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The Playlist

Box Office: 'Identity Thief' Steals Top Spot With Best R-Rated Comedy Opening In February Ever

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 10, 2013 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Schedule management is underrated. Your studio might have a film that screams “hit,” you might market the picture like a genius, and you might have the hottest actor in the world. But sometimes, films are filling a void left empty for casual audience goers, and the demand is pent-up not for a specific film, but rather a specific type of film. In this case, we’re talking about “Identity Thief,” now in line to score the year’s biggest three-day opening with $36 million, making it the best R-rated comedy opening ever in February.

Box Office: 'Warm Bodies' Tops Super Bowl Weekend, While 'Bullet To The Head' Flops

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 3, 2013 12:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Pale young leading man dreamboat? Check. Playing a cannibalistic monster who holds his predatory instincts in check? Check. Falls in love with a girl who looks like Kristen Stewart? Check. Based on a best-selling book, from Lionsgate/Summit? Double check. “Warm Bodies” took dead (har!) aim at the “Twilight” fanbase, with a little spillover from the “The Walking Dead” acolytes, coming together like a demographic stew to score the number one movie on Super Bowl weekend. Even if it drops next weekend, “Warm Bodies” should hold steady for Valentine’s Day, where it will be an ideal date night opportunity for couples who aren’t brave enough to come to the Swingers Mixer we have planned.

Box Office: 'Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters' Tops Slow Weekend

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 27, 2013 11:53 AM
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  • 3 Comments
So, did the big fairy tale boom happen? “Alice In Wonderland” burst out of the gate with a billion dollar gross, leading the way for two Snow White movies that performed respectably, if not powerfully. And here in January, we have another, the R-rated “Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters.” The fact that it was this weekend’s number one box office attraction still clouds the question as to whether the fairy tale movement actually happened, is happening, or was nipped in the bud: this was a January dump, and it’s doubtful the picture’s going to have legs at all. But hey, for three days, they’re number one!

Box Office: Jessica Chastain Dominates With 'Mama' & 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'The Last Stand' Flops

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 20, 2013 1:03 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Jessica Chastain: A-List star? Following a Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Zero Dark Thirty," the leading lady stars in the top two films at the box office despite a fairly crowded weekend. Cheapie horror film "Mama" blew away a couple of newcomers to open strong at the top spot, followed by the second weekend of Kathryn Bigelow's Best Picture nominee, both movies showcasing the actress in very different roles. It's not enough that Chastain's films would finish 1-2, but rather that in the horror picture, she plays an ineffectual goth surrogate mother, and in the military thriller, she assumes the role of a government-approved dealer of death. Swank, thy name is Chastain. Not Hilary Swank, though, don't get it twisted.

Box Office: 'Zero Dark Thirty' Targets Top Spot, 'A Haunted House' Scares Away 'Gangster Squad' For #2

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 13, 2013 12:08 PM
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  • 7 Comments
While Annapurna Pictures backed a number of ambitious films this year including John Hillcoat's bootleggin' “Lawless,” Paul Thomas Anderson's challenging “The Master” and Andrew Dominik's bitter “Killing Them Softly,” the financial rewards were far less than expected. But Megan Ellison's production company has kicked off 2013 strong with Kathryn Bigelow's “Zero Dark Thirty” grossing a solid $24 million in its first weekend of wide release after selling out independent theaters in the last two weeks. After scoring five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Sony timed this expansion perfectly, and the film laid the smackdown on a couple of strong competitors.

Box Office: 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' Scares Away Competition To Take Top Spot

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 6, 2013 11:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Platinum Dunes let go of the rights to the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise after the second film grossed less than half of the first, a downward trend they had no interest continuing. To turn things around, they were going to need a whole new approach, which involved the folks at Twisted Pictures, home of the now-defunct “Saw” series. And with an ambitious plan involving numerous sequels (of course), Leatherface is back, and it seems audiences are interested. The critically roasted moovie is the first number one film of 2013.

Box Office: 'The Hobbit' Defeats Strong Debuts From 'Django Unchained' & 'Les Miserables'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 30, 2012 11:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It’s going to take a lot to knock “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” off its pedestal, even if studios tried their best this weekend, firing off both barrels against a global blockbuster. Families and teens supported 'An Unexpected Journey' over the holiday period, defeating two high-profile newcomers to be the top attraction for the third straight week. 'The Hobbit' is now eyeballing $300 million domestic, but as always international dollars are a big factor, and by time January 1st rings in the New Year, it will cross $700 million worldwide.

2012 The Year In Box Office: Hits, Flops And Secret Successes

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 27, 2012 2:15 PM
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  • 4 Comments
So we’re completing a year of record domestic box office returns, but it’s impossible to ignore that the international market is a hefty player, taking a bigger overall chunk of the pie. It’s not good enough for a picture to perform in America – if it doesn’t grab more than half its share from international crowds, it’s not a complete success. The proliferation of franchises and 3D have turned most American films into our most in-demand export, and it’s changed the box office landscape immensely.

Box Office: 'The Hobbit' Holds Off 'Jack Reacher' & 'This Is 40'; 'Zero Dark Thirty' Starts Strong

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 23, 2012 12:04 PM
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  • 9 Comments
'The Hobbit' what happened? You were supposed to be our hero. The “Lord Of The Rings” pictures, all released during the holiday period, had steady-to-muscular second weekend holds. But 'Hobbit,' you’re looking more like an average blockbuster, losing almost 60% of your audience. What’s going on? You were expected to dominate this frame like you did last weekend. Could it be that your mighty Cinemascore was inflated by the first-weekend Tolkien superfans? Could it be that your ad campaign simply emphasized the ties to the earlier films, implying less of an individual story and instead, “Yes, more of this”? Oh, 'Hobbit,' you’ve disappointed us greatly.

Box Office: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Delivers Biggest December Opening In History

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 16, 2012 12:10 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Despite being the latest entry in a well-loved Oscar-winning series with a billion-dollar final installment, expectations were tempered for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Unlike the previous trilogy, reviews were a bit more mixed this time around, and some fans wondered if a trilogy was really necessary from the comparatively thin source material. The nerdcore and critics were particularly vocal about the film's 48 fps format (though it was only featured at 461 of the film's engagements, a fraction of screens). But even with those hurdles, Peter Jackson's latest foray into Middle Earth collected $84.8 million, the biggest opening weekend in December history, easily topping the $73 million 'Return Of The King' grabbed in 2004.

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