Box Office Recap: “The Dark Knight Rises” Continues to Dominate

While it made just shy of $100 million less than its opening weekend figures, “The Dark Knight Rises” continued to demolish the competition. After all, a $100 million drop from the third best opening of all time still left the film with over $62 million by the time things were said and done. I mean, last week “The Dark Knight Rises” grossed $100 million more than the second through tenth place films combined. It couldn’t hope to top that, but in its second week Batman’s $62 million was identical to the combined grosses of the rest of the top 10.

Despite “The Dark Knight Rises” falling a hefty but expected 61.4 percent, the weeks two new wide releases, “The Watch” and “Step Up Revolution,” came in third and fourth place with $13 and $11.8 million respectively. Frankly, that’s embarrassing, especially for “The Watch” given its counter-programming angle and star power. The film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the team that brought you “Superbad,” and stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade.

It might not have made “Avengers” money, but “The Dark Knight” is here to stay. We’ll see if “Total Recall,” the new “Bourne” film, or “The Campaign,” which stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis will be able to top it, but I don’t see it happening. No one messes with the Bat.

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, 2/4,404, Warner Bros., $62.84 million, $287.851 million.
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift, 3/3,886, Fox, $13.3 million, $114.847 million.
3. The Watch, 1/3,168, Fox, $13 million.
4. Step Up Revolution, 1/2,567, Summit, $11.8 million.
5. Ted, 5/3,129 Universal, $7.353 million, $193.619 million.
6. The Amazing Spider-Man, 4/3,160, Sony, $6.8 million, $242.053 million.
7. Brave, 6/2,551, Buena Vista, $4.237 million, $217.261 million.
8. Magic Mike, 5/2,075, Warner Bros., $2.58 million, $107.587 million.
9. Savages, 4/1,414, Universal, $1.753 million, $43.899 million.
10. Moonrise Kingdom, 10/853, Focus, $1.387 million, $38.396 million.

 

  

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Box Office Preview: ‘The Watch.’ That’s All, Because You don’t Mess with the Bat.

The Watch

Studios were afraid to release much in the way of blockbusters this week, what with competition from “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” That hasn’t changed. Not a lot of big name movies (or movies with big names) are being released around now, save as counter-programming. That is, films that have star power but are decidedly different from those two blockbusters. For a case in point, look to  “The Watch,” the newest picture written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the team who brought “Superbad” into the world. You can almost see the gears churning in the studio exec’s head: the demographic who saw Batman last week might like a nice splash of comedy right about now.

From afar, it looks like “The Watch” could slide perfectly into that hole, given its writers and cast, which includes comedic heavyweights Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill in leading roles. Then there’s the fact that it was directed by Akiva Schaffer of The Lonely Island and “smaller names” like Will Forte and Richard Ayoade in the cast. For those of you wondering who the fourth guy in the above picture is, it’s Ayoade. He’s not very well known stateside, but he’s massively funny and a big deal across the pond. Watch “The IT Crowd” if you don’t believe me, it’ll be a Hidden Netflix Gem one of these days.

Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. Despite all that potential, “The Watch” currently sits at a 14 percent on the Tomatometer. Bullz-eye’s Ezra Stead had this to say:

Much of the humor comes from screaming, dick jokes and colorful profanity, and the film overall is pretty loud and dumb. Hill and Forte give the funniest performances, and Stiller and Vaughn deliver exactly what is expected of them at this point (I’m pretty sure Vaughn is just playing himself in most of his comedies), but Ayoade and DeWitt have very little to do until the third act. Delivering exactly what is expected is this film’s modus operandi, though, and it’s entertaining and intermittently very funny. It’s only when the audience is asked to care about the idiotic Evan and Bob as characters – particularly in subplots involving Abby or Bob’s teenage daughter (Erin Moriarty) – that “The Watch” falls short of its relatively modest ambitions.

Oh, yes, I’m sure you’re wondering about the plot. Four bored suburban guys come together to form a neighborhood watch after after a friend of Stiller’s character, who works as a night shift security guard, is brutally murdered. But guess who’s actually responsible for the crime? Aliens. No, seriously.

If you do fit “The Watch’s” target demographic: you need to see a movie this weekend and don’t care to see “The Dark Knight Rises” twice, then it could be for you. Just don’t expect the film to be anything but the phoned-in counter program that it is.

  

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BLU-RAY REVIEW: Submarine

Hype isn’t an easy thing to manage, and in some cases, it can even prove to be downright deflating. That’s the biggest issue at the center of Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut, “Submarine,” which fails to live up to the impossibly high acclaim that it earned on the festival circuit. Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film tells the story of Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), an eccentric teenager who becomes smitten with feisty pyromaniac Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige) and sets his mind on losing his virginity to her. But while his new love life is going just swell, Oliver’s parents have hit a rough patch in their marriage, and when he discovers that his mother (Sally Hawkins) has been fraternizing with her ex-boyfriend (Paddy Considine), a new age mystic who happens to lives next door, Oliver takes it upon himself to intervene.

A quirky coming of age tale that skews more towards drama than comedy, “Submarine” falls somewhere between the whimsy of Wes Anderson’s oeuvre and the dry cynicism of a Noah Baumbach film. That’s not to say that the movie is particularly dark or somber, but the comic moments aren’t nearly as prevalent as some would lead you to believe. What the film does do well, however, is deliver an incredibly realistic depiction of what it’s like to be a teenager in love, thanks largely to the likeable performances of Roberts and Paige. The adult actors are also really good in their respective roles, although Considine’s character lacks the depth that he had in the novel. That’s partly because writer/director Ayoade has cut out some of the book’s less important subplots, and while that makes the movie a lot more focused as a result, it comes at the cost of a few of the story’s bigger payoffs. It’s a solid debut by Ayoade regardless, who thrives from the freedom of being able to experiment with a variety of styles, but for a movie as buzzed about as this, “Submarine” really could have been better.

Click to buy “Submarine”

  

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Two trailers

Today’s theme is teen romance, attempted humor and single-word title division.

Disney’s “Prom” — via La Finke — gets some socially positive points for attempting to integrate one or two remarkably real-looking, non-beautiful teens amidst the usual parade of dreamboats, but I still wonder whether anyone over the age of 14 will actually want to see this. The trailer makes me think of an adult’s idea of what a teen movie should be, which of course is exactly what it is.

And now for something completely different in the way of teen romantic comedy. Critical claims of originality aside, “Submarine” clearly doesn’t mind paying homage to the 60s New Wave and “The 400 Blows” in particular as it adopts a novel by Joe Dunthorne. The plot sounds like “The Virginity Hit” minus the crassness, technology, and stupid Americans. Mixing in a bit of English deadpan with the Andersonian-esque quirk doesn’t look bad either.

The writer-director is Richard Ayoade, known to some of you as the deadpan Moss of “The IT Crowd.” The on-screen adults are Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, and Paddy Considine.

H/t /Film.

  

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Bobcat in “Disgrace”

Bobcat Goldthwait is currently basking in the critical acclaim he’s been receiving for his latest directorial effort, “World’s Greatest Dad,” which he also wrote. So what project does he have his eye on as a follow-up?

Would you believe a musical version of the Kinks’ 1975 album, Schoolboys in Disgrace?

True story. And this isn’t just an idle rumor, either: the Kinks’ main man, Ray Davies, has already taken a meeting with Goldthwait about the concept.

“Oh, man, it was totally ‘The Chris Farley Show,’” Goldthwait said of the conversation. “I was sweating, and I was, like, ‘Remember when you did that album? That was cool.’ And in the middle of it, I even told him that. I said, ‘Did you ever see that sketch with Chris Farley when he meets Paul McCartney?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, that’s what I’m doing right now!’ And he goes, ‘Don’t worry, it’s gonna be okay.’”

It still took Davies a bit of time to warm up to Goldthwait’s pitch, however.

“I think he was confused,” said Goldthwait. “He was asking, ‘Well, who do you think would go see this as a movie?’ And I was, like, ‘All the kids who fucking hate ‘High School Musical.’ And he smiled and kind of went, ‘Okay.’ And then he went and watched ‘World’s Greatest Dad,’ and I got the thumbs up. He said, ‘Tell Bobcat to go ahead and write the script.’”

Which is where the project stands at the moment. In fact, it’s in such early stages that it hasn’t even been added to Goldthwait’s IMDb page…and given how even the slightest rumor of a project generally ends up with its own listing, that’s early. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t start throwing out casting ideas for “Schoolboys.”

I guess Alan Rickman’s probably too overused in stern authoritarian roles these days to suggest that he play The Headmaster, so I’m putting out left-field requests for Richard Ayoade, of “The I.T. Crowd” or Julian Barratt of “The Mighty Boosh.” As for the various schoolboys, perhaps Skandar Keynes (the “Narnia” films), Mike Bailey (“Skins”), and Simon Bird (“The InBetweeners”)…? And for the female student who’ll make our naughty little schoolboy swoon, I’m throwing my vote to Karen Gillan, otherwise known as the upcoming companion for the new Doctor Who.

Am I wrong…? Feel free to offer up your own suggestions below, and be sure to check out our interview with the illustrious Mr. Goldthwait in full next week on Bullz-Eye.com!

  

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