Archive for the ‘The Reader’ Category

DVD Sales: The Spirit Tops A Weak Chart In The Post-Easter Frame

April 29, 2009

As always, here are my notes on the latest DVD Sales Chart from The-Numbers:

-Maybe because it was the week right after Easter, repenting buyers felt convicted that they needed more of the spirit in their lives, and they mistakenly purchased Lionsgate’s disastrous 300 ripoff The Spirit, thinking it could help them. Whatever the reason, The Spirit benefited from a complete lack of competition, and somehow scored a number one debut. Granted, its $6.3 million first week is the weakest total Ive seen in a long time, and it will plummet next weekend. Still, with enough time in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart, I’m sure The Spirit‘s DVD sales will surpass its abysmal $19 million total box office.

Twilight continues its shockingly amazing run on the home market, with another $5.5 million this week, for a $133 million total. Having already sold a stunning 7.4 million copies of Twilight on DVD, Summit Entertainment has to be feeling pretty good about the upcoming sequel, New Moon, which debuts this Winter.

-Warner Brothers has to be disappointed with the lackluster performance of Yes Man on DVD. Just $13 million after two weeks of release is extremely bad for a Jim Carrey comedy that earned $90 million during its theatrical run.

-Just as the Easter frame was kind to family films last week, the post-Easter frame was equally harsh to these same titles. Marley And Me, Bolt, The Tale Of Despereaux, Bedtime Stories, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa all saw sizable drops of 62-88%.

-Speaking of Bolt, I thought I should point out that after four weeks, the animated pooch film has $53 million in the kitty (or would doghouse be more appropriate, here?), and it’s been a solid performer on DVD for Disney.

-I’m somewhat ambivalent about the home market performance of two Oscar-winning films. First off, The Reader‘s $4.5 million opening week is nothing to cry about, but its nothing special either. Second, Slumdog Millionaire‘s $20 million after three weeks feels quite low to me, especially after its rosy $141 million box office. I think it probably came out on DVD too soon after its theatrical run. After three straight months of deafening buzz during awards season, every person that was going to be persuaded to see Slumdog already did, so the quick release date after it won its obligatory Oscar may have backfired for Fox Searchlight.

See the full chart after the jump:

Top 30 Selling DVDs for the Week Ending April 19, 2009
Rank Title Units this Week % Change Total Units Sales this Week Total Sales Weeks in Release
1 Spirit, The 334,298 -.-% 334,298 $6,268,088 $6,268,088 1
2 Twilight 296,188 -28.6% 7,382,885 $5,538,716 $133,501,184 4
3 Day the Earth Stood Still, The 292,678 -66.9% 1,176,061 $5,179,493 $19,829,870 2
4 Bedtime Stories 280,209 -80.8% 1,963,618 $4,788,940 $33,568,422 2
5 Marley and Me 269,378 -62.9% 2,520,919 $4,628,857 $45,442,103 3
6 Yes Man 247,648 -53.4% 779,579 $4,321,680 $13,523,714 2
7 Reader, The 234,376 -.-% 234,376 $4,542,207 $4,542,207 1
8 Bolt 194,328 -73.3% 3,034,363 $3,515,899 $53,966,384 4
9 Tale of Despereaux, The 157,622 -72.7% 734,892 $2,677,998 $12,485,815 2
10 Slumdog Millionaire 154,580 -43.4% 1,270,027 $2,493,375 $20,834,683 3
11 Doubt 134,488 -47.9% 392,775 $2,419,439 $6,991,119 2
12 Seven Pounds 130,075 -41.7% 859,188 $2,154,042 $14,587,218 3
13 Quantum of Solace 123,256 -27.5% 1,876,092 $2,131,959 $33,515,945 4
14 Not Easily Broken 93,838 -56.9% 311,466 $1,594,308 $5,851,111 2
15 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 86,483 -64.0% 2,855,178 $1,382,863 $49,136,150 7
16 Stuart Little 75,855 -9.7% $578,774 470
17 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 60,742 -88.7% 5,744,631 $763,412 $87,950,809 11
18 Role Models 60,541 -42.2% 1,648,990 $1,028,592 $28,016,340 6
19 High School Musical 3: Senior Year 56,864 -74.8% 2,971,273 $1,064,653 $53,175,812 9
20 Pinocchio 54,357 -69.2% $923,525 495
21 Australia 52,217 -39.7% 1,354,212 $887,167 $22,829,054 7
22 Mamma Mia! 51,786 -.-% 5,957,687 $665,921 $125,254,362 18
23 Fireproof 49,236 -.-% 1,520,956 $766,112 $26,191,317 12
24 40-Year-Old Virgin, The 46,534 -.-% $474,456 175
25 Tigger and Pooh and a Musical Too 44,495 -71.6% 201,135 $844,960 $3,819,554 2
26 Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword 35,335 -63.1% 131,132 $494,337 $1,834,537 2
27 Milk 34,748 -33.6% 494,538 $607,743 $8,827,310 6
28 Punisher: War Zone, The 34,419 -32.6% 398,065 $668,235 $7,525,557 5
29 Transporter 3 33,396 -35.8% 1,011,642 $573,793 $18,041,585 6
30 Cadillac Records 29,675 -26.0% 310,751 $504,178 $5,927,887 6

Why Can’t Kate Winslet Keep Her Clothes On?

April 3, 2009

I’m going to say this despite the harsh criticism I’m going to take for it: watching Jack Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger “go at it” in Brokeback Mountain made me uncomfortable. “Why?” You ask angrily, “Why is it okay to show HETEROsexual people having sex but not HOMOsexual people having sex, hmm? Is it less beautiful? INTOLERANCE!”

I don’t know what just happened, or why you’re yelling at me. The thing is, I am uncomfortable in a lot of sex scenes. I find it very strange, sitting in a crowded theatre and watching two people share what should be a private intimate moment. “Prude!” I hear you say. “It’s art!” And again, I’ll retort: it CAN be art, but it isn’t always. If the mere act of showing consummation were art, Debbie Does Dallas would be a modern day Mona Lisa. There’s a time and there’s a place for sex scenes, and a lot of the times they aren’t use properly.*
There’s also an art form known as subtlety, which is what is vanishing in today’s love scenes. I remember watching In Harm’s Way starring John Wayne. To make it clear that he and this woman were about to get their freak on, it showed her smile and take off one shoe. That might be an extreme in the other direction, but it still gets the point across. Would it have been better to show their bodies entangled in a three minute love scene? Do I really lose a sense of the romance in Titanic when all I can see of the sex between Jack and Rose is a hand print on a steamy window?

Which brings me to the star of the article: recent Academy Award winner for Best Actress, Kate Winslet. Many actresses have a no-nudity clause in their contracts; I think Winslet’s has a nudity-requirement. The chick can’t star in a movie without stripping down. I saw The Reader recently, and for the first third wondered if she won the award for having the most frequent, uncomfortable sex scenes imaginable. If you have seen it, you might know what I’m talking about, and I defy you to tell me they were all necessary. We get it, the young man and the older lady have a lot of sex. Like a lot. Like so much sex it makes Pamela Anderson jealous.
But we really don’t need to see it. And here’s the thing, the rest of the film absolutely thrives on subtlety. And it’s incredible. The second two-thirds of that movie, where there is an actual plot and not just incessant boning, presented some of the best scenes I’ve ever… seen (damn Homophones…). You could have cut fifteen minutes of the film without it losing anything. And to assuage Kate Winslet we can still have her get naked. I’m not saying NO sex scenes, I’m just saying it became incredibly absurd when every four minutes another one pops up (no pun intended… I made it worse, didn’t I?)
It’s a fine line, and I’m sure there are many opinions on the subject. I think it can be done right, and it can be done wrong. The Reader‘s were a little frequent. If it’s a comedy, it damn well better be hilarious or it will come off as insanely awkward (see: Knocked Up). I might argue (I’d have to mull this over) that a sex scene must show more than love, lust, or passion, because those can all be conveyed other ways, and if it is used to show those things it must be very careful. I’m sure there will be disagreements, go ahead and post them!

*To Brokeback fans, I know what the point was. It was to make all those people comfortable with heterosexual love scenes be confronted by a homosexual one. I maintain it wasn’t necessary to tell the story it was trying to tell, or that it could have been done differently. In fact, I think it took something away from the movie, as it is now primarily remembered for it’s ‘shocking’ sex scene than for the love story it actually told.

**Kate Winslet has recently said she will no longer be nude as her children are getting to that age when it’s awkward. Evidently she forgot about DVDs and the internet…

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.)