Posts Tagged ‘Hereafter’

Wilmington on DVD: The Fighter, Hereafter, Last Tango in Paris, TCM Greatest Classic Legend John Ford Westerns

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


The Fighter (Three Stars)
U.S.; David O. Russell, 2010

Why are most sports movies in general usually so phony, predictable, and schmaltzy, while movies specifically about boxing (or that feature boxing or boxers prominently) tend to move us more, play more realistically, work better dramatically, and supply more film classics than the sports film norm?

I’m not saying that David O. Russell‘s The Fighter — which is about the relationship between light welterweight fighter Micky Ward and his half-brother/trainer Dickie Kelvin — is necessarily in the class of films like Body and Soul, The Set-Up, Somebody Up There Likes Me, The Harder They Fall, On the Waterfront, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Ali, Million Dollar Baby or Raging Bull. Or even, God help us, of Rocky. But it’s certainly a good movie, an arena for really good actors and writers and technicians to show their stuff.

That’s true of many fight movies. It’s a genre that even attracted Alfred Hitchcock (in 1927’s The Ring.) And even a somewhat phony, melodramatic boxing show like City for Conquest (with Jimmy Cagney fantastic as the boxer who fights to help his brother, the musician Arthur Kennedy) and Golden Boy, from Clifford Odets’ lauded Depression play (with William Holden as the boxer who is a musician) are several notches above. They have classier corn, tonier schmaltz.

Maybe it’s because boxing movies can focus more easily on character and individual combat. In The Fighter, Mark Wahlberg plays Micky and Christian Bale plays Dickie (respelled “Dicky“ in the movie, to match “Micky“) and they‘re the classic pair-up of good-guy/prodigal-guy (half) brothers. Both are from working class Lowell, Massachusetts (Jack Kerouac‘s town). Both are the sons of tough cookie Alice Ward (Melissa Leo of Frozen River and 21 Grams). But they’re way different.

Micky is diligent, self-sacrificing, a terrific boxer with a great temperament who works hard, survives unusual hardship (including a busted hand), and who won’t fold under duress. His nickname is “Irish Thunder.“ Dicky is a natural athlete and sometime irresponsible goofball who was a star fighter when Micky was 12, fought Sugar Ray Leonard almost even up (Leonard appears in The Fighter as himself), and now trains and strategizes for his half–brother (and does it well).

But Dicky has gotten heavily into crack cocaine. He’s a certifiable bad influence, and the new managers who take over Micky‘s career, after the boxer gets whipped a few times, don’t want him around, especially when Dicky pops up on camera in a TV documentary on cocaine use called High on Crack Street.

Micky goes along with the program and splits up with his brother, despite being pushed toward Dicky by their mutual mother, and pushed away from him by Micky’s contentious girlfriend, Charlene Fleming (played, in a real change of pace, by sunshine gal Amy Adams). Soon Micky is fighting for the Intercontinental light welterweight championship — against the snobbish champ, a British pugilist, who’d rather have a different opponent.

You probably know what’s going to happen in this movie even if you don’t know the real life story. (The real-life Micky and Dicky show up under the credits.) But this isn’t a case where predictability matters. It’s a character study of depth and power, and Wahlberg, Bale, Adams and Leo – and a lot of the supporting actors — really shine. (Bale and Leo both won supporting acting Oscars for their parts. Perhaps most impressive is Bale, who looks, and acts, something like a Dead End Kid on crack, an elongated mix of Huntz Hall and the younger Mean Streets De Niro, oscillating frantically between the goony and the near-tragically self-destructive.

Bale, like De Niro as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull seems willing to all but deform himself for his roles, and here, he plays Dicky as a guy who thinks he‘s a Golden Boy but keeps slipping, slipping, fouling up (like Cameron Mitchell as heroin addict boxer Barney Ross in Andre de Toth‘s Monkey on My Back). Wahlberg has his role as Micky, the less splashy one, down pat, and Melissa Leo seems like a Lowell mama who just walked into the movie. (So do the platoon of actresses who play her family). As for Adams, playing a tough bar girl in a low-cut blouse may not be her type and métier, but I liked her better here than I liked her in Julie and Julia.

Then again, these four actors are always good. It would probably take some crack cocaine and twenty blows to the head from Joe Frazier to really mess up their characters.

The Fighter — scripted by Scott Silver, Paul Tahasy and Eric Johnson — has a real weath of characters, several dozen good speaking roles, where the average movie focuses on maybe a half-dozen people or less. That richness may come from the fact that the sources here were real people. A real story. If I could hand the Hollywood studios one motto (or two) that would make their movies better — at least as good as The Fighter and maybe better — its this: Trust life. See and trust the world around you. Make your people breathe before you make them fight.


Hereafter (Three and a Half Stars)
U.S.; Clint Eastwood, 2010

Few moviemakers have divided American movie critics so rancorously as Clint Eastwood once did — and maybe as he does again with his new picture Hereafter. Part of the reason is that we’ve know him as an actor and director so well for so long, that we tend to take his work personally.

Hereafter won’t change people’s minds much. And I’ve got to admit I had doubts myself when I walked out of the theater — not about the movie’s subject, the afterlife (in which I tend not to believe) nor about Eastwood (in whom I do), but about the movie.

Hereafter was written by Peter Morgan, the British bio-drama specialist who wrote the scenarios for The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon and others, and it was executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (who suggested Eastwood as director). It’s a supernaturally slanted but soberly done, clear-eyed and unsettling drama about life after death, an intelligent, non-dogmatic film that accepts the possibility of soul survival.

The movie twists together three story-strands on the theme set in different countries — one about a French newswoman (Cecile de France) who nearly dies and recalls what it was like, one about an American factory worker (Matt Damon) with a seeming talent for communing with the dead, and one about a lower-class British boy (George McLaren) who‘s lost his twin brother in a fatal accident and desperately wants to find him again — and keeps moving them forward on separate tracks until the inevitable Crash of a climax.

Hereafter is a workmanlike, well-crafted film, and, predictably, it never goes all mystical and M. Night Shyamalan-ish on us. But it packs some wallops, beginning with a stunning vision of personal apocalypse that haunts the whole movie thereafter: a wondrously well-staged and very convincing tsunami. As we watch, swept along by the kind of technology Eastwood and his usual collaborators rarely exploit, a great wave roars like a huge gray specter out of the sea around the city, and it smashes down, flooding the streets, submerging the buildings, and drowning all visible people. That tsunami fatefully captures TV newswoman Marie LeLay (de France), who’s on a holiday with her lover-producer Didier (Thierry Leuvic), as she shops for curios from street vendors. (Didier is safe and sated in their hotel room.)

In images of spooky inexorability, caught-head-on without hysterical cross-cutting or Michael Bay slash-a-second stuff, Marie races the wave, unstoppable. Death seems near, here, inevitable. She and we both see the oft-mentioned white light and dark figures supposedly glimpsed by many people pulled back just from the brink of dying. (I had a very cool, very smart, very good friend who was inches from death by a heart attack, and he saw them too.)

Then, at the last minute, she’s pulled back to life and air by matter-of-fact rescue workers, combing the ruins. From then on, or at least soon afterwards, Marie eventually becomes a true believer, sacrificing her job, her reputation, a book contract (a lucrative assignment to trash Francois Mitterand), some friends and her lover (newsbabe-magnet Didier) to investigate and write instead about the white light and the afterlife she barely missed.

Interwoven with this first Hereafter tale is the second, involving George Lonegan (Damon), a boyishly frank San Francisco factory worker who was once a famous, and apparently legitimate, psychic. George dumped it all to preserve his mental and emotional well-being, and now is being pulled back against his will toward his old métier and life (and those huge old paychecks) by his determined mover of a brother Billy (Jay Mohr).

Following George’s path, briefly or not, are an old man (Richard Kind) in search of his departed wife, Derek Jacobi (himself) whom fan George meets at a book-signing, and a cutie-pie, flirty fellow cooking school student (Bryce Dallas Howard) who unwisely summons up his gift.

Last of the stories, and the one that usually would have held the screen by itself, is the tale of two London twin boy brothers, Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) who live with their drug-addicted, poor mother (Niamh Cusack) and are torn apart when Jason is killed in a traffic accident. It is Marcus, scouring the Internet for some way to reconnect with his lost brother, who finally sets all the interconnecting threads and wheels in motion.

Ever since his 2003 TV film Henry VIII, scriptwriter Morgan has mostly done dramas drawn from real life and history –and he and Eastwood give this movie the feel of reality heightened, of something that might actually have happened, even though we know it didn‘t. That mix of mythic storytelling and stylistic realism is part of the director’s signature, and also that of his team: cinematgrapher Tom Stern, editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach, and production designer James J. Murakami. Eastwood’s Hereafter composer was his longest-lived colleague of all: himself, doing another of his Windham Hill streetwise Erik Satie-gone-Thelonious Monk turns.

He still makes a hell of a picture. What’s most impressive about Hereafter is, first of all, that Eastwood had the guts to do it, to make a movie so far beyond his usual ken, one that was bound to be heckled as schmaltzy, New-Agey, sluggish and so old-school it’s out to lunch. But Eastwood just doesn’t flinch from even the script’s worst snare: the sense that the screenplay is proselytizing for supernatural explanations, that it’s trying to sell us the hereafter.

I don’t think it is, any more than the Twilight shows are trying to sell us on vampires. Hereafter is dealing with something, the afterlife, that many, or most, people believe, and that many would like to believe. But the attitude I sensed here was speculative, open-minded: “Maybe it’s there. Maybe it isn’t. We don’t really know. But here’s what it could be like…“

Morgan is a witty, sophisticated, well-read and very knowledgeable writer, and also a compassionate one. (His parents were both refugees, his father a German Jew, his mother a Pole; “Morgan“ comes from “Morgenthau.”) And all those qualities, except maybe the wit (which the movie could use more of) are on ample display here. I wouldn’t call Hereafter as masterful a writing job as Morgan’s biographical screenplays. But it has most of the good qualities of his earlier work, and it was obviously much tougher to do, not least because we’re so un-used to serious movies about the supernatural, so much more accustomed to horror-house thrill rides, or campy bloodbaths, or eerie sleazy movies about slashers running amok.

I admired Damon, for the way he absolutely grounds, in everyday rhythms, the conversations with the dead, And I was pleased by Jay Mohr’s push-push as Billy, and the sudden warmth of Richard Kind’s Christos after George locates his wife. I liked those cooking-school scenes with George’s very careful, thoughtful culinary routines and Bryce Dallas Howard’s flirty seduction (exactly right), and the way her character suddenly lets go.

That’s why Eastwood’s shoot-it-like-it-is philosophy on scripts works so well, as does his laid-back direction and his let-them-act strategy with actors. As a director, he and his team provide a rock-solid backdrop, and he usually puts the characters in a perfect, well-crafted trap — of crime, of war, of violence, of show biz, of drugs, of sexual exploitation, of life itself — then lets his actors tear their ways loose in the ways that feel right to them. It works. In Hereafter, he and Morgan deal with one of the great, obsessive themes of all history and religion, but they treat it as something ordinary, normal, something we might all experience.

Hereafter isn’t totally a tragedy, or totally a horror movie, or even totally a drama about people with a link to the beyond. Or a dark comedy either; if it had more laughs, it’s detractors might be more tolerant. It’s a ghost story, about the beings, wisps of memory and yearning, and the loved ones from our past that may be — or so the movie lets us believe for a moment — all around us, still alive, still somewhere. Don’t we wish…


Last Tango in Paris (Four Stars)
France/Italy: Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972 (MGM)

Marlon Brando is Paul, an American expatriate in Paris, who’s just lost his wealthy wife to a suicide (or maybe a murder, maybe by Paul), and whom we first see disheveled, in a raincoat, howling in the street, torn apart it seems with anguish and loneliness. Maria Schneider is Jeanne, a smart, voluptuous, chic young Parisian with a bit too much eye makeup, engaged to a fatuous, madly enthusiastic young cineaste named Tom (Jean-Pierre Leaud), who is shooting her (and himself) for a dumb-sounding reality TV show that he‘s concocted. (“If I kiss you, it may be cinema!”)

Reality lies elsewhere. Paul and Jeanne cross paths under an elevated train bridge, where she witnesses Paul‘s despair and his screams of “Fucking God!” She’s intrigued, wary, walks away as he sobs. But they meet again shortly afterwards when he turns up in a flat she’s looking at. They have an empty conversation without exchanging names (she’s guardedly friendly, he‘s morose) and then have quick, explosive sex with most of their clothes on, crying, moaning, against a wall, on the floor; when he pulls out, she rolls away like a cat.

He rents the place, she returns. They decide to keep meeting there, to keep having almost anonymous sex, to fuck each other over and over, while abandoning themselves to desire, and all the fantasies of the body. And dirty words, which bother some audiences more than nudity and sex itself. “Last Tango” is one of those movies guaranteed to offend squares.

This taboo-shattering classic by Bernardo Bertolucci, in which Brando and Schneider (playing a role intended for the prettier Dominique Sanda of The Conformist) broke barriers, appearing nude or semi-nude and feigning sex (Brando is the more modest of the two), is the torrid memento of a time — post-Sexual Revolution, pre-herpes outbreak, pre-Aids plague — when quick anonymous sex between partners who barely knew each other, happened if not commonly then at least quite a lot, and may even have been happening (to some degree) in the seats of the theaters where Last Tango in Paris was playing, or just outside them, or definitely in apartments within walking distance of them.

It’s a movie borne along on some of the more intense psychological, political and sexual currents of the ‘70s, and it’s starkly, nakedly revelatory of that time’s savage kinks and wet dreams. Maybe it’s not quite the epochal, revolutionary masterpiece Pauline Kael believed when she wrote her famous New Yorker piece (comparing “Last Tango“ to Stravinsky‘s “Rite of Spring“). But it was definitely the sort of movie, the kind of fantasy, that she had probably always wanted from the cinema (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I Lost It At the Movies), and that other intellectual and passionate cinephiles wanted as well.

Beautiful streets, beautiful images, a beautiful city. An actor like Brando: ravaged, half-nude, fucking. An actress like Schneider, nude, copulating, screaming out a climax. Good dialogue and fine acting and artistry, too. (The French language conversations were written by Agnes Varda, the music was by saxophonist/composer Gato Barbieri and Oliver Nelson, and the paintings in the credits, looking as if they were rotting in their frames, are by Francis Bacon.)

Brando, one of the movies’ greatest actors — and one who, sadly, really lost his way after this film, taking many subsequent roles, it seemed mostly for the money and eating himself into a premature grave (this was one of Brando’s peak roles, but perhaps he should also have played one of the debauching foursome in Marco Ferreri‘s La Grande Bouffe) — is at his peak here. He never exposed himself as much on screen, in several senses. (Paul has part of Brando’s own real and fictional biography: boxer, actor, South American revolutionary, Japan, Tahiti.)

Maria Schneider, a newcomer who never surpassed her performance here, is sumptuous-looking, sensual and open,  right for the part, but probably not as good as Sanda would have been. (The fox-eyed blonde beauty Dominique was then widely hailed as the Garbo of her day, and she had a smile that drove you mad.) But Schneider makes potent memories nonetheless.

Last Tango in Paris captures a lot of the unease and dangerous ecstasy of the early ‘70s and the sometimes boundless ambition of the decade’s best moviemakers, who, unlike all too many filmmakers today (techno-hacks whose preferred orgasms seem to be mostly financial), wanted to make powerful, intelligent, adult films, to create classics that transgressed boundaries, broke new psychological and cinematic ground, and carried audiences to where they‘d never been. They honestly, really wanted to. Some of them did.

The movie still shocks — now not so much by its sexual content as by the unrestrained passion and fury of Brando’s performance and the wild beauty of Bertolucci‘s, Vittorio Storaro‘s and designer Fernando Scarfiotti’s view of Paris. But it amuses us as well. Brando is sometimes very funny here, and I’ve always though “Last Tango” would be even better if it were even funnier, before it darkens at the end.

I don’t know if I think it’s a masterpiece, revolutionary or not. I don’t know that it matters. No extras.


TCM Greatest Classic Legends: John Ford Westerns (Two Discs) (Four Stars)
U.S.: John Ford, 1948-64 (TCM/Warner Bros.)

“My name’s John Ford. I make Westerns,” he liked to say, to introduce himself.

A simple sounding epitaph for one of the greatest filmmakers who ever lived. But it’s clear that John Ford — despite the blue ribbon prestige of his six Oscars, and despite his mastery of movie genres like the historical drama (Young Mr. Lincoln), the social drama (The Grapes of Wrath), the family drama (How Green Was My Valley), the film noir/political drama (The Informer), the war film (They Were Expendable), the documentary (The Battle of Midway), the sea film (The Long Voyage Home) and the romantic comedy (The Quiet Man) — was at his happiest and probably best when he could take a company of the actors, technicians and crew people he liked most and go out to Monument Valley, that hair-raisingly beautiful landscape of desert and mountain and mesas straddling Utah and Arizona where he shot most of his westerns from Stagecoach on. And shoot another Western.

Far from Hollywood. Far from producers. Far from the barrooms, flesshpots and pleasure haunts of the city. Far from the present day world. Far from the bustle and noise and aggravation of politics, studio or otherwise. Far from home. And far from what Thomas Mitchell, as Stagecoach’s jovial alcoholic/medico/philosopher Doc Boone, called “The blessings of civilization.”

Ford, (born Sean O‘Feeney in Maine) had directed mostly Westerns in the first years of his career. Starting in 1917, he was tutored by his older brother, the then star director-actor Francis Ford (later a familiar Ford character actor), and he later worked with star cowboy actor Harry Carey and others, honing his craft, training his marvelous, painterly eye, and refining his sense of how to tell stories in the dark, until he made a career breakthrough in 1924 with the hit Western epic The Iron Horse. Eventually, he rose through the ranks even higher to become the Hollywood studio system‘s most honored and admired director, the one filmmaker to whom almost all his colleagues deferred and paid their respects.

I used to defend Ford when some David Thomsonish guy would start trashing him by listing six genius or major filmmakers, who, when Ford was alive, all called him the “greatest living film director”: Frank Capra of course, but also Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Sidney Lumet, Elia Kazan — and Orson Welles, who watched a print of Stagecoach over 40 times, before embarking on Citizen Kane.

Ford’s Westerns are not exactly mythic, and not exactly realistic (they are, in many ways, both), and they are definitely not kitsch or hokum, though some critics (like David Thomson) like to dismiss them for alleged crimes of politics, realism and taste. They are, as Welles once told Peter Bogdanovich, the work of “a poet, a comedian.” (Welles also said that, with Ford, “you feel that the movie has lived and breathed in a real world.”) Ford’s best movies — actually almost all of his movies — are deceptively simple-seeming stories about deceptively simple-seeming people who live in a landscape primitive, dangerous and yet complexly bewitching and beautiful. Beauty lies all around and death lies everywhere in a good classic Western, and nowhere is beauty more intense and death sadder and more wounding than in a Western by John Ford.

In his movies, for all their seeming historical flaws, for all their unabashed appeal to ordinary Americans and common folk everywhere, for all their shoot-‘em-up simplifications, for all their deviations from the truth (which Ford knew as well as anyone and to which he always returned), we constantly see something vitally entertaining, deeply human, lyrical, moving and sometimes extraordinary.

We see the magnificence and horror of a great popular dream of our collective past, and we sense the truth and lies behind it. We see lines of U. S. Cavalrymen riding before the horizon, and stagecoaches racing across the salt flats. We see Navajos singing and passing pipes in their tribal councils, and waiting silently above in the hills. We see outlaws and outsiders, great men and women and the ones who were forgotten. We see the womenfolk and the dances and the gardens and the graveyards, where the old people go to talk and commune with their beloved dead. We see a living, breathing frontier, as it may have looked 150 years or more ago. We see America, as Ford wanted to see it, and as, in some important ways, it was.

Ford has been criticized by his detractors many times for what they wrongly say was his artistic credo, for the chilling irony of that pompous statement by newspaper editor Carleton Young as he throws away the true story given him by Jimmy Stewart’s Ranse Stoddard, the so-called “Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”: “This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.“ It’s a shame that this has to be explained again, as it so often has, by Bogdanovich and others, but those sentiments are clearly not intended as Ford’s philosophy of life or art. In that movie, the character played by Carleton Young prints the legend. Ford prints the fact.

That’s the whole meaning of the story and title of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. And however much Ford may have had to work with Hollywood legends and formulas, a vision of history and the truth and what it meant to real people always lies behind his tales.

An artist’s great gift is their ability to reclaim and preserve beauty and humanity, people and places, villainy and heroism, sorrow and happiness, from a world that insists on slipping away from us and dying. John Ford claimed he didn’t like the word “artist” to describe what he did; he said he preferred to call himself a “workman.” In this case, as in several others, I think he was kidding us along, printing the legend a little. He was an artist, a poet, a comedian.

He was John Ford. He made Westerns.

Includes: 3 Godfathers (U.S.: John Ford, 1948) Three and a Half Stars. In a movie Western story that kept being told again and again — first by Ford in 1919’s Marked Men, then by director William Wyler, then by Richard Boleslawski, and finally here, again by Ford — three outlaws, pursued though a searing desert by Sheriff Ward Bond and a relentless posse, make a promise to a dying mother (Mildred Natwick) that they will save her newborn baby, and try mightily to keep their word.

The outlaws are played by John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz and, in his movie debut, Harry “Dobie” Carey, Jr. (Dobie’s father, and Ford’s old friend/collaborator Harry Carey, who had recently died, is paid tribute in the credits.) Full of Christ-child and Christmas symbolism that should seem labored but isn‘t, sometimes corny, sometimes hokey, this lovingly shot and acted movie just overwhelms your defenses. Adapted by Laurence Stallings and Frank Nugent from a story by Peter Kyne.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (U.S.: Ford, 1949) Four Stars. Colonel Nathan Brittles, played by John Wayne, in one of his signature roles, is an aging commander in a Western fort, with only a few days before retirement and a raft of problems, some almost charming, some deadly. The fort is surrounded by increasingly hostile Indian tribes inspired and emboldened by Sitting Bull’s defeat of Custer at the Little Big Horn, Nathan’s old friend, chief Pony That Walks, is powerless to mollify the young warriors. Meanwhile, the belle of the fort (Joanne Dru) is being pursued by two young officers (John Agar and Harry Carey, Jr,), and Nathan’s top sergeant, Quincannon (Victor McLaglen) has a secret whiskey stash that could help start an epic barroom brawl, and, of course, does.

One of the great ones: the most beautiful of Ford’s Cavalry Westerns, and one of Wayne’s two or three finest performances. (The way Wayne’s Nathan puts on his specs to read his troop‘s “sentiment” on their goodbye gift to him is a heart-crusher.) This is also the movie with the emergency operation (by Arthur Shields and Natwick) in the wagon in the thunderstorm, the one where Nathan says “Never apologize; it’s a sign of weakness,” and the one where Ben Johnson, as Plumtree, keeps saying to Nathan “That’s not my department.”

Wagon Master (U.S.: Ford, 1950) Four Stars. Another great one — and, like She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, one of Ford’s own personal favorites. The only black and white movie in this set, it’s a warm-hearted and lyrical action comedy odyssey about a Mormon wagon train heading West, a sternly religious community led by a hot-tempered  preacher (Ward Bond), who hires two charmingly happy-go-lucky cowboys (Johnson and Carey, Jr.) to be his wagon masters.

Complicating matters: the Cleggs, a family of bloodthirsty outlaws, including the genially murderous Pa Clegg (Charles Kemper, of Jean Renoir’s The Southerner) and hulking Clegg brute (and future Matt Dillon) James Arness, and a wandering troupe of traveling players, including sexy Joanne Dru again and grand ham Alan Mowbray. Wagon Master, with its excellent cast and stunning landscapes, shows Ford at his most brilliant: It’s pure poetry, pure comedy, a real masterpiece.

Wagon Master later inspired the long-time Number One-rated TV series, “Wagon Train” with Bond essentially repeating his role here as the notably non-Mormon but hot-tempered Major Seth Adams — and there’s one “Wagon Train” episode, called “The Colter Craven Story,” starring Bond, directed by Ford, with a Duke Wayne cameo, and with gorgeous footage (including the movie’s last shot), borrowed from Wagon Master.

This disc also has a top-notch commentary by Bogdanovich and Harry Carey, Jr., with archival interviews and salty remarks by Ford himself.


Cheyenne Autumn (U.S.: Ford, 1964) Three and a Half Stars. Ford’s last Western, and also his last movie to be shot in Monument Valley, was this long-cherished project about the trials and triumph of the Cheyenne tribe, unhappily relocated to a reservation east of their homeland, and of their arduous trek, against the wishes of the U. S. government, back to their ancestral hunting ground in Yellowstone.

A genuine epic, Cheyenne Autumn is larger-scaled than anything Ford made after The Iron Horse — except for 1962’s Cinerama saga How the West Was Won, also scripted by James Webb, in which he has one short unforgettable episode called The Civil War. Cheyenne Autumn also offers a last loving look at Monument Valley and an all star cast that includes Ricardo Montalban, Sal Mineo, Gilbert Roland, Dolores Del Rio, and Victor Jory among the noble, and occasionally fiery, Cheyenne. (Western movies with largely Native American casts for Native American roles were still a few years away, A lot of Ford‘s usual Navajo actors are in the tribe here again, though.)

Also in the Road Show-style ensemble: Carroll Baker as the Cheyenne’s Quaker teacher; Edward G. Robinson as the U.S. Grant administration’s Indian Affairs head Carl Schurz; James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy and John Carradine in a comedy interlude, as cynical poker players Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Major Starbuck; and the mostly likable and highly conflicted contingent of U. S. Cavalry men that includes Ben Johnson, Harry Carey, Jr., Mike Mazurki, Pat Wayne (Duke’s son), Karl Malden and Richard Widmark (who also narrates the movie.)

Once wrongly low-rated as an overly preachy message movie, by myself and other Ford admirers (including my old writing partner Joseph McBride, who here supplies a superb and very thoughtful and informative commentary), this is one of Ford’s key works, a major piece of historical reappraisal by the director who (as he sadly said himself) had “killed more Indians than Custer.” It’s also a movie with strong links to both Ford’s official masterpieces The Searchers and The Grapes of Wrath.

The Fordian landscapes are as overpowering as ever, and the story is a riveting and very historically important one, harmed perhaps only by Ford’s reticence about putting too many villains or unsympathetic characters in the Cavalry. Malden, a martinet who precipitates a massacre, is really the only one. But, as Joe suggests, if Cheyenne Autumn is a “noble failure,” as some have said, its nobility is more important than its failure.

This is the 154 minute director’s cut version, with the complete Stewart-Kennedy “Battle of Dodge City” episode, plus all the Overture and Intermission music. The other extras on the overall set include a “Cheyenne Autumn” featurette narrated by Stewart, trailers and some of Ford’s personal home movies. These movies are available in other, more complete and more expensive sets; this one though is a first-rate compilation and a bargain.


Location, Location: Clint Eastwood, Make My Door

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Location, Location: Clint Eastwood, Make My Door

Weekend Box Office Report – November 7

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

No Brainer

Megamind led a torrid weekend box office frame (the largest for a pre-Thanksgiving November) with a first salvo estimated at $47.5 million. Two other national openers followed in succession with strong numbers. The comedy road trip Due Date grossed $33.4 million and the Afrocentric For Colored Girls bowed to $20.1 million.

There was also a pair of Bollywood films timed to the Dwali holiday. Golmaal 3 had solid returns of $443,000 from 86 screens while Action Replayy was disappointing with $232,000 from 99 venues. In Quebec Reste avec moi pancaked on a gross of $25,600 in an initial 19 playdates.

In limited and exclusive runs the politically charged Fair Game polled a respectable $663,000 that indicates challenging expansion plans. Among the remaining newcomers there was a good solo for Algerian Oscar submission Outside the Law of $7,500. But the big noise of the weekend was the not-for-the-squeamish 127 Hours, which played to near capacity at four and generated a staggering screen average of $66,570.

Weekend revenues ballooned as a result of buoyant new titles and some very strong holdovers.

The latest from DreamWorks Animation, Megamind, was generally pegged to debut in a mid-$40 million arena though some felt it could have performed better on a less competitive weekend. Though that contention is dubious, the rest of the year really doesn’t offer that option with both pre-sold and award titles beginning to open up the multiplex floodgates.

Due Date — with its obvious references to Trains, Planes & Automobiles — renewed faith in the power of a high concept comedy. But the riskier For Colored Girls, based upon the acclaimed play by Ntozake Shange, was the session’s major question mark. Many had pursued the property for decades and concluded that it was unfilmable, so when Tyler Perry unexpectedly stepped forward there was a collective shudder. Critical response was mixed to positive while the opening box office was better than anticipated.

Overall box office should top $155 million for the weekend and best the immediate prior session by 67%. It’s also a 28% improvement from 2009 with the launch of the animated A Christmas Carol opened to $30.1 million with the frame’s other debs The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Fourth Kind slotting third and fourth with respectively $12.7 million and $12.2 million.

If you believe that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the opening weekend of 127 Hours would certainly buttress your argument. Aside from sterling reviews, the fact-inspired tale of endurance has generated a lot of ink centering on the intensity of the viewing experience that appears to cause at least a few patrons to faint at every screening. The industry will be watching intently to see whether it remains a date movie as it expands nationally.

Also under the microscope is Fair Game that fell short of dynamic initial business. There’s already debate about the decision to open in more than a handful of venues and a feeling that rapid expansion will result in further disappointment along the lines of Conviction.


Weekend Estimates – November 5-7, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Megamind Par 47.5 (12,040) New 3944 47.5
ue Date WB 33.4 (9,960) New 3355 33.4
For Colored Girls Lionsgate 20.1 (9,440) New 2127 20.1
Red Summit 8.8 (2,720) -18% 3229 71.8
Saw 3D Lionsgate 7.9 (2,820) -67% 2808 38.5
Paranormal Activity 2 Par 7.1 (2,250) -57% 3168 77
Jackass 3D Par 5.0 (2,330) -41% 2165 110.8
Secretariat BV 4.1 (1,570) -18% 2614 51.1
Hereafter WB 4.0 (1,680) -38% 2365 28.7
The Social Network Sony 3.5 (1,890) -22% 1860 85
Life As We Know It WB 3.1 (1,610) -23% 1950 48.6
Conviction Fox Searchlight 1.5 (2,280) -16% 672 4.5
The Town WB 1.2 (1,510) -39% 801 89.8
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Music Box/Alliance .74 (3,720) 2% 199 2
Fair Game Summit .66 (14,410) New 46 0.66
Easy A Sony .50 (1,070) -53% 468 57.3
Legend of the Guardians WB .45 (610) -74% 740 54
Golmaal 3 Eros .44 (5,140) New 86 0.44
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .38 (1,570) -36% 242 5.4
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox .34 (960) -57% 353 51.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $149.10
% Change (Last Year) 28%
% Change (Last Week) 67%
Also debuting/expanding
127 Hours Searchlight .27 (66,570) 4 0.27
Action Replayy Viva .23 (2,340) 99 0.23
Stone Overture .18 (1,630) -28% 109 1.5
Four Lions Drafthouse 41,300 (5,160) 8 0.04
Reste avec moi Seville 25,600 (1,350) 19 0.03
Client 9 Magnolia 18,400 (6,130) 3 0.02
Red Hill Strand 8,400 (1,680) 5 0.01
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) Cohen Media 7,500 (7,500) 1 0.01
Trapped CJ Entertainment 4,400 (4,400) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Nov. 4, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (25) 1457.6 16.50%
Paramount (16) 1423.7 16.00%
Fox (16) 1290.9 14.50%
Buena Vista (15) 1163.9 13.10%
Sony (23) 1151.1 13.00%
Universal (17) 776.9 8.80%
Summit (10) 488.3 5.50%
Lionsgate (13) 444.2 5.00%
Overture (7) 81.2 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (6) 75.9 0.80%
Focus (7) 74.8 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 62.3 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 55.5 0.60%
MGM (1) 51.2 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (281) 233.2 2.60%
8880.7 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Global Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Nov. 4, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar Fox 1,953,205,209
Toy Story 3 BV 1,061,408,156
Alice in Wonderland BV 1,024,537,295
Inception WB 831,539,135
Shrek Forever After Par 737,766,901
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 691,483,448
Iron Man 2 Par 622,718,600
How to Train Your Dragon Par 495,792,295
Despicable Me Uni 492,994,376
Clash of the Titans WB 489,778,913
Sherlock Holmes * WB 367,796,599
The Karate Kid Sony 359,315,646
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time BV 335,692,394
The Last Airbender Par 318,404,181
Robin Hood Uni 311,826,207
Shutter Island Par 301,977,955
Sex and the City 2 WB 301,158,934
Salt Sony 291,684,047
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance 277,419,991
Grown Ups Sony 270,265,798
The Expendables Lionsgate/NuImage 269,273,037
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 264,341,533
Knight and Day Fox 256,518,022
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 226,497,209
Valentine’s Day WB 217,596,116
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates – November 7

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Due Date|33.4|New|33.4
For Colored Girls|20.1|New|20.1
Saw 3D|7.9|-67%|38.5
Paranormal Activity 2|7.1|-57%| 77
Jackass 3D|5.0|-41% |110.8
The Social Network|3.5|-22%|85

Friday Estimates – November 6

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Due Date|12.1|3355|New|12.1
For Colored Girls|7.4|2127|New|7.4
Saw 3D|2.5|2808|-76%|2.5
Red|3.4 |3349|-25%|51.5
Paranormal Activity 2|2.5|3229|-27%|65.5
Jackass 3D|1.6|2165|-50%|107.3
The Social Network|1|1860|-32%|82.5
Also Debuting
Fair Game|0.18|46||0.18
Golmaal 3|0.12|86||0.12
127 Hours|77,400|4||77,400
Action Replayy|58,200|99||58,200
Four Lions|12,700|8||12,700
Reste avec moi|7,600|19||7,600
Client 9|5,450|3||5,450
Red Hill|3,000|5||3,000
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)|2,000|1||2,000
*in millions|||

Weekend Box Office Report – October 31

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

See … Saw … Ouch!

Saw 3D whipped into cinemas with an estimated $24.3 million to take top spot in weekend movie going. Distributors gave a wide berth to the Halloween frame when traditionally there are sharp drops in attendance; making the Saw finale the sole new national release.

A different sort of ghoul — the Millennium finale The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest — went limited wide to solid returns of $890,000, but otherwise the frame’s new entries were dominated by niche and exclusive launches. The best of the bunch was the Chinese trembler Aftershock with a single screen entry of $17,600. Other newcomers with good but not spectacular returns included indie drama Welcome to the Riley’s, Brit spy spoof Wild Target, Mexican prize winner Nora’s Will, Claude Chabrol’s final effort Bellamy and non-fiction entry Waste Land.

Overall box office saw a sharp fall from last weekend and a slight bump from 2009 results.

The seventh annual edition of the Saw franchise was hoping for an exit with bite with the addition of stereoscopic imagery. But pre-release tracking indicated that with or without gimmicks the mania was fading and its mid-$20 million weekend tally was pretty much in line with pundit’s predictions. The gore crowd would appear to be sated with current splatter fare but the past month has seen every segment of the audience unenthusiastic for the new crop of movies beyond their opening sessions.

The global juggernaut for the Millennium trilogy continued with the U.S. bow of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. The first installment, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has racked up $99 million internationally and it and its second chapter are the top grossing foreign-language movies in America post-Pan’s Labyrinth.

Weekend revenues generated about $95 million in sales that translated into a 28% drop from the immediate prior session. It was a modest 6% improvement from 2009 when Michael Jackson: This Is It bowed to $23.2 million followed by Paranormal Activity with $16.4 million.

The fact-based Conviction expanded nationally to fair results and appears to be headed to the same sort of indifferent commercial returns as the rest of the early award season contenders. A sharp drop for last weekend’s Hereafter departs from the sort of holds associated with recent films directed by Clint Eastwood whereas the better than expected stamina of the geezer spies of RED has confounded box office mavens.

But apart from Jackass 3D (which passed a $100 million tally this weekend) such well-reviewed positive word-of-mouth entries as The Social Network and Secretariat have struggled to maintain a presence (forget about momentum) in a marketplace that has all but eliminated the possibility of a second wind.


Weekend Estimates – October 29-31, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Saw 3D Lionsgate 24.3 (8,660) New 2808 24.3
Paranormal Activity 2 Par 16.4 (5,070) -60% 3239 65.6
Red Summit 10.9 (3,250) -28% 3349 59
Jackass 3D Par 8.5 (2,720) -60% 3139 101.7
Hereafter WB 6.4 (2,630) -47% 2424 22.2
Secretariat BV 5.0 (1,610) -28% 3108 44.7
The Social Network Sony 4.7 (1,690) -36% 2767 79.7
Life As We Know It WB 4.1 (1,440) -33% 2860 43.6
The Town WB 2.0 (1,250) -27% 1608 87.7
Conviction Fox Searchlight 1.8 (3,220) 501% 565 2.4
Legend of the Guardians WB 1.8 (880) -46% 2010 52.7
Easy A Sony 1.1(880) -37% 1262 56.3
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Music Box/Alliance .89 (5,830) New 152 0.89
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox .78 (840) -37% 933 51.2
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .52 (1,580) -33% 330 4.6
Devil Uni .51 (800) -21% 635 33.1
Alpha and Omega Lionsgate .48 (710) -34% 676 24.1
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus .46 (960) -32% 477 5.8
You Again BV .41 (610) -37% 673 24.7
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Sony Classics .33 (1,022) -24% 323 2.4
Toy Story 3 BV .31 (920) -34% 337 413.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $89.70
% Change (Last Year) 6%
% Change (Last Week) -28%
Also debuting/expanding
Stone Overture .22 (1,760) -39% 125 1.2
Nowhere Boy Weinstein Co. .13 (840) -62% 153 1
10.50 Alliance 55,800 (4,290) 13 0.06
Welcome to the Riley’s IDP 41,600 (4,160) 10 0.04
Nora’s Will Menemsha 25,300 (4,220) 6 0.03
Wild Target FreeStyle 23,200 (5,800) 4 0.02
Bellamy IFC 19,700 (9,850) 2 0.02
Monsters Magnolia 18,100 (6,030) 3 0.02
Aftershock AMC 17,600 (17,600) 1 0.02
Waste Land Arthouse 10.300 (10,300) 1 0.01
Walkaway IABA 9,400 (360) 26 0.01
Strange Powers Variance 4,800 (4,800) 1 0.01
The Kids Grow Up Shadow 4,600 (4,600) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Oct. 28, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (25) 1436.3 16.40%
Paramount (16) 1389.1 15.90%
Fox (16) 1289.8 14.70%
Buena Vista (15) 1155.5 13.20%
Sony (23) 1142.4 13.10%
Universal (17) 774.3 8.90%
Summit (10) 473.3 5.40%
Lionsgate (12) 412.7 4.70%
Overture (7) 80.6 0.90%
Focus (7) 74.1 0.80%
Fox Searchlight (6) 73.4 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 61.9 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 54.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 51.2 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (277) 229.7 2.70%
8749 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Limited Releases * (Jan. 1 – Oct. 28, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Hubble 3D WB 17,246,918
The Ghost Writer Summit 15,569,712
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box/Alliance 11,270,373
The Young Victoria * Apparition/Alliance 11,131,232
Get Low Sony Classics 8,980,294
A Single Man * Weinstein Co. 7,935,872
The Girl Who Played with Fire Music Box/Alliance 7,768,761
Cyrus Fox Searchlight 7,461,082
Babies Focus 7,444,272
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus * E1/Sony Classics 7,394,171
City Island Anchor Bay 6,671,036
The Last Station Sony Classics 6,617,867
The Secret in Their Eyes Sony Classics 6,391,436
Winter’s Bone Roadside Attractions 6,204,696
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 5,342,641
Under the Sea 3D * WB 5,256,073
I Am Love Magnolia 4,982,446
An Education * Sony Classics 4,963,224
The Hurt Locker * Summit 4,531,548
Solitary Man Anchor Bay 4,360,548
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates – October 31

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Saw 3D|24.3|New|24.3
Paranormal Activity 2|16.4|-60%| 65.6
Jackass 3D|8.5|-60% |101.7
The Social Network|4.7|-36%|79.7
Life As We Know It|4.1|-33%|43.6
The Town|2.0|-27%| 87.7

Friday Estimates – October 30

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Saw 3D|10.8|2808|New|10.8
Paranormal Activity 2|6|3239|-57%|55.2
Red|3.4 |3349|-25%|51.5
Jackass 3D|3.1|3139|-59%|96.2
The Social Network|1.5|2921|-33%|76.5
Life As We Know It|1.4|3019|-28%|40.9
The Town|0.6|1918|-24%|86.3
Also Debuting
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest|0.28|124||0.28
Welcome to the Riley’s|12,500|10||12,500
Wild Target|7,600|4||7,600
Waste Land|4,800|1||4,800
The Kids Grow Up|2,650|1||2,650
*in millions|||

Box Office Hell – October 28

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Saw 3D|23.4|n/a|24|n/a|22
Paranormal Activity 2|19|n/a|16|n/a|19.5
Jackass 3D|10.5|n/a|10.5|n/a|9.5

Weekend Box Office Report – October 24

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Back to Paranormal

Paranormal Activity 2 exceeded pundit expectation (though not necessarily fans) with an estimated $41.6 million to lead weekend movie ticket sales. The session’s only other national bow was Hereafter, which shot up to $11.9 million following last weekend’s limited opener.

Niche and regional bows included a solid $212,000 (in Hindi and Telegu versions) bow for the Indian crime saga Rakhtcharitra. Fans won’t have to wait long for its second part conclusion that’s scheduled for late November. Meanwhile up in Canada the Toronto fest curtain raiser Score: A Hockey Musical failed to live up to its name with a discordant $143,000 from 127 rinks.

Exclusives included good though unsensational debuts that included non-fiction Boxing Gym with a $6,100 TKO in its solo bout and Taqwacores — the tale of an Islamic rock band — grossing $5,500 also in a single outing.

Though there was a marginal dip from last weekend’s box office, the frame saw its first uptick from 2009 in a month with industry mavens already predicting expanded revenues through the end of the year.

Critical response to sleeper sensation Paranormal Activity 2 was at best tepid with the more negative reviews viewing it as a cynical rehash of its inspiration. Nonetheless avids were cueing up to provide Thursday midnight shows a record preview for an R-rated film. It lost traction as the weekend proceeded but the fast start was sufficient to speed past tracking that suggested an opening salvo of not much more than $30 million.

Exit polls for both Paranormal Activity 2 and Hereafter were disappointing. The latter film pretty much brought in the anticipated older crowd and filmmaker Clint Eastwood’s films have a history of hanging in for longer than typical runs and much higher multiples than is the industry norm. Still, this yarn could well stray from that trend.

Weekend revenues amassed roughly $130 million in torn ducats. It represented a slight 2% dip from seven days back but the unexpected Paranormal Activity 2 and overall strong holdovers translated into a 13% box office boost from 2009. A year ago the first Paranormal Activity (in its initial wide weekend) led with $21.1 million followed by Saw VI and Where the Wild Things Are with respective tallies of $14.1 million and $14 million.

With the exception of Waiting for “Superman” it’s been a brutal season for Oscar hopefuls trying to set an early footprint on the awards landscape. Granted, very few have received a wholehearted critical embrace, but even by niche standards the likes of Nowhere Boy, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Jack Goes Boating among others have been comparative under-performers when measured against past films that have employed this tactic.


Weekend Estimates – October 22-24, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Paranormal Activity 2 Par 41.6 (12,930) New 3216 41.6
Jackass 3D Par 21.5 (6,920) -57% 3111 87.1
Red Summit 15.1 (4,620) -31% 3273 43.6
Hereafter WB 11.9 (5,450) 2175 12.2
The Social Network Sony 7.2 (2,450) -31% 2921 72.8
Secretariat BV 6.9 (2,210) -26% 3108 37.3
Life As We Know It WB 6.1 (2,010) -32% 3019 37.5
Legend of the Guardians WB 3.1 (1,390) -26% 2236 50.1
The Town WB 2.7 (1,390) -33% 1918 84.6
Easy A Sony 1.7 (1,050) -35% 1632 54.7
Wal Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox 1.2 (960) -49% 1255 50
My Soul to Take Uni/Alliance 1.0 (600) -68% 1689 13.9
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .76 (2,620) 2% 290 3.7
Alpha and Omega Lionsgate .71 (980) -14% 727 23.5
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus .66 (1,180) -46% 560 5.1
Devil Uni .63 (980) -35% 642 32.4
You Again BV .61 (680) -50% 901 24
N Secure FreeStyle .53 (1,190) -55% 445 1.9
Toy Story 3 BV .42 (1,211) -21% 350 413.4
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Sony Classics .40 (1,060) 46% 381 1.8
Case 39 Par Vantage .38 (530) -69% 721 12.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $123.90
% Change (Last Year) 13%
% Change (Last Week) -2%
Also debuting/expanding
Stone Overture .34 (3,030) 49% 113 0.76
Conviction Fox Searchlight .30 (5,420) 192% 55 0.34
Rakhtcharitra Viva/Happy .21 (6,230) 34 0.21
Nowhere Boy Weinstein Co. .21 (870) -39% 215 0.76
Score: A Hockey Musical Mongrel .14 (1,130) 127 0.14
Jhootha Hi Sahi Viva 64,700 (1,350) 48 0.06
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Fiftyfilms 10,300 (5,150) 2 0.01
Boxing Gym Zipporah 6,100 (6,100) 1 0.01
Taqwacores Rumanni 5,500 (5,500) 1 0.01
Inhale IFC 5,600 (2,800) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Oct. 21, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (25) 1403.9 16.30%
Paramount (15) 1310.6 15.30%
Fox (16) 1287.9 15.00%
Buena Vista (15) 1144.7 13.30%
Sony (23) 1129.9 13.20%
Universal (17) 771.4 9.00%
Summit (10) 453.6 5.30%
Lionsgate (12) 411.5 4.80%
Overture (7) 79.7 0.90%
Focus (7) 73.2 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (6) 72.7 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 61.6 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 53.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (271) 226.9 2.70%
8581.7 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Domestic Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Oct. 21, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 476,726,209
Toy Story 3 BV 413,013,123
Alice in Wonderland BV 334,191,110
Iron Man 2 Par 312,445,596
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 300,531,751
Inception WB 289,881,124
Despicable Me Uni 247,148,995
Shrek Forever After Par 238,667,087
How to Train Your Dragon Par 218,685,707
The Karate Kid Sony 176,797,997
Clash of the Titans WB 163,214,888
Grown Ups Sony 161,942,598
The Last Airbender Par 131,733,601
Shutter Island Par 128,051,522
The Other Guy Sony 118,236,912
Salt Sony 118,229,865
Valentine’s Day WB 110,509,442
Sherlock Holmes * WB 106,967,985
Robin Hood Uni 105,425,146
The Expendables Lions Gate 103,068,524
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates – October 24

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2|41.6|New| 41.6
Jackass 3D|21.5|-57% |87.1
The Social Network|7.2|-31%|72.8
Life As We Know It|6.1|-32%|37.5
Legend of the Guardians|3.1|-26%|50.1
The Town|2.7|-33%| 84.6
Easy A|1.7|-35%|54.7

Friday Estimates – October 23

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2|19.1|3216|New|19.1
Jackass 3D|7.6|3111|-66%|73.1
Red|4.5 |3273|-38%|33
The Social Network|2.2|2921|-34%|67.8
Life As We Know It|2|3019|-35%|33.4
The Town|0.8|1918|-35%|82.7
Legend of the Guardians|0.75|2236|-27%|47.7
Easy A|0.55|1632|-35%|53.6
Also Debuting
Score: A Hockey Musical|81,400|120||81,400
Jhootha Hi Sahi|20,200|48||20,200
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend|3,700|2||3,700
Boxing Gym|2,300|1||2,300
*in millions|||

Box Office Hell – October 21

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Paranormal Activity 2|33.8|24.2|30|29.5|28
Jackass 3D|22.5|25|20|22|23
The Social Network|7.0|7.4|6.5|7|7

Clint Eastwood Sees Age As Boon; A Good Thing, That

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Clint Eastwood Sees Age As Boon; A Good Thing, That

Best Picture Chart – 19 Weeks To Go – 10/21/10

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The Ten, If I Had To Pick Today
Dec 25
True Grit
The King’s Speech
Dec 1
Black Swan
Oct 1

The Social Network
Dec 10
The Fighter
O. Russell
Nov 5
127 Hours
Oct 22
June 18
Toy Story 3
July 16

July 9
The Kids Are All Right
The Next Tiers Of Likely
Dec 17
Everything You’ve Got
Nov 24
Love & Other Drugs
Zwick Hathaway
Dec 29
Another Year
June 11 Winter’s Bone
Feb 19
Shutter Island
July 30
Get Low
Sept 15
Never Let Me Go
Sept 17
The Town


Nov 19
Made In Dagenham
Oct 8
Dec 25



Dec 10
The Tempest
Dec 31
Blue Valentine
Dec 29
Dec 29
The Way Home

by David Poland

Previous Chart

September 29, 2010