a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekend Box Office #174

Another week slipped through my fingers somehow. Did a little writing, not enough, though now I'm going to curl up with a cup of coffee and try to be creative.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of things opening this weekend:

COP OUT (3150 theaters). The original title, "A Couple of Dicks", was definitely more distinctive, but apparently they changed it because they weren't going to be able to advertise it on network TV before 9PM, double meaning or not. Given that it's a very scatological R-rated movie, I think they should have kept the original title rather than this generic one, though reviews for this haven't been very strong at all. It's the first movie Kevin Smith directed that he didn't write. Call it $17.4 million for the weekend.

THE CRAZIES (2476 theaters). Reviews have been pretty solid, and I'm sure it'll find something of an audience. Call it $17.4 million for the weekend; it'll be interesting to see if "Shutter Island" holds in first place.


Last weekend, Shutter Island made $41.1 million, so I was close.

Avatar should careen over the $700 million domestic mark this weekend, $2.5 billion worldwide. Yikes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Wolfman, and Weekend Box Office #172/#173

So I was gone last weekend for me 10th anniversary, and completely missed posting. More than ever, I feel like a slacker.

So some catch-up:

I saw "The Wolfman", which isn't great, isn't terrible. Benicio del Toro is a strange choice for the lead, but his odd line readings add something. The big problem is that they tried to do it as sort of a throwback old-fashioned gothic horror tale, yet at the same time they somehow spent $150 million on it, and aside for a couple of action sequences the money isn't on the screen.

Meanwhile "Valentine's Day", which cost about a third as much despite having numerous more stars, made $63.1 million over the four-day President's Day weekend, compared to only $35.6 for "The Wolfman" (while "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief", which cost about $95 million, brought in $38.7 million).

And Avatar made another $28.8 million, and was the #2 movie again on Tuesday.

At least the theaters are busy, even as DVD sales are falling. Apparently people do like seeing movies in theaters, even when the times are causing them to make choices about how to spend their disposable income.

This weekend, there's only one movie opening wide, SHUTTER ISLAND, in 2991 theaters. I think it'll benefit a lot from being the only new movie, and by a lack of people urgently wanting to see any of the holdovers instead. Figure $39.8 million for the weekend....

Friday, February 05, 2010

Weekend Box Office #171

So I'm trying to catch up on last year's big movies. I saw both Precious and The Hurt Locker this week; both are well-deserving of their nominations. Precious manages to be harrowing yet hopeful at the same time, while The Hurt Locker does an outstanding job keeping you on the edge of your seat with the characters. See them.

Meanwhile, other stuff keeps coming out. Going wide this weekend:

DEAR JOHN (2969 theaters). The idea seems to be that movies like this will do well on Super Bowl weekend, because it gives the football widows something to do. This one looks kind of dumb and young, though, and reviews haven't been all that great. Call it $17.8 million for the weekend.

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (2722 theaters). This one looks like fun, though the Super Bowl will probably eat into its audience. Call it $16.7 million for the weekend.

Otherwise, a lot of the Oscar movies, like An Education, Crazy Heart and Precious, are going wider. See them...


Last weekend, Avatar won again. Edge of Darkness managed $17.2 million, while When In Rome did $12.4 million.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Oscar Nominations

If you haven't seen the list, it's here.

Generally it's all pretty expected. A few random thoughts:

BEST PICTURE: Expanding it to ten nominations was meant to get more films nominated, to draw more of a TV audience (with the hopeful side effect of bringing attention -- and box office -- to some underseen films).

If there were five nominees, it probably would have matched up with the directing nominees: Avatar, Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, Up In The Air. Which means the extra nominations went to some popular films (Up, Blind Side, District 9) and a couple of artsy ones in An Education and A Serious Man. I guess the big surprise is that Star Trek, which a lot of people thought might sneak in, didn't.

ACTING. No real surprises in the top acting categories, other than Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) getting nominated for their first major roles. In supporting, it's nice to see Woody Harrelson back, while interestingly The Messenger was by far the least seen of his three movie roles last year (Zombieland, 2012).

SCREENWRITING. Six of the 10 nominated films had multiple writers, though there were probably a few instances (like Up in the Air) where the writers didn't actually work together.

And of the 19 nominated writers, 18 were men, the lone exception being Terri Tatchell, who co-wrote District 9 (and who I'm assuming is a women just because of the spelling of her name). It's an issue.

Also a mild shocker is that Avatar was not nominated for Best Screenplay - not that it deserved to be, at all. It is pretty impressive that it got 9 nominations despite having none for acting or writing.

ORIGINAL SONG. This has become such an obscure grab bag of songs in recent years. This year we get two Randy Newman songs from The Princess and the Frog, a song from Nine, a song from something called "Paris 36" (which must be a great song if it comes out of obscurity like that) and the song from "Crazy Heart". In the Oscar pool, pick that one.

MAKEUP. The only nominees are Il Divo, Star Trek and Young Victoria. Apparently there wasn't much going on in makeup this year.

DIRECTING. It's nice that the DGA gave Kathryn Bigelow Best Director over her ex-husband. It'll be interesting to see if the Oscars follow suit...