Posts Tagged ‘Megamind’

WILMINGTON ON DVD: Fish Tank, Sweet Smell of Success, Megamind, The Steig Larsson Trilogy, Due Date

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011



Fish Tank (Three and a Half Stars)
U.K.; Andrea Arnold, 2009 (Criterion Collection)

Sometime an amateur actor can embody a role so thoroughly, so effortlessly, that, watching them, we seem to watching drama-turned-documentary-and-back-again. Katie Jarvis, the young non-professional whom writer-director Andrea Arnold (Red Road), picked to play the lead in Fish Tank, her second feature film, is a case in point. We seem to be not so much watching a performance, as eavesdropping on a character.

Jarvis plays, or embodies Mia Williams, a young British girl — 15, foul-mouthed and rebellious — who lives in the projects with her blonde curvy hell-raiser of a mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), her equally foul-mouthed little sister, Sophie (Charlotte Collins) and whatever new boyfriend Joanne is bedding at the moment. In this case, the bloke of choice is Conor (Michael Fassbender of Hunger), a security guard who seems smart and responsible and very nice to Joanne’s daughters, especially Mia.

Too nice, maybe? Arnold and Fassbinder keep us guessing. But the possibility always looms — as Mia rocks around the house in the aggressive hip-hop routines she wants to try out at a local strip parlor dance contest, and as Conor applauds and helps out and encourages her — encourages her a little too much for the quality of the dancing.

Soon, something happens, and then something further happens, more drastic, more dangerous, when Mia, who’s a bit of a psychopath, breaks through the barriers for a chilling try for revenge. This sequence, which we won’t describe (You‘ll know it when you see it) has been damned by some of the film’s more fastidious admirers as melodramatic, though, given Mia‘s personality and background, it’s not all that implausible.

Perhaps only the extreme naturalism of most of the rest of Fish Tank, and its superficial similarity to the work of British realist moviemakers like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh — though often it seems closer to the Lynne Ramsay of Ratcatcher and the Alan Clarke of Scum — lulls some viewers into too casual a sense of what some fifteen year old girls are capable of. Certainly actress Jarvis and filmmaker Arnold give us plenty of preparation. And the movie is often a knockout.

Fish Tank won the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It looks as if it deserved it.

Extras: Three Short Films by Andrea Arnold: Milk (1998), Dog (2001) and the Oscar short film winner Wasp (2003); Interviews with Fassbender and Wareing; Audition footage; Booklet with Ian Christie essay.


Sweet Smell of Success (Two Discs)
U.S.: Alexander Mackendrick, 1957 (Criterion Collection)

Sweet Smell of Success, an American movie masterpiece and one of the best, truest and gutsiest of all the classic film noirs, is a sleek killer of a dark comedy/drama about New York City’s Broadway in the ‘50s — centering around two of its scurvier but nevertheless fashionable and influential denizens: megalomaniac star gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) and one of his more energetic publicist/sources, scummy but fashionable Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis).

Falco, who wears a suit black as night, a dazzling white shirt, curly black hair and a poisonous scowl/leer that always implies he‘s seen something dirty and know something even filthier, buzzes up and down Broadway (like Mosca the fly) and lives and dies each day by whether he gets a story planted in Hunsecker’s hugely successful column. Hunsecker, meanwhile, mostly holds court in the night spots which are his fiefdom, condescending to all the people, from Sidney and the other flacks, to movie stars to a U. S. Senator, who come to sip whiskey, smoke, chase tail and pay court to him.

J. J. and Sidney are unashamed users, almost proudly amoral. Hunsecker clearly thinks he’s above morality; Falco thinks he cant afford it now. Sidney treats his potential padrone with a fawning but mean-eyed servility. Hunsecker, with his huge ominous spectacles masking eyes of ice, condescends or freezes out Falco with an offhand contempt that suggests a sadistic monarch playing with a slightly disobedient puppy. “Match me, Sidney,” the donnish Hunsecker tells the weaselly Falco, in one of this movie’s many, many famous lines, and it becomes a split-second point of moral conjecture whether or not Falco will actually scramble to light his cigarette. (He doesn’t. Don’t worry though; he does far, far worse.)

Both these Broadway glamour monsters, as it happens, have need of each other this dark, blazing night and smoky day, in this world is bounded by the Stork Club, 21, the theater district and 42nd Street and maybe, if you’re slumming, the Carnegie Deli. Sidney wants to use J. J. to ascend higher in that world, into the sweet, smelly heights of Broadway gossip success, to become another J. J.. Meanwhile, Hunsecker has nominated Falco for one of the dirty jobs he can’t get too close to. He wants his predatory little flunky to covertly sabotage the budding romance between J. J.‘s sweet younger sister Susan (played by movie newcomer Susan Harrison), and her blond straight-arrow musician lover Steve (Martin Milner), who plays cool jazz guitar, a la Jim Hall, with the hip, popular Chico Hamilton Quintet.

When you watch J. J. and Sidney do their routines in Sweet Smell of Success — and they are routines, snazzy, cruel, funny if mostly unsmiling performances repeated over and over for a captive audience in the clubs and below the theater marquees and the blasts of neon, with streams of people pouring past indoors or out — you’ll never, never forget them. You’ll hear Hunsecker telling Falco “I’d hate to take a bite out of you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.“ Or that classic squelch “Maybe I left my sense of humor in my other suit.” Or Sidney circling blonde cigarette girl Rita (Barbara Nichols) and answering her query about whether he’s actually listening to her with the legendary crack “Avidly, avidly.”

Falco and Hunsecker are classic American movie characters — written with knife-like wit, commanding craft and true street genius by Ernest Lehman (who worked in this world) and Clifford Odets (a one time playwright king of Broadway), and directed with stinging life, energy and flawless insight by Alexander “Sandy” Mackendrick, a Scotsman born in America who became one of the ‘50s comedy experts of that British treasure-house, the Ealing Studio.

“Sweet Smell” was a sometimes chaotic production, with directors (Lehman) replaced, and scripts pounded out (by Odets) in the last minute. But Lehman or Odets never signed a better script. Mackendrick never directed a better movie — though his original 1955 The Ladykillers, with Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Katie Johnson, comes close. Elmer Bernstein, fresh from 1955‘s The Man With the Golden Arm, for Frank Sinatra and Otto Preminger, rarely wrote a jazzier, sharper score. The master cinematographer James Wong Howe (Hangmen Also Die, Pursued, Body and Soul) never shot a darker, more brilliant noir.

Lancaster did better, but not much. Though the matchlessly brutal J. J. Hunsecker earned Burt a slot on the AFI’s all time movie bad guy list, he was sometimes (not often) more impressive, more richly colored and dominating, in tonier classics like Elmer Gantry, From Here to Eternity and The Leopard.

But Tony Curtis never topped Falco, not even in Some Like It Hot. These two streetwise costars, Curtis and Lancaster, from the Bronx and East Harlem, at the top of their photogenic Hollywood chops, fresh from a huge movie hit together in the Carol Reed directed 1956 Trapeze, scored a controversial delayed knockout in “Sweet Smell“ even though they were both playing against type — so much so that many of Curtis‘s adoring femme fans revolted and attacked or ignored the film. (Nice Jeff Donnell, of In a Lonely Place and The George Gobel Show, who plays Sidney’s adoring secretary Sally, may symbolize them all. She can’t believe Sidney is a bad guy either.)

Lancaster was not Mackendrick‘s choice for Hunsecker. He wanted Orson Welles or Hume Cronyn (whom he thought looked a bit like Winchell). But it’s a weird piece of casting that works, and it makes this a stronger, sexier film — and even a more subversive one.

Lancaster, boss of the film’s production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, could be a conventional (or unconventional) hero, a noir guy, a good soldier, or one of the screen’s great swashbucklers (in The Crimson Pirate). He has that rapt, bedazzled quality and an overwhelming athleticism that enlivens both his heroes and villains, gives them a bizarre energy and a burning magnetism. His sexually bent Hunsecker (who seems to be in love with his sister) seems contemptuous not just of Sidney, not just of thes celebrity and publicist ass-kissers swarming around them, but of the whole world. He doesn’t remind you of Winchell, so much as what Winchell, in a dream, might have wanted to be: a brawny god and a muscular, intimidating king of Broadway, ensconced at the Stork Club, ruling the night, rattling out a lead in his mind.

What the hell can you say about Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco? Sidney brings a grin to your lips, and he makes your flesh crawl. He’s a prince of slime. Just as the movie‘s title (from Lehman’s original story, changed by the editor) suggests something both sweet and rotten in the American dream, Curtis, here in his movie star prime, creates a best-dressed Broadway louse, a dirty-minded ace of backstage deception, a fast-talking seductive scumbag. Like Kirk Douglas, like Mitchum, like Lancaster himself, Curtis was a big ‘50s star not afraid to look evil, and even though Falco’s badness almost pales next to Hunsecker’s, top-notch callous hucksterism and junior-grade evil is what Tony gives us, straight up.

He’s the ultimate wise-ass, toady and celebrity flack, the Paparazzo of publicists. Gleaming like an ultimate street hustler, he looks as if he just stepped out of both Toots Shor’s, and the Via Veneto of Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita, or “The Sweet Life“ (a movie which, coming three years later in 1960, had to have been influenced by Sweet Smell of Success). As Gary Giddins says in this movie’s Criterion booklet, Curtis acts the hide off this part, plays the spots off it. It‘s a role you can’t imagine being done better by anyone else, ever.

Everyone else on screen hits a hot streak too: the eternal fat ‘50s city cop Emile Meyer (in a part intended for Ernest Borgnine of the Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Oscar winner, Marty) as the brutal copper Harry Kello; bosomy Barbara Nichols as Cigareeta Rita, a bit hamstrung here by the Production Code; newsroom-regal Edith Atwater as J. J.’s column manager Mary; and blacklist victim Sam Levene as Sidney’s good Uncle Frank. (Good being relative of course.)

I said Sweet Smell of Success was gutsy. Boy, is it ever. In the waning years of the McCarthy era, with a crack cast and crew loaded with lefties of all types (starting with Lancaster himself), the movie attacks Red-baiting, drug and Commie hysteria, gutter journalism, police brutality and corruption, the phonier side of the American dreams of sex, celebrity and success, and, almost incidentally, its main target, the lies and hypocrisy and scummy double-dealing of Broadway and show biz press agentry, publicity and gossip columnists — that last something ex-gossip column item ghost Lehman (of Irving Hoffman’s “Tales of Hoffman”) knew well.

And yes it‘s true. “Sweet Smell” also deliberately patterned its main villainous character, the venomous sicko Hunsecker, after one of the country’s most famous and powerful newspapermen, Mr. and Mrs. America’s (and all the ships at sea) favorite Broadway scribe, Walter Winchell himself. (Winchell‘s daughter Walda was the model for J. J.’s sister Susan.) Not everybody who saw “Sweet Smell of Success” in 1957 knew that Winchell was the model for Hunsecker, but you can bet your ass most of the Broadway crowd from 42nd street to 57th street knew. And so, of course, did Winchell, whose reign was nearly over, but who probably rooted for the sour stink of failure to sink this movie — which it almost did — as he tipped his fedora and waited for “The Untouchables.”

Sweet Smell of Success lost money. But it fairly quickly became a classic. A classic it remains. I can remember yearning to see it, out in the sticks, in 1959. Now, thanks to Criterion, I can watch it any time I want. I think I’ll put it on at midnight. I’ll have a lot to watch. Criterion’s package for this great film is a wonderful one; James Naremore gives this two-disc set one of the best audio commentaries I‘ve heard. And the film itself deserves it: a terrific package of high talents in their prime, taking chances and winning the only game that counts.

Tell me something. Seriously. Why can’t we have more movies this smart and tough and sharp and beautifully made today? Movies about real American subjects? In the ‘70s there were a ton of similar pictures made by filmmakers — Scorsese, Coppola, Cassavetes, Friedkin, Lumet, Rafelson, Altman — who probably loved Sweet Smell of Success. What‘s our equivalent today? The Social Network? Give me a break. The Coen Brothers and Marty Scorsese? Well yeah, but they can’t do it all.

We need our own movies, today, to be more like this great picture by Lehman and Lancaster and Curtis and Odets and Mackendrick (a top director who made precious few afterwards.) We need our movies to take chances like this, to be irreverent, smart, bold and stylish as hell. It isn’t just the dialogue that’s great in Sweet Smell of Success. It’s the ideas. And the people. The style and the craft on all levels.

The newspapers are dying, but TV is there and boy, does it need to get a laser-eyed once-over like this. Broadway’s still there too, all the way to 42nd Street. The subjects are there. The people are around. The movie makers are there. And the movies? We’re waiting for them.

Avidly, avidly.

Extras: Commentary by James Naremore; Documentary Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away (Scotland: Dermot McQuarrie, 1986) (Three Stars), with interviews with Mackendrick, Lancaster, James Coburn, James Hill, and others, written and narrated by Michael Pye; Documentary James Wong Howe: Cinematographer (U.S.:  Arthur M. Kaye, 1973) with conversations and tutorials with Howe; Interviews with Walter Winchell biographer Neal Gabler and filmmaker/Mackendrick student James Mangold; Booklet with essays by Gary Giddins, and a memoir and two “J.J. Hunsecker” short stories by Ernest Lehman.


Megamind (Three Stars)
U.S.: Tom McGrath, 2010

You should have a pretty good time at Megamind, a DreamWorks 3D feature cartoon from director Tom McGrath (of the “Madagascar” movies), that satirizes superhero comics and, like Despicable Me, tells things from the villain‘s point of view.

Of course this is a villain — initially a nasty little blue brainiac bad scientist with a hatchet face and beady eyes, named Megamind and voiced by Will Ferrell — who has more strings to his bow than just villainy. Like the supercad in Despicable Me, Mega has his good side. And he even discovers, after finally vanquishing and apparently destroying his longtime superhero nemesis, Metroman (Brad Pitt), that he misses the Superguy and that villainy doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a hero to bash and maul and try to destroy every day or two.

After all, these two go back a long way, somewhat like Superman and Luthor (or The Prankster, or Mr. Mxyztplk), like Batman and the Joker (or the Penguin), like Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. And they share a kind of joint saga of super-parallelisms.

Metroman, like Superman and Megamind, came to Earth in a spaceship from a distant planet, but Superman (or actually, Superboy) was raised by a good solid Midwestern farming family, the Kents — while Metroman grew up rich, and Megamind was raised by criminals, a clear case of environment determining degrees of supergood or superbad. No wonder they can’t stop fighting each other; they’re superbrothers under the skin. There, but for the grace of Dreamworks, go I…

Megamind (the name was borrowed from a Japanese comic strip) is also a villain who finds he has a heart, who grows to dig and woo heroine Tina Fey as intrepid TV reporter Roxanne Ritchie, and who also has a cute sidekick, Minion (David Cross), a whirling, whisking fish in a robot spaceman’s suit and head-bowl helmet. (Remember Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet? Remember Phil Tucker’s great God-awful hilarious mess of a movie, Robot Monster? Then you gotta love Minion). Finally, desperate for kicks, Mega decides he has to whip up another superhero, so he turns a nerdy cameraman named Hal into superdude Titan (played by Jonah Hill, cooking), to make life mean something again.

In other words, bad needs good and vice versa. Quite a heavy moral for a kid‘s picture — although, like many feature cartoons, this one isn’t just for kids. Or adults, whether superhero or supervillain-inclined. It’s for anyone who ever picked up a superhero comic, or wanted to, or will some day — or who looked up at the starry night and shook a fist at the whole black, blazing, endless super-universe and cried “Kryptonite be damned! I‘ll fight for truth and justice and the American way!”

Of the actors, Tina Fey, Pitt, Hill and Cross all seem to match up perfectly — and Ben Stiller, JK Simmons and Justin Theroux are also around productively, and so is McGrath himself, who scorches up the soundtrack as an aristocrat named Lord Scott and a bewildered prison guard, whose prisoners keep changing shapes.

The only voice I sometimes had problems with was Will Ferrell, who’s been cast against type as Megamind instead of his trademark lecherous phonies and bewildered doofusses, and who could use a little more pizzazz and Vincent Price style sinister hamming at the start. But, to be fair, Gene Hackman wasn’t really right as mad inventor Lex Luthor, in the Donner-Lester Superman series. (It was  Telly Savalas’s part.) And yet now, for most movie fans of that era and afterwards, Hackman is Luthor. So by the same token Ferrell may be Megamind, just as Cross is Minion and Jonah Hill is Titan, or Tighten, or whatever.

What can you say? Megamind certainly won’t change your life, unless you’re a troubled super villain, or an exploited minion, or a psycho with a camera. But it’s a funny movie and also a visually spectacular one. (The settings look like Fritz Lang gone a little Chuck Jones). It uses 3D imaginatively, cracks some funny jokes (not too many, but enough), and ends with an avalanche of action. It isn’t as snazzy and creative as The Incredibles, but so what? It isn’t as snazzy and creative as La Dolce Vita either. And I’ll freely admit it isn’t as good as Despicable Me. But then, sauerkraut isn’t as good as chocolate cake, unless you really like sauerkraut.

Extras: Featurettes; Lost scene; Gag reel; Games; Video comic book; Picture-in-Picture material; Interactive comic creator.


The Steig Larsson Trilogy (“The Millennium Trilogy”) (Four Discs) (Three Stars)
Sweden: Nils Arden Oplev & Daniel Alfredson, 2009-2010 (Music Box)

In this trilogy of thrillers, Noomi Rapace, as Lisbeth, the tattooed beyond-the-fringe suspected murderess/hacker heroine, and Michael Nyqvist as Mikael, her muck-raking leftist journalist/ally, tear off the scabs from some old social/political wounds (just this side of fascism) in this scorcher of a Swedish crime thriller trilogy: a mostly engrossing adaptation of the world-wide literary/bestseller trio by Steig Larsson — a leftist muckraker himself.

The Swedes have been unusually good at literary thrillers, just as they’re also unusually good at rock ‘n roll, and tennis, and lingonberry jam, and movies. Ingmar Bergman is still their best movie-maker ever, and one of the world’s best as well: one film writer-director who probably should have gotten the Nobel Prize for literature. (I‘m serious.) The Larsson books are, of course, what Graham Greene, another famous Nobel non-recipient, called “entertainments,“ crowd-pleasers mostly ignored by upper-echelon critics and prize-givers. But, sales-wise, they were world-wide phenomenons, and the writer’s own story is a fascinating one.

Like his hero (or maybe Lisbeth’s sidekick) Mikael, Larsson was a leftist Swedish investigative reporter himself, engaging in obvious literary wish-fulfillment. He wrote the three novels (and maybe more), but died before any of them could be published. Put out posthumously, the Larsson trilogy have all become spectacular international best-sellers, and opened up a real life mystery drama, as well an inheritance battle between his long-time girlfriend and his family.

Then came the movies and they’ve all been crowd-pleasers too, if not quite on the lofty financial level of the books. Many of the main actors thread their way through all, or most, of the trilogy: led by Nyqvist as the angst-ridden, determined Mikael and Rapace as the bewitchingly sullen and silent half-pint dynamo Lisbeth. The supporting cast includes brilliant, warm Lena Endre (of Bergman and Ullmann‘s great Faithless), in the less flashy part of Mikael’s expose’ magazine colleague Erika; Georgi Staykov as Lisbeth’s brutal Russian defector father Alexander Zalachenko, Anders Ahlbom as her scum-sucking pedophiliac pig of a psychiatrist Dr. Peter Teleborian , and, the best of all the movie’s many malevolent male villains, Micke Spreitz as the huge, blonde assassin Ronald Neiderman, a behemoth who feels no pain and looks as if he could take on three Robert Shaws from From Russia with Love and send them all back to Moscow, mangled.

If you compare these movies to the recent British crime trilogy Red Riding, which is also based on a (far less popular) novel trilogy about social corruption and dark secrets written by novelist David Peace, adapted and scripted by Tony Grisoni for three different directors, and something of an unsung modern movie masterpiece, the Swedish film holds up very well. The Steig Larsson Millennium Trilogy may be less than an epic, but it’s more than an entertainment.

Includes: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden; Niels Arden Oplev, 2009) Three and a Half Stars. A terrific, smart Swedish mystery thriller. Based on the first Larsson novel, this one is about Nazis, serial killers, and cold-case murder mysteries on an isolated island — with an incredible performance by newcomer Rapace as Lisbeth, a black-leather, bisexual, computer expert on the trail of misogynists and monsters, and strong support from Nyqvist as Mikael, the Larsson-like left-wing investigative journalist (in temporary disgrace) and Sven Bertil-Taube as a rich industrialist who wants Mikael to solve the decades-old disappearance of his daughter.

Larsson’s book was originally called “Men Who Hate Women“ and the movie is, likewise, a full-throttle assault on violent sexism, to the extent that some viewers may get repelled and disturbed. But, like The Silence of the Lambs, this is a shocker that turns misogyny inside out. (In Swedish, with English subtitles.)

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Sweden; Daniel Alfredson, 2009) (Three Stars)
Perhaps the least of the Larsson Trilogy, but still a corker, this movie delves into Lisbeth‘s fiery past, sends her on the run and introduces two sadistic and frightening villains, Lisbeth‘s own father (played by Staykov) and Spreitz as the blonde monster Neiderman. There’s a problem with the last two “Girl” stories though: Lisbeth is a damsel in distress and in jail or the hospital for much of their joint running time, and she’s more fun when she’s roaming free and kicking ass. (In Swedish, with English subtitles.)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Sweden; Alfredson, 2009 (Three Stars) The third of the Steig Larsson “Girl” movie adaptations — about Blomkvist, Lisbeth, and the rat’s nest of government corruption, private depravity and cold-blooded murder they uncover — is not quite as good as the first “Girl” movie (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), but about as good or a little better than the second (The Girl Who Played with Fire), and overall, a pretty entertaining show.

Back is director Alfredson, who also worked on “Played with Fire,“ but not, suggestively, on “Dragon Tattoo,” which was directed by Niels Arden Oplev and written by Nikolai Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg. Oplev may be a slicker director than Alfredson, but there also may be a script problem. Each of the unusually big Larsson books is arranged as a stand-alone murder mystery by itself, but they’re also part of a continuous saga, and by the end, there are so many strands to untie, that the last movie seems too rushed, even though it’s nearly two and a half hours long.

“Dragon Tattoo” didn’t have to wrap everything up and audiences were probably so startled and/or delighted by their first look at Rapace’s hard-boiled anti-heroine Lisbeth that they didn’t care. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest also mixes up thriller and romance movie genres, though in this case, the romance seems to be doomed: Mikael‘s apparently unrequited crush on Lisbeth, scourge of an astonishing gallery of vile male rapists, pedophiles, fascists and murderers. Mikael, the relentless reporter, has the same soft eyes as Erika, but Lisbeth’s glare pierces like a knife, and what they share is almost like Brief Encounter, crossed with a James Bond movie and All the President‘s Men.

As for the upcoming American remake of Larsson, to be directed by David Fincher, with Daniel Craig as The Reporter and Rooney Mara as The Girl, well, you owe it to yourself to see Noomi and her tattoo and mohawk first. If Ingmar Bergman deserved a Nobel Prize for Literature, Noomi Rapace deserves a Palme d’Or for Punk. (Swedish, with subtitles.)
Extras: Documentary; Interviews with Nyqvist, Rapace, others of the cast and crew; Fight scene anatomized.


Due Date (Two and a Half Stars)
U. S.; Todd Phillips, 2010

An odd-couple road trip comedy about a wired-tight middle class architect (Robert Downey, Jr.) and an effete but slobby Hollywood-bound wanna-be actor (Zach Galifianakis), thrown together on an impromptu cross-country drive from Atlanta to L.A., Due Date isn’t up to the best of its most obvious antecedents, Midnight Run and Planes, Trains and Automobiles — even if it compares favorably enough to Phillips‘ own 2000 comedy crash-out Road Trip.

This movie made me laugh, though not nearly as much as Phillips’ last show, the stratospheric comedy hit The Hangover. Due Date has a tendency to try for too many Farrellyisms, to get too big and car-crashy explosive too soon, and to waste the virtuosic Downey and overstretch the newly omnipresent Galifianakis. It’s not bad, but too frequently, it’s not too good.

Actually, Due Date lost me somewhere around the Mexican border at Ciudad Juarez, which Downey‘s Peter Highman and Galifianakis’ Ethan Tremblay accidentally cross, falling into the hands of some descendants of Alfonso Bedoya who have gotten jobs as border guards. But the trip actually started to go south even earlier, when Ethan fell asleep at the wheel and flipped his rental car off a bridge on its roof somewhere west of Atlanta. Or maybe it was the over-cozy scene when Peter and Ethan curled up together on the front seat (Why? Nobody wants the back seat?) for a nighttime snooze, and Ethan started jacking off (his substitute for a sleeping pill) and his French bulldog with a sun collar started masturbating too. (Could Rin Tin Tin do that?)

But give “Date“ its due. The movie at least has some character comedy and personality gags, and it also has Downey, which puts it ahead of most recent comedies.

Downey is a master at both humor and drama and their various hybrids, even when the script won’t back him up (as it often won’t here). With his haggard soulful eyes balancing his glib run-of-the mouth exasperation, he mostly nails Peter Highman (Highman: Get it?), an expectant father summoned back to L. A. to witness the birth of his baby. Michelle Monaghan is the mom, another inducement.

Things are hectic and about to get worse. Just outside the airport entrance doors, Peter bumps into Galifianakis’ Ethan (“Tremblay” is his stage name) when Ethan’s car clips Peter’s Town Car and he loses a door. In the mix-up, the two future co-stars and road buddies scramble suitcases, and later Ethan gets them both thrown off the plane, when he sits behind Peter and starts babbling about terrorists and bombs, refusing to shut up despite frantic shushing form Peter. (A rather odd lapse in this post-9/11 era.)

Peter, slowly losing his temper, has now also lost his luggage, his wallet, all his I.D. and credit cards and everything but a cute huggie-toy rescued for him by thoughtful Ethan — and they’ve also been both plastered on the “no-fly” security list. But he foolishly acquiesces when Ethan offers to give him a ride to L. A. in a rental car, and to pay all his expenses. Off go the boy-os, toward what mad adventures we can only wildly surmise — accompanied by that friendly French bulldog, Ethan’s medical marijuana (for glaucoma, he keeps insisting ) and a coffee can containing the ashes of Ethan’s recently cremated father. (I give you two guesses what the pay-off gag for that one is.)

Well, I don’t want to telegraph any more jokes. (The movie does that better.) But Downey is one of my favorite thesps, and proof of his histrionic skills comes here conclusively when Ethan breaks out his weed, and Peter insists he‘s never touched the stuff. Wow! What an actor!

If only Galifianakis could match him.  I thought he could also use a few moments of early Gene Wilder-level hysteria, something to throw things even more off-kilter. But Galifianakis always seems too much in control, a bit apart from his own nuttiness.

Phillips, who once made a documentary called Frat House, and who directed Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn in the Back to the Fraternity comedy Old School, has a bent for this kind of high-and-horny frat-boy humor. Maybe he’s the king of it — and it’s good to be the king (of something). But in Due Date, he’s up against our formidable memories of  Candy and Steve Martin in “Plains, Trains” and of Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro in Midnight Run, not to mention Lemmon and Matthau (or Randall and Klugman) in The Odd Couple.

Merely introducing these guys to each other and spending a lot of money, or flipping cars off bridges, or going all Judd Apatow on us, isn’t enough. As they said in Damn Yankees, “You‘ve gotta have heart.” (Even if the way to that heart is through Galifianakis’ stomach.)

“Due Date” just goes too far, too fast, and is too automatic and undercooked on one end of its odd couple attack. But there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours. “Saw 3D,“ for example. (Aaaargh!!!) “life As We Know It” for another. (Yeccccch!) By comparison, Phillips’ movie is like an old buddy who shows up, tells some good jokes, tells some groaners, farts a little, barfs the beer, doesn’t always flush the toilet, but is basically a good guy. (Just keep him away from your girlfriend.)

By the way, why didn’t Peter just take a train?

Extras: Featurettes; Deleted scenes; Gag reel; “2 ½ Men” sequence.

The Weekend Report — January 16

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Weekend Estimates – January 14-16, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Green Hornet Sony 33.2 (9,270) NEW 3115 33.2
Dilemma Uni 17.4 (5,910) NEW 2940 17.4
True Grit Par 10.8 (3,130) -26% 3459 126
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 9.0 (5,810) 40% 1543 44.5
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 8.0 (3,450) -1% 2328 72.9
Little Fockers Uni 7.3 (2,140) -46% 3394 134.4
Tron: Legacy BV 5.7 (2,350) -43% 2439 157
Yogi Bear WB 5.3 (1,950) -21% 2702 82
The Fighter Par/Alliance 5.1 (2,100) -28% 2414 65.7
Season of the Witch Relativity 4.5 (1,600) -57% 2827 18
Tangled BV 4.0 (1,940) -22% 2048 181
Country Strong Sony 3.6 (2,550) -51% 1424 13.2
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox 2.3 (1,340) -51% 1704 98
Gulliver’s Travels Fox 2.0 (1,220) -56% 1666 37.6
The Tourist Sony 1.6 (1,150) -57% 1420 64.2
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 1* WB 1.4 (1,460) -42% 1507 289.8
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. 1.4 (5,910) 93% 230 2.8
Megamind Par .62 (1,820) 125% 341 145.4
The Heart Specialist FreeStyle .48 (1,140) NEW 422 0.48
Yamla Pagla Deewana Eros .43 (5,270) NEW 82 0.43
How Do You Know Sony .41 (660) -78% 615 29.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $123.70
% Change (Last Year) -27%
% Change (Last Week) 15%
Also debuting/expanding
Barney’s Version * Sony Class/eOne .37 (8,270) 259% 45 0.8
Rabbit Hole Lions gate .26 (2,620) 138% 100 0.9
Somewhere Focus .25 (4,680) 52% 53 0.73
Mirapakaya Bharat .23 (8,820 26 0.13
Another Year Sony Classics .12 (9,380) 40% 13 0.34
Anaganga o Dheerudu Blue Sky 66,500 (2,290) 29 0.07
The Illusionist Sony Classics 63,400 (9,060) 92% 7 0.25
Aadukalam Big Cinemas 25,600 (4,270) 6 0.03
Kaavalan Big Cinemas 21,800 (1,680) 13 0.02
Siruthai Bharat 18,200 (2,020) 9 0.02
Every Day Image 8,800 (2,930) 3 0.01
Ong Bak 3 Magnolia 5,500 (1,830) 3 0.01
A Somewhat Gentle Man Strand 5,100 (5,100) 1 0.01

Weekend Box Office Report –January 2

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Haply New Year

True Grit closed the gap with Little Fockers but couldn’t quite overtake the seasonal gag fest. Fockers emerged at the top of the charts with an estimated $26.2 million with Grit a trot behind at $24.5 million.

The closing frame of 2010 provided no new national releases and just two additions to the last gasp of the awards season. The searing drama Blue Valentine provided an opening weekend of $174,000 from four screens while the acclaimed Brit import Another Year bowed on six screens with $117,000.

Estimates for the year peg domestic box office at $10.52 billion, which translates into a 1.5% downturn from 2009. Admissions declined by a more sizable 7% drop largely as a result of premium pricing for 3D and large format movies. Eight of the top 10 top grossing movies of the year fell into that category and 2011 promises even more stereoscopic offerings.

Theater owners are scrambling to convert screens to digital 3D to capitalize in what no one can yet proclaim as either a temporary craze or the future of film going. The enhancements have been a finger in the dike of the eroding audience but with the arrival of 3D home entertainment this year that nagging recession may not abate. And there’s little doubt that the “windows” issue — the time between theatrical and ancillary release — will intensify with exhibition making grudging concessions that can only ramp up bad blood with major suppliers.

This year’s New Year weekend box office experienced a 13% uptick from the Christmas holiday session. However, it was 29% less fulsome than the same period last year when weekend three of Avatar grossed $68.5 million with Sherlock Holmes and Alvin: The Squeakquel adding $36.6 million and $35.2 million respectively.

Adult/awards fare, which includes The Fighter, Black Swan and The King’s Speech — all likely Oscar contenders — held their own with the holiday frivolity. That still leaves seven slots for films as diverse as Toy Story 3 and Blue Valentine in year that most film reviewers have characterized as overall sub-par.

True Grit has already become The Coen Brothers biggest grossing domestic release and actor Jeff Bridges can claim the rare distinction of having two holiday films (Grit, TRON: Legacy) that will gross in excess of $100 million. He’s easily the comeback kid in a year where seemingly more audience-friendly performers (and filmmakers) have taken it on the chin.


Weekend Estimates – December 31-January 1, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Little Fockers Uni 26.2 (7,380) -15% 3554 103.1
True Grit Par 24.5 (7,960) -1% 3083 86.7
Tron: Legacy BV 18.4 (5,480) -4% 3365 131
Yogi Bear WB 12.6 (3,580) 62% 3515 65.7
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox 10.3 (3,500) 9% 2948 87
The Fighter Par/Alliance 10.0 (3,960) 32% 2534 46.4
Tangled BV 9.9 (3,820) 53% 2582 167.9
Gulliver’s Travels Fox 9.0 (2,910) 42% 3089 27.1
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 8.4 (5,420) 35% 1553 47.3
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 7.5 (10,760) 67% 700 22.7
The Tourist Sony 6.7 (2,420) 25% 2756 54.7
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 1* WB 4.5 (2,580) 32% 1732 283.4
How Do You Know Sony 4.5 (1,800) 28% 2483 24.9
Megamind Par .57 (750) 56% 764 144.1
Unstoppable Fox .53 (1,180) 61% 450 79.5
The Social Network Sony .47 (1,890) 71% 249 93.2
Burlesque Sony .42 (1,270) 19% 330 37.8
Due Date WB .31 (770) 10% 404 98.8
127 Hours Fox Searchlight .27 (2,620) 42% 103 10.4
Red Summit .26 (860) 44% 303 89.5
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $153.60
% Change (Last Year) -29%
% Change (Last Week) 13%
Also debuting/expanding
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. .17 (43,500) 4 0.27
Another Year Sony Classics .12 (19,550) 6 0.17
Somewhere Focus .14 (17,870) 20% 8 0.44
Rabbit Hole Lionsgate .13 (3,850) 52% 34 0.42
Casino Jack IDP 79,700 (4,430) 63% 18 0.23
The Illusionist Sony Classics 50,200 (16,730) 30% 3 0.13
Country Strong Sony 42,600 (21,300) 40% 2 0.12

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 23, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (30) 1900.7 18.30%
Paramount (20) 1684.9 16.20%
Fox (20) 1470.5 14.10%
Buena Vista (17) 1408.5 13.50%
Sony (26) 1258.5 12.10%
Universal (19) 844.2 8.10%
Summit (11) 522.8 5.00%
Lionsgate (16) 519.6 5.00%
Fox Searchlight (8) 119.5 1.20%
Overture (8) 87.5 0.80%
Focus (8) 75.3 0.70%
CBS (3) 72.7 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (9) 72 0.70%
Sony Classics (22) 59.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (324) 257.5 2.50%
10404.3 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Weekend Box Office Report — December 26

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Grit and Bear It

Little Fockers and True Grit led the Christmas charge with respective opening debuts estimated at $34 million and $25.5 million that topped weekend movie going. The session also featured a Christmas day bow for the animated Gulliver’s Travels, which netted a two-day gross of $6.9 million.

Bollywood’s seasonal offering Tees Maar Khann rang up an impressive $700,000. However, several other Hindi, Telegu and Tamil releases were non-starters. China’s If You Are the One 2 opened up day-and-date (a first) with its Mainland release and chimed in with a potent $208,000 launch.

The frame also featured a clutch of last-minute releases for award season consideration. Best of the bunch was Venice-prized Somewhere with $148,000 from seven venues. The animated The Illusionist displayed comparable strength with a two-day tally of $52,600 on two screens and a four screen push for Barney’s Version in Canada proved effective with $64,400 (a single U.S. Oscar qualifying run was unreported). Lastly, Country Strong lilted $33,800 from two sneak peeks.

Overall the Christmas session got clobbered with calendar positioning that landed the eve on Friday (expect something similar with New Years). And while an estimated $155 million weekend provided an 11% boost from the prior weekend it translated into a pounding 45% drop from 2009. As the door quickly closes on the year, box office gross has slipped behind the prior year and admissions are approaching close to double digit erosion. A year ago Avatar’s second weekend grossed $75.6 million and debuts of Sherlock Holmes and The Alvin Squeakquel added $62.4 million and $48.9 million respectively.

All that said, tracking wasn’t exactly on target for new entries and holdovers. The third in the Fockers series was expected to render a first weekend of between $40 million and $45 million while the sophomore edition of TRON: Legacy was pegged at $25 million. Conversely True Grit outperformed pundits soothsaying that had it shy of $20 million.

Holiday crowds clearly voted for The Fighter, Black Swan and The King’s Speech as their Oscar favorites. Still there are seven additional slots to fill and the campaigning is apt to intensify in the upcoming weeks.

Weekend Estimates – December 24-26, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Little Fockers Uni 34.0 (9,610) NEW 3536 48.2
True Grit Par 25.5 (8,360) NEW 3047 36.6
Tron: Legacy BV 20.6 (5,960) -53% 3451 88.7
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox 10.9 (3,240) -12% 3350 63.9
The Fighter Par/Alliance 8.6 (3,430) -29% 2511 27.7
Yogi Bear WB 8.4 (2,380) -55% 3515 36.3
Gulliver’s Travels * Fox 6.9 (2,700) NEW 2546 6.9
Tangled BV 6.7 (2,590) -24% 2582 143.8
Fox Searchlight 6.4 (4,390) -23% 1466 28.9
The Tourist Sony 5.6 (2,020) -35% 2756 41.1
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 4.6 (6,530) 317% 700 8.4
How Do You Know Sony 3.7 (1,480) -51% 2483 15.1
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1* WB 3.3 (1,920) -34% 1732 273.1
Tees Maar Khan UTV .70 (6,780) NEW 103 0.7
Due Date WB .37 (910) -71% 404 98.3
Unstoppable Fox .36 (920) -80% 393 78.5
Megamind Par .35 (460) -49% 764 142.6
Burlesque Sony .33 (660) -77% 501 36.7
The Social Network Sony .31 (1,230) 9% 249 92.3
If You Are the One 2 China Lion .21 (9,040) NEW 23 0.21
127 Hours Fox Searchlight .20 (1,720) -64% 115 9.8
* Christmas Day opening
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $145.90
% Change (Last Year) -45%
% Change (Last Week) 11%
Also debuting/expanding
Somewhere Focus .15 (21,140) 7 0.2
Rabbit Hole Lionsgate 88,700 (2,610) 65% 34 0.16
Barney’s Version eOne 64,400 (16,100) 4 0.06
Casino Jack IDP 60,500 (4,030) 75% 15 0.11
The Illusionist * Sony Classics 52,600 (26,300) 2 0.05
Country Strong Sony 33,800 (16,900) 2 0.05
The Tempest Miramax/Maple 32,700 (2,520) -44% 13 0.19
Toonpur Ka Superhero Eros 9,600 (400) 24 0.01
Isi Life Mein Rajshri 4,500 (250) 18 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 23, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (30) 1861 18.40%
Paramount (19) 1634.7 16.10%
Fox (19) 1442.4 14.20%
Buena Vista (17) 1349.1 13.30%
Sony (26) 1239.1 12.20%
Universal (18) 798.7 7.90%
Summit (11) 522.2 5.20%
Lionsgate (16) 519.3 5.10%
Fox Searchlight (8) 105 1.00%
Overture (8) 87.4 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.70%
CBS (3) 72.5 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (9) 65.5 0.60%
Sony Classics (22) 59.5 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (317) 253.5 2.50%
10135.5 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Limited Releases * (Jan. 1 – Dec. 23, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Hubble 3D WB 19,359,509
The Ghost Writer Summit 15,569,712
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box/Alliance 11,287,817
The Young Victoria * Apparition/Alliance 11,131,232
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 9,321,571
Get Low Sony Classics 9,106,802
Fair Game Summit 8,650,388
A Single Man * Weinstein Co. 7,935,872
The Girl Who Played with Fire Music Box/Alliance 7,848,496
Cyrus Fox Searchlight 7,461,082
Babies Focus 7,444,272
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus E1/Sony Classics 7,394,171
Conviction Fox Searchlight 6,768,063
City Island Anchor Bay 6,671,036
The Last Station Sony Classics 6,617,867
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage 6,410,257
The Secret in Their Eyes Sony Classics 6,391,436
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 6,362,514
Winter’s Bone Roadside Attraction 6,237,371
Under the Sea 3D * WB 5,732,362
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Box Office Report — December 19

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Da Doo Tron Tron

TRON: Legacy commanded the multiplex with an opening salvo estimated at $43.4 million. The movie stocking was stuffed with two other new releases plus a couple of platform films that went wide to significant response.

Yogi Bear filched $16.6 million to rank second in the marketplace while the star-laden romantic comedy How Do You Know struggled to position eight with $7.5 million.

The Fighter proved itself a contender with a $12.1 gross and Black Swan spread its wings with an impressive $7.9 million. Meanwhile there were two freshmen titles tossing their hat into the ring for award season. The starkly dramatic Rabbit Hole had an encouraging $51,700 from five venues while Casino Jack failed to beat bank with $32,100 at seven tables. In Quebec, local action comedy L’Appat had a soft debut of close to $170,000.

Overall weekend revenues saw a significant boost from the early December doldrums, but couldn’t quite overtake 2009 box office when Avatar arrived at the multiplex. Friday domestic box office inched past $10 billion (4 days faster than last year) and through the weekend it stands just 1% better than at this point last year.

The current session promised an even better result than transpired with new entries appealing to different demographics. Only TRON: Legacy conformed to tracking that predicted a result between $40 million and $45 million. The 28-year hiatus from the original has allowed the 1982 movie to accrue a cult status and brought out an avid young male audience. Stereoscopic engagements accounted for an unusually strong 80% plus, though their numbers accounted for 55% of its screen count. Its ultimate potency will be determined by building a wider audience.

The animated-live action Yogi Bear was expected to gross in the low $20 million but came up short several pic-a-nic baskets. It won’t expand beyond the family market and should limp through the holiday season. How Do You Know is already hobbled and while there were low expectations of $10 million to $12 million it failed to meet an already low bar.

The session generated roughly $135 million for a 47% bump from the prior weekend but dipped 4% from 2009. Last year’s Avatar bow of $77 million led the frame with The Princess and the Frog trailing behind with $12.2 million and Did You Hear About the Morgans? limping into theaters with $6.6 million.

Black Swan shows early signs of becoming the season’s adult hit. Though the film has divided critics and the public, it has generated fierce debate that’s translated into sales … an asset in short supply for the likes of such films as 127 Hours and Fair Game. The Fighter, while not a knockout, looks likely to get traction from awards season recognition in a race that seems — despite already announced critics awards and the Golden Globe announcement — a bit amorphous.


Weekend Estimates – December 17-19, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Tron: Legacy BV 43.4 (12,580) NEW 3451 43.4
Yogi Bear WB 16.6 (4,710) NEW 3515 16.6
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader Fox 12.5 (3,530) -48% 3555 42.9
The Fighter Par 12.1 (4,850) 2503 12.6
Tangled BV 8.7 (2,720) -39% 3201 127.9
The Tourist Sony 8.4 (3,040) -49% 2756 30.5
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 7.9 (8,260) 140% 959 15.3
How Do You Know Sony 7.5 (3,030) NEW 2483 7.5
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1* WB 4.8 (1,690) -43% 2860 265.5
Unstoppable Fox 1.8 (980) -51% 1874 77.4
Burlesque Sony 1.3 (880) -58% 1510 35.4
Due Date WB 1.2 (1,060) -52% 1157 97.3
Love and Other Drugs Fox 1.1 (970) -64% 1093 30.2
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 1.1 (24,880) 81% 43 2.9
Megamind Par .69 (680) -73% 1025 141.6
127 Hours Fox Searchlight .51 (1,660) -49% 307 9.3
Faster CBS .41 (620) -76% 660 22.5
Red Summit .31 (710) -28% 439 88.4
The Social Network Sony .29 (1,270) 2% 228 91.9
Fair Game Summit .23 (860) -59% 268 8.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $129.60
% Change (Last Year) -4%
% Change (Last Week) 47%
Also debuting/expanding
L’Appat Alliance .17 (2,350) 72 0.17
I Love You Phillip Morris Roadside .14 (2,830) -10% 49 0.51
The Tempest Miramax/Maple 52,400 (2,490) 22% 21 0.12
Rabbit Hole Lionsgate 51,700 (10,320) 5 0.05
Casino Jack IDP 32,100 (4,440) 7 0.03
La Rafle Seville 28,200 (2,170) 13 0.03

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 16, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (29) 1837.8 18.40%
Paramount (19) 1622.6 16.20%
Fox (19) 1427.1 14.30%
Buena Vista (16) 1296.2 13.00%
Sony (25) 1221.2 12.20%
Universal (18) 798.5 8.00%
Summit (11) 521.7 5.20%
Lionsgate (15) 518.9 5.20%
Fox Searchlight (8) 96.1 1.00%
Overture (8) 87.3 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.70%
CBS (3) 72.1 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (9) 64.5 0.60%
Sony Classics (22) 59.4 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (315) 251.4 2.50%
10000.4 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Domestic Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Dec. 16, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 476,899,300
Toy Story 3 BV 415,071,937
Alice in Wonderland BV 334,191,110
Iron Man 2 Par 312,445,596
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 300,551,386
Inception WB 292,485,544
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 WB 260,701,257
Despicable Me Uni 250,322,315
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 162,171,789
Megamind Par 140,950,962
The Last Airbender Par 131,733,601
Shutter Island Par 128,051,522
The Other Guy Sony 119,534,389
Tangled BV 119,142,932
Salt Sony 118,485,665
Jackass 3D Par 116,857,736
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Box Office Report — December 12

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Weekend Estimates – December 10-12, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox 24.3 (6,840) NEW 3555 24.3
The Tourist Sony 16.8 (6,110) NEW 2756 16.8
Tangled BV 14.4 (4,040) -33% 3565 115.5
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1* WB 8.6 (2,400) -50% 3577 257.8
Unstoppable Fox 3.7 (1,260) -37% 2967 74.3
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 3.4 (37,778) 134% 90 5.7
Burlesque Sony 3.2 (1,120) -48% 2876 32.6
Love and Other Drugs Fox 3.0 (1,330) -48% 2240 27.6
Due Date WB 2.5 (1,260) -39% 1990 94.9
Megamind Par 2.5 (1,020) -50% 2425 140.2
Faster CBS 1.7 (820) -56% 2106 21.3
The Next Three Days Lionsgate 1.0 (720) -60% 1426 20.3
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 1.0 (2,360) -39% 416 8.2
The Warrior’s Way Relativity .91 (560) -70% 1622 4.9
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .58 (30,530) 78% 19 1.5
Fair Game Summit .55 (1,260) -43% 436 8.2
Morning Glory Par .51 (510) -70% 1004 30.2
Red Summit .41 (730) -45% 564 87.9
The Fighter Par .33 (81,850) NEW 4 0.33
The Social Network Sony .27 (1,190) -35% 227 91.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $88.65
% Change (Last Year) -5%
% Change (Last Week) 9%
Also debuting/expanding
No Problem Eros .20 (2,400) 84 0.2
I Love You Phillip Morris Roadside .16 (4,490) 39% 35 0.31
The Tempest Miramax 44,700 (8,940) 5 0.04
Band Baaja Baaraat Yash Raj 43,700 (1,370) 32 0.04
Hemingway’s Garden of Eden Roadside 11,600 (830) 14 0.01
And Everything is Doing Fine IFC 6,400 (6,400) 1 0.01
You Won’t Miss Me Factory 25 4,200 (4,200) 1 0.01
Love, In Between CJ Entertainment 2,600 (2,600) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 9, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (28) 1821.5 18.40%
Paramount (18) 1617.9 16.40%
Fox (18) 1387.3 14.10%
Buena Vista (16) 1277.9 12.90%
Sony (24) 1193.7 12.10%
Universal (18) 798.1 8.10%
Summit (11) 520.3 5.30%
Lionsgate (15) 517.1 5.20%
Fox Searchlight (8) 89.3 0.90%
Overture (8) 85.9 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.80%
CBS (3) 69.6 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (8) 63.6 0.60%
Sony Classics (22) 59.1 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (306) 249.5 2.50%
9876.4 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Weekend Estimates — December 12

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader|24.3|NEW|24.3
The Tourist|16.8|NEW |16.8
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|8.6|-50%|257.8
Black Swan|3.4|134%|5.7
Love and Other Drugs|3.0|-48%|27.6
Due Date|2.5|-39%|94.9

Friday Estimates — December 11

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader|8.1|3555|NEW|8.1
The Tourist |6.1|2756|NEW|6.1
Tangled |3.3|3565|-35%|104.4
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 |2.4|3577|-50%|251.6
Love and Other Drugs|1|2240|-49%|25.7
Black Swan|1|90|137%|3.3
Due Date |0.85|1990|-39%|93.2
Also Debuting
The Fighter |98,500|4||98,500
No Problem|56,700|84||56,700
The Tempest|15,400|5||15,400
Band Baaja Baaraat|10,600|32||10,600
Hemingway’s Garden of Eden|3,500|14||3,500
And Everything is Doing Fine|1,900|1||1,900
You Won’t Miss Me|1,500|1||1,500
* in millions

Weekend Box Office Report — December 5

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Warrior’s Weigh

The first weekend of December has the ignominious tradition of being one of the lowest moviegoing periods of the year. This year is no exception with but a single new wide release and holdover titles generally experiencing declines of more than 50%.

The newcomer arrived from the re-constituted Relativity Media with the martial arts actioner The Warrior’s Way. It barely squeaked into the top 10 with an estimated $3 million. Industry trackers hadn’t expected much for the picture but even their estimates were pegged significantly higher at roughly $5 million.

The frame leader was the animated Tangled with an estimated $21.5 million with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 taking the consolation prize with $16.9 million. The rest of the holdovers were indeed the deathly hallows.

However, there were a couple of spectacular exclusive debuts. The controversial and intense drama Black Swan bowed to $1.4 million, which translated into a jaw dropping per engagement average of $76,670. And the left-for-dead black comedy I Love You Phillip Morris hit the target with $109,000 from six locations and an $18,200 average. Also encouraging was the two-screen bow of the ironically titled All Good Things with $37,500.

The rest of the new niche crowd ranged from fair to poor including several new films on the Indian circuit, the independent Night Catches Us and the documentary Bhutto.

All added up, revenues amounted to about $86 million and a 54% drop from the weekend slice of Thanksgiving. It was also off 15% from the 2009 edition when the top new entry was third-ranked Brothers with $9.5 million. The 2009 leader with $20 million was The Blind Side.

Domestic box office should push past $10 billion next weekend and register a slight gain for the year when the dust settles in 26 days. It also unquestionably marks another year of theatrical admission declines; likely between 5% and 7%.

As to award’s contenders, it remains anyone’s game and last week’s announcement of honors from the National Board of Review provided scant indication of what’s to follow from major critical groups or the Hollywood Foreign Press. Apart from James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know, the anticipated upcoming releases have been seen and left prognosticators fumbling to identify leaders in any of the talent categories.


Weekend Estimates – December 3-5, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Tangled BV 21.5 (5,970) -56% 3603 96.5
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 1* WB 16.9 (4,090) -66% 4125 244.4
Burlesque Sony 6.1 (2,020) -49% 3037 27
Unstoppable Fox 6.1 (1,930) -47% 3152 68.9
Love and Other Drugs Fox 5.7 (2,310) -42% 2458 22.6
Megamind Par 4.9 (1,550) -61% 3173 136.6
Due Date WB 4.2 (1,720) -41% 2450 91
Faster CBS 3.8 (1,550) -55% 2470 18.1
The Warrior’s Way Relativity 3.0 (1,870) NEW 1622 3
The Next Three Days Lionsgate 2.6 (1,150) -45% 2236 18.3
Morning Glory Par 1.7 (760) -56% 2263 29.1
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 1.6 (3,790) -4% 433 6.6
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 1.4 (76,670) NEW 18 1.4
Fair Game Summit 1.0 (2,320) -27% 436 7.3
Red Summit .75 (960) -45% 779 87.2
For Colored Girls … Lionsgate .45 (930) -67% 485 37.3
Lance et compte Seville .43 (4,480) -31% 96 1.3
Skyline Uni/Alliance .42 (730) -63% 578 20.9
The Social Network Sony .41 (1,580) -42% 260 91
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .32 (53,000) -10% 6 0.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $81.25
% Change (Last Year) -15%
% Change (Last Week) -54%
Also debuting/expanding
I Love You Phillip Morris Roadside .11 (18,200) 6 0.11
Raktacharitra 2 Viva/Happy 94,200 (4,100) 23 0.09
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey Viva 65,300 (960) 68 0.07
Nutcracker 3D FreeStyle 45,700 (1,040) -31% 44 0.14
Made in Dagenham Sony Classics 39,600 (3,600) -37% 11 0.18
All Good Things Magnolia 37,500 (18,750) 2 0.04
Dead Awake New Film 31,400 (570) 55 0.03
Mar Jawan Gur Khake Punjabi 18,800 (6,270) 3 0.02
Night Catches Us Magnolia 12,100 (3,020) 4 0.01
Bhutto First Run 7,800 (3,900) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 2, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (27) 1792.9 18.40%
Paramount (18) 1609.2 16.50%
Fox (18) 1371.7 14.00%
Buena Vista (16) 1252.3 12.80%
Sony (24) 1185.4 12.10%
Universal (18) 797.2 8.20%
Summit (11) 517.9 5.30%
Lionsgate (15) 512.4 5.20%
Fox Searchlight (7) 84.7 0.90%
Overture (7) 81.9 0.80%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.80%
CBS (3) 64.2 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (8) 63.1 0.70%
Sony Classics (22) 58.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (301) 246.6 2.50%
9763.8 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Global Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Dec. 2, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 1,955,694,414
Toy Story 3 BV 1,065,128,004
Alice in Wonderland BV 1,024,537,295
Inception WB 840,550,911
Shrek Forever After Par 738,351,966
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 699,325,617
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 WB 634,033,738
Iron Man 2 Par 622,718,600
Despicable Me Uni 534,415,944
How to Train Your Dragon Par 495,921,283
Clash of the Titans WB 489,778,913
Sherlock Holmes * WB 367,796,599
The Karate Kid Sony 359,429,551
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time BV 335,816,141
The Last Airbender Par 319,062,129
Robin Hood Uni 312,207,159
Shutter Island Par 301,977,955
Sex and the City 2 WB 301,158,934
Salt Sony 293,955,694
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance 292,972,689
The Expendables Lionsgate 272,550,235
Grown Ups Sony 271,417,359
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 264,341,533
Knight and Day Fox 261,206,060
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 226,497,298
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates — December 5

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|16.9|-66%|244.4
Love and Other Drugs|5.7|-42%|22.6
Due Date|4.2|-41%|91
The Warrior’s Way|3.0|NEW |3.0
The Next Three Days|2.6|-45%|18.3

Friday Estimates — December 4

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1|4.8|4125|-77%|232.3
Love and Other Drugs|1.9|2458|-49%|18.9
Due Date |1.4|2450|-52%|88.1
The Warrior’s Way |1.1|1622|NEW|1.1
The Next Three Days |0.8|2564|-57%|16.5
Also Debuting
Black Swan|0.42|18||0.42
Raktacharitra 2|35,700|23||35,700
I Love You Phillip Morris|30,400|6||30,400
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey|19,900|68||19,900
All Good Things|11,100|2||11,100
Dead Awake|10,700|55||10,700
Mar Jawan Gur Khake|5,300|3||5,300
Night Catches Us|3,900|4||3,900
* in millions

Box Office Hell — December 2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|19.1|22.5|17|18|18
Unstoppable |5.5|5.2|n/a|6.0|5.7
The Warrior’s Way|5.3|4.6|7|5.5|4.0

Weekend Box Office Report — November 28

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Tangled Up in Blues … and Reds

A quartet of new releases for Thanksgiving failed to topple Harry Potter from the top of the charts during the gobble, gobble fest. The first part of the Potter finale — Deathly Hallows — grossed an estimated $51.2 million for the weekend portion of the holiday frame. Just a cluck behind was the animated Rapunzel of Tangled with $49.2 million ($69.1 million for the 5-days).

The other three wide release freshmen clustered in positions five to seven with indifferent results. The glitzy musical Burlesque crooned $11.4 million, rom-com Love and Other Drugs ingested $9.6 million and Faster added a tortoise-paced $8.2 million.

The big noise of the session proved to be the well positioned awards contender The King’s Speech that amassed a heady $86,000 screen average from just four venues. There was also an impressive $610,000 for local hockey comedy Lance et compte in Quebec, but a dull $212,000 for Bollywood entry Break Ke Baad. And a new seasonal Nutcracker in 3D was virtually D.O.A. with a $62,700 tally from 42 screens.

Adding it all up, Thanksgiving box office was a smidgen less than last year’s result.

Industry trackers generally predicted that Deathly Hallows would prevail at the box office but few anticipated that Tangled would be truly competitive with the Hogwart’s grad. They also generally over estimated the strengths of the remaining trio of new entries; especially Faster, which was given the edge over Love and Other Drugs.

Overall weekend numbers added up to roughly $187 million that translated into a 6% decline from the immediate prior session. It was also a slight 1% decline from Thanksgiving weekend 2009 when The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Blind Side led with respectively $42.9 million and $40.1 million. The top new entry, Old Dogs, ranked fourth with $16.9 million.

The current session also saw expansions for 127 Hours and Fair Game that were encouraging but nonetheless displayed signs of fatigue. Still with critics groups just weeks away from announcements both films could well experience second winds. The potent arrival of The King’s Speech however has put that film in the forefront and its now vying with a real royal wedding as well as a smattering of pictures yet to be seen for late year honors.


Weekend Estimates – November 26-28, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 1* WB 51.2 (12,420) -59% 4125 221.2
Tangled BV 49.2 (13,660) NEW 3603 69.1
Megamind Par 12.9 (3,770) -20% 3411 130.5
Unstoppable Fox 11.7 (3,670) -10% 3183 60.6
Burlesque Sony 11.4 (3,740) NEW 3037 16.8
Love and Other Drugs Fox 9.6 (3,920) NEW 2455 13.8
Faster CBS 8.2 (3,360) NEW 2451 11.8
Due Date WB 7.2 (2,830) -19% 2555 84.9
The Next Three Days Lionsgate 4.8 (1,860) -27% 2564 14.5
Morning Glory Par 4.0 (1,630) -24% 2441 26.4
127 Hours Searchlight 1.7 (5,900) 89% 293 4.4
Fair Game Summit 1.6 (3,960) 8% 396 6
For Colored Girls … Lionsgate 1.4 (2,360) -38% 605 36.6
Red Summit 1.4 (1,540) -43% 914 86.2
Skyline Uni/Alliance 1.1 (900) -70% 1189 20.1
The Social Network Sony .73 (2,510) -22% 291 90.4
Secretariat BV .66 (1.310) -32% 502 57.6
Lance et compte Seville .61 (6,930) NEW 88 0.61
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Music Box/Alliance .36 (1,970) -10% 184 4.2
Despicable Me Uni .35 (1,320) 31% 266 249.7
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .34 (86,030) NEW 4 0.34
Inside Job Sony Classics .31 (2,330) -9% 132 2.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $179.40
% Change (Last Year) -1%
% Change (Last Week) -6%
Also debuting/expanding
Break Ke Baad Reliance .21 (2,500) 85 0.33
Nutcracker 3D FreeStyle 62,700 (1,490) 42 0.09
Made in Dagenham Sony Classics 62.500 (5,680) 64% 11 0.12
The Legend of Pale Male Balcony 11,400 (11,400) 1 0.01
The Unjust CJ 7,200 (7,200) 1 0.01
Tere Ishq Nachaye Eros 4,200 (200) 21 0.01

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

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (27) 1674.1 17.80%
Paramount (18) 1578.1 16.70%
Fox (17) 1333.8 14.10%
Buena Vista (15) 1174.6 12.50%
Sony (23) 1161.6 12.30%
Universal (18) 793.9 8.40%
Summit (11) 512.7 5.40%
Lionsgate (15) 500.4 5.30%
Overture (7) 81.8 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (7) 81.4 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 62.6 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 57.8 0.60%
MGM (1) 51.2 0.50%
CBS (2) 50 0.50%
Other * (296) 242.7 2.60%
9431.9 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Limited Releases * (Jan. 1 – Nov. 21, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Hubble 3D WB 18,355,494
The Ghost Writer Summit 15,569,712
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box/Alliance 11,282,938
The Young Victoria * Apparition/Alliance 11,131,232
Get Low Sony Classics 9,080,285
A Single Man * Weinstein Co. 7,935,872
The Girl Who Played with Fire Music Box/Alliance 7,837,823
Cyrus Fox Searchlight 7,461,082
Babies Focus 7,444,272
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus * 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
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 6,350,058
Winter’s Bone Roadside Attraction 6,225,414
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage 6,130,466
Under the Sea 3D * WB 5,504,062
Precious Lions Gate 5,085,319
I Am Love Magnolia 5,002,411
An Education * Sony Classics 4,963,224
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates — November 28

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|51.2|-59%|221.2
Love and Other Drugs|9.6|New|13.8
Due Date|7.2|-19%|84.9
The Next Three Days|4.8|-27%|14.5
Morning Glory|4.0|-24% |26.4

Friday Estimates – November 27

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1|20.8|4125|-45%|190.8
Love and Other Drugs|3.7|2455|New|7.9
Due Date |2.8|2555|-3%|77.7
The Next Three Days |1.9|2564|-15%|11.7
Morning Glory |1.6|2441|-1%|24
Also Debuting
Lance et compte|0.25|88||0.25
The King’s Speech|0.12|4||0.12
Break Ke Baad|70,400|85||70,400
Nutcracker 3D|25,100|44||25,100
The Legend of Pale Male|3,300|1||3,300
The Unjust|1,900|1||1,900

Box Office Hell — November 25

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1|76.5|80.7|50|53|55
Burlesque |20.0|7.4|19|13|12
Love and Other Drugs|13.6|11.2|12|10|11.5

Weekend Box Office Report — November 21

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Harry and the Deathly Swallows … Gulp!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ascended to an estimated $126.2 million and corralled more than 60% of weekend ticket sales. Comparatively speaking the remaining films in the multiplex had to settle for chump change, including the bow of the thriller The Next Three Days which slotted fifth with $6.7 million.

The session also included the new Bollywood release Guzaarish, which garnered a better than respectable $423,000 at 108 venues. Among the few exclusive bows both the British import Made in Dagenham and France’s White Material were just OK with respective openings of $39,300 and $35,800, each playing on three screens.

It was the biggest opening yet for a Harry Potter film but while the juggernaut provided a big box office boost from last weekend it was insufficient to stave off a decline from 2009.

Expectations were high for the first installment of the last chapter of the Potter franchise. Advance sales and online tracking anticipated a $100 million debut and that number expanded following word of advance Thursday midnight screenings estimated at $24 million. Large format engagements were estimated at $12.4 million and if that number holds up it will be a record.

Internationally the early estimates are roughly $205 million from 54 markets. It includes all-time records in the U.K. and Russia and otherwise just sensational debuts elsewhere. The final, final Potter putter is schedule for July 2011.

On a decidedly downbeat note, The Next Three Days came in well below tracking that suggested a $10 million launch. The film also received a drubbing from critics.

Weekend revenues lurched toward $200 million, which translated into a 64% hike from seven days back. It was however 25% behind the 2009 slate led by the second installment of Twilight (New Moon), which bowed bitingly to $142.8 million with the unexpectedly $34.1 million potency of The Blind Side right behind it.

The contender’s roster failed to see any additional dynamos this weekend and the titles already in the marketplace were finding the Darwinian aspect of the exercise unrelenting. Both Fair Game and 127 Hours added a significant number of playdates with the latter continuing to maintain a hefty $8,330 engagement average. The other surprise in the mix is the continuing stamina of the non-fiction Inside Job that’s racked up $2.2 million to date.


Weekend Estimates – November 19-21, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1* WB 126.2 (30,600) NEW 4125 126.2
Megamind Par 16.2 (4,280) -45% 3779 109.5
Unstoppable Fox 13.0 (4,060) -43% 3207 41.9
Due Date WB 8.9 (2,760) -42% 3229 72.4
The Next Three Days Lionsgate 6.7 (2,590) NEW 2564 6.7
Morning Glory Par 5.2 (2,050) -43% 2544 19.8
Skyline Uni/Alliance 3.4 (1,170) -71% 2883 17.6
Summit 2.4 (1,190) -51% 2034 83.5
For Colored Girls … Lionsgate 2.3 (1,920) -64% 1216 34.5
Fair Game Summit 1.4 (3,730) 41% 386 3.7
Secretariat BV 1.0 (970) -56% 1010 56.4
Paranormal Activity 2 Par .93 (840) -69% 1101 83.6
The Social Network Sony .91 (1,590) -49% 571 89.2
127 Hours Searchlight .90 (8,330) 104% 108 1.9
Saw 3D Lionsgate .82 (1,020) -71% 806 45.3
Jackass 3D Par .72 (1,050) -68% 687 116.1
Life As We Know It WB .52 (930) -50% 558 51.6
Guzaarish UTV .42 (3,910) NEW 108 0.42
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Music Box/Alliance .41 (2,180) -22% 188 3.5
Inside Job Sony Classics .37 (1,770) -22% 211 2.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $191.50
% Change (Last Year) -25%
% Change (Last Week) 64%
Also debuting/expanding
Today’s Special Reliance 88,400 (1,670) 53 0.09
Made in Dagenham Sony Classics 39,300 (13,100) 3 0.04
White Material IFC 35,800 (11,930) 3 0.04
Queen of the Lot Rainbow 16,400 (2,730) 6 0.02
Copacabana Seville 14,100 (2,010) 7 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Nov. 18, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (18) 1555.1 16.80%
Warner Bros. (26) 1538.8 16.70%
Fox (17) 1320.7 14.30%
Buena Vista (15) 1173.4 12.70%
Sony (23) 1160.3 12.60%
Universal (18) 790.4 8.60%
Summit (11) 508.5 5.50%
Lionsgate (14) 490.6 5.30%
Overture (7) 81.7 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (7) 80.3 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.1 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 62.5 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 57.3 0.60%
MGM (1) 51.2 0.50%
CBS (2) 50 0.50%
Other * (288) 240.7 2.60%
9236.6 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Domestic Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Nov. 18, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 476,883,415
Toy Story 3 BV 414,681,777
Alice in Wonderland BV 334,191,110
Iron Man 2 Par 312,445,596
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 300,551,386
Inception WB 291,914,445
Despicable Me Uni 248,900,040
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 162,147,232
The Last Airbender Par 131,733,601
Shutter Island Par 128,051,522
The Other Guy Sony 119,256,755
Salt Sony 118,485,665
Jackass 3D Par 115,357,091
Valentine’s Day WB 110,509,442
Sherlock Holmes * WB 106,967,985
Robin Hood Uni 105,425,146
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates – November 21

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|126.2|New|126.2
Due Date|8.9|-42%|72.4
The Next Three Days|6.7|New|6.7
Morning Glory|5.2|-43%|19.8
For Colored Girls|6.6|-64%|30.8
Red|2.4|-51% |83.5
Paranormal Activity 2|2.3|-64%|34.5

Friday Estimates — November 20

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1|60.6**|4125|New|60.6
Due Date|2.9|3229|-48%|66.4
The Next Three Days|2.2|2564|New|2.2
Morning Glory|1.6|2544|-49%|16.2
Red |0.7|2034|-56%|81.8
For Colored Girls … |0.65|1216|-67%|32.8
Fair Game |0.35|386|29%|2.6
Also Debuting
Tiny Furniture|9,900|3||9,900
* in millions
** includes Thursday previews

Box Office Hell — November 19

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1|127.8|111.1|128|n/a|129
The Next Three Days |10.2|10.6|11|n/a|9.5
Due Date|8.0|8.4|n/a|n/a|8