The film, set during the Japanese invasion of China, is told from a young girl's point of view, not as a history lesson, but as an intimate, elemental and paradoxically universal celebration of the human spirit. Bale stars as a dissolute Westerner who seeks refuge in a Catholic Church. There he meets a beautiful Chinese courtesan who helps him rescue a group of schoolgirls from a terrible fate at the hands of the Japanese.
||December 21st, 2011 (Oscar Qualifying Run) by Wrekin Hill Entertainment, released as The Flowers of War (International name)
January 20th, 2012 (Limited) by Wrekin Hill Entertainment, released as The Flowers of War
||July 10th, 2012 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment, released as The Flowers of War|
||R for strong violence including a sexual assault, disturbing images, and brief strong language.|
(Rating bulletin 2202, 12/14/2011)
||Voiceover/Narration, Addiction, War, Sex Crimes, World War II, War Crimes, Musicians, Religious, Prostitution|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Historical Fiction|
||Wrekin Hill Entertainment, Beijing New Pictures Film Co|
According to Amazon.com, the best selling new release of the week is a catalog Blu-ray release. Not only that, it is a double-dip. There were a few contenders for Pick of the Week, including the aforementioned Blu-ray double-dip: Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition. It looks better than the previous edition, it has more extras, and it is really cheap. Forever Marilyn is a great Blu-ray and is also excellent value for the money. Finally, Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXIV. 'Nuff said. So which one is the pick of the week? Honestly, I can't decide. Call it a three-way tie.
The Flowers of War was filmed in 2010 with a production budget of roughly $100 million, making it the most expensive Chinese film ever made. It was also the biggest Chinese hit in its native market the year it was released. On the other hand, despite have a big name lead, Christian Bale, it went nowhere here. Is it a good movie that deserves to be seen by more? Or without the historical connection, is it a weak film?
There were only two new releases to chart this week, but one of them, American Reunion, led the way with 352,000 units / $7.04 million. Its opening week Blu-ray share was 46%, which is excellent for a comedy. On the other hand, it has missed expectations nearly every step of the way, so this isn't enough to make the studio really happy.
Like last week, it's another really slow week on the home market. Unlike last week, there is at least one first run release coming out. American Reunion should lead the way in terms of sales, but given its reviews and its box office struggles, it won't be a major player. As for the best new release, there are a few interesting titles, like Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series (Deluxe Edition). But in the end I went with Adventure Time: Complete First Season is the release I'm most looking forward to seeing. (The screener is late, but I will get to the review ASAP after it arrives.)
There were only three films this past weekend to reach the $10,000 mark on the per theater average, and none of them were new releases. Pina finally expanded playing in ten theaters, while it climbed to the top of the per theater average with $13,667. It should hit its first major milestone soon. A Separation doubled its theater count and saw its per theater average grow to $12,986. It too should reach its first milestone sooner rather than later. The final member of the $10,000 club was We Need to Talk About Kevin with an average of $10,530 in seven theaters. The best new release of the week was Crazy Horse with $7,963 in its lone theater. However, it was a Wednesday release and if you include its first two days of release, it earned $12,336. If it were a Friday release, it likely would have reached the $10,000 market.
Among the number of limited releases coming out this week, there are a surprisingly high number of films earning overwhelmingly positive reviews: Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Coriolanus, Crazy Horse, and The Pruitt Igoe Myth. Unfortunately, three of those four films are documentaries and those rarely earn any measure of mainstream success. I don't think there's enough buzz behind Coriolanus to make up the difference.
It's clear that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows won't surpass its predecessor domestically, while it will be difficult to avoid that fate internationally. That said, it did climb into first place on the international chart with $44.9 million in 51 markets over the weekend for a total of $180.6 million after four weeks of release, while its worldwide total reached $337.6 million. It debuted in first place in a couple major markets this past weekend. In Australia it earned $6.65 million on 386 screens, while in Spain it managed $4.67 million on 459. Even if it had no major markets left to open in, it still would get to $250 million internationally. With debuts in Brazil, France, and Japan ahead, it could reach north of $300 million.
Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol remained in first place on the international chart with $45.86 million on 7,342 screens in 50 markets for a total of $227.01 million internationally and $359.42 million worldwide. This includes a first place, $12.77 million opening on 509 screens in the U.K. It had to settle for second place in Mexico with $1.32 million on 1,065 screens over the weekend for a total opening of $6.64 million and in Brazil with $1.04 million on 501 screens over the weekend and a total opening of $6.02 million. The film has almost caught up with Mission: Impossible: III and is closing in on the average for the franchise.
There are only seven films on this week's list of limited releases; however, five of them were earning at least some measure of Awards Season buzz. This is hardly unusual for this time of year. What is unusual is that almost none of them are earning overall positive reviews. The one exception is Pina, which has 93% positive reviews, but as a documentary / concert film, it might struggle to find an audience outside of fans of modern dance. On the other hand, while Albert Nobbs' overall reviews are merely mixed, it has a chance to find a sizable audience, thanks in part to its numerous early nominations.
New releases dominated the international chart starting with Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which debuted in first place with $69.49 million on 6,693 screens in 42 markets. It debuted in first place in Japan with $7.35 million on 636 screens over the weekend for a total opening of $9.32 million. It also placed first in neighboring South Korea with $7.18 million on 948 screens over the weekend and $8.67 million in total. Other first place openings included Australia with $4.23 million on 414 and Spain with $2.64 million on 528. It had to settle for second place in Russia, but still managed $6.08 million on 1099 screens and in France with $5.03 million on 616. The final major market release of the week was Germany, where it earned second place with $3.48 million on 577 screens over the weekend for a total of $4.00 million. The film has yet to open in Brazil, the U.K., Italy and Scandinavia, among other markets, and should finish in a similar range to the other films in the franchise.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations and the Awards Season picture started to look a whole lot clearer. The Artist led the way with six nominations, while The Descendents and The Help were right behind with five apiece.
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