Tuesday, August 28, 2012

US box office August 24-26 weekend

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
11The Expendables 2LGF$13,423,579-53.1%3,355+39$4,001$52,237,523$1002
22The Bourne LegacyUni.$9,336,005-45.3%3,654-99$2,555$85,522,220$1253
44The CampaignWB$7,472,397-43.1%3,302+47$2,263$64,575,569-3
56The Dark Knight RisesWB$7,222,317-34.4%2,606-551$2,771$422,255,218$2506
67The Odd Life of Timothy GreenBV$7,122,552-34.2%2,598-$2,742$27,077,042-2
7132016 Obama's AmericaRM$6,509,433+423.0%1,091+922$5,966$9,347,309-7
8NPremium RushSony$6,030,164-2,255-$2,674$6,030,164$351
98Hope SpringsSony$5,725,107-37.2%2,402+41$2,383$44,806,571-3
10NHit and RunORF$4,526,222-2,870-$1,577$5,719,256$21

The Expendables 2 on top again but this weekend was also the lowest-grossing of 2012 so far. August is usually a slow money weekend but this low!?  I mean The Apparition couldn't reach the top 10 despite being a horror film distributed by Warner Bros.
  I'd seen TE2 last weekend and it is far better than the first part, and also has a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Compared to The Expendables, the sequel has made $52m in 10 days on $100 million compared to the $65m of the former. The Expendables 2 will probably end up with $210m-$250m which is lower than The Expendables' $274m worldwide gross that too on a lower budget of $80m.
  The Bourne Legacy is a reboot of the popular spy series that contained big worldwide hits. The reboot has made $85m in 12 days compared to The Bourne Identity (first in the series). But it won't gross higher domestically or internationally than the last part Ultimatum that has the greatest cumulative ($227m) in national markets.
  The Dark Knight Rises makes a surprise jump up the charts at no.5 from the 6th spot. The film's lack of a good villain is also a factor in its lesser cash in-flow in contrast to the predecessor. Many of my friends missed the presence of The Joker.

  The greatest surprise this weekend is the 7th spot. 2016 Obama's America takes a giant leap from being 13 last week. It already the top-grossing politically conservative documentary ever. It is co-directed by Indian American conservative political commentator and author Dinesh D'Souza.  The co-director describes the film as a vista of Obama's earlier life, following his childhood from Hawaii to Indonesia and a visit to Kenya (Obama's father's birthplace). 2016 OA further aims to show how the future might unfold should Barack Obama be elected a 2nd term as President.
  The budget of $2.5m has already been surpassed by $9.5m and is an optimistic outlook on the weekend's chart.
  Two new releases on the top 10 are Premium Rush and Hit and Run on 8 and 10 respectively. PR is critically-acclaimed and stars Joseph-Gordan Levitt who has had vital roles in Christopher Nolan films such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Directed and co-written by David Koepp, who is the 4th most financially successful screenwriter of all time, the flick follows a bike messenger on the run from a dirty cop who will do anything necessary to get an envelope from him. It was filmed in NY City. On a $35m budget is had already officially flopped, and Hollywood is surprised it didn't gross higher than Obama's America.
  Hit and Run is a low-budget rom-com starring blondie Kristen Bell in the lead and Bradley Cooper in small role (no wonder it opened at last).
  That's all from me folks! Thanks for the read and leave a comment if you can. Below is the trailer for Premium Rush:

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

American Reunion - not a grand comeback

Being the fourth theatrically-released installment in the AP series of films I didn't expect much. But it made me laugh in some places anyways. Directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and written by both of them based on characters created by Adam Berg the film made over $230m worldwide off $50m. It deserved just that, nothing more. It grossed just a little more than its predecessor American Wedding (2003). Having such a large gap between the release this is impressive.
  Overall it is the eight film in the series if you include the 4 straight-to-DVDs that weren't all bad. Two of them (Naked Mile and Beta House) being better than this flick.
  Unlike its the last part where much critisism was made over several characters not to have reprised their roles. AR does not make that mistake and features original characters in interesting scenes bringing back memories of the first two theatrically-released parts (that sucked). The four best friends are readying up for their high school reunion whilst also bumping into the original Stifler in the way. Sean William Scott proves that he is the epitome of Stifmeister by his latest performance. And as my fav. top critic Roger Ebert noted that the film wouldn't have been as funny if it were without Scott. It would've been nothing without him.
  For starters, the film relies on the same generic sex-humour formula and although the hard-written parts are notable the others were too repetitive. Hell, they were worse than those from the limited-released features. AR also fails to entertain in the last 30 minutes where a typical American Pie movie would do so much better in balancing funny, sex and emotion.
  Fortunately, there are pros too. The formula does have high-octane parts. The first scene is the best, in my opinion, than any other in the franchise. Sean W. Scott stars as an example that some would only watch AR because of him. Also, there is Eugene Levy who is legendary for starring in all 8 APs who plays Jim's Dad and does it to perfection - as always. Dialogues are only few that are laughter-inducing most from the previously mentioned characters. And the sex-humour is not overdone as in most comedies of this type.
  In the end, American Reunion is definitely not a must-watch. It may please AP fans and some might even love it but as a non-fan I was unimpressed. Still if you wish to pass the time with some nude jokes and reminiscence of high school buddies' reunions give this one a watch. That is, a one-time one.

IMDB: 7.1/10.
BO101: 2.5/4.

The Hunger Games review

The Hunger Games set a new US record for best opening with $153m off a budget of just $78m. It also made the largest worldwide opening for a movie not released during the summer or holiday period with $211.8m. At the end of its global theatrical run, The Hunger Games had a cumulative of $684m.
  Based on the first of a trilogy of young adult novels by American author Suzanne Collins who also co-wrote the screenplay. You can judge the pace of the movie on the notion that it was based on a 374 pages book. Directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) and co-written with him, Collins and Billy Ray. Not surprised the film grossed majorly in the US as the novels are very popular with teenagers there. This is the only factor that is leading to the Twilight movies' financial successes. The sci-fi film did have enough resourcefulness to double its production cost but I'm surprised it made so much.
  Sure, it has its pros. The story is OK and reminds me of common low-budget action movies. The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the fictional nation of Panem. Here, 12 girls and 12 boys must participate in an annual televised event which is a fight to the death with only one survivor remaining.  
  Major critisism has been based on the plot where it has been closely linked to the Japanese novel Battle Royale and its film adaption. Nevertheless, Collins novel and film has also been granted the right of being based on other worldly and original aspects with survival of the fittest reigning supreme. Hunger Games, although seemingly unrealistic, is based on human politics and how emotions react to them in the whole of the country. Discrimination between the rich and poor is widely discussed. Characters were strongly developed and the lead played by Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) was the best performance of all. She could be America's next Jessica Alba (with talent). The ending is also unpredictable given the predictable nature of the storyline.
  Cast also includes Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland. Below is writer Suzanne Collins:

  However, there are many cons. First of all the plot pace is too slow. This has been a common negative of most official critics and an unofficial critic - that is me. This flick could've easily been 1 hour and 50 minutes long. But its 2h: 22m duration does push away viewers. The starting is very dull and it really kicks off after the first half-hour. Instead of focusing on the tedious and obvious themes of the games, it would of been better if dramatic areas were showcased more effectively.
  Overall, The Hunger Games is a great movie but not an awesome one. Maybe not the best of all time but a must-watch of the year. Teenagers who loved Harry Potter might not like this as it has a more grittier tone. Violent scenes involving children does more than justify its PG - 13 rating. My fingers are crossed for the sequel.

IMDB: 7.5/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%.
BO101: 3/4.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Expendables 2's on top

1NThe Expendables 2LGF$28,591,370-3,316-$8,622$28,591,370-1
21The Bourne LegacyUni.$17,057,385-55.3%3,753+8$4,545$69,618,465$1252
42The CampaignWB$13,127,289-50.6%3,255+50$4,033$51,435,826-2
5NSparkle (2012)TriS$11,643,342-2,244-$5,189$11,643,342$141
63The Dark Knight RisesWB$11,011,349-42.0%3,157-533$3,488$409,787,260$2505
7NThe Odd Life of Timothy GreenBV$10,822,903-2,598-$4,166$15,100,918-1
84Hope SpringsSony$9,111,529-37.8%2,361-$3,859$35,063,321-2
96Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysFox$3,834,737-52.1%2,737-664$1,401$38,747,058$223
105Total Recall (2012)Sony$3,472,829-56.7%2,434-1,167$1,427$51,755,272$1253
This weekend of August 17-19 we have 4 new openings. LionsGate Films hold the top spot with their The Expendables 2. The sequel not only boasts more high-octane action scenes but also a greater array of action stars. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and Chris Hemsworth are newbies and Bruce Willis and 'The Terminator' Arnold Schwarzenegger are given prominent roles.
  The last venture was directed by Sylvester Stallone himself. This time Simon West, director of one of my most fav. Nic Cage film Con Air, takes the director's seat. West is also having another movie released this year titled Stolen also starring Cage in the lead:

  I just hope this one is a commercial hit. Cage's previous films have shattered records - for worst box office number. Comparisons are already being made to Liam Neeson starrer Taken. David Guggenheim is the screenwriter who had his Hollywood writing debut with this year's Safe House. In American theatres September 14.
  The Expendables 2 is on an estimated $100m budget and opens up with nearly $28 accounting to $48m worldwide. Now, this ain't no Avengers but it is still successful given the widely contributed grosses this weekend. Screenplay by Richard Wenk and Stallone.
  ParaNorman is a stop-motion animated horror adventure feature that stars not-so-famous voice actors. And it shows as other animated movies, like Madagascar 3 and Ice Age 4, grossed equal to or higher than their high-budget live-action counterparts (Prometheus and The Amazing Spider-Man respectively).
  Whitney Houston, one of America's legendary African-American pop singers, passed away in Feb 11, 2012. The film on number 5 this week is dedicated to her being her fifth and final film. Sparkle stars American Idol winner Jordin Sparks in the lead and is a remake of a 1976 musical. It will ultimately gross more than its budget next weekend.
  Walt Disney Pictures released a fantasy drama this week with the sizzling Jennifer Garner (Electra) and lesser-known Joel Edgerton (The Thing 2012) with main roles. The film follows a pre-adolescent boy whose personality have profound effects on the people in his town. The Odd Life of Timothy Green lands on number 7 and will not recover its budget domestically.
  In other news, Total Recall (2012) flops in the US and will exit the top 10 next week. The 1990 version was more profitable and also earned a Special Achievement Academy Award for Special Effects. This one might garner a Razzie nomination.But it will probably gross $150-160m worldwide off $125m.
  And that's all from me folks. See you next week and don't forget to like/comment/share.

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)

Monday, August 13, 2012

US box office August 10-12 weekend

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NThe Bourne LegacyUni.$38,142,825-3,745-$10,185$38,142,825$1251
2NThe CampaignWB$26,588,460-3,205-$8,296$26,588,460-1
31The Dark Knight RisesWB$18,979,397-46.9%3,690-552$5,143$389,588,216$2504
4NHope SpringsSony$14,650,121-2,361-$6,205$19,103,178-1
52Total Recall (2012)Sony$8,013,040-68.7%3,601-$2,225$44,101,432$1252
63Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog DaysFox$8,002,166-45.3%3,398+7$2,355$30,356,174$222
74Ice Age: Continental DriftFox$6,380,929-25.9%3,102-440$2,057$143,694,981-5
96Step Up RevolutionSum.$2,941,818-50.4%1,898-708$1,550$30,256,580$333
105The WatchFox$2,221,451-66.0%2,461-707$903$31,396,079$683
  Whoa! The Bourne Legacy already looked financially successful when it was announced Jeremy Renner would play the lead. This lad's been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Hurt Locker, and starred in last year's blockbuster Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. As if starring in the 4th MI film he decided to take part in the fourth Bourne installment.
  I haven't seen any of the previous Bourne films as I'm not a big spy-film fan. This is mainly due to the fact of my hatred for the first 3 MI movies. The Bourne Legacy is based on the fourth novel written by Eric Van Lustbader in the series which Robert Ludlum created. Lustbader has written 6 more and I won't be surprised if Universal decided to make at least 3 sequels.
  The Bourne Ultimatum starring H-wood hunk Matt Damon was released in 2007 and Legacy shows that the legacy continues (pun intended). A favorite of mine Edward Norton is also included.
  Opening at second this week is veteran comedian and one of my favourites Will Ferrell's The Campaign. It's no surprise it took over the 2nd spot as Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, The Hangover 2) also stars. So that star power was enough to shove The Dark Knight Rises off the top shelf after only 3 weeks. Even The Hunger Games lasted more weeks at the top spot.
  Another point to note is the negativity of cinema-goers to Dark Knight 2 because of the Colorado mass murder. This effected other countries, such as Paris, to shut down some theatres. Hopefully, the August 16 release in the middle east will allow Batman to get an even higher number overseas. It is still on top on the global market with $445m and is also yet to debut in well-populated China and Italy.
  On 4th is Hope Springs a rom-com starring veteran thespians Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and famous US comedian Steven Carell. It is likely to match its $30m budget next week (with foreign gross rates).
  The Amazing Spider-Man left the top 10 after 6 weeks. It has made $255m in the States off a $230m budget but has performed wonders in non-domestic areas.
  The Watch has flopped in USA and will definitely exit next week. Ironically, the 2 comedies this weekend are bound to recover their budgets. This flick should've been released in September...
  Now for the biggie: Ted, an R-rated comedy, has not only grossed $209m domestically off of just $50m, but is on the second spot overseas. It had the greatest opening for an 18+ comedy in Russia. This proves Mark Wahlberg who starred in 2010's laughter-house The Other Guys is a profitable comedy actor. Ukrainian-American beauty Mila Kunis also proves her financial ability. The two starred in 2008's Max Payne together.
  Total Recall is doing very bad in USA and although foreign debuts await, the film might not even enough to cover its $125m budget. It is an outright flop the domestic arena already. The 1990 version, which this film is a remake of, made $261m off $60m but seems Collin Farell isn't marketable as an action hero as Arnold Schwarzenegger was and still might be (The Expendables 2)
  That's all from me me folks. See you next week to discuss the August 17 debut of The Expendables 2 with an ensemble cast too long to mention until later on.

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Battleship - almost sunk!

As if Transformers: Dark of the Moon wasn't enough, Universal thought to release an alien-robotic feature this year. Now after watching the trailer I was like - Transformers reboot? Fortunately no. Battleship was a double-edged watch.
  B-ship is directed by Peter Berg (The Rundown, Hancock) and yes those two films I mentioned are in the list of my favourties. Written by brothers Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber the film bombed in the US only making $65m off a megabudget of $209m. Luckily for the studio the worldwide amount of CGI lovers saved Battleship from sinking and at the end of its universal theatrical run, the cumulative was $302m.
  Firstly, I personally liked Transformers 1 and the third part. The 2nd uniquely title Revenge of the Fallen was only reasonable to watch if you had a thing for Megan Fox. Sadly, the box office numbers of that flick confirmed that assumption. Battleship starts off as almost every American-government-knowing-about-aliens does. I blame Steven Spielberg. I mean I don't understand why new-age sci-fi films lack originality. John Carpenter's The Thing packed more sense than this senseless package even though it was a mystery. Heck, any screenwriter could've come up with this story: a group of aliens invade the earth and the only hope is the friggin' Navy!
  Battle Los Angeles (2011) was focused on land military troops verses the outerworld. Surprisingly, it was worse than this one. Next year there might be an action flick with the airforce taking a stand against the invader title Battle E.T.
  Even when the movie tries to make sense of events it fails! Instead of drawing in the audience it gives them a headache instead of a climax. Sometimes I wonder how the American govt. can drain a dozen countries of oil and yet be unprepared for an outer space attack.
  For the pros the action, although highly disorientated, is good. The way the battle takes place on sea and the Navy use water-based warfare tactics to defend the home planet is admirably scripted. Acting is average but if Liam Neeson was given the lead role he would've outshined the rest of the cast immediately. Characters are not so well-developed but lovable. Action loves who prefer the latest graphics will come to adore this one. And yes it is a thrilling adrenaline-packed ride from start to finish. What you see (in the trailer) is what you get.
  Finally, B-ship relies 80% of its screentime on CGI. It could've just converted the whole movie into CGI like the Final Fantasy series. B-ship is good for a single-time watch. And for CGI lovers, it's durable for a second. For the critically-minded, it's plain time-pass. Battleship stars Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and Tadanobu Asano. Pop singer Rihanna also has a prominent role as a tough Navy girl and she acted quite well. Given that she suited the role so much...

IMDB: 6.1/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%.
BO101: 2/4.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Dictator - Comedy of the Year

Heard so much about this film that I was actually afraid it would turn out bad due to the hype. Yet it surprised me that such a racist venture could also show love for different countrymen.
  The Dictator is directed by Larry Charles who also made the main actor's previous films Borat and Bruno. Written by Sacha Baron Cohen who plays the lead as usual in Charles' features with him, and co-written by three other screenwriters it could've turned out a slapstick comedy mess. But it turned out to be super enjoyable instead. The film was banned in the United Arab Emirates and many other Middle-Eastern countries for its depiction of Arabs. It made $167m off $67m worldwide. Sadly, it deserved more yet grossed more than Cohen's last motion picture with Charles  - Bruno ($133m worldwide). By the trailer it does look like a cliched performance by Cohen who had played similar global characters in past cinematic performances but this character's no joke. Hailing from UK I'm surprised Cohen threw the typical Arab accent so well that is better than, a typical Arab.
  The film follows Admiral General Aladeen, dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, visiting the US. Wadiya is so finely shown that I actually thought it was real when I first glimpsed the trailer. The Dictator also contains spoofing of the 2011 movie based on Sadam Hussein's family The Devil's Double, which was legendary in its own right. And there are so many positive points its hard to make a compromise for negative critisism.
  Firstly, the acting. No doubt Cohen outshines the rest of the cast. Anna Faris of the Scary Movie franchise and Jason Mantzoukas who is lesser-known, are the other two that had performances worth blogging about. Ben Kingsley (Oscar winner) also has a prominent roles although his act wasn't Oscar-worthy. And not since Jim Carrey have I seen anybody satire so perfectly as Cohen. This guy is incredible as an actor and as a writer and you only need to see this film to confirm that. The foxy Megan Fox also has a cameo though I know most have viewed the YouTube trailer again for her (count my views too).
  Secondly, the writing. Although in most scenarios more than two screenplay author can doom a comedy to literary oblivion but not this time. There's not a single minute the film tries to make you laugh - and succeeds. It is so hard to find comedies nowadays with perfect writing. That goes for horror films as well. The follow-up on the plot is high-octane and you are even surprised at the scenes before Aladeen visits the States.
  However, the film does get predictable in the last 30 minutes but only a little. And also it depends a lot from its title character and fail to let the other members of the cast shine in their own way. 
  Finally, The Dictator is a must-watch for every 18+ out there. It swallows the racism with a lovable character and a satirically movable plot. Political themes are actually correctly discussed without referring to a particular country's negativity. Along with 21 Jump Street and The Three Stooges, The Dictator holds the crown for best comedy movie of 2012 (so far).

IMDB: 6.8/10.
RT:  58%.
BO101: 3.5/4.

The Raven review

The Raven is a fictional account of the last days of American writer/poet Edgar Allan Poe's life. And after watching this movie you won't even state it as semi-biographical.
The Raven made a little above $22m below its budget of $26m worldwide. But it should've grossed more given that it is one of the four mainstream horror features to be released this year, and a decent one. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin), and written by Ben Livingston along with Hannah Shakespeare. Poe's life couldn't be more action-orientated than depicted.
  Sure there are good points to swallow before realising you ate that whole bag of popcorn at half-time. It starts quite well and mysteriously. Detective Fields played by Luke Evans is a fun character and has enough charm to convince the audience that he can convince an egoistic author to aid in a murder investigation. But seriously, if there was Sherlock Holmes he would've solved the case in the first hour. The film follows Poe aiding in a murder investigation (as already mentioned) in which the killer is copying killings depicted in the respective story-teller's tales.
  Apart from John Cusack (Poe) and Luke Evans, British blonde Alice Eve plays Poe's love interest. She's OK at it. Dialogues are literary as expected and dialogue delivery especially by Cusack is top notch. Also, the atmosphere is so stunning and with such finely tuned atmosphere that it is worth praise. Direction is praise-worthy as McTeigue made his two previous films so wonderfully gruesome.
  The main core of the problem is the screenwriting. After the first hour, the film becomes a bit too predictable. Huge number of plotholes that I cannot mention seem to have been blindly added by the script-writers. Another point to mention is that better policework should've been included in Baltimore in the mid-1800s as shown in the film.
  All in all, The Raven is an above average thriller with a few action scenes to keep the adrenaline pumping, or in this case, start up the tempo. After reading the plot mystery fans would be highly interested to see this but I was disappointed. Seems the movie could not balance action and mystery as well as the first 21st century Sherlock Holmes film did. The Raven could've earned more if Cusack was a brand name like Nicolas Cage (in his golden box-office days). Sadly, after starring in well-known movies such as 2012 and 1408 - both in which he plays authors - this film couldn't double its budget.

IMDB: 6.4/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%.
BO101: 2.5/4.