The Playlist

Box-Office: R-Rated 'Due Date' Can't Outwit The Animated 'Megamind'

  • By The Playlist
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  • November 7, 2010 7:29 AM
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  • 6 Comments
It had all the ingredients of a big winner. "Due Date" was widely known as Todd Phillips' R-rated follow-up to the massively successful R-rated "The Hangover," and he had that film's biggest breakout comedian Zach Galifianakis onboard, plus one of the world's biggest stars Robert Downey Jr. But perhaps seasonal timing is everything. "The Hangover" was a surprised hit in the early summer of 2009, and perhaps R-rated comedy that's occasionally nasty doesn't work quite as well in the fall. It's also possibly one of those instances when audiences actually listened to critics for once. "Due Date" was met with mixed reviews and currently holds a rather pitiful 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, far worse than any of us would have anticipated. So while we drubbed the film in one review and then said in another, "hey, it wasn't that bad," clearly its caustic notes -- which some of us actually appreciated -- didn't work with audiences or critics so much. That said, its 2nd place $33.5 million opening wasn't dreadful by any means and is nothing to be ashamed of, but in terms of box office punditry, well, it slightly underperformed. Conversely "The Hangover" made $44 million on its opening weekend, but positive word of mouth meant the following weekend drop-offs were remarkably low (only 28% in its 2nd weekend and a remarkable 18% in its third weekend when the film started picking up steam as the runaway hit of the summer). So yeah, not a disaster for Phillips by any means, but he'll want to top this with "The Hangover 2" to keep his comedy cachet up there and frankly, with a well-known sequel like that, doing double what "Due Date" took in is conceivable.

Weekend Box Office: 'Saw 3D' Cuts Up The Competition; 'Jackass 3D' Crosses $100 Million

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 31, 2010 6:37 AM
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  • 0 Comments
While there was a brief moment this year when Lionsgate and Paramount were both eyeing an October 22nd bow for their respective horror franchise sequels, it was a probably a good idea that "Saw 3D" moved out of the way. Opening to $24.2 million, the figure is nowhere near the $41.5 million haul last weekend for "Paranormal Activity 2," but though the figure is being seen as a "disappointment" in some quarters, we don't imagine Lionsgate is too upset. It takes the number one slot this weekend and represents an uptick for the franchise which saw its last two installments open in second place with figures under $20 million. And while it's not in the range of the $30 million plus openings of the first four films, its certainly more than enough incentive for producers to find a way to keep this wheezy franchise going. Though touted as the final entry in the series, the door is left wide open for another film where young people and rap-rock stars get eviscerated in increasingly elaborate traps. For some reason, this creatively bankrupt series still has its fans.

In Theaters: 'Saw 3D,' ' The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest,' 'Welcome to the Rileys'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 29, 2010 4:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments
With only one film opening wide this weekend, this is one of the year's slowest for new releases. Halloween is usually the calm before the storm of big holiday titles making their way into theaters. Business should be fairly strong following last week's "Paranormal Activity 2" opening and the higher ticket prices for "Saw 3D" should help it reclaim the number one spot after going head-to-head and losing to the first "Paranormal Activity" last year. In limited release this week, your options include the final installment in the Swedish film adaptions of Stieg Larsson's "Millenium" trilogy "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," the dark drama "Welcome to the Rileys," starring James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo, and Kristen Stewart and the low-budget alien flick "Monsters."

Review: 'Saw 3D' Is Absolute Torture

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • October 29, 2010 1:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Please Let This Be the Last One"Saw" is an incredibly successful franchise that has been able to unleash new iterations each and every Halloween since 2004. With that kind of regularity, you'd think there'd be some looseness to the franchise. With a guaranteed sequel every year, it could have evolved into a kind of "South Park" with severed limbs — able to comment and critique, with some regularity, whatever was going on in the culture at the time. Instead, the sequels have clung rigidly to the formula established in the original "Saw"-- a bunch of puny humans are captured and imprisoned against their will, for sins they have committed in everyday life, and rigged to some kind of elaborate, Rube Goldberg-esque device that's like a malicious version of the board game Mousetrap.

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