Box Office Recap: The Dark Knight Rises… to Number One

Studios released box office figures a day late this week out of respect for the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Many writers who should be talking about movies have been talking about the tragedy instead. I won’t do that, because the last thing that event needs is more punditry, and the deaths of 12 people should not be made into a political issue. So let’s talk about movies.

Top on the list of things nobody has ever said, ever: “‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ the last entry in Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman reboot trilogy, will not be the weekend’s number one movie.” Seriously, that was a foregone conclusion as soon as the Joker completed his bank heist in “The Dark Knight.” Rather the question was how much exactly the movie would make, and whether or not it would top the competition for the best opening of the year and the best ever opening by a superhero film. In this instance, of course, the two are one and the same. “The Avengers,” and its $207 million opening weekend, hold both honors, and in fact, the highest opening of all time as well, forget about costumed heroes.

After this weekend, that’s still the case. But come on folks, not beating out the best opening weekend of all time isn’t exactly a slight. “The Dark Knight Rises” held its own with just under $161 million in its first three days. That might not be enough to beat out “The Avengers” but it is third best opening of all time. The only other film (besides “The Avengers”) to gross more domestically in in its opening weekend was “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two,” which raked in $169 million last summer.

Things were tough for the films living in the shadow of “The Dark Knight Rises” this weekend. The weekend’s top ten films had dropoffs ranging from 46 percent (“Brave“) to 68.6 percent (“The Amazing Spider-Man“). Clearly, Spidey had a hard time keeping up with a new (and better) superhero flick entering the arena. “The Dark Knight Rises” alone actually grossed $100 million more than the second through tenth place films combined ($60.5 million).

As a result of Nolan and co. sucking up all that revenue, the charts were once again extraordinarily static. Last week’s first through fourth place films (“Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Ted,” “Brave”) each took a step back but remained in the same order. “Magic Mike” scooted past “Savages” (which fell from fifth to seventh) to  remain in sixth place, while “Katy Perry: Part of Me’s” drop out of the Top 10 allowed “To Rome with Love” to come back into tenth, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection” to take just one step back into eighth, and “Moonrise Kingdom” to stay entrenched in the ninth position.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Dark Knight Rises, 1/4,404, Warner Bros., $160.887 million.
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift, 2/3,886, Fox, $20.416 million, $88.84 million.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man, 3/3,753, Sony, $10.887 million, $228.611 million.
4. Ted, 4/3,214 Universal, $10.011 million, $180.431 million.
5. Brave, 5/2,899, Buena Vista, $6.024 million, $208.774 million.
6. Magic Mike, 4/2,606, Warner Bros., $4.291 million, $101.966 million.
7. Savages, 3/2,336, Universal, $3.398 million, $40.055 million.
8. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, 4/1,540, LGF, $2.253 million, $55.611 million.
9. Moonrise Kingdom, 9/895, Focus, $1.831 million, $36.087 million.
10. To Rome with Love, 5/552, SPC, $1.42 million, $11.107 million.

 

  

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Box Office Preview: The Dark Knight is Finally Rising!

The Dark Knight Rises

After a four (although it felt like 400) year wait, the Caped Crusader is finally back in the third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, “The Dark Knight Rises.” I don’t think I’d be able to do the plot justice in just a few sentences, so let’s stick to the official synopsis (although it doesn’t really capture the complexities either):

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

For obvious reasons, the Joker won’t be appearing in the film. There’s plenty of room for argument, but I absolutely think Nolan and company made the right decision in not recasting the role. Although we won’t be getting any more of the Clown Prince of Crime, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman will return as Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, and Commissioner Gordon, respectively. The new additions to the cast are just as impressive. Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, and Tom Hardy will play Bane, the film’s main villain. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be playing a young cop named Robin John Blake, and Marion Cotillard appears as Miranda Tate. If you couldn’t tell, when Nolan likes an actor, he’s not the type who doesn’t call back. What is that, half the cast of “Inception?” And Ellen Page probably would’ve made an awesome Harley Quinn.

Currently certified fresh and sitting at an 87 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s a foregone conclusion that “The Dark Knight Rises” is going to be awesome. How couldn’t it be? It’s Christopher Nolan. It’s Batman! The only thing that could ruin it is if you go into the theater expecting it to top 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” Don’t do that, it’s not fair. The new film’s predecessor isn’t just the best Batman movie of all time, or the best superhero movie of all time, or the best in this genre or that one, it’s among the top ten films ever made, period. Even if Heath Ledger hadn’t ruined things but up and dying on us (too soon?), it’s unlikely this film could top that one.

No other movies are seeing a wide release this week, because no one messes with the Batman. I’m posting the trailer below, both so you can check it out and to avoid the spoilers I’ve heard are all over YouTube comments sections (I can’t say for sure, because I refuse to look, not even for you, dear reader).

Follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.

  

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Five 2011 Academy Award Upsets We’d Like to See

It should be stated for the record that while the editorial ‘we’ was used for the title of this column, the truth is that these are my picks and solely my picks. Let the first person speak begin.

The Academy Awards have become a bit of a bore in the last few years. There have been next to no surprises in the major categories, except for perhaps Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress in 2008 for “La Vie en Rose” or Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting actor in 2007 for “Little Miss Sunshine.” For the most part, it’s decided pretty early who’s going to win, which totally sucks, if you ask me. Of course, there are categories where there is a performance that clearly stands out above the others, but in many instances, people win their Oscars not because they’ve delivered something otherworldly, but because it’s their time, and they’re due, or other such nonsense. These aren’t lifetime achievement awards, and this isn’t a welfare system. If you give the award to the worthy party the first time around, there will be no need to “pay them back” later (cough, Al Pacino and Denzel Washington).

Take Tilda Swinton, for example. Do you know why she won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress? It’s because the voters knew that “Michael Clayton” was going to be shut out in every other category, so they threw Swinton a bone just so the movie walked away with at least one award. What the hell kind of logic is that? Did she really give the best performance or not? She was perfectly fine in the movie, but there was nothing extraordinary about it, certainly not compared to her hilariously stone-hearted harpy in “Burn After Reading.” Needless to say, the Academy’s predictability of late has led me to rebel, which is why on Sunday, I’d love nothing more than to hear the following five names be read instead of what we will probably hear.

Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, “Inception

Current Frontrunner: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

“The King’s Speech” is a wonderful little film. It was #7 on my list of top movies of 2010. But that story has been done many, many times before, while “Inception” was so layered that it took 10 years for Christopher Nolan to finish it. Small stories are good stories, but when someone dares to, pardon the pun, dream like Nolan did here – and better yet, pull it off, which he does in spades – that should be rewarded. It would also serve as a warning shot across the bows of every action movie director that story matters, damn it, and to get rid of the jive-talking robots.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

  

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Pretty pictures for Anne Hathaway, aka the next Selina Kyle

Time is still an issue for this blogger, even after taking yesterday off to meet deadlines and handle a number of matters, so I’ll just have to ignore such genuinely important issues as the Comcast/NBC-Universal merger. Instead, I’ll concentrate on some much more pleasant news that, as we’ve all long suspected, the next top-tier villain in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale “Batman” franchise will be Catwoman. The better knews is that Anne Hathaway has the gig and I think she’ll be great. (Tom Hardy will be second banana Bat-villain, Bane.)  Even so, She’ll have some big shows to fill. Specifically, the mighty Michelle Pfeiffer and the delightfully underrated Lee Meriwether.

I was going to show you some clips of each but suddenly YouTube is going insane tonight — holy crappy timing, ‘Net 2.0! — and embedding from there suddenly doesn’t seem to work for me. So, instead, you’ll have to make due with the enticing images below.

a Tim Burton's - Batman Returns - DVD Review PDVD_010

Michelle-Pfeiffer-Catwoman-Batman-Returns

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Directors Guild and Visual Effects Society Nominations

Historically, the Directors Guild nominations, and even the actual awards, have tended to correlate with the Oscars both for Best Picture and Best Director to some degree. Now that the Oscars have ten nominations, that might dilute things a bit. Even so, I think it’s fair to say that the this year’s five nominees have excellent shots at getting a Best Director nomination and are close to a lock for Best Picture nominations.

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The nominees are: Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan,” David Fincher for “The Social Network,” Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech,” Christopher Nolan for “Inception,” and David O. Russell for “The Fighter.” Among the directors excluded who made films a lot of people are pulling for are two women: Lisa Cholodenko of “The Kids Are All Right” and Debra Ganik of “Winter’s Bone.” As Anne Thompson points out, the Guild has been slightly more open to nominating women than the Academy in the past. On the other hand, after last year’s big win for Kathryn Bigelow, it’s possible some of the pressure is off, or not.

Though it’s not as earth shaking, we movie fans like our movie special effects and the Visual Effects Society has made their nominations. No big surprises here either as the nominees for the movie with best effects are “Inception,” “Iron Man 2 ,” “Tron: Legacy,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.” I think it’s fair to say that visually stunning “Inception” should have the lead here, but we’ll see. In animation the nominees are: “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Toy Story 3,” “Tangled,” “Shrek Forever After,” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”

The complete lists of award nominations, including a huge list from the VSA, are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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