It was a very big Thanksgiving weekend at the American box office. In its second weekend, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire brought in $109 million, beating the five-day Thanksgiving record set by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Meanwhile, Disney’s debuting Frozen did a bang-up $93 million in the same time frame, itself setting a record for the biggest Thanksgiving opening ever (a mantle it nabbed from Toy Story 2). Neither record comes as a surprise; these were big, widely marketed movies from a tentpole franchise and cinematic brand name, respectively. But they had something in common: both were films with female protagonists, and their massive grosses were driven by female moviegoers. “That’s box-office Girl Power,” notes The Wrap, and if the word choice is cringe inducing, the sentiment is spot-on. … Read More
After a protracted production period, a series of cancellations and restarts, and a lengthy conversation over racism and representation, Disney’s big-budget, big-screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger landed in theaters over the holiday weekend, and the results weren’t pretty. Its five-day domestic gross was a mere $48.9 million (with just under $30 million more coming in from foreign markets), meaning that the Mouse House is going to take a real bath on the picture — its budget was somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million, and that’s before its substantial marketing and distribution costs. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, that means we’re only halfway into summer movie season, but we’ve already seen three very high-profile belly flops. What’s going wrong? … Read More
Sunday’s New York Times included a story that movie fans should find as terrifying as anything since the last 20 minutes of Silence of the Lambs. In it, writer Brooks Barnes introduces us to Vinny Bruzzese, a “chain-smoking former statistics professor” who has “started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers.” In other words, studios write Bruzzese and his company a check, and in exchange, they’re told how to make their movies as bland, homogenous, and predictable as possible. Sounds like the recipe for a golden age of moviemaking! … Read More
Whether you want to blame it on the runaway early summer success of The Avengers or the impact of real life tragedy, suffice it to say that The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t delivered the box office numbers that many in the industry were expecting from the final film in such a popular franchise.… Read More
If you try to follow the business end of the film industry too closely, you can get some awfully mixed messages. (I mean “the business end” in the literal sense, although I’d imagine the sentence reads accurately the other way as well.) Perusing the Internet this morning, I found out that a) domestic box office is still on the decline and b) DVD and Blu-ray rentals are continuing to drop as well, though c) IMAX is booming, and d) ticket prices will probably go up, to make it seem like 3D is less of a rip-off. Oh, and e) The Hunger Games had one of the biggest opening weekends in movie history.
In other words, William Goldman was right: In Hollywood, nobody knows anything.
Of course, this whiplash-inducing confusion (are people going to the movies, or not? And if not, where are they seeing them?) is a natural byproduct of the cinema’s current state of transition, where people are as engaged and passionate as ever about movies, but changing the ways they watch them. And that’s why we’re curious about you, the Flavorwire reader: how do you see movies these days? … Read More
This weekend, the third installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise — a supernatural sensation since Oren Peli’s original film debuted in 2009 — rocked the box office, taking in $54 million for its opening weekend. The film also holds rank as the highest grossing movie for any October opening in history. While Paranormal Activity’s victory can be largely attributed to its successful grassroots marketing campaign and Halloween slot (it replaced popular spooky long-runner Saw), it’s still quite the feat for a part three film. Most threequels fizzle out by the third go-round, leaving their characters to dully ride the coattails of previous successes — but clearly that isn’t always the case. And with news about Sherlock Holmes securing a writer for its third installment, perhaps the action-mystery movie can follow suit. After the break, we took a look at several trilogies that buck the trend of bad things coming in threes — some third features even managing to outdo the films that started their respective series. … Read More
ArtsBeat has tipped us off to the fact that thanks to The Blind Side and The Proposal, which grossed more than $500 million last year — and in spite of the mullet-wig disaster that was All About Steve — Sandra Bullock has been named the top box-office draw of 2009 by movie theater executives. To put this in perspective, the illustrious Meryl Streep made this year’s list at number 7, and the last woman to win top honors was Julia Roberts back in 1999, the year of Runaway Bride and Notting Hill. … Read More