April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Wrath of the Titans

“The Hunger Games” stays strong and tops $350m Weekend Box Office

HollywoodNews.com: It was an ‘everybody wins’ weekend at the box office as all three openers outperformed even the most optimistic expectations. The number one film of the weekend was not The Hunger Games but rather Think Like A Man. The all-star romantic comedy based off of Steve Harvey’s best-selling relationship self-help book grossed a somewhat surprising $33 million on just over 2000 screens. The Screen Gems film was notable in that the small studio made a real effort to market the African-American-centric rom-com both to black males and white audiences (Vulture has a detailed article about the marketing campaign). Racial demographics aren’t available yet, but the film played 63% female and 62% over 30. For what it’s worth, it earned an A from Cinemascore, including an A+ from audiences under 25. Even more impressive is that the film achieved a near-3x, including a token increase on Saturday (from $12 million to $13 million). The film has a ton of ‘would probably be a bigger star in a color-blind society’ actors, including Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy, Steve Harvey, and Taraji P. Henson. But the secret weapon may have been comedian Kevin Hart, who powered his stand-up concert film, Laugh At My Pain to $7 million last September despite playing on less than 300 screens. Pay no attention to this large opening folks, nothing to see about an under-served audience demographic delivering near-blockbuster numbers on a $13 million budget. Just move along and keep putting Anthony Mackie in fourth-billed supporting roles.
There will be lots of talk comparing this film to the Tyler Perry cannon, but know this: If the estimates hold up, Tim Story’s decidely secular romantic comedy will have opened higher than every Perry feature save the $41 million debut of Madea Goes To Jail. In fact, aside from that Perry release, I can’t think of another African-American comedy or drama that opened as high as this one perhaps ever. How well the film holds up over the long haul is an open question, and arguably *that’s* where the attempt at cross-racial outreach come into play. If Screen Gems can convince white audiences that this isn’t so much a ‘black film’ as much as it’s a Valentine’s Day-type ensemble piece that happens to star actors of color, it may have strong legs as its sampled by general [...]

The Hunger Games topped the box office for the third time in a row

HollywoodNews.com: Whatever my issues with The Hunger Games in terms of its quality as a film, its continued box office might can only be a good thing. Considering the current trend of studios basically remaking/rebooting/rehashing every remotely popular property over the last thirty years, the fact that this NEW adaptation from a NEW novel is going to be among the top three grossing films of the year by a healthy margin can only be a good lesson. Anyway, The Hunger Games topped the box office for the third time in a row this weekend, dropping a perfectly reasonable 43% in weekend three, for a weekend haul of $33.5 million. This gives the film a massive $302 million in seventeen days, which is the second-largest such haul for a film outside of summer in history. That’s the fifth-biggest seventeen-day total in history, and 11 days ahead of Alice In Wonderland, the closest non-summer competitor and just two days behind Avatar. Forget Twilight comparisons, it’s already passed Eclipse, which is the highest-grossing entry in the series. And forget the majority of the Harry Potter series, as it’s $14 million away from surpassing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and it’s already tied with the $303 million 17-day total of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II with significantly larger second and third weekends to boot. At this point, it’s playing like Spider-Man 2 and the last Harry Potter film, with stronger weekends but lighter weekday grosses. The second Spidey pick ended its third weekend with $302 million and ended its domestic haul with $373 million, while Harry Potter 7.2 ended with $381 million. Factoring a rather busy April and the coming summer onslaught, that’s as good a place to predict as to where the first The Hunger Games ends up.
The top opener, one of two wide releases, was American Reunion. The unasked-for sequel is the fourth theatrical entry in the American Pie series but the eighth chapter counting the four direct-to-DVD films. This ‘most of you need a paycheck because none of you really broke out’ rehash opened to $21 million, which is almost identical to the $19 million debut this time last year of Scream 4. To be fair, at least some of the cast has worked relatively steadily since 1999, with Alyson Hannigan going from one [...]

Warner Bros hides Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows…

HollywoodNews.com: There’s a new Tim Burton coming out from Warner Bros. in just over two months. Aside from a couple stills and some half-hearted interview statements from the cast and Mr. Burton, we haven’t heard or seen a thing from it. No posters, no trailers, no TV spots, nothing. It’s October of 1996, and I’m of course referring to Mars Attacks!. Many of my readers are too young to remember way-back-when, but the near-absence of marketing materials for Tim Burton’s $80 million private-joke (which today plays like half-blockbuster deconstruction and half-right wing political fantasy) was a source of frustration for a 16-year old Tim Burton fan who was eagerly awaiting that first preview. Today we stand in the same boat with another Warner Bros-funded Tim Burton ‘comedy’. But just over fifteen years later, what was a source of frustration is now a pleasant surprise.
Nine weeks to go, and I really don’t need to see an onslaught of spoiler-filled marketing materials for the upcoming Dark Shadows. Ten weeks to go, and I have absolutely no idea what kind of film Tim Burton and his merry band have delivered. I don’t know what it looks like, what the tone is, or all-that much about the plot. And in this era of ‘spoil the movie a year in advance’, that’s a special thing indeed.
Whether because Warner Bros. didn’t know how to sell the sci-fi horror/comedy or because they saw the writing on the wall and tried to limit their financial losses, the studio waited until 4 weeks prior to release to unleash that first Mars Attacks! trailer. Attached to Space Jam, the 2.5-minute trailer was pretty much all we saw of the film in America, aside from a TV spot or two until Thanksgiving weekend, when Warner Bros. held a national sneak preview. I attended that sneak preview, loved the hell out of the movie, and spent the next two weeks trying (in vain) to convince friends and peers that it was absolutely worth checking out. But, in retrospect, it was a pretty stupid idea for Warner Bros to sneak a genuine cult film so that the few die-hards could see it two weeks early and not contribute one dime to the box office (all ticket sales went to Space Jam, which played for free afterward). But come [...]