In 1997, shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel and Stefan about their former colleague David. All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished—or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods.
||August 31st, 2011 (Wide) by Focus Features|
||December 6th, 2011 by Lionsgate Miramax|
||R for some violence and language|
(Rating bulletin 2109, 2/24/2010)
||Remake, War Crimes, Nazis, Same Role, Multiple Actors, Out of Retirement, Non-Chronological, One Last Job, Secret Agent, World War II, Foreign Language Remake, Foreign Language, Political|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Historical Fiction|
The Hangover II was the first of three new releases on top of this week's Blu-ray sales chart, selling 951,000 units while generating $16.89 million. Its opening week Blu-ray share was 42%, which was good for a comedy.
New releases took four or five of the top five spots on the DVD sales chart this week. (The Smurfs is a bit of a complicated case, but more on that in a second.) First place went to The Help with 1.75 million units sold generating $29.78 million in revenue.
I hate this time for year, because of the holidays. Due to the five-day Thanksgiving long weekend and the Christmas shipping rush, screeners are even more likely to arrive late. Most of the prime releases I'm supposed to review are still on route. It makes it hard to keep up to date on reviews, plus it makes it really hard to figure out what the Pick of the Week should be. The Help is in contention, but I want to see the Blu-ray first. In the end, I went with the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Extended Trilogy Box Set on Blu-ray.
The weekend after the Labor Day long weekend is often the worst weekend of the year, and that appears to be the case this time around. No film matched Thursday's predictions, although a couple came relatively close, like Contagion. Unfortunately, the rest of the new releases really bombed and most of the holdovers fell significantly more than expected. This led to the box office falling 24% from last weekend to just $82 million. This is the lowest it's been all year, and lower than last year, but by less than 1%. Unless next weekend will be even worse, and it is almost hard to imagine that as a possibility, this will be the lowest point for the year. On the other hand, there's a chance that we don't dip below this level for a long, long time, if ever. Given population growth and inflation, hitting these low points are less likely each year.
The weekend after the Labor Day long weekend tends to be one of the worst, if not the worst weekend of the year, but that probably won't be the case this year. This weekend we have four wide releases, one of which is a bit of a surprise wide release. One of them, Contagion, could wind up being a real hit. The other three, well, they are not opening truly wide. Maybe The Warrior will be a sleeper hit, but the other two could struggle to reach the top ten. By comparison, this weekend last year Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D was a surprise hit with $26.65 million. It's not terribly likely any film will match that opening, but 2011 has better depth and hopefully that will be the key to victory.
We had a pleasant surprise over Labor Day long weekend as the holdover held on a lot better than expected, while the new releases were on par with expectations, at least on average. (One struggled, one came within a rounding error of the weekend prediction, and one crushed expectations.) This led to a total box office haul of $107 million from Friday through Sunday and $137 million if you include Monday. By comparison, last year the total box office was $106 million / $133 million. It was a close win, but a win's a win. Overall 2011 is behind 2010 by 4% at $7.46 billion to $7.78 billion. There's a slim chance 2011 will close the gap and come out on top in the end, but in order to do that, it will need to earn bigger victories than it did this weekend.
Summer officially ends at the box office this weekend, although looking at the numbers it's clear that summer ended weeks ago. The selection of new releases includes two horror films that were not screened for critics and a film that I don't think it would be unfair to call busted Oscar bait. There is a chance all three films will bomb and The Help will remain in first place for the third week in a row. On the opposite end of that scale, all three films could find an audience and 2011 could squeak out a win over 2010.
After a strong start, August ended on a really low note, and that's bad news for September, as it means the positive momentum we had is gone. Looking at the upcoming month, there are 18 films opening wide over five weekends (including one re-release) but only four or five of them have a real shot at being midlevel hits, and it is unlikely that all of them will get there. Worse still, there are no films opening this month that look like they will match The Town, which made more than $90 million last September. In fact, the selection of releases is so weak that the film I'm most looking forward to is a limited release that has already come out on Video on Demand, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. (It has seventeen reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and still not a negative one among them.)
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