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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Box Office

Klady will be here shortly, but here are a few sneak peeks at the small openers…
1. As previously reported, Dreamgirls was massive on 852 screens on Monday, with $8.7 million, about $100,000 of which came from added midnight shows around he country. It is the #3 Christmas Day opening ever, the #10 Christmas Day gross overall, and the single best day for any musical ever (Moulin Rouge had the previous best day ever with $5.68m on 2279 screens – Chicago

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43 Responses to “Weekend Box Office”

  1. Craptastic says:

    go on over to hollywood-elsewhere… Wells just called the men and women who have died over in Iraq “STIFFS”. Disrespectful, heartless bastard.

  2. David Poland says:

    That is why I don’t go to Hollywood Elsewhere or deal much with Jeffrey anymore.

  3. Chicago48 says:

    Reading message boards across the internet…seems that Dreamgirls has hit a nerve with audiences 1) dressing up to go to the movies – like years ago 2) whooping and clapping during the musical scenes 3) gays are heavily going [and I wonder if that’s because JenHud performed in gay clubs before DG break?] 4) staying the credits and clapping, giving ovations…hm…I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie like that…and wondering what is it about THIS movie that evokes THAT kind of reaction?

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    Maybe people have been famished for a movie — any movie — that would make them want to react that way.

  5. David Poland says:

    Dead on, Joe.
    The movie is flawed. There are certainly many more important films this year… some of which are commercial.
    But Dreamgirls is a joy. And people do feel Effie White. And they also feel Deena Jones, who got caught believing her own press. And they feel Lorrell, who is just happy to be there, but has invested her life.
    And maybe that feeling is mostly from women and gay men. Straight guys have a really nasty Jamie Foxx character and a needy Jamie Foxx character to identify with in traditional ways.
    But should straight men disallow themselves from identifying with female characters? Ironically, Effie is the most physically imposing character in the film, other than Danny Glover, who doesn’t assert his size.
    Is not wanting to get trapped, then getting trapped anyway, then getting slammed to the ground, then getting back up again really something guys can’t connect with?

  6. themutilator says:

    Notes on a Scandal is actually playing on 2 screens (in one theatre) in Toronto. According to boxofficemojo it doesn’t open in NY or LA until Wednesday.

  7. themutilator says:

    Notes on a Scandal is actually playing on 2 screens (in one theatre) in Toronto. According to boxofficemojo it doesn’t open in NY or LA until Wednesday.

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    “But should straight men disallow themselves from identifying with female characters?”
    Well, considering how often people on this blog (and elsewhere) disparage anything that deals with women and emotions and interpersonal relationships as “a chick flick” — maybe they shouldn’t, but they do.

  9. anghus says:

    i have a weird take on Dreamgirls.
    I hate movie musicals, other than South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut.
    The only musical i ever saw that resonated me was Rent, which i had never really heard of and saw on Broadway when it first opened. The movie wasn’t that good, but i liked the songs, so it was enjoyable for me.
    I hated Moulin Rouge. I walked out of it in the theater, then tried it again on HBO after everyone told me i was nuts for not liking it. I made it 20 minutes in before turning it off. Just a terrible, coke binge of a movie. I also didnt care for Chicago.
    But i want to see Dreamgirls succeed because i think we need more ‘experiences’ of going to the films. It’s good for business, showing people there are still reasons to go to the theater and have a good time.
    So i’m glad it’s doing well, but there isn’t a change in hell of me seeing it.

  10. Chicago48 says:

    I have only seen two (modern) movie musicals, Chicago, which I absolutely loved and was surprised by all the talented ‘serious’ actors who were singing & dancing. That’s why it won best picture, because it was a total surprise…and enjoyable and funny.
    And DG, which I don’t think will be nom’d for a best picture and/or if it is won’t win.
    Musicals are hard to sell to today’s aud. that’s why DG is a fresh reminder of how entertaining and fun they can be. They are fun! And all musicals have hokey stories.
    That’s why I don’t understand peeps who are online saying it was a bad movie…I imagine these are 18 y.o.’s who have no appreciation for culture. Because musicals whether Singing in the Rain or DG are fun, that’s all. They’re not drama, they’re not to be taken seriously.

  11. Melquiades says:

    Finally saw Dreamgirls today, and I will be shocked if it isn’t nominated for Best Picture. It’s a thrill from start to finish and has some huge emotional moments thanks to Ms. Hudson, who (I agree with David on this) would win the Oscar in whatever category they put her in.
    And I think she should be LEAD all the way. I hate when young women who lead their films are pushed into supporting.
    This isn’t my favorite film of the year, but it’s top five right now. I can easily see it winning the Oscar.

  12. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The release pattern in NYC for “Dreamgirls” is megaplex/big multiplex/black neighborhood. Few upmarket theaters with some key arthouses frozen out for now.
    Par would have made a bigger impact by keeping “Dreamgirls” limited and aiming it palace/upmarket. That way you force people to see “Dreamgirls” in a palace like the Ziegfeld. That’s how musicals were released back in the day!

  13. Chucky, they would have made a bigger impact? How is $8.7mil in one day not big enough?
    “1) dressing up to go to the movies – like years ago 2) whooping and clapping during the musical scenes 3) gays are heavily going [and I wonder if that’s because JenHud performed in gay clubs before DG break?] 4) staying the credits and clapping, giving ovations…hm…I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie like that…”
    Two words Chicago:
    Moulin. Rouge!
    I’m not sure about the dressing up (that’s sorta hard for MR!), but I saw that movie seven times at the cinema and each time people clapped and applauded throughout, each session had at least a 75% of audience members staying to the end of the credits (the very end). And that movie is clearly big with gay audiences and women.
    The only difference is that people seem to have forgotten and it’s almost as if it’s a cult movie now like Rocky Horror.
    Fact: It’s the second highest grossing Australian movie of all time in Australia, after Crocodile Dundee.
    but back to Dreamgirls

  14. EDouglas says:

    As I’ve said before…there’s Chicago people, and there’s Moulin Rouge people. I”m thinking that Dreamgirls may be one of those rare musicals that appeal to both. I hope it does as well as Chicago when all’s said and done. (And I have to think that the almost overwhelmingly postive response is a good barometer for its Oscar chances, regardless of what the critics think)

  15. bipedalist says:

    Na, I was a Chicago AND a Moulin Rouge person. There are going to be people who like, hate and love Dreamgirls. It has nothing to do with whether or not they like musicals. It will have to do with how much they connect with the characters and the music. IMO.
    And to this:
    “That is why I don’t go to Hollywood Elsewhere or deal much with Jeffrey anymore.”
    Our culture has become way too sensitive about words — unless you’re talking about “vagina” they’re just words. We have become so politically correct that someone calling a dead person a “stiff” is disrespectful to the dead soldiers in Iraq. What the fuck in god’s holy name does it matter what word he chose? The very fact that Wells was even talking about the dead soldiers in Iraq at Christmas should tell you something about his perspective.
    His point was that the death toll in Iraq has now surpassed the death toll from 9/11. And you care that he wrote “stiffs”?

  16. jeffmcm says:

    “Stiff” is certainly more offensive than “vagina”. One is the proper term, for one thing.

  17. bipedalist says:

    Oh please. It depends on who’s saying it. And why.

  18. bipedalist says:

    And btw, gives the following def for stiff:
    a dead body; corpse.
    And that is offensive because….?

  19. jeffmcm says:


  20. bipedalist says:

    Disagree. It is by choice, that interpretation. And the false idea that the writer is somehow unaware or insensitive, in which case he wouldn’t have posted the news in the fricking first place.

  21. David Poland says:

    BiPed… really… you don’t think there will be people who hate musicals who hate Chicago? Everyone goes in a movie virgin with no preconceived notions? Men don’t hate The Holiday almost by nature? Really?

  22. jeffmcm says:

    The common usage of ‘stiff’ is not one of respect. I disagree that it’s a matter of personal interpretation or else language loses all meaning.
    You can be an arrogant jerk like Wells and still pay some attention to world events, the better to nag people with.

  23. Blackcloud says:

    “And btw, gives the following def for stiff”
    Where it is clearly marked as “Slang”, in definition number 21, which you might have noticed if you’d been paying (more) attention.

  24. Doug, I’m a musical person, not a Chicago person or a Moulin Rouge person. I liked both. Moulin more (duh), but Chicago was my pretty great too.

  25. Chicago48 says:

    How do you see a movie 7 times? Can someone explain that?????

  26. Hejla says:

    I find the sweeping “they’re just words” argument rather simplistic and completely ignorant of the meaning and consequences words can have. Now, that doesn’t mean that every word one uses needs to be scrutinized, nor do I personally care that much about what words Wells used(he’s already lost my respect because of the content of some of his writing). But if you consider yourself a writer, a journalist or any type of reporter, than it is completely fair to discuss your word choice because it has implications for what you’re trying to say. And that is something so basic you learn it from the begining of your schooling.

  27. “How do you see a movie 7 times? Can someone explain that?????”
    Er, quite easily. I was pretty much obsessed with that movie. I forced new friends to see it. I saw it with family too. Twice. It was a turning point for me. It, along with Mulholland Drive (which I saw three times at the cinema), was the movie that turned me from a casual movie fan to a film obsessive.
    Those are two of the very rare occasions that I’ve seen a movie twice at the cinema – the others being Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Chicago and Kill Bill Vol 1, which I saw twice each.
    I’m sure it’s no different to people seeing stuff like Star Wars or whathaveyou multiple times.

  28. EDouglas says:

    Wow, two people who liked both Chicago and Moulin Rouge!? Well, this is the internet, so you’re apt to find all sorts of “weirdos” here. () Now if you both liked the movie version of Rent as well AND The Producers AND Phantom of the Opera, I might start getting worried… 🙂

  29. EDouglas says:

    ” the single best day for any musical ever”
    Hey, wait a second..why aren’t you counting Happy Feet in there? I don’t think you can get more “musical” than that… heck, I can’t believe we haven’t heard of the Broadway musical version of that yet… I predict within less than 5 years, it’ll happen.

  30. EDouglas says:

    (Note my ::grin:: tag from above where I called BP and Kamikaze “weirdos” vanished… in case you didn’t figure it out, I was just joshin’ with ya)

  31. Wrecktum says:

    I love the way people discuss musicals like the genre suddenly sprang into existence at the beginning on this decade.
    My favorite musicals are Singin’ in the Rain and Love Me Tonight. Moulin Rouge and Chicago are shite in comparison.

  32. Me says:

    Do Disney animated musicals count, because I’m a big fan of Beauty and the Beast.

  33. Wrecktum says:

    No, they don’t.

  34. My favourites are All That Jazz, Moulin Rouge!, West Side Story, Caberet, Dancer in the Dark, An American in Paris and, for pure shits and giggles, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes plus the Disney musicals (as Me reminded us of)
    Wreck, We’re using the modern films as points of example and reference. There’s no use in comparing Dreamgirls and Singin’ in the Rain when it comes to box office and Oscars.
    Oh, and Doug, I did sorta like The Producers and Rent, but not because they were well made movies, but because they reminded me so much of the (better) stage productions they were based on. Rent is awesome on stage and I love the songs and “La Vie Boheme” is just phenomenal to watch, and The Producers on stage was just hysterical and the movie had really well done musical scenes (Stroman > Columbus) and was sort of wacky to-the-cheap-seats fun. Not particularly good films, but I’d rather sit through them than a lot of other stuff (Oscar movies like Capote, which I saw the same day as The Producers, included).
    The Phantom of the Opera was pretty. That’s all.

  35. Oh, I can’t believe I forgot the defining musical of our times…
    I could sneeze out a better score than what that movie had.

  36. Chicago48 says:

    Kamikaze – you hit on something – High School Musical was a BIG hit on TV and CD, and that could be the catalyst for DG…just in time?

  37. Me says:

    Why not the Disney animated musicals? During the 80s and 90s, they were about the only films keeping the musical tradition alive. And in many ways, they make a lot more sense with breaking from reality to start singing than live-action movies doing so.

  38. wongjongat says:

    i think that Moulin Rouge and Chicago both revived the musical genre, but in two very different ways. Moulin Rouge spoke to the MTV generation who may not have been as familiar with the traditional musical genre (which, in my opinion, ended in the early 70s with Cabaret and was slightly revived by Grease and All That Jazz in the late 70s. A Chorus Line failed to do so in the mid-80s, as did Evita in the late 90s). That generation may have been familiar with The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz due to television, but as far as big screen experiences go, they (or I should say, “we”, since I am part of that generation), were much more accustomed to the Disney’s animated musicals, films that incorporated music like Flashdance, and music videos. Moulin Rouge emulated the style of the latter two.
    Chicago, meanwhile, hearkened back to the traditional style of musical with its jazzy songs, stagey characters, structure, and choreography. It coincided with the revitalization of the musical form on Broadway. It was also directed by someone who understood musicals as a theatrical form and thus had the ability to translate this to screen (i thought Strohman did this well, too, with The Producers, though i know many would disagree. But if you look back at a lot of the classic MGM technicolor musicals, expecially Guys and Dolls, there are plenty of similiarities.) Chicago brought back the kind of energy that many of the classic musicals had, with songs you could remember and hum or sing along to (which is key–a movie musical without memorable songs is dead in the water).
    Dreamgirls is actually a combination of the two types of musicals represented by Chicago and MR, in a sense. Although the stage version preceded MTV, the songs and score are in the Soul/R&B style which gives it a modern, contemporary sensibility–the songs would not be out of place on the Top 40 charts and, indeed, Hudson/Holliday’s big number did reach the Top 40 and garner Holliday a grammy nod for new artist, which was unheard of post-1975. With Beyonce on board not only as an actress (and a singing one, at that) but also as a songwriter, it gives the movie even more mainstream cred. Not to mention the fact, of course, that DG is derived from the story of the Supremes in the first place.
    On the other hand, DG is also inspired by the tradition which Chicago comes from in that its structure and choreography are very much in line with the classic American musical form in its later years. One can even consider DG’s relationship to musicals such as Cabin in the Sky and Showboat, which leads to another point about why DG may resonates with audiences–the African American factor. Time and time again, this particular audience has proven to be reliable as far as its loyalty to films about the black experience is concerned.
    And yes, there is also the gay male factor (of which I am one), which speaks to the gay man’s dedication to diva culture. Gay men are extremely loyal to their divas, as many an aged disco, cabaret, broadway, and soul singer can attest to. Both Hudson and Beyonce have significant gay followings, and the fact that they are in a cinematic version of a renowned stage musical will have the gay community frothing at the mouth.
    Finally, one must also consider the artistic merits of the film. Bill Condon isn’t a hack like Joel Schumacher, Chris Columbus, or (shudder) Adam Shankman. Condon has a track record for making quality art films as well as having a critical hand in the making of Chicago, so that will at least provide DG with some credibility among reviewers who will be able to see and appreciate some of the more nuanced touches that someone like Condon can bring and, thus, offer good reviews.
    All this to say that it comes as no surprise that DG would prove to be such a success. I’m going to stop now, because it appears that i’ve written a thesis on DG and the American musical traditions, which risks labelling me as the gayest and nerdiest of gay nerds on the planet.

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  40. Chicago48 says:

    To Wongjongat: That was beautiful! Now, here’s a question for all – why is this movie rolling out so slowly? I’m reading on message boards that there are po’d people because it’s not in their city/town, or they have to drive too far to see it.
    Is that a good move?

  41. Sharpel007 says:

    The rollout for this is head scrathcing but not as much as the one for Children Of Men, 16 screens with all thos commercials you paid for, is just plain silly.

  42. “Why not the Disney animated musicals? During the 80s and 90s, they were about the only films keeping the musical tradition alive.”
    What, you weren’t a fan of Xanadu?
    “Bill Condon isn’t a hack like Joel Schumacher, Chris Columbus, or (shudder) Adam Shankman.”
    Chris Columbus I never understood, but Schumacher (it must be said) at least had written for musicals before (the very Dreamgirls-esque Sparkle) and Adam Shankman is, apparently, a quite well-regarded Broadway choreographer as much as his film work repulses me, it’s an interesting choice and could prove to be fruitful.
    …of course it could turn out disastrous.
    btw, look at the DVD cover to Sparkle
    Did they copy the Dreamgirls design for the DVD release, or did Dreamgirls copy Sparkle?

  43. Chicago48 says:

    The Chicago Film Festival winners: Interesting that Dreamgirls got nada, not even Jennifer Hudson won. I’m going to see it again, maybe it is overhyped.

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4