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Thompson on Hollywood

Melissa McCarthy Rules Weekend Box Office Top Ten

On a Sunday when studio films look to take home most of the top Oscars (not always the case), their new pictures aren't playing well with audiences. Only three studio pics make the top ten, while mini-majors and independents carry most of the weight. The continued success of such companies as Weinstein, Lionsgate, Relativity and Open Road is healthy for the overall industry, but the lack of top-draw breakout hits from the studios is significant, even iduring their first quarter off-season. This drives grosses lower, with exhibitors continuing to bear the brunt of the pain.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 24, 2013 1:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Six Reasons Why Six Oscar Nominees Delivered Highest Awards Season Grosses in Recent History

Six of the nine Oscar Best Picture nominees have already passed the $100 million mark, the highest level since the number was increased from five in 2009. These are the biggest numbers, even with ticket price adjustments, in recent box-office history. A number of factors contributed to the result-- the quality of the films, with studio-financed budgets requiring films with wide audience appeal, apart from any Oscar bonus--but the most significant was the calendar.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 24, 2013 6:15 AM
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  • 5 Comments

'Snitch' Edges Out 'Identity Thief' for Friday in Another Down Weekend

Oscar Weekend is often not prime time for new openings. But this year looks weak even by that standard. Continuing a pattern that hasn't varied now for several weeks, grosses for the day were down again, this Friday about 25% from last year (also right before the awards).
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 23, 2013 1:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Arthouse Audit: Smart Audiences Give 'No' a 'Yes'

While it's been a spotty 2013 so far for new specialized openings, Sony Pictures Classics' Chilean-election drama (and Oscar nominee) "No" was a winner over the four-day holiday weekend in limited initial release, proving itself the strongest new art-house performer since "Quartet" last month, and falling only slightly below the first weekend of its fellow subtitled contender "Amour."
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 18, 2013 9:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office Top Ten: Bruce Willis is Back, But Melissa McCarthy Stays Close, 'Silver Linings' Passes $100 Million

Good news: four wide releases grossed over $20 million for the four-day Presidents' Day weekend. On paper that looks solid. Pictures with varied appeal--male action, comedy, young female, kids--marked a return to more normal moviegoing after weeks of adult-sewing films, with a few genre films grabbing scattered attention. Bruce Willis' fifth turn in a "Die Hard" film led the way, staving off a strong challenge by the second week of Melissa McCarthy's career-boosting hit "Identity Thief," which will likely be the biggest film released in the first two months of the year (at least in North America).
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 16, 2013 7:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office Returns to Normal: 'Good Day to Die Hard' & 'Safe Haven' Open, 'Silver Linings' Heads for $100 Million

After a disastrous weekend when grosses dipped to half of last year's, two new releases and one strong holdover continued the Thursday Valentine's Day rebound. Friday's Top Ten total is close to the 2012 sum. Three of the week's four new films premiered a day earlier. All three fell off their initial numbers, though, suggesting that the recovery is not complete, even for just one weekend. (We'll report holiday weekend totals on Monday.)
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 16, 2013 2:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Arthouse Audit: 'Lore' and 'Charles Swan' Modest Openers, Holdovers Stay Strong

With few significant new openings these days and competition for multiple adult-appealing Oscar contenders still significant, "Lore" and "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" both posted just average opening grosses. The snow in New York likely had some impact on box office there (both films opened only in NYC and Los Angeles), but the reality is 2013 is starting off slowly in terms of debuting releases.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 10, 2013 4:09 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office Top Ten: 'Identity Thief' First Breakout of 2013 Amid Weak Field

A weekend standout amid weather closings, "Identity Thief" outdid expectations for a terrific opening. While a number of recent releases and older Oscar contenders held up well (following the depleted Super Bowl weekend), most or all of the Top 10 films are successes. So what's the worry?
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 10, 2013 1:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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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  • 0 Comments

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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  • 0 Comments

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