Weekend box office: “The Expendables” hold their ground, otherwise things pretty much “Suck”

Sylvester Stallone in I guess all Americans should all be grateful to the very patriotic Sylvester Stallone and company for “The Expendables” for being #1 at the U.S. box office, even with a not-terribly leggy performance of $16.5 million in week 2, a 53% drop. That’s because him and his studly posse turned out to be only standing between us and the spectacle of “Vampires Suck” being the #1 movie in the U.S. of A.

Yes, I know I never have, and probably never will, see more than a minute or two of the parody. However, a very tiny minority of films and filmmakers are so bad and so devoid of even the minimum level of dramatic/comedic acumen that a minute or two is really all you need to see and, from its titles to its sub-idiot-mentality trailer, this is one of those rare films, unless my cine-spider senses totally have failed me.

Yet, the PG-13 “Twilight Saga” spoof, so rated because, if you’re over 13, you should be too old to find anything in its trailer remotely funny, did far better than it surely deserved. It seems the Twi-hards really wanted a spoof movie to call their own, so many went and the film earned an estimated $12.2 million, just barely edging out the roughly $12 million second weekend of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Somebody really blew an opportunity a few years back to rush a quickie adaptation of the Harvard Lampoon’s legendary “Bored of the Rings.”

Overall, thisĀ  weekend should be familiar to we Democrats in that it was a real circular firing squad, with too many new movies competing for attention and, I suspect, sort of canceling each other out. Nobody really did that well though some did better than you might assume.

The so-called “urban demos” appeared to turn out for the comedy “Lottery Ticket” which netted an estimated $11.1 million. Not at all bad considering it’s thrifty $17 million budget.

Lottery Ticket

As for nerd male demos, “Piranha 3D” fell squarely into an amount I’m going to just go ahead and name the “geek zone” with an estimated $10 million despite the boost from 3D ticket prices. Despite lots of gore, I’m guessing the movie just didn’t seem scary enough for today’s trauma-loving hardcore horror fans and naked breasts are available in many venues these days. Even so, since that movie cost $24 million, extremely modest especially considering the amount of effects involved, I wouldn’t rule out an even lower budget “Piranha 4D” or something. That might have been a disappointing number, nevertheless, but it still managed to beat two films some analysts apparently expected to do significantly better, the family comedy “Nanny McPhee Returns” and the relationship comedy, “The Switch.”

I’m running short on time this week and there’s a lot more interesting stuff going on. So, I’ll simply refer you the source for my numbers this and most weeks, the mighty Box Office Mojo weekly chart. Also, on the arthouse side, there was good news for the outstanding documentary “The Tillman Story” and liked-by-everyone-but-me folk tale “Get Low,” among many other interesting tidbits. For that, as always, I refer you to Indiewire’s detailed coverage.

  

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Los Angeles Film Festival Recap: The Movies, part 2

Following on from last night’s post, here are some more reactions to the movies I saw at the recently wrapped Los Angeles Film Festival…

Johan Hill in * “Cyrus” — This played early in the festival and was pretty much concurrent with it’s opening in theaters. I’ve already said in passing elsewhere that I enjoyed the film quite a bit despite some flaws and, by now, you’ve probably heard something about this oddball romantic comedy of gently Oedipal horrors. It first cameĀ  up on my radar some time ago when I interviewed Mark Duplass, one half of the directing Duplass Brothers.

About the worst thing I can say about “Cyrus” is that, unlike the similarly improvised film Mark stars in, “Humpday,” which also involved a woman caught between two problematic men, the female role here is relatively under-developed. The fact that that movie was written and directed by a woman, Lynn Shelton, is, I’m sure, not entirely coincidental.

There’s also been something of a cinephile backlash to the Duplass’s camera work, among other issues, which may interest you wonks. You can read about that via Glenn Kenny, Bill Ryan (my further thoughts are in comments at his place) and Jim Emerson.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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Friday night movie news dump

Because I will it to be so…

* It’s getting mighty meta here. Via Anne Thompson, will show biz blogger/reporter Nikki Finke be in any position to sue HBO over their series about a presumably fictional entertainment blogger/reporter with a “no-holds-barred” attitude? asks THR, esq. She’s apparently already threatened to sue the Gawker. And here’s a quote for you:

So we were delighted when she acknowledged, fully aware that she would be quoted, that in our last off the record conversation she threatened to sue your blogger personally and Gawker corporately for “unfair business practices” related to our coverage of her. When we explained that the lawsuit threat was the reason we refused to speak off the record, she said, “How do you know I won’t? I’d love to own your house and your kids.”

Nikki Finke owning another blogger’s kids? Now there’s a Dickensian tale for you.

And that’s just the beginning of tonight’s useless blogging.

* Another superhero reboot. This time, it’s “Daredevil.” While writer David Scarpa’s resume doesn’t inspire great confidence, it shouldn’t be too hard to top the last attempt.

photo_22_hires

* The Weinstein Company has picked up “The Tillman Story,” which is likely to be one of the year’s hotter documentaries.

* Sony has entered the bidding for the “The Terminator” franchise. Joss Whedon’s attempt at snapping up the franchise looking less likely every day. <Sigh>

* Speaking of Mr. Whedon, from time to time someone among his fans suggests some kind of fan donation and/or investment set-up to fund those ongoing “Buffy” or “Firefly” related projects they so crave. The idea is routinely shoot down as unrealistic. Kevin Smith works on a somewhat smaller canvas, but it’s interesting to see him apparently taking the idea seriously.

* James Cameron will presumably be betting against himself in Oscar pools.

* Many reasons to be slightly bummed that I decided not to take the SXSW plunge this year.

* One more Deadline|Hollywood item for the week from Mike “the sane one” Fleming. It’s about the movie moguls taking chances on less well-known directors (as if they aren’t always taking chances regardless, even if they’re trying not to), but all I can get my head around tonight is the idea of remaking “Damn Yankees” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jim Carrey. I’m not Carrey’s biggest fan, but that could actually work. As for the part of the lovable Satanic temptress, Lola, I’m sure there are many great possibilities, but there’s one actress whose proven she’s got the stuff for Fosse-esque choreography.

  

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