The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America's most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mindbending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life - from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age - has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.
It is a surprisingly strong week on the home market with two $100 million hits, Kung Fu Panda 2 on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Blu-ray, both of which are contenders for pick of the week. There are also several smaller releases that are also contenders for that title like The Guild: Season Five on DVD. But in the end, I gave that honor to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame on Blu-ray.
There were only two films that were able to crack the $10,000 club this weekend, but they were both huge hits. The Descendants opened with more than $1 million in 29 theaters, for an average of $41,038. Add in the film's reviews and its Awards Season buzz and there's little doubt that the film will expand wide. Speaking of wide, the only other film in the $10,000 club was The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1. The overall box office leader took in $138 million in 4,061 theaters, for an average of $34,012.
Twilight-mania continues this weekend at the box office, as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 is set to post a $139.5 million opening, according to Summit's Sunday estimate. That will be the fifth-biggest weekend in history, just behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which remains the best in the franchise with a $142.8 million debut, which was also posted the weekend before Thanksgiving, in 2009. Breaking Dawn's Friday performance of $72 million is the third-best day in history, also just a fraction behind New Moon's first day. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II continues to hold the records for biggest weekend and day.
It's a great week for limited releases, but not because there are a huge number of releases, but because this week The Descendants comes out. This is Alexander Payne's first feature-length film in seven years. (He directed a segment of Paris, je t'aime since then.) His previous three feature-length films all earned at least one Oscar nomination and it would be a major shock if this film didn't also perform well during Awards Season. There are other films coming out this week, including a few earning good reviews, but their box office chances are dwarfed by this movie's potential.
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