Monday, July 30, 2012

Batman Rises Again

Weekend Recap: 7/27-29/2012

It was a slow few days this past weekend as neither of the two new movies was able to dethrone Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Batman Saga. The Dark Knight Rises (review here) grossed an estimated $64.1 million for a ten day total of $289.1 million and a worldwide total of $537.3 million.


That’s not quite as strong as The Dark Knight, but still a very strong showing for a movie in what has come to be a rather weak summer.


The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
Early Release
$24.2 million


1st Weekend
$48.7 million
$158.4 million
$160.9 million
Week 1
$70.8 million
$238.6 million
$225 million
Gross to Date
$94.9 million
$238.6 million
$225 million
2nd Weekend
$27.6 million
$75.2 million
$64.1 million
Gross to Date
$122.5 million
$313.8 million
$289.1 million

Actually, the two new movies couldn’t even take second place. Ice Age: Continental Drift (review here) took that honor with $13.3 million, bringing its total domestically to $114.8 million and worldwide to $564.8 million.

That left third and fourth place to newly released films, The Watch (review coming soon), which earned $13 million, and Step Up Revolution (review here), which brought in $11.8 million - $4 million less than Step Up 3D’s opening weekend in 2010. However, The Watch did have a better per-location average than Ice Age 4, while Step Up 4 surprised with a better per-venue average than both of those!

Ted (review here) continues to do well, grossing another $7.4 million, putting it in fifth place and another step closer to the $200 million mark, while The Amazing Spider-Man (review here) continued to disappoint financially with $6.8 million for sixth place. Spider-Man’s one-month total of $242.1 million has already been eclipsed by Batman’s 10-day total; ouch!

Brave (review here) took seventh with $4.2 million and Magic Mike took eighth with $2.6 million, while Savages (review here) and Moonrise Kingdom (review here) rounded out the Top 10 in ninth and tenth place, respectively, each earning over $1 million.

Meanwhile in limited release, Killer Joe took in $38,000 from 3 theaters for an average of $12,666. Ruby Sparks, playing in 13 theaters, grossed $151,000 for an average of $11,615 and a five day total of $192,000 since opening Wednesday. Finally, earning $28,500 in three locations was Searching for Sugar-Man with an average of $9,500 per-venue. All three of these films’ per-location gross far surpassed all other films this weekend, aside from The Dark Knight Rises, proving what a slow weekend it was. Thanks a lot Olympics!

Here’s a snapshot of the Top Ten Weekend Films domestically:

#
Title
Weekend Gross
Theater Average
Total Gross
1
The Dark Knight Rises
$64.1 million
$14,554
$289.1 million
2
Ice Age 4
$13.3 million
$3,437
$114.8 million
3
The Watch
$13 million
$4,103
$13 million
4
Step Up Revolution
$11.8 million
$4,596
$11.8 million
5
Ted
$7.4 million
$2,364
$193.6 million
6
The Amazing Spider-Man
$6.8 million
$2,151
$242.1 million
7
Brave
$4.2 million
$1,646
$217.3 million
8
Magic Mike
$2.6 million
$1,253
$107.6 million
9
Savages
$1.8 million
$1,272
$43.9 million
10
Moonrise Kingdom
$1.4 million
$1,641
$38.6 million

Everybody Dance Now

Review: Step Up Revolution




Channing Tatum began to gather the first members of his current legion of female fans back in 2006 with the dancing romantic-comedy Step Up (and the guilty pleasure film, She’s the Man). That was of course back when the Step Up films at least tried to develop real characters and an original(ish) plot.

Now that the fourth film of the franchise, Step Up Revolution, has been released, the actors and actresses are just as attractive and the dancing is energetic and colorful, but gone is any semblance of novelty to what I can only assume the filmmakers consider to be the more boring aspects of films, character and plot.

In Step Up Revolution, aspiring dancer Emily falls in love with Sean, the leader of “The Mob”, a flash-dance crew whose neighborhood is threatened by Emily's father's hotel development plans. Can their protests cause enough of a stir to save their homes?

I’ll give the film credit for trying to be contemporary with its protest and “Occupy” themes, but if you’ve never heard of a story like this before, you’ve never seen a movie. But perhaps more laughable is the absolutely horrendous dialogue. Every single character speaks in the exact same way. I’m not just talking about delivery, – we’ll get to the acting in a second – but the actual lines written for characters who are supposed to comprise a amalgam of eclectic individuals does not actually make them sound any different from each other. Every line is a bland cliché lacking any depth or personality.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Preview 7/27-29/2012

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry: A documentary that chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government.


Falling Overnight: On the day before his scheduled surgery to remove a brain tumor, Elliot meets Chloe Webb, a young photographer who invites him to her art show. An intimate night threatens to be overwritten when Elliot shares his news the next morning.


Click "Read more" for trailers of Home Run Showdown, Killer Joe, Klown, Sacrifice, Searching for Sugar Man, Step Up Revolution, and The Watch.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Has The Fun Melted Away?

Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift




Maybe it is global warming, but much of the fun of the Ice Age series has melted away between the original Ice Age coming out in 2002 and this summer’s fourth film in the franchise, Ice Age: Continental Drift.

This is not to say that Ice Age 4 is totally unbearable, – it has its moments of immature mirth – but just to say that it goes more for the cheap thrills that characterized Ice Age 2 and Ice Age 3, taking the series yet another step away from the effectively simple creativity of the original tale, rather than being a redemptive franchise reviver.

In this new film, Scrat, in a repeated scene from a previous outing, has broken apart the one massive continent into the several that we have today, breaking apart Diego, Sid, Sid’s Granny, and Manny from Manny’s wife, Ellie, and daughter, Peaches. While Ellie tries to reign in her wild teenage daughter and lead them to a safe haven from the shifting continents, the original Ice Age herd (plus Granny) is forced to fight through storms, pirates, and sirens to get back home.

Ice Age 4 throws a lot at audiences, trying to keep things fresh. There are a number of set changes, from pirate ships to exotic islands to the mythical “Scrat-lantis,” a big song-and-dance number, and a large scale climax battle, each of which are enhanced by some decent 3D. Clearly, just about every scene was designed with that extra dimension in mind. More than anything though, the filmmakers have crammed this new film full of celebrity voices. Seriously, too many to name and link to here, but feel free to check out the cast list for yourself.

Some of what has been thrown at the wall sticks and some does not, but the point is that while Ice Age 4 has a bit of a different feel and look to it than the other films, most of these things are nothing more than gimmicks designed to distract us from the fact that this series has finally fun out of steam. There’s just not anywhere else to go with these characters and having rappers Drake and Nicki Minaj voice side characters does nothing to change that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bittersweet Batman Victory

Weekend Recap: 7/20-22/2012

Following the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises (review here) somberly climbed to the top of the box office this weekend, grossing a strong $160.9 million, making it the best opening weekend ever for a non-3D film (2nd place belongs to The Dark Knight with a $158.4 million opening weekend) and the 3rd-biggest opening weekend overall, trailing only Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)(review here) and Harry Potter 7 Part 2 ($169.2 million).

Despite this success, its take is still roughly $20 million less than expected as many moviegoers stayed home after the shooting (I presume out of either fear or respect, neither of which make a ton of sense to me, but to each their own).

Internationally the film brought in $88 million from 17 markets for a worldwide total of $249 after only 3 days. The Dark Knight Rises will likely hold the #1 spot for a while domestically with little up-coming competition and internationally as it expands into more countries.

Ice Age: Continental Drift (review coming soon!) melted to 2nd place, earning $20.4 million, bringing its domestic total to $88.8 million and its worldwide total to $529.3 million. Impressive, but it is still not as successful as the other Ice Age films. Similar to the Spider-Man comparison last week, here’s a look at how Ice Age 4 compares to its predecessors now that it’s been out for 2 weekends:


Ice Age 4
Early Release Gross


$25 million

1st Weekend Gross
$46.3 million
$68 million
$41.7 million
$46.6 million
Week 1 Gross
$57.2 million
$81.9 million
$67 million
$68.4 million
Gross to Date
$57.2 million
$81.9 million
$92.1 million
$68.4 million
2nd Weekend Gross
$30.1 million
$33.8 million
$27.6 million
$20.4 million
Gross to Date
$87.3 million
$115.8 million
$119.7 million
$88.8 million

In 3rd and 4th place were The Amazing Spiderman (review here) and Ted (review here), each bringing in over $10 million (Spider-Man brought in more, but Ted had a better theater average). With a production budget of $230 million, the Spider-Man remake now has a domestic total of $228.6 million and a worldwide total of $614.6 million, while Ted, made for $50 million, has a domestic total of $180.4 million and a worldwide total of $219.9 million.

Brave (review here) grossed over $6 million for 5th place, while Magic Mike grabbed spot #6 with over $4 million and Savages (review here) earned over $3 million for 7th place. Following up was Madea’s Witness Protection (review here), earning over $2 million for 8th place.

Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom (review here) and To Rome with Love (review here) each brought in over $1 million for 9th and 10th place, respectively. Despite being in 10th place, To Rome with Love actually had the 5th-best per-theater average of the weekend.

In limited release, The Queen of Versailles opened in 3 theaters in New York and Los Angeles to the tune of $51 thousand; an average of $17 thousand per-location, giving it the 2nd-best per-venue average of the weekend.

Here’s a snapshot of the Top 10 Weekend Films domestically:
 
#
Title
Weekend Gross
Theater Average
Total Gross
1
The Dark Knight Rises
$160.9 million
$36,534
$160.9 million
2
Ice Age 4
$20.4 million
$5,249
$88.8 million
3
The Amazing Spider-Man
$10.9 million
$2,904
$228.6 million
4
Ted
$10 million
$3,112
$180.4 million
5
Brave
$6 million
$2,069
$208.8 million
6
Magic Mike
$4.3 million
$1,650
$102 million
7
Savages
$3.4 million
$1,455
$40.1 million
8
Madea’s Witness Protection
$2.3 million
$1,493
$60.3 million
9
Moonrise Kingdom
$1.8 million
$2,011
$36.1 million
10
To Rome With Love
$1.4 million
$2,536
$11.1 million

Friday, July 20, 2012

RISE

Review: The Dark Knight Rises


At one point in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent says that “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, that dawn in coming.” Dent’s promise seems to have come true in Gotham City, at least for a while. The eight years following the events of The Dark Knight have been largely peaceful times. But that all changes when Bane charges into town in this summer’s electrifying blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises.

You thought things had to get worse before they got better in the last movie? Joker was, again in the words of Two-Face, just a mad dog (a brilliantly acted mad dog I might add); terrifying because he was unpredictable. On the other hand, Bane has a plan; we know what he is going to do. This doesn’t mean his predictability is not scary though. Bane is a threat, because he seems so utterly impossible to stop. The fall this time, for just about every character, is deeper than ever before. Making it that much more triumphant when we witness the climactic rise.

And the ascending second half of the movie is by far the superior part of the film. The first hour or so is crammed full of reintroductions to old characters, introductions to new characters, and the beginning developments of plot points, all intercut with each other. The convoluted exposition muddles the direction of the film – we’re unclear exactly what the narrative is going to be – and the immense breadth of content to absorb can be overwhelming, robbing the first part of the film of the full momentum it could have had.

That being said, the middle slows down enough for us to catch our breath and engage in some truly great character and plot development. And this is director Christopher Nolan (Inception) we’re talking about, so of course each of the characters and plot points we were introduced to really pay off in the end.

Weekend Preview 7/20-22/2012

The Dark Knight Rises: Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.


Grassroots: After losing his job, a journalist reluctantly agrees to help his oddball friend with his bid to earn a seat on the Seattle City Council.


Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai: The story of a mysterious samurai who arrives at the doorstep of his feudal lord, requesting an honorable death by ritual suicide in his courtyard. The lord threatens him with the brutal tale of Motome, a desperate young ronin who made a similar request with ulterior motives, only to meet a grisly end. Undaunted, the samurai begins to tell a story of his own, with an ending no one could see coming.


The Queen of Versailles: A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.


Ruby Sparks: A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.


Shut Up and Play the Hits: On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. Documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.


The Well-Digger's Daughter: In pre-World War II France, a father is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his saintly daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Batman Parodies

Batman Chooses His Voice


Batman Blows His Cover


Batman Vanishing


Batman Meets the Riddler


Batman Interrogation


Batman Meets Two-Face


Batman and Commissioner Gordon



Batman Sings



Batman's Home-Life

Ice Age Doesn’t Melt at the Top


Weekend Recap: 7/13-15/2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift (review coming soon) proved that there’s still energy left in the prehistoric franchise, even if it didn’t record colossal numbers. With $46.6 million, Ice Age 4 opened higher than the first Ice Age ($46.3 million), but lower than Ice Age 2 ($68 million). (Ice Age 3 isn’t a good comparison, since it opened on a Wednesday.)

Internationally the numbers look a bit more impressive as Ice Age 4 has grossed $339 million for a worldwide total of $385 million. Fox expects the film to end up around $800 million.

The Amazing Spider-Man (review here) grossed $34.6 million in second place for a domestic total of $22.5 million, but isn’t doing as well as the previous films. Considering that The Dark Knight Rises will wipe out any competition in the coming weeks, it is unclear how much more business The Amazing Spider-Man will be able to do in the coming weeks to catch up with the other Spider-Man films. Internationally the film as grossed $320.5 million, bringing its worldwide total to $521.4 million.


Spider-Man
Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 3
The Amazing Spider-Man
Early Release Gross

$64.3 million

$75 million
Opening Weekend
$114.8 million
$88.2 million
$151.1 million
$62 million
Week 1 Gross
$151 million
$147 million
$182.1 million
$90.9 million
Gross to Date
$151 million
$211.3 million
$182.1 million
$165.9 million
2nd Weekend Gross
$71.4 million
$45.2 million
$58.2 million
$34.6 million
Gross to Date
$223 million
$256.4 million
$240.2 million
$200.5 million

In third place was comedy hit Ted (review here), taking in $22.4 million, giving it a domestic total of $159.3 million. Brave (review here) held up well in fourth place with $11.2 million and should soon become Pixar’s 10th movie to pass $200 million. Savages (review here) and Magic Mike each grossed over $9 million for fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Madea’s Witness Protection (review here) took in $5.6 million for seventh place, while Katy Perry: Part of Me, Moonrise Kingdom (review here), and Madagascar 3 (review here) each earned over $3 million for eighth, ninth, and tenth place. In less than 1,000 venues, Moonrise Kingdom had the fourth best per-location average of the weekend.

Here’s a snapshot of the Top 10 Weekend Films domestically:

#
Title
Weekend Gross
Theater Average
Total Gross
1
Ice Age 4
$46.6 million
$12,007
$46.6 million
2
The Amazing Spiderman
$34.6 million
$8,012
$200.5 million
3
Ted
$22.4 million
$6,781
$159.3 million
4
Brave
$11.2 million
$3,301
$196.1 million
5
Savages
$9.4 million
$3,567
$32.1 million
6
Magic Mike
$9 million
$2,912
$91.8 million
7
Madea’s Witness Protection
$5.6 million
$2,794
$55.6 million
8
Katy Perry: Part of Me
$3.8 million
$1,390
$18.7 million
9
Moonrise Kingdom
$3.7 million
$4,004
$32.5 million
10
Madagascar 3
$3.67 million
$1,606
$203.9 million