Daily Archives: June 20, 2011
As I mentioned last week here in this spot, I recently picked up the Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Blu-Ray collection. My plan was to go through each film in reverse chronological order, but as it turned out, The Queen was interested in watching what was supposed to be next on my list, 1987′s Full Metal Jacket, but because if our schedule this week we didn’t have time to sit and watch it together. So instead, I jumped ahead (or backwards, if you like) to watch what stands as my favorite horror film of all time.
What the film is about: Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd) move in to The Overlook Hotel, where Jack has been hired as the winter caretaker. Removed from society for five months, and with Danny’s ability to see things that may or may not be there, Jack begins a rapid descent into madness.
Why I like The Shining so much: What’s not to love? Kubrick’s 1979 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is one of the creepiest films ever made, and features an incredibly frightening performance by Jack Nicholson. Virtually every piece of the film, from the performances and scenery, to the great Wendy Carlos score and hypnotic use of the Steadicam (the first time in a Kubrick movie), is perfect. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen The Shining, but what I do know is that with every viewing I manage to find something new – this time out, it was the way the cigarette burns beside Jack’s typewriter when he’s throwing the tennis ball against the wall. Not only does the film necessitate repeat viewings, it rewards them. Something to keep in mind, as well – while The Shining is one of the scariest films ever made, there’s minimal violence, unlike so many of today’s hack and slash releases.
Some things I didn’t enjoy this time out: If I’m being honest, the only criticism I can level at The Shining is one made by many, and it’s simply that Nicholson’s Jack Torrance seems ready to crack when we first meet him. There’s minimal build-up to him going completely unhinged; we see it coming within the first five minutes. a few more minutes of Jack as a tender family man would have made his undoing that much more powerful. On the technical front, I would have liked a more immersive surround sound experience from the soundtrack on the Blu-Ray. Everything seems to happen via the upfront speakers. which was a little disappointing.
Should you watch it?: If you have even a remote interest in horror films and haven’t yet seen The Shining, I’d suggest stopping whatever it is you are doing and find yourself a copy, stat. If you can find one on Blu-Ray, all the better, because I’ve never seen the film look better. As well, the Blu-Ray features a ton of great bonus features, including the great fly-on-the-wall documentary Stanley Kubrick’s 17 year old daughter Vivian made while The Shining was being shot in England. You get to the witness Jack Nicholson prepare for the penultimate “Here’s Johnny” scene and the genuine friction between Kubrick and Shelley Duvall on set. It’s riveting stuff and shows a couple of masters at work.
Green Lantern was the #1 film at the box office this weekend with a strong opening, but early feedback from box office analysts suggests that the opening weekend was disappointing (I know it sounds like I’m defeating my own argument, but I’ll explain more further below). Mr. Popper’s Penguins opened as expected and Super 8 posted a strong hold. For the second weekend in a row, I would say that my predictions for the weekend box office were not great and even though I predicted four of the films in the top five, I only placed two of the films in the correct finish. Here’s how the weekend broke down:
Debuting in 1st place is the comic book adventure Green Lantern with a gross of $52.6 million (I predicted a 1st place finish and a gross of $57 million). The film had a per theatre average of $13,806, which was the best per theatre average of any film in the top ten and the second best per theatre average of any film in release. When films have opening weekends that are above $50 million, you tend to think that the film had a successful opening weekend. Unfortunately for Green Lantern, the budget for the film is listed at $200 million, and with negative reviews, it is hoping that word-of-mouth on the film is superb to even have a chance to make back its budget. Of the films that I used in making my prediction for Green Lantern, only two films had worse opening weekends. See below:
2005 – Fantastic Four – $56 million opening weekend
2006 – Superman Returns – $52.5 million opening weekend
2007 – Ghost Rider – $45.3 million opening weekend
2007 – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – $58 million opening weekend
2008 – Hancock – $62.6 million opening weekend
2011 – Thor – $65.7 million opening weekend
2011 – X-Men: First Class – $55.1 million opening weekend
2011 – Green Lantern – $52.7 million opening weekend
It is also interesting to note that Green Lantern had a lower opening weekend than the last two comic book films that were released, so maybe audiences are getting tired of the “B” list comic book films. Having said that, $52.7 million is still a strong opening weekend, and we’ll see how the film performs in the weeks ahead.
Dropping from 1st place to 2nd place is the sci-fi adventure Super 8 with a gross of $21.2 million (I predicted a 3rd place finish and a gross of $16.9 million). Super 8 had a per theatre average of $6,235 and dropped 40.1% from last weekend’s gross. The hold is strong considering the decent competition the film faced this weekend, and it shows that this film will have legs over the coming weeks and should be a solid performer. After ten days, Super 8 has grossed $72.7 million from a budget of $50 million, so it is making money for Paramount.
Debuting in 3rd place is the family comedy Mr. Popper’s Penguins with a gross of $18.2 million (I predicted a 2nd place finish and a gross of $21 million). Mr. Popper’s Penguins had a per theatre average of $5,451, which is an average amount for the first weekend of a film in wide release. The Jim Carrey film opened with the exact amount as Carrey’s last mainstream film opened, and nowhere close to his last family oriented film. See below:
2004 – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – $30 million opening weekend
2008 – Yes Man – $18.2 million opening weekend
2011 – Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $18.2 million opening weekend.
Word of mouth will be the key to this films success, but it will face a huge obstacle next weekend as Cars 2 invades movie theatres. Mr. Popper’s Penguins should be able to make back its budget, which is listed at $55 million, so it should be a slightly profitable film for 20th Century Fox when all is said and done.
Dropping from 2nd place to 4th place is the action-adventure X-Men: First Class with a gross of $11.5 million (I predicted a 4th place finish and a gross of $11 million). X-Men: First Class had a per theatre average of $3,407 and dropped 52.3% from last weekend’s gross. The latest installment is still the lowest grossing of the franchise and has a ways to go to surpass X-Men for 4th place in the franchise (X-Men grossed $157.2 million). After three weekends, X-Men: First Class has grossed $119.9 million from a budget of $160 million.
Dropping from 3rd place to 5th place is the comedy The Hangover II with a gross of $9.6 million (I did not make a prediction for this film). The Hangover II had a per theatre average of $2,785 and dropped 45.5% from last weekend’s gross. The comedy hit still has a ways to go in out grossing the original (which grossed $277.3 million), but it is still doing well. After four weekends, The Hangover II has grossed $232.6 million from a budget of $80 million.
Dropping from 4th place to 6th place is the animated-adventure Kung Fu Panda 2 with a gross of $8.7 million (I predicted a 5th place finish and a gross of $10.5 million). Kung Fu Panda 2 had a per theatre average of $2,508 and was down 47.4% from last weekend. The sequel will not come close to the original’s domestic gross, which was $215.4 million. After four weekends, Kung Fu Panda 2 has grossed $143.3 million from a budget of $150 million.
In limited release:
Two films opened strong in limited release this weekend.
Jig grossed $65,000 from 5 theatres, giving it a per theatre average of $13,000 and Buck grossed $64,400 from 4 theatres, giving that film a per theatre average of $16,100 (the per theatre average for Buck was the best per theatre average of any film in release as of this writing).
So to recap, here were my predictions:
Green Lantern – $57 million
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $21 million
Super 8 – $16.9 million
X-Men: First Class – $11 million
Kung Fu Panda 2 – $10.5 million
And here are the actual numbers:
Green Lantern – $52.6 million
Super 8 – $21.2 million
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – $18.2 million
X-Men: First Class – $11.5 million
The Hangover Part II – $9.6 million
Next weekend, the new films debuting in theatres are: the black comedy Bad Teacher starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel and other film is the Disney/Pixar adventure Cars 2. Check out Biff Bam Pop next Friday to read my predictions!