Awight you pwopa nawty boys, oi oi! Brian Plank joins Steve Norman and Owen Hughes for a top, top podcast this week. We’ve got a review of Guy Ritchie’s new movie, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It’s sick, bruv. Banterific. As well as the Kaiju drama(?) comedy(?) action(?) indie(?) flick, Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway.
“God I love West Texas.”
If I said to you that I’d just seen an awesome cowboy movie filled with bad guys you love, good guys you kind of hope aren’t successful in their pursuits, gunfights, bank robberies and beautiful scenic shots across the rolling hills of Texas, you’d think I was describing an old Eastwood or Wayne movie wouldn’t you?
But friends, I’m not. I’m talking about modern crime drama Hell or High Water, the latest film from Starred Up director David MacKenzie and Sicario (and large amount of Sons of Anarchy) writer Taylor Sheridan.
Not long after the death of their mother, broke divorcee Toby (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster) hatch a desperate plan to rob a string of banks to make enough money to save the ranch they are about to lose to said banks. Hoping to launder their proceeds through local casinos, pay off their debts and vanish off into the sunset, the brothers plan finds itself in serious danger of falling apart when Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) gets handed their case.
Desperate for some action before he retires, the grizzled Ranger and his partner Alberto Parker (native American-for-hire Gil Birmingham) trek across the state to chase the would-be cowboys. A cat-and-mouse chase ensues that will test the resolve of both the lawmen and the brothers.
No fannying about here today guys. No messing around with my words. Hell of High Water is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. I can honestly say I’ve not seen a crime drama as thoughtfully put together as this film since Michael Mann remade his own film into the epic Heat way back in 1995.
Now obviously that’s a big statement to make with no explanation, to compare this film to one of the most beloved crime dramas ever made, so allow me just a few lines won’t you? While it doesn’t have the star power – not quite – or the run time (clocking in at more than an hour less than the LA crime saga) Hell or High Water does have a pedigree behind the camera that could easily rival that of the 1995 thriller. Perfectly written and amazingly slow burning, this modern cowboy film balances itself brilliantly between time spent with our outlaw anti-heroes and our long-in-the-tooth cop. It implores the audience to ponder who we’d really like to see come out victorious come the credits, forcing us to truly wonder if there could ever be a winner here at all.
Continuing my comparison though, our leads bring career performances worthy of award recognition (OK, maybe not Oscars, although I’d love that. But maybe an MTV award or something). I don’t think I’ve ever praised a Chris Pine performance before, but here we get to see him do something completely different – and man is he great. His terrifically understated performance as the smarter of the brothers, trying to keep out of prison and rescue his family from a mountain of debt caused by the banks they are robbing, is mesmerising. More like this please, Mr Pine.
Similarly, Ben Foster’s ex-con is the brawn of the pair. The hot-headed bank robber keeps them on the edge of getting caught the entire time and while he thinks he’s doing the best for his brother, he just can’t see how dangerous his moves are. A brilliant performance from a man not entirely new to the Western genre. With the excellent Jeff Bridges wrapping up this trio of great performances, the Hollywood veteran brings a little bit of that lifelong experience to his role and gives a memorable performance as the old ranger, desperate for one last reason to unholster his pistol.
Which brings me to my final point really. Hell or High Water is a western, plain and simple. I know that the utterance of that word conjures up images of grizzled old men rustling cows, riding horses into town draped in long beaten up trench coats for a bit of a shoot out. But this film is proof, if you needed it, that the genre has evolved to something wholly modern. The times may have changed, but the story is without a doubt the same. Men struggling to make ends meet when their only viable skill isn’t in great demand anymore and turning to the outlaw life to keep food on the table. Lawmen chasing these men to hell and back to bring them to justice, hoping they see another day in this most dangerous of professions. All the tropes of the Western are here; and all brought up to date with modern ideologies.
The director makes no bones about sharing his thoughts on the state of the country. His issues with the dying industries of the Texas countryside or the second amendment are all out there and plain to see. But while his politics are brazen, it doesn’t detract from the film for one second.
Backing all this up with some splendid cinematography that captures the country and the mood perfectly, and a soundtrack that mixes a few old country songs with some dirty southern rock, this film really is the whole package.
Hell or High Water is, simply put, the purest Western movie I’ve seen in more than a decade and one of the best crime dramas I’ve seen in even longer. Tense, exhilarating and a real joy to watch; I fully expect this on a few top 10 lists at the end of the year.
Pan cannot fly, audiences do not give The Walk something it can feel, Steve Jobs wins everything, Knock Knock does Trash, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Proving either that audiences are getting smarter at avoiding garbage movies, or that completely phoning in your marketing by near-outright admitting that the film you’re trying to sell sucks isn’t a fool-proof strategy for box office gold, Pan has flopped big time. For what was supposed to be a big, tent-pole, $150 million, franchise-starting blockbuster, the film was completely dead on arrival, managing an absolutely pathetic $15 million for third place. Would you like a measure of just how dreadful that is? 2015 has been a year filled with terrible big budget blockbusters (and Jupiter Ascending shut up) bombing domestically, and Pan is still the worst opening of the lot! Worse than Tomorrowland ($33 million), worse than Terminator: Portable ($27 million), worse than Fantastic 4 ($25 million), and even worse than Jupiter Ascending ($18 million)! So, err, yeah. Probably not getting a franchise out of this one. Thank Christ.
Elsewhere, the bizarre-to-me “release early in IMAX” strategy has claimed yet another victim from studios that fail to understand that this is a TERRIBLE IDEA as Robert Zemeckis’ 3D extravaganza The Walk made the leap from its underperformance in IMAX last week to cinemas where actual people could see the film. Not that anyone was interested in seeing it, mind, as The Walk completely failed to find an audience, finishing up in seventh with $3.7 million, presumably because The Martian has the whole “crowd-pleasing spectacle” market on lock. Speaking of, that film is still your Box Office Number One with $37 million, only dropping an excellent 32% between weekends. It’s almost like we reward Ridley Scott if he actually makes a good movie. Maybe he should do that more often.
In the land of the Limited Releases, the big winner was Steve Jobs, possibly surprising quite literally no-one. I mean: it’s a biopic about Steve Jobs, one that’s gone through hell to get made, directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin, starring Michael Fassbender, heavily resembling The Social Network, with excellent reviews, and has first been released in 4 cinemas in New York and Los Angeles. If this film didn’t make an absolute killing this weekend, I’d have been incredibly surprised. But a killing it did make, absolutely at that, with a weekend total of $521,522 and a per-screen average of $130,381 – the highest of the whole year, easily blowing past Sicario’s $66,881 from a few weeks back. Of course, the real test is whether it can be similarly successful when it goes Nationwide in two weeks, since Danny Boyle’s been struggling with wider acceptance since Slumdog Millionaire, but I see no universe where this movie fails.
Feel free to shout that line back at me in two weeks if it does fail.
Steve Jobs was not the only Limited Release this weekend, though. Lionsgate continued their admirable attempt to distribute films aimed specifically at Latino audiences with heist caper Ladrones. The film, somewhat unfortunately, did not manage to do particularly well on its 375 screens, closing the weekend in thirteenth place with $1.4 million in ticket sales. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t Knock Knock, Eli Roth’s latest excuse for a movie with a Keanu Reeves performance seemingly precisely calibrated to make one take back any praise given to him for his work in John Wick. In accordance with a more enlightened movie-going audience realising that Eli Roth was never a particularly good filmmaker, the film crashed and burned on 22 screens with just $18,623 and an $847 per-screen average. And as for Trash, a film that came out in the UK in February: $10,230 from 17 screens for a $602 per-screen average. Ouch.
Here’s the Full List now, ENTERTAIN US!
Box Office Results: Friday 9th October 2015 – Sunday 11th October 2015
1] The Martian
$37,005,266 / $108,715,595
This film is rather sticking with me, for some reason. I really didn’t expect it to, since I found it way too long and had the distinct sense that it would be one of those films I really like whilst watching but would just sort of forget about in the days following that viewing, but it’s genuinely sticking with me. I think it’s because the whole thrust of the film – Mark Watney getting through his situation by organisation, bite-size tasks, and logic & reason – is very relatable to me, as somebody who goes about his life much the same way, so it resonates on that deeper level way more than I thought it would. I like seeing that.
2] Hotel Transylvania 2
$20,420,392 / $116,942,033
Review will be along tomorrow, I guarantee it. I’m also really sorry for not having written it already, I have just been absolutely swamped this past week and I’m behind on everything. Just bear with me, it is coming.
$15,315,435 / NEW
Oh, boy, I need to find the time to get a written review of this out. To not review this total trainwreck would be a dereliction of my duties as a Film Critic. Not kidding, this is… this is really something. At this rate, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 won’t be in my Bottom 10 of 2015 at all, and that is an utterly miserable thought to have.
4] The Intern
$8,678,187 / $49,592,234
Fun Fact I learned in my inaugural East Asian Cinema lecture this past week: What Women Want received a Chinese remake in 2011. Why, I have no idea, but it exists for those of you who may be interested in checking that out.
$7,579,324 / $26,935,340
Seeing this again on Saturday! Might even be inspired to finish my review, too, because everyone should be singing from the rooftops about this one. It really is that brilliant. Very nice to see it doing OK at the Box Office, too.
6] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
$5,371,941 / $70,765,331
There is not one element of this story that doesn’t make me hate every single one of this film’s cast members. “And everyone just takes stuff, obviously…” Obviously. You just take stuff when told not to. That’s something everyone just does, obviously, you goddamn f*cking prat.
7] The Walk
$3,719,177 / $6,430,676
Kinda disappointed in this one, even though I did rather enjoy it. It’s charming, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fun, and the actual walk itself is brilliantly tense, but it falls down the same way that most recent biopics have fallen down and that’s in the fact that it has absolutely nothing to say about its subject other than “wasn’t this a cool thing that happened?” It doesn’t want to interrogate Phillippe’s arrogance or the reasons as to why he wants to do the walk, so the film ends up feeling empty. It almost gets away with it, because Zemeckis is a brilliant popcorn filmmaker, but the film’s ultimately too insubstantial to make it worth watching over Man On Wire.
8] Black Mass
$3,118,427 / $57,557,128
I really don’t have anything to say about this movie until I can see it. Stupid release window disparities…
$3,073,035 / $38,253,250
I keep forgetting this movie happened, which is especially weird since I rather liked it and even shed a tear at the ending. Huh. Probably a good thing I don’t hand out star ratings, otherwise I’d look like a bit of a fool right now.
10] The Visit
$2,523,505 / $61,158,030
Crimson Peak is going to completely bomb, isn’t it? Like nearly everything else that Guillermo del Toro makes, it’s going to be brilliant and it’s going to bomb hard, isn’t it? Yet M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie will close having made more than 12x its budget domestically. Goddammit, World…
Dropped Out: War Room, The Perfect Guy
In this episode of the Failed Critics Podcast, hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by guests Andrew Brooker and Callum Petch to take a look over the latest film releases, review what else they’ve been watching in the past seven days, and to cast their beady eyes over recent news.
With the score tightly poised at 1-1, Steve’s ground breaking, Earth shattering, cataclysmic quiz kicks off this week’s episode, swiftly followed by some news close to home [INSERT ‘NEW WEBSITE’ KLAXON] and some a whole (cinematic) universe away. The team also discuss the trailers for the first ever Netflix original movie, Beasts of No Nation, as well as the upcoming Coen Brothers film, Hail, Caesar!.
We also feature a look back at The NeverEnding Story, a look ahead to Hotel Transylvania 2, and a look… now… at the Fright Night remake. Callum retains his dignity when Owen and Steve shrug in unison at Sicario, before delving into some returning TV shows, including The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Z-Nation. Unfortunately, they haven’t been seen on a new SONY BRAVIA TV. Ahem.
Of course the podcast wouldn’t be complete without a review of the latest films to hit the cinema screens. Callum can’t quite fathom the ‘who’, ‘how’ or ‘why’ Pan was made, whilst Steve explains why we’re all bad people for not watching it. Brooker and Owen reveal why Suffragette might just be one of the films of the year, but may also be a difficult watch for some people. There’s even room for a final grab at the popcorn bucket as the new Robert Zemeckis movie, The Walk, proves to be a success.
Join Steve and Owen again next week with more new guests for a Halloween triple bill and a review of Crimson Peak.
The Martian sciences the sh*t out of making money, The Walk loses its (bank) balance, Sicario means “dolla dolla bills y’all”, the public vote against Freeheld, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Proving that Matt Damon can say all of the most accidentally ignorant crap that he likes and that Ridley Scott can spend a full half-decade crapping out stinkers whilst both still remain the kind of perfectly lovable and bankable box office draws that Hollywood executives wish to Maker they could create out of thin air, The Martian is your new box office number 1. The big story for many people is how the film has fallen just short of breaking Gravity’s “Best October Opening Ever” record – by $750,000 – although the estimates may push it over the top. Because, after all, who cares about excellent openings unless they break records, right? Besides, if we should be sad about anything, it should be the fact that the godawful Hannibal is still Ridley Scott’s best opening weekend ever. That’s the real tragedy.
Speaking of tragedies, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Pepé le Pew imitation in The Walk. This is meant to be a serious movie, right? Cos, quite frankly, I probably won’t be able to take seriously two hours of “Omlette du fromage”. Audiences very much seemed to agree with me, in this instance – that, or they saw Man On Wire and sussed that they didn’t need to see it fictionalised and in 3D – and even with critical acclaim and an initial opening exclusively on IMAX theatres, its true home, the film failed to find much of an audience. In fact, and in sharp contrast to Everest from a few weeks back, it didn’t even manage to crack the Top 10, stalling out at number 11 with only $1.5 million. The film hits actual theatres that people want to go to next weekend, but this whole “release early in IMAX” thing really doesn’t seem to be paying off as studios were likely hoping it would. Y’know, probably because IMAX really just isn’t very good.
But do you know what is very good? Sicario, that’s what! One of the year’s absolute best films finally went wide this week and, for a bleak-as-f*ck and slow-moving thriller that is as decidedly uncommercial as… well, as Denis Villenueve’s Prisoners, did surprisingly well, securing third place with a decent $12 million. The film even supposedly has an “A-“ CinemaScore, too, so it may have some legs over these next few weekends. Comfortably above it on the chart, meanwhile, is Hotel Transylvania 2 which actually held better than the first film did – and that only dropped 36% between weekends, let’s not forget – with a miniscule 32% drop and $33 million. So, once again, can Genndy Tartakovsky please go and make whatever he wants now? It’s clear the public will accept it!
Do you know what they didn’t accept, though? Freeheld. Yes, the weekend’s big Limited Release, and the latest blatant entry in Julianne Moore’s awards nomination reel, turned out to be a bit of a stinker, and nothing kills off a Limited Release’s box office prospects better than middling reviews. Freeheld therefore only managed to scrape $40,000 from 5 screens and a per-screen average of $8,000. Still, at least it can take comfort in the fact that it’s not Stonewall! That film, incidentally, dropped down to 83 screens and made an absolutely pathetic $18,700 this weekend. Better performing was the documentary He Named Me Malala which took a strong $56,000 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $14,000.
You know what’s been strong this week? My paragraph transitions! …here’s the Full List.
Box Office Results: Friday 2nd October 2015 – Sunday 4th October 2015
1] The Martian
$55,000,000 / NEW
Super happy to see this one do well, if for no other reason than it might give Ridley Scott the kick up the arse he needs to stop making crap films this decade. Yes, I know that he plans to make his next film another Alien movie/Prometheus sequel, let’s focus on his career after that, OK? In fact, whilst I have everyone’s attention, can we all just stop making Alien-related movies, please? We haven’t had a good one in almost 30 years, and I highly doubt that the Neill Blomkamp who just made Chappie is going to turn that around. Although I will admit that I am still excited for that one, in a “trainwreck fascination” kinda way.
2] Hotel Transylvania 2
$33,000,000 / $90,541,765
Saw this yesterday and a review will be up by Thursday as I still have to write this week’s Lost Cels first. Film’s millimetres away from being genuinely great, for the record, although its best asset is still its utterly amazing animation. Seriously, the work that Genndy and co. have done with translating 2D-style squash-and-stretch animation to 3D is just outstanding. I cannot wait for him to put it to use in a film that doesn’t have Adam Sandler’s icky undertones attached to it.
$12,075,000 / $15,076,295
Just a few more days and I get to see this brilliance again! God knows I’m going to need something to wash down Pan with. Have I ever mentioned that Pan looks like utter garbage? Cos it really does.
4] The Intern
$11,620,000 / $36,523,892
You know what? If this actually built to something and wasn’t two sodding hours long, I’d be giving this a full-on enthusiastic thumbs up. It’s not particularly funny, but it is really charming and its characters are really likeable and the cast are great, and it manages to balance lionising The Older Generation and The Way Things Were with a genuine respect for the modern world and businesswomen who try to juggle work and family without being condescending or placing one higher than the others. Seriously, it gets so much right; I just wish it built to its ending, was actually funny, and wasn’t two sodding hours.
5] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
$7,650,000 / $63,241,124
And the maze keeps running running, and running running, and running running…
6] Black Mass
$5,905,000 / $52,521,030
No, seriously, how has no-one made a Black Eyed Peas parody song about The Maze Runner yet? Is it because The Black Eyed Peas were The Absolute Worst and nobody actually remembers anything from any Maze Runner after having experienced them? And I just answered my own question.
$5,510,000 / $33,181,310
Tosh from Torchwood is in this. Unsurprisingly, she is given basically zero lines.
8] The Visit
$3,950,000 / $57,695,090
Anybody managed to see Cooties yet? I have high hopes, since I actually laughed at the trailer and it has Alison Pill who always deserves the best things, but I know that this can easily go very, very wrong and the reviews aren’t great. Still, at least it looks better than Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, a film whose trailer is Exhibits A, B, C, and all the way down to Z on why we should just stop using zombies now forever. ZOMBIE BOOBS LOL!
9] War Room
$2,800,000 / $60,544,613
Oh, just go away already.
10] The Perfect Guy
$2,400,000 / $52,615,190
So Creed isn’t due out in the UK until January. January. Now, initially, I got really confused, since it’s basically a new Rocky movie and Rocky Balboa opened simultaneously in the USA and the UK. But then I realised something: they’re setting up Creed to be an awards season contender, so now I’m just annoyed. Even if it’s good, Creed ain’t getting nominated for jack, and the whole Awards Season thing of keeping us Brits out of the loop on seeing these films until the opening of the next year is bullsh*t. Again, NON-SIMULTANEOUS RELEASING OF ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILMS IN 2015 IS BULLSHIT!
And you thought I’d get through one of these pieces without stepping on my soapbox! Ha!
Dropped Out: The Green Inferno
Hello and welcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast, released slightly earlier than usual to try and push it out just before the end of International Podcast today (that’s today for the next couple of minutes, anyway!) As such, we recommend you check out our fellow podcast comrades Wikishuffle, Black Hole Cinema and Diamond & Human; all of whom are deserving of your time during your commute or whilst peeling the spuds, or whatever you do whilst you’re listening to us.
Joining Mexican assassin Steve Norman and intergalactic failed critic Owen Hughes for this week’s episode is Andrew Brooker, undertaking his unpaid work placement, as they review three new releases. They’re so new, in fact, that they are not even out in the UK yet! First up, Owen reviews new Ridley Scott sci-fi The Martian (which doesn’t feature any aliens – xenomorphs or otherwise) before Brooker seethes over the new Anne Hathaway / Robert De Niro comedy The Intern. There’s even room for a review of the much anticipated crime-thriller Sicario, starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent working with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro on the trail of the Cartel in Mexico.
Before any of that though we have our quiz (which Steve helpfully explains in detail) and news section where the team react to Sam Smith’s Bond theme replete with improv poetry, The Simpsons opening Smithers closet, and the Prometheus sequel details. This is followed by our usual what we’ve been watching section, which sees: Owen review cult 80’s horror From Beyond as he pleads for your HP Lovecraft recommendations; Steve runs through three first watches of Beverly Hills Cop, Cooties and Cop Car; and Brooker reminds himself of a time when De Niro could do comedy well with Analyze This.
Join us again next week as we review ‘the Scottish play’, Macbeth, and have a very special guest in tow for our Scottish triple bill: It’s the acclaimed author of the Three Realistic Holes trilogy of novels, Escobar Walker!
The public checks back into Hotel Transylvania, The Intern gets paid (unlike actual interns), Stonewall crumbled, The Green Inferno immolated, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Much like the first film before it, Hotel Transylvania 2 is officially your new Best September Opening Weekend Ever. Yes, despite the first film exiting all of our collective memories almost as soon as it entered them – and it really pains me to say that because I love Genndy Tartakovsky so very, very much – it turns out that the Hotel Transylvania brand is strong with the audience that matters: kids and, even more importantly than that, the desperate parents who just want them to be quiet for 90 goddamn minutes. They both helped power Transylvania 2 to an excellent $47.5 million haul, a good $5 mil more than the first one made… three years ago?! Oh, GOD, time won’t stop getting away from me!
Kids weren’t the only underserved market being thrown a (possibly juicy it’s kinda hard to tell until I can see these films) bone this weekend, though, as Nancy Meyers finally returned from exile to provide yet another film that ITV2 can add to their schedules whenever they need to fill a spot and the Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift file is too worn out. This one, The Intern, did the usual Nancy Meyers business, slotting comfortably into second place with $18 million, although that is a step down from what It’s Complicated made 6 years ago ($22 million). Also returning from exile was Eli Roth with his evil-savage-cannibal-tribe movie The Green Inferno, but nobody gives a sh*t about Eli Roth so it barely made $3.4 million from 1,540 theatres for ninth place.
Meanwhile, the world of Limited Releases was just bursting with activity this week. To start with, Sicario went up to 53 screens ahead of its nationwide expansion next weekend and managed to crack the Top 10 with an astonishing $30,000 per-screen average. In terms of the weekend’s actual openers, though, the biggest success came from Lost In Hong Kong, the second feature from Xu Zheng and a massive hit in its native China, which rode a 28 screen opening to a very strong $558,900 and a per-screen average of $19,961. Next up was Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, a film that features Michael Shannon yelling so I’m sold, which did a very strong $32,807 from 2 screens and a per-screen average of you can figure that out. And, finally, Half Nelson writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck returned with Mississippi Grind which opened on just the one screen but managed a very respectable $14,335 nonetheless.
Bountiful weekend for the Limited Releases then! Well, unless you’re Stonewall. Yeah, Roland Emmerich’s apparently-thoroughly-misguided passion project crashed and burned on the 129 screens it opened on, taking an absolutely pitiful $112,414 for a per-screen average of $871. Just goes to show: trying to turn one of the most important and diverse moments in LGBT history into a whitewashed Wizard of Oz-ification about a generic bland White guy because stories about events like these can’t just be for LGBT audiences, oh no, they must also provide easy “ins” for White straight audience members too, will just get you a tsunami of backlash, scathing reviews, and nobody will see your ‘accessible’ movie in the first place. This almost feels like justice, it really does.
Oh, it’s been one hell of a week for me, so let’s crack on with this Full List.
Box Office Results: Friday 25th September 2015 – Sunday 27th September 2015
1] Hotel Transylvania 2
$47,500,000 / NEW
OK, Sony Animation. Now, maybe, pretty please, can you let Genndy just make whatever he goddamn wants? He’s given you two solid hits whilst tethered to the sinking Sandler brand, can you just let him off the leash and make his own damn films now? Please? I’m still bitter that you shoved that brilliant-looking Popeye movie he was developing back into the basement for this.
2] The Intern
$18,225,000 / NEW
This looks like hot garbage. That said, I haven’t actually seen any Nancy Meyers films yet, although I want to try and find the time to get at least one watched before I sit down on Saturday and spend… 121 minutes?! …how?
3] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
$14,000,000 / $51,685,672
For those who missed it a couple of weeks back, here’s my review. Still waiting for a point to appear in this franchise, some reason as to why I am spending this much time with these non-characters, but I will say that I would take this series over the Divergent films any day of the week. For one, despite them having nothing going on so far, at least Maze Runner isn’t drop dead boring like Divergent is. And for two, unlike Divergent, there are only going to be three of these things instead of four. Hopefully. Please.
$13,090,000 / $23,129,805
Oh, yeah, this one went to actual cinemas this week. Think we can see that this genius release strategy hasn’t really worked at all. Just because something worked for a Mission: Impossible movie, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for your film as well. Your film doesn’t feature Tom Cruise, after all.
5] Black Mass
$11,510,000 / $42,608,179
A lot of my university friends are really, really excited about this one, for some reason. In fact, if it weren’t for them, it’d probably have flown under my radar near-totally. The fact that it’s not coming out in the UK until mid-November for some bizarre reason might have something to do with that. Plus, I’m mega-excited for The Peanuts Movie whilst those heathens couldn’t give two sh*ts, so…
I don’t actually have a punchline for this entry, so we should probably just move on.
6] The Visit
$6,750,000 / $52,260,580
OK, I’m hearing from a lot of people that this is actually alright and that is very disconcerting to me. Because, well, it sounds awful and it’s Shyamalan. But it’s apparently alright? I dunno, this sounds wrong to me. Or, you know, maybe I’m just worried that it being OK and doing decent business will lead to him trying to make a second Avatar movie. I know that that series will never hit cinema screens again, but he’s already ruined it once and I don’t much like going through the rest of my life being terrified that he may try again.
7] The Perfect Guy
$4,750,000 / $48,871,135
I got nothing. In fact, to tell you the truth, I completely forgot this thing existed until I just typed in the words for this entry. Remember when this was number 1 two weeks back?
8] War Room
$4,275,000 / $55,999,681
Oh, please, October. Please hurry up and eject nonsense like this from the chart. God, September is the worst.
9] The Green Inferno
$3,494,000 / NEW
Right, this won’t be sticking around next week so let me get both of my commentaries for this film out of the way in one go. 1] This film stars Sky Ferreira, who is primarily a pop singer and should be way bigger than she is (due to lots of bad luck, mainly). If you haven’t listened to her 2013 debut Night Time, My Time, go do so. 2] American movie goers, it worryingly sounds like critics are going to give a passing grade to Knock Knock in a few weeks when that finally drops on your side of the pond. Do not believe them, stay away from it.
$1,770,000 / $2,350,594
Got to see this one early on Wednesday as part of an Unlimited Screening. My review’s not up cos I can’t crack it – left it too long for various personal issues you don’t care about – although I may try it again after I see the film again when it properly comes out, but for now… oh, you need to see Sicario. You need to book your tickets in preparation for Sicario right now. Right. Now.
Dropped Out: A Walk in the Woods, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton, Grandma
Audiences head straight into Compton, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s cover is blown, Mistress America takes home a Participation Award, and Other Box Office News.
by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Surprising absolutely nobody who is at least somewhat aware of popular culture, Straight Outta Compton is your new box office number 1. Having said that, though, I don’t think anybody was prepared for just how much of a success the thing would be. You see, Straight Outta Compton didn’t just take first place with ease, it did so with $56 million, almost $40 million more than the second place film managed. That’s an absolute domination, a ridiculous opening for a non-sequel/franchise movie, and an utterly sensational opening for a film in August which is typically a complete dead zone at the box office. I’d sit here and make terrible N.W.A, “Forgot About Dre”, and “It Was A Good Day” puns but, honestly, I’m too gobsmacked at the ridiculous success to make puns. That’s just amazing.
Similarly surprising was the complete non-performance of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Perhaps due to a combination of an off-putting marketing campaign, that I really liked if nothing else, and tepid reviews, which are mostly wrong as you’ll find out in my own review later in the week, Guy Ritchie’s latest adventure in Hollywoodland face-planted right out of the gate. Losing the battle for second place to Mission: Impossible quite handily, The Man cried U.N.C.L.E. – eh? Eh? EH?! – and bowed out for the weekend with only $13.5 million. Nice to see that the Warner Bros. “funding off-beat and often great blockbusters with loads of money only to see bugger-all people turn up to watch” streak is still intact, if nothing else.
Whilst we’re still affixing our eye to the Top 10, let’s briefly check back in with everyone’s favourite complete and total catastrophic failure, Fantastic 4. After failing to achieve the number 1 slot last week and earning roughly half of what it was projected to, the film continued its magnificent spiral of humiliation with a near 70% drop between this past weekend and opening weekend. Enjoy looking at this one, folks. This is the kind of old-school catastrophe that modern Hollywood was supposedly designed to completely avoid. It’s a beautiful sight, like a unicorn grazing underneath a double rainbow.
In the realm of limited releases, Noah Baumbach’s second film this year, Mistress America, did surprisingly poorly. I mean, sure, we’re talking very relatively when I say that $94,000 from 4 theatres is poor. But Baumbach usually has much better openings than this. Hell, he already had one such opening earlier this year when While We’re Young opened to $227,688 from 4 screens, whilst his last collaboration with Greta Gerwig, 2013’s Frances Ha, opened to $137,398 from 4 screens. Maybe, just maybe, audiences are getting sick of movies about annoying self-obsessed New Yorkers. Wouldn’t that be something? Meanwhile, the Jemaine Clement-starring People Places Things Nouns got off to a poor start on 19 screens with just $31,000 for a per-screen average of $1,632.
The jury has found this Full List guilty of being a redneck, white bread, chickensh*t motherf*cker.
Box Office Results: Friday 14th August 2015 – Sunday 16th August 2015
1] Straight Outta Compton
$56,100,000 / NEW
Man, I really cannot wait for this! That’s literally all I’ve got for this one, since I haven’t managed to listen to Dre’s “Compton” yet – that’s a job for tonight, before anyone asks. I will note, however, that an opening like this is yet another sign that mid-budget stories about non-White protagonists, starring a non-White cast and aimed at predominately-non-White audiences are a lucrative and untapped market. A sign that, as per usual, will most likely go stringently ignored by Hollywood.
2] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
$17,000,000 / $138,137,000
Man From U.N.C.L.E. outclasses this movie in every respect. Just thought I’d let you know that.
3] The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
$13,535,000 / NEW
Saw this on Friday and the review will be up on my site tomorrow – in the meanwhile, Brooker’s got a good review of it up here. Short version: probably the best non-Fury Road blockbuster I’ve seen all year. Lot of fun, lots going on under the hood, and impeccably acted with Alicia Vikander nearly running away with the film from everyone else. It’s the first time that “Guy Ritchie, Hollywood Director” has made sense to me, and not coincidentally is the first time he was allowed a crack at the script, so it’s a shame that the film’s box office failure sadly guarantees that we’ll be getting “Hired Gun, Guy Ritchie” for the next few years.
4] Fantastic 4
$8,000,000 / $41,961,000
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (*continues like so for another 15 minutes*)
5] The Gift
$6,500,000 / $23,577,000
Don’t even talk to me about the ending of this. Seriously, it’s been well over a week and I still can’t make up my mind on it. Or, more specifically, I can’t stop trying to rationalise an objectively disgusting and too-far ending as honestly kind of brilliant. Jackson noted that I basically already summed it up when I described the whole film as “very Fincher”, but I still can’t let this go. If nothing else, at least The Gift has stuck with me a week later, unlike the very vast majority of films that have been released so far this year.
$5,517,000 / $157,568,000
Emily Blunt for Carol Danvers, please! Seriously, it’s perfect casting. She’s got the acting chops, Edge of Tomorrow proved that she can be a walking badass when required, she’s more than willing to dye her hair blonde if that’s necessary, she was already going to be Black Widow until Fox forced her to do Gulliver’s Travels instead, and she’s English which continues the superhero movie tradition of casting British leads in American hero roles! Come on, it’s a no-brainer!
I mean, unless the Bond producers do the right thing and cast her as the next Bond. Either of these two things happening will satisfy me.
$5,330,000 / $46,852,000
Once I’ve finished my Man From U.N.C.L.E. review after this, I’ll be sitting down to watch the original National Lampoon’s Vacation in preparation for Friday. Not Tuesday, what’s the point of going to a Cineworld Unlimited Screening for a film that’s out about 48 hours later and looks terrible? Ugh, Unlimited screenings have been going down the drain recently…
Hmm? “The next one’s Sicario, two weeks before its UK release”? Oh, Cineworld! Have I ever told you how much I love you?
$5,200,000 / $312,969,000
A round of applause for Universal Studios for becoming the fastest studio to break $2 billion domestic in a single year, besting Warner Bros.’ previous record by a good 4 months! That’s what happens when you release a whole load of good films that people want to see… and are also part of really successful franchises. OK, I guess we should probably temper that applause slightly, this was basically already predetermined by merely looking at that release schedule.
9] Ricki and the Flash
$4,570,000 / $14,656,000
Oh. Well, err, bye Ricki, I guess.
$3,800,000 / $97,919,000
Review will be up on my site on Wednesday. Gonna keep my opinion under-wraps until then, in a failed attempt to build up suspense and intrigue. I will, though, let slip that I can now happily count the number of good comedies released this year on 3 fingers. That is also a sentence that looks incredibly depressing typed out like that. This goddamn year…
Dropped Out: Pixels, Southpaw