• Background Image

    News & Updates


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

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

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 26, 2018

Sign Up to Record for One Small Step

Today, we’re announcing an audacious new initiative: One Small Step.

We started work on this project in 2017, when we were calling it a social experiment and asked for volunteers, in an on-air series featured by WNYC’s Indivisible. Last year, a national call out for people to help us with testing on All Things Considered, turned up more than 1,600 responses from people who wanted to be matched to people they did not know to have a facilitated conversation about politics. We knew we were onto something.

We’re issuing a broad call for people to record One Small Step interviews: either in a visit to one of our storybooths or by using our free mobile app.

Enter your email, then click “Sign Up” to complete the form.

With support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, StoryCorps will also provide training and support to local public radio stations in six cities to hold live listening and public engagement events and produce content from interviews recorded in their communities.

We’ll also be giving people an opportunity to bridge geographical divides using technology. In partnership with local public radio stations, StoryCorps will offer the chance to record One Small Step conversations between individuals in separate studios, in different cities, with remote facilitators, using video conferencing technology powered by Cisco.

“We believe that One Small Step can help pump the brakes on the growing discord tearing at the fabric of our nation,” said StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay. “StoryCorps stokes trust—it brings out our best and highest selves, speaks across divides, and stitches us together.”

Rather than spark additional political debates, through One Small Step we encourage answers to questions like:

  • “Was there a moment, event, or person in your life that shaped your political views?”
  • “What is most hurtful to you about what people across the political divide say about people on your side and in your life?”
  • “Do you believe that there are some threads that bind us all together, even when it seems there is more that divides us? What do you think they are?”
  • “Can you think of any traits you admire in people on the other side of the political divide?”

This week and in the months ahead, senators, members of Congress, staffers, political strategists and other personalities from different political perspectives will also be sitting across from each other to record One Small Step interviews.

With One Small Step, StoryCorps seeks to counteract intensifying political divides, deepened daily on social media and elsewhere, by facilitating and recording face-to-face conversations that enable Americans who disagree to listen to each other with respect. One Small Step aims to remind us that we have more in common than divides us and that treating those with whom we disagree with decency and respect is essential to a functioning democracy.

One Small Step is supported by a broad coalition of government and philanthropic support. Major supporters include The Rockefeller Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, The Charles Koch Foundation, and the Righteous Persons Foundation. Additional support provided by Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable.


JavelinDC, Washington, D.C. 
(703) 490-8845 or press@javelindc.com

Blake Zidell, New York City
(718) 643-9052 or blake@blakezidell.com

Source: SNPR Story Corps

September 23, 2018

‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ and ‘Life Itself’ Flop Loudly, While Eli Roth Dominates With ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’

Success can come from strange places. Eli Roth, whose name became synonymous with torture porn, will likely see family film “The House With a Clock in the Walls” become his biggest hit. Produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin, “House” comes after nearly two months after the last major family release. (That was “Christopher Robin,” which should could cross $100 million with a strong quadrupling of its opening weekend). However, its 47 percent Saturday increase shows initial strong positive reaction as well as successful marketing.

The story combines sorcery, magic, a haunted house, and comedy as an orphan boy is sent to live with his uncle, played by Jack Black. With Cate Blanchett along to give it even more heft, it clicked during a period when original projects have taken over after the siege of summer sequels. Its total — for a film with half the budget — is better than last weekend’s “The Predator.” A sign that fresh material is more appealing than franchise titles?

Case in point: The weekend was down 29 percent from the same one in 2017. That saw two openers at over $20 million, with “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” at nearly $40 million and “The Lego Ninjago Movie” just over $20 million. Those, plus a nearly $30 million third weekend for “It,” couldn’t be matched by this year’s menu, despite some very good holdover titles.

Dog Eat Dog Films

This marked the second weekend of wide openings of titles that premiered at recent film festivals — with results ranging from disappointing to disastrous. These include last weekend’s “The Predator” and “White Boy Rick” and new releases “Fahrenheit 11/9,” “Life Itself,” and “Assassination Nation.”

Of the three, only Michael Moore’s “11/9” even made the top 10 (at #8). Unlike most documentaries, this one comes with a proven brand. Moore has compiled more box office than any documentary director in history. He was omnipresent last week, and the new distributor created to handle the film got him a wide national release in top theaters.

So while the operation was a success, the patient isn’t doing well. It is unusual for documentaries to open wide or even play this many theaters in one week. Both the gross and theater count are greater than “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “RBG,” and “Three Identical Strangers” — the year’s top documentaries — managed in any one weekend.

There is one positive sign: a 12 percent increase from its initial Friday — could give it hope for some life ahead. With most of the gross coming from its 500 best theaters, they have to hold on to these to recover. The Cinemascore was an excellent A.

"Life Itself"

“Life Itself”

Amazon Studios

Whatever issues Moore’s films faces pale beyond comparison to “Life Itself” from “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman. The multi-layered human drama, which Amazon acquired for $10 million, failed to make the top 10 with $2.1 million in about 900 more theaters after brutal reviews. (Fogelman didn’t help, drawing more attention to them with false claims that they reflected male bias against “emotional films”).

The result was a per-theater average of around $800. That’s about 90 people spread over three-plus days of showings. It did see a four percent increase Saturday, but with its adult appeal that’s not particularly impressive. This one has even less chance of recovery.

"Assassination Nation"

“Assassination Nation”

Sundance Film Festival

Neon, the biggest story among new distributors since A24, tried and failed to push hot Sundance title “Assassination Nation.” The low-budget comedy targeted to a millennial audience had all the smart marketing Neon has become known for. But it failed to justify its release in 1,403 theaters, where it ended up with an even lower PTA of $703.

The second-weekend holdovers had radically different results. At the top was “A Simple Favor,” which stayed in second spot, with a decent hold down only 35 percent. “The Predator” fell all the way to #4 from #1, dropping a hefty 65 percent. “White Boy Rick” fell in between, with a 44 percent drop. That gives it a shot at more play, but not enough to sustain much more than a week.

And there’s “Crazy Rich Asians.” Projections to get it to $180 million domestic included week-by-week drops of 35 percent. This weekend, its sixth, fell only 25 percent, retaining the #5 spot. Although $200 million still seems a bit of a stretch, but $190 million seems attainable.

The next-best top 10 hold — and beatig two openers — is “Searching.” The Jon Cho starring internet mystery dropped 32 percent, with the lower budget Sony-released title with a shot of getting to $27 million or more.

 Top Ten

1. The House With a Clock in Its Walls (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 59; Est. budget: $40 million

$26,850,000 in 3,592 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $7,475; Cumulative: $26,850.000

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

$10,400,000 (-35%) in 3,102 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,353; Cumulative: $32,562,000

3. The Nun (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$10,250,000 (-44%) in 3,707 theaters (-169); PTA: $2,765; Cumulative: $100,895,000

4. The Predator (20th Century Fox) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$8,700,000 (-65%) in 4,073 theaters (+22); PTA: $2,138; Cumulative: $40,435,000

5. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #5

$6,515,000 (-25%) in 2,802 theaters (-583); PTA: $2,325; Cumulative: $159,439,000

6. White Boy Rick (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #4

$5,000,000 (-44%) in 2,504 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,997; Cumulative: $17,410,000

7. Peppermint (STX) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$3,720,000 (-38%) in 2,680 theaters (-300); PTA: $1,388; Cumulative: $30,333,000

8. Fahrenheit 11/9 (Briarcliff) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 71; Est. budget: $4 million

$3,101,000 in 1,719 theaters; PTA: $1,804; Cumulative: $3,101

9. The Meg (Warner Bros.) Week 7; Last weekend #7

$2,350,000 (-39%) in 2,003 theaters (-808); PTA: $1,173; Cumulative: $140,523,000

10. Searching (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$2,175,000 (-32%) in 1,787 theaters (-222); PTA: $1,217; Cumulative: $23,115,000

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

Source: IndieWire film

September 23, 2018

‘The Joker’: Todd Phillips Offers First Look at Zazie Beetz in Character as Sophie Dumond

After sharing photos of Joaquin Phoenix both in and out of makeup this week, Todd Phillips has offered a similar look at Zazie Beetz from his upcoming Joker movie. Interest in the untitled project has swirled since the first two pictures surfaced, with many speculating that this iteration of Batman’s arch-nemesis is a failed stand-up comic — especially following the casting of Robert De Niro, who’s said to be playing an inversion of his “King of Comedy” character.

Phillips offered the following rationale for releasing the photos more than a year before the film arrives in theaters: “Here’s the issue. We have paparazzi all over our set, at every turn. And it bums me out that they constantly put out their bad shots. So I figure, may as well put out some good ones.” Beetz is said to be playing Sophie Dumond, the love interest of Arthur — Joker’s name before he becomes the Joker. She first came to widespread attention for her role in “Atlanta” and also played Domino in this year’s “Deadpool 2,” another comic-book movie.

Marc Maron, Bill Camp, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, and Shea Whigham also star in the film; Alec Baldwin was cast as well, but had to drop out. Warner Bros. will release the film on October 4, 2019.

Instagram Photo

Source: IndieWire film

September 23, 2018

Starry ‘Colette’ and ‘The Sisters Brothers’ Ignite Fall Specialty Box Office

The specialized fall season, rife with awards contenders, launched in earnest this weekend. Two limited openings — “Colette” (Bleecker Street) with Keira Knightley as the legendary writer and western “The Sisters Brothers” (Annapurna), the first English-language film from director Jacques Audiard — notched bigger grosses than any platform debuts since early July.

This weekend also saw three recent high-profile festival titles — Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself,” and Sundance’s “Assassination Nation” — go wide nationally. All three found little interest, but provided more competition for specialized viewers who might otherwise have patronized more limited films.

Continuing the box office uptick for documentaries, three biodocs about creative figures found some initial response, with star-driven “Tea With the Dames” (IFC) showing particular strength in its New York exclusive. “Love, Gilda” (Magnolia) made a national big- city showing, while “Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable” (Greenwich) also saw significant opening interest in New York.


Colette (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 75; Festivals include: Sundance, Toronto 2018

$156,788 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $39,197

Keira Knightley carried this period portrait of the bestselling French 20th-century novelist. With the right formula biopics can still perform. Though it debuted at Sundance months ago, Bleecker Street launched the literary bodice-ripper at the start of the fall awards season with placement at four ideal New York/Los Angeles theaters. The result is the best two-city limited opening since “The Eighth Grade” in early July, about 50 percent better than “The Wife,” a few weeks ago which is now thriving in wider release.

What comes next: This expands to about 12 cities this Friday as the first stage of its national release.

“The Sisters Brothers”

The Sisters Brothers (Annapurna) – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2018

$122,028 in 4 theaters; PTA: $30,507

Three high-profile films — “A Prophet,” “Rust and Bone,” and “Dheepan” — have established auteur Jacques Audiard at the top of France’s filmmaker heirarchy. His first American project was backed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Productions, with Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as gunmen in the 1850s Northwest. This is not typical specialized fare these days. Decent reviews, prime festival attention, strong four New York/Los Angeles theaters, and a sizeable ad buy propelled this to a decent initial result. This is the first Western of the year.

What comes next: The expansion rollout starts with several top cities added this Friday.

Tea With the Dames (IFC)  – Metacritic: 89

$15,031 in 1 theater; PTA: $15,031

Starpower rules as four longtime friends, leading British actresses including Oscar-winners Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, were filmed during an afternoon together sharing their experiences. This opened with a strong result in Manhattan in advance of its wider release.

What comes next: Next up is Los Angeles and Chicago this Friday as well as expansion in New York.

“Love, Gilda”

Tribeca Film Festival

Love, Gilda (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Tribeca 2018

$(est.) 170,000 in 85 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 2,000

This documentary about Gilda Radner hit a wide array of major cities to mixed results but considerable press in advance of its home availability.

What comes next: Streaming starts on Tuesday

“Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable”

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable (Greenwich)  – Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018

$9,538 in 1 theater; PTA: $9,538; Cumulative: $13,782

The three-decade career of acclaimed photographer Garry Winogrand (whose work from from the 1950s to his death in 1984 mostly focused on street life and other everyday activities) is the focus of this documentary. It opened at New York’s Film Forum to a decent five-day gross of nearly $14,000.

What comes next: Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles opens this Friday.


Week Two

Lizzie (Roadside Attractions)

$256,510 in 240 theaters (+236); PTA: $1,068; Cumulative: $325,239

Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of an infamous Massachusetts ax murder expanded quickly nationwide. The results were minor with only a little over $1,000 average per theater.

The Dawn Wall (The Orchard)

$14,193 in 3 theaters (+1); PTA: $4,731; Cumulative: $774,179

Since its credible two theater opening last weekend, this documentary about a perilous climb at Yosemite played as a Fathom event on Tuesday, grossing about $720,000 in one single night showing in 600 theaters. Meanwhile it is playing limited full-week dates, and will return for another one day showing in 250 theaters on October 8.  Next week brings higher-profile festival hit “Free Solo” (September 28, NatGeo), about another El Capitan climber, Alex Honnold.

Science Fair (National Geographic)

$18,170 in 5 theaters (+4); PTA: $3,634; Cumulative: $41,423

This documentary about an international gathering of fledgling science students expanded to Los Angeles and elsewhere to overall modest results.

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 6

$975,788 in 468 theaters (-73); Cumulative: $4,977,000

Glenn Close’s possible awards contender continues to dominate the early fall specialized scene. The theater count fell a little, but the per theater take remained about the same.

Juliet, Naked (Roadside Attractions) – Week 6

$118,760 in 102 theaters (-163); Cumulative: $3,247,000

Jesse Peretz’s adaptation of Nick Hornsby’s romantic triangle novel, starring Ethan Hawke and Rose Byrne, is winding up its multi-hundred theater run with an ultimate gross reaching a little under $4 million.



Sundance Selects/Screenshot

Blaze (IFC) – Week 6

$86,214 in 43 theaters (+7); Cumulative: $451,328

Writer-director Hawke’s film about Austin-based musician Blaze Foley continues its circuitous expansion (it started with Texas dates) with continued decent sampling.

The Bookshop (Greenwich) – Week 5

$70,449 in 69 theaters (-67); Cumulative: $1,346,000

Isabel Coixet’s England seatown period piece shows that fledgling Greenwich can reach a wide specialized audience. This wasn’t a breakout, but managed to reach the same level of national audience that more established distributors would have.

Pick of the Litter (IFC) – Week 4; also streaming

$66,137 in 51 theaters (+18); Cumulative: $268,014

With this charming documentary about training service dogs, IFC continues to show the ability to garner theatrical numbers parallel to home viewing venues.

Three Identical Strangers (Neon) – Week 13

$57,783 in 55 theaters (-40); Cumulative: $12,194,000

Like the summer’s other documentary smashes, Neon’s successful entry has sustained a three month run.

Also noted:

Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics) – $17,240 in 29 theaters; Cumulative: $1,928,000

We the Animals (The Orchard) – $15,639 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $370,166

Bisbee ’17 (4th Row)- $12,780 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $60,189

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

Source: IndieWire film

September 23, 2018

Joker/Harley Quinn Spinoff Writers Say the Film Will Be a Cross Between ‘Bad Santa’ and ‘This Is Us’

All the Joker-related news has had to do with Joaquin Phoenix this week, but he isn’t the only one donning clown makeup right now. There’s also Jared Leto, whose turn as the Clown Prince of Gotham in “Suicide Squad” wasn’t especially well received but is receiving a standalone project co-starring Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn nevertheless. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who are writing said spinoff, reveal in a new Metro interview that the film lies somewhere in between “Bad Santa” and “This Is Us.”

“It is great. The whole thing starts with Harley kidnapping Dr. Phil. Played by Dr. Phil hopefully. Because her and the Joker are having problems with their relationship,” Ficarra says. “We had so much fun, I don’t know if we have had more fun writing a script in our career.”

“It was sort of like, we wrote ‘Bad Santa’ a couple of years ago, and it was that sensibility mixed with our ‘This Is Us’ sensibility. We kind of meshed them together,” he Ficarra. “We were doing a relationship movie but with the sensibility of a ‘Bad Santa,’ f—ed up, mentally deranged people. It was a lot of fun.”

As for when it might be released, the two know about as much as we do: “I don’t know where it is on the queue of DC movies,” says Requa.

Source: IndieWire film