Another month into Andrew Brooker’s self-imposed challenge to watch 365 films in 365 days. See how he’s been getting on below.
The Hobbit sorta loses its battle against its five prior armies, the sun sorta came out today for Annie, sorta not many people wanted to spend one last Night At The Museum… it’s a weekend of qualifiers is what I’m getting at, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
… … … … …hm? Yes? … …oh, shit, Box Office Report! Totally almost forgot! Sorry about that, truly. Just been super, super busy! Films to watch, radio shows to do, essays to write, articles to write. Just the most full plate! And I have absolutely spent all of my free time committing totally to that full plate! Absolutely! Totally didn’t end up spending most of the time that I should have spent working re-watching certain segments of The Legend Of Korra finale and browsing the internet for fan drawings and such to help placate both the new empty hole in my heart and the little skips of joy it performed over the ending. Nope. Not at all. (*furiously closes browser tabs hoping you don’t notice*)
Anyways, this was the last weekend before Christmas and that meant a whole bunch of new releases tripping over themselves to appear as The Family Film Of The Holiday Season or something like that. It also, however, meant counter-programming against The Hobbit for the first time. After Desolation Of Smaug dropped $10 million opening weekend compared to An Unexpected Journey – and closed with $50 million less overall – other studios smelt blood in the water and felt that they could successfully programme against Peter Jackson’s immaculate advert for New Zealand’s finest green screens. Battle Of The Five Armies, though, was having none of that sh*t. Not only did it take $56 million over the weekend, its Wednesday opening added another $34 million to the total, bringing us an opening of $90 million. Now, technically, that’s the lowest weekend opening for any Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings-related movie ever – with the exception of Fellowship all those years ago – but…
…that’s still more than the rest of the Top 6 put together. So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that The Hobbit steamrolled the other new releases. Those ended up being Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, an incredibly meh sequel that quite literally nobody was ever asking for, and Annie, an incredibly horrendous remake that nobody was asking for and failed to do anything with its updated conceit. Technically, Night At The Meh-seum was the winner of the two, as it came in second place and made slightly more money than Annie. But, let’s face it, Annie was only $1 million behind, opened on less screens, had a higher per-screen average than NATM, and is probably going to confiscate a fair amount of Into The Woods’ money next week. The real losers, though, are the film-going audiences, because neither of these films are any good.
In limited release news, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner – which everybody else adores but did absolutely nothing for me because I am an uncultured cretin who ships cartoon characters and freaks out when everything becomes glorious canon – finally made its way to American shores to sneak in under the deadline for awards consideration (that it won’t get because Mike Leigh never gets noticed in America). From 5 screens, it managed a very respectable $109,000 for a per-screen average of $21,800. Meanwhile, Song Of The Sea, a traditionally animated fantasy OH MY GOD I WANT TO SEE THIS IMMEDIATELY, was dropped onto 2 screens with pretty much zero fanfare and made a very respectable considering the circumstances $21,920. The Nut Job, for comparison, was dumped onto 3,427 screens and opened to $19,423,000 because this world f*cking sucks.
Let’s go there and back again with the Full List.
Box Office Results: Friday 19th December 2014 – Sunday 21st December 2014
1] The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
$56,220,000 / $90,627,000 / NEW
I was on the latest edition of the Failed Critics Podcast where we, eventually, talked about this film! You can get most of my thoughts over there! I’m not hard to miss but, if you’re having trouble, I’m the one that sounds like a drunken fratboy at a conference panel. Yeah, I don’t feel like I did good on that episode.
2] Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
$17,300,000 / NEW
So this one is weird. It tries to be this big send off for the series as a whole – implying that Night At The Museum is THE series that captured and defined a generation, but sure whatever – but nobody except Dan Stevens as Lancelot seems particularly happy to be here, and the film itself is just going through the motions for large swathes of its runtime. So the final 15 minutes, which aim to be this big backslapping sentimental goodbye, ring hollow and only achieve poignancy when we share our last scenes with a very obviously tired Robin Williams because… well, you know. It just doesn’t give any decent reason to exist, except to further the giant man crush I have on Dan Stevens – his eyes just pierce straight into my heart!
$16,300,000 / NEW
OK, can we officially call a ban on musicals that are embarrassed to be musicals? Annie is a film that spends pretty much every frame of its existence openly apologising to its audience for being a musical. It even has characters in the film call out how lame singing and dancing is after a big musical number. What is this 21st Century cynical bullsh*t? It doesn’t make the film cooler or more appealing, it just insults your audience and exposes your cast and crew as completely disinterested which, last I checked, is a death knell for a musical. Either embrace the fact that you’re a musical or don’t f*cking bother. Musicals are fun! More films should be like musicals!
Yeah, I really didn’t like this one.
4] Exodus: Gods And Kings
$8,065,000 / $38,902,000
Guess everybody found their DVDs of The Prince Of Egypt laying around their house after all and watched them instead. Yay! Good choice, people!
5] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
$7,750,000 / $289,227,000
The Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack is really bloody good, just so you all know. It’s been backing most of my writing sessions this past week and it makes a very good accompaniment to having to metaphorically vomit 3,000 words onto virtual paper about film topics or essay concepts you don’t fully understand before deadline approaches. Pick it up if you get the chance.
$4,150,000 / $7,211,000
I hear this is really good, so I am going to refrain from commenting until I see it in the middle of January. Glad to see that Reese Witherspoon has managed to escape that black hole of suck she got stuck in for most of the late 00s, though! Four Christmases came on TV the other night and, my word, it was dreadful. Just awful.
7] Top Five
$3,570,000 / $12,456,000
Oh. Well. Shit. Dammit, America, you couldn’t have tried turning this into a hit?!
$3,565,258 / NEW
That’s from 272 theatres, by the by. Bollywood may finally be coming a thing in America. Good for Bollywood! Good for it! I should really try more. I saw Bang Bang! for a Cineworld Unlimited screening back in October and I was alternately entertained, amused, baffled, and assaulted with a thumping headache. I’d like to try other Bollywood films and see if that’s an anomaly or the general reaction I’ll end up having.
9] Big Hero 6
$3,563,000 / $190,441,000
Well, it’s been a good run, Big Hero 6. You didn’t make Frozen money, but to expect anything to make Frozen money is to have unreasonably high standards. You did really well, the public loved you, and you may even be fondly remembered. Now, if you could just HURRY THE FUCK UP AND RELEASE OVER HERE ALREADY BECAUSE FORCING ME TO WAIT THREE MONTHS IS DICKWEED BEHAVIOUR I’d much appreciate it.
10] Penguins Of Madagascar
$3,525,000 / $64,172,000
This is officially DreamWorks Animation’s lowest grossing CG film of all-time domestically. I doubt that even a superhuman overseas showing – the film has cracked 11 markets so far and most of those are the ones that prior Madagascar films have performed well in – is going to drag this one anywhere close to the land of profitability. I am now worried, I imagine that studio executives are sweating spinal fluid. This is not good.
Dropped Out: Interstellar, Horrible Bosses 2, Dumb And Dumber To, The Theory Of Everything
Mockingjay insults the rest of the chart, Penguins Of Madagascar smile and wave goodbye to a lot of money, nobody particularly like Horrible Bosses now, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
This past weekend, Americans were witness to a dystopian future. One with barely restrained tensions, majorly unfair financial differences, and a complete lack of fairness and generosity. These disparate groups would congregate under one roof to try and make it through proceedings in a civilised fashion, until one side insulted Peeta at which point all bets were off. Proceedings were violent, conflicts escalated, both sides exited wondering who had really won that round, filled with feelings of unsatisfaction, like the resolution had been postponed for another year or something. But enough about Thanksgiving with your family. At the box office, much like my joke construction, The Hunger Games repeated its Thanksgiving first place status to diminishing returns with Mockingjay, Part 1 taking home $56 million this year. Expect history to repeat itself next year and for me to basically copy-paste this dreadfully unfunny paragraph again in the hopes that you won’t notice.
It’s not like Mockingjay, Part 1 had much in the way of competition, though. Continuing an absolutely dismal year for DreamWorks Animation, Penguins Of Madagascar decidedly underwhelmed in its opening weekend. Even with the 5-Day Thanksgiving bump, it could only manage $36 million. Without it, that’s $25 million over the weekend which, for a spin-off of one of the few remaining cash-cows that DreamWorks has and as promoted to hell and back as this film has been, is dismal. The one saving grace for the film is that Annie and Night At The Museum 3 aren’t out for another 3 weeks, so there’s still a chance that it can make up some of that cash before it gets dogpiled. I’m sorry, you were expecting snark? Nope, no snark here, this news genuinely bums me out and has me majorly worried considering the position DreamWorks is in right now.
Still, could be worse. You could be Horrible Bosses 2. Yes, the widely-trashed comedy sequel that quite literally nobody was ever asking for didn’t do so hot. Over the five-day weekend, it barely reached $23 million and over three days it could only make $15.7 million for fifth place. Yeah, safe to say we are all being spared from Horrible Bosses 3: The Final Chapter, Part 1. What we are unfortunately not being spared from, however, is The Theory Of Everything which went nationwide this past weekend and managed to bank $5 million from 800-odd screens. If Eddie Redmayne takes the Best Actor Oscar from Dan Stevens in The Guest (or Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler), then tables will be flipped. Just warning you Academy; you don’t want no part of this shit.
In more limited release news, The Imitation Game finally reached American shores this weekend and the typical Weinstein push ensured a very solid opening. $482,000 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $120,500, putting it only behind The Grand Budapest Hotel in Best Limited Release Openings of 2014, is most definitely more than “very solid”. One can only imagine how the latter film would have done if it had a legion of Benedict Cumberbatch fangirls and fanboys filling the back rows with their… Yeah, OK, I’m just going to move on. Foxcatcher added another 48 theatres to its run and broke past $1 million, meaning we should see it in the Top 10 soon enough. The Babadook, meanwhile, finally got a release in America and it did OK: $27,000 from 3 theatres for a per-screen average of You Do The Math. In other words, it’s The Guest all over again. Goddammit.
This Full List is gonna take ya riiii-ght in-to the DANGER ZONE!!
Box Office Results: Friday 28th November 2014 – Sunday 30th November 2014
1] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$56,875,000 / $225,693,000
Have you heard the CHVRCHES track from the Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack, yet? If not, go do so immediately! It is SO GOOD! Like, “this could’ve gone on their debut album” good, and The Bones Of What You Believe is a bloody damn good album! In fact, from what I’ve experienced of the soundtracks to all three films so far, everybody brings their A-game when they’re called upon for a track. Nobody coasts. I love that about them. Think it’s time I took the plunge and bought the lot.
2] Penguins Of Madagascar
$25,800,000 / $36,000,000 / NEW
Friday. It’s out here Friday, I am seeing it first thing Friday, I will not go to bed that day until there is a review ready to run on Saturday. I’m genuinely really excited for this. In the meanwhile, the DreamWorks! A Retrospective archive is here. Go amuse yourself and make me feel like I haven’t wasted 5 months of my life.
3] Big Hero 6
$18,770,000 / $167,209,000
Only a 7% drop between weekends, which is pretty darn astou-WHY IS THIS MOVIE NOT IN FRONT OF MY EYEBALLS RIGHT NOW?!! IT’S NOT FAIR!! (*proceeds to have a mini-breakdown*)
$15,800,000 / $147,090,000
I would really like to go and see this again on the big screen for a second try, especially since I’m still not 100% solid on my opinions on it. However, six films are coming out this week in the UK and I have way too much work to do to find time to see it again. Plus, I have to give up a good 15 hours of my life to The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit in the next 11 days. I genuinely don’t have the time.
5] Horrible Bosses 2
$15,700,000 / $23,010,000 / NEW
Saw it on Friday and I’ll see if I can find time to get a review out – I’m currently working on one for Paddington in between essay work, DreamWorks work, other articles, and social commitments so this will more than likely fall by the wayside – but the skinny is this: I laughed a good consistent amount, but it is still an utterly pointless sequel and it drops the ball and crosses the line on the Julia stuff spectacularly. Think of it as the American equivalent of The Inbetweeners 2 and you’re about there. If you have nothing better to do or just want to get some easy laughs for 100-odd minutes, this is fine but it’s still ultimately pointless.
6] Dumb And Dumber To
$8,295,000 / $72,205,000
So… Jim Carrey’s not making a full-on box office comeback, is he? (*dejected sigh*)
7] The Theory Of Everything
$5,082,000 / $9,604,000
Still refuse to believe that this is anything other than dreadfully mediocre slop. Still can’t be proven right or wrong until New Year’s Day. Still going to bitch and moan about its existence until then.
8] Gone Girl
$2,470,000 / $160,557,000
I was going to say that we must bid adieu to Gone Girl, but then I looked at the release schedule for next week and saw that nothing at all is coming out. Wild is only in 5 theatres, and The Pyramid is being sent to die on 550 screens, like Fox have been reading the signs with regards to Horror films at the box office this past year or something. So, we’ve got one more week before this inexplicably long-lasting flick finally drops out. Seriously, I love this film to death and I have absolutely no idea how it has managed to make over $330 million worldwide.
$1,880,000 / $17,237,400
10] St. Vincent
$1,773,000 / $39,327,000
So maybe it won’t have the courtesy to stick around for its UK release after all. That sounds very much like Bill Murray. Always leaving the parties that he crashes before I have the chance to book the plane ticket to take me there! That prankster! Of course, this joke only works if I actually went to parties and nobody ever invites me to theirs because I’m… I’m… (*breaks down sobbing*)
Dropped Out: Beyond The Lights, Fury