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Friday Box Office: 'Identity Thief' Outpaces Weak Pack

The good news: Universal's Melissa McCarthy comedy "Identity Thief" scored the best Friday gross of any film so far this year. Battling both a Northeastern blizzard-- which closed theaters across the most populated stretch of the country-- and inferior reviews, it easily surpassed the first-day gross for "Bridesmaids" (just under $8 million in May 2011), which, propelled by great word of mouth, stuck around for months to gross a total $169 million. The bad news: the rest of the box office.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 9, 2013 2:48 PM
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Arthouse Audit: Four Docs and Oscar Shorts Program Buoy Specialized Weekend Box Office

After a January of weak specialized openings (led by First Run's "56 Up"), February is showing some life with four new documentary releases and a shorts program. The standouts are Sony Pictures Classics' Oscar-nominated "The Gatekeepers" in two cities and Zeitgeist's "Koch" in New York. Arthouses in 2013-- like much of 2012-- will be sustained in part by a steady flow of decent if not spectacularly grossing non-fiction films. Still, multiple films scoring strong initial response in the same weekend is an anomaly.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 3, 2013 4:46 PM
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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: Low-Scoring Game Boosted by Veteran Holdovers

It was a piss-poor weekend at the box office. Grosses showed somewhat more strength Saturday than Friday. The Super Bowl always damages both audience turnout and viable new releases, but this looks like the worst in total gross since at least 2007, and less than that when higher ticket prices are included. And this doesn't come in a vacuum -- business has been down since the start of the year.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 3, 2013 1:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Friday Box Office: Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Another post-holiday Friday, another dismal box office report. And with the Super Bowl upon us, the weekend is unlikely to get much better. The top ten films yesterday grossed around $22 million, compared to $31 million last year (also opposite The Big Game). This continues a trend for recent weeks for Fridays to be significantly below their counterparts in 2012. What has salvaged the weekends somewhat have been improvements for the other two days, reflecting the older audience component that has been evident since October. But that is less likely this week.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 2, 2013 4:25 PM
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  • 5 Comments

MVPs of the Movies: Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams Top the List

What does it take to be one of the most valuable actors of all time? 24/7 Wall St. considered this and ranked almost 700 leading actors. They found that in order to top the list, an actor needed to have starred in not just one but several high-grossing franchises
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 31, 2013 2:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Arthouse Audit: VOD Vet 'John Dies at the End' Scores, 'Quartet' Builds

The contrast between the fevered buying at the just completed Sundance and the pace of business, particularly for new openings, at specialized theaters was fairly stark this weekend. Among those new films reporting grosses, each opened in only one city (two in New York, one in Los Angeles), all getting a least some sampling among initial viewers.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 27, 2013 4:19 PM
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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: Weak Openers Led by 'Hansel and Gretel'

Things picked up on Saturday after poor box office performance Friday due to Eastern weather. But it was still a weak result overall, with the Top Ten down about 25% from last weekend (even without major football competition) and about $6 million under last year (which saw a slight bump for two new Oscar nominees).
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 27, 2013 1:26 PM
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Weekend Box Office Preview: Weak Openers, 'Silver Linings' Holds Strong

Did you look at the movie ads this weekend and decide maybe it was a good time to stay home? Apparently you weren't alone. Three new openings failed to spark much interest, and combined with other post-Christmas releases that got whatever attention they deserved on their first few days, business collapsed last night. Recent weekends bolstered by the lingering strength of late 2012 releases masked real concerns that box office might be going south again after a decent holiday period. Is this just the dog days of January, or do these results suggest a troubling year ahead?
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 26, 2013 2:07 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Amour' and 'Quartet' Thrive in New Expansions

While distributors ponder how much to spend on new films showcased at Sundance, the business of opening and playing off previous acquisitions continues, with most of the success coming from higher-level films from top companies, particularly those in the middle of the Oscar race.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 21, 2013 11:01 AM
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Weekend Box Office Top Ten Led by Flicks Starring Oscar Rivals Chastain and Lawrence; Schwarzenegger, Wahlberg, Crowe Flop

Three films starring Best Actress Oscar nominees nabbed the top positions, while three other films loaded with "A" list male actors struggled at the weekend box office. Jessica Chastain leads the way, with her horror film "Mama" grossing far above expectations, while her nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty" held on strong in its second wide week. Meantime, "Silver Linings Playbook," starring Chastain's Oscar rival Jennifer Lawrence, who went on Saturday Night Live, finally went wide to reasonable success.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 20, 2013 1:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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