Posts Tagged ‘The Next Three Days’

Weekend Box Office Report — December 12

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Weekend Estimates – December 10-12, 2010

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

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

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

Weekend Box Office Report — December 5

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Warrior’s Weigh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Weekend Estimates – December 3-5, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Estimates — December 5

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

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

Friday Estimates — December 4

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

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

Weekend Box Office Report — November 28

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Tangled Up in Blues … and Reds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Weekend Estimates – November 26-28, 2010

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

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

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

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

Title Distributor Gross
Hubble 3D WB 18,355,494
The Ghost Writer Summit 15,569,712
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box/Alliance 11,282,938
The Young Victoria * Apparition/Alliance 11,131,232
Get Low Sony Classics 9,080,285
A Single Man * Weinstein Co. 7,935,872
The Girl Who Played with Fire Music Box/Alliance 7,837,823
Cyrus Fox Searchlight 7,461,082
Babies Focus 7,444,272
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus * E1/Sony Classics 7,394,171
City Island Anchor Bay 6,671,036
The Last Station Sony Classics 6,617,867
The Secret in Their Eyes Sony Classics 6,391,436
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus 6,350,058
Winter’s Bone Roadside Attraction 6,225,414
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage 6,130,466
Under the Sea 3D * WB 5,504,062
Precious Lions Gate 5,085,319
I Am Love Magnolia 5,002,411
An Education * Sony Classics 4,963,224
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates — November 28

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

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

Friday Estimates – November 27

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

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

Weekend Box Office Report — November 21

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Harry and the Deathly Swallows … Gulp!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Weekend Estimates – November 19-21, 2010

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

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

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

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

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 476,883,415
Toy Story 3 BV 414,681,777
Alice in Wonderland BV 334,191,110
Iron Man 2 Par 312,445,596
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 300,551,386
Inception WB 291,914,445
Despicable Me Uni 248,900,040
Shrek Forever After Par 238,667,087
How to Train Your Dragon Par 218,685,707
The Karate Kid Sony 176,797,997
Clash of the Titans WB 163,214,888
Grown Ups Sony 162,147,232
The Last Airbender Par 131,733,601
Shutter Island Par 128,051,522
The Other Guy Sony 119,256,755
Salt Sony 118,485,665
Jackass 3D Par 115,357,091
Valentine’s Day WB 110,509,442
Sherlock Holmes * WB 106,967,985
Robin Hood Uni 105,425,146
* does not include 2009 box office

Weekend Estimates – November 21

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

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

Friday Estimates — November 20

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

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

MW on Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1, The Next Three Days, and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (Three Stars)

U.S.; David Yates, 2010

The beginning of the end for a very long, mostly gratifying, often magical and sometimes splendiferous and surprising cinematic journey on a constantly twisting fantastical/literary road, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One splits the last of the J. K. Rowling books in half, and leaves us suspended on the saga’s cliff-edge — with all the furious climax-building and loose-end-tying left for next year’s Part Two.

So, twist, twist … Faced with so much material in Rowling’s last Potter book, as well as with the end of a franchise, director David Yates, writer Steve Kloves and producers David Heyman and David Barron take a chance, jump off the cliff and slice us off in mid-Hallows, promising more later.

At the end here, somewhat abruptly, they leave the kids and the plot boiling their way to that long-awaited final confrontation between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), and his series-long buddies Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and their Satanic nemesis, evil wizard-master Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) — a being so foul, so evil, that his soul is split into seven scattered pieces (horcruxes to you) — along with Voldemort’s fiendish company (Alan Rickman’s icy Professor Severus Snape, Timothy Spall’s squirmy Wormtail, Helena Bonham Carter‘s mad Bellatroix Lestrange, all those damned Death Eaters and the rest of the Whole Sick Crew) and the explosion we know will come in next year‘s promised H.P. & the D. H., Part Two.

Then, the last Potter part (after this penultimate Potter) will wrap up everything Rowling has dreamed and that the filmmakers have filmed so faithfully and well, in what will probably be a blaze of excitement, special effects and Hogwarts auld lang syne.

Meanwhile, back at the cliff…

I didn’t enjoy Deathly Hallows 1 all that much overall (though sometimes I enjoyed it mightily). But I certainly admired it. How often in film history do we get something this rich and full, or see a group of moviemakers so determined to bring us every last jot and tittle (sometimes captivating, sometimes not), stage as much as they possibly could of a first-rate writer’s long, long, epic novel-series? What wouldn’t we give if some French film auteur had devoted similar care to Balzac‘s Comedie Humaine? Or some American had done all of Farrell‘s Studs Lonigan, or Faulkner’s complete Yoknapawtapha Saga? Or even all the Oz books?

Deathly Hallows 1 though, is the darkest of all of the Potter movies, the bleakest, the most melancholy, and the least packed and stuffed with roast turkey platters of toothsome British character acting, and sugarplums of fantasy, and after-the-feast bobsled rides of slam-bang action.

There was only one time in the whole movie I felt any delight, and that was at the little interpolated tale of The Three Brothers and their wishes: an animated bon-bon supervised by Ben Hibon, that looks a bit like one of those wonderful old Lotte Reiniger silhouette films (like “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,”) Tim Burtonized into sepia life.
I also got a kick out of the re-appearances of so many past Potterites specially Madman Mooney (Brendan Gleeson), and pink slithery elf Dobby (voiced by Toby Jones), and I enjoyed Rhys Ifans’ blowup as Xenophilias Lovegood in his wild digs. And, like everyone else, I liked the dance in the wilderness between Harry and Hermione. (With all that gray mist, shouldn’t it have been to “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?”)

But for this outing, at least, unadulterated joy is a stranger. Instead, we start off the movie with a what-took-you-so-long appearance by Bill Nighy as dour Rufus Schrimgeour (Nighy being one of the few great contemporary British character actors, who haven’t already popped up in a previous Potter), Rufus arriving at a ghastly feast hosted by that hideous noseless-corpse-looking fiend-beyond-fiendishness Voldemort, issuing more sepulchral threats to rid the world of all things Potter. (This loathsome creature, this dastardly bastard, this cold-eyed Lucifer, this creep has, I swear, a future in politics — if he gets a good make-up man.)

And that’s the jolly part.

Afterward, with Hogwarts closed to Harry and company, with his adopted family (including Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths) forced to flee, with his friends joining together to disguise themselves as a band of fake Harries to fool the Death Eaters, wanted posters with his visage marked “Undesirable Number One,“ plastered all over the town, and finally lost and wandering, with lissome Hermione and scowling Ron, through what looks like the ashy, seared ruins of a sunless land out of somebody‘s nightmare (thanks to cinematographer Eduardo Serra), Harry is thrust finally, rudely into a glum, threatening, care-laden adulthood, and forced to face, undiluted with Hogwarts antics, the problems we all face, especially if we’re magic guys (or ladies) and have the devil on our trail.

Series devotees and Constant Readers of Rowling (R.I.P., Dorothy P.), will love it all, I’m sure. (And that’s quite a huge, huge bunch.) Less fervent Potterers may be honestly confused. I sometimes wondered what the hell was going on, and who was who, and even what a horcrux was. (Remember, again: It’s one of the seven severed slices of Voldemort’s satanic sinister soul.) And I fervently wished I’d set aside time to read the whole book. (I used to read them all, in more halcyon days.) My advice to non-experts or aficionados. Get a crib-sheet, or bone up on a Harry Potter website, before you see it. Or better yet, read the book. (The show will still be around, in a few weeks.)

I mentioned the cast. Everybody does. Everybody should. From Part One on, this series must surely boast the most talented and luminous movie roll call of great British star and character film actors, ever — or at least since “Gosford Park,“ where the cast had richer parts and Robert Altman to turn them loose. Maybe they could all start their own rep company, called “Everybody Comes to Harry’s.” Anyway, they all came to this series, or a lot of them (see above), from this movie’s other cast-mates Miranda Richardson (as Rita Skeeter), Imelda Staunton (as Dolores Umbridge) and John Hurt (as Ollivander) to previous series participants Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, Richard Harris and Michael Gambon — the last two as the late, lamented master, who drives Harry batty, in this outing, with his impenetrable clues.

One almost expects to see the ghosts of Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud enter from stage left, pursued by a bear, cast as the ghosts of wizards past. And I wouldn’t bet on Sean Connery and Michael Caine remaining still absent from the feast at Deathly Hallows, Part Two. (Or will Connery, Caine, Colin Firth and other no-shows start wearing, as Nighy almost did, t-shirts emblazoned “No, I wasn’t in a Harry Potter movie.”) Whatever, whenever, it shows how attractively ambitious producers Heyman and Barron have been — and how well Rowling has been served by all present and all dePottered. (Sorry.)

It also shows also how good a screenwriter Steve Kloves is. (That’s the auteur of The Fabulous Baker Boys, who’s done all but one of the Potters — and isn’t it time he got another shot as director?) And how lucky and ready David Yates was, succeeding directors Chris Columbus (Harry Potter 1 & 2), Alfonso Cuaron (Part Three) and Mike Newell (Part Four) as the Potter helmsman, for the last four straight.

Yates, who is painstaking and versatile, if not inspired — but who seems to really love the books — was mostly a British TV director before 2007‘s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which demonstrates how excellent and keenly literary the best of British Television is. (Yates made another episodic Brit novel adaptation on TV, filming Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.)

To digress: Yates comes from a good school. And I really love being able to watch a long, richly detailed, well-acted and faithful British TV adaptation of a great novelist like Dickens, George Eliot, Jane Austen, or Thackeray, or of a fine 20th century novelist or entertainer like Anthony Powell, John le Carre, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Graham Greene — or even of “Poldark.” (All of which you can get on videos of British TV, also once the stomping ground of ace directors Mike Leigh, Stephen Frears, Michael Apted and Alan Clarke.) And I wish that someone someday would release the complete anniversary edition they did of all Shakespeare’s plays. (Or maybe do them all over again, with the casts of the Harry Potter films.)

That stellar cast accentuates the fact that the Potter series’ central triumvirate — Radcliffe, Grint and even Watson — don’t (yet) have the acting chops, or near them, of their elders. One likes them because they’ve been with us in these roles so long. But none of these kids can nibble scenery like Helena Bonham Carter, or fondly burble like Toby Jones, or ooze hauteur like Maggie Smith, or swagger like Robbie Coltrane, or brood like Michael Gambon, or percolate like Miranda Richardson, or condescend like Imelda Staunton, or cast a pall like Ralph Fiennes. (That’s right: Who would expect them to?)

They can dance, though. And they can yearn. And they’re still young. And they’ve grown up, as everyone says, before our eyes, in the multiplexes. How lucky they’ll feel when they’re old and wiser and gray, and doing cameo roles — and they can drop whatever has replaced a DVD into whatever has replaced a DVD player, and watch themselves, forever muggles.

Well, as you can tell, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One didn’t knock me out. But because the series, as a whole, increasingly has, I’m willing to cut it some slack, be patient, wait for the end. I’ll take it on faith that they can set up something grand and marvelous for that last pop-pop-pop-Bam! fireworks finale. Magic, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter have turned out to be wonderful subjects for the movies. (This is one movie series that, for better or worse, rarely got in a rut.) And that’s because, I guess, magic is at the heart of the movies themselves, at the core of what lets them cast their spells. Magic thrills us on the page. But it can really catch us, rapt and spellbound, in a movie — or in a big long series of movies where the moviemakers really care about doing them right. Give ’em Hell, Harry.


The Next Three Days (Two and a Half Stars)

U. S.: Paul Haggis, 2010

This movie made no sense to me — even though it was well-acted (by Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson and others) and well-written and directed (by Paul Haggis, of Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby).

Check this out: Crowe is playing a pudgy, undershaven teacher named John Brennan, whose beautiful wife Lara (Elizabeth Banks), is convicted of murder, after she’s seen driving away from a parking lot that‘s also a murder site, with the dead woman‘s blood on her coat. If I were a jury member, I wouldn’t have necessarily bought that evidence — but then, Henry Fonda’s Juror No. 8, in Twelve Angry Men, is one of my heroes.

Then, even though he’s convinced of his wife’s innocence, John gets derailed by bad luck in court and a few discouraging words from lawyer Daniel Stern, and decides to break Lara out of jail instead, inspired by the wisdom of successful jailbreak artist/author Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson). I don’t buy this either, maybe because I would never hire Daniel Stern as my lawyer (I remember too well what he did with his popcorn box in Diner), and also maybe because Hilary Swank, as Betty Anne Waters in Conviction, is one of my new heroes.

What’s next?


Only a jailbreak plot that might tax the cunning, timing and stamina of Daniel Craig’s James Bond, but that looks like duck soup for an out-of-shape, academic, seemingly emotionally distraught Russell Crowe, who also has to get his kid back from a birthday party and then make a plane, right after the jailbreak.


I don’t buy this either, maybe because I would never hire Daniel Stern as my lawyer (I remember too well what his buddy Mickey Rourke did with his popcorn box in “Diner“), and also maybe because Hilary Swank, as Betty Anne Waters in “Conviction,“ is one of my new heroes.
The Next Three Days was adapted from a French movie called “Pour Elle,” which was directed and co-written by Fred Cavaye. Now, I might buy all this in a French movie, even by a director named Fred, especially if Gerard Depardieu or Daniel Auteuil — or Pour Elle’s actual star Vincent Lindon — played John (or Jean). But that’s because the French are famous for film noir and l’amour fou. They’re good at that stuff.

This movie looks good, sounds good and plays good. (Brian Dennehy and Helen Carey are John’s parents, and what jail could possibly hold the Liam Neeson who tore Paris apart in Taken? I just couldn’t make any sense of it, maybe because my “l’amour fou“ days went out with Pierrot le Fou. The Next Three Days, incidentally, is dedicated, effusively, to Damon Pennington, who I guess is a real person, unlike John. If I ever have to break anyone out of jail, I’ll give Damon a call, because he obviously knows his stuff — and also, because I‘m probably in worse shape than Brennan.

By the way, I would like to apologize, effusively, to Daniel Stern, for making a snotty crack about that great lewd popcorn gag in “Diner.” I realize it was all Barry Levinson’s doing, and they were all just following orders, everyone in “Diner” (and Levinson) only eats gourmet popcorn with escargot snacks, washed down with French Champagne, while watching Cesar-winning French movies and classic American film noirs. Besides, Daniel Stern is one of my heroes.


Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

U. S.: Alex Gibney, 2010

Client 9 is Eliot Spitzer, the crusading Democratic New York Attorney General who took on Wall Street and later the Governor who tried to take on the Republican Party, and who ultimately had his career 86’d when he turned up on a John’s list for the pricey Manhattan Internet bordello, The Emperor’s Club.

Politicos screw hookers. Sometimes they caught. What else is new? But it’s suggested here by Client 9’s gutsy director Alex Gibney — who also made the excellent Oscar-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side and the lucid, devastating Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room — that Spitzer, though certainly guilty (albeit of a victimless crime committed by more than few prominent members of the Manhattan social/economic elite ) was harassed and tracked, and then nailed by a group of vengeful Wall Street got-rocks nabobs and political bigwigs who included the eventually crippled insurance giant AIG’s ex-CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, former New York Stock Exchange Director and Home Dept co-founder Ken Langone, former New York GOP Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, and legendary Republican dirty trickster and self-styled stud-of-studs Roger Stone.

All four of these guys — and Spitzer, Emperors Club madame Cecil Suwal, call girl Ashley Dupre (A.K.A. “Kristin“) — who spilled a lot of beans on Client 9, and now writes an advice column for The New York Post — talk on camera. (Ashley is in archive footage.) So does another lady of the evening, code-named “Angelina,” who was apparently Spitzer‘s actual favorite companion — and who doesn’t appear on camera but has allowed her interview transcript to be read by actress Wrenn Schmidt. (I know, it sounds funny, but Schmidt plays the part very well.)

Was Spitzer stalked? And reamed? And was it because he was an effective A.G. going after Wall Street and Albany corruption, and maybe a future Democratic national candidate? Or because he was a nasty guy whom everybody disliked? Did the Fearsome Foursome have something, or a lot, to do with it?

Gibney convinced me. (Admittedly I’m sometimes an easy mark for stories like this.) Partly that’s because the main quartet of nemeses are so open, so type-cast and so boastfully self-satisfied on camera.

Lagone (at least here) looks and sounds like a man who goes to church but who makes offers you can’t refuse. Bruno (at least here) looks and sounds like a guy who’d beat up his bookie and his best friend and maybe his grandmother, but only if they got out of line. (Actually, Bruno may have a second career, after his 2009 corruption sentence is over, picking up some of Dennis Farina’s “heavy” roles.) Stone (at least here) looks and sounds like a proud cocksman who wears black underwear, has an autographed picture of Richard Nixon, and a cell phone with someone named HoneyBunny on his list of five faves. Greenberg (at least here) looks and sounds like a quiet old man, who’d help trigger a crash without a sliver of remorse. They all cheerfully admit they hate and despise Spitzer, except Greenberg, whose mild manner suggests that revenge is something served cold, that your secretary handles.

Spitzer seems remorseful. (One feels very sorry for his wife Silda, who never says anything.) He also seems like a smart guy with ideals, a temper, and too many sex fantasies. (Over $100,000 worth on the Emperors Club bill of fare.) His enemies sound like four guys who like to cash checks, and who think ideals are for nuns.

By the way, didn’t Louisiana’s current Republican Senator David Vitter get caught on a John’s list too? Isn’t he still in the Senate, battling corruption? Dude must have a good P. R. guy. Roger Stone, maybe.

This is an exciting documentary, well-investigated, well-crafted, compelling and absorbing. It’d make a good dramatic movie. And if anybody thinks this kind of stuff isn’t a big part of the reason Wall Street tanked, they belong in a Looney Tune, mentoring Daffy Duck.

Box Office Hell — November 19

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

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

Critics Roundup — November 19

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1|Yellow|||Green|Green
Made in Dagenham|Green||Green|Green|Green
The Next Three Days|||||Yellow
White Material |||Green||Green
Today’s Special |||Yellow||

Russell Crowe’s Latest Challenge

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Russell Crowe’s Latest Challenge

Teasing The Next Three Days

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

The Next Three Days Gets Postered

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Russell Crowe and Paul Haggis team up in this thriller concerning a man willing to break his wife out of prison in order to get her out of a murder conviction.