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September 30, 2018

‘Night School’ and ‘Smallfoot’ Box Office: Original Comedies Score Big

For the second time this year, two original, non-franchise movies, “Night School” (Universal) and “Smallfoot” (Warner Bros.), opened to over $20 million. The last time two originals topped the box office was last spring, with “A Quiet Place” and “Blocker.”

This yielded the first weekend since Labor Day to improve over the same dates last year ($102 million total gross compared to $90 million in 2017). Grosses for the year continue their strong increase — just under nine percent (six percent up in ticket sales) — as weekends like this help to guarantee an uptick for the whole year.


The two new films both gained from having core appeal and adding to wider audiences — exactly what is needed to boost films that don’t derive their appeal from pre-sold elements. They differ in that modest-budget “Night School” boasts more domestic appeal, while the more expensive animated film “Smallfoot” plays better internationally. But their presence with some initial success will encourage more like them.

“Night School”


“Night School,” about a group of adults trying to get their GED degrees after work, performed at the higher end of expectations, because this movie with working-class appeal starring African-American box-office lures Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish crossed over to a wider audience. Hart is well established, but some of his earlier successes including recent reboot “Jumanji” were shared with co-stars (Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson), while Haddish has built on her “Girls Trip” success last year on multiple platforms. Combined they add up to a powerful force indeed.

Due to a less lucrative fall release date, the $28-million gross falls below both Hart’s top films and “Girls Trip.” The A- Cinemascore and a healthy second-day increase of 18 percent portends a healthy run ahead.

Check out the movie’s broad appeal: the 50-50 male/female “Night School” audience pulled 37 percent white audiences, 30 percent African-American, and 24 percent Latino.

In a slim year for comedies, Friday opener “Night School” beat out Wednesday opener “Crazy Rich Asians” for the top comedy opening of the year. It’s early yet but “Night School” could have a strong multiple and a shot at $100 million.

Smallfoot channing tatum


Warner Bros.

Warners Animation is best known for its LEGO-related titles; “Smallfoot” marks only its sixth release, and the third non-LEGO entry, as well as is Warner Animation’s third straight late September release.

This $23 million opening, while not on the high end for animation, is still the best of the three fall films (ahead of “Storks” and last year’s “The LEGO Ninjago Movie”), but handily beat by the two earliest “LEGO” releases.

Aiding its cause was the absence of any new animated film since late July, or a major one since “Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation.” Comedy and animation remain a refuge for original material, in this case, role reversals among Yetis and humans. Based on this decent opening, this should thrive ahead. International tends to disproportionately boost animated titles (most territories have yet to open). While it’s not a low-budget film, $80 million is relatively modest for a studio cartoon title. It’s a promising start.

Hell Fest

“Hell Fest”

Two other wide releases had lower results. “Hell Fest” (Lionsgate partner CBS Films) grossed less than its $5.5 million budget. Getting in early on the non-stop pre-Halloween month ahead, it’s a slasher film set in a haunted house. For the genre, a four percent second-day drop is a mildly positive note.

“Little Women” (Pinnacle) is the latest of many adaptations of the classic novel (ahead of Greta Gerwig’s anticipated version) with little advance notice, poor reviews, and only $747,000 in 643 theaters.

"The House with a Clock in Its Walls"

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls”


Among second week titles, last week’s surprisingly strong “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” (Universal) dropped 53 percent, not a stellar hold. It is just below $45 million so far, with a total of around $75 million now in view at best.

Whatever hopes remained for Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” (Briarcliff) other than sustaining some big city and college area runs beyond this week were dashed by its 63 percent drop this weekend. The issue for the film isn’t so much a too-wide release as a decline in interest in the director’s films. A platform release would likely have reflected a similar fall, with the major difference a much less expensive release overall in marketing terms. Still it will end up around $6 million, more than $2 million more than his last film “Where to Invade Next.”

The best holds in the Top Ten were “A Simple Favor” (Lionsgate) down 36 percent in week three and at $43 million. The female-focused thriller joins another women’s picture, “Crazy Rich Asians” (Warner Bros.), which in its seventh weekend fell just under 35 per cent to reach $165 million.

The Top Ten

1. Night School (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 43; Est. budget: $29 million

$28,000,000 in 3,010 theaters; PTA (per theater allowance): $9,302; Cumulative: $28,000,000

2. Smallfoot (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 15; Est. budget: $80 million

$23,020,000 in 4,131 theaters; PTA: $5,573; Cumulative: $23,020,000

3. The House With a Clock in Its Walls (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$12,510,000 (-53%) in 3,592 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,483; Cumulative: $44,765,000

4. A Simple Favor (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$6,600,000 (-36%) in 3,073 theaters (-29); PTA: $2,148; Cumulative: $43,067,000

5. The Nun (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #3

$5,435,000 (-45%) in 3,331 theaters (-376); PTA: $1,632; Cumulative: $109,018,000

6. Hell Fest (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: C; Metacritic: 23; est. budget: $5 million

$5,075,000 in 2,297 theaters; PTA: $2,029; Cumulative: $5,075,000

7. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$4,150,000 (-35%) in 2,347 theaters (-455); PTA: $1,768; Cumulative: $165,682,000

8. The Predator (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$3,700,000 (-60%) in 2,926 theaters (-1,114); PTA: $1,265; Cumulative: $47,634,000

9. White Boy Rick (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$2,385,000 (-51%) in 2,017 theaters (-487); PTA: $1,182; Cumulative: $21,715,000

10. Peppermint (STX) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$1,770,000 (-52%) in 2,002 theaters (-678); PTA: $884; Cumulative: $33,537,000

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Source: IndieWire film

September 30, 2018

Terminix Throws Shade at MoviePass With MoviePest, Which Could Be Your Free Ticket to ‘Venom’ or ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

No news is good news when it comes to MoviePass, and so the fact that the beleaguered company hasn’t made headlines in weeks is probably a positive development. Even so, Terminix — as in, the pest-control company — is making light of its apparent competitor’s plight by launching MoviePest, which could be your ticket to “Venom,” “Bumblebee,” or “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

“In light of a certain subscription-based movie ticketing service falling on hard times, Terminix has announced a new blockbuster promotion called MoviePest to ensure movie fans can see pests where they belong — on the big screen, and not inside their homes,” reads a release announcing the promotion.

“There is a full slate of movies hitting theaters this fall with pest-y themes, characters and titles, including ‘Venom,’ ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ and ‘Bumblebee.’ Terminix customers who schedule an inspection from now until October 3 will have a chance to win a MoviePest card that will enable them to catch them all for free.”

Anyone who schedules an inspection between September 26 and October 3 has a chance to win. More information may be found here.

Source: IndieWire film

September 30, 2018

That ‘Pulp Fiction’/Brett Kavanaugh Mashup Came From ‘Good Time’ Directors Josh and Benny Safdie (Exclusive)

Little of what emerged from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh’s dueling testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee can be described as good, but there are a few exceptions. Samantha Bee delivered a poignant (and humorous) message the next day, and Matt Damon’s impression of Kavanaugh was the highlight of last night’s “Saturday Night Live” season premiere.

No less funny is a minute-long mashup of the Supreme Court nominee’s testimony with Samuel L. Jackson’s famous “Pulp Fiction” monologue (below), which IndieWire has confirmed was made by “Good Time” and “Heaven Knows What” directors Josh and Benny Safdie.

“You’re Brett, right?” Jules (Jackson) asks as it opens. “Correct,” Kavanaugh responds. “I got into Yale Law School.”

“Check out the big brain on Brett!” Jules says. “You a smart motherfucker, that’s right.” Kavanaugh’s love of beer gets a lot of attention, just as it did during his testimony: “Looks like me and Vincent caught you boys at breakfast, sorry about that. Whatcha having?”

“Beer. I still like beer.”

“You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?”

Jackson himself has seen the video, and given it his stamp of approval on Twitter: “Funny as hell, but there’s nothing funny about his Lying Fratboy Ass!!!”

Source: IndieWire film

September 30, 2018

‘Free Solo’ Soars Ahead of Slower ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ at Strong Specialty Box Office

Fall releases continue to show promise for a strong fall season. “Free Solo” (National Geographic/Greenwich) is the standout, with exceptional initial results for this documentary about a perilous Yosemite mountain wall climb. While the Robert Redford vehicle “The Old Man & The Gun” opened to lower initial figures, Fox Searchlight should be able to push it to upcoming success as it goes wider.

“Solo” wasn’t the only documentary draw, as two initial runs for “Matangi/Maya/M.I.A” (Abramorama) did excellent initial business in New York and Los Angeles. Meantime, holdovers “Colette” (Bleecker Street) and “The Sisters Brothers” (Annapurna) found more interest in their second weekends, and “The Wife” (Sony Pictures Classics) continued to set a strong pace in wider release.


Free Solo (National Geographic/Greenwich) – Metacritic: 83; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto 2018

$300,804 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $75,201

Toronto’s documentary audience award-winner showed major audience appeal. “Meru” filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s  documentary of the first solo climb of El Capitan’s 3,000 foot height drew huge results in four theaters — one each in New York and Los Angeles and two in Denver — the best 2018 initial figures for any documentary in what has been an outstanding year for similar films.

This massive number compares to previous blockbusters like “An Inconvenient Truth” (about $100,000 in adjusted numbers in 2006).  While top grosses usually come from the two major coast cities, contributing to the total were two theaters in Denver (a center for rock climbing enthusiasts) that totaled nearly $100,000 themselves.

This documentary will boast strong crossover and wider audience appeal, particularly with the mighty marketing backing of National Geographic. Clearly, this film is meant to be experienced on a big screen rather than at home.

What comes next: What should be a major expansion ahead starts this Friday, with exhibitors likely chasing this for major theaters everywhere.

"The Old Man and the Gun"

“The Old Man & the Gun”

Fox Searchlight

The Old Man & the Gun (Fox Searchlight) – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto 2018

$150,000 in 5 theaters; PTA: $30,000

Robert Redford’s latest (and possibly final) lead role opened to strong reviews, great theater placement, and significant support from Fox Searchlight as its initial fall release. (This is their first specialized release since “Isle of Dogs” last March.) These are decent initial numbers, particularly compared to the opening of Redford’s previous platform opener “All Is Lost” (around $18,000 in adjusted PTA). It comes in about $10,000 per theater– under “Colette” last weekend and over “The Wife” last month. Expect “The Old Man” to perform well above the  “All is Lost”$7 million total. This story (about an elderly bank robber) has a shot of appealing even more to older audiences across the country.

What comes next: This adds eight more cities as it rapidly expands in coming weeks.

Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam appears in <i>MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.</i> by Steve Loveridge, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Steve Loveridge. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Matangi / MAYA / M.I.A.”  Courtesy of Sundance Institute


Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (Abramorama) – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Sundance, Berlin 2018

$51,373 in theaters; PTA: $25,687

Bolstered by in-theater appearances by the Sri Lankan electronic hip hop performer M.I.A. on both coasts, this documentary on her work and social activism, this had a terrific start at New York’s IFC Center and Los Angeles’ Arclight Hollywood. Once again, fans of an artist show they will go to movies of a creative figure.

What comes next: A combination of one day showings and regular engagements (mostly calendar) begin during the week.


Monsters and Men (Neon) – Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Sundance, Toronto 2018

$130,979 in 18 theaters; PTA: $7,277

A Brooklyn story of a police shooting event and its aftermath (featuring “The BlackKklansman” star John David Washington), this Sundance drama opened in multiple cities. That lowered the PTA, but even so the results are positive. Even more impressive is the second-day increase of 84 percent, which suggests this is having an initially strong response.

What comes next: Further expansion begins this Friday.

All About Nina (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto 2018

$30,164 in 4 theaters; PTA: $7,541

Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as a troubled comic in this fall festival film that opened in New York and Los Angeles. The results were in the middle range on a weekend with some major openings.

What comes next: This is slated for significant expansion starting this Friday.

Bad Reputation (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 61; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco 2018; also streaming

$(est.) 35,000 in 7 theaters; PTA: $(est). 5,000

Joan Jett’s musical legacy is the subject of this documentary, which also played one night shows last week at about 200 theaters. Those grosses are unreported but likely much bigger than the decent results for the regular initial runs.

What comes next: This is likely to find attention on its streaming platforms ahead.

306 Hollywood (El Tigre) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Sundance 2018

$8,150 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,150

A decent start for this documentary about an excavation of an old woman’s home by her grandchildren. This only played in one 110-seat theater in New York, limiting its gross.

What comes next: Its national expansion starts this Friday, with Los Angeles the following week.

Black 47 (IFC) – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Berlin, Toronto 2018 – also streaming

$9,006 in 1 theater; PTA: $9,006

This 19th-century Irish revenge tale opened well in Manhattan, day and date with its home video availability.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday among other upcoming theatrical dates.


Week Two

Colette (Bleecker Street)

$418,501 in 38 theaters (+34); PTA: $11,013; Cumulative: $638,932

Excellent results for the second weekend of this biodrama carried by Keira Knightley as the French novelist. The per theater average is about the same as “The Wife” in twice as many theaters at the same point. That suggests significant interest and strong potential ahead.

The Sisters Brothers (Annapurna)

$244,091 in 27 theaters (+23); PTA: $9,040; Cumulative: $404,814

Jacques Audiard’s criminal gang western expanded decently to top cities in advance of an expected wider national break. The stellar cast (including Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly, and Jake Gyllenhaal) should aid its cause to broader appeal.

Tea With the Dames (IFC)

$45,872 in 20 theaters (+19); PTA: $; Cumulative: $69,011

With Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in tow with two other venerable British actresses, this recording of their conversations spanning their lifetimes is gaining interest as it expands to top cities.

Gary Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable (Greenwich)

$8,302 in theaters (no change); PTA: $8,302; Cumulative: $28,241

The second weekend for this documentary about the groundbreaking photographer held up close to its initial weekend in its still single run in Manhattan.

The Wife - Production & Publicity Stills 10.11.16 sc 5 pt 1/2 - CASTLEMAN HOME- LIVING ROOMFriends and family are gathered at the housePRODUCTION OFFICESuite 6, 1st Floor, Alexander Stephen House, 91 Holmfauld Rd, Glasgow, G51 4RYTel: 0141 428 3776credit Graeme Hunter Pictures,Sunnybank Cottages. 117 Waterside Rd, Carmunnock, Glasgow. U.K. G76 9DU. t. 01416444564 m. 07811946280 e. graemehunter@mac.com"

“The Wife”

Graeme Hunter Pictures

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$777,386 in 437 theaters (-32); Cumulative: $6,104,000

Interest remains strong in Glenn Close’s acclaimed role as a Nobel Prize winner’s spouse. The hold suggests this could add up to $4 million to its impressive total so far.

Mandy (RLJ) Week 3; also streaming

$(est.) 140,000 in 53 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 836,000

Exceptional continued business (the Video on Demand distributor refuses to provide numbers) for perhaps the ultimate over-the-top Nicolas Cage release. This is getting terrific word of mouth and finding ticket buyers despite its parallel availability.

Blaze (IFC) Week 7

$96,748 in 89 theaters (+46); Cumulative: $578,707

Ethan Hawke’s film about a 70s Texas musician is at its widest point, with a modest average.


Lizzie (Roadside Attractions) Week 3   80

$ in 206 theaters (-34); Cumulative: $

Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart in this recreation of the Lizzie Borden story are attracting minimal patronage in its third weekend.

The Bookshop (Greenwich) Week 6     72-1403   67

$70,834 in 74 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $1,473,000

The impressive run for this low-profile England-set period piece continues to get interest from older audiences.

Pick of the Litter (IFC) Week 5; also streaming

$74,628 in 74 theaters (+25); Cumulative: $366,531

The theater component of this multi-platform release for this service dog training documentary continues to spark some interest.

Juliet, Naked (Roadside Attractions) Week 7

$ in 71 theaters (-40); Cumulative: $

This music-world romantic comedy nears the end of its run somewhere short of $4 million even though it reached a maximum run of 467 theaters.

Science Fair (National Geographic) Week 3

$62,160 in 27 theaters (+22); Cumulative: $110,844

This year’s Sundance Festival favorite documentary winner expanded further this week with continued steady interest.

Also noted:

Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics) – $36,785 in theaters; Cumulative: $1,976,000

Bisbee ’17 (4th Row) – $10,457 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $74,907

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Source: IndieWire film

September 30, 2018

Roman Polanski’s Rape Victim Defends Him Against Esquire Article: ‘I’ve Grown Up, Why Can’t Everyone Else’

The news that Roman Polanski not only has a new movie in the works but that it reportedly concerns a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit has received an expectedly mixed reaction. Esquire wrote about the film’s place (or lack thereof) in the #MeToo era, which didn’t sit well with at least one person: Samantha Geimer, whom the filmmaker was found guilty of having sex with in 1977, when she was 13 years old.

“Roman hardly need a #MeToo comeback. This is all you’ve got Esquire, attacking a man who has apologize and made amends years ago?” she tweeted.

“Pleaded guilty served his time,” Geimer continued. “Abused along with his ‘victim’ by the same insane judge. I’ve grown up, why can’t everyone else.” (Polanski didn’t actually serve his time, however, as he fled the country when he learned that he would be sentenced to further jail time and has yet to return in the 41 years since.) Geimer’s Twitter profile notes that she’s been “fighting losing battles since 1977.”

Geimer has made similar comments in the past, most of which have to do with moving on from the experience and not prolonging it any further. Earlier this year she spoke to IndieWire about the handwritten apology Polanski sent her, which she seems to have accepted: “It was really meaningful to the other people around me who care about me, which then made it really meaningful to me. Anything that can make my mom feel better is something I’m grateful for,” she said.

“Apologies — I think you should take them, even if you don’t want them,” Geimer added.


Source: IndieWire film

September 30, 2018

Here’s a Handful of Fast and Easy VFX You Can Add to Your Next Film

Not all VFX require a ton of time, money, and expertise.

There’s no doubt that visual effects can add a lot to a film; they can not only make them more fun to watch but also more fun to make. But perhaps one of the most common reasons new filmmakers shy away from including them in their work is that they believe the misconception that all VFX are expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to create. All VFX are not expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to create—just some—or most—but not these!

In this tutorial, Jordy Vandeput of Cinecom shows you how to use Adobe Premiere Pro to pull off five pretty fast and pretty simple VFX, from Harry Potter’s invisible cloak to Zach King’s famous “digital slight of hand.” Check it out below:

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Source: NoFilmSchool

September 29, 2018

5 Essential Cuts You Should Master as a Film Editor

As an editor, if you want to make the cut, then you’ve got to know your cuts.

Editing is an arduous, time-consuming, and complicated craft that challenges both hemispheres of your brain as well as your assertion that, yes, filmmaking and editing is something you want to do for the rest of your life. (Pretty sure I’ve wanted to quit after almost every project I’ve ever edited.) However, one thing that makes the process a little easier and go a little more smoothly is knowing your editorial tools like the back of your hand, namely the types of cuts that you’ll use most often in your work. The team over at Filmora breaks down five of them in the video below, offering explanations of what they are, what they do, and how to use them when you head into post.

Now, before we get into all the fancy schmancy cuts (they’re really not that fancy), I think it’s important to first establish what a standard cut is and how it functions. For most of you, I know, this is like the first day of Remedial Editing for First-Time Beginners 101, but stay with me.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

September 29, 2018

The Oculus Quest’s competitor isn’t Rift or Vive. It’s the Nintendo Switch

While Oculus is optimistic that its standalone Quest VR headset will deliver a quality experience, the headset was designed on a mobile chipset. That means its less of a Rift replacement and more like the VR equivalent of Nintendo’s Switch.

The post The Oculus Quest’s competitor isn’t Rift or Vive. It’s the Nintendo Switch appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital Trends VR

September 29, 2018

Let This Infographic Tell You How to Be the Best PA You Can Be

If you’re a production assistant and want to stand out among the rest of your fellow PAs, take a look at this.

Production assistant: it’s often the first position aspiring filmmakers take on their journey to becoming rich and famous and mega respected directors, so suffice it to say that it’s really, really, really important to be exceptional at it. But— how? Isn’t the job mostly just taking drink orders and generally being in the way of everything? Well, yes…but no. There’s so much more to being a PA than being a coffee mule. Being prepared, able to communicate clearly, and anticipate the needs of the cast and crew are just a few of the highly desired qualities directors look for in a PA, but there are many other qualifications and skills that will definitely help you shine brightest while on set.

Lucky for you, Sean Baran of FilmToolKit has put together a super handy infographic that goes over several important aspects of being a production assistant, from being well-equipped with all of the necessary tools and gear to how to comport yourself while on set to make sure you come across capable and professional. Check it out below:

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Source: NoFilmSchool

September 29, 2018

4 Ways You Can Use Silhouette Lighting in Your Films

There are many ways to use silhouettes creatively in your films. Here are a few ideas.

When filmmakers talk about cinematography they often described as “painting with light.” However, great DPs don’t just know how to wield light like Picasso, they also know how to wield darkness, and one lighting technique that utilizes the dark stuff to make shots more dynamic and visually interesting is the silhouette. If you’re interested in learning more about the different ways in which you can use silhouettes effectively in your work, check out this video in which Aputure’s Ted Sim and DP David C. Weldon Jr. share four examples of silhouette lighting, how to light them, and how use them cinematically.

There are not only many other ways to utilize silhouettes but also achieve them with different lighting setups. Sim and Weldon provide step-by-step instructions on how each of their four setups were done. These are the four they demonstrate in the video:

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Source: NoFilmSchool