admits that he wants to make a musical and does a full-on musical instead of forcing them into everything else he does even though they mostly just kill the pace of the thing he’s shoving them into.

4] Max

$12,210,000 / NEW

You remember what I said about Inside Out?  Multiply that by a thousand for this.  Not joking.  This past weekend, I thought I’d lost my dog, Mac, and spent five minutes running about the house in pure panicked terror because I couldn’t find him and was worried he’d somehow slipped out of the house without my knowing.  Then I opened a closed bedroom door and found him sat there wondering why I was looking so terrified.  Yeah, this film will kill me.

5] Spy

$7,800,000 / $88,351,000

So this is on track to become Paul Feig’s lowest grossing film yet – unless you count his pre-Bridesmaids films, which nobody does because doing so is stupid – despite it being his best by a country mile.  That’s a shame, but hopefully Hollywood won’t hold it against him when it comes time to bankroll his and Melissa McCarthy’s next films.  After all, everybody has been summarily crushed by Jurassic World, it’s not like this is indicative of anything except that all films need dinosaurs.

6] San Andreas

$5,275,000 / $141,871,000

I’m actually completely out of things to say about this, so have a picture of an adorable puppy.

kitty

7] Dope

$2,862,000 / $11,776,000

Sigh… goddammit, people.  You can’t spend forever joining me in campaigning for greater diversity and representation in movies and then not actually pay to see the ones that get a wide release!  This is why Jai Courtney gets to be a thing, people!  That is your goddamn fault!

8] Insidious Chapter 3

$2,025,000 / $49,816,000

A cinema in Middleton, Ohio ended up playing Insidious Chapter 3 for a group of families who had instead turned up to see Inside Out and every single story like this always bewilders me for the following reasons.  1] When you’re programming the projector, do you really pay that little attention to the title of the film you’re setting up that you really will confuse Insidious for Inside Out?  2] Does America not flash up the rating and film title before the film starts like we do in England?  Cos this seems like a weird thing to not do if that’s the case.  3] Why don’t the families scramble for the nearest exit when the studio logos quite clearly indicate that this is not the Pixar film they signed up to see?  4] Why does everybody continue to stay in the cinema long after it’s been made apparent that this is a horror movie and not something the kids should see?  Y’all do know that horror movies don’t start flinging jump scares and loud noises and terrifying images non-stop from frame one, right?  That’s what horror videogames do.

9] Mad Max: Fury Road

$1,735,000 / $147,078,000

Still got nothing to add, so here’s a picture of an adorable kitten.

kitten

10] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$1,643,000 / $452,428,000

Word is starting to come in on Ant-Man from lucky so-and-so American critics, and the consensus is currently at “Hey, that was actually pretty good!”  Called it.  I mean, that’s how the early consensus on all Marvel films initially comes to, but I called it nonetheless.  You people can’t commit to your Marvel backlash!  Not when they’re still putting out films that are at least good or better!  (*acts like a petulant fanboy, loses all credibility, becomes washed-up jaded alcoholic at the age of 20*)

Dropped Out: Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland

Callum Petch was falling in love.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 19/06/15 – 21/06/15

When dinosaurs ruled the box office, Inside Out/Inside Win, people sadly Just Say “Nope” to Dope, Manglehorn gets mangled, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Before we move on, a brief apology and correction.  Last week, we reported that Jurassic World had scored the second-highest opening weekend of all-time at the domestic box office with $204 million.  Well it turns out that we misreported those numbers and I would like to apologise for that.  Jurassic World actually made $208 million and is, therefore, actually the highest grossing opening weekend of all-time domestically.  The Avengers has, in fact, been dethroned.  In my defence, I can only work from the estimates, since the actuals don’t come in until late-afternoon on a Monday and I have sh*t to do then, which is why these get written on a Sunday night.

Hence why I don’t want to make any definitive statements regarding Jurassic World’s box office performance this weekend, record-wise.  Whatever happens, it is finishing in first place, but the box office records are what’s in contention.  Currently, the film is sat on $102 million for its second weekend, which puts it almost exactly $1 million below The Avengers’ record-breaking second weekend, but the numbers are so close that, and since Universal under-estimated last weekend, there is every chance that Jurassic World’s actuals will push it higher than The Avengers after all.  It’s already a pure and total unstoppable juggernaut that will pass $400 million domestic by lunchtime, so it’s not like this is much of a stretch.  Just saying, if it does happen, you can’t say I got it wrong, cos I’m not definitively saying anything!  So there!

What will be indisputable, unless some kind of catastrophic error causes 15 million bucks to mysteriously go missing between now and the actuals coming in, is the success of Inside Out, which now holds the record for the biggest domestic opening weekend ever for a non-sequel non-adaptation, taking the title from Avatar’s $77 million opening weekend back in December of 2009.  I mean, technically one could argue that it does count as a sequel in the sense that it’s a part of the Pixar brand that might as well be a franchise unto itself by this point, but I’m just going to block that out and savour this Avatar-crushing moment.  Aaaaaahhhh… that feels good.

Unfortunately, all this wantonly spent cashola had to skip out on one of the week’s releases, and that poor sod ended up being the Sundance hit Dope, which bravely launched on 2,000 screens but could only manage $6 million for fifth place because, well, it went up against Pixar and dinosaurs.  I applaud the bravery of Open Road Films for putting a black film out there as an option for mainstream audiences, but they were never going to win this one.  Similarly failing to lift off, albeit in limited release, was the new David Gordon Green film, Manglehorn.  Even with Al Pacino apparently deciding to try this whole “acting” thing again to see what that was like, the film couldn’t really get butts in seats, possibly due to mediocre critic reviews, and it only made $13,000 from 3 screens.  But, hey!  This should hopefully not discourage Al Pacino’s decision to start acting again!  Last thing we need is him crawling back to Adam Sandler.

Fun Fact: I have seen all of Jack & Jill but only one Alfred Hitchcock film in the 20 years I have lived.  Why on earth do you people listen to what I have to say?


jurassic world 1

I don’t actually have any witty segway pun for this Full List, since I’m trying to stay dark on Inside Out.  So, here’s the thing, then, I guess.

Box Office Results: Friday 19th June 2015 – Sunday 21st June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$102,019,000 / $398,230,000

I think I am the only one of my Internet friends – cos I don’t have real friends with the exception of Lucy (*cries profusely*) – who actually likes this, which is always a good thing to have happen when you’re constantly paranoid that what you do and feel is wrong and that you’re bad for doing and feeling those things.  It’s especially more so in this case since, well, Jurassic World is actually a pretty terrible film, yet I like it anyway.  I dunno, maybe I’ll someday get lucky and not be so self-conscious.

2] Inside Out

$91,056,000 / NEW

Staying as in-the-dark as possible until it drops here at the end of next month, since this and Minions have basically swapped places on the release calendar for the UK.  I’m hoping that this will be as good as critics are saying… but critics also gave Monsters University a seal of quality and that was a massive disappointment, so Pixar are still on my Warning List for now.

And, yes, I am aware that a trailer has dropped for Kung Fu Panda 3.  Don’t send me it.  If I’m keeping myself in the dark for a film that I’m honestly not that excited for, then why do you think I would want to watch the trailer for a film that I am on tenterhooks for?

3] Spy

$10,500,000 / $74,374,000

So I feel like I’ve been acting a lot like Jason Statham in Spy whenever the subject of The Peanuts Movie is brought up for whatever reason.  Just me constantly and unfairly going “They’re gonna f*ck it up,” over and over and over and over again, totally blind, thanks to my own prejudices, to the idea that Blue Sky Studios may not actually f*ck it up.

Folks, and I say this with no hyperbole and complete sincerity, Blue Sky Studios may not have f*cked this up.

4] San Andreas

$8,240,000 / $132,229,000

This might end up one of the highest grossing films of the year.  It’s up to $414 million worldwide, after all.  I, err, really did not see this one coming.  OK, then.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and an actually good disaster movie will come from this?

5] Dope

$6,018,000 / NEW

Doesn’t come out here until September 5th, despite looking like as much of a Summer movie as they come.  Unless that was actually the plan all along and its UK distributor is taking advantage of the fact that our one nice week of Summer-like weather is going to come in September!  That’s genius, and I also want to know the secret to their psychic and weather-controlling powers!

6] Insidious Chapter 3

$4,110,000 / $45,370,000

Oh, God, It Follows is due on home media next week!  Guess I’m done putting it off and it’ll be time to watch a film that I know I will love but which will undoubtedly cause me to not sleep for at least three weeks afterwards!  I hate being a wuss.

7] Pitch Perfect 2

$3,300,000 / $177,500,000

Pitch Perfect 3 is officially happening.  I personally think that this is really stretching it, and I say that as a huge fan of the second instalment, but we’ll see when the film comes out, I guess.  Besides, if they’re going to use this as an opportunity to correct the race problems that these films do have, then that’s alright by me.

I mean, they probably won’t, they’ll likely just do number 2 again, but I can hope, can’t I?

8] Mad Max: Fury Road

$2,815,000 / $143,602,000

…I’m out of things to say about this movie, by now.  Or, at least, things to say in the tiny space that I get each week.  Needless to say, I still doubt that anything will surpass it for my Film Of The Year, it’s amazing, and that’s that.  So… yeah.

9] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$2,723,000 / $451,039,000

Never did get to see this again, sadly, such is the life of somebody who is just terrible at time-management.  Or, more specifically, realising how long stuff actually takes to do.  Since I’ve written something close to 250 or-so articles of similar excessive length in the past two years, you’d think that I’d know how long it takes for me to write one of the damn things by now.

10] Tomorrowland

$2,009,000 / $87,696,000

Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  This film might not suck, tomorrow!  But it’s always a day away!

Dropped Out: Entourage (AND STAY THE FUCK OUT), Love & Mercy

Callum Petch took a holiday, seven sweet days in Majorca.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Monsters vs. Aliens

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

This year, DreamWorks Animation celebrates its 20th anniversary.  To mark the occasion, Callum Petch is going through their entire animated canon, one film a week for the next 30 weeks, and giving them a full-on retrospective treatment.  Prior entries can be found here, should you desire.


monsters vs aliens18] Monsters vs. Aliens (7th November 2008)

Budget: $175 million

Gross: $381,509,870

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

In 2012, Pixar made major waves by releasing Brave, their first animated feature in the 26 years that they had existed (17 since they started releasing feature films) to feature a lead female protagonist.  Conversation about the film primarily revolved around this aspect and the company was roundly praised and criticised for the execution of said creative choice.  In late 2013, Disney released Frozen and one couldn’t move in 2014 without being drowned in think-pieces about whether the film was feminist or not.  2014 has also been the year in which the lack of female characters in films, long since held onto by movie executives who believe that female leads can’t carry non-romance movies – despite these past several years offering a laundry list to the contrary, and women now making up the majority of cinemagoers – has been roundly called out and questioned at large.

You can extend those questions of representation to the animated realm, too.  For example, Pop Quiz: name me five non-sequel Western animated films released in cinemas in the past 10 years that feature a lead female protagonist… who is not, or does not become, a princess.  Not a secondary lead character – so throw away Wreck-It Ralph – not a love interest, the lead character.  Off the top of my head, I can name Persepolis (which is cheating, seeing as it is based on a true story), Coraline, The Croods, this week’s film Monsters vs. Aliens…  No, that’s about all I can name.

The official list, which I have discovered through Wikipedia so apologies if some of these are wrong, consists of those films, Hoodwinked! (barely qualifies, it’s an ensemble piece by nature), Battle For Terra, Happily N’Ever After (again, barely), The Snow Queen, Anina, Epic and Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.  That’s 11.  11 in 10 years.  You can also throw the Tinkerbell series in that pile too – alongside the instalments of series like Barbie, Winx Club etc. that actually get a cinema release and fit the criteria – but it doesn’t change the fact that animation has a major female representation problem.  Pixar’s Brave provoked some heated conversation for not adding to that pile – something they will attempt to rectify possibly with next year’s Inside Out – and, although I enjoyed Brave, it’s an understandable thing to rake them over the coals for.

Especially since DreamWorks Animation will have already fulfilled this criteria six years before Inside Out attempts to.

Despite appearances, Monsters vs. Aliens is very resolutely Susan’s story.  There are stretches of the film where we hand proceedings over to the monsters or The President Of The United States, but those are basically just borrowing the film from Susan for a short while.  At its core, at its centre, Monsters vs. Aliens is a film about a woman who learns to take control of her life and stop taking men’s sh*t.  Susan is absolutely the main character, Susan is the character whose arc is the most fleshed out, Susan is the character who gets the lion’s share of the film’s awesome moments (as well as the best of them), and Susan is the emotional centre of the film.

Susan is Monsters vs. Aliens and her tale of female empowerment is why I spent so, so, so much of this film eating out of the palm of its hand.  Many stories of female empowerment that I have come across recently – best epitomised by the latest Tomb Raider, which is a videogame but is too relevant to this topic to not address – mistake actual lead female growth for “Let’s constantly put her down and beat her up until she finally turns around and fights back.”  They don’t let them grow emotionally, they don’t really let them choose to become powerful.  They’re forced into violence, forced into fighting back and they don’t really grow as a person besides a proclivity for violence.  There are ways to do this right, don’t get me wrong, but too many times I’ve seen media essentially put their lead female character through a Trauma Conga Line and have them come out of the other side broken but not stronger.

For an example of how to do this right, Monsters vs. Aliens spends much of its first half having bad things happen to Susan.  Her fiancée relocates their honeymoon to Fresno instead of Paris in order to try and further his career, she gets hit by a meteor and grows nearly 50 feet tall, she is captured by the military and forcibly locked away in prison, denied the chance to see any of the people she loves ever again, and is renamed “Ginormica” by the government.  She takes all of this how pretty much anybody would and retreats into despair, albeit trying to make the best of her situation by making friends with her fellow monsters.  When told that she would gain her freedom if she helps take down a giant alien robot, she runs away, not wanting to be put into that situation.

But, and this is the crucial bit, she then stops mid-escape on the Golden Gate bridge to help those people who she has inadvertently put in danger.  She risks her own life to help others, even though she has no reason to believe that she would make it out of the encounter alive.  Her growth is not motivated by her own survival instinct, it’s motivated by her naturally-being-a-good-person-ness being enhanced by her powers.  Susan is not a tormented dog turning around and biting back after being provoked enough because she has no other choice, she is somebody who actively chooses.  She chooses her destiny, she chooses her strength, she chooses to embrace her new role.

After the robot battle, Susan is on Cloud Nine.  She’s discovered a strength and a near-independence she didn’t know came with her personality, and she is proud of that fact!  And that pride ends up becoming a defining feature of her character.  Derek dumps her because Derek is a selfish dick, but he doesn’t take her pride with him.  If anything, he re-enforces her independence.  Naturally, she’s heartbroken for a short while, but the experience reminds her of how much more she’s accomplished by herself without holding the hand of Derek and that re-asserts her confidence.  When she’s captured by Gallaxhar, she doesn’t even pretend to play the scared damsel, she’s immediately breaking out and trying to kick ass.  When she’s de-powered, her first instinct is still to try and beat the crap out of Gallaxhar.  When she’s home free but her friends are trapped, she goes back and sacrifices her prior life to save them.

And she makes all of these choices herself.  Her agency becomes the drive for the film.  Whenever somebody else tries to snatch her agency away from her, she takes it, or tries to take it, right back.  Derek dumps her and breaks her heart; she seizes the wake-up call and announces that she will go on without him, no problem.  Gallaxhar kidnaps her; she immediately breaks free and rampages across the ship in an attempt to beat him down in response.  Gallaxhar takes her powers; her first instinct is still to try and take him down.  About to be swarmed by clones?  Susan immediately grabs a blaster and starts fending for herself.  Her friends are set to die?  Not whilst there’s still breath in Susan’s body!

She’s strong of mind, strong of personality.  Her ability to kick copious amounts of ass is just another side to her – it’s not the only side to her and it’s not the only way she asserts her independence as a woman.  She is – and I know that people absolutely detest this phrase but I can’t think of a better time to deploy it than now – a Strong Female Character.  Way stronger than anything that DreamWorks had concocted up to this point – way more so than the supposedly progressive Shrek series and waaaaaaaaay more so than the supposedly-openly-feminist Shrek The Third.  In fact, she reminds me at points – not always, their characterisations are rather different after all – of Korra from The Legend Of Korra, especially during her rampage through Gallaxhar’s spaceship which gave me flashbacks to the Korra Book 3 finale – where her kicking ass is not the empowering moment, because she doesn’t, but the fact that she is standing up and actively metaphorically yelling ‘no more!’ at her male oppressor.

This all being said, one could read the scene in which Susan fully rejects her original name and embraces Ginormica instead as yet another example of strong women being equated to masculinity – having to sacrifice their femininity to be happy or strong.  However, I think it’s hard to read it fully like that.  For one, Susan is rejecting the negative aspects of her old self – her passivity, her dependence on her man, the side of her that smiles and accepts bad things happening to her instead of fighting back – not her entire self.  She’s embracing the side she didn’t realise she had until she become Ginormica, so she’s associating that new identity, which combines the best aspects of her old self – compassion, strong loyal bonds – with her newly discovered independence and personal strength; with her new outlook on life.

For two, Ginormica still has a distinctly feminine edge to it, primarily coming from the “a” affixed to the end of the name.  It may have been assigned to her by somebody else – formally by General W. R. Monger, more than likely decided by a room full of men – but she has claimed the name back for herself.  What started as an unwanted designation turns into a name that she is proud to sport, one that denotes her strength and her femininity.  And for three, Susan doesn’t do anything, in this scene or in the remainder of the film’s runtime, that she hasn’t already proven herself capable of doing.  She’s not suddenly becoming more masculine, she’s just owning up to the identity that she has now created.

Plus, this scene is just absolutely f*cking amazing and I will hear absolutely no ill will spoken against it.

Yet, I saw pretty much zilch comments about this aspect of the film during my research for this entry.  Variety’s review – and I sh*t you not, here, go and follow the link to see for yourself – spends its paragraph on her talking about her in purely visual terms, as a thing to be attracted to and whose looks are the sole thing worth talking about.  Empire managed to get a brief segment in about it, Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek notes that the film’s very-unsubtle delivery of that message undermines and grates, but that’s about it.  Professional reviewers instead judged it by the usual things they judge animated films by – pretty colours, pop culture jokes, level of heart, nowhere near as good as Pixar – and I count 2 think-pieces at the time on its feminism.

The point I’m trying to make is that there was no conversation.  Brave sparked a conversation.  Monsters vs. Aliens did not.  Pixar sparked a conversation.  Disney are deemed worthy of a conversation.  DreamWorks were deemed unworthy of that conversation.  Now, why do you think that is?  After all, as I’ve pointed out time and again throughout this series, DreamWorks are a company with a complicated and storied history with characters of the female gender – next week I’m going to have to talk about Astrid, for example, and I am bracing myself accordingly – shouldn’t we be scrutinising their works the same way we scrutinise Disney or Pixar?

Now, of course, one can explain these away by either noting that a lot has changed in the last five years – hence why I noted the uptick in demands for representation this past year – and that Disney has a longer history than DreamWorks so there’s more to cull from.  That first one is sort of understandable, I guess, but the second is what I call shenanigans on.  After all, Pixar have only been releasing animated features for 3 years longer than DreamWorks have, and they’ve released less films overall than DreamWorks have.  So why do Pixar get preferential treatment?

It probably comes down to that rep that DreamWorks have accumulated.  I am not going to go over this in full again, as I have covered it multiple times in this series – hell, that rep is what basically helped kick-start this series in the first place – and it helps none of us if I spend forever repeating myself, but DreamWorks are seen as a commercial outhouse.  A factory, if you will, one that pumps out an endless stream of films – at least half of which are sequels – with no semblance of quality control in the hopes that something strikes financial, and maybe also critical if that’s possible, gold.  And whilst 2014 has shown that to be completely untrue – three home runs creatively, even if the How To Train Your Dragon series does nothing for me – that’s the rep they’ve acquired and it’s not one that they’re shaking any time soon.

Pixar releases, though, and official Disney releases are seen as events.  Because they limit themselves to one film a year, even taking a year off in some cases, each release and each entry into their canon is seen as something special, something to take notice of.  It’s why when they release a Cars 2 or a Home On The Range/Chicken Little, everybody is harder on them – those are seen as sullying marks on a track record that has shown it can do better.  Yet if DreamWorks releases a sub-par Shrek, everybody shrugs their shoulders and collectively goes, “Well what did you expect?” before proceeding on with their lives.  It’s why negative Cars 2 reviews compare it to Pixar’s prior classics, whilst negative Penguins Of Madagascar reviews also compare it to Pixar’s prior classics despite DreamWorks having a rapidly-growing list of quality films of their own to compare themselves to.

Look, I get it, Pixar are The Gold Standard for animation – hopefully still are, I pray to various deities that 2015 is the year in which everybody pulls their fingers out of their arses and gets back to a level somewhere close to where they were operating on up to and including Toy Story 3 – but they should not be the be all end all of conversation in the medium.  DreamWorks Animation are one of the biggest and most successful animation companies in the Western world for a reason, and their creative decisions should be getting as much scrutiny as their competitors.  You know how many think-pieces I’ve seen on How To Train Your Dragon 2’s gender roles in the past six months?  Three.  That Tasha Robinson piece from earlier that used the film as a jumping-off point to look at the industry at large, a short blog entry by Margot Magowan, and a list piece by Gina Luttrell.

Next year, both Pixar and DreamWorks are releasing films with female protagonists.  Pixar are releasing Inside Out, a film about the various emotions inside a 10 year-old girl’s mind, DreamWorks are releasing Home, a film about a black teenage girl who teams up with a not-particularly smart alien to thwart a double invasion of Earth.  I guarantee you that Inside Out will be talked about and scrutinised more for its depiction of the female gender than Home ever will be.  I mean, I’m also pretty sure that Inside Out will be a better film than Home as well, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we can’t and shouldn’t pick and choose which animated films and which animation studios are worth hard analysis.  This is a medium that deserves to be taken seriously – as I have repeatedly made clear in articles on this site – and that’s not going to happen until we look at everything with the same staunchly critical and analytical eye that we do for Pixar and Disney.  Do you think I wrote 3,108 words on Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas because I had nothing better to do with my time?  I mean, I don’t, but the point is that Sinbad had that much going on in it that I didn’t need to work especially hard to hit my self-assigned word count.  Ditto films like The Nut Job, or Escape From Planet Earth, or the Tinker Bell series.  They’re not high art, but they are still worthy and capable of supporting in-depth discussion.

And so does Monsters vs. Aliens, which I believe is a very feminist film.  It’s not a perfect feminist film – Susan is still the only girl, girl-ish screams are the focal point for a very long gag, “You got beat by a girl” is deployed as an insult form but at least in a dramatic way that affects character work this time – but I believe that it is still a loud, proud and powerfully feminist film about female self-empowerment.   I may be wrong.  Hell, I want to be wrong; I want a hundred feminist critics – preferably women, who have far more of a say in this discussion than I do – to come charging down the hill and take up both sides of the argument, either agreeing with my assessment or disagreeing and showing me ten to fifteen reasons why.

I want to see lengthy conversations about the film’s messy structure, about its uninteresting villain, about why the humour does or does not work, about whether the art style works or just ends up freaking the writer out for the length of the film, about how badly the unspoken “All Animated Movies Must Be 90 Minutes Under Pain Of Death” rule hobbles the film from excellency.  All things I would have talked about at length had I the time – although, for the record: awkwardly paced first half but the film soars from San Francisco onwards, script doesn’t give him anything to do, too low-brow for the most part and the film’s very dramatic undercurrent means that the attempts at parody undercut proceedings, takes a while to get used to but at least makes Susan and the monsters look great, and this needed to be 2 hours or even a full season of TV – and all things I could have easily based at least half an article of this length on individually.

Point is, I want a conversation to start.  Animation needs a conversation if it’s going to better itself and be fully respected, and that conversation needs to cover everyone – not just critical golden boy Pixar and good old Disney.  DreamWorks Animation should be allowed in on that conversation, regardless of its past or its very commercial and prolific nature.  I am one of about three people talking about feminism and non-Shrek DreamWorks films.  This should not be the case.  So, start conversing.


Monsters vs. Aliens continued DreamWorks Animation’s re-ascension to quality filmmaking in the eyes of critics, although the film’s major underperformance overseas prevented it from being the financial smash that the studio would have liked.  It wasn’t a failure, though, and so the company would close out the decade – Monsters vs. Aliens being their only release for 2009 – on a decent note with the company still looking strong.  Their first film of the new decade, though, would take everybody by surprise and be seen as the company’s new Magnum Opus, as well as the start of a very successful new franchise.

Next week, we look at the first How To Train Your Dragon.

A new edition of DreamWorks! A Retrospective will be posted here every Monday at 1PM BST!

Callum Petch should have cut his losses long before he knew.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch) and listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio every Monday at 9PM BST (site link)!