by Rob Boylan
I usually don't have any interest in box office numbers since they're reported all wrong (by gross dollar amount instead of by admissions sold), but this weekend was striking. Five big new releases and all of them did pretty poorly, though when you look at what they are, it's not really a surprise. Trouble with the Curve was probably strangled to death by its starpower (namely, their salary), House At The End Of The Street is a cheap-o horror flick, End of Watch... actually did pretty well, doing about double it's negative cost, and Dredd, well, the original flopped, why would anyone think this wouldn't?
The Master, which ran on well under 1,000 screens for it's ~$5m take, could eventually be the big winner on a per-screen basis (about $6k a screen), but it's a long, complicated film without the immediately striking centerpiece that There Will Be Blood had. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine film, but the biggest buzz around it right now seems to actually be that it was shot in 70mm, though TWC has only had 16 70mm prints struck and most people will end up just seeing the digital version. Which is probably fine, to be honest. I think people are going a little overboard with the idea of 70mm, especially since the only place the film really takes advantage of the width of the negative is the scenes of Freddie on the battleship, and those account for a few minutes of an almost 3 hour film.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is likely to be the big story of the week though, playing to packed theaters in New York and Los Angeles -- I've heard 60k a screen for it too (edit: $61k a screen). It does a more than fair job of adapting the work. Chbosky was right in keeping his distance for so long, because it's a much better film when you divorce it from the idea of the book. I was hung up while watching the film for a little while by neither Charlie (Logan Lerman) nor Sam (Emma Watson) matching what was in my head, and some other tiny inconsistencies. But Ezra Miller and Mae Whitman as Patrick and Mary Elizabeth were both pretty inspired casting choices. Ezra Miller's going to come out of this a star, but possibly a star that no one knows what to do with.
Anyway, the only time I've heard a more thunderous applause at the end of a film was at various Star Wars midnight shows. It was nuts. Stay tuned for that.
News, links, etc:
-Just stop remaking movies from the 80s. It's getting to be embarrassing at this point and moviegoers eventually pay for the losses booked by studios digging in even deeper on not taking risks. (First Showing)
-I never really liked the Korean film A Bittersweet Life to begin with, but unless his brother has been holding him back all these years, Allan Hughes is about the worst choice possible for a remake director I could think of. (Deadline)
-David Denby on the technological death of Hollywood, strangled by its own creators. I have not read this yet I admit. Longreads are for Sunday afternoons, not Sunday mornings. I do sort of agree with the premise though. (The New Republic)
-This is why I still love Clint Eastwood. (THR)
-Get ready for Looper (opens Friday) with this Rian Johnson interview. (The Guardian)
-A TED Talk about the handling of the War Horse horse puppets. (War Horse on Stage)
-Alfonso Cuaron directing a supernatural pilot? Sweet. What's that? JJ Abrams is producing? Oh, nevermind. (Playlist)
-About Abraham Lincoln's voice. I'll always think of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as the definitive Lincoln anyway. (Cinema Blend)
-A really great photoset from inside ILM while filming Star Wars. (Gavin Rothery)
-Ezra Miller talks about being picked on and his sexuality in the run up to the release of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. (Daily Beast)
-Phase 4 picked up Alex Gibney's (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) new hockey documentary The Last Enforcer, about Chris Nilan, who played in the 80s and 90s... and was never the best or most interesting enforcer in the league. I remember him mostly as the injured guy that Tie Domi replaced -- and was a much better fighter than -- in my first years of becoming a Rangers fan, and then I remember him being on drugs and shoplifting. Gibney should have done a doc on Nick Fotiu or Bob Probert who were the best fighters of their day -- even the Flyers thugs in the 70s and 80s were scared to fight Fotiu. I guess I should have told you guys that this is becoming a hockey blog, right? (Deadline)
-25 things you probably don't know about Cameron Crowe's Singles, but you probably also don't care. (Moviefone)
-One Day, about a man and his house... which happens to be a time portal. It's really fantastic, especially the animation. Highly reccomended. (4:24) (i09)
Trailers, posters, etc:
-The first footage from Park Chan-wook's Stoker. (The Film Stage)
-42, which finally dramatizes Jackie Robinson's story. Looks like a lot of ham. Hope it's better than the trailer. (Apple)
-More baseball? A doc about the elusive pitch: Knuckleball! I hope someone makes Eephus! next. (Apple)
-Dark Tower, a british sniper thriller if you're into that kind of thing (Twitch)
-Matt Damon in The Promise Land. (Apple)
-Some movie about hobbits or something. (Apple)