Posts Tagged ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’

Critics Roundup — December 22

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo |Yellow||Green|Green|Green
The Adventures of Tin Tin|Green||Red||Green
We Bought a Zoo|Green||||Green
Albert Nobbs (limited)|Green||Green|Green|Green
In the Land of Blood and Honey (limited)|Yellow||||
Pina (NY) |Green||Green|Green|Green
War Horse |Red||||
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close |Yellow||||

Embargo, Schmembargo

Monday, December 5th, 2011

By now you’ve no doubt heard all the brouhaha over the New Yorker‘s David Denby deciding to break embargo on David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by running his (positive) review eight days ahead of the embargo date he agreed to when he attended the screening. And as I’ve seen from the comments on The Hot Blog and a lot of other sites covering this story, many folks who do not work in the industry (and even some who do) do not seem to get why this is a big deal. It all seems very inside baseball, but hey — MCN is an industry website, so if you don’t want a little inside baseball, why are you here? So let’s break down why Denby breaking embargo actually is a big deal in our world. Because it’s really a pretty simple matter that’s being cluttered up by a lot of superfluous chatter unrelated to the actual issue at hand.

If you work as a critic, you are allowed — not entitled, allowed — to see movies earlier than the general public, for free, to allow you time in which to write your review. This is a courtesy afforded to press by the studio, at the studio’s expense (because it costs money to run a screening). It also benefits the studio to allow press to see a film early so reviews can be published, although if reviews are terrible and the film isn’t a “critic proof” thing like the Fast and Furious franchise, or Transformers, or what have you, it could potentially hurt it.

When you are invited to attend a press screening (or a promo screening to which you’ve been invited as press), you generally get an email from the studio/PR folks that outlines for you the conditions under which the screening is offered to you — specifically, they generally specify the “hold review” date — the date on which you are allowed to run your review of said film — along with an admonition that the screening is for “reviewing press,” meaning if you aren’t assigned to/actually planning to review a film, you aren’t supposed to attend the free screening. Denby attended an early screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the NYFCC (held super-early to accommodate that group deciding they had to be FIRST! this year with their awards), and that screening had an embargo attached to it. Denby doesn’t dispute this, he openly acknowledges in the email exchange between him and Dragon Tattoo producer Scott Rudin that he is aware he’s violating the embargo by running his review early, but hopes no one will mind, since after all, his review is positive. And he writes for the New Yorker, which needs to run the review ahead of embargo to accommodate their printing schedule. Rudin, for his part, openly acknowledges that he’s pissed. And he has every right to be.

The only thing actually relevant here is this: Denby attended a screening that had an embargo attached. By attending that screening, he implicitly accepted the terms under which it was offered: to hold review until the date specified by the embargo. Period. Everything else — Denby’s protestations that the New Yorker has this big Christmas double issue to run, and he really really really didn’t want to write about We Bought a Zoo, and he really really really liked Dragon Tattoo, none of that matters. Whether David Denby is a Very Important Person or not — even if he was the single most important film critic in the entire history of film criticism, writing for the single most important print publication in the entire history of print publications — is completely irrelevant, too. And yes, whether anyone in the industry thinks Scott Rudin is a stand-up guy or a reprehensible asshole is also completely irrelevant.

So why does this matter? It matters because studios and producers invest many millions of dollars in both getting a film made, and marketing it such that the general public will buy tickets to see it, thus giving them a return on investment that allows them to make the next film, and the next film, and the next. Which, in addition to giving the general public movies to see every weekend, also happens to keep a lot of people who work in the film industry employed and able to pay their bills. Reviews running a week or two ahead of the film’s actual release date to the public DO hurt the film, even if they’re positive, because by the time the film opens, that positive review is old news, and the public’s short attention span has moved on to the next interesting thing. For a film like Dragon Tattoo, which is directed by David Fincher and highly anticipated, this may or may not impact the bottom line, but whether it does or not is also not germane to a discussion of whether Denby has a right to violate the agreement under which he was allowed early access to see this film. He does not have that right without the consent of the studio, no matter how important a critic he is. The studio owns the film, they have the right to determine who sees it, when, and under what conditions. End of line.

Now, we can certainly have an argument about whether or not embargoes are stupid, but that’s a completely separate discussion from the issue. Not only is Scott Rudin in the right in saying he’s going to ban Denby from future screenings of his films, it behooves him to actually DO so, because if he does not stick to his guns on this, he’s effectively telling Every. Single. Film Blogger. that the studio does not take its embargoes seriously, and then it’s just a free-for-all race to be FIRST! to get your review up after a press screening, agreements and embargoes be damned. If you’re going to have a rule that says, “You violate our embargo, we’ll kick your critic ass off our press list and deny you future early access,” that rule has to apply to everyone equally, regardless of the perceived or actual importance of individuals. It’s certainly within a studio’s right as the owner of a film to choose to grant some publications the right to run early reviews (although I could argue against that as well), but that isn’t the case here. Denby was not granted such permission. He didn’t even ask for permission, he just notified the studio that he and his editors had made a decision to just blatantly violate an agreement.

Really, what is there to argue about here? Pretty black and white, yes?

20W2O Special: New York First! Film Critics Circle Get Tattooed

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The slippery slope is an interesting landscape indeed. In the last 20 years, we have been through two major Wall Street bubbles that exploded and caused recessions and in the latest one, almost caused a depression. (The current Republican election cycle is predicated on blaming the EMT who saved their lives because he saved them the wrong way… but this is not a political column today.) The bubbles were generated by layer after layer of individuals at all levels of economic standing, choosing to do what they knew to be wrong because they felt it would be in their own best interests… and after all, everyone else was paying the game too, especially those damned rich people or privilege.

Jump Cut To: Our own little slice of the movie universe.

Tomorrow, one of the most anticipated and last “awards” films will screen, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It has been scheduled, as of this writing, to screen for just two groups: The National Board of Review, a group of historic irrelevance and a level of generosity spreading around awards as to make them a joke, aside from being the first award given out by more than one person (see: The Carloses) each year. The other group is the once esteemed New York Film Critics Circle, which has decided that it should be the first award of the season and has moved its date accordingly.

It’s been discussed here before, but there used to be a difference between the NYFCC and an AICN talkbacker screeching, “First!!!” There still is. NYFCC is a group of professional critics. There are no professional standards for talkbackers. NYFCC’s choice, on the other hand, is an embarrassment, going against the notion of criticism being a thoughtful, considered form. So for the moment, comparing NYFCC to AICN Talkbackers is a bit of an insult to the geeks.

I should note that Stephen Whitty, one of the few NYFCCers who were actually in the room for the vote on the move, came on The Hot Blog to comment and offered a much more administrative logic behind the move. And I respect the notion of the move being about something more than being first and Stephen’s willingness to speak. NYFCC president John Anderson chose, instead, to hide behind an alleged deadline, unable to speak to me after announcing this move… because obviously, no other media would feel compelled to report on it, so being unavailable after the announcement made a lot of sense. (Did I mention that the press release specifically offered Anderson up for interviews?)

The flip side was Lou Lumenick, who has gone from being a cranky but decent guy to a Fox News-style jackass, at least in public. He wasn’t in the room for the vote, but immediately positioned himself as the voice of the group. And he pushed forward the private discussion – the idiotic private discussion – that somehow, another film was flawed and being hidden because it isn’t being shown to this group early enough for them to be FIRST! to see it.

I have been assured that dates for screenings of Dragon Tattoo for all the other major critics groups will be announced sometime by the end of Monday night. But in the meanwhile, more than a week after the NYFCC announcement, no information has been available about any possible screenings until today’s promise of said announcements.

Some would say – and some will continue to insist – that my concerns about this are motivated by a personal wish to see the movie first or some such silliness. This is, simply, untrue. Would I prefer not to wait until December 15 if others are seeing it tomorrow? Of course. But there is an embargo on the NYFCC screening and Sony hopes to put an embargo on the other “early” screenings to come. There is no personal or individual competitive advantage to this screening choice.

Except for the NY Film Critics Circle.

My concerns about the state of film criticism and of journalism in general are broader than a screening date. This is how the standards for what is journalism and what the role of the critic is gets lower and lower and lower.

Anderson’s position on their new November date, bolstered by some other members, is that the studios could and should adjust to the new schedule of the NYFCC. After all, the studios bend over backwards for NBR and HFPA…. why not a real critics group?

But NBR and HFPA are not real critics groups. NBR doesn’t even really claim to be a critics group at all. HFPA is nothing but a well-oiled awards-giving business model that serves its 80something stockholders breathtakingly well.

“Real” critics groups should not be in the role of negotiating screenings or demanding anything from the studios of film producers. The idea of NYFCC being a proactive player in the awards season, positioning itself to be FIRST! and presuming that studios will follow is a business call, not a show call. And though many of us write about the business in the course of being critics – certainly too much these days… mea culpa – if there is any time that calls for a pure “show” mindset, it’s year-end awards.

But this year, the creeping terror came and NYFCC made their move by planning to meet and award the year’s films, essentially, a full six weeks before the end of the year, as the plan was to vote tomorrow… the first day after the Thanksgiving break… and two full weeks before LAFCA was expected to vote (on the same weekend that NYFCC would normally vote).

Thank goodness, LAFCA saw NYFCC’s folly and did not follow. The second-week-of-December awards and nomination clusterfuck continues for most groups… groups that complain about not having enough time to see and consider all the movies, but still leave weeks between their choosing and the year’s end, invariably because they choose to put on a party and want to get to the business of doing so. But what was unfortunate a decade ago has become standard. That’s how things work.

So the question was, would the studios, in fact, bend to the demands of the NYFCC, 2 weeks before their normal voting date?

The argument is as old as the existence of 2-year-olds. The child wants something… and if they don’t get it, there is the threat of a very unpleasant tantrum. This has become the Finke Standard of Entertainment Journalism.

But NYFCC has something more than the average 2-year-old. They have awards that are considered to be of value. So not only does appeasing the group and its members, each individual critics in the biggest market in the country, but you can get a prize for your willingness.

And that’s where Sony and, Team Dragon Tattoo, got caught in the crossfire behind the NYFCC date change, becoming unwitting accomplices. David Fincher’s The Social Network won most critics awards last season, including Best Director and Picture with NYFCC. So what do you do when Fincher’s next film isn’t ready for the group’s new random deadline in November?

By all indications, Sony and Team DT didn’t change anything. They felt they would be ready to screen Dragon Tattoo tomorrow and said as much to NYFCC. And as it works out, if you are the NYFCC, you move the date by a day so you can get your screening on for one of the two last films.

Does this confirm the notion that, with the exception of one film, the studios will, in fact, adjust to your earlier voting date? Was this the intention on the Team Dragon Tattooo side in the case of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? I don’t believe so. But this is about perception, not reality.

In perception, the arrogance and short-sightedness of the NYFCC was greeted with acquiescence, aka They Won.

When the conversation is had – and it will be had – amongst other groups considering a move to an earlier voting date – will they focus on the result (NYFCC sees all but one movie, all before December) or will they focus on the process of how this came to pass? In my history, almost everyone seems to focus on the result.

This is the dynamic that is so destructive. No one will cop to being the driver or the passenger or in any way responsible for things continuing to change for the worse. But so long as the response to a person or a group moving the bar to a place that is almost universally agreed in the community of those affected to be wrongheaded is to continue to feed the needs/demands of the party making the change, all of the involved parties are complicit and carry some responsibility. And in a case like this, the behavior of a group like NYFCC has been so tainted by their aggression that any award that is the fruit of this bad behavior is, naturally, suspect.

As I wrote before, LAFCA didn’t jump. But if the answer to pushing the NYFCC voting date into November is to get a variety of competitive advantages, will LAFCA continue to hold out?

When there was talk about AMPAS moving The Oscars to the last weekend of January or the first weekend of February, there was push back about everyone else moving earlier. But there is a natural barrier for year-end awards. Or not… as NYFCC seems to suggest.

It is true that quality filmmakers are not going to deliver unfinished work in order to win awards from critics. But, indeed, all films budgeted over $40m have a release date. Deadlines are real. And if faced with the handicap of not being able to compete for all the critics’ awards, how long will it take filmmakers and distributors to adjust to the “new reality?”

In the end, in the macro view, this is all about a few weeks difference. What does it matter?

And we’re back to where I started… if it’s NBR or The Carloses or even the HFPA, who cares? These are groups that are in the game with the first goal of being players. But when it comes to critics, there are standards to be upheld… standards that are not whimsical or ethically situational.

I am not saying that the makers or distributors of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are gaming the system. And personally, I expect the film to be a massive hit and a serious awards player. Not the point.

This is the same principle as not reviewing films from the same divisions of the companies producing or releasing the films from which you are drawing a paycheck. You are not automatically biased. And your employer is not automatically manipulating you. But you are suspect. And you should be suspect. And NYFCC and all or any legitimate critics groups should be above suspicion… as should the movies they award.

Every year, people talk about which films will get Globes nominations for the show can have this star or that star on their red carpet and on the broadcast. Critics – even serious critics – have always been a bit more penetrable than they/we care to admit. We’re all just humans. But if this linchpin film wins a NYFCC award… or doesn’t… one has to wonder about the circumstances under which the film was seen and motives for voting for or against it. It shouldn’t be that way. But I didn’t create this situation. NYFCC did.

More Dragon Tattoo Quirk-Work With An Odd Clue-Site

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

More Dragon Tattoo Quirk-Work With An Odd Clue-Site

Vogue Wanders Stockholm With Fincher And Mara

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Vogue Wanders Stockholm With Fincher And Mara

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo with a Trailer

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Testino On Rooney On Salander

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

To accompany Memorial Day weekend’s “hacked” trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo that mysteriously still has yet to be yanked, Lynn Hirchsberg’s February 2011 W magazine preview offers a fistful of Mario Testino photos of Mara Rooney as Über-hacker Lisbeth Salander. Article and images here.

“Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” First Book To Sell A Million Digital Copies

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

“Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” First Book To Sell A Million Digital Copies

Cover-Profiling David Fincher

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Cover-Profiling David Fincher

Frenzy on the Wall: Looking Forward to a New (Hopefully Better) Year

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

2010 was not my favorite year at the movies. There were certainly films that I enjoyed and ones that I expect to own and revisit more than a few times, but there wasn’t a single film that made me shudder or give me goosebumps or to even make me gasp aloud. In other words, while there were a couple of great films in 2010, there was only one or two that made me say, “Yes! That is why I love cinema.” But the great thing about life is that every time the year changes, it’s a clean slate, and there’s always something to look forward to.

Acocella Asks Why Anyone Reads Stieg Larsson

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

“As for the English edition, it was apparently not subject to any such scruples. The translation was done at top speed (because Norstedts needed to show it to a film company), and then it was heavily revised by its editor in London. The translator actually took his name off the novels; he is credited under a pseudonym.”
Acocella Asks Why Anyone Reads Stieg Larsson

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 — 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 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

DP/30 Sneak Peek: TGWTDT’s Noomi Rapace Talks About Watching One Of The Most Brutal Movie Rape Sequences Ever

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Stieg Larsson Went To Eritrea For A Year To Teach Female Guerrillas How To Use Grenade Launchers

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Stieg Larsson Went To Eritrea For A Year To Teach Female Guerrillas How To Use Grenade Launchers

New Stieg Larsson Novel

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Millennium Hawking: Yes, A Claim There Is At Least One Unpublished Stieg Larsson Novel, But Of Course His Heirs Say It Can’t Be Published

Memoir Lets Stieg Larsson’s Friend Move On

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Memoir Lets Stieg Larsson’s Friend Move On

Anne-T On Rooney Mara’s Pigskin Heritage

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Anne-T On Rooney Mara’s Pigskin Heritage

“This particular modern myth has a central character who could turn out to be irreducible, an axiom of popular culture standing shoulder to shoulder with Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, joining the ranks of heroes who represent an essential, resonant strain of wish-fulfillment.” David Chute’s Convincing Brief That Lisbeth Salander Is Timeless Heroine

Monday, August 16th, 2010

“This particular modern myth has a central character who could turn out to be irreducible, an axiom of popular culture standing shoulder to shoulder with Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, joining the ranks of heroes who represent an essential, resonant strain of wish-fulfillment.”
David Chute‘s Convincing Brief That Lisbeth Salander Is Timeless Heroine