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The Playlist

Weekend Box Office: 'Captain America' Is Number One, Because That's Just How America Does It

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 24, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Marvel is doing the right thing with their superhero productions. They wisely didn’t break the bank after “Iron Man” did a little under $100 million in its opening weekend, instead opting for future adventures within their universe for around the same cost every time. Even with “The Avengers,” said to be the big kahuna in Marvel’s strategy, they kept costs down thanks to cheap multi-film contracts and economic micromanaging.

Weekend Box Office: 'Cars 2' Continues Pixar Formula, 'Green Lantern' Plummets

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 26, 2011 5:27 AM
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  • 8 Comments
The numbers on “Cars 2” don’t actually matter, except for the stat-hounds regularly following the weekly box office noise (us!). “Cars 2” exists to facilitate Disney’s biggest merchandising cash cow, a multi-billion (annually!) property that needs no further justification. As Pixar seems like a studio that hopes to branch out into more ambitious directions (in theory), they will need something to keep the lights on when, and if, they should fail. Even if the reviews continue to be the worst ever received by a Pixar film, the “Cars” franchise will live on.

Weekend Box-Office: Is 'Green Lantern' The End Of The Superhero Gravy Train?

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 19, 2011 5:34 AM
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  • 14 Comments
Perspective is necessary. $53 million is a whole lotta money. $53 million could buy several houses, it could feed many people, it could save lives. $53 million is also a pretty good opening for a somewhat higher-budgeted film, provided advertising isn’t through the roof and there aren’t a massive amount of back-end benefactors involved. But for “Green Lantern,” which cost upwards of $200 million before a massive ad campaign even by superhero standards, this is not a strong opening.

Weekend Box Office: 'Super 8' Is A Super Performer For Paramount, 'Judy Moody' Has A Bummer Summer

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • June 12, 2011 6:53 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Call this one a victory for Paramount, and a big one at that. “Super 8,” which opened to $37 million, was advertised with only the slightest of peekaboos, an ad campaign that played less coy and more stubbornly mysterious. While the film was pitched on the name of Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker has his name on a lot of projects annually, and the wealth of offerings has become so consistent that it no longer tilts the needle.

Weekend Box Office: Despite All Warnings, Everybody Sees 'The Hangover Part II'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 29, 2011 6:58 AM
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  • 39 Comments
In the future, sequels to all our popular films will not require writers, directors, or even new talent. Sure, they might re-hire some of the people responsible for the first film, but by and large, the leading users of Xerox technology will be Hollywood executives. At least, that’s if the mammoth opening for “The Hangover Part II” is any indication, as the film took advantage of the holiday weekend to score an expected $137 million over this five day period. Critics seemed to do everything short of design spreadsheets to illustrate just how Todd Phillips and company were replicating the exact story of the first film (arguably, the marketing campaign did the same), but audiences, who loved the earlier installment enough to make it a massive word-of-mouth hit, were apparently happy enough to indulge the funnymen (not women, though -- sorry, ladies!) behind the picture one more time.

Weekend Box Office: 'Pirates 4' Scores Biggest Global Debut Of All-Time Despite Being A Shitty Movie

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 22, 2011 5:37 AM
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  • 17 Comments
This weekend, Disney pooled their resources with Jerry Bruckheimer and produced an insta-blockbuster. Apathy is the name of the game with “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which scored the biggest bow of 2011 despite being a piece of shit that grossed lower in its opening frame than its two predecessors. “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At Worlds End” both cracked $100 million in their first domestic weekend, but even with the elevated 3D pricing, “Pirates 4” couldn’t cross nine digits.

Weekend Box Office: 'Thor' Holds #1 With $34.5 million, 'Bridesmaids' Surprises

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 15, 2011 5:55 AM
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  • 21 Comments
If you enter the blockbuster business in Hollywood, you essentially enter the $80 million opening weekend business. Which is to say, it’s part of a pray/hope/accept/die model. Considering most blockbusters cost $150-$200 million, with marketing sometimes adding up to $100 million, a 3x’s multiplier after an $80 million opening ($240 million) might be the best-case scenario, unless you‘ve released a much-better-than-expected film (not likely). You double that number with overseas receipts, you’ve potentially got $480-$500 million worldwide on a possible $300 million expenditure. The studio earns 55% of that take, meaning that you’ve approached profit, with DVD and merchandising expecting to take care of the rest.

Weekend Box Office: 'Thor' Soars, Romcoms Prosper, 'Beaver' Gets Plugged

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 8, 2011 5:59 AM
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  • 4 Comments
As far as blockbuster debuts go, “Thor” didn’t perform too badly. The first big release of May thundered its way to a $66 million weekend, slightly above what industry analysts predicted for the God of Thunder. The film benefited from the biggest 3D berth of any major release thus far as well as the mighty marketing team of Paramount and Marvel to nab numbers that, on the surface, show potential to be a franchise-starter.

Weekend Box Office: 'Fast Five' Starts Off Summer With $83 Million Weekend

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 1, 2011 5:21 AM
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  • 27 Comments
Hooray for Hollywood, or something. The 2011 box office finally snapped out of its doldrums with more reheated crap, “Fast Five” opening to a spectacular-for-Universal $83 million. The car blockbuster’s weekend surpasses “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” as the biggest opening weekend in Universal history, and with spectacular overseas results, the film is poised to do upwards of $400-$500 million globally, topping the $353 worldwide take of “Fast And Furious,” the last film in the series.

Weekend Box Office: 'Rio' Defeats 'Madea' Before The Summer Onslaught Begins

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 24, 2011 4:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Hollywood doesn’t really recognize the seasons as clearly as you. Which is why even though you’re in school, summer begins in May, and even though you still have a full month of spring, that period usually closes in Hollywood around this time every year. In 2011, “summer” is beginning even earlier with next week’s release of “Fast Five,” sure to be the year’s biggest opener, which means that “Rio” effectively gets its licks in before the hot season begins, scoring a second straight weekend at #1 with a $26 million take.

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