A young woman rapidly unravels amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader. Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy and brother-in-law, Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur.
||October 21st, 2011 (Limited) by Fox Searchlight|
||February 21st, 2012 by Fox Home Entertainment|
||R for disturbing violent and sexual content, nudity and language.|
(Rating bulletin 2170, 5/4/2011)
||Young Child Dealing with the Death of a Parent, PTSD, Accidental Death, Sex Crimes, Non-Chronological, Dysfunctional Family, Step-Family, Mental Illness, Religious, Cults|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||BorderLine Films, FilmHaven Entertainment, MayBach Cunningham, This is That, Fox Searchlight Pictures|
It's a mixed week on the home market. The biggest hit coming out on Tuesday is Tower Heist, which struggled compared to expectations and its production budget. The rest of Tuesday's offerings include more wide releases that missed at the box office, some TV on DVD releases from cable networks, as well as a few limited releases of note. Fortunately, there is a film coming out on Friday that is picking up the slack. Puss in Boots also missed expectations at the box office, at least domestically. However, it earned more than $500 million worldwide, not to mention an Oscar nomination. It is also the easy choice for Pick of the Week.
Martha Marcy May Marlene opened in limited release in October and from the beginning it was seen as a potential player during Awards Season. It did earn four Independent Spirit Award nominations, and picked up countless awards and nominations at film festivals and local critic awards, but it was shut out at the majors. Is this a great film that was snubbed at the Oscars? Or was it not quite Oscar-worthy? Or will I be one of the few voices to not sing its praises?
As it does every year, Independent Spirit Award nominations kick off the unofficial start of Awards Season. This year there were two films that topped the list of nominations: The Artist and Take Shelter. Both of those films earned five nominations, but they weren't the only films to be singled out.
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.
Like last week, Like Crazy was the only film to reach the $10,000 on the per theater chart. It expanded from four to sixteen theaters, while its per theater average remained strong at $16,657. The only new release that came close to $10,000 was The Other F Word and it was well back with an average of $6,643 in two theaters.
Although it's perhaps an exaggeration to call it the start of the Holiday Season, Puss in Boots' debut this weekend was intended to give Dreamworks Animation a head start on what will be a very competitive season, and it looks as though it can be called a moderate success. The Shrek spin-off will earn an estimated $34 million this weekend, which should put it on track to earn comfortably over $100 million during its run in domestic theaters. While that's a very respectable performance for October, it pales in comparison to other films in the franchise. Even Shrek Forever After more than doubled that number, and the original Shrek posted over $42 million in 2001. So it's far from certain that this will be the start of a long-lived offshot for the franchise.
Martha Marcy May Marlene was one of five films to top $10,000 on the per theater chart leading the way with $34,413. Combining the film's opening with its reviews and it suggests serious potential for expansion. Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey opened with $22,963 in its lone theater, which is surprisingly strong. The overall box office leader, Paranormal Activity 3, was next with $15,829. Last week's winner on the per theater chart, The Skin I Live In, remained strong with an average of $11,771 in 21 theaters. Further expansion is likely, as it is earning some measure of mainstream success, but its bizarre subject matter will prevent it from truly escaping the art house circuit. Margin Call was a surprise entrant in the $10,000 club, as it was playing in 56 theaters, which is a lot for a limited release. Its opening weekend average of $10,034 and excellent reviews suggests some potential to expand, while reaching $1 million should happen sometime during the upcoming weekend.
After a poor September and slow start to October, Paranormal Activity 3 put some life back in to the movie industry this weekend with a huge $54 million opening weekend, according to Paramount's Sunday estimate. That's comfortably a record for the franchise and will almost certainly top Jackass 3D to become the biggest October's biggest weekend too. With no other horror flick coming out between now and Halloween, it should be set for a comfortable $100 million or so at the box office (on a budget of $5 million).
This week more than a dozen limited releases are being released, which is far too many. This level of competition means even films with great reviews, high name recognition among the cast, and strong advance buzz could struggle to find an audience. There are a number of films that have at least two of those three key ingredients, including Martha Marcy May Marlene and Oranges and Sunshine. Hopefully these two, and a few others, will find a receptive audience in limited release.
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