Posts Tagged ‘down terrace’

Weekend Box Office Report – October 17

Sunday, October 17th, 2010


Jackass 3D was better than all right with an estimated $49.3 million that easily ranked it at the top of the weekend movie going charts. Another freshman, the seasoned action-comedy Red, ranked second with $21.9 million. The session’s third national debut in medium-wide release was the inspirational N Secure with an OK $133,000 bow.

Among niche and regional bows the polemical documentary I Want Your Money failed to bring out the vote with a $236,000 tally from 537 screens. Telegu-language Brindaavanam rang up an impressive $10,320 average from 20 venues while Bollywood entry Aakrosh was a washout with a $46,400 gross from 24 screens.

Among the week’s exclusive newbies the clear favorite was Hereafter with a $37,380 per screen from six early peeks. There were also impressive openings for the three-hour plus portrait of a terrorist Carlos of $33,700 from single dates in Manhattan and Montreal and a sturdy $101,000 gross for the ripped from the headlines Conviction at 11 cells.

Overall weekend box office revenues topped $130 million for a sizeable 42% boost from seven days back. However, it fell 4% below last year’s tally and the 2010 box office has shrunk to just 2% better than the prior year’s gross for the same period.

Industry trackers had pegged the stereoscopic version of Jackass at roughly $30 million prior to its opening. But they obviously were deaf to bygone wag Henry Mencken’s observation that “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” The recently under-served young male audience were eager to don Polaroid glasses and see the aging stars of the reality skein making fools of themselves and others up close and personal.

Pundits also undervalued Red with early estimates in a $15 million to $18 million range. The single joke premise of over the hill spies conscripted back into service (more intentionally mawkish than The Expendables) skewed older but obviously had some appeal for a younger crowd in search of something marginally less mind numbing that required optical gimmicks.

The glacial expansion of Waiting for “Superman” continued to display stamina but it’s clear that Never Let Me Go has peaked and that the rapid expansion of Nowhere Boy left the early years of John Lennon stranded outside the Cavern Club. Stone was experiencing a better than expected hold as it increased its exposure from six to 41 venues.

The frame’s two award contenders – Hereafter and Conviction – constructed solid foundations for their platform bids. Still the early signs suggest a better than anticipated commercial run for the former with the latter yarn requiring a lot of TLC to reach a wider audience.

Among holdovers the second lap for Secretariat showed signs that audiences were discovering the heartfelt saga and The Social Network continues to be propped up by award buzz rather than Facebook fascination.


Weekend Estimates – October 15-17, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Jackass 3D Par 49.3 (16,010) New 3081 49.3
Red Summit 21.9 (6,740) New 3255 21.8
The Social Network Sony 10.8 (3,910) -30% 2771 63
Secretariat BV 9.4 (3,070) -26% 3072 27.4
Life As We Know It WB 9.2 (2,910) -37% 3150 28.8
Legend of the Guardians WB 4.2 (1,670) -39% 2502 46
The Town WB 4.0 (1,700) -37% 2368 80.6
My Soul to Take Uni/Alliance 3.1 (1,240) -54% 2529 11.9
Easy A Sony 2.6 (1,140) -39% 2314 52.3
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox 2.3 (1,110) -50% 2045 47.8
N Secure FreeStyle 1.3 (2,730) New 486 1.3
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 1.3 (1,660) -38% 757 4
You Again BV 1.2 (750) -53% 1588 22.7
Case 39 Par Vantage 1.2 (840) -56% 1406 11.9
Devil Uni 1.0 (1,100) -46% 891 31.6
Let Me In Overture .83 (690) -66% 1211 11.1
Alpha and Omega Lions Gate .81 (840) -46% 969 22.6
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .74 (4,060) 17% 182 2.5
Toy Story 3 BV .52 (1,480) -6% 350 412.8
Inception WB .35 (1,180) -29% 297 289.7
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance .34 (780) -73% 438 59.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $125.70
% Change (Last Year) -4%
% Change (Last Week) 42%
Also debuting/expanding
Nowhere Boy Weinstein Co. .33 (1,550) 554% 215 0.41
Never Let Me Go Searchlight .32 (1,390) -7% 232 1.65
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Sony Classics .27 (2,440) 1% 112 1.26
I Want Your Money FreeStyle .24 (440) 537 0.24
Stone Overture .23 (5,780) 199% 41 0.34
Hereafter WB .22 (37,380) 6 0.22
Brindaavanam Blue Sky .21 (10,320) 20 0.21
Buried Lions Gate .13 (1,270) -41% 103 0.76
Conviction Fox Searchlight .10 (9,200) 11 0.1
Aakrosh Eros 46,400 (1,930) 24 0.05
Carlos IFC 33,700 (16,850) 1 0.03
Knockout Eros 18,100 (700) 26 0.02
A Better Tomorrow CJ Entertainment 5,800 (5,800) 1 0.01
Down Terrace Magnolia 2,900 (1,450) 2 0.01
Samson and Delilah Ipix 2,300 (1,150) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share – January 1 – October 14, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (24) 1380.1 16.40%
Fox (16) 1284.6 15.30%
Paramount (14) 1242.3 14.80%
Buena Vista (15) 1129.6 13.40%
Sony (23) 1111.7 13.20%
Universal (17) 765.4 9.10%
Summit (9) 425.1 5.10%
Lionsgate (12) 410.1 4.90%
Overture (7) 78.2 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (5) 72.1 0.90%
Focus (7) 71.4 0.90%
Weinstein Co. (7) 61.1 0.70%
Sony Classics (20) 52.9 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (266) 222.3 2.60%
8407.3 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Digital Nation: Down Terrace

Friday, October 15th, 2010

One of the knocks against portrayals of organized crime in American movies and television is that they tend to make criminality look like a reasonable career choice, until the bullets and subpoenas start flying, anyway. The same applies for the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and firearms.

It’s fun until it isn’t.

There’s nothing even remotely attractive about being a gangster in Down Terrace, a British comedy so dark that it borders on tragedy. None of the characters resemble Al Pacino or live in homes the Sopranos of New Jersey would envy. The money isn’t even all that good.

Ben Wheatley’s freshman feature has reminded critics of the British cinema’s kitchen-sink dramas of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the social realism of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. The Brighton in Down Terrace is a million miles away from the London of The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa. The crime family at the heart of the movie is to those gangster flicks what Married … With Children was to the American sitcom, circa 1987.

Real-life father and son Robert and Robin Hill play the father and son we see exiting prison in the opening scene of Down Terrace. Bill and Karl were fingered by someone in their gang of small-time hoodlums and drug dealers, and they’ll spend the rest of the movie attempting to discover who was responsible. Everyone we meet hereafter is a suspect and the penalty for snitching is death.

So, where’s the comedy, black or otherwise? Everywhere, as it turns out.

The characters’ bickering, rants and stoned banter are often very funny. The abrupt shifts in tone and personal demeanor keep viewers from assuming facts not in evidence. Discovering that Bill and Karl aren’t nearly as dumb as they look is another surprise.

“These people are clever and stupid,” said Wheatley, in Los Angeles for a screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival. “That’s life and it’s what we were trying to capture.”

Most of what happens in the movie occurs within the tight confines of a home indistinguishable from dozens of others in the blue-collar neighborhood. In fact, it was the same Down Terrace house in which co-writer Robin grew up. It’s possible to imagine Archie Bunker living here and verbally abusing Edith in the same way as Bill lobs zingers at his long-suffering wife, Maggie (Julia Deakin), herself a product of a larger crime family.

Wheatley had originally intended to make a film about how Brighton’s drug trade worked and could unravel at the drop of a hat. Brighton, a city of 150,000 on the southeastern coast of England, is famous for its beach and seaside attractions. Like many other British towns, its economy is recovering from a long dry spell.

Down Terrace turned out to be the opposite of that first script,” he acknowledged. “You don’t find out how anything works. You don’t even know what they do, really.

“As the script changed, I stripped out more of the crime stuff and focused on the family.”

According to co-star Michael Smiley, also in L.A. for the screening, the characters’ family history reads like a textbook description of post-World War II vice.

“It wasn’t uncommon for the ‘public-school boys’ to come in contact with more hardened criminals after being busted for selling hashish or grass,” Smiley observed. “They’d form alliances, which would put them in contact with other family members. Together, they hoped to form dynasties.”

This merging of cultures explains how Karl and Bill could engage in sophisticated philosophical discussion or sing the kind of music one might expect from Donovan or Richard Thompson. There’s more going on there than meets the eye.

“You wouldn’t bat an eye if a crook in a Howard Hawks’ movie picked up a guitar and started singing,” said Wheatley. “In focusing on the relationships between father and son, mother and son, we showed how crime was almost a genetic trait and the baton was passed along from one generation to another. The most important thing for the family was survival and Bill and Maggie became psychopathic to protect themselves.

“They’d cover a lie with another lie and a murder with another murder. Everyone in their way became collateral damage.”

Bill’s obsession with finding out who snitched is grounded in his belief that the police hope to drive a wedge between gang and family members, in order to catch the bigger fish in London. If that happened, not only would the envelopes of tribute paid to him by lesser criminals stop, but he could also be permanently eliminated from the chain of command.

Family dynamics are further skewed when Karl brings home his pregnant girlfriend and announces their engagement, even if it’s possible that she got knocked-up while he was in prison. He stands up to his parents by refusing to seek a paternity test and demanding she be made to feel welcome, even if she isn’t. Vonda is played by Robin Hill’s wife, Kerry Peacock.

Wheatley admits to being surprised that festival audiences in America have picked up on the humorous elements of the story, more so even than those in England.

“There’s lots of cultural slang, but they’re on every beat of it,” said Wheatley, who’s also directed several episodes of Ideal, a British sitcom about a lumpen pot dealer and his motley crew of friends and clients. “It’s like the slang in The Wire, in that it just comes out and hits you. They also recognize the family theme and feel for all of them, even though they’re so appalling.”

Down Terrace opens Friday in L.A. and New York, before going wider in weeks to come.