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Thompson on Hollywood

Box Office Top Ten: 'The Butler,' 'We're the Millers' Lead Solid Late Summer Weekend; 'Mortal Instruments' Another Sony Also-Ran

The end of season returns show that audiences can be satisfied with something beyond just the more hyped franchise entries that dominated most of the last few months, many of which failed to satisfy over a period when increased total grosses came with higher budgets. "The Butler" and "We're the Millers" -- both likely $100 million-plus pictures -- are significant August hits, with neither film considered typical summer fare.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 25, 2013 7:36 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'The Grandmaster' and 'Short Term 12' Lead Openers

This week's openings didn't reach the heights of the strongest mid-summer specialized releases, but two did solid initial business. Weinstein's "The Grandmaster" and Cinedigm's "Short Term 12" both have a ways to go before they're hits, but each grabbed decent sampling and critical heft to boost them in upcoming weeks, when there will be less competition among new films until late September when the fall glut begins.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 25, 2013 6:08 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Blue Jasmine' to Go Wider--and Outgross--Any Woody Allen Film

Sony Pictures Classics has decided that the time is right to expand "Blue Jasmine," Woody Allen's 44th feature starring Cate Blanchett, from 229 to over 1,200 screens nationwide this weekend. This far surpasses the "Midnight in Paris" screen count of 1038, marking "Blue Jasmine" as the widest release of any Allen film.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 21, 2013 4:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Arthouse Audit: Sundance Hits 'Austenland,' 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' and 'Cutie & the Boxer' Open Soft

The ongoing success of several late-summer hits plus serious competition from "The Butler" this weekend contributed to the disappointing results for three new entries. Over July and August, four Sundance 2013 releases opened strongly with two breakouts: "The Way, Way Back" and "Fruitvale Station." But this weekend's three acclaimed Sundance hits stumbled at the August box office. The combined grosses of "Austenland," "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and doc "Cutie and the Boxer" didn't even add up to the opening of "The Spectacular Now," and grossed only slightly better than last week's "In a World." This year the mid-August period isn't ready to join an expanded prime summer calendar.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 18, 2013 5:51 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Women Flock to Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' and Lake Bell's 'In a World,' '20 Feet from Stardom' Tops Year's Docs

Lake Bell's Sundance prize-winner "In a World" (Roadside Attractions) had the best initial showing this weekend in limited openings. Films directed by women have gone from rare to almost non-existent: only two woman directors were among all of 2013's wide release studio openings thus far. With the female segment of the specialized audience continuing to be underserved, Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," about two sisters' troubled relationship, continued its impressive slow rollout. It almost landed in the weekend top 10 despite playing at fewer than 2,000 theaters. Already at $6.2 million after three weekends, it will easily become the most successful specialized release of 2013 as it expands in weeks ahead.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 11, 2013 1:08 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office Top Ten: 'Elysium' Gives Sony First Number One Film Since 'Evil Dead'

Four new films opened this August weekend to overall decent if not sensational results, and several long-running performers yielded a top 10 slightly ahead of last year ($149 million vs. $129 million), bringing the year-to-date total about even with 2012. But four new films before marketing boasted production costs of $300 million; budgets increased dramatically. So far the summer has yielded six flops. Sony's "Elysium" led the way at the weekend box office with $30 million, which was slightly below expectations for acclaimed young "District 9" director Neill Blomkamp.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 10, 2013 5:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Spectacular Now' and 'Blue Jasmine' Break Out, Summer Specialty Hot Spot

For the fourth week out of the last five, a new limited release showed major strength. Unusual for mid-to-late summer, A24's "The Spectacular Now" attained post-Labor Day-level opening grosses. Also showing rare summer strength are Fox Searchlight's "The Way, Way Back," Weinstein Co.'s "Fruitvale Station" and Sony Pictures Classics' "Blue Jasmine." These commercial breakouts could lead to later awards consideration--and a new specialty paradigm.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 4, 2013 4:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'2 Guns' Blasts Mild August Weekend; 'Smurfs 2' Lags Stateside; 'Conjuring' Most Profitable Movie Ever Made?

Universal returned to the #1 spot with Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg actioner "2 Guns," the latest in the studio's diverse string of successful openings, after an expensive detour with the dreadful opening of "R.I.P.D." "2 Guns" led a top 10 that totaled about $120 million in gross, a jump of $8 million over last year. Meantime, the domestic take for "The Smurfs 2" disappointed, although Sony reports better international returns.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 4, 2013 1:49 PM
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  • 8 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Blue Jasmine' Exceeds 'Midnight in Paris' Debut in Top Specialized Opening of 2013, Best Ever in Summer

Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" continues the auteur's recent rebound to levels similar to his heyday in the 1970s and 80s. His fifth consecutive release from Sony Pictures Classics scored his career-best best opening result (beating "Midnight in Paris") with a six-theater, three-day total of over $600,000. This number is a record for the June-August period for any live-action limited release.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • July 28, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Wolverine' Disappoints at Box Office, 'Fruitvale Station' Makes Top Ten, and Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' Shines

"Wolverine," Twentieth Century Fox's well-hyped sixth entry in the "X-Men" series, performed below expectations with $21 million on Friday (including $4 million from late Thursday shows). Thus far the Top Ten total is lower than any Friday since June 4.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • July 27, 2013 12:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments

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