New And News: I See Estranged Brothers, Vampires, And Armored Cars! How Is Everything Fine?!

on Monday, November 30, 2009   14 comments


Every Monday, it's time for New And News, where we accomplish two things in one column.  First, I look ahead and preview each of the new releases for the upcoming week.  Then, I look back and collect some of the news articles that I found most interesting over the past week.  This time around, four new films are hitting screens, and if nothing else, we've certainly got a diverse crop of movies on our hands.  Let's get started:

New:

Everybody's Fine (Miramax) - 2,200 theaters - Reviews
This is a dramedy starring Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale, and Drew Barrymore about a widower trying to strengthen his relationships with his children.  This is trying to tap into the same niche as The Family Stone did in 2005 on its way to $60 million. With a super-marketable story and wholesome values, I'd expect this find a large family (and elderly) audience, and the schmaltzy feature to do pretty well over the holiday season.

Brothers (Lionsgate) - 2,000 theaters - Reviews

Here's the movie I'm definitely most excited about this weekend.  In Brothers, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal portray just that: brothers.  Maguire, an officer in the army, is married to Natalie Portman, but when he is at battle in Afghanistan, his Black Hawk is shot down in the mountains.  Believing him to be dead, Gyllenhall steps in to care for his brother's wife and family.  (Sidenote: Perhaps he's simply following The Bible's recommendation in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 that a man should marry his brother's if her husband dies!  Seriously, I kind of think his actions sound admirable.) Over time, a romance begins to form between Portman and Gyllenhall, but everything gets turned upside down when it turns out that Maguire is not dead.  Alive and very angry, how will Maguire's sudden return change the messy situation? 

Armored (Sony) - 1,900 theaters - Reviews 

This is a movie about a group of armored car guards who decide to steal one of the armored cars that's transporting $10 million.  It's like a more serious, less elaborate version of Oceans Eleven.  Things get complicated when an upstanding cop gets in the way and tries to thwart their plans.  In terms of tone, Armored looks a lot like Law Abiding Citizen, and in the Era of Easy Entertainment, it might do well. The trailer looks fairly compelling, though fairly generic, and it also shows Milo Ventimiglia getting shot.  As a bitter former Heroes fan, that's the most compelling reason for me to go see it.

Transylmania (Full Circle) - ??? theaters - Reviews

This movie's release is so confusing.  Originally titled Dorm Daze 3, this was intended to be a direct-to-DVD sequel, but it appears that with the success of vampire-themed entertainment like Twilight and True Blood, producers saw an opportunity to make another one of these horrific spoof movies that Hollywood seems to love.  Therefore, they quickly slapped this piece of junk together, and it's being rushed out into theaters in the wake of New Moon.  Please, if you are reading this, don't see this.  I saw about five minutes of Epic Movie on TV tonight, and I was legitimately angry at how bad it was, and this looks equally shameless. Transylmania must be a slapped together wide release, because even though it's reportedly getting a wide release, there has been almost zero promotion for it, and there are no early theater counts.  This one is really doing its best to put the "suck" in the vampire genre.

News:

First Photos Of The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Released!
Set for release on December 10, 2010, Disney's Fox's The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader has just released new photos of the production on their Facebook page.  I gotta say, they look pretty elaborate and cool, and I'm already more than a little excited for this to come out!  For Narnia and for Aslan!

Tobey Maguire Talks About Brothers, Spider-Man 4
The Boston Globe published this very solid writeup about Tobey Maguire's preparation for Brothers and his thoughts about the Spider-Man franchise.  I love straightforward interviews with actors like this one.  No frills, no gimmicks, no tabloid fodder. Just good questions and good answers- it really gives you much better insight into an actor's mind.

Wes Craven Will Direct Scream 4
This feels like the time that MTV brought Chris Rock back to host the VMAs, hoping they could capture the same magic (and ratings) he brought the first time.  Is that feat possible with the Scream franchise, which is pretty tired at this point?  Even with the original director, I'm not so hopeful.  Unless they get a new mask, it's hard to get super scared of something I see every kid wearing on Halloween... BlackBook reported on the story.

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Weekend Fix: Waning New Moon And Robust Blind Side Crush The Newcomers Over Thankgsiving

on Sunday, November 29, 2009   9 comments


Another amazing weekend at the box office!  The Thanksgiving frame lived up to its traditionally very high standard, and we saw some very solid grosses over the frame.  Led by The Twilight Saga: New Moon and the unstoppable The Blind Side, the Top 12 earned $175.2 million this weekend, up a big 13% over last year.  The newcomers, Old Dogs, Ninja Assassin, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Road, didn't fare nearly as well as the returning features.  I mean, even A Christmas Carol was showing signs of life!  All around, it was a very fun frame to analyze!  Watch the video above to get my take on the weekend, then check the chart below to see the full box office results.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For November 27-29, 2009
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend
Chg
AVG.
Total
1
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Summit
4024
$42,870,031
-70%
$10,654
$230,947,696
2
The Blind Side
Warner Bros
3140
$40,111,364
18%
$12,774
$100,238,841
3
2012
Sony
3444
$17,651,729
-33%
$5,125
$138,451,427
4
Old Dogs
Disney
3425
$16,894,511
New
$4,933
$24,228,546
5
A Christmas Carol
Disney
3013
$15,758,273
28%
$5,230
$104,927,816
6
Ninja Assassin
Warner Bros
2503
$13,316,158
New
$5,320
$21,193,565
7
Planet 51
Sony
3035
$10,218,641
-17%
$3,367
$28,487,409
8
Precious
Lionsgate
663
$7,081,032
-35%
$10,680
$32,433,482
9
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fox
2033
$6,965,267
3323%
$3,426
$10,024,072
10
The Road
Weinstein
111
$1,502,231
New
$13,534
$1,977,453
11
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Overture
1119
$1,501,837
-35%$1,342
$30,521,930
12
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Apparation
373
$1,301,197
117%
$3,488
$5,728,399
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: The Blind Side And Everything Else Has A Lot To Be Thankful For This Weekend!

on Saturday, November 28, 2009   6 comments


Thanksgiving Weekend's Friday box office numbers are finally in, and we are seeing some major  activity at the movies.  New Moon held about as expected, but The Blind Side is blowing up, surpassing even my very high expectations! In fact, pretty much everything is doing better than expected this weekend!  There is a lot of money being made, and it makes you wish that that were the case in the rest of the economy... Anyway, let's go over this movie by movie:

1. New Moon - $17.9 million
This is a bit below what I was predicting that this would do on Friday.  The vampire blockbuster is looking at a $48 million weekend and $238 million by the end of the frame.

2. The Blind Side - $16.2 million
Here's the real story of the weekend.  The Blind Side is up a huge 46% from last Friday, and that's based on strong word-of-mouth alone!   Most analysts were conservative, saying The Blind Side might earn $26-27 million this weekend.  I went way beyond that and predicted a $38 million weekend, but it's even exceeding my predictions!  The beloved Sandra Bullock football film is giving New Moon a run for its money this weekend, but it should finish in second this frame with a ridiculously strong $40 million.  That would give it $100 million after just ten days.  Wow.

3. 2012 - $7 million
Also held up pretty well this weekend.  A small weekend decline to $19 million seems in order. While this hasn't been magnificently huge in the US, worldwide, this has already earned $476 million.

4. Old Dogs - $6.85 million
This has a good shot at surpassing 2012 for the #3 spot.  Family films tend to blow up on Saturday and Sunday, so I'm expecting $22 million over the weekend.

5. A Christmas Carol - $6.6 million
About time this started to show some signs of life!  Now that people are actually in the mood for a Christmas movie, this should recover a bit after its lackluster start.  A $18 million weekend will help A Christmas Carol quite a bit, as will the small December declines, but in my opinion, it's just too little too late for the absurdly expensive feature.

6. Ninja Assassin - $5.7 million
This is definitely a better result than I was thinking.  Ninja Assassin already earned $7.9 million on Wednesday and Thursday, so a likely $15 million weekend will bring its 5-day total to about $23 million.

7. Planet 51 - $4.1 million
Actually improved upon its last Friday, but I'm sorry: I just didn't care last weekend, and I don't care this weekend.

8. Fantastic Mr. Fox - $3 million
The Wes Anderson animated film isn't going to break any records, and I'm not about to call it a huge hit, but it might actually earn double digits this weekend.  $8.5 million seems to be in the cards for the inventive picture.

9. Precious - $2.8 million
Maybe this is finally showing some signs of losing a bit of steam.  Once award nominations start up (and the Precious-themed Oprah episode airs) this should pick back up.  Still, $7.5 million ain't bad at all for a film in 663 theaters.

10. The Men Who Stare At Goats - $630,000
Told'ya this would be a front-loaded liberal fanboy movie!  It started off okay with $12.7 million, but it's barely going to pass $30 million total this weekend.

11. The Road - $560,000
People who love this film will gloat about its "amazing" box office, saying that it's only in 111 theaters and earned $560,000 this weekend. But if people were hoping this would break out and be a big hit, then I'm sorry to say that they're in for some bad news.  The Road is going to need a lot more than a $1.6 million weekend and a $16,000 per theater average to merit much expansion and promotion, and that looks to be where the grim film is headed.

12. The Princess And The Frog - $277,000
This is an astounding figure.  Out of 2 theaters, The Princess And The Frog captured all that money.  While this does bode very well for the film's future, we have to keep in mind that people were paying about $30 for each ticket...

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Weekend Preview: New Moon And The Blind Side Will (Ninja) Assassinate Old Dogs And Mr. Fox

on Friday, November 27, 2009   5 comments


Thanksgiving Weekend is typically one of the best weekends each year at the box office.  Parents are off of work, kids are out of school, and families are already together, and studios usually have a large selection of high profile releases to please audiences.  There's usually a lot of money flowing this weekend, and films often see very small drops, and occasionally even increase.  Thanksgiving Weekend really kicks off the holiday season at the box office, and while the movies will cool off a bit until mid-December, when people start having time off again, expect many of the titles you see over this frame to stick around for a while and continue earning money.  This year, between new releases (Old Dogs, Ninja Assassin, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Road), and some strong holdovers (New Moon and The Blind Side), there's going to be a tremendous amount of depth at the box office, though it's the returning films that are the real story this weekend.  You can see my weekend box office predictions (including a potentially crazy prediction for the number two film)  in the video above and then check below for the full prediction chart:

Box Office Predictions for November 27-29, 2009
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
4,042
$55 million
2
The Blind Side
3,140
$38 million
3
Old Dogs
3,425
$22 million
4
2012
3,444
$21 million
5
A Christmas Carol
3,013
$12 million
6
Ninja Assassin
2,503
$12 million
7
Precious
663
$9.3 million
8
Planet 51
3,035
$8.5 million
9
Fantastic Mr. Fox
2,033
$7 million
10
The Road
111
$2.2 million

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8 Legitimate Box Office Draws

on Wednesday, November 25, 2009   12 comments


When I was editing my Weekend Fix video, cutting out clips and fast forwarding through parts of it to keep the time down, I cringed a little bit when I had to cut out the bit about Sandra Bullock being one of the few remaining box office draws.  Indeed, gone are the days when nothing more than an actor's name could draw audiences to the box office in droves.  Very few movie stars actually exhibit consistent drawing power.  Unlike the Old Hollywood Era of yesteryear, these days, big box office grosses have more to do with spectacle, story, or popular franchises than they have to do with the actors' popularity. Still, that doesn't mean that there aren't a few names that can truly mobilize the masses and get people into the theaters.  Therefore, since I didn't get to say my piece in my video, and it is List Wednesday, I present to you (in no particular order) these eight legitimate box office draws:

Sandra Bullock
The fantastic $34.1 million debut of The Blind Side inspired this list, and Sandra Bullock has proven time and time again that she can open movies.  Beautiful, hilarious, and yet somehow down-to-earth and relatable, Bullock comes across as funny and appealing to guys, and appealing as an everyday woman to her fellow females.  While her main audience is certainly females, and most of her big box office hits are romantic comedies (Miss Congeniality - $106 million, Two Weeks Notice - $93 million, The Proposal - $163 million), she's proven a few times that she's more versatile than that.  Look no further than Speed, with its $121 million gross, or The Blind Side's current box office performance- she's a true-blue box office star.

Adam Sandler
I wrote about Sandler's box office viability extensively a while ago.  You can read that post here.  All you have to know, is that this man is one of the smartest decision makers in Hollywood.  He knows his target audience, and he constantly releases films that they want to see.  Voila!  You've got a formula for great box office results.

Jim Carrey
The go-to man for comedy.  Jim Carrey, more than any other funnyman in the last 20 years, has established himself as the most popular comedian at the box office.  Audiences love his brand of absurd facial expressions and heartfelt sincerity.  He's been trying to branch out lately, but when he sticks to high profile, big budget releases like Fun With Dick And Jane ($110 million), Bruce Almighty ($242 million), How The Grinch Stole Christmas ($260 million), Liar Liar ($181 million), and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls ($108 million) features, he really hits his stride and rakes in the dollars.  I personally love it when Carrey mixes his comedy persona with some more serious roles, like in The Truman Show, which resulted in great reviews great box office ($125 million).

Jennifer Aniston
People love to tear down Jennifer Aniston, saying she hasn't been successful as a movie star and that she should have stuck to TV.  I beg to differ.  When Aniston sticks to the breezy romantic comedy genre, she's remarkably popular.  She's found big success with films like Along Came Polly ($88 million), The Break Up ($118 million), Marley And Me ($143 million), He's Just Not That Into You ($93 million).  By my calculations, that makes someone a movie star.

Will Smith
Like Sandler above, way back in the day, I dedicated a whole post to Will Smith's box office success.  I don't need to tell you how famous he is... Just read the old post and add 2008's $227 million gross for Hancock to the mix.

Brad Pitt
The godfather of all celebrities has really established himself as a major box office force in the 2000s.  He doesn't have as much of a defined genre as some of the other people on this list, but he typically plays cocky, comedic characters, though he has done his fair share of dramas as well.  In the last decade, he's found success with Oceans Eleven ($183 million), Troy ($123 million), Oceans Twelve ($125 million), Mr. And Mrs. Smith ($186 million), Oceans Thirteen ($117 million), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button ($127 million), and Inglorious Basterds ($120 million).

Katherine Heigl
Heigl is certainly the youngest and least proven actor on this list, but in the last three years, since che burst onto the scene in TV's Grey's Anatomy, she has chosen her film roles wisely, and I have my eye on her as the young box office star with the most potential drawing power.  She already has figured out that her bread and butter is in the romantic comedy genre.  In 2007, she starred in Knocked Up, which grossed $146 million.  In 2008, she took 27 Dresses to $76 million.  And in 2009, she helped The Ugly Truth to $88 million.  If she continues to pick strong roles within her genre, she'll keep seeing strong returns.

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New Feature: Blu-Ray Sales Chart

on Wednesday, November 25, 2009   6 comments

UPDATE: For the latest Blu-Ray Sales Chart click DVD/Blu-Ray Sales at the top of the page.

Fellow Box Office Junkies, I am very, very excited about what I have just accomplished!  For the past few weeks, I've been earnestly trying to find some sort of reliable figures for weekly Blu-Ray sales, so I could construct a Blu-Ray Sales Chart.  I've never seen one on the internet, for Nielsen VideoScan doesn't release sales figures for Blu-Ray releases, but I think that with the rise in Blu-Ray consumption, a convenient chart would be extremely useful.  Thus, I've been combing through websites, googling my fingers off, and looking through many forums, hoping to find accurate sales figures.  As it turns out, I couldn't.  Therefore, I decided, "Hey, if no one else is going to bother making a chart, then I should do it! Someone has to be interested, right?" Thus, I've been doing my research, and I think I have devised a reliable method for calculating some Blu-Ray sales estimates.  Using a combination of The-Numbers DVD Sales Chart, Home Media Magazine's Blu-Ray share charts (here), and my very own calculator, I have constructed what I believe to be the first ever Blu-Ray Sales Chart!

Now, keep in mind that the chart that follows is dealing with estimates only!  In no way can I be sure of what the exact sales figures are, but I did a good amount of math to make sure that these approximate values offered a good idea of Blu-Ray sales, and I think these are pretty sensible numbers.  Also, you should know that Nielsen VideoScan does not include Wal-Mart in its figures, so those numbers are not factored into the chart.  Finally, because this is the first time I've ever done this, I don't have total units listed for any movies except the ones that debuted this week.  That's just going to be the case for a while.  Thus, without further ado, I present to you TBOJ's Blu-Ray Sales Chart.  It's pretty interesting, and I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know in the comments if this is something you want to see on a regular basis.

Top 20 Blu-Ray Sales Estimates for Week Ending November 15, 2009
RankTitleUnits this WeekTotal Units
1 Up 1,513,714 1,513,714
2 Monsters Inc. 278,221 278,221
3 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 166,206 -
4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 121,854 -
5 Snow White And The Seven Dwarves 103,387 -
6 The Ugly Truth 67,209 67,209
7 Heat 53,888 53,888
8 The Taking of Pelham 123 53,736 -
9 Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs 51,466 -
10 Monsters Vs. Aliens 28,004 -
11 Cars 27,852 -
12 The Terminator 22,100 -
13 Tinker Bell And The Lost Treasure 22,100 -
14 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 21,343 -
15 The Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut 20,284 20,284
16 The Dark Knight 20,132 -
17 Godzilla 18,165 -
18 It's A Wonderful Life 17,408 -
19 Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season One 17,256 -
20 The Boondock Saints 14,986 -

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DVD Sales: Up Soars On The Chart, And That's The Not-So-Ugly Truth!

on Tuesday, November 24, 2009   0 comments


It's Tuesday, which means the DVD Sales Chart is posted, and holiday sales are definitely picking up on the home market.  This week, Disney-Pixar's Up had a very high profile debut, but that's not all that was going on in the DVD world. I think we all know the drill for these posts at this point, so keep on reading for my DVD Sales Notes and then the full chart. 

DVD Sales Notes

-Up burst onto the scene in a big way this week, selling 5.3 million copies and earning a humongous $88.1 million in its first week.  It also topped the Blu-Ray chart.  Without a doubt, this is going to be the family DVD of the Christmas season, and as retail sales pick up substantially in the next few weeks, we could be looking at sales of 10+ million copies by years end.  It just goes to show that quality still matters in Hollywood.  Disney-Pixar are a quality brand, and people know it.  That's why they're so economically successful and consistent.

-In second place is the Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth.  It started with 1.1 million units and grossed $18 million in its first week, which is a fair result for the $88.9 million box office hit.  The Proposal (which has earned $63.4 million thus far) opened a bit stronger, though.  Its first week sales represented 23% of its total box office gross, whereas The Ugly Truth's first week sales were 20% of its total gross.  Still, unless you actually went and bought this movie, there's nothing too shameful about this debut.

-Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and Twilight are both working their hardest to break the 10 million barrier before year's end.  I can't wait to see what kind of sales boost Twilight gets after New Moon's gigantic debut this past weekend.  Could it break back into the Top 5?

-Just as we saw the Halloween effect on horror movies a few weeks ago, we are now seeing a major Christmas effect on Christmas movies.  The Polar Express, Peanuts Holiday Collection, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Mickey's Magical Christmas all re-entered the chart this week, and they'll continue to thrive over the next month.

-The TV-on-DVD performer of the week is once again Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season One, but that's just because there wasn't another big TV release this week.  Star Wars sold 53,495 copies for an additional $1.6 million in sales.


Top 30 Selling DVDs for the Week Ending November 15, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
Up
5,296,538
-.-%
5,296,538
$88,134,392
$88,134,392
1
2
The Ugly Truth
1,129,751
-.-%
1,129,751
$18,053,421
$18,053,421
1
3
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
816,726
-67.8%
3,355,303
$13,190,125
$54,188,143
2
4
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
518,531
-34.5%
8,082,694
$11,143,231
$181,861,284
4
5
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
518,001
-46.9%
4,000,052
$9,204,878
$68,373,108
3
6
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
343,745
-46.0%
2,496,540
$5,496,483
$39,919,675
3
7
The Taking of Pelham 123
282,835
-69.2%
1,202,562
$4,352,831
$18,507,429
2
8
The Proposal
217,688
-21.4%
3,813,587
$3,757,295
$63,353,318
5
9
Twilight
192,052
30.0%
9,389,559
$3,758,458
$169,435,287
34
10
Polar Express, The
174,786
98.4%
-
$1,571,326
-
203
11
Monsters vs. Aliens
156,248
1.4%
4,044,614
$2,107,786
$69,719,794
7
12
Land of the Lost
141,418
33.9%
946,248
$1,624,893
$14,774,590
5
13
Aliens in the Attic
105,931
-65.5%
412,845
$1,860,148
$6,841,363
2
14
Peanuts Holiday Collection
97,986
-.-%
-
$2,252,698
-
479
15
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
96,927
4.6%
4,048,648
$1,484,922
$68,270,234
9
16
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
94,808
-.-%
-
$1,188,892
-
626
17
Tale of Despereaux, The
93,219
-.-%
1,417,364
$1,397,353
$23,851,299
32
18
Hannah Montana The Movie
87,393
-10.8%
2,938,238
$1,310,021
$50,021,750
13
19
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
85,274
-.-%
-
$1,065,072
-
417
20
Mickey's Magical Christmas
79,978
1.3%
-
$1,278,848
-
419
21
Orphan
73,092
-47.1%
498,019
$1,314,925
$8,959,362
3
22
I Love You, Beth Cooper
69,914
-43.8%
194,304
$1,337,455
$3,450,841
2
23
Edward Scissorhands
59,357
-38.0%
-
$617,378
-
480
24
My One and Only
57,203
-.-%
57,203
$971,879
$971,879
1
25
Dark Knight, The
54,846
32.2%
13,014,845
$547,912
$224,570,060
49
26
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season One
53,495
-65.8%
210,125
$1,604,315
$6,301,649
2
27
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
43,961
-46.7%
306,234
$831,303
$5,790,885
3
28
Watchmen
34,322
-.-%
2,299,561
$975,431
$48,691,650
17
29
My Life in Ruins
27,956
-.-%
286,066
$558,840
$5,718,459
6
30
Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season
26,503
-.-%
167,597
$773,888
$5,308,797
5

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New And News: If Your Family Depresses You At Thanksgiving, These Movies Won't Cheer You Up

on Monday, November 23, 2009   2 comments


It's Monday, and that means it's time for The New And The News, the weekly column where I go over each of the new wide releases coming out this weekend, as well as post the news stories that really caught my eye.  This week, I'd like to not only summarize each of the new releases, but also propose a reason why you should see each of these films over your Thanksgiving Weekend.  Let's get going.

The New

The Road (Weinstein) - Releasing In 31 Markets - Reviews
This is a grim movie based on Cormac McCarthy's similarly grim novel of the same name.  The Road's story follows a father and son as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  Doesn't it sound uplifting?
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: This is a good choice for those families that are wealthy, happy, well-educated, and like to feel pseudo-intellectual by seeing artistic films like this one.  I imagine they would live in New England and probably eat tofurkey instead of an actual bird... For everyone else, this is just depressing.

Old Dogs (Disney) - 3,300 theaters - Reviews

Wonderful, John Travolta and Robin Williams starring in a Disney comedy about men having to take care of children.  It's like RV or Daddy Day Care, only it's even less original!  Expect many, many obvious jokes...
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: Because you're a normal, American family, and even though you know this doesn't look good, you think it looks good enough, and you trust that Disney will keep it appropriate. You're happy to find a diversion for the kids, and you're willing to settle for mediocrity.

Ninja Assassin (Warner Brothers) - 2,500 theaters - Reviews

A hyper-stylized martial arts movie with a very complicated plot that involves government conspiracies, CG-embellished fight scenes, and ninja stars galore.  It actually looks kind of cool.
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: You're aunt keeps judgmentally whispering about you, your grandfather won't stop asking what you're doing with your life, and no one is even touching the sweet potatoes you made.  You've got some built up aggression that you need to let out.

The News

Avatar's Running Time Set At 2.5 Hours
The Hollywood Reporter let us know that James Cameron had officially cut Avatar at 156 minutes, the last 6 minutes of which are credits.  This is very good news to me, as I don't like sitting around for too long, and I know that this will help its benefit its box office tremendously.  When audiences hear that a film is 3 hours long, they stay away.  Ask King Kong about it if you don't believe me.  Also, a shorter running time means that Avatar can play more times in each theater every night, which will help its box office.

The Top 10 Most Overpaid Actors
Forbes released this interesting list of the actors who demand ridiculously high salaries, yet don't provide solid box office results.  It's a fun read.  Will Ferrell takes the number one spot.

Spider-Man 4 And Its Slew Of Potential Female Stars
There have been tons of rumors floating around the internet for a few weeks now about Spider-Man 4's casting decisions.  Lately, the focus has been on actresses that are being contacted to play Black Cat.  On the short list are Rachel McAdams, Julia Stiles, and Anne Hathaway, and for the life of me, I can't figure out what kind of character the producers might want Black Cat to be if those are the top three choices.  Basically, there's been a lot written about this, but I think CinemaSpy explained things pretty clearly.

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Weekend Fix: With New Moon's $142.8M Debut, Vampires Are One Step Closer To World Domination

on Sunday, November 22, 2009   11 comments


Exciting stuff!  This has to be one of the most eventful weekends at the box office that I can remember!  New Moon turned in the third best opening weekend in box office history, The Blind Side opened fantastically, 2012 held pretty well, Precious continued to thrive on its huge buzz, and even though Planet 51 was just kinda there, overall, the box office was in amazing shape!  Propelled mostly by New Moon's shockingly huge numbers, the Top 12 earned $248.6 million, up 59% from the same weekend last year!  I discuss all the big box office news in the super-sped-up video above (YouTube rejected my original 12 minute cut because it was too long), so go ahead and watch it, and then check below for the full box office chart!

Top 12 Box Office Hits For November 20-22, 2009
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend
Chg
AVG.
Total
1
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Summit
4024
$140,700,000
New
$34,965
$140,700,000
2
The Blind Side
Warner Bros
3110
$34,510,000
New
$11,096
$34,510,000
3
2012
Sony
3408
$26,500,000
-59%
$7,776
$108,221,000
4
Planet 51
Sony
3035
$12,600,000
New
$4,152
$12,600,000
5
A Christmas Carol
Disney
3578
$12,230,000
-45%
$3,418
$79,791,000
6
Precious
Lionsgate
629
$11,007,500
87%
$17,500
$21,403,249
7
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Overture
2056
$2,773,000
-53%
$1,349
$27,624,058
8
Couples Retreat
Warner Bros
1712
$1,951,680
-53%
$1,140
$105,000,635
9
The Fourth Kind
Warner Bros
1648
$1,730,400
-62%
$1,050
$23,343,205
10
Law Abiding Citizen
Overture
1327
$1,615,000
-57%
$1,217
$70,027,140
11
This Is It
Sony
1640
$1,575,000
-69%
$960
$70,216,000
12
Pirate Radio
Focus
883
$1,448,919
-50%
$1,641
$5,173,556
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: New Moon Smashes Records With $72.7 Million! The Blind Side Grabs $10.9 Million!

on Friday, November 20, 2009   44 comments


UPDATE (Saturday AM):  Early Friday estimates have been released, and New Moon has shattered the record for highest single day box office!   It earned $72.7 million on Friday, enough to dethrone The Dark Knight's $67 million Friday in July 2008 as the best box office day in history.  It's difficult for me to articulate to you all how incredible this result is.  Just think- Twilight earned about $70 million in three days last year, while New Moon earned $72.7 million in just one!  Crazy. Where does the vampire drama go from here?  Well, let's figure that out, and while we're at it, let's look at the rest of the box office as well.

New Moon is going to fall quickly.  With an opening day that huge, it is simply inevitable.  Last year,  Twilight fell a big 41% on Saturday and 42% on Sunday, and the drops this time around might be even steeper.  Still, even if it falls 50% for the next few days, that will give New Moon a $126 million weekend.  I personally think it will be a little bit higher, due to obsessed fans' repeat viewings.  Expect a $130 million weekend, and if New Moon does better, it could take the third place spot for best opening weekend from Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which earned $135.6 million in July 2006.



But believe it or not, there were actually other movies at the box office this weekend, and a few actually did very well!  In second place is Warner Brothers' feel-good football movie, The Blind Side, which (to my delight) performed well beyond expectations, starting with $10.9 million on Friday.  Offering a strong choice for males not wanting to watch the emo vampire parade, this is counter-programming at its best. Bravo, Warner Brothers!  I didn't expect this to open this big, but I did expect it to stick around throughout the holidays.  Now, though, its box office run will enjoy a great opening and strong legs!  Expect an opening weekend of $33 million for The Blind Side, and like I said in my video on Friday, this will break $100 million.

As far as the rest of the box office goes, 2012 fell 68% from last Friday, earning $8.1 million.  Probably benefiting from strong male attendance as well, a $28 million weekend is in store.  Precious, meanwhile, added another $3.5 million to its amazing cume, and it should find $11 million over the rest of the weekend.  Planet 51 found $3 million, while b>A Christmas Carol found $3.5 million yesterday. This should result in grosses of $11 million and $15 million, respectively.

Early Friday Estimates for November 20, 2009
1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $72.7 million
2. The Blind Side - $10.9 million
3. 2012 - $8.1 million
4. Precious - $3.5 million
5. A Christmas Carol - $3.5 million
6. Planet 51 - $3 million
7. The Men Who Stare At Goats - $860,000
8. Couples Retreat - $650,000
9. The Fourth Kind - $620,000
10. Paranormal Activity - $500,000


ORIGINAL POST (Friday AM): Based on some Summit's official announcement, it looks like The Twilight Saga: New Moon earned an overwhelmingly huge $26.67 million from it's 12:01 showings across the country. For some perspective, Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince earned $22.8 million from midnight showings and  The Dark Knight earned $18.4 million.  This smashes both of those figures easily.  Let's look at what that might mean for the rest of the weekend.

Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince earned $58.1 million on its first days on the box office, and as I mentioned above, $22.8 million of that came from midnight showings.  That means 39.2% of the gross came from midnight showings.  If we assume a similar percentage for New Moon, it's looking at a $68 million Friday.  However, Harry Potter came out on a Wednesday, so this figure might not be the best comparision.  Let's look to The Dark Knight, instead...

The Dark Knight earned $67.2 million on its opening Friday, with $18.4 million coming from midnight showings.  That means 27.4% of the Friday gross came from midnight box office.  Applying these numbers to New Moon, it appears that the teen vampire drama might see a shockingly gigantic $97.4 million this Friday, but that's just ludicrous.

In all reality, it will probably finish somewhere in between this range, and it's looking very likely that New Moon will earn more on its opening Friday than Twilight earned in its entire first weekend.  Right now, I think $75 million is a safe estimate for Friday, and major front-loadedness is guaranteed for the picture.  The Dark Knight had a 2.35 weekend multiplier, and New Moon's will be even steeper.  Still, we may be looking at a $150 million weekend!  We'll have to stay tuned to find out.  Regardless, all I know is that New Moon is taking over the world. You may as well just pull your collar down, lead your head back, and submit to the vampires...

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Weekend Preview: Despite Vampires, New Moon's Debut Won't Suck

on Friday, November 20, 2009   1 comments


We're quickly approaching the ever-lucrative Thanksgiving weekend, and yet, it looks like this weekend might prove to be even bigger than the next!  Thanks to the debut of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, legions of vampire-obsessed women are going to flood theaters over the next few days, desperately hoping to see their beloved Bella, Edward, and Jacob.  Forget the poor reviews; this movie has a built-in audience like none other.  Also opening this weekend is the sports drama, The Blind Side, which stars Sandra Bullock, Kathy Bates, and Tim McGraw, and Planet 51, a computer animated kids movie about aliens. In the above video, I'll go over my box office predictions for these new openers, and below, you can check out my full box office predictions, including my thoughts on holdovers like 2012, A Christmas Carol, and Precious, which is expanding even further this weekend.  Overall, there's a lot of depth at the box office right now, and we're looking at a possible $200 million weekend from the Top 10!  Exciting stuff for a box office junkie like me!

2012
The apocalyptic thriller started off very well with $65.6 million last weekend, but with an even bigger blockbuster bursting onto the scene, a 60% drop seems likely.  I'd say $26 million seems about right.

A Christmas Carol
After dropping just 25% last weekend, another small drop should be in store for Disney's 3D Robert Zemeckis film as we approach Christmas... you know, the holiday that this is actually about.  Perhaps it will fall harder, as New Moon is going to take away a large chunk of everyone's office, but I'm going with a modest 30% drop to $16.1 million

Precious
Riding the wave of early awards buzz, Precious earned an amazing $6 million out of just 174 theaters last weekend, coming in third place.  Therefore, Lionsgate is speeding up Precious' release, expanding it into 629 theaters this week.  An $11.2 million weekend might result.

Box Office Predictions for November 20-22, 2009
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
4,024
$113 million
2
2012
3,408
$26 million
3
A Christmas Carol
3,578
$16.1 million
4
The Blind Side
3,110
$16 million
5
Planet 51
3,035
$12 million
6
Precious
629
$11.2 million
7
The Men Who Stare At Goats
2,056
$2.8 million
8
Couples Retreat
1,712
$2.7 million
9
This Is It
1,640
$2.3 million
10
Law Abiding Citizen
1,327
$2.2 million

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New Moon's Box Office Potential: Let's Look At The Numbers

on Thursday, November 19, 2009   7 comments


If you know anything about the film world, seriously anything, then you that The Twilight Saga: New Moon is debuting in just a few short hours, and it's going to be absolutely huge.  I haven't bought into this trend of writing about every single development that's remotely Twilight related, just to get some traffic, and I don't plan on starting.  Basically, you're either on this vampire train, or you're not, so I'm not going to sit here and summarize the whole story.  Both the fans and the haters don't need to hear it.  I'm sure some of you already have your tickets for New Moon, and I'm sure some of you would be happy if you never saw Jacob, Edward, or Bella again.  Despite the polarized opinions, though, one thing I know we can all agree on is that here at The Box Office Junkie, the numbers are what do the talking.  Therefore, before I make my official box office prediction for New Moon, let's just look at all the numbers that are relevant to its release...

New Moon Figures

4,000 - Estimated Number of Theaters New Moon Will Debut On

2,150 Pre-Sold Out Screenings via Fandango (at Thursday Morning)

87% - Percentage Of These Ticket Buyers Who Are Female

34% - Percentage of Positive Reviews for New Moon (so far)

Twilight Figures

$191,465,415 Twilight's Domestic Box Office Total

$192,227,954 Twilight's Foreign Box Office Total

$383,693,368 Twilight's Wordwide Box Office Total

$69,637,740 - Twilight's Domestic Opening Weekend

$20,368 - Twilight's Opening Weekend Per Theater Average

3,469 - Theaters Twilight Debuted On

$7 million - Box Office From Twilight's Midnight Showings

9,312,042 - Twilight DVDs Sold In The U.S.

$167,739,089 - Twilight DVD Sales Revenue

49% - Percentage of Positive Reviews for Twilight

Based on all of these numbers, how much do you think New Moon will earn this weekend.  I'm looking at about $100 million for the frame, which is just insane.  What do you think?  Let me know your early predictions in the comments.

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DAKOTA FANNING IS SO EFFING SEXXXY

on Wednesday, November 18, 2009   15 comments


Got your attention?  Good.

I'm not being serious with that headline, but hopefully, you find it fairly disturbing.  After all, Dakota Fanning, who stars in New Moon, is just 15 years old.  Obviously, no one in the media world would want to write anything suggestive about an underage female starlet- that would just be sick. But with New Moon coming out this Friday, I've noticed a disturbing trend and egregious double-standard surrounding Taylor Lautner, the 17 year old actor who plays Jacob in the Twilight films.  Apparently, objectifying underage males is okay...


A few years ago, someone set up a website to countdown how long it would be until the Olsen twins were finally legal.  It featured tons of photographs, statements about how hot they were, and speculation as to whether or not they would take nude photographs once their 18th birthday rolled around.  People were disgusted.  A similar website appeared when Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter films, was 17 years old, and the media vigorously attacked its creator and visitors.  These small websites were torn apart by the popular media, which labeled them as screwed-up and perverted.  However, I think it's about time that someone gave the popular media a similar rebuke.


Taylor Lautner is 17 years old!  Do you hear that?  Not 18!  Not a legal adult! He was just 16 when Twilight debuted, and for the past year, he has been consistently objectified by the media, and no one has stepped in to say that this is wrong!  Seriously, for months, there have been reports about Taylor's abs, Taylor's biceps, and his shirtless scenes in New Moon. A simple search on GoogleNews reveal results (like this, this, this, or this) that call Taylor "beefy," "hunky," and "sexy," and this has been going on all year!  Honestly, if any reporter wrote about Selena Gomez's boobs, or Demi Lovato's ass, they would be demolished by critics immediately.  So why is it okay to talk about Taylor Lautner as a sexual object?

Because he is a male.  Entertainment media is dominated by females, and there is a glaring double standard in the way that men and women are allowed to talk about the opposite sex.  Apparently, where men's sexual thoughts about young women are considered perverted, women's lusty thoughts about young men are more than welcome.  Indeed, women (and gay men) can objectify men and not be criticized- it's just snarky when they do it.  This is not alright, and I hope it bothers someone else other than me.  If morality is going to be imposed upon heterosexual male writers, then it should be equally put upon everyone else as well.

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DVD Sales: G.I. Joe Shoots To The Top Of The Chart

on Tuesday, November 17, 2009   2 comments


Finally!  The paper from Hell is done, and I have a life again!  Until Monday, when another paper is due...ugh,  But don't let me sit here and whine my whole day away- it's time to get back to what I do best- being a numbers-obsessed blogger!  This week, for about the fifth week running now, we've had a new DVD earn about $40 million, and these figures should stay strong through holiday season.  This week, G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra topped the DVD Sales Chart, which you can see in full, along with my DVD Sales Notes, below.

DVD Sales Notes

-G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, known mostly as a movie that blew stuff up every five seconds, blew up on the DVD Sales Chart this week, selling 2.5 million copies for $41 million in sales.  This is a really great result for an action movie that made $150 million in theaters, and $300 million worldwide.  With strong DVD sales like this, Paramount may just be convincing me that greenlighting a sequel for this wasn't a terrible idea.

-What does this say about me?  The Taking Of Pelham 123, which starred John Travolta and Denzel Washington, grossed $65 million in theaters, $14.2 million in its first week on DVD, and I could not remember what it was for the life of me.  Meanwhile, Aliens in the Attic, which starred nobody but Ashley Tisdale, grossed $25 million in theaters, $5 million in its first week on DVD, and I knew exactly what it was...

-Disney is still working its magic Tinker Bell And The Lost Treasure, which earned another $10.2 million this week, for $34.4 million overall.

-With New Moon coming on this Friday (What? You haven't heard?), Twilight is back on the charts, trying its hardest to break the 10 million unit barrier by Christmas.  This week, it got 149,284 copies closer to that goal, earning $2.9 million in the process.

-Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season One is the TV-on-DVD performer of the week.  Cartoon Network's big hit sold 156,630 units for $4.7 million in its first week, and I'm wondering how old the people are who are buying this DVD.  Do you think its mainly kids or adults?  I'm genuinely wondering.

Check out the full chart below:

DVD Sales for the Week Ending November 8, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
2,538,577
2,538,577
$40,998,019
$40,998,019
1
2
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
974,814
3,482,051
$17,322,445
$59,168,230
2
3
The Taking of Pelham 123
919,727
919,727
$14,154,599
$14,154,599
1
4
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
791,782
7,564,163
$17,015,395
$170,718,052
3
5
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
636,167
2,152,795
$10,172,310
$34,423,192
2
6
Aliens in the Attic
306,914
306,914
$4,981,214
$4,981,214
1
7
The Proposal
276,959
3,595,899
$4,780,312
$59,596,023
4
8
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season One
156,630
156,630
$4,697,334
$4,697,334
1
9
Monsters vs. Aliens
154,092
3,888,366
$2,551,764
$67,612,008
6
10
Twilight
149,284
9,312,042
$2,921,488
$167,739,089
33
11
Orphan
138,099
424,927
$2,484,401
$7,644,437
2
12
I Love You, Beth Cooper
124,390
124,390
$2,113,386
$2,113,386
1
13
Family Guy - Volume 7
117,028
706,926
$2,397,904
$16,901,163
21
14
The Simpsons - The Complete Twelfth Season
105,859
420,282
$1,720,505
$11,903,326
12
15
Land of the Lost
105,605
804,830
$1,748,819
$13,149,697
4
16
24 - Season Seven
101,035
694,804
$2,373,312
$21,284,505
25
17
Hannah Montana The Movie
97,989
2,850,845
$1,468,855
$48,711,729
12
18
Edward Scissorhands
95,704
-
$984,976
-
479
19
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season
93,674
385,723
$2,762,446
$11,279,403
8
20
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
92,658
3,951,721
$1,419,521
$66,785,312
8
21
Drag Me to Hell
88,850
632,612
$1,585,973
$11,132,721
4
22
Polar Express, The
88,089
-
$791,920
-
202
23
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
82,504
262,273
$1,560,151
$4,959,582
2
24
Ice Age: The Meltdown
82,458
8,009,712
$1,165,132
$131,237,769
155
25
Mickey's Magical Christmas
78,950
-
$1,307,412
-
418
26
Dr. Seuss - Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites
41,359
-
$268,420
-
318
27
Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead
40,110
201,325
$715,964
$3,534,361
3
28
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
31,478
1,019,583
$458,320
$17,844,124
7
29
The Last House on the Left
28,686
872,883
$430,003
$16,701,703
12
30
Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season
22,339
141,094
$706,583
$4,534,909
4
Figures from The-Numbers

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