Jennifer Lawrence has to be one of the biggest stars in the world right now. $158 million for the opening of Catching Fire. You can say it’s the franchise if you want. At the end of the day, does it really matter? Isn’t that just another way of saying it doesn’t count? Ditto for Sandra Bullock and the $245 million for Gravity. It doesn’t count because it’s an effects movie little boys love to. Either way, it’s kind of awesome.

How are the Best Picture contenders doing so far domestically? Gravity is number 5 on the year’s highest grossing films so far, beaten only tentpoles and sequels. Impressive, non?

1. Gravity – $245 million.
2. The Butler – $115 million.
3. Captain Phillips – $100 million, just passed the mark.
4. Prisoners – $60 million

In limited:
5. Blue Jasmine – $32 million
6. 12 Years a Slave – $29 million (not bad at all – heads towards $50)
7. Dallas Buyers Club – $6 million (in 666 theaters)

And how are the animated films shaking down so far?

1. Despicable Me 2 $366 million
2. Monsters University $268 million
4. The Croods $187 million
5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 $114 million

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  • I have to think some of the reason GRAVITY did so well is because Sandra Bullock floated around in normal underwear instead of the diapers that all the scientists say would have been more realistic.

    I haven’t seen CATCHING FIRE yet but I will. J. Law is pretty much the perfect female. I wish I’d been like her. She was so much fun on Letterman. She didn’t even let him drool over her by continuously reminding him that her tummy kept making her want to crap her pants. She’s so real. 😀

    This year’s Oscars should be sponsored by Depends.

  • bd74

    I’m really impressed (and happy) that Captain Phillips has done so well at the box office. Even more of a case for it to be a Best Picture nominee.

  • Christophe


    “Reminding him that her tummy kept making her want to crap her pants. She’s so real.”

    I was going to say she’s so gross instead, but I guess in an era when “Could you please hold my hair? I think I’m gonna throw up.” is considered an effective pick-up line, discussing your gastric problems on television might be seen as endearing.

  • Blue Jasmine and 12 Years a Slave both expanded nationwide. Neither can be considered limited grossers.

  • m1

    Blue Jasmine and 12 Years a Slave both expanded nationwide.

    So has Dallas Buyers Club.

    Speaking of Dallas Buyers Club, did anyone see that horrid article about it at Slant Magazine’s website? Simply ridiculous. I guess the first stage of backlash for that movie has already begun.

    Anyway, go women.

  • m1

    Also when is the second part of the podcast going to be up? I’m really looking forward to it.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Josh Hutcherson looks like the most beautiful creature on this earth in that picture. Fine choice.

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Josh Hutcherson is a total lol in Catching Fire. He just has to stand around and be utterly incapable of everything for over two hours. Classic.

    m1, technically speaking, 800 theatres is the nationwide threshold. It’s currently in screens all across the US, but in what’s considered moderate release. But yeh, it has pretty much expanded nationwide, just not to the same extent as Blue Jasmine and 12 Years a Slave, nor for as long.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Dafuq you talk about?! He steals that awesome film! (for me). Cheers!

  • Josh Hutcherson looks like the most beautiful creature on this earth in that picture. Fine choice.

    That kid makes me feel like I need to register as a sex offender. (I’m old enough to be his mom.)

  • John

    I echo m1, where oh where is part 2 of last weeks podcast? The one with Gladiator. Ive been anticipating that discussion greatly. Isnt 2001 coming around the end? 😉

    And yes, I am very pleased with women in film this year. Theyre doing well at the boxoffice. There are many good roles, including quite a few for black women. All a step in the right direction.

  • phantom

    (Well, clearly I was bored, so I wrote a ‘Dear Hollywood’ type of Box Office centric ‘letter’, here it is. Anyway, sorry for the long rant.)

    Looking back at this year’s Box Office, I honestly hope the studios will realize that

    – making appealing, original, female centered (R rated) films on a budget (The Heat, The Call, Mama, We’re the Millers)
    – giving a chance to (financially) risky but at least inspired and fresh concepts (The Great Gatsby, Gravity)
    -funding high-concept/low-budget films (The Conjuring, Warm Bodies, The Purge, Insidious : Chapter Two, Bad Grandpa, This is the End)
    – backing films about people of color (42, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, The Best Man Holiday)
    – bringing back the midrange pic (Now you see me, Captain Phillips, Olympus Has Fallen, Prisoners) instead of ridiculously overpriced tentpole wannabes
    – picking up interesting indies and allowing them to reach wide(r) audiences (The Place Beyond the Pines, Mud, Fruitvale Station, The Way Way Back, Blue Jasmine, Before Midnight, Spring Breakers, Enough Said, All is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club etc.)
    – telling stories about people older than the 18-49 set (Last Vegas, Nebraska, Philomena, Quartet)

    would be a win-win for everyone in the future. This way they wouldn’t

    – have to be under great pressure because of utterly unrealistic expectations and financial risks (R.I.P.D., Jack the Giant Slayer, Pacific Rim, Ender’s Game)
    – make the audience question a fave star because of a completely unnecessary, money-grab sequel (Red 2, A Good Day To Die Hard, The Hangover 3)
    – make the INDUSTRY question a fave star because his sheer presence couldn’t turn an overpriced film profitable (After Earth, Elysium, Oblivion, The Lone Ranger, White House Down)
    – allow 90s action stars to embarass themselves (Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand) with vanity projects.

    I understand that about a decade ago after films like Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter started to rule the Box Office, suddenly every studio wanted their very own comic / fantasy franchise just like right now they all seem to want their very own twilightgamesque franchise (Beautiful Creatures, The Host, Mortal Instruments), but the truth of the matter is, the industry recently went through a big change once again and it should be high time the studios take notice.

    People are not really interested in the franchise/tentpole game anymore, well, they obviously are (Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, World War Z, Oz, Fast and Furious, The Hunger Games, Thor 2), but nowadays they seem to be coming out in droves for smaller scale films, too, and that is the angle studios should be looking at very closely. Especially when the Bullock / McCarthy duo (The Heat) can bitchslap the Tatum / Foxx duo when their films go head to head on the same weekend (important tidbit : The Heat cost 43M to produce, WHD cost 150M) and Maggie Smith (Quartet) managed to bitchslap both Sylvester Stallone (Bullet to the Head) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand) in the January/February period, not to mention The Conjuring that bitchslapped EVERY big-budget dissapointment this summer…

    Verdict : Before a studio takes an enormous risk and greenlights a tentpole wannabe with a production budget up to 250M and then ends up losing most of that money – because let’s face it, the vote of confidence was wishful thinking at best in the first place and it was unrealistic to expect such spectacular success from films about beanstalks and battleships – ,they could just take a long hard second look at that 250M and decide to greenlight a bunch of low(er)-budget films that will either turn profit or the very least can’t possibly lose them hundreds of millions.

    Just to put it in perspective, 250M is roughly the combined budget of these 18 (!) films : The Heat (43M), We’re the Millers (37M), The Help (25M), Silver Linings Playbook (21M), The Conjuring (20M), Mama (15M), The Place Beyond the Pines (15M), The King’s Speech (15M), Black Swan (13M), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (10M), Mud (10M), 50 / 50 (8M), Magic Mike (7M), The Way Way Back (4.6M), Sinister (3M), The Purge (3M), Insidious (1.5M), Fruitvale Station (0.9M).

    Not only did ALL these films turn nice profit – something the overpriced tentpole wannabes can’t even dream about, not from the moment they get the greenlight with those ridiculous 150M+ budgets – but several of them were also considered good/great movies, as well and at the end of the day, wouldn’t it be BETTER to give the moviegoing public the kind of variety and quality that this 250M could buy with these 18 profitable films instead of putting it all in one holey basket that in the end probably won’t satisfy either the studio OR the audience ?

  • Antoinette

    PRISONERS fans, this Q&A is right now.

  • Al Robinson

    I think Box Office Mojo considers a “wide release” film to be at least 600 theaters. What I still haven’t figured out yet, is whether that means 600 movie theater buildings as a whole, or 600 individual screens. For instance, the theater by my house has Thor and Thor 3D on 3 different screens. But that is still considered 1 theater?? Someone please help if you know.

  • Joe Clinton

    Yes, I’m a Jen fan, but “Catching Fire” surprisingly was quite a showcase for Ms. Lawrence. Even a little comedy – her reactions to Johanna stripping in the elevator were terrific. And the costume changes – wow. Also she got to react quite a bit, and she was very adept at it. Just another fine performance from the tame and prettified Jennifer Lawrence.

  • allow 90s action stars to embarass themselves (Bullet to the Head, The Last Stand) with vanity projects.

    I enjoyed both films but I guess people don’t want to watch classic action films anymore. That’s too bad. Both films had very diverse casts and I thought the people who did see them enjoyed them.

  • Al Robinson


    I’ll admit I really liked The Last Stand. But, I didn’t bother to see Bullet to the Head.

  • PJ

    12 Years a Slave isnt coming anywhere close to 50M with the anemic PTA it had this past weekend. Gravity almost had a higher PTA and it has been in theaters for 2 months. Not even thanksgiving break can save it.

  • lily

    i want to see if she can draw people to an original movie based on her name alone. because sandra bullock can, and has proven it tenfold in recent years. it’ll be very interesting to see what her movies do when these hunger games ones are over

  • Al Robinson


    Like most straight guys out there, I think she’s HOT, but I hope that she does movies that doesn’t require her to use her sex appeal. No matter what kind of movies she does. Although, I would find it interesting to see what kind of performance she’d have if she was directed by Woody Allen.

  • 12 Years a Slave isnt coming anywhere close to 50M with the anemic PTA it had this past weekend. Gravity almost had a higher PTA and it has been in theaters for 2 months. Not even thanksgiving break can save it.

    Silly. It’s gonna continue to expand and continue to draw attention once it starts getting major awards love, which is pretty much destined to happen.

    phantom, #word

  • phantom


    12 Years a Slave will be around 45-50M by the end of December thanks to the hype that the Golden Globes / SAG etc. nominations will create and the lucrative Holiday weekdays THEN it will be in theaters for two more months most certainly enjoying further expansions (at least a 1000 more theaters) and great Oscar buzz, it will get excellent press all through January when it will probably receive a bunch of Oscar nominations, sweep a few (or maybe ALL) precursors including televised ones like the ones mentioned above, then in February a lot of people who haven’t seen it, WILL pre-Oscar. Standard February Oscar Fever.

    So that 50M is all but guaranteed, it will probably get to ‘No Country for Old Men’ level, as well (70ish) and if it really sweeps the precursors and emerges early on as TRULY the one to beat, it may even make it past 100M even if not by much (Shakespeare in Love, Million Dollar Baby).

    Oscar contenders released in the October/November period tend to make A LOT of money post-Oscar nominations. Argo (wide release October 12), widely considered to be at end of its theatrical run, delivered another 19M, Pi 21M, and Silver Linings Playbook – the film like 12 Years a Slave that didn’t reach its widest release until January – added a whopping 71M after the nominations were announced.

    Bottom line : if it will be around 50M at the end of December, with the lucrative combination of expansions (at least 2000-2500 theaters total) and the lenghty Oscar period (three more months from now), this film will get to 70-80M and MAYBE even 100M. You can quote me on this.

  • Kane

    Bryce, agree that Hutcherson did well. I wouldn’t say he stole the movie from Lawrence and especially Stanley Tucci. But his acting was really great this time around and he didn’t wallow like a puppy over Katniss not loving him. He sort of took the blows for the greater good.

  • Tommy K

    Jennifer is the greatest actress of our generation. she deserves 7 oscars!

  • Filipe

    Phantom, nice summary. 🙂

  • Bryce Forestieri


    LOL I know I was just having a reaction. Stanley Tucci had more to work with in this one too. Actually, I though Phillip Seymour Hoffman role was as dull as you can get. Paycheck? I mean the guy has earned it.

  • John

    12YAS will be at 30 mill by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. It will get a little Thanksgiving bump and then coast a bit til GG/SAG/Oscar noms. But the PTA is pretty darn low. I know that a lot of people are aware of 12YAS by now and I see advertising everywhere (tv spots, etc). But people simply are not springing it for it right now. Soooo. I think it’ll be a miracle to bypass The Artist and get to 50 mill. Plus, just because it dominated Oscar noms does not necessarily mean it will get a re-birth of theater screens. All that said, Il be more than happy to be completely wrong come March/April.

  • Ruth

    Despicable Me 2 was always going to do good business, but that BO total is astonishing. I doubt any higher BO totals would have had less pop-culture impact, I barely known anything about the franchise except the basic premise, and yet it’s #24 all time domestic, and #2 for the year thus far. Mind boggling.

  • Kane

    Bryce, yeah I’m there with you. Hoffman is one of my favorites but his role may have been the most underwritten. It didn’t set him apart from Wes Bentley’s one bit. Before the ending thing I was hoping he’d sort of go rogue and just shit all over the arena. Here’s hoping the next two films actually show what he’s all about.

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