The top two movies this week showed a huge disconnect between critical reviews and audience satisfaction. Case in point, Hop. The Easter tale about an adorable rabbit who is the heir to the Easter Bunny empire was soundly denounced by most critics, earning a measly 24% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, that didn’t scare audiences away from the film, which handily won the weekend box office, earning about $38.1 million. Considering the fact that Easter is still several weeks away, and audiences loved the film (those polled by Cinemascore gave it an A-), this film could end up earning quite a bit of money. This is the second film from new studio Illumination Entertainment. They released Despicable Me in 2010.
The feat is also impressive because there is not a lot of star power behind the film, which is a mix of live action and animation. James Marsden is not exactly a household name, and kids don’t know or care who Russell Brand is.
A big surprise to a lot of box office prognosticators was the under-performance of Source Code. Many of us thought it was a shoo-in for first place, particularly since it is one of the most well-reviewed films of the year. However, audiences didn’t agree, and gave the film a B on Cinemascore. When it was all said and done, Source Code made about $15.1 million, just under half the cost of its budget.
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This may be the biggest year for the Academy Awards, as some major Hollywood players are going up against some fresh newcomers. Eyeballs everywhere will be glued to ABC on Sunday, February 27th at 8PM E/5PM P when the awards show goes live. But before that, we decided to do some picking of our own with the staff’s predictions for each award.
For a full list of the nominees, check out our previous article on the subject. Now, on to the predictions.
Shannon Hood-The Social Network. It had early and consistent momentum all year, and the Academy appears to be trying to shake up their stodgy image. This would be the perfect film to put their money where their mouth is.
Matt Raub – True Grit. Not only are the Coens a regular in the “I Have an Oscar” club, but this testament to classic western films is definitely one for record books, between its all-star cast and gritty (no pun intended) visual style, this one definitely deserves the golden statue.
Chris Ullrich – True Grit. Even though this was a pretty great year for movies and there are many excellent choices in this category, True Grit stands on its own as my pick. As an example of pure movie storytelling, this Coen Brothers masterpiece excels on every level and delivers a pure entertainment experience you will want to revisit many more times in the future.
Cortney Zamm – The Social Network. There’s a lot of great films in this category, some of them from my favorite directors and starring my favorite people. But the one that combined all of the essential elements of filmmaking into a truly gorgeous, compelling, and memorable film was The Social Network.
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Possibly one of the most critically praised films of the year, and potentially a heavy hitter at this year’s Academy Awards, The King’s Speech has already made plenty of headlines as of late. Well you can add one more, as the film’s DVD and Blu-Ray details have been announced courtesy of a press release from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Co.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company announced today the highly anticipated Blu-ray™ and DVD release of THE KING’S SPEECH, the first release under the two companies’ new agreement. Heading to retail on April 19th, 2011, THE KING’S SPEECH has dominated the nomination lists for the Oscars®, Golden Globes®, Critics Choice Awards and BAFTA awards, earning widespread critical acclaim and grossing over $73 million at the North American box office thus far.
Its 2011 honors to date include two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Cast and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Firth); the PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of a Theatrical Motion Picture; the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film (Tom Hooper); and the Golden Globe® for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Colin Firth).
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Despite some pretty scathing reviews, the exorcism film The Rite won the weekend box office with $15 M. Although the film won, that is a pretty disappointing total for a weekend box office winner. This is one of those films where there was a wide disconnect between critics and audiences. The people who were polled by Cinemascore after seeing the movie gave it a satisfactory “B” average rating. Compare that to the 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Huge disparity.
No Strings Attached held pretty strong in its second weekend. The romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher came in at number two. The film only dropped a modest 30%, making about $13.6 M. It has been a bit of a surprise hit, mostly due to a tight $25 M budget. The two week total stands at $39 M.
The weekend’s other new release was The Mechanic, and it came in closely behind No Strings Attached with $11.5 M. It had a fairly average per/screen average of about $4,300. According to Sunday’s estimates, this puts The Mechanic in a tie with holdover The Green Hornet, which also made $11.5 M. After three weeks, Hornet has made over $78 M.
The big story this week is The King’s Speech, which upstaged The Social Network at the DGA awards and the SAG awards over the weekend. The film is getting a serious bounce from all the awards talk, but The Weinstein Company also increased the theater count for the film by over $40% this weekend. Smart.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 83rd annual award ceremony this morning. The King’s Speech was the front-runner with 12 nominations. Overall, there weren’t too many surprises.
Many were disappointed that Christopher Nolan did not receive a best director nod, but as a consolation prize, Inception was nominated as a contender for best picture.
True Grit did quite well, with Hailee Steinfeld nabbing a best supporting actress nod, and nominations for best picture, best director(s), best actor, and best adapted screenplay. Winter’s Bone was recognized for best actress, best picture, and best adapted screenplay. Dogtooth, Jackie Weaver, and Javier Bardem were nice surprises.
Here are the nominees in the order that they were announced.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld True Grit
Jackie Weaver Animal Kingdom
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale The Fighter
John Hawkes Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner The Town
Mark Ruffalo The Kids Are All Right
Jeffrey Rush The King’s Speech
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Natalie Portman continues to impress, as she has not one, but two films in the top ten this week. The romantic comedy No Strings Attached, featuring Portman and Ashton Kutcher, nabbed the top spot at the box office over the weekend by selling about $20.3 M in tickets. The film is directed by Ivan Reitman, and is the first movie starring Portman to win the box office since 2006, when she starred in V For Vendetta. It attracted a mostly female audience, typical for a romantic comedy.
Black Swan, the psychological thriller, was her second film to place in the top ten. Coming in at number six, the movie picked up $6.2 M in its eighth week in release, bringing its box office total to $83.5 M. If the film picks up a few Oscar nominations (announced on Tuesday morning), it is sure to continue a steady march toward $100 M.
Last week’s winner, The Green Hornet, dropped off 46% from its opening week total. It came in at number two this week with $18 M, bringing its two week total to $63 M. It was a costly production to make ($120 M) so it still needs to sell quite a few seats to earn back its budget.
The Dilemma had an almost identical drop off, and made an additional $9.7 M. The King’s Speech is now in its 9th week of release, and only dropped 2% from last week. This is another film that will surely enjoy a boost from multiple Oscar nominations on Tuesday.
True Grit came in at number five with $8 M, making it the second highest grossing western of all time (Dances With Wolves holds the record). The Housemaid, Barney’s Version, The Company Men, The Illusionist, and Another Year all fared nicely in limited release.
Despite some tepid reviews, Green Hornet ran away with the top spot this weekend. The Seth Rogan comedy/action hybrid made about $34 M, which is good enough to be the third highest January opening ever. About 69% of the film’s take was from 3D screens. It was a pricey film to make ($110 M), so it will need to build on its opening weekend momentum.
Vince Vaughn’s latest film The Dilemma made about $17 M, placing it solidly in second place. True Grit only dropped 23%, and made an additional $11 M. This $38 M film just passed the $125 M mark. Kind of reaffirms your faith in movie audiences, doesn’t it?
If that tidbit of intel warms your heart, then wait for the next news: we had a trifecta of terrific movies occupying the top five this week. In addition to True Grit, The Kings Speech and Black Swan had great weekends.
The King’s Speech actually surged 41% in its eighth week in release for a cool $9 M. It is still playing on less than 1600 screens, so those are some impressive numbers. Very quietly, the film has made $44 M to date.
Black Swan has also done remarkably well. Made on a shoestring budget of $13 M, Natalie Portman’s star vehicle now totals almost $73 M in box office receipts, without a 3D screen in sight. Gwyneth Paltrow has not been as lucky. Her movie Country Strong fell completely out of the top ten this week, coming in at number twelve. In four weeks, the movie has only made $13 M.
Barney’s Version opened on only four screens, but it managed to make $17,925 per/screen.
Today the Director’s Guild of America announced its nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in feature films 2010. As the DGA nominations are traditionally considered an indicator of who might end up with the Oscar in the same category, these nominations, and the winner, are watched pretty closely.
The nominations are :
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter
I’m a little surprised that the Coen brothers were not nominated for True Grit. They’ve won the award before three years ago, for No Country for Old Men, so I thought they may be nominated again this year. I would bet they were choice number six on the list and just didn’t make the cut. Besides, I think Fincher is a lock for this, and probably the Oscar as well, so it’s not such a bad thing.
The winner will be announced at the DGA’s annual awards dinner Jan. 29 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. Who do you think will win, and who do you want to win?
History and movie buffs alike should be thrilled with The King’s Speech, an exemplary film with all the trappings of a serious awards contender. Impeccably cast and skillfully directed, the film started getting buzz when it debuted at the Toronto International film festival in September, and it has shown no signs of slowing down.
The film tells the (true) story of Prince Albert, who unexpectedly found himself taking the position of King George VI when his older brother relinquished the crown due to a scandalous relationship in 1936. Albert (Colin Firth) was afflicted with a horrible stutter for his entire life.
If he is to be King, public speaking will be the norm, yet the very thought of delivering a speech makes his blood run cold with fear. Escalating his personal crisis is the possibility of war.
He will have to deliver a speech that will inspire, reassure, and rally his kingdom all at the same time. How can he convey all those things to his subjects when all they will notice is the stutter?
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The Screen Actor’s Guild has announced their nominees for best in film and television for 2110. Since these awards are voted on by other actors, they usually carry a certain prestige. Rosario Dawson and Angie Harmon announced the guild’s nominees this morning in Los Angeles.
For those keeping score, The King’s Speech leads the film pack with four nominations, along with Black Swan. On the TV side, Modern Family came in with 4 awards, followed by Dexter, Glee, and Mad Men with three nominations each.
The awards will be given on Sunday, January 30th on TBS. For a complete list of nominees, visit the official SAG website.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
JEFF BRIDGES / Rooster Cogburn – TRUE GRIT
ROBERT DUVALL / Felix Bush – GET LOW
JESSE EISENBERG / Mark Zuckerberg -THE SOCIAL NETWORK
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI – THE KING’S SPEECH
JAMES FRANCO / Aron Ralston – 127 HOURS
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
ANNETTE BENING / Nic – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
NICOLE KIDMAN / Becca – RABBIT HOLE
JENNIFER LAWRENCE / Ree Dolly – WINTER’S BONE
NATALIE PORTMAN / Nina Sayers – BLACK SWAN
HILARY SWANK / Betty Anne Waters – CONVICTION
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