Entertainment behind the scenes
Horror movies scared up big ticket sales at theaters across the United States with the fourth installment of the “Final Destination” series taking the No. 1 spot ($28.3 million) from director Quentin Tarantino’s violent “Inglourious Basterds.” You can read the box office coverage here.
But the “Basterds” landed in the No. 2 spot (R20 million), and it must’ve been heartening for its distributor, the Weinstein Co., which also claimed the No. 3 film with its latest “Halloween” horror flick. We were in front of a megaplex again on Sunday asking people what they liked — and didn’t. Click below for a look.
(Video by Marc Price)
Director Quentin Tarantino’s widely-hyped “Inglourious Basterds” enters its second weekend at U.S. and Canadian box offices on Friday after claiming the No. 1 spot last weekend with a debut of around $38 million. Tarantino has many loyal fans who can be counted on to show up on the opening weekend, but the second weekend is a bigger question. If fans liked the movie and if their “word-of-mouth” recommendations to friends are strong, then “Inglourious” may be able to retain audiences and beat newcomers “The Final Destination” and “Halloween 2.”
There is an old saying in Hollywood when talking to producers or directors of big-budget movies that often claim the box office crown but rarely win critical acclaim or awards. That saying goes something like this: “I’d rather win the Bank of America award,” meaning money is more important in showbiz than little golden statues.
This past weekend’s debut of action-packed, special effects-filled flick “G.I. Joe” won the Bank of America award. After being pummeled by critics who were unable to watch the film in advance, the movie claimed the No. 1 spot at U.S. box offices this past weekend with $56.2 million. Add on another $44.1 million internationally, and in its first weekend, the flashy movie raked in $100.3 million worldwide.
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” does not have most critics on its side, but with its $200 million-plus first five days in the U.S. and Canada, the movie starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox has box office watchers buzzing. Read the box office report here.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office, said “Transformers” is now No. 2 on the list of highest grossing, five-day debuts of all time. The top spot belongs to last summer’s “The Dark Knight” with $203.8 million.
A movie about the Los Angeles Times just got a big thumbs-down from the Los Angeles Times.
“The Soloist,” the fact-based saga of an unlikely friendship between one of the paper’s columnists and a troubled street musician, is “trite and contrived,” according to critic Kenneth Turan.
“I can’t help being mightily frustrated by ‘The Soloist,’” Turan added in his review published on Thursday, the day before the feel-good drama was scheduled to open across the United States and Canada.
“I can’t help resenting that it suffered the death of a thousand cuts and, more frustrating still, that all this happened in the name of doing good in the world, of making the story’s powerful lessons more palatable to a wider audience.”
Robert Downey, Jr. plays Turan’s colleague, Steve Lopez, a columnist who dedicates himself to improving the life of a paranoid schizophrenic cellist played by Jamie Foxx.
Turan was troubled that the film’s British director Joe Wright (“Atonement”) and Oscar-winning writer Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) overplayed the story, “settling for standard easy emotions when singular and heartfelt was called for.”
Other reviews were generally mixed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said the film “has all the elements of an uplifting drama, except for the uplift.” But Peter Travers at Rolling Stone said Downey and Foxx delivered “two of the year’s best performances.”
The $40 million-plus film was originally supposed to come out late last year with grand award-season hopes. But Paramount hastily pulled the DreamWorks production from the release schedule. Its new slot is something of a dead zone, coming a week before “Wolverine” kicks off the lucrative summer moviegoing season.
Box office prospects for “The Soloist” are unclear. The Hollywood Reporter said a three-day haul in the teen millions was “certainly doable but not quite guaranteed.” Prognosticators believe the weekend’s top slot will go to another new release, “Obsessed,” a thriller starring R&B singer Beyonce Knowles.
Hollywood heavyweights Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunited on the red carpet in New York Wednesday night for the premiere of their new crime thriller “Righteous Kill” — their first film together since making 1995′s “Heat.”
The movie also stars Curtis Jackson, a.k.a. 50 Cent, and Donnie Walhberg, whose album with reunited boy band New Kids On The Block debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 charts this week. Likewise, De Niro and Pacino will hope to turn in a good number at weekend box offices.
As Hollywood’s summer movie season draws to a close — only two weekends to go — box office watchers are expecting slightly more than $4 billion in total revenue largely because of superhero blockbusters “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and “Hancock”
A final number around last year’s record $4.18 billion would approximate last summer’s record box office, but it’s important to note that while revenues are up, attendance — the number of people actually going to movies — is down about 3 percent from last summer. What accounted for the difference? Higher average ticket prices.
The decline in attendance leads us to think that maybe, despite the success of “Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” and even “Sex and the City,” maybe audiences weren’t too thrilled with Hollywood’s summer. Can anyone say “Speed Racer”?
Batman movie “The Dark Knight” has been a box office behemoth with four straight weekends atop ticket sales charts, but some industry watchers expect the new comedy adventure “Tropic Thunder“ could knock it off its No. 1 perch this weekend.
“Tropic Thunder,” which stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., opened in theaters on Wednesday with a healthy $6.5 million for the one night, slightly above expectations, said the DreamWorks movie studio which is behind the movie.
That was about half the $12.15 million first-day total of stoner comedy “Pineapple Express” last Wednesday, and ”Express” failed to beat ”Dark Knight” this past weekend when ticket sales were tallied. “Express” had $23 million for the weekend to $26 million for “Dark Knight.”
With “Iron Man” out wide in theaters — and out in a huge, $101 million opening box office way — it’s time to reflect around the water cooler on what the movie means and what, if anything, its makers were trying to say.
The war question: Is ”Iron Man” anti-war? Does Tony Stark (aka comic book superhero Iron Man, played by Robert Downey, Jr.) create his suit of hi-tech armor to stop a military arms maker run amok and tame an evil-doer?