Posts Tagged ‘Paul’

Airplane Movies

Monday, August 1st, 2011

I watched two films on the way to New Zealand.

I was shocked how much I like Paul. I was looking forward to it when it was being released, but things didn’t quite work out and then, the response was muted at best.

I really enjoyed the tone of the piece, more so than in the previous Pegg/Frost films, which I have liked, but not loved them the way some do. These two middle-aged geeks reminded me of real middle-aged geeks… self-aware, but still engaged and hopeful.

I really liked the balance of these guys against Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio, who like our geek heroes, are really on the outs while they feel like they are insiders.

I liked Kristin Wiig’s Ruth Buggs, whose evolution via Paul was inevitable, but still worked pleasantly for me.

That’s really the thing… here are these guys… on this stupid trip… and they meet an alien… and they get over it in a second and just keep rolling along. It was like The Muppet Movie with an alien.

Speaking of which, it was one of my favorite Seth Rogen performances because he wasn’t encumbered by his look, which in the movies is a real thing. Using just his voice, his Paul could go from being stoner laid back to cocky to mean to arrogant to sweet as sugar and just keep going. I liked the integration of the CG character into the film and found it reasonably seamless… as though Greg Mottola was directing a guy in a suit on the set and didn’t really change much to accommodate him.

No doubt, it may have seemed more flawed on a screen 50x bigger than other one I viewed it on. But I mostly grinned through the whole thing, utterly entertained.

Flip side, maybe a theater would have helped Source Code for me.

I didn’t hate the movie. How can one hate the movie. And I racked my brain to remember why anyone would be remotely upset – or interested in – Jeffrey Wright’s mad mocha scientist or any of his movie cliche ticks.

My problem with the movie was that I never cared for a second about this guy. I figured out “the secret” within the first 2 or 3 serious looks into camera when he asked unanswered questions.

I don’t care about the logic. I don’t care about whether the cheesed up ending makes sense. Don’t care. I will give a movie its premise. I will overlook those leaps.

But I have to care about these characters. And I really didn’t. After a short while, it felt like every leap was just there to teach him 2 or 3 tricks… no real threat of anything good or bad happening as a result of his actions. I would have liked the version where he murders everyone on the train because, who cares… he’ll just be back in a little while.

If nothing can change, as the story claims, aside from an event none of these characters have anything to do with, why do we care?

This is where Unstoppable can teach filmmakers a lesson. Keep It Simple… And Stupid. If the train is heading off the raised tracks into a neighborhood, at least put one guy’s estranged wife and kid and the other guy’s two Hooter-iffic daughters within the kill range. It’s good old fashioned movie BS… but it brings you into the drama, like it or not.

The fatalistic “you can’t change anything, but do the right thing” schtick is arthouse crap. Duncan Jones is a skilled young director and should have a long, healthy career ahead of him. But if you’re making boom-boom movies, don’t confuse yourself by being too smart… unless you are so smart that you can achieve a masterpiece… and I will watch all of your films, but you aren’t there yet, Dunc.

As I say, maybe the ride would have been more fun with a room full of people instead of a sleeping Brit snoring away in the seat next to me. (I had earbuds that kept the noise – competing with the plane engines – out of my head during the film.) More likely, there was just so much crap in theaters from Jan-March that people were thrilled not to want to be running for the exits to ask for their money back. (I didn’t pay… I had nowhere to go… but I could have switched channels and chose not to… so there!)

Of course, the highlight of my trip was 5 hours of The Walking Dead. With that and Game of Thrones this year, it may be the best year ever for “fantasy” on television.

The Weekend Report: April 10, 2011

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

The Best That You Can Do is …

Audiences continued to Hop to it as the animated Easter eggs-travaganza topped weekend tickets sales with an eggs-timated $21.6 million. The film bounded well ahead of a quarter of new national releases that saw the remake of Arthur and the distaff thriller Hanna competing for the second slot with the former squeaking ahead by about 200k with a $12.5 million tally. The inspirational Soul Surfer bowed to $10.9 million and the tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler Your Highness swiped $9.5 million.

Among the new niche releases were the non-fiction nature study Born to Be Wild with $820,000 from 206 cages (194 in 3D) and the Mexican comedy No Eres Tu, Soy Yo that grossed $530,000 at 226 venues. Bollywood entry Thank You failed to revivify that sector with a $253,000 bow from 92 engagements.

Exclusives this weekend saw a couple of glimmers of hope including the minimalist western Meek’s Cut Off with $19,800 at two screens. Solo outings for docs Blank City on Manhattan’s early Punk scene and American: The Bill Hicks Story profiling the late comic genius respectively rang up $10,600 and $6,400 in ducats.

The frame’s overall tally generated roughly $118 million and slipped 5% behind last weekend’s biz. It was a slightly more severe 7% lag from 2010 when the second weekend of Clash of the Titans led with $26.6 million; edging out the $25.2 million gross for newcomer Date Night.

Hopes weren’t particularly high for any of the quartet of newcomers with Arthur given the best prospects that ranged from $12 million to $18 million. Your Highness was also overestimated with pundits pegging its bow somewhere between $11 million to $15 million. Conversely the mavens viewed Hanna’s topmost performance at $10 million with similar expectations for Soul Surfer that proved to be accurate.

Hanna’s strength largely came from unexpected response from males that composed slightly more than half of its audience. Soul Surfer drew a resounding 80% female crowd and was the only one of the four new films that had a majority under 25 demographic with 56%. Arthur was 64% older, Your Highness was 55% dominated by plus 25s and Hanna was at the high end with 69%.

The shift so far this year to an older set of ticket buyers has largely been cited as a reflection of weak product though one can hardly imagine what aspect of such films as Sucker Punch or Drive Angry could possibly draw a mature buyer to the multiplex. The industry mantra is that younger male avids will be back in force come May when the summer tentpole fun rides are unleashed.

What appears to have stumped the pundits is what exactly are these bulwarks of movie going doing during this apparent hiatus? No one appears to have done surveys that might indicate whether a trend exists or if there’s an absence of a conclusive shift to other activities. Regardless, no one believes this segment is staying at home and exercising their fast food options. So, clearly the new VoD initiatives are directed toward them and their involvement in the movie experience remains vital to the industry’s health and welfare.

Weekend (estimates)
April 8 – 10, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Theaters Cume
Hop Uni 21.6 (5,980) -42% 3616 68.1
Arthur WB 12.5 (3,810) NEW 3276 12.5
Hanna Focus 12.3 (4,850) NEW 2535 12.3
Soul Surfer Sony 10.9 (4,910) NEW 2214 10.9
Insidious Film District 9.8 (4,060) -26% 2419 27.2
Your Highness Uni 9.5 (3,420) NEW 2769 9.5
Source Code Summit 9.0 (3,040) -39% 2971 28.6
Limitless Relativity 5.6 (2,130) -40% 2642 64.3
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! Fox 4.9 (1,690) -52% 2881 45.5
The Lincoln Lawyer Lions Gate 4.4 (1,830) -35% 2420 46.3
Rango Par 2.3 (1,140) -49% 2007 117.5
Sucker Punch WB 2.1 (1,180) -66% 1755 33.9
Paul Uni 1.7 (1,040) -59% 1667 35.1
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 1.5 (1,090) -57% 1408 81.2
Jane Eyre Focus 1.2 (4,780) -3% 247 5.2
Win Win Fox Searchlight 1.2 (5,220) 4% 226 3.5
The Adjustment Bureau Uni .88 (1,120) -59% 783 60.1
Born to Be Wild WB .82 (3,980) NEW 206 0.82
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .55 (810) -52% 675 137.6
No Eres Tu, Soy Yo Lions Gate .53 (2340) NEW 226 0.53
Red Riding Hood WB .52 (670) -71% 777 36.7
Weekend Total
($500,000+ Films)
% Change (Last Year) -7%
% Change (Last Week) -5%
Also debuting/expanding
Thank You UTV .25 (2,750) 92 0.25
Kill the Irishman Anchor Bay 91,600 (1,760) -19% 52 0.85
Miral Weinstein Co. 55,700 (1,920) -24% 29 0.25
In a Better World Sony Classics 48,600 (4,050) 47% 12 0.1
Meek’s Cut Off Osciloscope 19,800 (9,900) 2 0.02
Blank City FilmsWeLike 10,600 (10,600) 1 0.01
Meet Monica Velour Anchor Bay 7,300 (3,650) 2 0.01
Ceremony Magnolia 6,800 (2,270) 3 0.01
Henry’s Crime Moving Pictures 6,600 (3,300) 2 0.01
American: The Bill Hicks Story Variance 6,400 (6,400) 1 0.01
To Die Like a Man Strand 2,150 (2,150) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – April 7, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (9) 413.6 18.20%
Sony (10) 370.9 16.30%
Universal (8) 276.1 12.10%
Warner Bros. (14) 273.6 12.00%
Buena Vista (6) 255.2 11.20%
Weinstein Co. (4) 133.4 5.90%
Fox (6) 127.6 5.60%
Relativity (4) 90.5 4.00%
Fox Searchlight (4) 82.9 3.70%
CBS (3) 56.6 2.50%
Lions Gate (6) 47.5 2.10%
summit (4) 31.8 1.40%
Focus (3) 25.1 1.10%
FilmDistrict (1) 17.4 0.80%
eOne/Seville (7) 14.5 0.60%
Sony Classics (6) 12.3 0.50%
Other * (99) 44.3 2.00%
2273.3 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Domestic Grossers *
(Jan. 1 – April 7, 2011)
Title Distributor Gross
The King’s Speech * Weinstein Co. 119,361,676
Rango Par 115,230,893
Just Go With It Sony 101,651,979
True Grit * Par 100,131,192
The Green Hornet Sony 98,588,503
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 97,075,887
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 79,700,377
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 72,707,468
No Strings Attached Par 70,662,220
Black Swan * Fox Searchlight 65,964,914
Little Fockers * Uni 64,117,440
Unknown WB 62,821,544
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 59,231,700
Limitless Relativity 58,688,230
The Fighter * Par/Alliance 54,624,687
Tron: Legacy * BV 54,483,200
I Am Number 4 BV 53,949,381
The Dilemma Uni 48,800,147
Hop Uni 46,456,305
Hall Pass WB 44,034,990
* does not include 2010 box office

Weekend Estimates by Soul Klady

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

And this is why weekend-to-weekend looks so crappy. Last year on “this” weekend, there were $27m in openers. This weekend, $46m. But the weekend is still well behind last year because Sucker Punch was WB’s entry, not Clash of the Titans, and there was no DWA film (last year, it was a leggy Dragon) doing $25m in a third weekend while Hop, which is a success story (but a mild one), did $21m in Weekend Two. Those two holdovers and one $25m opener (Date Night) overpower nearly $20m in more opening firepower this year than last.

If you simply flipped last year’s WB entry for this year’s, “this year’s weekend” would be ahead of “last year’s weekend” by over $15 million. And if wishes were fishes… But you get the point, no? It’s about the movies, not the market. Until there is a much longer lasting set of data that involves a more muscular set of movies being off by similar amounts, I’m not taking any “slump” seriously. Of course, if you want to believe that somehow Clash of the Titans would have done half the business it did if it opened this year or that Sucker Punch would have done more than double what it’s doing opening last year, please, feel free to make the argument.

One genre that may be nearing its end in this cycle as an industry cash cow is the stoned comedy. Since the Superbad/Knocked Up back-to-back smashes, Team Apatow has racked up just one $100m movie (Step Brothers) in 8 attempts. And while Apatow had nothing to do with the two movies gently opening this weekend (Arthur/Your Highness), they are both bastard children of his camp. Like many niche genres in Hollywood, no reason that this one can’t go on. But costs have to be contained and then these are the kinds of legged-out doubles that studios can use to keep the balance sheet positive build library, an occasionally get a surprise big hit. But right now, they are a little expensive and aren’t delivering on the expectations that the studios have when greenlighting them. (Expectations from tracking come long after the horse is out of the barn.)

Hanna is a really nice opening for Focus. They picked up the film in most of the world (Sony has some territories), extending their relationship with Joe Wright, and this opening is better than any two weekends of Atonement domestic grosses combined. Given some strong word-of-mouth (and a soft market for good movies), it could even end up passing Atonement‘s $50m gross.

Bob Berney is back in business. Soul Surfer is a Sony release, but Film District marketed it for Sony, and the results are strong for what could well have been a much smaller feel-good film. And Insidious had a 26% hold, which is almost unheard of for any film in this front-loaded market, much less a horror film. This is one of this year’s real success stories already, likely heading to more than $50m domestic.

Source Code didn’t hold quite as well, but it does seem that we are in the first stretch of commercial movies this year that anyone is happy to recommend.

The Weekend Report: March 20, 2011

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Josh, Paul, Engorge and … Rango

The mind expanding thriller Limitless debuted at the top of weekend movie charts with an estimated $19 million. The session also saw two other new national entries bow to middling results. The alien comedy Paul ranked fourth with $13.1 million and the legal wrangling of The Lincoln Lawyer was a peg behind at $12.7 million.

A locked week of dance spec Lord of the Dance … in 3D! failed to find post St. Pat’s furor as it hobbled to $318,000 at 536 tap posts and Chinese import The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman served up a thin slice with a $23,100 gross from 37 venues.

Limited and exclusive debuts had a couple of bright spots including the wry Win Win that wrestled $148,000 in just five pins and doc Bill Cunningham, New York on famed photographer that wrested $32,500 in its solo at Manhattan’s Film Forum.

The frame added up to just shy of $115 million and a decline of 11% from last weekend. It was a marginally less severe 10% behind 2010 when the third weekend of Alice in Wonderland added $34.2 million to its larder and debuts of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Bounty Hunter followed respectively with $22.1 million and $20.7 million.

Pundits and trackers generally undervalued the marketplace newcomers with predictions that pegged holdovers Battle: Los Angeles and Rango in the top positions. Limitless was considered the most potent of the freshmen with expectations in the range of $13 million to $17 million. Paul and Lincoln Lawyer both had high end predictions of $12 million.

Tracking clairvoyance has been generally dismal since January and that can be credited in large part to the disappearance of avid, younger movie goers. One suspects that group is providing information of one sort and subsequently reacting to all manner of buzz. The fact that movie going is unquestionably an impulse buy has long plagued predicting the box office.

The erosion of the under 25 crowd continued this week with only Paul registering a 50/50 split for that line in the sand according to exit polling. Limitless was 56% attended by plus 25s and The Lincoln Lawyer had a staggering 85% older audience – 49% of which was 40 years old or greater.

The gender divide also continued to skew female with Lincoln attracting 63% of the fairer sex and Limitless 52%. Paul’s comic antics conversely had 56% male ticket sales.

The radical drop in theatrical movie going both in North America and especially overseas in 2011 has the industry shifting into panic mode. There’s a case to be made that “it’s the product” but movies have hardly been in a renaissance in the past decade.

Distributors are frantically trying to figure out where their core audience has migrated and whether it’s possible to move their movies to that location. Exhibitors are feeling the heat of competition with the CinemaCon (formally ShoWest) annual confab prepped to begin in a week. They’ve already adapted with everything from cup holders and stadium seating to digital everything to stereoscopic gimmickry and frantic enough to bring back dish night if that will plug up the holes in the dikes.


Weekend Estimates – March 18-20, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Limitless Relativity 19.0 (6,900) NEW 2756 19
Rango Par 15.2 (3,950) -33% 3843 92.4
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 14.4 (4,210) -60% 3417 60.4
Paul Uni 13.1 (4,670) NEW 2802 13.1
The Lincoln Lawyer Lionsgate 12.7 (4,700) NEW 2707 12.7
Red Riding Hood WB 7.3 (2,400) -48% 3030 26
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 5.9 (2,070) -49% 2847 48.8
Mars Needs Moms BV 5.3 (1,710) -23% 3117 15.4
Beastly CBS 3.3 (1,660) -35% 1959 22.2
Hall Pass WB 2.6 (1,370) -48% 1905 39.6
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 2.4 (1,360) -35% 1748 93.7
Just Go With It Sony 2.3 (1,360) -42% 1708 98
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 2.0 (1,620) -43% 1249 132.5
Unknown WB 1.3 (960) -60% 1401 61.2
I Am Number 4 BV 1.1 (1,120) -53% 955 52.7
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox .75 (1,360) -43% 550 36.4
Tangled BV .62 (1,820) -3% 340 197.7
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight .53 (1,150) -43% 462 5.5
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par .47 (980) -66% 480 72.2
Jane Eyre Focus .46 (17,690) 151% 26 0.7
Lord of the Dance 3D SuperVision .32 (590)   536 0.32
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $109.80      
% Change (Last Year)   -10%      
% Change (Last Week)   -11%      
Also debuting/expanding          
Of Gods and Men Sony Classics .29 (3,064) 15% 94 1.5
Win Win Searchlight .15 (29,560)   5 0.15
Kill the Irishman Anchor Bay .14 (6,570) -5% 21 0.33
The Music Never Stopped Roadside Attract. 77,900 (2,430)   32 0.08
Bill Cunningham, New York Zeitgeist 32,500 (32,500)   1 0.05
The Butcher, The Chef, The Swordsman China Lion 23,100 (620)   37 0.02
Winter in Wartime Sony Classics 15,800 (5,270)   3 0.02
Cracks IFC 7,200 (1,200)   6 0.01
Desert Flower National Geo 7,100 (2,370)   3 0.01
Alabama Moon Faulkner 6,700 (940)   7 0.01
La Verite Filmoption 6,300 (900)   7 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Mar. 17, 2011)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (9) 372.5 20.70%
Sony (10) 330 18.40%
Buena Vista (60 234.8 13.10%
Warner Bros. (13) 211.1 11.80%
Universal (6) 179.5 10.00%
Weinstein Co. (3) 126.3 7.00%
Fox (5) 85.1 4.70%
Fox Searchlight (3) 78.3 4.40%
CBS (3) 48.4 2.70%
Relativity (3) 31.5 1.70%
Focus (3) 21.1 1.20%
eOne/Seville (7) 13.4 0.80%
Summit (3) 12.1 0.70%
Sony Classics (5) 10.4 0.60%
Other * (83) 40.7 2.20%
  1795.2 100.00%
* none greater than .04%


Top Global Grossers (Jan. 1 – Mar. 17, 2011)

Title Distributor Gross
The King’s Speech * Weinstein/FilmNation 328,422,084
Tangled * BV 257,730,104
Black Swan * Fox Searchlight 233,565,826
The Green Hornet Sony 227,138,037
Tron: Legacy * BV 185,713,030
Little Fockers * Uni/Par Intl 175,012,116
Gulliver’s Travels * Fox 171,150,972
The Tourist * Sony 170,775,451
True Grit * Par 168,291,578
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne/Pathe 145,442,274
Yogi Bear * WB 142,121,587
Just Go With It Sony 141,271,826
Rango Par 131,620,860
Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of Dawn Treader Fox 128,368,458
No Strings Attached Par 125,084,725
I Am Number 4 BV 108,071,913
Unknown WB/Studio Canal 97,383,223
The Fighter * Par/Alliance 85,190,621
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 81,433,968
Rien a declarer Pathe 81,376,457
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 WB 80,483,102
Season of the Witch Relativity/Lions Gate 79,329,246
Sanctum Uni/FilmNation 78,200,004
Hereafter* WB 75,865,149
The Rite WB 71,462,016
* does not include 2010 box office

Critics Roundup — March 18

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer||||Go
The Music Never Stopped|||||Yellow
Win Win|||Green||Green
Desert Flower|Yellow||||
Bill Cunningham|Green||||

Kenny On Paul As Blues Brothers Salute

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Kenny On Paul As Blues Brothers Salute

Box Office Hell — March 17

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Battle: Los Angeles|17.0|16.1|18.0|18.0|16.0
Rango |14.6|14.3|15.0|12.0|15.0
The Lincoln Lawyer|11.5|9.2|12.0|10.0|9.5

Frost & Pegg Preview-Clip Paul

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Frost & Pegg Preview-Clip Paul