Posts Tagged ‘Black Swan’

Wilmington DVD Picks of the Week: Black Swan, Raging Bull, The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection, Farley Granger

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011


Black Swan (Also Blu-ray and Digital) (Three and a Half Stars)
U.S.: Darren Aronofsky, 2010 (Fox)

Darren Aronofsky specializes in cinema tales of the brilliantly sick, sickly brilliant. He spins, with white-hot intensity, barmy movie stories of a crazed math genius going nuts on the stock market (in Pi), of a family of lower depths junkies and pill-poppers flipping out together (Hubert Selby Jr‘s Requiem for a Dream), and of a battered, beaten-down over-the-hill old wrestler putting himself through hell for one last fight in a world falling apart around him (The Wrestler).

In his latest movie, the justly hailed but occasionally (understandably) ridiculed dance melodrama Black Swan, this unbraked chronicler of mad lives charts the psychological disintegration of a young, ambitious New York ballerina named Nina Sayers (played by Oscar-winner Natalie Portman with ferocious dedication), who’s been given the dream lead role of the swan princess of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at Lincoln Center and promptly — what else in a Darren Aronofsky film? — goes over the edge into some kind of madness: self-mutilation, paranoid fantasies and sexual hysteria.

As we watch, Nina whirls and leaps and goes delusional — and the camera seems to whirl and leap and go delusional along with her, executing wild leaps and dizzying spins, diving and pouncing and peeking over her shoulder, Polanski-like, wherever she goes. The ballet company’s seductive bully of a master choreographer, Thomas Leroy (played with a sneer by French star Vincent Cassell), casts Nina as the lead in Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, replacing his former prima ballerina, Beth McIntyre (Winona Ryder, creating a self-destructive witch) — he’s simultaneously anointing Nina, and hurling her into hell.

Leroy tells Nina she‘s ideal casting for half the part (the role of the pure white swan) but not the other half (the wicked black swan). And Aronofsky then bombards us with Nina’s fears and desires, in scenes of dreamily voluptuous terror. The ballet studio and stage become arenas of paranoia. So does her home, an art-cluttered Manhattan apartment she shares with her painter mother Erica (Barbara Hershey).

Stricken with panic, Nina tears and rips at her own flesh — and then the cuts are mysteriously healed. She‘s flung into predatory sexual escapades or fantasies, involving Leroy, and also her main rival, Lilly (Mila Kunis), whom Thomas provokingly says is the perfect Black Swan.

As the fantasies (?) rage, Nina becomes ill, is berated by Thomas, attacked by Beth, played for a fool (maybe) by her rival Lilly, bossed by her devoted yet domineering mother. Amidst this accelerating chaos, the beauty and classicism and first night of “Swan Lake” (modernized by Thomas) looms.

These nightmares in Black Swan, concocted by Aronofsky and his co-writers Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz (original story) and John McLaughlin, are genuinely scary. We all know dancers suffer, actors suffer, writers suffer, artists suffer. (Hell, everybody suffers a bit, except maybe, at times, the upper income tax bracket guys. But artists maybe suffer more, because it’s part of their metier.) Yet Portman’s Nina — who sleeps (and, in one memorable scene, masturbates) in a doll-strewn and teddy bear-packed bedroom — goes through such intense anguish that, though possibly self-inflicted, it seems punishment enough for orgies of badness and sin, and not just with Mila Kunis.

How much of this is really happening? We know some it is real, some of it a dream, some of it is fears made flesh. But we can never be too sure which is which. That’s what makes the movie interesting.

Black Swan is not really a horror movie, but it’s more emotionally horrific than many that are. The movie hooks you, rakes the flesh of your imagination. The production design is dreamily swank. The camerawork is mobile and sometimes even frenzied. (Matthew Libatique is the cinematographer.) Cassell, Kunis and Ryder are fine, often riveting — and so, I would argue is Hershey. I was never less than entertained, and I was often more than edgy.

Ballet films sometimes seem to bring out the mad poet in some filmmakers: Ben Hecht’s eerie Specter of the Rose, for example, or Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s phantasmagorical operetta-ballet film of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. The most famous (and best) of them all was Powell and Pressburger’s great, colorful, rhapsodically loony The Red Shoes, a touchstoine film for young dancers-to-be, in which Moira Shearer’s Vicky suffered too, though at the hand of the tyrannical Diaghilev-like impresario Lermontov (Anton Walbrook).

Like Red Shoes, Black Swan is a movie that seems to adore art and creativity. It also seems terrified of both, scared silly of the worlds they open up. Just like the magical red ballet shoes that carry Vicky up and over the balustrade and down to the train tracks below, Black Swan’s vision of dance and art is a dangerous one, crazily over the top. But Natalie Portman (who was doubled in some dance scenes) is often wildly impressive. Portman plays with fierce, almost trance-like fervor, letting the nightmares pull her (and us) under.

Anyway, in the end, it’s not art or artistry that drives you crazy, but the way the world ignores and treats some artists. As for the artists themselves, even the mad, selfish ones … They can also be angels, even when their hearts hide some darkness, like Nina‘s. As Black Swan rightly suggests, there’s something else to fear: the demons of ambition and jealousy — and madness — that may dwell within us, always. Waiting. Ready to pounce. To whirl. To dance.


Raging Bull: 30th Anniversary Edition (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars)
U. S.: Martin Scorsese, 1980 (MGM/20th Century Fox)

This has been out a while. But I’ve got to review it.

1950s movie lovers had, for one of their touchstones, Elia Kazan‘s On The Waterfront–a great classic film brilliantly written by Budd Schulberg, phenomenally acted by Marlon Brando, as`the slightly punchy fictional ex-boxer Terry Malloy trapped in a brutal labor struggle, memorably supported by fellow actors Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden and Rod Steiger.

And 1980s film-lovers had a movie of their own, too. They had Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, powerfully written by Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin, unforgettably acted byRobert De Niro as real-life boxer and middle weight champ Jake La Motta trapped in a brutal climb to the championship, terrifically supported by fellow actors Cathy Moriarity, Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent.

These movies are linked, vein to vein, blood to blood, heart to heart. Both were written in the vernacular of the streets: in Raging Bull’s case, such profane and dirty-mouth vernacular, so many “fucks” and “motherfuckers” and “shits,” delivered so off-handedly and almost automatically, that you probably couldn’t have played the show in a regular ‘50s movie theatre without getting arrested. Both movies were shot in black and white — incredible blacks and remarkable whites — by cinematographers Boris Kaufman (“Waterfront”) and Michael Chapman (“Bull”). Both movies had lyrical or booming symphonic/operatic scores, by Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story) for Kazan, and by Pietro Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana) for Scorsese.


Finally, the two movies all but fused into one in the last scene of Raging Bull, the scene where De Niro as the fat, washed up La Motta stares at himself in a dressing room mirror and recites Brando’s famous “Waterfront” speech: “You don’t understand! I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody…instead of a bum which is what I am.” In that scene, De Niro’s La Motta is trying (with some difficulty) to remember his lines, and the legendary speech comes off in an almost expressionless, stumbling monotone: this speech that Brando — as he faced his crooked brother Charlie in the back seat of a Jersey taxicab — filled with so much passion, so much pain and regret, so much humanity

In Raging Bull, we follow Jake La Motta’s life the way La Motta himself told it in his book of the same title: his rise in the city and his battle to become champ, his epochal matches with Sugar Ray Robinson (Johnny Barnes), his ascension (brief, brief) to the middleweight throne, beating Edith Piaf’s lover Marcel Cerdan (Louis Raftis) for the title, and then that last fight with Sugar Ray, where Jake didn’t go down, but lost the title.


We see also his troubled, demon-ridden, violent home life, his almost childish adoration and furious jealousy over his blonde wife Vickie, with her glossy but earthy movie star looks (played by a stunning Cathy Moriarity), and his explosive camaraderie and brainsick fights with his brother Joey (an amazing Joe Pesci). We also see the way everything begins to fall apart for Jake, when he goes crazy with jealousy and puts Joey on the floor and screams “Did you fuck my wife?”


Terry Malloy was never a contender, but at the end of his story, he won. Jake la Motta was the champion of the world, but at the end of his story, we see him struggling to become a facsimile of Terry the loser at his darkest moment of despair. (“You was my brother, Charley: You should’ve looked after me just a little bit…”)


In the ’50s, most young actors wanted to be a facsimile of Terry too: to be Brando, or to beat Brando, especially in that taxicab scene. In the ’80s, before the decade went all sour and fat and greedy, a lot of them wanted to be De Niro. .(I coulda been somebody…)

And when the decade had passed and a few more years had passed as well, lots of movie people, both critics and filmmakers, decided that Raging Bull — though it had been beaten out for the 1980 Best Picture Oscar by Robert Redford’s good-hearted, well-acted, liberal family drama Ordinary People (while De Niro won Best Actor) — was really the best movie anyone had made during the ’80s, even though it was black and white, and arty, and profane, and about brutal people in a brutal world.

They were right. Raging Bull is the best of the ’80s, and of a few more decades as well. Citizen Kane is the company that Raging Bull keeps. And Casablanca and The Grapes of Wrath and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Godfather Trilogy and Schindler’s List. And, of course, On the Waterfront.

All black and white, except the Godfathers. All movies about the real world, or a world that seems real. All movies that can pummel you in the guts, stun you and tear your heart out.

Why is Raging Bull such a masterpiece among masterpieces? Why is Scorsese a nonpareil director, and De Niro an unmatched actor? (We hear you, Al Pacino.) Why are Terry and Jake two movie characters who live and grow and resonate in our minds as few movie characters ever can or ever will?

It’s not because of the violence and the brutality and the language, though they‘re all a part of the story and they have to be there. They’re done in Raging Bull not just to shock us or give us ugly jolts or show us how streetwise these filmmakers can be, but to reveal to us with lacerating clarity what this world and its people are really like. To show us what they go through: Jake and Vicky and Joey and Sugar Ray and all of the others, even the ones we dislike. “I was blind, but now I see,” is the movie’s last sentence, and it’s written white on black.

That’s what the film gives us most movingly. Not phony uplift. Not schmaltzy sentiment. Not tough guy posturing. Not gutter ranting. But Jake La Motta as Bobby sees him and as Marty sees him: La Motta the champ, a man who was blind, like we all are to some degree, but who now…can see. The man who chases his estranged brother Joey when he sees him in the street after years, and catches him in his arms, and hugs and kisses him with clumsy tenderness (“Charley, Charley…You was my brother…“), and who knows he was wrong, and who asks to see him again, have a drink, talk about things, be a paisano. Be his brother. Forgive him. Christ, forgive him!

Raging Bull. Best of the 1980s. A great movie. A terrible decade. Fuck that decade. You can watch Marty’s and Bobby’s picture again though, and you can see it all so clearly, why it’s great — even though there are people, filmmakers, critics, who dislike this movie still (the language maybe?) or maybe are afraid of it (the violence maybe?) or even disgusted by it (The sex, maybe? These low-life, lower-class guys, maybe?) and who think it’s overrated, that Scorsese is overrated, and that even De Niro is overrated. When I think of that…

You don’t understand, I coulda had class.

You know what? To hell with them.
Extras: Three commentaries by Scorsese, Schrader and others; Documentary Raging Bull: Fight Night; Featurettes; Cathy Moriarity with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; Vintage newsreel footage of Jake La Motta in the ring, defending his title.


The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection (Blu-ray) (Five discs) (Three and a Half Stars)
U. S.: Various directors, 1939-46 (MPI)

None of the many screen acting teams who played master detective Sherlock Holmes and his roommate/chronicler Dr. John Watson ever nailed the parts quite the way Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce did — Rathbone, the hawk-faced, eagle-eyed, lean, brilliant and lovably arrogant Holmes; Bruce the chubby, dithering stout-fella sidekick Watson.

One might complain that Bruce was sometimes a little too chubby and dithering. (Did this bumbling, bewildered chap ever really earn a medical decree?) But Bruce’s Watson, though little like the character that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle actually wrote, was the perfect foil for Rathbone’s Holmes. And there will probably never be another Holmes to match Basil‘s, or a team to match them both. Not the admirable Jeremy Brett with David Burke or Edward Hardwicke, not Ronald Howard and H. Marion Crawford. And no, not Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in Guy Ritchie’s recent Sherlock Holmes movie, though it’s an interesting try, and Downey a sometimes ingenious Holmes.

The only competition for Rathbone and Bruce, I think, is a movie team that never was, except in What’s New, Pussycat? That’s Billy Wilder’s provocative first choices for his underrated 1970 The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Peter O’Toole as Holmes and Peter Sellers as Watson. (Wilder, of course, feuded with Sellers after Kiss Me Stupid and Sellers’ heart attack and exit, and Jeremy Brett’s buddy Robert Stephens wound up playing the part for Billy, with Colin Blakely as his Watson.)

But I‘d like to see Steve Coogan, Robin Williams or someone from Monty Python doing a schizophrenic Holmes some day , a mad master detective who, after Watson’s seeming murder by Moriarity, takes on both personalities; Watson comes back of course, and Holmes is caught between reality and schizophrenia. Works for me.

Rathbone and Bruce, though: Nobody beats them, as a pure team.

It all started at Twentieth Century Fox in 1939 (that supposed movie year of years), where Rathbone and Bruce appeared together in The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sidney Lanfield, 1939) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Alfred Werker, 1939). They were both model adaptations. (See below.) But Fox never followed up on plans for a Charlie Chan-style series, especially after both films were blasted in England and by the Doyle estate, and the nonpareil movie Baker Street duo wasn’t reunited until four years later, starting in 1942, and running through 1946, for a lower-budget series at Universal.

The Universal films were almost all directed by Roy William Neill, a silent movie veteran who gives them a strong touch of noir — and, though some critics disagree, I think the series was good all the way to the end. They were all superior B Movies, well-written, well-cast and directed, but with one notable flaw.

The first two Rathbone-Bruces had been period movies, set properly in gaslit, fog-shrouded Victorian London. The later movies, probably in order to let Holmes bring down the curtain with stirring anti-Fascist speeches and tributes to the WW2 Grand Alliance, were all set contemporaneously, in the 40s. That makes them seem anachronistic today, and its really a shame the studios didn’t just continue doing Doyle stories with the perfect pair, in period. (See below.)

Still and all, Rathbone and Bruce remain transcendent, whatever the era they’re plopped into. Rathbone‘s Holmes really does seem smarter than anyone else in the room, including anybody else (say, Professor Moriarity), who might possibly drop by. And Bruce’s priceless fumbling, silly-ass bragging and doggy devotion to Holmes, though hardly According to Doyle, sets Rathbone up, and off, beautifully.

Two from Fox. Twelve from Universal. Fourteen in all. Ah, as Sherlock H. might say, the game’s afoot! In a way, all you really need for a good Sherlock Holmes movie and a good time — elementary, my dear Watson — are Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

The twelve Universal films are all the painstaking UCLA restorations. (They should have taken more pains over the DVD subtitles though; at one point Samuel Johnson’s very own Watson, James Boswell, is renamed “James Bosvo.”) All of the films star Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. John Watson.

Includes: The Hound of the Baskervilles (U.S.: Sidney Lanfield, 1939) Three and a half Stars. This very good-looking adaptation of the most popular of all the Holmes novels, puts us eerily on the foggy moors where a monster (“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!“) seems to be dogging the Baskerville household (including heir Richard Greene, bride-to-be Wendy Barrie, sinister servant John Carradine and the inevitable Lionel Atwill). Not all that faithful, but it’s a fine introduction and showcase for the series’ Holmes and Watson — and, incidentally for Mary Gordon as their endearing landlady Mrs. Hudson.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (U.S.; Alfred Werker, 1939) Three and a Half Stars. Adapted not from Doyle, but from William Gillette‘s hugely popular play, with Holmes and Watson battling that archest of arch-criminals Professor Moriarity (George Zucco), while trying to save both Ida Lupino and the crown jewel collection. (I’d choose Ida.) In one delicious garden party moment, Holmes, in music hall disguise, sings and dances an Archie Rice-style version of “By the Seaside.”

Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror (U.S.; John Rawlins, 1942) Three Stars. Holmes battles Nazi spies, traitors and the Hitler-loving Voice, this movie’s version of Lord Haw Haw. First of the RKO series, not based on Doyle, but with a top cast: Reginald Denny, Evelyn Ankers, Henry Daniell, Montague Love and Thomas Gomez.

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (U.S.; Roy William Neill, 1942) Two and a Half Stars. Holmes baffles Inspector Lestrade (Dennis Hoey) while outwitting Moriarity (Atwill this time) and fighting Nazis. Can Holmes beat Hitler? Elementary, my dear Winston. With Kaaren (sic) Verne and Holmes Herbert.

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (U.S.; Neill, 1943) Two and a Half Stars. One of the sillier, more improbable (but still enjoyable) of the modern Holmeses, finds the intrepid sleuth Sherlock and his bumbling sidekick Watson, tracking spies and microfilm. We sometimes endure a lot for the pleasure of their company. With Henry Daniell, Marjorie Lord and Zucco as Moriarity.

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (U.S.; Neill, 1943) Three and a Half Stars. One of the Neill series‘ very best. Scary too. Based on the prime Conan Doyle story The Musgrave Ritual, a clever cipher murder mystery, it’s set in a country manor. So — if you ignore the modern references — you can imagine you’re back in gaslit Victorian times with Holmes and Watson. The cast includes Rathbone, Bruce, Halliwell Hobbes, Hoey (as Lestrade) and two later ‘50s TV mainstays: Hillary Brooke (the blonde on The Abbott and Costello Show) and Milburn Stone (Doc on Gunsmoke).

Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (U.S.; Neill, 1944) Three stars. One of the series‘ best villains, Oscar-winner and future black list victim Gale Sondergaard as the smiling, murderous Spider Woman, battling wits and webs with Holmes. A good one, with Hoey as Lestrade.

The Scarlet Claw (U.S.; Neill, 1944) Three and a Half Stars. Often called the best of the Rathbone-Bruce Universal shows, and it probably is, though again it‘s original, rather than Doyle-derived. Holmes and Watson track a seeming werewolf-like monster and a string of bloody murders in foggy Canada. With Miles Mander and Ian Wolfe.

The Pearl of Death (U.S.: Neill, 1944) Three Stars. Holmes and Watson hunt for the Borgia Pearl, which is hidden in one of six busts. Based on Doyle‘s “The Six Napoleons.” With Ankers, Mander, Hoey and Rondo Hatton as “The Creeper.”

The House of Fear (U.S.: Neill, 1945) Three and a Half Stars. A houseful of eccentrics, united in a kind of tontine (whoever survives all the others gets all their insurance) are being picked off one by one, under the very noses of Holmes and Watson. A tense, ingenious variation on “The Five Orange Pips.” With Hoey, Herbert and Paul Cavanagh.

The Woman in Green (U.S.: Neill, 1945) Three Stars. Holmes hunts a serial killer who chops off fingers. Grislier than usual, but Watson is there to relieve the tension. With Daniell, Brooke and Cavanagh.

Pursuit to Algiers (U.S.; Neill, 1945) Two and a Half Stars. Holmes and Watson aboard a sea liner, guarding a royal heir. Far-fetched but fun.

Terror by Night (U.S.; Neill, 1946) Three Stars. Holmes and Watson take the train in the series’ only example of that delicious sub-genre, the railroad thriller. With Hoey and Alan Mowbray.

Dressed to Kill (U.S.; Neill, 1946) Three Stars. Holmes reveals his flirtatious side as he pursues master femme fatale criminal Patricia Morrison, in a plot involving stolen music boxes. Holmes, flirt? This one has several references to “that woman” Irene Adler of the classic Doyle tale, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” some supplied by the perhaps slightly jealous Watson.
The series ends here, partly because World War II had ended. But I think Universal missed a sure thing by not continuing the Adventures, this time transferring Holmes and Watson to their proper Victorian era. There was another problem though: Neill, an underrated director (and also the producer), died in 1946 after following up Terror By Night and Dressed to Kill with Black Angel, a nice little noir from a Cornell Woolrich novel, starring Dan Duryea and Peter Lorre. That’s a big loss. But why couldn’t someone like RKO’s literate Val Lewton have taken over the Holmes series as producer?

Anyway, I loved watching all these movies, some once again, some for the first time, some good, some not so good, but all blessed by Rathbone’s inimitable sardonic, brainy cool, Bruce’s world-class bumbling, and that perfect movie detective team’s unbeatable chemistry. Why did audiences love them, together, so much? It’s easy to see. Holmes was the cerebral superman, Watson the fubsy everyman. We all want to be Holmes, but mostly we’re Watsons, at best. (And that’s not bad.)
Anyway, as Dr. Watson says, in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in Nigel Bruce’s grandest moment in the entire series, “Elementary, my dear Holmes.”

Extras: Six commentaries with actress Patricia Morrison and others; Interview with UCLA Film and Television Archive Preservation Officer Robert Gitt; Short sound film of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Photo galleries; Theatrical trailers.

Farley Granger Noir on DVD

1. Rope (U.S.: Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) Four Stars. Warners (Also in the Warners box set “Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection.”)

2. They Live By Night (U.S. Nicholas Ray, 1949) Four Stars. Warners (In the Warners Box Set “Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume 4”)

3. Side Street (U.S. Anthony Mann, 1949) Three Stars. Warners (In the Warners Box Set “Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume 4”)

4. Strangers on a Train (U.S.: Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) Four Stars. Warners (Also in the Warners box set “Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection.”)

Portman’s Black Swan Dance Double Wants More, More

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Portman’s Black Swan Dance Double Wants More, More

Rodarte Black Swan Exhibit Opens At MOCA In LA

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Rodarte Black Swan Exhibit Opens At MOCA In LA

Producer Credit On Black Swan Goes To Court Over $$$

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Producer Credit On Black Swan Goes To Court Over $$$

The Weekend Report — March 13

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Los Angeles Doesn’t Believe in Tears … Mars Does

The fears that a depressed marketplace would take its toll on Battle: Los Angeles proved unfounded as the sci-fi extravaganza easily took weekend honors with an estimated $36.2 million. However, the frame’s other two national releases seriously underperformed. The visual flamboyant fairy tale Red Riding Hood trudged through the woods with $14 million in its basket to rank third and the family targeted Mars Needs Moms received a resounding audience “no” with $6.8 million.

Regionally a pair of pics bowed in Quebec to undistinguished results. Local production French Kiss generated $91,200 at 54 stalls while French family fave Arthur et la guerre des deux mondes provided $68,400 from 35 venues.

The action among limited/exclusive debuts was considerably more encouraging with the latest Jane Eyre earning a $45,120 average from four screens. The indie Kill the Irishman was unexpectedly potent with a $142,000 tally in five exposures and French award winner Certified Copy grossed $66,300 from a comparable quintet.

Overall the pluses and minuses canceled out and weekend revenues slipped 4% from the immediate prior session. It was a steeper 13% decline from 2010 when the second weekend of Alice in Wonderland reigned with $62.7 million followed by bows of Green Zone and She’s Out of My League with respective openers of $14.3 million and $9.8 million.

Industry anxiety ran high for Battle: Los Angeles with pundits invoking the likes of Independence Day, District 9 and Skyline on the down side as past barometers. Initial tracking pegged its opening between $25 million and $30 million with it pushing slightly higher as opening day approached.

Exit polls pegged the audience unsurprisingly at 62% male. However, it also showed that the ticket buyers were 55% over the age of 25; continuing the 2011 industry question of where the younger, previously more avid crowds have migrated (and whether is possible to park product at that location).

Audience composition for both Red Riding Hood and Mars Needs Moms were also as anticipated. The cowl clad lass was 54% distaff and 56% under the age of 25 while the folk from the red planet were 85% family with 68% buying stereoscopic ducats. But though not particularly family friendly, Rango was the audience magnet even with a 40% hit off of its opening weekend.

Though the two films hit their target, neither hit it with quite the anticipated force. Red Riding Hood was tracking between $16 million and $20 million while Mars Needs Moms was supposed to be in the range of $10 million to $14 million.

Expect some hard questions to be asked at CinemaCon in two weeks beginning with the evaporation of the under 25s. Distribution is likely to be pushing for shorter theatrical windows and theater owners will just be … freaking out.

Weekend (estimates) March 11 – 13, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (average) % change Theaters Cume
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 36.2 (10,590) NEW 3417 36.2
Rango Par 22.8 (5,820) -40% 3923 68.4
Red Riding Hood WB 14.0 (4,630) NEW 3030 14
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 11.4 (4,010) -46% 2847 38.4
Mars Needs Moms BV 6.8 (2,190) NEW 3117 6.8
Beastly CBS 5.0 (2,570) -49% 1959 16.9
Hall Pass WB 5.0 (1,970) -43% 2555 34.9
Just Go With It Sony 4.0 (1,660) -38% 2398 93.9
The King’s Speech TWC 3.6 (2,030) -42% 1768 129
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 3.5 (1,360) -52% 2585 89
Unknown WB 3.3 (1,440) -49% 2303 58.4
I Am Number 4 BV 2.2 (1,110) -61% 2005 50.3
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 1.3 (1,050) -69% 1247 70.9
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox 1.2 (1,330) -62% 931 35.1
Take Me Home Tonight Relativity 1.2 (610) -65% 2003 5.8
Cedar Rapids FoxSearch .93 (2,360) 13% 394 4.6
Tangled BV .62 (1,710) -22% 363 196.6
The Fighter Par/Alliance .55 (1,210) -51% 453 92.9
Black Swan FoxSearch .44 (1,310) -56% 337 105.9
True Grit Par .43 (1,070) -56% 401 169.4
Barney’s Version eOne/SPC .34 (1,760) -13% 192 6.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $123.60
% Change (Last Year) -13%
% Change (Last Week) -4%
Also debuting/expanding
Of Gods and Men Sony Classics .25 (4,500) -2% 56 1.2
Jane Eyre Focus .18 (45,120) 4 0.18
Kill the Irishman Anchor Bay .14 (28,260) 5 0.14
French Kiss TVA 91,200 (1,690) 54 0.09
Arthur et la guerre des deux mondes Alliance 68,400 (1,950) 35 0.07
Certified Copy IFC 66,300 (13,260) 5 0.07
HappyThankYouMorePlease Anchor Bay 59,700 (3,140) 70% 19 0.09
I Will Follow Film Movement 44,100 (11,020) 4 0.04
3 Backyards Screen Media 11,400 (11,400) 1 0.01
Making th Boys First Run 6,800 (6,800) 1 0.01
Elektra Luxx IDP 5,700 (1,420) 4 0.01
Black Death Magnolia 3,700 (3,700) 1 0.01
Monogamy Oscilloscope 3,600 (3,600) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – March 10, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (9) 337.1 20.90%
Sony (9) 277.4 17.20%
Buena Vista (5) 215.2 13.30%
Warner Bros. (12) 179.1 11.10%
Universal (6) 163.3 10.10%
Weinstein Co. (3) 121.2 7.50%
Fox (5) 82.9 5.10%
Fox Searchlight (3) 76.3 4.70%
CBS (3) 41.3 2.60%
Relativity (3) 29.5 1.80%
Focus (2) 20.7 1.30%
eOne/Seville (7) 12.2 0.80%
Summit (3) 11.7 0.70%
Sony Classics (5) 9.6 0.60%
Other * (73) 37.6 2.30%
1615.1 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Limited Releases (Jan. 1 – March 10, 2011)
Title Distributor Gross*
Blue Valentine * TWC 9,313,215
Barney’s Version * eOne/SPC 5,661,527
Biutiful Roadside Att 4,337,480
The Company Men TWC 4,102,660
Cedar Rapids rch 3,676,294
From Nada to Prada LGF 2,946,275
Another Year * SPC 2,854,313
The Way Back Newmarket/All 2,806,469
Hubble 3D * WB 2,321,675
The Grace Card IDP 1,842,199
The Illusionist * SPC 1,811,964
Rabbit Hole * LGF 1,810,546
Somewhere * Focus 1,502,550
Incendies * Seville/eOne 1,348,780
2011 Oscar Shorts Magnolia 1,266,790

The Weekend Report — March 6

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Gold Star … Silver Star

The lizards of Rango slithered easily into audience hearts with an estimated $38.7 million that topped weekend viewing charts. Three other new wide releases entered the marketplace with the “what if” antics of The Adjustment Bureau ranking second with $20.9 million and the modern fairy tale Beastly following with $9.7 million. The romantic Take Me Home Tonight captured few hearts with a $3.4 million gross.

Limited and exclusive debuts were largely uninspired with the coming of age HappyThankYouMorePlease generating $29,700 on two screens and Thai award winner Uncle Bonmee grossing $25,400 from four venues. Box office for the 3D presentation of opera favorite Carmen from England’s Royal Opera weren’t reported.

The infusion of new titles expanded sales by 24% from the prior weekend but couldn’t compete with last years $116.1 million bow for Alice in Wonderland. Revenues slumped by 34% from 2010 and the year to date is lagging behind the prior year’s pace by 16%.

The enthusiastic reviews for the 3D animated gunslinger yarn Rango did little to bolster interest for the film’s non-family audience and the film bowed on the low end of industry estimates. Generally positive reviews for the sci-fi romance The Adjustment Bureau place that film on the high side of tacking predictions.

Conversely tracking for both Beastly and Take Me Home Tonight veered radically from expectations with the latter expected to out perform in its debut. With the former predicted to do no better than $6 million, you can guess the rest.

With the exhibition sector’s convention just three weeks away (now re-named CinemaCon) one can expect some hard questions being bruited. It’s decidedly not a period of warmth between theater owners and the studios and waning audiences; particular among the key under 25s will certainly heat up the issue of making new releases available on other platforms including home screens.

Oscar sheen (a distant relative of Charlie) appeared to dim rapidly for all save The King’s Speech. Though it’s hardly a new phenomenon, the shorter award season (and threat of an even shorter one in the near future) is likely to create the employ of new strategies to exploit films reliant on statuettes and the like this year.

Weekend (estimates) March 4 – 6, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (average) % change Theaters Cume
Rango Par 37.8 (9,660) NEW 3917 37.8
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 20.9 (7,350) NEW 2840 20.9
Beastly CBS 9.7 (4,980) NEW 1952 9.7
Hall Pass WB 8.8 (2,990) -35% 2950 26.8
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 7.0 (2,350) -48% 2984 83.8
The King’s Speech TWC 6.5 (2,890) -12% 2240 123.8
Just Go With It Sony 6.4 (2,200) -39% 2920 88.1
Unknown WB 6.4 (2,210) -49% 2913 52.9
I Am Number 4 BV 5.7 (1,970) -48% 2903 46.5
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 4.2 (1,880) -55% 2254 68.8
Take Me Home Tonight Relativity 3.4 (1,710) NEW 2003 3.4
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox 3.2 (1,950) -58% 1642 33.2
Drive Angry Summit 2.1 (930) -59% 2290 9
The Fighter Par/Alliance 1.1 (1,840) -33% 575 92
Black Swan FxSrch 1.0 (1,440) -26% 681 105.1
True Grit Par .94 (1,300) -52% 725 168.6
Cedar Rapids FxSrch .77 (3,280) 16% 235 3.3
Tangled BV .74 (1,760) 76% 421 195.7
The Roommate Sony .59 (970) -70% 606 36.8
The Grace Card IDP .51 (1,450) -50% 352 1.7
Barney’s Version eOne/SPC .40 (1,900) -27% 211 5.7
No Strings Attached Par .36 (850) -75% 425 69.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $127.75
% Change (Last Year) -33%
% Change (Last Week) 24%
Also debuting/expanding
Of Gods and Men SPC .26 (7,420) -16% 42 0.73
The Illusionist SPC 77,500 (1,020) -48% 76 1.9
HappyThankYouMorePlease Anchor Bay 29,700 (14,850) 2 0.03
Uncle Bonmee Strand 25,400 (6,350) 4 0.03
Bereavement Paradigm 22,300 (1,120) 20 0.02
Detective K CJ Ent 13,500 (13,500) 1 0.01
I Saw the Devil Magnolia 12,100 (6,050) 2 0.01
The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom Mongrel 9,400 (1,880) 5 0.01
The Human Resources Manager FilmMove 8,300 (2,770) 3 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – March 3, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (8) 283.2 19.60%
Sony (9) 267.7 18.50%
Buena Vista (5) 198.7 13.70%
Warner Bros. (12) 157.7 10.90%
Universal (5) 135.8 9.40%
Weinstein Co. (3) 112.8 7.80%
Fox (5) 78.8 5.50%
Fox Searchlight (3) 73.6 5.10%
CBS (2) 29.3 2.00%
Relativity (2) 24.8 1.70%
Focus (2) 20.3 1.40%
eOne/Seville (7) 10.9 0.80%
Sony Classics (5) 8.7 0.60%
Summit (3) 8.5 0.60%
Other * (68) 35.2 2.40%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – March 3, 2011)
Title Distributor Gross*
The King’s Speech * TWC 99,641,843
True Grit * Par 97,285,477
The Green Hornet Sony 96,820,070
Just Go With It Sony 81,700,070
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 76,782,010
No Strings Attached Par 69,289,473
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 64,551,441
Little Fockers * Uni 63,484,205
Black Swan * FxSrch 63,240,197
Tron: Legacy * BV 53,579,845
The Fighter * Par/Alliance 51,877,355
The Dilemma Uni 48,475,290
Unknown WB 46,509,264
I Am Number 4 BV 40,738,416
Yogi Bear * WB 40,506,801
The Roommate Sony 36,260,283
Tangled * BV 33,709,950
The Rite WB 32,464,547
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox 29,969,678
The Mechanic CBS 28,812,145
* does not include 2010 box office

Art Director’s Guild 2010 Awards

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Excellence In Production Design For A Period Feature Film
The King’s Speech

Excellence In Production Design For A Fantasy Feature Film

Excellence In Production Design For A Contemporary Feature Film
Black Swan

Costume Designers Guild 2010 Awards

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Excellence in Contemporary Film
“Black Swan” – Amy Westcott

Excellence in Period Film
“The King’s Speech” – Jenny Beavan

Excellence in Fantasy Film
“Alice in Wonderland” – Colleen Atwood

Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries
“Temple Grandin” – Cindy Evans

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series
“Glee” – Lou Eyrich

Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series
“Boardwalk Empire” – John Dunn and Lisa Padovani

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design
“Chanel – Bleu de Chanel” – Aude Bronson-Howard

DP/30 Oscar Nominees 2010/11: The Cinematographers

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network

Roger Deakins, True Grit

Matty Libatique, Black Swan

Wally Pfister, Inception

The Weekend Report — February 20

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I Am Number?

There was little to salute as the weekend portion of the President’s holiday frame saw movie going once again register box office and admission declines. A trio of new films opened to modest response including the action-thriller Unknown, which led the field (though it could slip to second for the four-day period) with an estimated $21.9 million. Also new were the teen-oriented chiller I Am Number 4 , with $19.4 million to slot third, and the comedy sequel Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in position five with $16.4 million.

There were also a tsunami of niche and exclusive bows including new Hindi and Telegu movies from India. But neither 7 Khoon Maaf nor Katha Screenplay Darsakakatvam provided more than a ripple of interest. Best of the limited releases was the non-fiction The Last Lions with $49,400 at four venues and Spanish Oscar submission Even the Rain, which grossed $52,600 from eight screens. And the fistful of exclusive bows was largely non-vigorous, though the doc I Am generated an encouraging $10,100 in its solo flight.

The absence of an 11th hour Oscar surge didn’t help the situation, though two contenders — The King’s Speech and Black Swan — managed to pass the $100 million threshold. Still, the failure of most late calendar releases to find Academy favor and the wave of new releases pushing out front-runners trends toward a serious re-thinking in theatrical exploitation for award season movies.

The four-day weekend should generate roughly $175 million and that translates into a 28% drop from President’s weekend 2010. It’s a more modest 4% erosion from the prior weekend. A year ago the trio of freshmen comprised of Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson and The Wolfman debuted to respective grosses of $63.1 million, $38.7 million and $35.6 million.

Unknown skewed dramatically older with exits indicating 89% of its ticket buyers older than 25-years old. Surprisingly, I Am Number 4 also went slightly older with 53% plus 25s and Big Mommas had a 50/50 split. Also unexpected was Number 4’s 57/43 split that favored men and only 26% of its audience identified as teens.

The past six months has certainly seen a listing toward what the industry views as an older audience. The combination of the majors’ historic slowness at responding to change in the marketplace and decades of reliance on young males to propel special effects movies into the box office stratosphere is about to face a major challenge in May.

If you build it … will they come? Stay tuned.


Weekend Estimates – February 18-20, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Unknown WB 21.9 (7,190) NEW 3043 21.9
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 19.6 (6,490) -23% 3014 50.6
I Am Number 4 BV 19.4 (6,160) NEW 3154 19.4
Just Go With It Sony 18.3 (5,150) -40% 3548 60.8
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox 16.4 (5,810) NEW 2821 16.4
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 13.6 (4,370) -54% 3118 48.5
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 6.5 (3,100) -11% 2086 103.2
The Roommate Sony 4.0 (1,870) -50% 2160 32.6
The Eagle Focus 3.4 (1,490) -61% 2296 14.9
No Strings Attached Par 3.1 (1,570) -47% 1966 66
True Grit Par 2.4 (1,660) -36% 1465 164.2
Sanctum Uni 1.5 (1,110) -73% 1377 21.8
The Fighter Par/Alliance 1.5 (1,990) -30% 759 87.9
The Green Hornet Sony 1.5 (1,170) -60% 1265 95.1
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 1.3 (1,970) -39% 656 101.5
The Rite WB 1.1 (1,030) -67% 1048 31.3
The Mechanic CBS 1.0 (1,090) -68% 952 27.9
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight .93 (9,120) 207% 102 1.3
Barney’s Version eOne/Sony Classics .80 (2,850) 90% 323 4.3
Tangled BV .55 (1,410) -32% 389 194.1
Biutiful Roadside .52 (3,640) -10% 143 3
Tron: Legacy BV .43 (1,380) -22% 312 170.4
Yogi Bear WB .41 (570) -47% 725 97.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $139.30
% Change (Last Year) -28%
% Change (Last Week) -4%
Also debuting/expanding
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. .32 (1,370) -45% 235 8.8
The Company Men Weinstein Co. .29 (1,210) -44% 242 3.5
Another Year Sony Classics .22 (1,820) -33% 121 2.5
7 Khoon Maaf UTV .19 (2,470) 76 0.19
The Illusionist Sony Classics .19 (1,790) -37% 106 1.5
Even the Rain Vitagraph 52,600 (6,570) 8 0.05
The Last Lions National Geo 49,400 (12,350) 4 0.05
Katha Screenplay Darsakatvam Supreme 36,700 (1,930) 19 0.04
Immigration Tango Roadside 14,400 (380) 30 0.01
En terrains connus eOne 12,600 (1,050) 12 0.01
I Am Paladin 10,100 (10,100) 1 0.01
Brotherhood Phase 4 8,800 (8,800) 1 0.01
The Chaperone IFC 6,900 (690) 10 0.01
Putty Hill Cinema Guild 4,500 (4,500) 1 0.01
Vanishing on 7th Street Magnolia 3,200 (3,200) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – 2010

Distributor Gross Market Share
Paramount (8) 236.4 21.60%
Sony (9) 216.8 19.80%
Universal (5) 131.8 12.00%
Buena Vista (4) 114.3 10.40%
Weinstein Co. (3) 90.6 8.30%
Warner Bros. (10) 87.9 8.00%
Fox Searchlight (3) 66.6 6.10%
Fox (4) 47.4 4.30%
CBS (2) 27.4 2.50%
Relativity (2) 24.6 2.20%
Focus (2) 12.9 1.20%
Sony Classics (5) 5.9 0.50%
Other * (49) 33.5 3.10%
1096.1` 100.00%
* none greater than 0.45%

Gurus o’ Gold – What Would The Oscars Look Like As Of Today?

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

There still may be some changes. Just adding in the last few late votes, for instance, pushed Melissa Leo back into the top Gurus slot in Supporting Actress.

But if The Gurus are right, just 3 days before balloting closes, the scoresheet the next morning will look like this…

The King’s Speech – 4 Oscars – Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay, Score
Inception – 4 Oscars – Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Art Direction
The Social Network – 3 Oscars – Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
The Fighter – 2 Oscars – Supp Actor, Supp Actress
Toy Story 3 – 2 Oscars- Song, Animated Feature

And getting 1 Oscar each….

Black Swan – Actress
Inside Job – Documentary
In A Better World – Foreign Language
The Wolfman – Make-Up
Day & Night – Animated Short
Wish 143 – Live Action Short
Alice In Wonderland – Costume
True Grit – Cinematography

And with half an Oscar each (the Gurus have them tied for the lead)…

Strangers No More/The Warriors of Qiuang – Short Doc

The Weekend Report – February 13

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Bieber Pitch
By Leonard Klady

It was Sandler by a nose over the teen sensation. The rom-com Just Go With It emerged with an estimated $30.8 million while the 3D concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was right behind with $30.4 million. In a session energized by new releases the animated Gnomeo and Juliet charted third with $25.3 million and the Gladiator-lite The Eagle slotted in position five with a drab $8.3 million.

The frame also featured a clutch of incoming niche and exclusive debuts. Bollywood entry Patiala House was the best of the newbies with $352,000 at 80 venues and on the Pinoy circuit Bulong had an OK $25,300 at six locales. Testing the waters with 15 screens, the comic Cedar Rapids found the temp conducive with a $302,000 tally.

There was also good response to the Oscar shorts tour with a first stop of $237,000 and the pacifist doc Mooz-lum had an impressive $12,000 per location average of $12,000, The single screen bow of another doc, Vidal Sassoon, looked and dressed good with $13,800.

Following a month of box office declines revenues experienced dramatic upturns that have finally put smiles on the folks in the distribution and exhibition sector.

Pundits were confident that the Sandler – Aniston pairing in Just Go With It would generate a $30 million plus opening salvo that would easily outdistance any threat from Justin Bieber’s concert foray. The latter movie was pegged at $25 million to $28 million and was the clear winner on opening day Friday with close to a $3 million edge of $12.4 million.

However, whereas the pubescent fan base proved to be first day fanatics, the older Valentine romantics were dominant for Saturday date night. The Bieber group declined by 13% while the Gos expanded by 42%. Both films skewed female with the concert crowd comprised of a whopping 84% and 67% under 25 according to exit polls. The comedy crowd was 58% distaff and 60% comprised of plus 25%. Never Say Never also registered a very potent 84% attendance for its stereoscopic playdates.

That still left plenty of room for the family audience that embraced Gnomeo and Juliet. Largely underserved in recent weeks, trackers underestimated its appeal with predictions in the range of $16 million to $20 million. The Eagle was the poor cousin in the mix and largely negative reviews didn’t help improve a lackluster response.

Overall revenues pushed to roughly $150 million for an eye-popping 73% boost from the prior weekend. It was also an impressive 32% improvement from 2010. Last year’s freshmen thrust was provided by first and third ranked Dear John and From Paris with Love with respective opening salvos of $30.5 million and $8.2 million.

Obviously with so much incoming fare the crowd of Oscar contenders – even the most resilient – lost a significant number of screens. And if on-going appeal is any kind of indicator, The King’s Speech contingent would be well advised to brush up on their elocution. It sputtered an insignificant 5% erosion despite the loss of 321 theaters.

Weekend (estimates) February 11 – 13, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Just Go With It Sony 30.8 (8,680) NEW 3548 30.8
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 30.4 (9,790) NEW 3105 30.4
Gnomeo and Juliet BV 25.3 (8,450) NEW 2994 25.3
The Roommate Sony 8.3 (3,290) -44% 2534 26
The Eagle Focus 8.3 (3,630) NEW 2296 8.3
The King’s Speech TWC 7.3 (3,230) -5% 2263 93.8
No Strings Attached Par 5.6 (2,030) -30% 2756 59.8
Sanctum Uni 5.1 (1,830) -46% 2789 17.5
True Grit Par 3.8 (1,820) -19% 2072 160.3
The Green Hornet Sony 3.6 (1,730) -39% 2090 92.3
The Rite WB 3.1 (1,410) -44% 2207 28.7
The Mechanic CBS 3.1 (1,630) -42% 1886 25.3
The Fighter Par/Alliance 2.1 (2,030) -25% 1049 85.6
Black Swan FoxSrchlght 2.1 (1,980) -37% 1069 99.3
Dilemma Uni 1.0 (800) -70% 1242 47.6
Tangled BV .77 (980) -58% 784 193.3
Yogi Bear WB .74 (670) -67% 1111 96.6
Blue Valentine TWC .57 (1,450) -28% 393 8.2
Tron: Legacy BV .55 (1,510) -60% 364 169.7
127 Hours FoxSrchlght .54 (1,500) -50% 359 16.8
Biutiful Roadside .52 (2,740) -19% 190 2.2
The Company Men TWC .51 (1,840) -7% 277 3
Barney’s Version eOne/SPC .44 (4,400) -11% 119 3.3
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $144.10
% Change (Last Year) 32%
% Change (Last Week) 73%
Also debuting/expanding
Patiala House Hari .35 (4,400) 80 0.35
Another Year Sony Classics .34 (1,970) -23% 236 2.2
The Illusionist Sony Classics .32 (1,540) 70% 205 1.15
Cedar Rapids FoxSrchlght .30 (20,150) 15 0.3
2011 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .24 (3,880) 61 0.24
Mooz-lum Peace-Films .13 (12,000) 11 0.13
Gaganam Big Pictures 96,700 (6,400) 16 0.1
Bulong ABS 25,300 (4,210) 6 0.03
Poetry Kino 18,300 (6,100) 3 0.02
Payanam Big Pictures 15,400 (1,490) 9 0.02
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie Phase 4 13,800 (13,800) 1 0.01
Carancho Strand 12,900 (4,300) 3 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Feb. 10, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (7) 184.7 20.60%
Sony (8) 157.6 17.50%
Universal (5) 121.9 13.60%
Buena Vista (3) 83.9 9.40%
Warner Bros. (10) 81.3 9.10%
Weinstein Co. (3) 78.8 8.80%
Fox Searchlight (2) 62.4 6.90%
Fox (4) 46.6 5.20%
Relativity (2) 24.5 2.70%
CBS (2) 22.6 2.50%
Alliance (5) 5.3 0.60%
Other * (49) 27.7 3.10%
897.3 100.00%

Aronofsky’s Top 5 Books On The Movies

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Aronofsky’s Top 5 Books On The Movies

Charting The Quadrants Of Black Swan’s Audience Satisfactions

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Charting The Quadrants Of Black Swan‘s Audience Satisfactions

The Weekend Report – February 6

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Where Have All the Avids Gone …
Long Time Passing

The debut of The Roommate led an anemic field at the weekend box office with an estimated $15.5 million. Second ranked was another newcomer – the 3D adventure Sanctum – with a disappointing $9.2 million.

Anticipating steep Sunday admission drops from the Super Bowl both national and niche debuts were generally directed to strong single quadrant audiences. Opening day-and-date with Mainland China, the Sino version of What Women Want generated a dull $58,900 at 29 venues; the family oriented The Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec struggled to $51,300 at 27 screens in Quebec; and the inspirational Midway to Heaven was stuck in the middle with $42,400 at 10 playdates. Best of the new exclusives was American indie Cold Weather with a $14,800 tally on a single screen.

Continuing the first quarter cold spell ticket sales experienced double digit declines that have left both the exhibition and distribution sectors in a very blue funk.

The Roommate, a remake in all but name and credit of Single White Female, bucked recent viewing trend with exit polls showing strong younger appeal. Its 65% female crowd was not unexpected and its 61% under 21 makeup was encouraging … at least for an opening weekend gross that was largely predicted by tracking pundits.

Sanctum wasn’t as lucky with, again, a distaff skewing set of viewers, albeit largely plus 25s. The sizzle was all about its stereoscopic qualities and reviewers skewered its artistic elements. Still tracking indicated a bow of $10 million to $12 million that audiences weren’t willing to make come true.

Overall business fell short of $90 million for a 20% decline from the prior weekend. It was a slightly steeper 22% drop from 2010 when the $30.5 million opening of Dear John toppled Avatar’s reign with that film taking the bridesmaid spot with $22.8 million.

The industry is now inured to Super Bowl’s clobber but the more serious concern is the sudden disappearance of the avid audience that falls between ages 17 and 25. Recent movie releases are largely being blamed with no relief in sight for the first quarter of 2011 and certainly no possibility of Oscar fare bringing up the slack.

The official line is that the avids will return but somewhere in the dark recesses are concerns that a significant portion of that audience has opted out of the theatrical experience in favor of new technologies and platforms. Theater owners are buckling down for additional experimentation in “windows” that will cut into their bottom line.

Historically the majors have been slow to respond to change and if logically an aging population would suggest adopting more mature content, don’t expect that penny to drop for three to five years. Independents could move in to fill the gap though one can be certain their deep pocket brethren will out spend them to ensure market share dominance rather than address real business issues.


Weekend Estimates – February 4-6, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Roommate Sony 15.5 (6,130) NEW 2534 15.5
Sanctum Uni 9.2 (3,300) NEW 2787 9.2
No Strings Attached Par 8.3 (2,730) -38% 3050 51.7
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 8.1 (3,150) -27% 2584 83.9
The Green Hornet Sony 6.3 (2,070) -44% 3033 87.4
The Rite WB 5.6 (1,880) -62% 2985 23.7
The Mechanic CBS 5.3 (1,970) -53% 2704 20
True Grit Par 4.8 (1,650) -36% 2902 155
Dilemma Uni 3.4 (1,340) -40% 2545 45.7
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 3.4 (1,710) -34% 1977 95.9
The Fighter Par/Alliance 2.9 (1,730) -27% 1662 82.4
Yogi Bear WB 2.3 (1,260) -28% 1807 95.4
Tangled BV 1.8 (1,330) -28% 1369 192
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 1.4 (1,510) -36% 899 15.7
Tron: Legacy BV 1.4 (1,320) -46% 1040 168.8
Little Fockers Uni 1.2 (910) -52% 1355 146.5
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. .79 (1,760) -33% 450 7.3
From Prada to Nada Lionsgate .69 (2,640) -38% 261 2
Biutiful Roadside .63 (3,560) 38% 177 1.4
Country Strong Sony .61 (640) -52% 948 19.8
The Company Men Weinstein Co. .55 (2,380) -17% 231 2.3
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox .53 (1,030) -40% 514 102.6
Gulliver’s Travels Fox .67 (1,030) -42% 495 41.14
Another Year Sony Classics .48 (2,030) 55% 236 1.7
Barney’s Version eOne/Sony Classics .43 (3,570) -13% 119 2.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $84.70
% Change (Last Year) -22%
% Change (Last Week) -20%
Also debuting/expanding
The Illusionist Sony Classics .19 (2,850) 46% 68 0.77
Incendies eOne/Seville .14 (3,050) 30% 47 2.8
Rabbit Hole Lionsgate .12 (890) -32% 131 1.7
What Women Want China Lion 58,900 (2,030) 29 0.06
Adele Blanc-Sec Seville 51,300 (1,900) 27 0.05
Midway to Heaven Excel 42,400 (4,240) 10 0.04
Cold Weather IFC 14,800 (14,800) 1 0.01
Troubadours PBS 13,200 (4,400) 3 0.01
Waiting Forever FreeStyle 8,700 (2,900) 3 0.01
The Other Woman IFC 5,800 (2,900) 2 0.01

Top Domestic Grossers – 2010

Distributor Gross Market Share
Paramount (7) 163.5 20.90%
Sony (7) 130.7 16.70%
Universal (4) 103.7 13.30%
Buena Vista (3) 79.6 10.20%
Warner Bros. (10) 70.1 9.00%
Weinstein Co. (3) 66.2 8.50%
Fox Searchlight (2) 55.7 7.10%
Fox (4) 45.1 5.80%
Relativity (2) 24.1 3.10%
CBS (2) 15.1 1.90%
Alliance (5) 4.9 0.60%
Other * (46) 22.3 2.90%
781 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%

Weekend Estimates — February 6

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

The Roommate|15.5|NEW|15.5
No Strings Attached|8.3|-38%|8.3
The King’s Speech|8.1|-27%|83.9
The Green Hornet|6.3|-44%|87.4
The Rite|5.6|-62%|23.7
The Mechanic|5.3|-53%|20
True Grit|4.8|-36%|155
The Dilemma|3.4|-40%|45.7
Black Swan|3.4|-34%|95.9

Friday Estimates — February 5

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The Roommate |6.3|2534|NEW|6.3
Sanctum |3.5|2787|NEW|3.5
No Strings Attached|2.9|3050|-34%|46.3
The King’s Speech|2.3|2584|-20%|78.1
The Rite |1.9|2985|-64%|20
The Mechanic|1.8|2704|-51%|16.5
The Green Hornet|1.7|3033|-40%|82.8
True Grit|1.4|2902|-28%|151.7
Dilemma |1.1|2545|-35%|43.4
Black Swan|1|1977|-26%|93.5
Also Debuting
What Women Want|25,200|29||25,200
Midway to Heaven|17,900|10||17,900
Adele Blanc-Sec|14,300|27||14,300
Cold Weather|5,100|1||5,100
Waiting Forever|2,800|3||2,800
The Other Woman|1,800|2||1,800
* in millions

An Unflattering Profile Of Black Swan’s Benjamin Millepied

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

A Catty, Unpleasant Profile Of Black Swan‘s Benjamin Millepied

Novelist Steve Erickson On “Berserk,” “Polarizing” Black Swan

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Novelist Steve Erickson On “Berserk,” “Polarizing” Black Swan

Friday Estimates — January 29

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

The Rite|5.2|2985|NEW|7.2
No Strings Attached |4.3|3022|-41%|30.4
The Mechanic|3.4|2703|NEW|3.4
The Green Hornet|2.9|3524|-42%|70.3
The King’s Speech |2.8|2557|29%|63.9
True Grit|1.9|3120|-9%|36.8
The Dilemma|1.7|2905|-45%|26.6
Black Swan|1.4|2315|-23%|86.9
The Fighter |0.95|1914|-22%|75.3
Little Fockers|0.65|2051|-47%|142.8
Also Debuting
From Prada to Nada|0.31|256||0.31
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji|26,700|42||26,700
Ip Man 2|18,800|20||18,800
* in millions