Thanksgiving weekend box office: Harry Potter still rules, but “Tangled” keeps hope alive for Disney princesses

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint face the future in As we discussed on Thursday, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One” would have had to suffer a truly enormous second weekend drop, or its nearest competitor would have had to be a HUGE over-performer, for it to come in at any spot but #1 this weekend. Still, these last five days were a bit more competitive than expected.

Over just this weekend (Friday-Sunday), the latest entry in J.K. Rowling’s enormous fantasy opus dropped by a hefty but not surprising 59.7% from last weekend with an estimate of $50 million and change for studio Warner Brothers, according to Box Office Mojo. Over at Anne Thompson/Indiewire land, Anthony D’Alessandro reports that the fantasy feature earned some $76.3 over the entire Thanksgiving weekend. (Nikki Finke has a slightly higher figure along with the predictable extra snark.)

Coming up a very healthy #2 was Disney’s “Tangled.” Reports of the death of Disney fairy-tale adaptations and princess tales may be taking a very Mark Twain-worthy turn. The 3D animated musical comedy, which is receiving hearty praise from critics and top grades from Cinemascore, earned a stellar $69 million estimate over the five day period and came within a hair’s breadth of the Potter-plex over the weekend with $49.1 million. Close enough that, when the actuals come out, it’s not impossible that “Tangled” could actually win the weekend. Of course, with this much money involved, neither film could possibly be termed a “loser.”

That, however, is not the case for the weekend’s other two new releases. The musical’s new lease on life took a small hit this weekend with a disappointing run for “Burlesque.” The poorly reviewed pic earned an $11.8 million weekend estimate for Screen Gems/Sony in the #4 spot after “Megamind,” and somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 million over the five day period, perhaps $7 million below the expected take. Still, D’Alessandro reports a very good Cinemascore rating, which may indicate strong legs or at least that people who really wanted to see a movie with Cher and Christina Aguilera got what they wanted.

Bringing up the rear after #5 “Unstoppable,” which is holding very nicely indeed in Week 3 with an estimated $11.75 for Fox, was Edward Zwick’s “Love and Other Drugs.” How Nikki Finke could describe Zwick’s first attempt at a romantic comedy/drama, 1986 near-crime against humanity (and David Mamet) “About Last Night,” as “now classic” is a mystery to me. Less of a mystery is the fact that a poorly reviewed attempt at Oscar bait is a movie with no place to call home. So, those $9.85 weekend and $14.5 holiday weekend estimates are absolutely no surprise.

The Dwayne Johnson action fest “Faster” also lost its personal race this weekend, with a rather slower $8.7 and $12.2 million estimate. La Finke notes that the marketing budget on the film was kept modest (so that’s why director George Tillman, Jr. talked to me?) and, at least, CBS Films prexy Les Moonves seems committed to the long haul with his fledgling film company.

Meanwhile, in limited release-land, the big news was the big weekend for “The King’s Speech” which earned by far the weekend’s biggest per-screen average with a king-size $87,500 average on four screens. Considering this film is both reportedly extremely good, stars English actors portraying royalty, and from the Weinsteins, its heavy Oscar presence seems assured alongside “The Social Network” (which I finally saw last night and was absolutely floored by) and “The Black Swan” (which I haven’t seen yet, but seems to floor everyone who sees it).

The-Kings-Speech-International-Trailer

  

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Oh f*ck, it’s a foul-pixelled end of the week movie news dump

It’s been a personally rather stressful week in a good-news/bad-news kind of a way and Hollywood ain’t doin’ nothing to relax me. And so, we begin with a deep breath…

* The first half of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” will be in a mere 2D. Two dimensions were good enough for Rick Blaine, they’re good enough for Harry. Especially if they really were facing serious technical difficulties, smart move. No studio needs another “Clash of the Titans” fiasco.

* It’s pretty rare that I know for sure I want to see a movie just from simply knowing the topic, the star, and the director, but when it’s a biopic/docudrama about the great-but-homicidal Phil Specter, it’s being directed by David Mamet, and it’s starring Al Pacino, that’s when I know. (Here’s the original NYT post that broke the story, which gives a bit more background on Specter for you youngsters.)

* Classic film lover that I am, I also feel pretty good about “My Week with Marilyn” which has Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Dougray Scott as her beleaguered husband, playwright Arthur Miller, Kenneth Branagh (who else?) as Laurence Olivier, and Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh (!) among others. And check out the pic of Ms. Williams/Monroe that’s been circulating all over the net today.

michelle-williams-marilyn-monroe

Aren’t you glad I used that pictures instead of something of Phil “Mr. Fright Wit” Specter or Al Pacino?

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Not Funny, Funny — the Mamet/Gandhi edition

Every once in a while I see something that I think isn’t funny and am moved to find something that I think actually is. Since humor is so notoriously hard to quantify, I’m not going to attempt to really learn anything from my little game, I just present the contrasting videos and let you, the audience, contemplate the difference.

Today, we start with a Funny or Die video that has been making the rounds written and directed by none other than David Mamet. We’ve had our political and cultural disagreements, but I consider myself a fan and I find a lot of his stuff extremely funny. I also think Danny DeVito is pretty cool. As for this collaboration which has been making the blog rounds, however, perhaps the less I say, the better. Watch for yourself.

Inside The Actor’s Workshop with Danny DeVito from David Mamet

Okay, now I’d never compare the dramatic talents of Mr. Mamet with those of Weird Al Yankovic, but in this somewhat similarly themed clip from Yankovic’s all but forgotten “UHF,” I find that the funny edge definitely goes to Weird Al.

  

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It’s your barely pre-Memorial Day weekend end of week movie news dump (updated)

And that’s only “pre” on the West coast. Anyhow, thing are going to get a lot less verbose from me over the next few days and I’m in a relatively laconic mood tonight, so enjoy the relative brevity to come.

*  “The Hobbit” remains in suspended animation because of MGM’s fiscal limbo, says Guillermo del Toro. Anne Thompson has some added details on the possible future of MGM, such as it is.

Johnny Depp in * “Alice in Wonderland” just crossed the $1 billion mark. Mike Fleming speculates that this might might make Johnny Depp — say it like Dana Carvey’s impression of Mickey Rooney now — the biggest star in the wooorld. If true, the questionable virtues of playing it artistically safe look ever more questionable.

* Interviews with remarkable men: Michael Caine and an extremely funny George Romero in Vanity Fair plugging his new “Survival of the Dead” which is a very limited release right now. Definitely read the Romero whose zombies, we must repeat, never ate brains and, since everyone else is doing it anyway, is working on his own zombie novel. And, yeah, someone is working on “Night of the Living Dead” musical for Broadway, but Romero’s smart enough to stay off of that particular gravy train.

* I’ve never seen them, and they’re not available on DVD, but the autobiographical dramas by Terrence Davies, “Distant Voices, Still Lives” and “The Long Day Closes” have an incredible reputation among critics and others. Davies is coming back with an adaptation of a play by Terrence Rattigan, “The Deep Blue Sea.”  This will be the first movie adaptation of a play by the English writer since David Mamet’s perfectly swell — and, believe it or not G-rated — 1999 version of “The Winslow Boy.”

* “Lost Boys 3” starring the late Corey Feldman doing a Batman-style raspy voice. I don’t even begin to know what to think. [Update: I obviously made a mistake here last night. Mr. Feldman is still, I’m happy to say, very much with us. See comments.]

* He didn’t make many movies, but RIP Gary Coleman anyway. Be sure and check out Will Harris’s terrific remembrance a couple of posts below this one.

* Action-meister Luc Besson is letting members of the French-speaking public become “producers” of an upcoming movie. The first ten-thousand participants will have their names in the credits. Talk about film-making by committee.

* It’s TV but this is too close to home to ignore…the cast of the upcoming HBO TV show starring Diane Keaton and directed by Bill Condon which is not about Nikki Finke just keeps getting better. Recent additions include Ellen Page and Wes Bentley.

* As part of a lame maneuver to try and do and end-run around critics on behalf of what surely seems to be a lame movie, alleged actor Ashton Kutcher is claiming that he’ll pirate and release — all on his own of course — the first ten minutes of his upcoming and pretty lame looking “Killers.” Spare me. Truly.

* If you live in the movie capital, things tend to get a bit quiet over holiday weekends like Memorial Day. It can be kind of nice. Not like the beautiful short below by Ross Ching, but not completely removed from it either. Strangely enough given the impossibility of what’s being shown, this, by the way, is one of the closer depictions of how L.A. actually looks to a native like me.

Running on Empty from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

  

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Monday movie news

The movie side of the show biz world might not have anything of the magnitude of the big news from Team Coco to talk about today, but there’s plenty of interesting borderline-almost-news to mention in an ironic way…

* I don’t know whether there’s some sort of game of managing expectations going on or if interest really is limited to younger males and no one else, but I’m starting to hear rumblings that “Kick-Ass” is not expected to kick ass do hugely well at the box office this Friday. If so, then Matthew Vaughn has got to be one of the least lucky talented mainstream directors ever after generating so much excitement with his film, at least in the fanboy realms.

Kick-Ass

My main rumbling comes via this Playlist piece which alleges that nothing has been done to expand the interest in the film beyond those who’ve never heard of the comic book.  Literally speaking, that’s not true because I’d never heard of the comic book before hearing about Vaughn’s film of it, though I am certainly a member of the Geek American community. The main thrust of the piece itself is actually on the possibly stronger hopes for “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” which, as a commenter offers, does seem to have more cross-gender appeal. It also has a well known star and the comic genius Edgar Wright going for it. We’ll see.

In any case, Vaughn appears to be doing what all prudent directors do before their next big film comes out, lining up the next gig just in case the current film really does tank. This story is a glorified rumor, but it does look possible that Vaughn’s next gig might involve a gangster/science fiction vampire comic book written by, of all people, controversial English talk show host and film geek, Jonathan Ross who is leaving the BBC because of a scandal caused, I kid you not, by tasteless prank phone calls. Here, he’d get a promotion. In any case, I’ll always remember him for “The Incredibly Strange Film Show.”

* Never fear, however, “Iron Man 2” will be here in 26 days. Of course it’ll do ridiculously well, but I remember some naysayers just before the first movie came out. Seems all those good reviews were a bit worrisome and even smart people like Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, if memory serves, were worried the movie was a little too good to make monster bucks.

Myrna Loy* The biggest news in my personal movie world is word via the Los Angeles Times of the resurrection of the statue that classic-era superstar Myrna Loy (“The Thin Man,” “The Best Years of Our Lives”) posed for when she was just a young student and which graced the front of my alma mater for decades. As the News Editor of the Venice High Oarsman (“Rowing, Not Drifting”) back in the pre-pre-pre-pre MySpace era, I was on the Myrna-vandalism beat. This gladdens my heart. A picture, however, would have been nice. Maybe I’ll get to work on that a bit later.

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