Corporate salesman Steve Butler arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason. With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man who counters Steve both personally and professionally.
||December 28th, 2012 (Oscar Qualifying Run) by Focus Features|
January 4th, 2013 (Expands Wide) by Focus Features
||April 23rd, 2013 by Universal Home Entertainment|
||R for language.|
(Rating bulletin 2238, 8/29/2012)
||Inspired by a True Story, Environment, Corporate Malfeasance, Agitprop, Screenplay Written By the Star|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Historical Fiction|
||Focus Features, Participant Media, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Sunday Night, Pearl Street, Media Farm|
There were a quartet of new releases this week, but it was a matter of quantity over quality and Django Unchained remained on top of the DVD and Blu-ray carts. The Gangster Squad settled for second place with 314,000 units / $5.04 million on DVD and 149,000 units / $3.52 million It's opening week Blu-ray share was 32%, which is solid for a drama, but nothing too impressive. Its running totals are 532,000 units / $8.31 million on DVD and 236,000 units / $5.69 million on Blu-ray.
This time of year tends to be really bad on the home market. By this late in spring, there are only a few late winter releases still finding their way on the home market. Last weekend it was Django Unchained and next weekend it will be Silver Linings Playbook. This week, there are no such releases. The best selling release according to Amazon.com is Jurassic Park, which makes its home market 3D debut. (It is still in the top ten at the box office, so that might be helping the sales.) I hope to get a screener to review but so far it is late, so I'm not sure if the 3D upgrade is worth the triple-dip. As far as Pick of the Week Contenders, there are not many. The Impossible is probably the best bet, but I'm still waiting for the screener. The week is so bad, that I took the time to review Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season Three on Blu-ray a week in advance, just so I would have something to choose as Pick of the Week this week. It is expensive, but there are several classic episodes that aired this season and there is a ton of new extras on the six-disc set.
Oscar nominations didn't produce a big box office bounce over the weekend, but Zero Dark Thirty still managed an easy win, despite missing my admittedly high expectations. The only film in the top five to be a pleasant surprise was A Haunted House, although "pleasant" is not a word most critics were using to describe it. The box office pulled in $141 million overall, which was 4.7% lower than last weekend. More importantly though, it was 6.3% higher than the same weekend last year, which means if A Haunted House bombed like I thought it would, 2013 would have lost in the year-over-year comparison. Fortunately, we had a second win in as many weeks and 2013 is off to an early 22% lead, at $441 million to $362 million.
There was a pleasant surprise during the first weekend of 2013, as Texas Chainsaw 3D opened in first place with more than $20 million. Django Unchained also beat that milestone. The overall box office still fell from last weekend, down 18% to $147 million, but this is to be expected for a post-holiday weekend. It was 5.9% higher than the same weekend last year and 2013 is off to an early lead over 2012 at $253 million to $191 million. Hopefully I don't have to tell you it is way too early to pay serious attention to those numbers, but it is better to win early than fall behind.
Its the first weekend of 2013 and there is one new wide release and a previous limited release expanding semi-wide. Will either film compete for top spot? Not likely. There are some recent examples of horror films opening well in January, so Texas Chainsaw 3D could be a surprise hit, but there's also a chance it won't reach the top 5. Meanwhile, Promised Land is a message movie, but one that has limited appeal beyond those that agree with the message. This means The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will remain on top of the box office chart. If it does so, it will mean in the past nine weeks, only three films have earned first place over the weekend. 2012 got off to a strong start and last year the box office was led by The Devil Inside, which made $33.73 million. I don't think any film will make $20 million over the weekend this year, so 2013 could start off on a losing note.
Zero Dark Thirty shot up to the top of the per theater chart with averages of $83,430 during its opening weekend and $63,283 during its sophomore stint. Expanding truly wide is virtually guaranteed. Amour was well back with an average of $20,005 over the past weekend and $22,755 during its opening weekend. The Impossible rose 27% to $12,172 in 15 theaters. This is a great sign and while its reviews are too low to be a major contender during Awards Season, it should still do well enough to expand significantly, but probably not truly wide. The final film in the $10,000 club was Django Unchained, which opened with an average of $10,008.
December ended on a positive note with 2012 topping 2011 with a week to spare. Hopefully this will translate into strong box office numbers going forward. There are several January releases that actually look very interesting, but you always have to ask, if the films are as good as they look, why are they opening in January? The biggest hit on this list will likely not be a January release, but a limited release from December that is expanding wide in January. Zero Dark Thirty opened in limited release the Wednesday before Christmas and right away it got off to an incredible start. If it can turn some of its Awards Season nominations into wins, which seems very likely at this point, it should be the biggest hit of January. If it can earn some major Oscars, then it might crack $100 million. Unfortunately, no other film on this release list is likely to come close to the $100 million mark. Last January was unseasonably strong with three films opening with $20 million or more and four films finishing with $50 million or more. It is possible that none of the new releases will reach those relatively weak standards.
The end of the year has a few limited releases trying to get a last chance for Oscar glory with Oscar qualifying runs. Promised Land is clearly the biggest film of the week, but its reviews suggest it won't even thrive in limited release.
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