Weekend Estimates: Hobbit Enjoys $50 Million Swansong

2014-12-21

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster

After thirteen years (with a lengthy break in the middle), Peter Jacksonís Middle Earth Saga finally comes to an end this weekend with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Tolkein/Jackson fans are giving the franchise a rousing farewell, with $50 million expected this weekend and $90 million in total after five days. Comparisons are a little difficult, because the previous Hobbit installments opened on Fridays, but Desolation of Smaug racked up $86 million in its first five days and An Unexpected Journey hit $100 million on its fifth day in release. So this outing seems set to perform similarly overall, with $250 million Ė $300 million domestically and around $1 billion worldwide. That will solidify the franchise as the fourth-most successful in history, and if it can top $1.079 billion in this outing, it will be the only franchise ever to average more than $1 billion globally per film. More...

Limited Release: Anything for Limited Releases

2014-12-19

Pret a tout poster

It is not a super busy weekend, but that doesn't mean there's nothing worth checking out. Mr. Turner's reviews are incredible, so much so that I'm surprised it hasn't been a major player during Awards Season thus far. It isn't the only film earning great reviews, as both Song of the Sea and Winter's Sleep could find audiences in theaters. More...

Weekend Predictions: Battle of the Three Armies

2014-12-18

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster

For most, this weekend represents the beginning of the Christmas break, so it comes as no surprise that there are three potentially big hits coming out this week. I'm a little surprised none of them are getting overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is earning the best reviews of the week, but its Tomatometer Score is barely above 60%. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has been floating around 50% positive all week, while Annie is being destroyed by critics. This weekend last year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned first place for the second weekend in a row. Meanwhile, the new releases were less impressive, as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues earned second place with $26.23 million and Walking with Dinosaurs landed in the lower half of the top ten. The depth this year won't be as strong, but I still think 2014 will finally end its slump and win in the year-over-year comparison. More...

Contest: Story Time

2014-12-18

Christmas is next week and as always, there are a number of films trying to take advantage of the holiday. This year, that number was supposed to be three, but The Interview has been pulled from the movie schedule indefinitely. That leaves Into the Woods and Unbroken and of the two, Into the Woods will very likely be the bigger film. As such, it is the clear choice for for the target film for this week's box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Into the Woods.

Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy of The Brittany Murphy Story on DVD. Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a copy of The Brittany Murphy Story on DVD. Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay! More...

International Box Office: Hobbit Stands Tall

2014-12-17

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies started its international run earning first place with $122.2 million on 15,395 screens in 37 markets. Not only did it earn the best opening of The Hobbit Trilogy, but it was often times the biggest opening in Peter Jackson's career, or even occasionally in Warner Bros' history. Its biggest opening came in Germany where it pulled in $20.5 million on 1,442 screens. Next up was the U.K. and France, which had nearly identical openings of $15.2 million on 1,489 screens and $15.1 million on 914 screens respectively. It earned $13.56 million on 2,390 screens in Russia. Brazil and Mexico were neck-and-neck with $6.8 million on 1,037 screens and $6.3 million on 2,775 screens respectively. It earned $2.4 million on 640 screens in Japan, which seems low compared to the other markets, but it is nearly double the debut The Desolation of Smaug earned. More...

Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Skeleton Twins

2014-12-16

The Skeleton Twins is the fifth film I reviewed this week and it is the only one that earned impressive reviews. This does raise expectations, but is that a mistake? Or does this film truly deserve the critical praise it has received? More...

DVD and Blu-ray Releases for December 16th, 2014

2014-12-16

It is getting very close to Christmas and while this means there are more and more people shopping, it also means the new releases are less likely to stand out in a sea of sales. The biggest release of the week is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is coming out on a 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack. However, it is also one of the worst big releases of the year. There are some releases that are contenders for Pick of the week, including Extant: Season 1 on DVD or Blu-ray, Tootsie on Blu-ray, and The Americans: Season 2 on DVD. In the end, I went with The Skeleton Twins on Blu-ray. More...

Per Theater Chart: Holdovers Versus Vice and Vice Versa

2014-12-16

Inherent Vice poster

Inherent Vice won top spot on the per theater chart with an average of $65,637 in five theaters. This is the fifth best per theater average for the year, which is much better than expected. Second place went to The Imitation Game with an average of $34,010 in 25 theaters. It still has plenty of room to expand. The final film in the $10,000 club was Wild with an average of $13,198 in 116 theaters. It too has some room to expand, while it has also reached some level of mainstream success. More...

Contest: Pump You Up: Winning Announcement

2014-12-16

The winners of our Pump You Up contest were determined and they are... More...

Featured DVD Review: Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever

2014-12-15

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is a Lifetime channel movie, a Christmas movie, and a movie based on a web series. ... That's a lot of knocks against it. On the other hand, it has Aubrey Plaza providing the voice for the titular cat, so it can't be all bad, right? More...

Weekend Wrap-Up: Exodus Win, but Overall Box Office is on the Run

2014-12-15

Exodus: Gods and Kings poster

All-in-all, the box office matched expectations, but sadly, that is not a good thing. Exodus: Gods and Kings opened with $24.12 million, which is anemic for a film that cost $140 million to make. Top Five had a better per theater average, but was playing in less than 1,000 theaters, so it will only become a midlevel hit, at best. Overall, the box office did rise 6.8% from last weekend, but this still only amounted to $83 million. Worse still, this was 43% lower than the same weekend last year. Last year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opened with $73.65 million, which is about 2% less than the top ten earned this year. It should come as no surprise that 2014 lost in the year-over-year comparison, while it continues to lose ground in the year-to-date race as well. Currently, 2014 has pulled in a total of $9.41 billion, which is 4.8% or $470 million lower than last year's pace. There's no chance 2014 will catch up at this point. I just hope it doesn't sink any lower. More...

Weekend Estimates: Exodus Leads with Lackluster Debut

2014-12-14

Exodus: Gods and Kings poster

Big budget bible epic Exodus: Gods and Kings is probably the riskiest studio bet this Holiday Season. The $140 million-budgeted film will need to do considerable business domestically and internationally to earn a profit, and biblical epics havenít had the best of track records in recent years. Early signs arenít great, with Fox projecting a $24.5 million opening weekend, well behind the $43.7 million earned by Noah earlier in the year. There is room for the film to recover though, as it will almost certainly be able to keep playing in a lot of theaters through the New Year. $100 million seems like the top end of domestic expectations at this point, and its international performance so far doesnít suggest overseas coin will help make up the difference. More...

Featured DVD Review: Cam2Cam

2014-12-14

Cam2Cam was originally a 27-minute long short film made in 2008. Adapting short films into feature-length movies is quite common and sometimes the result is excellent. The Oscar-winning Sling Blade started out as a short film, for instance. However, while sometimes the result is award-worthy, this is not the case here. So far there are five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and all of them are negative. Will I be the dissenting vote? Or is the film as bad as its reviews would indicate? More...

Featured DVD Review: The Devil's Hand

2014-12-14

The Devil's Hand was filmed early in 2012, but its release was pushed back until it finally came out in October in limited release, as well as on Video on Demand. It opened well below the Mendoza Line and I very much doubt most people reading this even remember it came out. That's how quiet its buzz was. That said, does it deserve better? Or is there a good reason the film's release was delayed? More...

Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: At the Devil's Door

2014-12-14

At the Devil's Door is the third and final horror / thriller I'll be reviewing this weekend. It earned the best reviews of those three films, but that's not saying much. Am I finally going to enjoy one of these movies? Or will horror / thriller go zero for three this weekend? More...

2014 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part III

2014-12-13

The third installment of our annual Holiday Gift Guide involves limited releases, including foreign films and documentaries; classics hitting DVD or Blu-ray for the first time; and of course Canadian films. There were better choices for the limited releases than there were for big releases and TV on DVD releases, which is good news, because this Holiday Gift Guide feels that it ahs been lackluster so far. There have been many great limited releases to come out this year, including several foreign-language films to find some measure of mainstream success. On the downside, every year a lot of these movies hit theaters in the fall, so they won't hit the home market for months. That said, there are still some real highlights among the limited releases, classics, and Canadian films. In fact, we start off with the highest of the highlights for the entire year. More...

Limited Release: Vice as Nice

2014-12-12

Inherent Vice poster

We are deep into Awards season with three major awards nominations already handed out. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of limited releases coming out this week that will be part of Awards Season. Inherent Vice is the biggest release of the week, but its reviews are only good and not great, while there are a lot of great films in theaters at the moment. More...

Contest: The Devil Made Me Do It

2014-12-12

Next week, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens on Wednesday. Normally this would prevent it from being the target film in our weekly box office prediction contest. However, it will still earn more than the other two wide releases, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie, will make combined. As such, The Battle of the Five Armies is the clear choice for for the target film for this week's box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy of At the Devil's Door on Blu-ray. Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will win a copy of Cam2Cam on DVD. Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay! More...

International Box Office: Mockingjay Maintains Milestone Pace

2014-12-11

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 poster

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 reached a couple of milestones hitting $500 million worldwide before the weekend and $300 million internationally during the weekend. Over the weekend, the film pulled in $32.9 million in 87 markets for three-week totals of $306.6 million internationally and $564.8 million worldwide. The film will top $600 million worldwide over the weekend, while it is on pace to top the original's worldwide total before the end of its run. More...

2014 - Awards Season: Golden Globes - Nominations

2014-12-11

Birdman poster

The Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, at three in the morning, because the people at Golden Globes are under the delusion that news announced at 3:00 a.m. is somehow more important if it is announced before anyone is awake. As for the actual nominations, like with the Independent Spirit Awards and the SAG nominations, Birdman led the way. It earned seven nominations, while Boyhood and The Imitation Game tied for second with five apiece. Starting to notice a pattern here? This could be a really dull Awards Season with very few surprises. On the other hand, predictable means less work for me. Plus, predictable probably means the Awards Season voters are making the right choices, as surprises usually mean someone made the wrong choice. More...