Posts Tagged ‘The Green Hornet’

The Weekend Report — February 20

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I Am Number?

There was little to salute as the weekend portion of the President’s holiday frame saw movie going once again register box office and admission declines. A trio of new films opened to modest response including the action-thriller Unknown, which led the field (though it could slip to second for the four-day period) with an estimated $21.9 million. Also new were the teen-oriented chiller I Am Number 4 , with $19.4 million to slot third, and the comedy sequel Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in position five with $16.4 million.

There were also a tsunami of niche and exclusive bows including new Hindi and Telegu movies from India. But neither 7 Khoon Maaf nor Katha Screenplay Darsakakatvam provided more than a ripple of interest. Best of the limited releases was the non-fiction The Last Lions with $49,400 at four venues and Spanish Oscar submission Even the Rain, which grossed $52,600 from eight screens. And the fistful of exclusive bows was largely non-vigorous, though the doc I Am generated an encouraging $10,100 in its solo flight.

The absence of an 11th hour Oscar surge didn’t help the situation, though two contenders — The King’s Speech and Black Swan — managed to pass the $100 million threshold. Still, the failure of most late calendar releases to find Academy favor and the wave of new releases pushing out front-runners trends toward a serious re-thinking in theatrical exploitation for award season movies.

The four-day weekend should generate roughly $175 million and that translates into a 28% drop from President’s weekend 2010. It’s a more modest 4% erosion from the prior weekend. A year ago the trio of freshmen comprised of Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson and The Wolfman debuted to respective grosses of $63.1 million, $38.7 million and $35.6 million.

Unknown skewed dramatically older with exits indicating 89% of its ticket buyers older than 25-years old. Surprisingly, I Am Number 4 also went slightly older with 53% plus 25s and Big Mommas had a 50/50 split. Also unexpected was Number 4’s 57/43 split that favored men and only 26% of its audience identified as teens.

The past six months has certainly seen a listing toward what the industry views as an older audience. The combination of the majors’ historic slowness at responding to change in the marketplace and decades of reliance on young males to propel special effects movies into the box office stratosphere is about to face a major challenge in May.

If you build it … will they come? Stay tuned.


Weekend Estimates – February 18-20, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Unknown WB 21.9 (7,190) NEW 3043 21.9
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 19.6 (6,490) -23% 3014 50.6
I Am Number 4 BV 19.4 (6,160) NEW 3154 19.4
Just Go With It Sony 18.3 (5,150) -40% 3548 60.8
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox 16.4 (5,810) NEW 2821 16.4
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 13.6 (4,370) -54% 3118 48.5
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 6.5 (3,100) -11% 2086 103.2
The Roommate Sony 4.0 (1,870) -50% 2160 32.6
The Eagle Focus 3.4 (1,490) -61% 2296 14.9
No Strings Attached Par 3.1 (1,570) -47% 1966 66
True Grit Par 2.4 (1,660) -36% 1465 164.2
Sanctum Uni 1.5 (1,110) -73% 1377 21.8
The Fighter Par/Alliance 1.5 (1,990) -30% 759 87.9
The Green Hornet Sony 1.5 (1,170) -60% 1265 95.1
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 1.3 (1,970) -39% 656 101.5
The Rite WB 1.1 (1,030) -67% 1048 31.3
The Mechanic CBS 1.0 (1,090) -68% 952 27.9
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight .93 (9,120) 207% 102 1.3
Barney’s Version eOne/Sony Classics .80 (2,850) 90% 323 4.3
Tangled BV .55 (1,410) -32% 389 194.1
Biutiful Roadside .52 (3,640) -10% 143 3
Tron: Legacy BV .43 (1,380) -22% 312 170.4
Yogi Bear WB .41 (570) -47% 725 97.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $139.30
% Change (Last Year) -28%
% Change (Last Week) -4%
Also debuting/expanding
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. .32 (1,370) -45% 235 8.8
The Company Men Weinstein Co. .29 (1,210) -44% 242 3.5
Another Year Sony Classics .22 (1,820) -33% 121 2.5
7 Khoon Maaf UTV .19 (2,470) 76 0.19
The Illusionist Sony Classics .19 (1,790) -37% 106 1.5
Even the Rain Vitagraph 52,600 (6,570) 8 0.05
The Last Lions National Geo 49,400 (12,350) 4 0.05
Katha Screenplay Darsakatvam Supreme 36,700 (1,930) 19 0.04
Immigration Tango Roadside 14,400 (380) 30 0.01
En terrains connus eOne 12,600 (1,050) 12 0.01
I Am Paladin 10,100 (10,100) 1 0.01
Brotherhood Phase 4 8,800 (8,800) 1 0.01
The Chaperone IFC 6,900 (690) 10 0.01
Putty Hill Cinema Guild 4,500 (4,500) 1 0.01
Vanishing on 7th Street Magnolia 3,200 (3,200) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – 2010

Distributor Gross Market Share
Paramount (8) 236.4 21.60%
Sony (9) 216.8 19.80%
Universal (5) 131.8 12.00%
Buena Vista (4) 114.3 10.40%
Weinstein Co. (3) 90.6 8.30%
Warner Bros. (10) 87.9 8.00%
Fox Searchlight (3) 66.6 6.10%
Fox (4) 47.4 4.30%
CBS (2) 27.4 2.50%
Relativity (2) 24.6 2.20%
Focus (2) 12.9 1.20%
Sony Classics (5) 5.9 0.50%
Other * (49) 33.5 3.10%
1096.1` 100.00%
* none greater than 0.45%

Critics Roundup: February 20

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I Am Number Four|||||
Vanishing on Seventh Street||||Yellow|
The Eagle|||||Green
Gnomeo and Juliet|||||Yellow
The Way Back||Yellow|||Green
The Company Men|||Yellow||Green
The Mechanic|||||Red

The Weekend Report – February 13

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Bieber Pitch
By Leonard Klady

It was Sandler by a nose over the teen sensation. The rom-com Just Go With It emerged with an estimated $30.8 million while the 3D concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was right behind with $30.4 million. In a session energized by new releases the animated Gnomeo and Juliet charted third with $25.3 million and the Gladiator-lite The Eagle slotted in position five with a drab $8.3 million.

The frame also featured a clutch of incoming niche and exclusive debuts. Bollywood entry Patiala House was the best of the newbies with $352,000 at 80 venues and on the Pinoy circuit Bulong had an OK $25,300 at six locales. Testing the waters with 15 screens, the comic Cedar Rapids found the temp conducive with a $302,000 tally.

There was also good response to the Oscar shorts tour with a first stop of $237,000 and the pacifist doc Mooz-lum had an impressive $12,000 per location average of $12,000, The single screen bow of another doc, Vidal Sassoon, looked and dressed good with $13,800.

Following a month of box office declines revenues experienced dramatic upturns that have finally put smiles on the folks in the distribution and exhibition sector.

Pundits were confident that the Sandler – Aniston pairing in Just Go With It would generate a $30 million plus opening salvo that would easily outdistance any threat from Justin Bieber’s concert foray. The latter movie was pegged at $25 million to $28 million and was the clear winner on opening day Friday with close to a $3 million edge of $12.4 million.

However, whereas the pubescent fan base proved to be first day fanatics, the older Valentine romantics were dominant for Saturday date night. The Bieber group declined by 13% while the Gos expanded by 42%. Both films skewed female with the concert crowd comprised of a whopping 84% and 67% under 25 according to exit polls. The comedy crowd was 58% distaff and 60% comprised of plus 25%. Never Say Never also registered a very potent 84% attendance for its stereoscopic playdates.

That still left plenty of room for the family audience that embraced Gnomeo and Juliet. Largely underserved in recent weeks, trackers underestimated its appeal with predictions in the range of $16 million to $20 million. The Eagle was the poor cousin in the mix and largely negative reviews didn’t help improve a lackluster response.

Overall revenues pushed to roughly $150 million for an eye-popping 73% boost from the prior weekend. It was also an impressive 32% improvement from 2010. Last year’s freshmen thrust was provided by first and third ranked Dear John and From Paris with Love with respective opening salvos of $30.5 million and $8.2 million.

Obviously with so much incoming fare the crowd of Oscar contenders – even the most resilient – lost a significant number of screens. And if on-going appeal is any kind of indicator, The King’s Speech contingent would be well advised to brush up on their elocution. It sputtered an insignificant 5% erosion despite the loss of 321 theaters.

Weekend (estimates) February 11 – 13, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Just Go With It Sony 30.8 (8,680) NEW 3548 30.8
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 30.4 (9,790) NEW 3105 30.4
Gnomeo and Juliet BV 25.3 (8,450) NEW 2994 25.3
The Roommate Sony 8.3 (3,290) -44% 2534 26
The Eagle Focus 8.3 (3,630) NEW 2296 8.3
The King’s Speech TWC 7.3 (3,230) -5% 2263 93.8
No Strings Attached Par 5.6 (2,030) -30% 2756 59.8
Sanctum Uni 5.1 (1,830) -46% 2789 17.5
True Grit Par 3.8 (1,820) -19% 2072 160.3
The Green Hornet Sony 3.6 (1,730) -39% 2090 92.3
The Rite WB 3.1 (1,410) -44% 2207 28.7
The Mechanic CBS 3.1 (1,630) -42% 1886 25.3
The Fighter Par/Alliance 2.1 (2,030) -25% 1049 85.6
Black Swan FoxSrchlght 2.1 (1,980) -37% 1069 99.3
Dilemma Uni 1.0 (800) -70% 1242 47.6
Tangled BV .77 (980) -58% 784 193.3
Yogi Bear WB .74 (670) -67% 1111 96.6
Blue Valentine TWC .57 (1,450) -28% 393 8.2
Tron: Legacy BV .55 (1,510) -60% 364 169.7
127 Hours FoxSrchlght .54 (1,500) -50% 359 16.8
Biutiful Roadside .52 (2,740) -19% 190 2.2
The Company Men TWC .51 (1,840) -7% 277 3
Barney’s Version eOne/SPC .44 (4,400) -11% 119 3.3
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $144.10
% Change (Last Year) 32%
% Change (Last Week) 73%
Also debuting/expanding
Patiala House Hari .35 (4,400) 80 0.35
Another Year Sony Classics .34 (1,970) -23% 236 2.2
The Illusionist Sony Classics .32 (1,540) 70% 205 1.15
Cedar Rapids FoxSrchlght .30 (20,150) 15 0.3
2011 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .24 (3,880) 61 0.24
Mooz-lum Peace-Films .13 (12,000) 11 0.13
Gaganam Big Pictures 96,700 (6,400) 16 0.1
Bulong ABS 25,300 (4,210) 6 0.03
Poetry Kino 18,300 (6,100) 3 0.02
Payanam Big Pictures 15,400 (1,490) 9 0.02
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie Phase 4 13,800 (13,800) 1 0.01
Carancho Strand 12,900 (4,300) 3 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Feb. 10, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (7) 184.7 20.60%
Sony (8) 157.6 17.50%
Universal (5) 121.9 13.60%
Buena Vista (3) 83.9 9.40%
Warner Bros. (10) 81.3 9.10%
Weinstein Co. (3) 78.8 8.80%
Fox Searchlight (2) 62.4 6.90%
Fox (4) 46.6 5.20%
Relativity (2) 24.5 2.70%
CBS (2) 22.6 2.50%
Alliance (5) 5.3 0.60%
Other * (49) 27.7 3.10%
897.3 100.00%

Friday Estimates – February 11, 2011

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never|12.2|3965|NEW|12.2
Just Go With It|9.3|3548|NEW|9.3
Gnomeo and Juliet|6|2994|NEW|6
The Eagle|2.7|2296|NEW|2.7
The Roommate|2.8|2534|-60%|20.2
The King’s Speech|1.8|2263|-22%|88.3
No Strings Attached|1.7|2756|-43%|55.9
True Grit|.95|2072|-38%|158
The Green Hornet|.85|2090-51%|89.6
Also Debuting
Cedar Rapids|77,700|80
2011 Oscar Shorts|53,200|15
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie|5250|1

The Weekend Report – February 6

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Where Have All the Avids Gone …
Long Time Passing

The debut of The Roommate led an anemic field at the weekend box office with an estimated $15.5 million. Second ranked was another newcomer – the 3D adventure Sanctum – with a disappointing $9.2 million.

Anticipating steep Sunday admission drops from the Super Bowl both national and niche debuts were generally directed to strong single quadrant audiences. Opening day-and-date with Mainland China, the Sino version of What Women Want generated a dull $58,900 at 29 venues; the family oriented The Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec struggled to $51,300 at 27 screens in Quebec; and the inspirational Midway to Heaven was stuck in the middle with $42,400 at 10 playdates. Best of the new exclusives was American indie Cold Weather with a $14,800 tally on a single screen.

Continuing the first quarter cold spell ticket sales experienced double digit declines that have left both the exhibition and distribution sectors in a very blue funk.

The Roommate, a remake in all but name and credit of Single White Female, bucked recent viewing trend with exit polls showing strong younger appeal. Its 65% female crowd was not unexpected and its 61% under 21 makeup was encouraging … at least for an opening weekend gross that was largely predicted by tracking pundits.

Sanctum wasn’t as lucky with, again, a distaff skewing set of viewers, albeit largely plus 25s. The sizzle was all about its stereoscopic qualities and reviewers skewered its artistic elements. Still tracking indicated a bow of $10 million to $12 million that audiences weren’t willing to make come true.

Overall business fell short of $90 million for a 20% decline from the prior weekend. It was a slightly steeper 22% drop from 2010 when the $30.5 million opening of Dear John toppled Avatar’s reign with that film taking the bridesmaid spot with $22.8 million.

The industry is now inured to Super Bowl’s clobber but the more serious concern is the sudden disappearance of the avid audience that falls between ages 17 and 25. Recent movie releases are largely being blamed with no relief in sight for the first quarter of 2011 and certainly no possibility of Oscar fare bringing up the slack.

The official line is that the avids will return but somewhere in the dark recesses are concerns that a significant portion of that audience has opted out of the theatrical experience in favor of new technologies and platforms. Theater owners are buckling down for additional experimentation in “windows” that will cut into their bottom line.

Historically the majors have been slow to respond to change and if logically an aging population would suggest adopting more mature content, don’t expect that penny to drop for three to five years. Independents could move in to fill the gap though one can be certain their deep pocket brethren will out spend them to ensure market share dominance rather than address real business issues.


Weekend Estimates – February 4-6, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Roommate Sony 15.5 (6,130) NEW 2534 15.5
Sanctum Uni 9.2 (3,300) NEW 2787 9.2
No Strings Attached Par 8.3 (2,730) -38% 3050 51.7
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. 8.1 (3,150) -27% 2584 83.9
The Green Hornet Sony 6.3 (2,070) -44% 3033 87.4
The Rite WB 5.6 (1,880) -62% 2985 23.7
The Mechanic CBS 5.3 (1,970) -53% 2704 20
True Grit Par 4.8 (1,650) -36% 2902 155
Dilemma Uni 3.4 (1,340) -40% 2545 45.7
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 3.4 (1,710) -34% 1977 95.9
The Fighter Par/Alliance 2.9 (1,730) -27% 1662 82.4
Yogi Bear WB 2.3 (1,260) -28% 1807 95.4
Tangled BV 1.8 (1,330) -28% 1369 192
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 1.4 (1,510) -36% 899 15.7
Tron: Legacy BV 1.4 (1,320) -46% 1040 168.8
Little Fockers Uni 1.2 (910) -52% 1355 146.5
Blue Valentine Weinstein Co. .79 (1,760) -33% 450 7.3
From Prada to Nada Lionsgate .69 (2,640) -38% 261 2
Biutiful Roadside .63 (3,560) 38% 177 1.4
Country Strong Sony .61 (640) -52% 948 19.8
The Company Men Weinstein Co. .55 (2,380) -17% 231 2.3
Chronicles of Narnia: Dawn Treader Fox .53 (1,030) -40% 514 102.6
Gulliver’s Travels Fox .67 (1,030) -42% 495 41.14
Another Year Sony Classics .48 (2,030) 55% 236 1.7
Barney’s Version eOne/Sony Classics .43 (3,570) -13% 119 2.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $84.70
% Change (Last Year) -22%
% Change (Last Week) -20%
Also debuting/expanding
The Illusionist Sony Classics .19 (2,850) 46% 68 0.77
Incendies eOne/Seville .14 (3,050) 30% 47 2.8
Rabbit Hole Lionsgate .12 (890) -32% 131 1.7
What Women Want China Lion 58,900 (2,030) 29 0.06
Adele Blanc-Sec Seville 51,300 (1,900) 27 0.05
Midway to Heaven Excel 42,400 (4,240) 10 0.04
Cold Weather IFC 14,800 (14,800) 1 0.01
Troubadours PBS 13,200 (4,400) 3 0.01
Waiting Forever FreeStyle 8,700 (2,900) 3 0.01
The Other Woman IFC 5,800 (2,900) 2 0.01

Top Domestic Grossers – 2010

Distributor Gross Market Share
Paramount (7) 163.5 20.90%
Sony (7) 130.7 16.70%
Universal (4) 103.7 13.30%
Buena Vista (3) 79.6 10.20%
Warner Bros. (10) 70.1 9.00%
Weinstein Co. (3) 66.2 8.50%
Fox Searchlight (2) 55.7 7.10%
Fox (4) 45.1 5.80%
Relativity (2) 24.1 3.10%
CBS (2) 15.1 1.90%
Alliance (5) 4.9 0.60%
Other * (46) 22.3 2.90%
781 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%

Weekend Estimates — February 6

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

The Roommate|15.5|NEW|15.5
No Strings Attached|8.3|-38%|8.3
The King’s Speech|8.1|-27%|83.9
The Green Hornet|6.3|-44%|87.4
The Rite|5.6|-62%|23.7
The Mechanic|5.3|-53%|20
True Grit|4.8|-36%|155
The Dilemma|3.4|-40%|45.7
Black Swan|3.4|-34%|95.9

Friday Estimates — February 5

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The Roommate |6.3|2534|NEW|6.3
Sanctum |3.5|2787|NEW|3.5
No Strings Attached|2.9|3050|-34%|46.3
The King’s Speech|2.3|2584|-20%|78.1
The Rite |1.9|2985|-64%|20
The Mechanic|1.8|2704|-51%|16.5
The Green Hornet|1.7|3033|-40%|82.8
True Grit|1.4|2902|-28%|151.7
Dilemma |1.1|2545|-35%|43.4
Black Swan|1|1977|-26%|93.5
Also Debuting
What Women Want|25,200|29||25,200
Midway to Heaven|17,900|10||17,900
Adele Blanc-Sec|14,300|27||14,300
Cold Weather|5,100|1||5,100
Waiting Forever|2,800|3||2,800
The Other Woman|1,800|2||1,800
* in millions

Box Office Hell — February 3

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
The Roommate|16.7|n/a|14.0|n/a|17.0
No Strings Attached|9.1|n/a|9.0|n/a|8.5
The King’s Speech|8.2|n/a|7.5|n/a|9.0
The Green Hornet|5.9|n/a|11.0|n/a|6.5

Friday Estimates — January 29

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

The Rite|5.2|2985|NEW|7.2
No Strings Attached |4.3|3022|-41%|30.4
The Mechanic|3.4|2703|NEW|3.4
The Green Hornet|2.9|3524|-42%|70.3
The King’s Speech |2.8|2557|29%|63.9
True Grit|1.9|3120|-9%|36.8
The Dilemma|1.7|2905|-45%|26.6
Black Swan|1.4|2315|-23%|86.9
The Fighter |0.95|1914|-22%|75.3
Little Fockers|0.65|2051|-47%|142.8
Also Debuting
From Prada to Nada|0.31|256||0.31
Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji|26,700|42||26,700
Ip Man 2|18,800|20||18,800
* in millions

Friday Estimates — January 22

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

No Strings Attached|7.2|3018|NEW|7.2
The Green Hornet|5|3584|-55%|50.4
The Dilemma|3|2943|-52%|26.6
The King’s Speech |2.1|1680|-43%|51.6
True Grit|2.1|3464|-37%|132.7
Black Swan|1.7|2407|-28%|79.1
Little Fockers|1.2|2979|-41%|138
The Fighter |1.2|2275|-20%|69.7
Tron: Legacy|0.9|2018|-35%|160.5
Yogi Bear |0.75|2510|-29%|85.6
Also Debuting
The Way Back|0.39|659||0.39
The Company Men|0.17|106||0.17
Dhobi Ghat|0.13|79||0.13
Evangelion: 2.0|7,950|15||7,950
Un Vie Qui Commence|4,700|13||4,700
L’Autre Dumas|3,800|8||3,800
The Woodmans|1,800|1||1,800
* in millions

Columbia Expects Strong Asian Green Hornet Returns During Lunar New Year

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Columbia Expects Strong Asian Green Hornet Returns During Lunar New Year

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 Estimates — January 16

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

The Green Hornet|33.2|NEW|33.2
The Dilemma|17.4|NEW|17.4
True Grit|10.8|-26%|126
The King’s Speech|9.0|40%|44.5
Black Swan|8.0|-1%|72.9
Little Fockers|7.3|-46%|134.4
TRON: Legacy|5.7|-43%|157
Yogi Bear|5.3|-21%|82
The Fighter|5.1|-28%|65.7
Season of the Witch |4.5|-57%|18

Friday Estimates — January 15

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

The Green Hornet|10.8|3584|NEW|10.8
The Dilemma|6.0|2940|NEW|6.0
True Grit|3.1|3459|-29%|118.3
The King’s Speech |2.4|1543|35%|37.9
Black Swan|2.3|2328|-4%|67.2
Little Fockers|2|2414|-33%|62.1
The Fighter |2.1|2528|-21%|52.9
TRON: Legacy|1.4|2439|-50%|152.6
Season of the Witch |1.2|2827|-67%|14.7
Country Strong |1.1|1424|-58%|10.7
Also Debuting
The Heart Specialist|0.35|422||0.35
Yamla Pagla Deewana|0.12|82||0.12
Barney’s Version *|0.09|45||0.09
Every Day|3,501|3||3,501
* in millions

Critics Roundup — January 13

Friday, January 14th, 2011

The Green Hornet|||||Yellow
The Dilemma |||Green||Green
Barney’s Version |||Green|Green|Green
A Somewhat Gentle Man |||Yellow||Green
Black Swan|Green|Green|Green|Green|Green
The Fighter|Green|Green||Green|Green
127 Hours |Green|Green|Green|Green|
The Social Network|Yellow|Green|Green|Yellow|Green

MW on Movies: The Green Hornet, The Dilemma, Another Year, The Illusionist, and Mon Oncle

Friday, January 14th, 2011

The Green Hornet (Two Stars)

U. S.: Michel Gondry, 2011

The Green Hornet is a comedy-action extravaganza done in a deliberate pop art/ironic style by director Michel Gondry — a pseudo-Marvel super-movie about a super-hero who’s also a rich little schmuck. It’s also about the schmuck’s super-talented Asian sidekick, their sexy Girl Friday, who has issues with them both — and a maniacal and over-sensitive villain who runs the drug kingdom in a huge city, and kills people or unleashes a crime wave, whenever he feels insulted (which is often).

Based on the hit Depression radio show about the Green Hornet and his faithful Asian sidekick Kato (a show which later became a TV series with Bruce Lee as Kato), it’s a real mess: a movie that would like to be Iron Man, but lacks the wit, the action, the look, the story, the sense of character, the high spirits, almost everything.

Green Hornet has its moments, but you’d expect many, many more from a cast and filmmakers like this: director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), with a nifty ensemble including Seth Rogen as the rich schmuck/superhero Britt Reid/Green Hornet, Jay Chou as sidekick Kato, Cameron Diaz as gal-pal Lenore Case, and (the one performance that almost works) Christoph Waltz as sadistic crime czar Benjamin Chudnofsky. (Chudnofsky, to make himself as media-friendly and colorful as his Green Hornet nemesis — wants to call himself “Bloodnofsky.”) The script is by Rogen, and his Superbad writing partner Evan Goldberg, along with Fran Striker and George W. Trendle. I don’t know all of them, but sounds good to me.

Instead, Gondry and company pull us into a frenzied pseudo-comic chaos that has all the clunky, campy excess of the ’60s “Batman” TV series (“Holy Hornet!”) , and little of its loopy charm — into a movie that, as you watch it, seems as anachronistic as the so-called newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, that Britt inherited from his media giant dad James (Tom Wilkinson), and is supposed to be running, in his off-SuperHero time.

Believe me, I’m on the side of any movie, however goofy, that wants to revive the fantasy-image and movie-iconish presence of newspapers, and use them as a backdrop for anything, including a new Pauly Shore comedy or a remake of Can‘t Stop the Music. (No, that’s going too far.) After 24 years with the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, I miss newsrooms more than I can say. (I even miss some of the pseudo-Chudnofskys you‘d occasionally run into there.) But there’s nothing about The Daily Sentinel that’s witty or exciting either, not even when they drag in all the villains, heroes, cars, hardware and automatic rifles, and stage the final rip-roaring action basheroo right in the Sentinel offices.

Rogen and Goldberg and company write Britt as a spoiled-rotten rich kid and high-timer who suddenly wants to be a super-hero, after he becomes a journalism nabob and bonds with his dad’s ex-car mechanic, chauffeur and coffee-maker supreme Kato. There’s nothing that explains why Britt gets such a mad notion, or why he figures he can pull it off after years of lazy-rich-kiddery — except maybe that he sees all of Kato’s martial arts and mechanical skills, and figures that his driver will be doing all the work anyway.

So the Legend begins, wackily, and the Green Hornet (Britt, demonstrating his lack of touch, first wants to call himself The Green Bee), is launched on his crime-fighting career — made more complicated because Britt decides to pose as a super-criminal as well as hero. But Britt hires a super-secretary-turned-business whiz (Diaz as Lenore) to help run his paper while he’s not around. And carves aside enough time to become a local media sensation and lock horns with the murderous Chudnofsky a.k.a. Bloodnofsky.

Waltz makes a good, nasty, crazy heavy out of Bloodnofsky. But Rogen’s comic forte is usually playing nice, shaggy guys who tell the truth, not rich would-be playboys who lie their heads off and throw their weight around. He always looks here like he’s putting us on, putting himself on, and it doesn’t help the comedy.

Scene after scene in The Green Hornet is wasted on Britt acting unconvincingly schmucky and on an idiotic rivalry and silly bash fests between Greenie and Kato, who descend into a love/hate relationship that’s neither resonant or amusing — though homo-erotic undertones keep erupting, especially since the one-time stud Britt seems to forsake women, except for a few weak passes at Lenore, after he and Kato set up Superhero shop together. At one point, he falls into a coma for eleven days or so, which was probably a good strategy.

The fights are forgettable. The chases are so-so. The romance is comatose. The comedy is rib-nudging or hysterical.

Michel Gondry can be a jazzily innovative director (Eternal Sunshine), but he can also take us into fantasy dopey-land (Human Nature) — and most of “The Green Hornet” doesn’t even look good, or snazzy or exciting. That includes Greenie and Kato in their superhero garb, which consists of suits, fedoras and toy-store-looking masks that make them look a bit like The Blues Brothers on their way to a masquerade ball.

Maybe they should have been wearing 3D glasses instead — which at least would have underlined the fact that the movie was shot in that process, something I barely noticed. The Green Hornet is only recommended to kids who really would like to put on masks and fedoras and go out and bash Chudnofskys. Or maybe inherit a newspaper.


The Dilemma Three Stars

U.S.: Ron Howard, 2011

Vince Vaughn and Kevin James make a nice couple in The Dilemma, a buddy-comedy-drama (or maybe a drama-buddy-comedy) in which they play a couple of Chicago pals-since-college and business partners. Vaughn is fast-talking huckster Ronny Valentine and James is slower-talking design genius Nick Brennan. Chums to the end, Ronny and Nick work together, play together, pal around as a foursome with their significant others. They‘re Chicago to the core, and they talk Bulls and go to Black Hawks games and have deep-dish Chicago fun — even though now they’re jammed in a time crunch, trying to finish a car-engine project for Dodge on a diminishing deadline.

You think that’s a problem? They’ve got another one, a worse one, or at least Ronny has: Scouting out the proper botanical setting to properly propose to his nonpareil girl friend Beth (Jennifer Connelly), Ronny overhears and sees Nick’s wife, and Beth’s pal, Geneva (Wynona Ryder), in a hot-and-heavy clinch among the big leaves with an unknown (to Ronny) but very enthusiastic tattooed stud (Channing Tatum).

So. Should Ronny tell Nick, and maybe make Nick crack up and foul up the project, plus complicate Nick’s marriage? Should he get more proof? Should he confront Geneva? Should he clam up? Or should he let it hang out, and let chips, or whatever, fall where they may? That’s The Dilemma.

Ron Howard directed the movie, Allan Loeb (Wall Street Money Never Sleeps) wrote it, and it’s pretty damned good. I enjoyed it, and I think it’s a movie that shows off well some of the top-chop, money skills of its cast and of its filmmakers.

Not everybody feels that way. In fact, a lot apparently don’t. Howard, Loeb and the cast have been accused of reckless machismo, of shifting modes too much, of moving back and forth too abruptly between comedy and drama, of creating tonal confusion. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Why is it? What is it?

Tonal confusion? Tonal Schmonal. Life is sometimes a comedy, sometimes a drama, and even if The Dilemma doesn’t always work right (and it doesn’t) there’s nothing wrong with mixing the two up like this, or trying to.

Howard and Loeb and their actors do at least one thing very well here, one thing I haven’t seen recently in many buddy comedies, or buddy dramas (or even buddy musicals).This movie is loaded with good, smart, crackling dialogue, both comic and dramatic, well-crafted by Loeb, and delivered with maximum panache and lots of energy and style by all four of the lead actors and by some of the supporting ones as well — like Tatum as Zip, the tattooed stud and Queen Latifah as Susan Warner, a scrumptious overseer on the engine project. (Nick is trying to make an electric motor roar under the ‘60s power hood like a ‘60s power engine — so that, as Ronny says tellingly, the car won’t look gay.)

Most movies, most dramas — and sadly enough, most comedies — don’t have good dialogue, or dialogue that snaps, pops and races along like this, in the tradition of the Ben Hechts and the Preston Sturgeses and Billy Wilders. Mind you, I‘m not saying Loeb is as good as that trio of dialogue giants — he’s not — but simply that he’s trying to play that game when most others don‘t, and that, not too infrequently, he’s scoring.

When the laughs (temporarily) stop in The Dilemma, it’s because they’re supposed to stop, because Howard and Loeb are deliberately shifting tones and emotions (as most of the best directors can and do), and because the moviemakers want us to see Ronny’s genuine anguish about his dilemma, just as much as the absurdity of him spying on Geneva and Zip and tumbling off a building.

The dramatic heart of the picture is the lie Geneva tells, and that Ronny gets caught up in, partly because he has a secret or two himself. Ronny and Nick are a typical pair of college pals, like Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel in “Carnal Knowledge.” Ronny is the glib, macho, streetwise lady-killer; Nick is the shier guy, the brain who idolizes him. (How much he likes Ronny, Nick later, embarrassingly reveals.)

But, as in most such odd couples, there’s a side of Ronny that’s good-hearted and sensitive like Nick, and a side of Nick that’s brash and take-charge like Ronny. They’re buddies, in a way, because they can complement each other and shave the bad stuff from each other’s psyche. (Vaughn’s best scene though, and one of the best in the movie, is without Nick. It’s his yowling, slamming, half-crazy street-fight with Tatum’s Zip — a scene that’s only hurt by what seems a puzzling lack of response from the neighborhood as these two guys massacre each other.)

Jennifer Connelly, who got an Oscar under Howard’s direction in A Beautiful Mind, doesn’t have much to do here but be supportive and understanding and a little mystified, especially when Ronny turns her parent‘s anniversary into a nightmare. But she does it well. It’s Ryder who has the plum female role, and it’s another witchy part like she played in Black Swan: cheating Geneva, who knows how to lie and cover her tracks and becomes a formidable foe to Ronny.

A word about Ron Howard. He should do more comedies. (Sorry, that’s five words.) If there’s one thing Ronny Howard should definitely understand, it’s how to get laugh lines. He was certainly around enough of them on the Andy Griffith Show, and, to a lesser extent, on Happy Days. From Howard’s Opie’s priceless interplay with Andy and Barney on the “Griffith Show,” to his straight man act with the Fonz, he’s shown himself as one of the most alert and generous of actors — and he‘s an alert and generous director too.

But I wouldn’t keep demanding that he get tonal control of himself and, dammit, push for those laughs. I doubt he wants to make that kind of comedy anyway, since, starting with “Andy Griffith,” he‘s spent his life in shows that mixed moods, and did it expertly.

By the way, there are some things I didn’t like about The Dilemma, and one was the ending, at the second Black Hawks game. Too much comedy. Not enough drama. But “Go Hawks,” anyway.


Another Year (Four Stars)

U.K.: Mike Leigh (2010)

Another Year was one of my favorite 2010 movies, a film I really loved — and I’m surprised that Leigh’s picture hasn’t won that much attention in the critics votes. It’s a rich humane movie, one that catches you up, transfixes and moves you, that gives you real-looking, real-acting people in a memorable set of mid-life crises, in a classic-to-be.

Of course it is. Mike Leigh Naked, Secrets and Lies) directed it. And wrote it (with his cast in rehearsal). Leigh, the master of the seemingly improvised movie, of the Brit-Chekhovian ensemble, and of the prime realistic contemporary British social drama, once again crafts us a sometimes funny, often sad drama of sympathetic observation and tough but compassionate truth — full of sensitivity and humanity, a film both comic-sad like Life is Sweet, and sad-sad like Vera Drake.
Leigh and his marvelous actors create a little world of working class-born people sliding from middle toward old age — some of them happily, some miserably — but all of them chained in a way by the eternal British class system, ruled sometimes by money, social class or educational opportunity: all those systems that relentlessly and unfairly divide people into haves and have-nots — even if they all seem, for the moment, comfortably fixed.

Leigh takes us from Spring to Winter, in four increasingly bleak acts, and with another top-notch acting ensemble piece. The unimprovable cast revolves around Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen as the blissfully content, supremely well-ordered suburban couple geologist Tom and counselor Gerri, two happy people with an upwardly mobile son (Oliver Maltman).

The couple, center of their little universe, remain loyal (if sometimes condescending) to two old friends now fallen on booze and hard emotional times, who keep popping in: chubby and romantically luckless bachelor Ken (Peter Wight), and fading single one-time sweetheart party gal Mary (Lesley Manville). Also around: David Bradley as Tom’s quiet and melancholy old brother Ronnie, bereaved and still trapped in the class Tom left behind.

They’re all excellent, but Manville is extraordinary. The last shot of her in this movie is absolutely withering. Equally devastating is the movie’s first scene, which undermines the seeming later contentment of Tom and Gerri, by starting us off with one of Gerri‘s clients: the great Imelda Staunton (Leigh’s Vera Drake) as an unsmiling, bottomlessly sad woman trapped in such a merciless vise of circumstance, that she cannot imagine any improvement on her life — except a different life.

What Manville creates for Another Year is a woman who’s a victim of ageism, of alcohol, and also of her own continuing unrealistic expectations. Maybe once a local bombshell of sorts, certainly someone who had her suitors for a while, Mary still seems to believe she is, or can be saved by her looks, and that sexual attraction and flirtiness can be the hot-wire that moves her out of her life doldrums. (She’s cold though with the equally lonely Ken.)

Tom and Gerri, whom she pesters and leans on, and who treat her with kindness but also with condescension, probably represent an ideal for her, a second family. If chubby Tom and slightly bovine-looking Gerri can be so happy, why can‘t she?

That’s a major question in Leigh’s films: Why can’t these people be happy? Why can’t we? The answer isn’t always social or political, though Leigh is a classic British progressive/leftist. And it doesn’t come from fixed, immutable human nature. Leigh, a great admirer of the Japanese family-drama master Yasujiro Ozu (“Tokyo Story”), simply points his camera (Dick Pope’s camera) at these people — at these wonderful actors who have delved so deeply into the outlines he’s made for them and, with him, created something of such solid truth, such burning compassion.

He looks at them and makes us commiserate and wonder. Why can’t we be happy?

The Illusionist (Four Stars)

France: Sylvain Chomet (Sony Classics)
In this wonderful feature cartoon, masterful old-style French animator Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) takes an unproduced Jacques Tati script about an aging magician (who looks and dresses just like Tati, with trench coat and pipe), and the young woman who follows and loves him, and makes Chaplinesque, Tatiesque magic.

The movie is set in, of all places, rural Scotland and Edinburgh, and the way Chomet captures that land and that city, in lines and pastels, is wondrous to behold. They’re among the most beautiful drawings I’ve ever seen in a movie cartoon. There’s also a snip of the real Tati, on screen, in a movie house. (Jean-Claude Donda does the voices for both the Illusionist and the movie house manager.)

And there’s a really great bunny — white, of course, since he comes out of the hat. Now, how many cartoons have a really great bunny? About as many as have a really great illusionist. This one has both — as well as the antic, wistful spirit of the great Jacques Tati, a magnificent talent who could pull lots of stuff from his hat, and who vanished far too soon.

Mon Oncle (Four Stars)

France: Jacques Tati, 1958

Jacques Tati’s first great clash with the modern world and its sometimes haywire technology was 1958‘s Mon Oncle. His second was 1968‘s Playtime, which defeated him, not artistically but financially.

Mon Oncle is still a gem, a masterpiece. (So is Playtime, but it doesn’t have as much Hulot.) This movie has those wonderful dogs and those little delinquent Parisian kids, roaming and terrorizing the neighborhood, and it has that fantastically ridiculous fish fountain at the Arpels. And it has Tati’s M. Hulot at his most diffident and beguiling, trying to be a good brother to his proudly bourgeois sister. Mme. Arpel (Adrienne Servantie) and to her over-fussy factory owner hubby, Arpel (Jean-Pierre Zola), trying to be a good man, a good worker, and most of all trying to be a good uncle to his scampish little nephew — but only causing comic chaos.

It’s enough for us, of course, but not the world, this world. (By the way, did Bob Dylan see this movie before writing “If Dogs Run Free?”) (In French, with English subtitles.) (At the Music Box, Chicago.)

Box Office Hell: January 12

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
The Green Hornet|41.7|n/a|33|41.0|37
The Dilemma|25.6|n/a|26|10.0|25
True Grit|10.7|n/a|12.0|16.0|12.5
Little Fockers |9.3|n/a|10.0|9.0|9.7
Black Swan|8.7|n/a|10.0|10.0|10.5
The King’s Speech|5.2|n/a|n/a|16.0|8.7

Will Green Hornet Be An Unexpected Back-Office Superhero Story?

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Will Green Hornet Be An Unexpected Back-Office Superhero Story?

How Michel Gondryed Green Hornet

Monday, January 10th, 2011

How Michel Gondryed Green Hornet

The Green Hornet’s International Trailer

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010