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The Playlist

Box Office: Moviegoers Fall Into 'Oblivion' As Studios Prepare For Start Of Summer

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 21, 2013 12:01 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Tom Cruise could be seen as a leading man in a holding pattern right now. The fans still come out for his films, but maybe the base hasn’t grown despite an impressive box office record carried into the 2000’s. Though it depends where you consider that base should come from. “Oblivion,” his latest, banked a solid non-3D $38 million by the end of Sunday. One wonders what that does for the Cruise brand: consider that back in 2001, Cruise guided “Minority Report” to a very similar gross. Given more than a decade of inflation and absolutely zero competition as studios clear the decks for “Iron Man 3” in May, shouldn’t you expect more?

Box Office: '42' Rounds The Bases With All-Time Biggest Baseball Movie Opening

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 14, 2013 12:48 PM
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  • 3 Comments
This fact gets trotted out every year, and it continues to baffle, but here it is: the biggest opening weekend for a baseball-themed movie is “The Benchwarmers” with $19.7 million. Despite the fact that no single human being has ever willingly watched that film beyond that first weekend, it’s managed to sustain that record despite a number of contemporary mainstream baseball releases. But this weekend, somehow, the adventures of Spade, Schneider and Heder have been surpassed by “42,” the Jackie Robinson biopic.

Weekend Box Office: 'Evil Dead' Screams Into Top Spot

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 7, 2013 12:26 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Did any horror movie buffs think we would ever get to this moment? That a Sam Raimi-produced remake of “The Evil Dead” (known as just “Evil Dead”; the Deadite is in the details) would hit number one? With ease, this latest version of “Evil Dead” has outgrossed all previous entries of the series, continuing a box office trend where horror remakes frontload their earnings, guaranteeing both a return on their modest investments, but also a precipitous fall down the chart in the coming weeks.

Box Office: 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' Takes The Easter Weekend Top Slot

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 31, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments
G.I Joe: Retaliation
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation" had every reason to fail and flop much like its bumped 2012 tentpole predecessor "Jack The Giant Slayer" which audiences turned their noses up to earlier this year. Like 'Jack' the film was pushed off its initial release date and drew bad publicity for its delays and talk of reconstituting characters that were once killed off. In fact, it was almost worse; 'Retaliation's last-minute delay was just five weeks before its debut last summer. Taken out of its initial date (promoted with a pricey Super Bowl spot more than a year ago) the film landed in March of this year.

Weekend Box Office: 'The Croods' Notches Best Animated Opening Since November

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 24, 2013 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Normally, we’re besieged by animated fare during all months, but not so far in 2013. The only animated film of the year thus far was “Escape From Planet Earth,” a production from The Weinstein Company that was treated like a last minute dump, posting numbers that only counted as a hit compared to the film’s small budget and meager ad campaign. Before that, DreamWorks kept “Rise of the Guardians” active in over 3,000 sparsely-attended engagements, though over the holidays it seemed kids would rather toss snowballs around than watch a weirdly oppressive, vaguely non-denominational holiday movie. Which meant that all Fox had to do was not embarrass themselves with “The Croods,” supplying the kids market with a 3D diversion that stands as the second biggest opening of the year, far ahead of the middling 'Guardians' debut.

Weekend Box Office: 'Oz' Continues To Rule, 'Burt Wonderstone' Far Less Than 'Incredible'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 17, 2013 11:32 AM
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  • 5 Comments
While it should be more than clear that "Oz the Great and Powerful" won't match the billion dollar haul of Disney's "Alice In Wonderland" – tears of sadness, Disney – still, this remains prime real estate for a family film as kids celebrate their spaced-out spring breaks. As such, 'Oz' has performed strongly on the weekdays, news that offsets the decent-but-unspectacular overseas returns. The film is on pace to rack up somewhere between $600-$800 million (probably the low end of that), which doesn't blow the doors off compared to a $300 million plus investment by the studio. But this is Disney we're talking about: there are ancillary earnings up the wazoo here.

Box Office: 'Oz The Great And Powerful' Builds A Money Brick Road With Massive Opening

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 10, 2013 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments
While the next few weeks will determine if “Oz the Great and Powerful” meets or succeeds expectations, it's off to a good start. Disney insiders were long forecasting an $80 million plus take for its first three days, and they pretty much hit that figure dead on (but didn't exceed it wildly as some were predicting). This prequel/spinoff to the original “The Wizard of Oz” reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $200 million, with at least an additional $100 million in prints and advertising, so Disney’s likely hoping the film can maintain some legs and possibly perform similarly overseas to “Alice In Wonderland,” which captured two-thirds of its billion dollar gross abroad. Speaking of which, the film totaled $150 million counting foreign box office, and it's the third largest March opening ever. So again, not a bad start at all.

Box Office: 'Jack The Giant Slayer' Barely Climbs Beanstalk To Number One

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 3, 2013 12:50 PM
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  • 3 Comments
The writing was on the wall as soon as director Bryan Singer retreated to the “X-Men” franchise for next year’s “X-Men: Days Of Future Past.” “Jack The Giant Slayer” was destined to be a money-loser, looking like just another post-”Alice In Wonderland” fantasy epic but costing somewhere in the vicinity of an improbable $200 million. With Warner Bros. putting out a quiet ad campaign for the film, scrimping money off the ad budget was the only way to save face: 'Jack' is poised to take a major bath this weekend, coming in under the minimum $30 million the studio was hoping for.

Weekend Box Office: 'Identity Thief' Returns To First; Stitches For 'Snitch'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 24, 2013 12:54 PM
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  • 0 Comments
So far, 2013 is trailing 2012 in box office receipts, allowing “Identity Thief” to celebrate the spoils of war. The comedy is slated to become the highest grossing film of 2013 within days (beating out “Django Unchained,” which is actually a 2012 release), and this weekend it romped over a couple of weak newcomers to reclaim the top spot at the box office.

Box Office: 'A Good Day To Die Hard' Has A Good Weekend At #1, 'Beautiful Creatures' Not So Pretty

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 17, 2013 12:48 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Welcome to the world of the new blockbuster. Would Hollywood studios learn to make good movies, or make smarter fiscal decisions first? Given that we're looking at "A Good Day To Die Hard" ruling over the box office, the latter is true, with the fifth installment in the action series winning a very close horse race on this Presidents' Day weekend. The fact that this opening is significantly smaller than the one for "Live Free Or Die Hard" and that the picture is assuredly the worst in the series turns out to be irrelevant.

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