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Thompson on Hollywood

Saturday Top Ten Preview: 'The Hobbit' Gobbles Up 80% of Box Office, 'Lincoln' Strong

As expected, Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" overcame a turbulent production history, mixed reviews and a nearly three-hour length to open strong. The $37-million-plus gross included some $13 million from midnight shows: about one million people on a December weeknight attended the first late night showings across the country. Simultaneous international openings suggest similar global reaction, leading to a strong head wind for the expensive production heading into Christmas.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 15, 2012 3:49 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Hyde Park on Hudson' Opens Just OK, 'Silver Linings' Takes It Slow

The only high-profile specialty release this weekend was "Hyde Park on the Hudson" from Focus, normally a prime date for late year high profile releases (last year, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Young Adult" both premiered). "Hyde Park" did respectable business under difficult circumstances, but at this stage doesn't look as strong as other recent openers. The main story remains the performance of several films that have yet to open in more than 500 theaters. "Silver Linings Playbook," "Anna Karenina" and "Hitchcock" have established themselves across the country. It remains to be seen how much wider each of them can go, with "SLP" still showing the greatest potential (full analysis of the Weinstein's calculated risk and money-saving strategy is below.)
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 9, 2012 4:08 PM
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Weekend Box Office Topped by Sony Record-Breaker 'Skyfall' and Thanksgiving Leftovers as Butler Flops Again

Lacking an early release of a Christmas blockbuster, this weekend boasted just one low-grossing new release (Millennium's Gerard Butler-starrer "Playing for Keeps"), while last year had two newbies topping the top ten list. But this is traditionally one of the weakest weekends of the year. With only a single (soft) new film in play, the surprise is that strong holdovers led by Sony's record-breaking global blockbuster "Skyfall" as well as several awards contenders, managed to actually improve grosses about 5% from last year. But the total is low -- around $68 million.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 9, 2012 1:14 PM
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Saturday Box Office Preview: Holdovers Keep Grosses on Positive Track

Lacking an early release of a Christmas blockbuster, this weekend is traditionally one of the weakest of the year. With only a single (soft) new film in play -- Millennium's Gerard Butler starrer "Playing for Keeps" (released by FilmDistrict) -- the surprise is that for Friday, the top ten actually grossed about equal to last year, with the full weekend likely ahead.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 8, 2012 6:45 PM
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'Skyfall' is Biggest Film in UK History, Eclipsing 'Avatar'

"Skyfall" is now the UK's biggest film in history, eclipsing "Avatar"'s £94 million with £94.27 million in 40 days (particularly staggering given James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster got to that haul after 11 months, and with increased 3-D ticket prices).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 5, 2012 1:08 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Beware of Mr. Baker' Best Opener as 'Silver Linings Playbook' Leads Expanding Films

Yet another initially successful NY opening of a doc about a performer ("Beware of Mr. Baker") competes with important expansions of several major awards contenders across the country. "Silver Linings Playbook" kept at about the same level of theaters as last week, and held quite well. While both "Hitchcock" and "Anna Karenina" took many more theaters, performing at a solid specialty level, neither has as optimistic prospects as "Silver Linings Playbook."
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 2, 2012 3:47 PM
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Weekend Box Office Top Ten: Pitt's 'Killing' Opens Softly, Holdovers Soar

On what is usually one of the slowest weekends of the year-- post-Thanksgiving, when adults are holiday shopping--moviegoers flocked to a wide variety of strongly performing holdovers. The top ten grossed around $100 million, up a strong 40% from last year.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 2, 2012 1:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Saturday Box Office Preview: Weekend Dominated by Holdovers

A strong group of Oscar contending/older audience films led to a surge in what is usually the dead post-Thanksgiving weekend. With the same top five films as last weekend (although the final order might be slightly different), the top ten films Friday night grossed about 50% better than last year.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 1, 2012 4:08 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Hitchcock' and 'Rust and Bone' Fight for Attention

In a weekend that had adult audiences flocking to theaters in numbers rarely seen apart from Christmas and New Year's weeks, core specialized theaters struggled to get their normal share of the action. Three potentially award-contending films opened, all with the kind of pedigree expected to make them stand out in the crowd. All of them did gain some traction, but none marked a successful Thanksgiving weekend opening.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • November 25, 2012 4:27 PM
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Thanksgiving Box Office Top Ten: Weekend Record, More Gravy than Turkeys

The post-Thanksgiving weekend soared this year, but not via the usual family films. Continuing the trend over the past several weeks, Oscar contenders appealing to older audiences provided the heft to elevate grosses. Like last year, a "Twilight"-dominated weekend (again, the second) leads the pack. This year's entry continues the last's torrid pace (with even bigger grosses internationally). But last year, five of the top ten, and four of the top five were oriented to kids
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • November 25, 2012 12:52 PM
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