Box Office

Deadline reports that hold on a minute, it might not be Secretariat after all:

It’s very early, obviously. But Disney sources already are admitting that Secretariat is underperforming today and this weekend. For No. 1, my box office gurus say it should come down to the wire between Warner Bros’ Life As We Know It and Sony’s holdover The Social Network. None of the pics are expected to crack $20M for the 3-day weekend. Stay tuned.

Can I ask a dumb question? How do they know it’s under-performing for the weekend? Based on what? My mom friends don’t buy tickets in advance. If it’s down to The Social Network and Life and We Know It, Social Network has to take it.

Boxoffice.com has predictions coming in like this:

1. Secretariat, with $15 million
2. Life as We Know it with $14.5 million
3. Social Network with an even $14
4. Legends of the Guardians with $7
5. The Town with $6.5

I am not great at predicting box office – it is like a foreign language to me. Nonetheless, I think it’s going to go:

1. Secretariat, $22 – $25 million
2. My Soul to Take $19 million
3. The Social Network with $16 – 18 million
4. Life as We Know it with $14

The other two can remain the same. My reasoning is this: the Kathrine Heigl effect is going to play out.¬† My evidence for this is the Twitter chart after the cut. Contrino has no showing for the Wes Craven serial killer film, My Soul To Take. But I think that will get people into the theater, being that it’s getting closer to Halloween.

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let me in 33

Jeff Wells finds two enthusiastic endorsements for Let Me In and I’m happy to help spread the word.

King: “Let Me In is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but King: “Let Me In is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but the best American horror film in the last 20 years. Whether you’re a teenager or a film-lover in your 50s, you’ll be knocked out. Rush to it now. You can thank me later.”

Lindqvist: “Let The Right One In is a great Swedish movie. Let Me In is a great American movie. There are notable similarities and the spirit of Tomas Alfredson is present. But Let Me In puts the emotional pressure in different places and stands firmly on its own legs. Like the Swedish movie it made me cry, but not at the same points. Let Me In is a dark and violent love story, a beautiful piece of cinema and a respectful rendering of my novel for which I am grateful. Again.”

I’ve had my own endorsement in draft for a few days now, and the quote from Stephen King gives me confidence to post it:

In spite of the scorn before its release, I believe Let Me In is the best American horror movie of the past 25 years. And it’s the most seriously sinister vampire movie since Katherine Bigelow’s Near Dark in 1987.

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how to train your dragon

Their total box office might not be the highest, but I just learned on Twitter that Inception and How to Train Your Dragon are the only two films of 2010 to spend ten weeks on the top ten box office chart. That’s a fairly significant bit of news. Repeat viewings, word of mouth and buzz are keeping them afloat. Not a bad record for this vicinity. So what films are the box office champs so far for 2010? (Oscar contenders in bold).

1. Toy Story 3 – $410,171,027
2. Alice in Wonderland – $334,191,110
3. Iron Man 2 – $312,128,345
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $299,894,595
5. Inception – $283,758,000
6. Despicable Me – $243,828,050
7. Shrek Forever After – $238,395,990
8. How to Train Your Dragon – $217,581,231

9. The Karate Kid – $176,464,965
10. Clash of the Titans – $163,214,888
11. Grown Ups – $160,678,105
12. The Last Airbender – $131,446,626
13. Shutter Island – $128,012,934
14. Salt – $116,451,621
15. The Other Guys – $114,016,000
16. Valentine’s Day – $110,485,654
17. Robin Hood – $105,269,730
18. The Expendables – $100,042,000
19. Date Night – $98,711,404
20. Sex and the City 2 – $95,347,692

The first thing this should show you is that there is no accounting for taste where the American public is concerned. It really is an eye-opener, no? The other thing to notice is how reliable and how popular animated films now are. The reason for this is two-fold. Parents are the among the few demographics willing to shell out money for movies anymore, and two – animated films have become so good everyone wants to see them, even tweens and adults.

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inception

No solid release date yet, but hard to imagine Warner Bros won’t want to have the Inception DVD and blu-ray available in time for Christmas — and in time for Academy members who want to upgrade from their bare-bones screeners. (The Dark Knight theatrical release, July 18, ’08; DVD release Dec 9. Inception theatrical release, July 16; DVD release __?) The photo here shows the deluxe special edition fans in the UK are getting, complete with spinning top. No word on the price tag, and no indication how much more the extra-dreamy special edition will cost with the top that never stops spinning.

Incidentally, Inception is still in the Top 10 of current releases — slipping from #6 to #9 this past weekend — and sometime today it will cross the $700 million mark worldwide. Thanks to sartre for the link to Filmonic. Full list of special features after the cut.

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Forbes does the math and finds that Shia LaBoeuf delivers the best return on a studio’s investment, bringing in $81 for every dollar he’s paid in salary. This is the second year in a row he’s topped the chart. Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett are the two best female investments a producer can make. Danial Radcliffe and Robert Downey Jr round out the top 5.¬† Full list of the Top 10 best bets after the cut. Continue reading…

The Tourist

This shakes up the holidays with an unexpected jolt of adrenaline, doesn’t it? Reader Sean points out that Sony has upgraded The Tourist to First Class passage with a premiere route through the very heart of Oscar season. (Previously set to embark in February 2011). Several reliable sites confirm, but I’m interested this morning in the slant from box office mojo:

Sony Pictures announced this afternoon that the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie romantic thriller The Tourist is now set to open Dec. 10.

A remake of French thriller Anthony Zimmer, The Tourist features Depp as an American vacationing in Venice, Italy, who, while attempting to romance Jolie’s character, becomes embroiled in a web of international intrigue and suspense. This year has already been a good one for Depp and Jolie, as they have each had hits in Alice in Wonderland ($334.2 million) and Salt ($104.2 million and counting), respectively. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2007 for Cold War drama The Lives of Others, The Tourist will debut opposite The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and David O. Russell’s The Fighter.

As if anyone needs to be reminded of Depp and Jolie’s earning power. But it’s fortuitous to have the momentum of two new financial bonanzas associated with their names preceding a more sophisticated effort — especially considering that Wonderland and Salt would have gone nowhere without the star engines driving them.

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Not a new trend by any means, but no less depressing for its dimwit predictability: The more a movie sucks, the more people will flock to see it.

45 — The Expendables — $35 million
51 — Eat Pray Love — $24 million
68 — Scott Pilgrim vs the World — $11 million

oh, those first numbers are metacritic scores. But they might as well be the combination to Jonah Hill’s high school gym locker for all the difference they make to moviegoers. Did you find a better way to shred your money this weekend?


Avatar gets a theatrical re-release on August 27. Lots of people are excited about the 8 minutes of new footage, so I’ll gamely feign enough interest to post the same details.

It’s actually nine! [Extra minutes.] I added some since that press release. It’s all CG. None of it is kinda boring shots of people sitting around in offices at the base, drinking coffee. It’s all out in the rainforest, some of it is at night. There is a big hunt sequence that’s got a lot of flying, a lot of banshee stuff, riding direhorses, very high-energy, high-impact action. There’s a very powerful emotional scene towards the end that has been added back.

There’s some stuff where the Na’vi sort of counterattack after the bulldozers destroy the willowblade, that’s a night attack scene. And the aftermath of that, how the humans react to that and the steps leading to the war. There’s some stuff with Grace in the school in the jungle, there’s a creature called a stingbat which is brought back in [that one was in the video game] as well as the sternbeast, which is the animal that they hunt. We see hundreds of those…There are some little bits that have been put back into the end battle. Little action beats, and a little bit added to the love scene, and some other night stuff. It’s all top-quality stuff, it’s all on par with the rest of the film.

So what do you think? Stingbat and Sternbeast enough to Snarefleece another $15 bucks from your Stingepocket? Cameron has a little bit to say about Avatar 2 & 3, after the cut.

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Heat Index, August 3rd, 2010:

  • Little Rock: 112¬∞ F
  • Memphis: 118¬∞ F
  • Inception: $201.7 M (in 19 days)


Inception barely fell 30% from its premiere weekend,* adding nearly $44 million for an estimated domestic total of $144 mil in just 10 days. Angelina Jolie followed close behind with an estimated $36.5 million for Salt.

Next week the only remotely conceivable threat to a three-peat might come from Dinner for Schmucks. Steve Carrell’s previous best opening was $38 million for Get Smart, but that was a weak June weekend in 2008 when the only competition was The Love Guru.

*(In comparison, Toy Story 3 dropped 46% in week 2, Twilight: Eclipse fell 51%, and Iron Man 2 took a 59% dive its second week. Avatar crossed the $150 million mark in 8 days.)

[UPDATE: The LATimes is now pegging Inception’s 2nd week dip at 31% — and notes that this represents the smallest decline of any movie this year. And Deadline reports Warners passing the billion dollar mark this weekend, setting an industry record for performing the same feat 10 years in a row.]


Bringing out the big guns. Ur doin’ it right. According to Deadline‘s early sources. Those numbers should be strong enough to make it the 5th highest opening of 2010. The 3rd highest non-3D opening (right behind Twilight Eclipse at $64 mil). And — as long as we’re slicing and dicing with the Ronco Miracle Blade — might as well parse it one more way and note that Inception is the #1 non-sequel, non-remake, original, made-from-scratch movie of the year.

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Ziyad Abul Hawa has built us a beautiful chart to display key stats at-a-glance for the year’s most acclaimed movies at the half-way point. Longer list encompassing the top 35 films after the cut.

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When the trailer for Paranormal 2 appeared a few days ago, I passed on posting it because (a) it’s not really the sort of movie we follow, (b) it’s not really interesting to me personally, and (c) it’s not really anything. Never occurred to me that avoiding the trailer might protect some sensitive readers from all kinds of psychological trauma and emotional stress. Now it turns out the Cinemark multiplex chain has pulled the trailer from its Texas theatres because off all the pee-puddles left in seats by moviegoers who’ve come to see a vampire and werewolf sword fight (allegedly).

yes, it’s either a silly fluster over nothing or else an even sillier publicity stunt. But if it’s that second form of silliness at least it succeeded in getting the trailer featured here today. (CAUTION: There’s a scary shot around 0:30 that seems to confirm one of my worst fears: cameras have us all under surveillance when we go to the movies. Homeland Security profiling suspicious audience members who laugh at inappropriate times? well then, I’m fucked.)

You’ve been warned. Watch at your own risk. Daredevils can decide if the trailer for Paranormal Activity overwhelms you with more ghastly dread than this one. [*involuntary shudder*]

Click for the full-size cover to verify. (from Just Jared)
Inside Robert Pattinson denies any subtext:

“I think people make up all these Mormon references just so they can publish Twilight articles in respectable publications like the New York Times. Even Stephenie [Meyer, author of the Twilight novels] said it doesn’t mean any of that. It is based on a dream.”

Don’t underestimate your ability to give the Times a Twihard-on, Rob.

The New York Times lists 105 articles it’s published about Stephie Meyer, and I seriously doubt they need a Mormon hook to get all intellectually turgid. Obviously we don’t need much excuse around here either.

It was only ever a question of how far north of $100 mil Toy Story 3 would score, and now we have the official [unadjusted] number. $41 mil opening day (the 8th highest Friday gross in history), $109 mil for the weekend + another $45 mil overseas for a 3-day worldwide total of $153 million. As Deadline points out,

This threequel gives Pixar/Disney their 11th No. 1 debut, the highest June weekend opening in industry history, and only the 3rd animated film in history with an opening 3-day weekend of over $100M.

Bragging rights to the first reader who can name the other two animated features that topped the $100 mil mark on their opening weekends. Toy Story 3 breaks into the top 10 weekend openings of all time, after the cut.

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