Archive for the ‘Milk’ Category

I’m So Over The Oscars.

January 22, 2009

If you read The Box Office Junkie, you know I despise the Academy Awards, but I’m a film blogger, and I feel obligated to post these. The most boring, stilted, pretentious, fickle, unreasonably admired awards show of all of time just released their 2009 nominations. Of course, fan favorites The Dark Knight and Wall-E were shunned from the Best Picture race because they were released in the summer and actually appeal to large audiences. Instead, we get The Reader?! Ugh. Here are the nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards, announced this morning: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Best Picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”

Actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”

Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”

Director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Check here for a full list of nominations. Gosh, the Academy sure is in love with Benjamin Button… The only parts of this entire list that makes me happy is the fact Slumdog Millionaire is being recognized and that Robert Downey Jr. got nominated for his work in the uproarious Tropic Thunder. I’m pretty angry that Wall-E did not get the Best Picture nomination it deserved. Being stuck down in the Best Animated Picture category is a slap in the face to the beautiful, flawless film.

Honestly, if the Oscars didn’t effect theatrical box office tremendously, I wouldn’t bother reporting on them at all. They are boring and completely out of touch with the collective consciousness. In their efforts to prove they have good taste, they look over any film that is remotely mainstream, which just isn’t fair and makes for a very uninteresting awards season. I truly don’t understand their mystique and appeal. They are the very last show in the whole awards season, and they nominate the exact same films that everyone else does! I will certainly not be tuning in. But what about you? Do you agree with me, or am I just a cynic? Anyone else over the Oscars?

Oscar Bait Roundup + Golden Globes Effect

January 13, 2009

The Golden Globes were last night, and as I’m sure you have already heard, the evening undoubtedly belonged to Fox Searchlight’s Slumdog Millionaire, which picked up the fimmaker’s trifecta of awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The other big story was Kate Winslet, who nabbed the trophies for both Best Actress and Best Suppoting Actress, for Revolutionary Road and The Reader, respectively. For Best Actor, comeback kid Mickey Rourke was awarded for The Wrestler. Also, Wall-E won Best Animated Picture, which is kind of a backhanded compliment, considering it’s good enough to be Best Picture, without the “animated” stipulation… But anyone could tell you the winners of the night- let’s get to the main point of this post: How will the Golden Globes victories affect the box office performance and Oscar chances of the Oscar bait films?

As you can see below, all of the winners in the Comedy/Musical categories are no longer playing theaters, so they won’t be included in this discussion. I’ll post a list of the winners at the bottom, but first, let’s analyze film by film:


Gran Torino – With a $29 million weekend, Clint Eastwood doesn’t need to worry too much about the fact that he didn’t win any awards. Reviews aren’t really good enough to merit huge Oscar attention, but with a massive $10,000+ venue average, it’s well on its way to $100 million.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – It fell 49% this weekend, and with no major award victories, it will probably continue its descent. Still, it’s made $94 million, and $125 million seems like a likely final total. With or without an Oscar, this is a major financial success for Paramount.

Slumdog Millionaire – I gush about this film enough, as it is, so I’ll keep this short. After $34 million worth of great word-of-mouth and three Golden Globes, Fox Searchlight would be fools to not expand this in the very near future. It’s $6,206 per theater average (in its ninth week!) is strong enough to sustain an expansion, especially with the free advertising that comes from the Golden Globes.

Doubt – It’s banked a surprisingly good $22 million, but it’s $1,945 average isn’t great, and without much awards attention, I doubt it will make it past $30 million.

Revolutionary Road – Could the picture that’s so depressing it’s nigh-unmarketable turn into a success? The awards recognition will certainly help, but the reality is, this is not a story that many people are excited to see on the big screen- they go to see the acting. While it’s $10,667 per theater average looks great on paper, keep in mind that Gran Torino basically matched it, and that film is two weeks older and playing in 20 times as many theaters! Road probably won’t make it past $15 million.

The Reader – This film has more to gain than any other after the Golden Globes, because it hasn’t exactly been blowing up in the last few weekends, and mediocre reviews probably aren’t helping. Out in 507 theaters, it ony managed a $1.3 million weekend, which gave it a fairly poor $2,667 venue average. Weinstein needs to sell the Kate Winslet full force and hope for the best.

Milk – I continues to plug along rather steadily, and it’s earned a pretty good $19 million thus far, but Slumdog Millionaire has really taken away it’s Oscar mojo. If it can manage to pick up an Oscar or two, it might have a chance yet, but it’s momentum is definitely slowing down.

Frost/Nixon – It’s still doing alright, but it’s hardly the flashiest title of the bunch. With $7.6 million so far, it should be able to hit $15 million overall. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke’s Golden Globes win should give this the much needed exposure it needs in order to continue expanding. It’s got a nice venue average right now and about $3 million already, and if Fox Searchlight can play their cards right, they could be looking at a modest hit here. At least $10 million seems likely.

Here are the winners (full list here), with numbers below:

2009 Golden Globe Winners In Film

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Danny Boyle –
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Screenplay
Simon Beaufoy – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actress – Drama
Kate Winslet –
Revolutionary Road

Best Actor – Drama
Mickey Rourke –
The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Sally Hawkins –
Happy Go Lucky


Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Colin Farrell – In Bruges

Best Supporting Actress
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Here are the numbers:

Oscar-Seeking Titles for January 9-11 2009
# Movie Title Wk
3-Day Gross
Change Theaters
PTA
Total
Reviews
1 Gran Torino 5 $29,025,000 +888.4% 2,808
(+2,724)
$10,337 $40,065,000 75%
5 The Curious Case
Of Benjamin Button
3 $9,450,000 -49.4% 2,947 (-41) $3,207 $94,330,000 72%
11 Slumdog Millionaire 9 $3,730,000 -20.5% 601 (-11) $6,206 $34,075,000 94%
14 Doubt 5 $2,503,000 -49.9% 1,287 (-) $1,945 $22,941,000 76%
16 Revolutionary Road 3 $1,440,000 +46.1% 135 (+97) $10,667 $3,170,000 67%
17 The Reader 5 $1,352,000 -15.4% 507 (+109) $2,667 $5,516,000 60%
19 Milk 7 $1,251,000 -33.8% 295 (-14) $4,241 $19,125,000 92%
20 Frost/Nixon 6 $912,000 -34.9% 205 (-) $4,449 $7,652,000 90%
21 The Wrestler 4 $874,000 +99.6% 60 (+42) $14,567 $2,848,000 98%
26 Rachel Getting Married 15 $179,805 +7.9% 98 (+31) $1,873 $10,379,000 87%
All Numbers Courtesy Of Exhibitor Relations

Oscar Bait Roundup: Gran Torino Picks Up The Pace In The Oscar Race

January 5, 2009

Now that we are officially in 2009, it’s time for the major awards shows to start handing out their trophies to Tinseltown’s most lauded films. Like I said last week, I find all these award shows pretentious, self-important, and obnoxious, though I have to confess, now that I have watched Slumdog Millionaire, I suddenly find myself caring that it wins stuff! Ah, I’m a victim of hypocrisy! Oh, well. Despite my conflicted awards show attitude, one thing that is definite is that they do have a tremendous effect on many movies’ box office. This week was very good for the Oscar bait movies, as they all saw either tiny drops or solid increases.

Making more money than most of the others can dream of, David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button earned itself $18.4 million this weekend, a drop of 31%, which is by far the largest drop of any of these movies. Of course, this also has the largest audience and theater count of any of these movies, so that’s a loaded statistic. It’s already amassed $79 million, and it’s got tons more on the way.

The only other Oscar bait in wide release is Doubt, which is playing in 1,287 theaters. The religious adaptation, which stars Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and the usually sunny Amy Adams, fell 6% to $5 million. Even if it’s venue average of $3,909 isn’t breaking any records, that small of a drop is utterly fantastic given the serious subject matter and the larger theater count. It’s sitting with about $18.7 million so far.

My beloved Slumdog Millionaire had a great week as well, increasing 11% to $4.7 million. Since last week, it’s added a full $10 million to its total, giving it a $29 million cume. Fox Searchlight continues to impress me. (Hmm, I think I’ll do a post about them later this week.)

Both of Kate Winslet’s films saw major expansions this week. The Reader expanded into 398 theaters, and found $1.6 million, for a $4,070 per theater average. There’s not much awareness for The Reader, and these kinds of numbers just aren’t enough to keep it hanging with the big contenders. On the other hand, Revolutionary Road expanded from three to 38 theaters, and it’s weekend gross increased by a whopping 415% to about $1 million over the frame. It had a nice $25,763 average. The “Kate and Leo are back together!” angle seems to be helping this title for now, but its utterly depressing plot will hurt its chances at box office success. Look for further expansion in the near future.

Milk, which seems to be getting a bit lost in the shuffle, grew 5% this weekend, and it earned an additional $1.8 million. After six weeks in theaters, it’s per theater average of $6,019 is pretty solid, but I see its awards chances dwindling in the face of flashier films. (A fate Frost/Nixon could suffer from as well.) Need an example of one of those flashier films? The Wrestler. This is being painted as the little engine that could of awards season. Critics and audiences are loving Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei in the film, and Fox Searchlight is wisely letting the film continue to build buzz before any major expansions. It increased 11% this weekend to $432,000 for an early $1.7 million total.

The performance of the week, though, has got to be Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Despite the fact that it did not add any theaters to its count of 84, the drama increased a whopping 21%, for a $2.8 million weekend. This gave the movie a tremendous $33,571 per theater average. Warner Brothers, who plans on expanding Gran Torino into about 2,600 theaters next weekend, has to be excited with these kinds of numbers. Here are all the numbers:

Oscar-Seeking Titles for January 2-4 2009
# Movie Title Wk 3-Day Gross
Theaters PTA Total Reviews
3 The Curious Case
Of Benjamin Button
2 $18,400,000 2,988 (-) $6,158 $79,011,000 73%
8 Doubt 4 $5,031,000 1287 (+20) $3,909 $18,730,000 76%
10 Slumdog Millionaire 8 $4,770,000 614 (-2) $7,794 $28,778,672 94%
15 Gran Torino 4 $2,820,000 84 (-) $33,571 $9,699,000 73%
16 Milk 6 $1,860,112 309 (-2) $6,019 $17,124,399 93%
17 The Reader 5 $1,620,000 398 (+282) $4,070 $3,575,000 57%
18 Frost/Nixon 4 $1,441,150 205 (-) $7,030 $6,330,150 90%
21 Revolutionary Road 3 $979,000 38 (+35) $25,763 $1,369,000 68%
23 The Wrestler 2 $431,884 18 (-) $23,994 $1,756,112 98%
26 Rachel Getting Married 14 $186,000 67 (+2) $2,776 $10,326,000 87%
All Numbers Courtesy Of Exhibitor Relations

Which of these movies have you seen? Are you happy with their box office, or do they deserve more money? And what do you think should win Best Picture? (Hint: Wall-E or Slumdog are acceptable answers.)

Oscar Bait Roundup: Slumdog Millionaire Is Not In The Slums Anymore

December 30, 2008

I’m not sure if you are aware, but I’m not a fan of the Academy Awards. They’re pretentious and self-important, and they often award films that are truly depressing and pessimistic. This would all be forgivable if the actual awards show were at least entertaining, but no- The Oscars Awards is the single most boring, drawn-out telecast on TV each year (and that includes American Idol results shows). By the time they finally arrive, at the very end of Awards Season, you can already predict each and every winner, and I think the fact that everybody fawns over them so much makes me dislike them a little bit, as well. That’s not to say that many of the films that are rewarded are not good, I just find The Academy to be an extremely overrated entity.

But oh well, I’m a box office blogger, and I’m committed to serving you with analysis about how much money movies are making, and whether or not I care, The Oscars (and other awards shows) definitely mater when it comes to how much money a movie makes. If you need an example, look to 2004’s Million Dollar Baby or 2007’s Juno, two films that never could have broken the $100 million barrier without the awards boost. It works the other way around too. Oscar voters can’t vote on movies that they haven’t seen, so earning more at the box office can definitely contribute to a movie’s chances at a nomination and win. Because of these factors, I thought it might be useful to delve into the performance of the current releases that have been labeled as front-runners in the Oscar race. All of these films, with the very notable exception of Benjamin Button, are either in limited release or in the process of expanding.

Among Oscar bait, the most impressive performance may look like David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, which certainly had a great opening weekend, but that film came with Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and a ton of promotion. To me, when I look at this weekend’s numbers, I am without a doubt most impressed by Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Even after expanding into a release of 614 theaters, it was still able to to earn a fantastic per theater average of $7,006. When you consider the fact that Slumdog Millionaire has been playing for seven weeks, that number is even more amazing. Meanwhile, films like The Reader, Milk, and Frost/Nixon are newer and have lower theater counts, but still have smaller per theater averages. Now, these films aren’t doing poorly, they just aren’t having the kind of Cinderella run that Slumdog Millionaire is having. To be clear, audiences are in love with this movie, its reviews are amazing, and it’s chugging along at the box office. I attribute a lot of its success to the fact that it has a happy ending. People love seeing an awards-caliber film that leaves them feeling hopeful and happy, and Fox Searchlight (who was distributing Juno this time last year) understands that. I wish it all the success in the world.

On the complete other end of the spectrum is Revolutionary Road, a movie about miserable people being miserable. The reunion of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio is attractive, and enough for a great opening gross from just three theaters, but the story will limit its potential tremendously, both awards-wise (not even Oscar-voters are that depressed, but I expect some acting nods) and financially. Meanwhile, there’s The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky’s critically beloved film starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. This movie falls somewhere between Slumdog Millionaire and Revolutionary Road in terms of tone and box office potential. Even with incredible reviews, I think the story may be a bit too sad for this to truly break out, but the ultimately heroic spirit of Mickey Rourke’s super-buzzy performance will keep earning this one earning money at a slow burn for some time. It’s started off very strongly. Finally, Clint Eastwood’s drama Gran Torino has started off very strongly, but its reviews have not been as good as everyone was expecting. It will be interesting to see whether its massive buzz can overcome reviews that, for Eastwood, are just “okay.” In conclusion, even though I’m still looking for Wall-E to take Best Picture, here are the weekend’s results for what I’m calling Oscar bait:


Oscar-Seeking Titles for December 26-28 2008

# Movie Title Wk 3-Day Gross
Theaters PTA Total RT Reviews
3 The Curious Case
Of Benjamin Button
1 $26,853,816 2,988 $7,457 $38,725,647 73%
10 Doubt 3 $5,339,742 1267 $4,214 $8,484,863 76%
13 Slumdog Millionaire 7 $4,301,870 614 $7,006 $19,476,395 94%
15 Gran Torino 3 $2,322,781 84 $27,652 $4,220,824 73%
16 Milk 5 $1,762,638 311 $5,668 $13,533,585 93%
18 Frost/Nixon 4 $1,355,186 205 $6,611 $3,539,426 90%
21 The Reader 3 $664,013 116 $5,724 $1,243,690 57%
22 The Wrestler 2 $387,530 18 $21,529 $907,631 98%
28 Revolutionary Road 1 $189,911 3 $63,304 $189,911 68%
30 Rachel Getting Married 13 $131,440 65 $2,022 $10,017,383 87%

What do you think about the Academy Awards? Do they matter to you, or do judge movies for yourself? Is anyone with me on the Wall-E train? Be a critic in the comments!