In 1961, Walt Disney invited “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers to his studio in Los Angeles to discuss, in person, his continued interest in obtaining the movie rights to her beloved book and character—a pitch he first made to her in the 1940s. Still hesitant and disinterested after all those years, Travers wanted to tell the Hollywood impresario to go fly a kite but with dwindling sales of her books and a bleak economic future looming, P.L. Travers said yes and embarked on a two-week sojourn in Los Angeles that would ultimately set the wheels of the beloved film in motion.
||December 13th, 2013 (Limited) by Walt Disney|
December 20th, 2013 (Expands Wide) by Walt Disney
||March 18th, 2014 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment|
||PG-13 for thematic elements including some unsettling images.|
(Rating bulletin 2267, 4/10/2013)
||Writing and Writers, Movie Business, Dysfunctional Family, Non-Chronological, Biography|
|Source:||Based on Real Life Events|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
||Ruby Films, Essential Media and Entertainment, BBC Films, Hopscotch Films|
It's a good week / bad week on the home market. The good news is there are four films coming out this week that earned some level of Awards Season buzz. The bad news... there are four films coming out this week that earned some level of Awards Season buzz and they scared away the competition. Two of those four films are strong enough to be contenders for Pick of the Week, Frozen on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack and American Hustle on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the screeners for both of those movies, so I'm not sure which of those two is the Pick of the Week. Fortunately, the screener for 12 Years a Slave arrived and the Blu-ray is Pick of the Week material.
Producers Guild of America announce the winners tonight, but it seems I forgot to upload the story when they announced their nominations. In my defense, they announced them on January 2nd. You don't make an announcement on January 2nd, not unless you are trying to bury a story. As for the actual nominations, there are very few differences between this group and others, except when it comes to documentaries. Then again, that's been the norm this year. No one seems to agree on what the best documentaries were.
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and there are some surprises mixed in with the predictable results. Gravity and American Hustle led the way with ten nominations each while 12 Years a Slave was right behind with nine. The fact that 12 Years a Slave wasn't the leader is the first of the surprises.
As expected, Lone Survivor won the race to first place on the box office this past weekend. However, it crushed predictions to an astounding degree. It wasn't enough. The overall box office was down to $140 million. Granted, that was less than 1% lower than last weekend and just over 1% lower than the same weekend last year, but it is still frustrating. Besides the number one film, there's not a lot of positive news to report. Year-to-date, 2014 is a little behind 2013 at $413 million to $436 million. Granted, it is far too soon to talk about end of year results, but you obviously would want a fast start rather than a slow start.
The box office wasn't as boisterous as anticipated and this is partially due to the seasonal storm that hit the east coast. This is also partially due to weaker than expected numbers for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which only managed second place in its debut. This allowed Frozen to return to top spot on the chart, even though it was a little weaker than expected. The overall box office fell 27% from last weekend down to $141 million. Compared to last year, the box office was down 4%, which isn't a good result, but it is also not terrible. Had The Marked Ones merely matched expectations, it would have been a virtual tie.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the only wide release opening on the first weekend of the year. The long running franchise will have to battle a weaker release date, franchise fatigue, and several holdovers that are still going strong. It still has a good shot at first place, as does Frozen. Frozen could win the weekend, with the help of families going out to the movies one last time before school starts again. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug probably won't extend its winning streak, but it should still be pull in quite a bit of money over the weekend. Last year the year started with Texas Chainsaw 3D earning more than $20 million. Django Unchained also topped $20 million over the weekend, albeit by the tiniest margin. We might have two $20 million films this weekend as well, with as many as five additional films earning more than $10 million. If 2014 doesn't win in the year-over-year comparison, it should at least be close.
Some studios are still closed and won't open till this time next week, so we won't have all of the final numbers for the past two weeks till then. We do have some final numbers, as well as some studio estimates that we can look at now. As for the upcoming week, it will look a lot like last week in terms of stories. We won't have a per theater chart, we might have an international top ten, while prediction, contest, and limited releases will be mostly normal. We might even have a review this weekend. (That's assuming some of the late screeners finally arrive, because at the moment I have nothing to review.)
It's the final weekend of the year and there are a lot of films fighting for spots in the top five, including five films that opened on Christmas Day. Unfortunately for those films, it looks like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will remain in first place for the third weekend in a row. The Wolf of Wall Street will likely be the biggest of the five new releases, but it is unlikely that it will have a shot at first place; it might only finish fifth. The other new releases are even weaker. Last year there were only three new releases for the final weekend of the year, but none of them bombed, so 2013 might end on a low note. 2013 should still win in the year-over-year comparison, but losing on the final weekend of the year is a bad sign for 2014's debut.
This week there are two wide releases, Anchorman: The Legend Continues and Walking with Dinosaurs, as well as two limited releases expanding wide, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks. All four films will have to deal with last weekend's champion, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, as well as Frozen, which should do well thanks to the holidays. This weekend last year was pretty bad for a December weekend. Jack Reacher opened with $15.21 million, which put it a distant second place to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The Desolation of Smaug won't make as much as An Unexpected Journey did last year, but Anchorman has a shot at first place and so the combined strength should help the box office grow in the year-over-year comparison.
American Hustle started its box office run in limited release with a stunning average of $123,409. This is the second best per theater average for the year, behind only Frozen. Saving Mr. Banks opened in 15 theaters earning an average of $27,558. It should do well in its upcoming expansion. Inside Llewyn Davis expanded, playing in 15 theaters over the weekend while its per theater average fell to $23,786. It will continue to expand. The overall box office leader, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, was the final film in the $10,000 club earning an average of $18,869.
SAG handed out nominations over the week, and like with the Independent Spirit Awards, 12 Years a Slave led the way and earned four nominations. It wasn't the only film that was singled out.
On the one hand, this is an amazing weekend for limited releases as there are not one, but two films opening that are very likely going to earn multiple Oscar nominations. On the other hand, most films opening this weekend are earning weak releases. The two main Oscar contenders are American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks, while The Crash Reel is up for Best Feature-Length Documentary.
We had some good news and some bad news in November. The bad news is the overall weakness at the box office continued and 2013 lost its lead over 2012. Strong runs by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen did help it bounce back in the end, but 2013 is still going to have a tough time topping 2012. Looking forward to December, we find about a dozen wide releases, sort of. There are several films that are opening in limited release that are expected to expand wide by the end of the month, but I'm not sure that will be the case for all of them. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug should be the easy winner this month and if it is a little lucky, it might even top its predecessor at the box office. There is a huge amount of hype surrounding Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and it could double the first film's box office numbers. On the other hand, those two films might be the only two December wide releases to reach $100 million. There are a few that have the potential to get to the century mark, if they are big players during Awards Season. Obviously some of the films coming out this month will win awards, but there's already a lot of competition in theaters before the month begins. There were three $100 million movies last December, led by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so while it could be close, it looks like December will lose in the year-over-year comparison. This is really bad news, as 2013 can't afford to go out on a losing streak if it wants to top 2012.
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