box office

Now That ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is a Hit, Let’s Make More Movies About Women and Sex

There was a delicious energy in the theater at my preview screening of Fifty Shades of Grey, and when the film began and an appropriately absurd grey landscape emerged on our screen, I felt a collective shift around me: people were settling in to enjoy themselves, even if the enjoyment came from hating the thing. The only events that were going to happen in the next two hours on our screen were flirting, sex, some helicopter flights, and other kinds of sex. … Read More

  • 0

Moviegoing Hit a 20-Year Low in 2014. Is the Death of the Movie Theater Inevitable?

Your film editor went to the movies this weekend. True story! It happens far, far less than you’d think; you see, us film writers are lucky enough, in most cases, to attend media screenings, in which we have a theater or even a cozy private screening room all to ourselves, several days or even weeks before a film’s release. And as a result, the often-miserable experience of actually going to a theater, paying money, and watching a movie with a bunch of strangers is somewhat under-reported. Then, when we hear that moviegoing has dropped to a two-decade low, there’s a tendency for entertainment journalists to wonder how this could possibly be. But it’s kind of a no-brainer, if you actually put yourself through the motions of going to the movies like a regular human being. … Read More

  • 0

Could the Low-Budget Comedy Save Hollywood?

Twenty years ago, the highest-grossing movie of the summer wasn’t a budget-busting superhero movie, an explosion-driven sequel, a remake, a reboot, or (God help us) the fourth in a series of toy-based films about cars that turn into robots. The highest-grossing movie of the summer — of the year, in fact — was a mid-budget comedy/drama called Forrest Gump, which ended up winning six Oscars and grossing an astonishing $677 million worldwide, on a $55 million budget. Studios made mid-level movies like Gump back then (and not just in Oscar season); the following year, Universal’s Waterworld would make headlines and prompt giggles of derision when its budget zipped past $100 million. Such a thing was unheard of. Now, it’s impossible to imagine a major studio summer movie costing less than $100 million — unless, of course, it’s a film counter-programmed to make people laugh. … Read More

  • 0

Hollywood Is on Crack: What This Weekend’s Horrible Holiday Box Office Says About Cinema’s Blockbuster Fixation

If you spend too much time reading the weekly movie box office reports, the headlines can all start to blur together: “SUPERHERO MOVIE OPENS BIG,” “SUPERHERO SEQUEL TOPS ORIGINAL,” “TRANSFORMERS MOVIE BREAKS RECORDS IN FIRST WEEK,” “TRANSFORMERS MOVIE BREAKS RECORDS FOR SECOND WEEK DROP-OFF,” etc. etc. But there’s nothing normal about the headlines this Fourth of July weekend. Variety: “SUMMER BOX OFFICE DOWN NEARLY 20% AFTER JULY 4TH FILMS FIZZLE.” Box Office Mojo: “’TRANSFORMERS’ REPEATS ON WEAK INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND.” The Hollywood Reporter: “WHAT’S BEHIND SUMMER’S FREE FALL AT THE BOX OFFICE?” And Gawker, as usual, is not afraid to put too fine a point on it: “NO ONE WENT TO THE MOVIES THIS FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND.” So, uh, what happened? … Read More

  • 4