(Photo by New Line/ courtesy Everett Collection)

25 Fresh Robert Altman Movies and Series

Directors know they’ve made an indelible mark on cinema when their last name becomes a descriptive adjective, a shorthand to jazz up any review or conversation. In Robert Altman’s case, “Altmanesque” can describe a few different kinds of moods and movies. There’s those sprawling stories with a multitude of characters tied with perhaps the loosest of narrative threads, like in The Player or Short Cuts. “Altmanesque” can point out roving, restless cameras that capture spontaneous and improvised performances, as featured in The Company and Gosford Park. The term is also used to paint deep-fried slices of Americana with a satirical sizzle, which Altman served up in McCabe & Mrs. Miller and A Prairie Home Companion. His magnum opus, 1975’s Nashville, represents a cross-section of all of these.

Though Altman’s prime period was during the 1970s, kick-starting the decade with Best Picture-nominated M*A*S*H, he typically isn’t bundled together with the other mavericks of the era (Spielberg, Scorsese, Friedkin, Coppola, and so on), having broken into the industry much earlier by working in television since the ’50s. Because of his experience, Altman was able to set up productions at a much faster pace than the young upstarts. Dig just beneath the masterpieces and you’ll immediately discover classics like The Long Goodbye, California Split, 3 Women, Thieves Like Us, and more.

The ’80s were considered a relatively dry decade for Altman, necessitating the narrative of a comeback film. That would arrive in the acerbic Hollywood insider comedy The Player, in 1993. Player would deliver Altman one of his five Best Director Oscar nominations, with the last nom in 2001 for Gosford Park. In March 2006, the Academy gave Altman the Honorary Award, eight months before his death.

Visit and celebrate the works of a true American directing icon with these 25 Fresh Robert Altman movies!

#25

The Player (1992)
98%

#25
Adjusted Score: 103315%
Critics Consensus: Bitingly cynical without succumbing to bitterness, The Player is one of the all-time great Hollywood satires -- and an ensemble-driven highlight of the Altman oeuvre.
Synopsis: Certain that the anonymous threats he's been receiving are the work of David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), producer Griffin Mill (Tim... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#24

Short Cuts (1993)
95%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98576%
Critics Consensus: Robert Altman's ensemble drama deftly integrates its disparate characters and episodes into a funny, poignant, emotionally satisfying whole.
Synopsis: Many loosely connected characters cross paths in this film, based on the stories of Raymond Carver. Waitress Doreen Piggot (Lily... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#23

3 Women (1977)
94%

#23
Adjusted Score: 93516%
Critics Consensus: 3 Women is a strange, eerie portrait of late-'70s womanhood that upends and then defies all expectations.
Synopsis: Writer/director Robert Altman claimed this impressionistic film came to him in a dream. Millie Lammoreaux (Shelley Duvall) considers herself irresistible... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#22

The Long Goodbye (1973)
94%

#22
Adjusted Score: 98565%
Critics Consensus: An ice-cold noir that retains Robert Altman's idiosyncratic sensibilities, The Long Goodbye ranks among the smartest and most satisfying Marlowe mysteries.
Synopsis: Private detective Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) is asked by his old buddy Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton) for a ride to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#21

Nashville (1975)
91%

#21
Adjusted Score: 96706%
Critics Consensus: Robert Altman captures the bravado and cynicism of the American dream in Nashville, a sprawling epic bursting with vivid performances and an unforgettable soundtrack.
Synopsis: In this acclaimed Robert Altman drama, the lives of numerous people in the Tennessee capital intersect in unpredictable ways. Delbert... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#20

Vincent and Theo (1990)
89%

#20
Adjusted Score: 89231%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh (Tim Roth) has no greater champion of his work than his devoted brother, Theo... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#19

California Split (1974)
86%

#19
Adjusted Score: 88290%
Critics Consensus: Aimless yet amiable, California Split is minor but rewarding Altman, elevated by the chemistry between leads Elliott Gould and George Segal.
Synopsis: Carefree single guy Charlie Waters (Elliott Gould) rooms with two lovely prostitutes, Barbara Miller (Ann Prentiss) and Susan Peters (Gwen... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#18

Gosford Park (2001)
87%

#18
Adjusted Score: 93436%
Critics Consensus: A mixture of Upstairs, Downstairs, Clue, and perceptive social commentary, Gosford Park ranks among director Altman's best.
Synopsis: Robert Altman, one of America's most distinctive filmmakers, journeys to England for the first time to create a unique film... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#17

Cookie's Fortune (1999)
86%

#17
Adjusted Score: 87908%
Critics Consensus: Robert Altman's gift for diffuse storytelling is employed to breezily enjoyable effect in Cookie's Fortune, a mirthful caper that layers on a generous helping of Southern charm.
Synopsis: After learning that her aunt, an elderly Mississippi widow (Patricia Neal), has taken her own life, Camille (Glenn Close) hatches... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#16

Brewster McCloud (1970)
86%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87544%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Brewster McCloud (Bud Cort) isn't your normal sort of boy. He resides in a nuclear fallout shelter in the Houston... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 88504%
Critics Consensus: McCabe & Mrs. Miller offers revisionist Western fans a landmark early addition to the genre while marking an early apogee for director Robert Altman.
Synopsis: Charismatic gambler John McCabe (Warren Beatty) arrives in a mining community and decides to open a brothel. The local residents... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#14

M*A*S*H (1970)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 88476%
Critics Consensus: Bold, timely, subversive, and above all funny, M*A*S*H remains a high point in Robert Altman's distinguished filmography.
Synopsis: Based on the novel by Richard Hooker, "M*A*S*H" follows a group of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital officers at they perform... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#13

Thieves Like Us (1974)
82%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82495%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this Robert Altman period drama, Bowie (Keith Carradine) is an escaped convict who embarks on a crime spree with... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 88718%
Critics Consensus: The final film by the great Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion, the big screen adaptation of Garrison Keillor's radio broadcast showcases plenty of the director's strengths: it's got a gigantic cast and plenty of quirky acting and dialogue.
Synopsis: A private investigator (Kevin Kline) keeps tabs on the proceedings as guests, cast and crew (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#11
Adjusted Score: 18301%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members (Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black) of a Texas James Dean fan club reunite 20 years after his death.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#10

Fool for Love (1985)
79%

#10
Adjusted Score: 50166%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Forbidden lovers (Sam Shepard, Kim Basinger) meet at a Western motel in a version of Sam Shepard's play.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#9

Secret Honor (1984)
77%

#9
Adjusted Score: 45365%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In his New Jersey study, Richard Nixon (Philip Baker Hall) retraces the missteps of his political career, attempting to absolve... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#8

A Wedding (1978)
73%

#8
Adjusted Score: 72290%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Friends and family of the bride (Amy Stryker) and groom (Desi Arnaz Jr.) carry on at a mansion before, during... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#7

The Company (2003)
71%

#7
Adjusted Score: 75594%
Critics Consensus: Its deliberately unfocused narrative may frustrate some viewers, but The Company finds Altman gracefully applying his distinctive eye to the world of dance.
Synopsis: Loretta "Ry" Ryan (Neve Campbell) is an aspiring ballerina performing with the renowned Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. As she struggles... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#6

Images (1972)
73%

#6
Adjusted Score: 73790%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A schizophrenic (Susannah York) confuses her husband (Rene Auberjonois) with her lovers and her self.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#5
Adjusted Score: 70849%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: By 1885, beloved cavalryman Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman) has hired a publicist and producer to help shape and promote... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#4

Countdown (1968)
67%

#4
Adjusted Score: 18781%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scientist (James Caan) replaces a military officer (Robert Duvall) as an astronaut on a space-race moonshot.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#3

Kansas City (1996)
60%

#3
Adjusted Score: 61838%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Aspiring thief Johnny (Dermot Mulroney) messes with the wrong man when he attempts to steal from Seldom Seen (Harry Belafonte),... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#2

Popeye (1980)
58%

#2
Adjusted Score: 61144%
Critics Consensus: Altman's take on the iconic cartoon is messy and wildly uneven, but its robust humor and manic charm are hard to resist.
Synopsis: Looking for the father (Ray Walston) who deserted him as a baby, a sailor named Popeye (Robin Williams) journeys to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#1

Streamers (1983)
60%

#1
Adjusted Score: 26917%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the Vietnam War, four fresh-faced Army recruits are stuck waiting for their assignments in a vacant barracks. The pressures... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

The Devil Wears Prada

(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe / TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).

This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.

Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#58

Evening (2007)
27%

#58
Adjusted Score: 32412%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed, but decidedly dull, Evening is a collossal waste of a talented cast.
Synopsis: Lying on her deathbed, drifting in and out of consciousness, Ann Grant Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) calls forth memories of her... [More]
Directed By: Lajos Koltai

#57

Lions for Lambs (2007)
27%

#57
Adjusted Score: 35195%
Critics Consensus: Despite its powerhouse cast, Lions for Lambs feels like a disjointed series of lectures, rather than a sharp narrative, and ends up falling flat.
Synopsis: Inspired by their idealistic professor, Dr. Mallery (Robert Redford), to do something meaningful with their lives, Arian (Derek Luke) and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 31727%
Critics Consensus: An enviable collection of sterling actors are all woefully miscast in The House of the Spirits, a plodding saga of magical realism that lacks much magic or realism.
Synopsis: A rancher (Jeremy Irons), his clairvoyant wife (Meryl Streep) and their family face turbulent years in South America.... [More]
Directed By: Bille August

#55

Before and After (1996)
32%

#55
Adjusted Score: 28801%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of Carolyn Ryan (Meryl Streep), a small-town doctor, and her artist husband, Ben (Liam Neeson), are shaken up... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#54

The Giver (2014)
35%

#54
Adjusted Score: 41255%
Critics Consensus: Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas.
Synopsis: Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#53

She-Devil (1989)
40%

#53
Adjusted Score: 40828%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Housewife and mother Ruth Patchett (Roseanne Barr), an overweight and unkempt woman, can seem to do nothing to make her... [More]
Directed By: Susan Seidelman

#52

Dark Matter (2007)
40%

#52
Adjusted Score: 40897%
Critics Consensus: The creaky plotting, inscrutable characters, and unconvincing ending make it difficult for audiences to connect with Dark Matter.
Synopsis: Liu Xing (Ye Liu), a promising Chinese doctoral candidate accepted into an elite astronomy program in the United States, struggles... [More]
Directed By: Chen Shi-Zeng

#51

The Laundromat (2019)
40%

#51
Adjusted Score: 50460%
Critics Consensus: The Laundromat misuses its incredible cast by taking a disappointingly blunt and unfocused approach to dramatizing the real-life events that inspired it.
Synopsis: When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin begins investigating a fake insurance policy.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#50

Heartburn (1986)
45%

#50
Adjusted Score: 44413%
Critics Consensus: Despite an astonishing collection of talent across the board, Heartburn's aimless plot inspires mild indigestion instead of romantic ardor.
Synopsis: Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep), a New York food critic, beds Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), a Washington, D.C., newspaper columnist. The... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#49

Rendition (2007)
47%

#49
Adjusted Score: 53706%
Critics Consensus: The impressive cast cannot rescue Rendition, which explores complex issues in woefully simplified terms.
Synopsis: Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), the wife of an Egyptian engineer, tries desperately to track down her husband after he disappears... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#48

Prime (2005)
50%

#48
Adjusted Score: 54704%
Critics Consensus: Though Streep is dependably terrific in her role, the rest of the movie is too sitcom-ish, and the romance itself is dull.
Synopsis: Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman) is a 37-year-old divorced Catholic businesswoman falling for David (Bryan Greenberg), a 23-year-old Jewish artist. With... [More]
Directed By: Ben Younger

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 57247%
Critics Consensus: Hawn and Streep are as fabulous as Death Becomes Her's innovative special effects; Zemeckis' satire, on the other hand, is as hollow as the world it mocks.
Synopsis: When a novelist loses her man to a movie star and former friend, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#46

The Iron Lady (2011)
52%

#46
Adjusted Score: 62492%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is reliably perfect, but it's mired in bland, self-important storytelling.
Synopsis: In her twilight years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) reflects on her life and career as she... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#45

Mamma Mia! (2008)
55%

#45
Adjusted Score: 61710%
Critics Consensus: This jukebox musical is full of fluffy fun but rough singing voices and a campy tone might not make you feel like "You Can Dance" the whole 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#44

Plenty (1985)
56%

#44
Adjusted Score: 40203%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Susan Traherne (Meryl Streep) is trying to put find her purpose in the wake of World War II. After a... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#43

The River Wild (1994)
57%

#43
Adjusted Score: 58608%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fast-paced thriller in which a young family on a white-water rafting adventure in Montana are taken hostage by a pair... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Hanson

#42

Falling in Love (1984)
54%

#42
Adjusted Score: 34279%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Commuting to Manhattan on the same train, two married strangers (Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep) meet by accident and have... [More]
Directed By: Ulu Grosbard

#41

Out of Africa (1985)
61%

#41
Adjusted Score: 67956%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#40

Ironweed (1987)
58%

#40
Adjusted Score: 59080%
Critics Consensus: Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep play masterfully off each, but Ironweed's unrelenting bleakness proves to be more monotonous than compelling.
Synopsis: In Depression-era Albany, N.Y., erstwhile baseball star Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) has become an alcoholic vagabond after guilt over accidentally... [More]
Directed By: Hector Babenco

#39

It's Complicated (2009)
58%

#39
Adjusted Score: 65681%
Critics Consensus: Despite fine work by an appealing cast, It's Complicated is predictable romantic comedy fare, going for broad laughs instead of subtlety and nuance.
Synopsis: Jane (Meryl Streep), a successful restaurateur, has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for many years, although they remain friends.... [More]
Directed By: Nancy Meyers

#38

The Ant Bully (2006)
62%

#38
Adjusted Score: 65763%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes inventive and witty, this animated adventure into an ant-sized world is a pleasant diversion.
Synopsis: Tired of weathering constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), to their... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 22547%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When one of his patients is found murdered, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Rice (Roy Scheider) is visited by the investigating officer... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 66512%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's depiction of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things transcends, inspires, and entertains.
Synopsis: After being abandoned by her husband, depressed music teacher Roberta (Meryl Streep) lands a job teaching violin to underprivileged children... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 64013%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kate Mundy (Meryl Streep) is the eldest of five sisters living together in a small house in Ireland in 1936.... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 72192%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's outstanding work helps Ricki and the Flash overcome its inconsistent tone and fairly predictable premise.
Synopsis: It's been a roller-coaster ride for Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), a one-time wife and mother of three who left her... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 74937%
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#32

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#32
Adjusted Score: 79845%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#31
Adjusted Score: 78397%
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#30

Suffragette (2015)
73%

#30
Adjusted Score: 81153%
Critics Consensus: Suffragette dramatizes an important -- and still painfully relevant -- fact-based story with more than enough craft and sincerity to overcome its flaws.
Synopsis: In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Gavron

#29

Silkwood (1983)
76%

#29
Adjusted Score: 77220%
Critics Consensus: Silkwood seethes with real-life rage -- but backs it up with compelling characters and trenchant observations.
Synopsis: This drama is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), who works at a nuclear facility, along... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#28
Adjusted Score: 83043%
Critics Consensus: A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.
Synopsis: A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 82525%
Critics Consensus: A rare film that surpasses the quality of its source novel, this Devil is a witty expose of New York's fashion scene, with Meryl Streep in top form and Anne Hathaway more than holding her own.
Synopsis: Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#26

Hope Springs (2012)
75%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82508%
Critics Consensus: Led by a pair of mesmerizing performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs offers filmgoers some grown-up laughs -- and a thoughtful look at mature relationships.
Synopsis: Long-married couple Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) love each other, but after so many years together, Kay... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#25

Sophie's Choice (1982)
78%

#25
Adjusted Score: 80807%
Critics Consensus: Sophie's Choice may be more sobering than stirring, but Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning performance holds this postwar period drama together.
Synopsis: Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a young writer, moves to Brooklyn in 1947 to begin work on his first novel. As he... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#24

Julie & Julia (2009)
78%

#24
Adjusted Score: 86816%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
Synopsis: Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#23
Adjusted Score: 83428%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this story-within-a-story, Anna (Meryl Streep) is an actress starring opposite Mike (Jeremy Irons) in a period piece about the... [More]
Directed By: Karel Reisz

#22
Adjusted Score: 95074%
Critics Consensus: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again doubles down on just about everything fans loved about the original -- and my my, how can fans resist it?
Synopsis: In 1979 young Donna, Tanya and Rosie graduate from Oxford University -- leaving Donna free to embark on a series... [More]
Directed By: Ol Parker

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 102574%
Critics Consensus: Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar -- but still solidly effective -- family-friendly spell.
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#20

The Hours (2002)
79%

#20
Adjusted Score: 85679%
Critics Consensus: The movie may be a downer, but it packs an emotional wallop. Some fine acting on display here.
Synopsis: "The Hours" is the story of three women searching for more potent, meaningful lives. Each is alive at a different... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 87691%
Critics Consensus: While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.
Synopsis: Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares.... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#18

Doubt (2008)
79%

#18
Adjusted Score: 88357%
Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.
Synopsis: In 1964 the winds of change are sweeping through Sister Aloysius' (Meryl Streep) St. Nicholas school. Father Flynn (Philip Seymour... [More]
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley

#17

The Homesman (2014)
80%

#17
Adjusted Score: 86134%
Critics Consensus: A squarely traditional yet somewhat progressive Western, The Homesman adds another absorbing entry to Tommy Lee Jones' directorial résumé.
Synopsis: A frontier farm woman (Hilary Swank) saves the life of a claim-jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) and persuades him to help... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Lee Jones

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88718%
Critics Consensus: The final film by the great Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion, the big screen adaptation of Garrison Keillor's radio broadcast showcases plenty of the director's strengths: it's got a gigantic cast and plenty of quirky acting and dialogue.
Synopsis: A private investigator (Kevin Kline) keeps tabs on the proceedings as guests, cast and crew (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 85644%
Critics Consensus: Uniting a pair of powerhouse talents with a smart, sharply written script, Postcards from the Edge makes compelling drama out of reality-inspired trauma.
Synopsis: Hollywood actress Suzanne Vale is on a slippery slope as a recovering addict. On exit from rehab, it is recommended... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#14

Marvin's Room (1996)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86553%
Critics Consensus: Marvin's Room rises above the pack of dysfunctional family dramas thanks to an impeccable cast that includes Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Synopsis: Bessie (Diane Keaton) and Lee (Meryl Streep) are sisters who have remained apart for nearly 20 years due to radically... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Zaks

#13
Adjusted Score: 61495%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A liberal United States senator, Joe Tynan (Alan Alda) is in over his head with both his work and his... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Schatzberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 102056%
Critics Consensus: Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale -- and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep.
Synopsis: In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 96417%
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Synopsis: On the same day Manhattan advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) lands the biggest account of his career, he learns... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#10

The Post (2017)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 113526%
Critics Consensus: The Post's period setting belies its bitingly timely themes, brought compellingly to life by director Steven Spielberg and an outstanding ensemble cast.
Synopsis: Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#9

One True Thing (1998)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 90657%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.
Synopsis: Kate (Meryl Streep), the undervalued matriarch of the Gulden family, is diagnosed with cancer. Daughter and journalist Ellen (Renée Zellweger)... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#8
Adjusted Score: 93618%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental, slow, schmaltzy, and very satisfying, The Bridges of Madison County finds Clint Eastwood adapting a bestseller with heft, wit, and grace.
Synopsis: A moving love story about a photographer on assignment to shoot the historic bridges of Madison County. He meets a... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#7

Adaptation (2002)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97349%
Critics Consensus: Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation is both funny and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102622%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

The Deer Hunter (1978)
89%

#5
Adjusted Score: 97687%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 94375%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While on vacation in the Australian outback, Seventh Day Adventist priest Michael Chamberlain (Sam Neill) and his wife, Lindy (Meryl... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#3

Manhattan (1979)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 99562%
Critics Consensus: One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.
Synopsis: Director Woody Allen's love letter to New York City stars Allen as frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

Little Women (2019)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 121557%
Critics Consensus: With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig's Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.
Synopsis: In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer,... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 99174%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) isn't having a good week. For starters, he died after he got hit by a bus.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

Woody Harrelson has come an awfully long way since he joined the cast of Cheers in 1985, originating the role of hayseed bartender Woody Boyd and kicking off a career that has grown to encompass one of the more eclectic, unusual, and just plain interesting filmographies in modern Hollywood. Comedies? Dramas? Thrillers? Harrelson’s done ‘em all — and with his turn as the Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes making its way to theaters this weekend, we figured now was the perfect time to take a look back at some of the critical highlights in the Harrelson oeuvre, Total Recall style!


Use the up and down arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

The stars come marching out to do battle with the pirates for the number one spot this weekend.

For the sixth consecutive weekend, a threequel is poised to command the top spot at the North American box office as Warner Bros. rolls out the caper pic "Ocean’s Thirteen" reuniting Hollywood’s fun boys. Sony counters with the family offering "Surf’s Up" while Lionsgate goes after the horror crowd with "Hostel Part II." Each film should target its own audience so there should be space for all newcomers.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and their endless list of co-stars are back again as everyone’s favorite criminals in "Ocean’s Thirteen." The PG-13 pic finds the group back in Las Vegas on a heist driven by revenge against a real estate mogul, played by Al Pacino, who is launching his latest luxury hotel/casino. The first two in the series had December openings of $38.1M for 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven" and $39.2M for 2004’s "Ocean’s Twelve." They also had little direct competition for adults. Although they opened in the same fashion, the sequel was not as well-liked and found its way to $125.5M, or about one-third less than the $183.4M cume of the original which itself was a remake.

"Thirteen" should play to the exact same audience of mature adults. Appeal is equally strong for males and females and even some teen interest should be there. Reviews have been generally positive but that should have little impact. Moviegoers know exactly what they are getting the third time around and will decide based on if they want to take another two-hour trip seeing slick actors, with slick hair, and slick clothes, acting cool. Those soured by "Twelve" may take a pass on "Thirteen." Plus "Pirates" and "Knocked Up" will provide some solid competition. But the sheer amount of starpower should make this entry hard to resist to many looking for a fun mature film without pirates, super heroes, and endless special effects. "Ocean’s Thirteen" rolls the dice in 3,565 locations this weekend and might win about $37M over three days.


Nerds!

For those kids who can’t get enough of talking cartoon penguins, Sony unleashes its big summer animation entry "Surf’s Up." Delivered in a mockumentary style, the PG-rated film tells the story of penguins that compete in a surfing competition, and of course crack jokes along the way. Arriving just three weeks after "Shrek the Third," "Surf’s Up" will have to deal with competition from the ogre toon and to some extent the other aging threequels which combined should gross north of $40M this weekend. The new penguin pic does not have the buzz or the starpower of a Robin Williams that helped "Happy Feet" shoot to number one last November with a $41.5M bow on its way to a terrific $198M.

Instead, "Surf’s Up" seems to be in the same middle category with recent films like "Open Season" and "Meet the Robinsons" which opened to $23.6M and $25.1M, respectively. With children in the process of ending their school years and starting their summer vacations, parents should be in the mood to take them to the movies for some non-violent fun. "Surf’s Up" lands in over 3,000 theaters on Friday and could debut with about $24M.


"Surf’s Up," aka "March of the Happy Feet."

Yet another horror sequel makes its way into theaters with Lionsgate’s "Hostel Part II." The first "Hostel" was a number one hit last year opening to $19.6M on its way to an impressive $47.3M off of a tiny budget. The new R-rated entry finds three American students in Rome who find themselves caught in a grisly game of torture and mayhem. Horror fans have been suffering from fright fatigue lately. The recent sequels "The Hills Have Eyes II" and "28 Weeks Later" both opened to just under $10M failing to match the bows of their predecessors. Other horror flicks like "Bug," "The Condemned," "The Reaping," and "Vacancy" all underperformed over the last several weeks and have helped to scare fans away from the genre.

But Lionsgate is among the best at selling this type of fare to older teens and young adults and the distributor is hoping to tap into a built-in audience. Just as with the first one, Quentin Tarantino whores his name out again with a ‘presents’ credit on the marketing materials. It would be interesting to know what kind of compensation, monetary or otherwise, he gets for these transactions. Locking up ticket buyers in 2,350 theaters, "Hostel Part II" may open with around $12M.


"Hostel: Part II," sure to warm the hearts of all.

Following its two frames at number one, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should give up the top spot this weekend, although the runnerup slot is not necessarily a guarantee. The pricey Disney adventure fell by 62% last weekend and could see its drop dip to 50% this time. That would give Johnny Depp and his buddies about $22M for the session and $254M overall.

Last weekend’s number two flick "Knocked Up" raced past "At World’s End" to claim the number one spot on Monday and Tuesday thanks to great buzz and is prepared to see a solid hold this time around. Two summers ago, the R-rated comedies "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" both dipped by only 24% in their sophomore frames thanks to stellar word-of-mouth and no major competition from new releases. "Knocked Up" has the same great satisfaction from moviegoers, but will see much of its adult audience get tempted away by Brad and company. A 30% drop would still give it a great hold with about $21M for the frame. That would push the cume to a stunning $68M in only ten days.

"Shrek the Third" will face direct competition from rival toon "Surf’s Up" this weekend. That could lead to a 40% decline to roughly $17M boosting the cume to $282M.

LAST YEAR: Disney and Pixar joined forces for the number one opening of "Cars" which cruised into the top spot with $60.1M. The animated comedy raced to $244.1M domestically becoming the summer’s biggest non-Captain Jack flick, and over $462M worldwide. Universal’s comedy "The Break-Up" fell 48% in its second date grossing $20.3M and was followed by "X-Men: The Last Stand" with $16.1M. The horror remake "The Omen" bowed to $16M over the weekend and a creepy $36.3M over six days since its Tuesday launch on 6/6/06. Fox scared up $54.6M eventually. "The Da Vinci Code" rounded out the top five with $10.4M in its fourth lap. Debuting to solid results in a moderate launch was "A Prairie Home Companion" with $4.6M from 760 locations for a $6,008 average. The Picturehouse release found its way to $20.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

It’s time again to celebrate the best that indie-land has to offer. The Spirit Award nominees are out, with "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Half Nelson" leading all contenders with five nods each, including best feature.

The family dysfunction on-the-road comedy "Sunshine" was also nominated for Best Director (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Supporting Male (Alan Arkin and Paul Dano) and Best First Screenplay (Michael Arndt). Meanwhile, "Half Nelson," a drama about a troubled inner-city teacher, received nods for Best Director (Ryan Fleck), Male Lead (Ryan Gosling), Female Lead (Shareeka Epps), and Best First Screenplay (Anna Boden and Fleck).


"Wait… we might both win Spirit Awards?"

The other nominees for Best Feature are "American Gun," "The Dead Girl," and "Pan’s Labyrinth." In the Best Director category, the nominees also include Robert Altman for "A Prairie Home Companion," Karen Moncrieff for "The Dead Girl," and Steven Soderbergh for "Bubble."

In addition to Gosling, the Male Lead nominees are Aaron Eckhart ("Thank You For Smoking"), Edward Norton ("The Painted Veil"), Ahmad Razvi ("Man Push Cart"), and Forest Whitaker ("American Gun"). In addition to Epps, the others up for the Female Lead award are Catherine O’Hara ("For Your Consideration"), Elizabeth Reaser ("Sweet Land"), Michelle Williams ("Land of Plenty"), and Robin Wright Penn ("Sorry, Haters").


"Pan’s Labyrinth": Do fauns qualify for Spirit Awards?

The Spirit Awards, formerly the Independent Spirit Awards, recognize films made on budgets of less than $20 million. The winners will be announced on Feb. 24, a day before the Academy Awards.

For a complete list of the nominees, click here. Also, check out RT’s interview with "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris here.

ELSEWHERE IN INDIE NEWS THIS WEEK:

"Tears" Finally Makes It To Theaters

The brightly colored, highly stylized Thai western "Tears of the Black Tiger" will open in January, six years after its premiere at Cannes. The film has been acquired by Magnolia from Miramax; "Tears" played on the festival circuit before landing in the company’s vault.

Swiss Oscar Selection Gets Distributor

The North American rights for "Vitus," Switzerland’s candidate for the Foreign Film Oscar, have been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. The film, starring Bruno Ganz and Teo Gheorghiu, tells the tale of a child prodigy and his complex relationship with his parents.

Top Reviewed Limiteds

Opening last week in limited release: "Backstage," a dark examination of celebrity, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer with 10 reviews; "The History Boys," a tale of hypercompetitive English schoolboys adapted from Alan Bennett, is at 62 percent with 50 reviews; and "Opal Dream," a coming-of-age tale about a little girl with imaginary friends in the Australian outback, is at 57 percent with 14 reviews.

Top Performing Limiteds

In last week’s indie box office battle, Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver" grossed an average of $17,071 on 30 screens, beating out the Bollywood drama "Dhoom 2," which averaged $15,540 on 63 screens. "The History Boys" opened on seven screens with a $14,400 average, while the Jean-Luc Godard classic "Two Or Three Things I Know About Her…" and the Slamdance-approved documentary "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story" both opened on one screen apiece to earn $10,764 and $5,034, respectively. Last week’s top indie "Bobby" dropped to 15th place after expanding from two to 1,667 screens, dropping its per-screen average from $34,519 to $2,914.


"The History Boys": No threat to the Hell’s Angels.

Thanks to Nick Hershey for his contribution to this story.

Robert Altman, the esteemed and venerable director of "M*A*S*H," "Nashville," and "The Player," died Monday from complications due to cancer. He was 81.

During his half-century within the business, Altman directed over 30 feature films, which were only the tip of a filmography that included dozens of shorts, TV movies, documentaries, and miniseries. In 2002, after his Best Director nomination for "Gosford Park," he joined the exclusive no-Oscar club: along with Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese, no other director has been nominated for five Best Director Oscars without a single win.


A sprightly Altman with Ryan Phillippe on the set of 2001’s "Gosford Park"

Altman started his career in the 1950s and 1960s directing shorts and television shows, including eight episodes of "Bonanza" and two episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." His first feature, the obscure 1968 sci-fi epic "Countdown," starred James Caan and Robert Duvall.

In 1970, Altman jumped into the spotlight with the brilliant "M*A*S*H." Not only was it a critical darling (with 93 percent on the Tomatometer), it had given Altman his first Best Director nod and another for Best Picture), it was also his biggest box office hit.

"He was the last great American director in the tradition of John Ford," said Elliot Gould, whose role in "M*A*S*H" made him a star. "He was my friend and I’ll always be grateful to him for the experience and opportunities he gave me."

On the set, Altman was famously democratic. He allowed actors to stray from the script, improvise, and watch the dailies for their input and chance to change the direction of their movie.


Altman’s "M*A*S*H* (1970), "Nashville" (1975) and "The Player" (1992)

"He loved the chaos of shooting and the sociability of the crew and actors — he adored actors — and he loved the editing room and he especially loved sitting in a screening room and watching the thing over and over with other people," said Garrison Keillor, who wrote Altman’s last movie, "A Prairie Home Companion." "He didn’t care for the money end of things, he didn’t mind doing publicity, but when he was working he was in heaven."

With "M*A*S*H" and 1975’s "Nashville" (an even bigger critical success with 94 percent on the Tomatometer, and again earning Altman Best Picture and Best Director nominations), the term "Altman-esque" to describe films of large ensemble casts and loose narratives was forever entrenched into the film buff vernacular.

Altman slipped into what some perceive as a dry spell after "Nashville," though his output never slowed. During the 1980s, he experimented with wildly different genres and sources, including theatrical one-man movies, ("Secret Honor"), comic strip adaptations ("Popeye"), and raunchy teen comedy ("O.C. and Stiggs").

In 1992, Altman staged a vital comeback in the form of "The Player," his first critical and commercial accomplishment in over a decade (which now sits at a 100% Tomatometer). Just one year after, Altman offered his most stunning and ambitious movie ever, "Short Cuts," a three-hour adaptation of several Raymond Carver stories. 1999’s "Magnolia" took heavy inspiration from "Short Cuts" and, in fact, "Magnolia" director P.T. Anderson was the back-up director for "Prairie Home Companion" if Altman was unable to finish it.


Altman’s "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" (1971), "Short Cuts" (1993), and "A Prairie Home Companion" (2006)

This past March, Altman received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar award for "a career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike." During the ceremony, he revealed that he received a heart transplant ten years earlier but kept it a secret, afraid that it would prevent him from finding work.

To quote Keillor again: "He and I once talked about making a movie about a man coming back to Lake Wobegon to bury his father, and Mr. Altman said, ‘The death of an old man is not a tragedy.’ All of us who worked with him had the great privilege of seeing an 81-year-old guy doing what he loved to do. I’m sorry that our movie turned out to be his last, but I do know that he loved making it. It’s a great thing to be 81 and in love."

It’s been joked that Altman proffered the cinema of "People Standing Around Talking and Using Hand Gestures." Altman himself had a variety of ways to illustrate his natural, organic way of filming. With "Gosford Park," it was as though "throwing pearls onto a parquet floor — we would see who was going to bump into whom and how it would all fit together." And with 2003’s "The Company," the structure was "a clothesline to hang the dance and then the lives of the characters."

"No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have," Altman said while accepting the Lifetime Oscar in March. "I’m very fortunate in my career. I’ve never had to direct a film I didn’t choose or develop. My love for filmmaking has given me an entree to the world and to the human condition."

This week at the movies brings us the profound discoveries of a great Kazak journalist ("Borat," starring Sacha Baron Cohen), a battle between Santa and Jack Frost ("The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," starring Tim Allen), and a tale of rats in the sewer ("Flushed Away," featuring the voice work of Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman). What do the critics have to say?

Jagshemash! Here in U.S and A., what do critic say about "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan?" They like! In fact, the scribes are almost universally pleased with the film, and some are going as far as calling it one of the funniest comedies ever. Part satire, part shockumentary, "Borat" follows the gleefully sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic title character (Cohen) on a cross-country trek to learn more about our strange nation; along the way he dredges up the seamy underbelly of American prejudice and ignorance. At 95 percent on the Tomatometer, "Borat" is not only Certified Fresh, it’s the best reviewed wide release of the year, topping such acclaimed movies as "Dave Chappelle’s Block Party," "The Departed," and "United 93." That’s a good thing, since Borat himself has said if the movie doesn’t do well, he will be execute.


Borat loves the U.S. and A.

It doesn’t sound like the most auspicious subject for a film: mice and rats are flushed down a toilet, where they find a bustling municipality in the sewer. However, in the hands of Aardman Productions, the endlessly imaginative company responsible for "Chicken Run" and "Wallace and Gromit," anything is possible. And so it is with "Flushed Away," which tells the upstairs-downstairs tale of a coddled mouse who finds action and adventure after a trip through the plumbing. Critics say that while "Flushed Away" may not achieve the dizzying heights of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (which scored 95 percent on the Tomatometer), it’s an eccentric, inventive family film with plenty of laughs. At 76 percent on the Tomatometer, "Flushed Away" is critically sanitized for your viewing pleasure.


Dive in! It’s fresh!

"The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," was barely screened for critics, much like star Tim Allen‘s last flick, "Zoom." The big difference is that "Clause" at least has a couple good reviews, whereas "Zoom" had none. The story of Santa’s duel with Jack Frost for control over Christmas, "Clause" hasn’t exactly enchanted the critics who have seen it; they say the movie is labored and mostly mirthless. It’s currently at 29 percent on the Tomatometer.


Yes, Virginia, there is a "Santa Clause 3."

Also opening this week in limited release: "Commune," a documentary about the Black Bear Ranch in California, is at 100 percent; "Romantico," a heartbreaking documentary about a musician working illegally in the U.S., is at 100 percent; Pedro Almodovar‘s "Volver," starring Penelope Cruz in a complex tale of womanhood, is Certified Fresh at 90 percent; "Wondrous Oblivion," the story of a boy and his neighbor who bond over the game of cricket, is at 60 percent; "Death & Texas," a death penalty satire, is at 60 percent; the twisty thriller "Unknown," starring Greg Kinnear, is at 29 percent; "Shottas," a based-on-true-events Jamaican crime flick, is at 20 percent; and "Zerophilia," a gender-bending rom-com, is at 18 percent.


Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz take a spectral walk down memory lane with "Volver." Check out our retrospective of the Spanish director’s work here.

Finally, we’d like to bestow props upon the whimsically monikered killthemall4444, who correctly predicted that the equally whimsical "Saw III" would wind up with a Tomatometer of 28 percent. Congrats, ktm4444.

Best Reviewed Wide Releases of 2006:
————————————————
95% — Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
93% — The Departed
90% — United 93
88% — Inside Man
84%– Akeelah and the Bee
83% — Slither
83% — The Descent
80% — A Prairie Home Companion
79% — Catch a Fire

Recent Tim Allen Movies:
——————————–
0% — Zoom (2006)
28% — The Shaggy Dog (2006)
4% — Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
55% — The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
22% — Who Is Cletis Tout? (2002)

Recent Sacha Baron Cohen Movies:
———————————————
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
55% — Madagascar (2005)
55% — Ali G Indahouse: The Movie (2002)

With the sale of independent-minded ThinkFilm last week, can indie film distributors survive without big studio backing?

Author: Juliana Tringali

ThinkFilm, best known for releasing 2004’s "Born Into Brothels," was recently purchased by the Capco group for $25 million. Group head David Bergstein plans to merge ThinkFilm with Capitol Films (another formerly fledgling distribution company), creating a "formidable new force in the independent marketplace."


We’re not going to tell you how the wheels on "Shortbus" go.

For five years, ThinkFilm has built a reputation for distributing daring films that many others wouldn’t touch. Its current theatrical releases include John Cameron Mitchell‘s sexually explicit "Shortbus" and "Half Nelson," the story of a drug addicted inner city teacher. Meanwhile, Capital Films has helped to sell such fare as "A Prairie Home Companion" to international markets.

Before the purchase, ThinkFilm was the one Canadian company distributing movies in the states. Their game plan was generally to acquire documentaries or daring low budget films and subsequently attempt to sell them to more mainstream audiences.

The strategy won an Oscar for "Brothels" (which scored a 96 percent on the Tomatometer), and garnered further nominations for other releases ("The Story of the Weeping Camel," "Murderball"). But despite some critical and moderate commercial successes (including "Spellbound"), none of the ThinkFilm’s offerings broke through to widespread box office popularity. Capco says the merger will allow ThinkFilm to be a bigger player in the global film market.


"Murderball": Better than "Rollerball!"

In the expensive world of film production, perhaps the acquisition of smaller companies has always been an uncomfortable but irrevocable truth. After all, when indie first went boom in 1994, its most powerful mainstays had already been snatched up.

Miramax was purchased by Walt Disney Co. in 1993 (just before releasing "Pulp Fiction," the shot that sounded out the new era in film). In 1994, Turner Broadcasting System purchased New Line Cinema, which had dared to produce movies from unknown filmmakers since 1967.


No, this isn’t a metaphor for the indies and the majors.

But 1994 was a time of optimism. Making films outside the studio system was not only possible, it was hot, and bright-eyed believers were standing up to be counted. Among them were Newmarket Films, then a new privately-owned production and distribution company (purchased by New Line/HBO in 2005), and the Independent Film Channel (IFC). Palm Pictures was started in 1998, and ThinkFilm began in 2001.

Studios had their finger on the pulse as well. In 1994, Fox Searchlight was introduced as the indie wing of 20th Century Fox and it went on to produce some of the most successful "independent" films of the 1990s. NBC Universal followed suit in 2002 with Focus Features. Not surprisingly, these smaller sectors of major studios have had more staying power than their more authentic counterparts.

Top Reviewed Limiteds

Opening last week in limited release: "Shut Up & Sing," a rockumentary about the Dixie Chicks, is at 93 percent with 30 reviews; "Exit: The Right to Die," a documentary about assisted suicide, is at 88 percent (8 reviews); "Absolute Wilson," a documentary about avant-gardist Robert Wilson, is at 82 percent (11 reviews); "Cocaine Cowboys," a documentary about drug smuggling in Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is at 78 percent (23 reviews); "Babel," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s globetrotting film about despair and interconnectivity, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, is at 74 percent (61 reviews); and "The Bridge," a doc about suicides on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, is at 64 percent (28 reviews).


Dixie Chicks flick: a hit with crits!

Top Performing Limiteds

"Babel" was the biggest indie winner this week, grossing $366,000 for a big per-screen average of $52,258, despite playing in only seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Stephen Frears‘ "The Queen," starring Helen Mirren, continued its strong performance, grossing $1.9 million, with a $12,638 per-screen average (it’s made $6.3 million during its theatrical run). "Shut Up & Sing" made $51,000 in four theaters, for an average of $12,750. But something of a disappointment was "Death of a President" which, despite the hum of controversy, made only $167,000 with a per-screen average of $1,835.


Why so blue, Cate? Critics and audiences like "Babel."

This week at the movies, we’ve got cops and robbers in Boston ("The Departed," starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon), chainsaw massacres in Texas ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," starring Jordana Brewster), and retail employees in New Mexico ("Employee of the Month," starring Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook). What do the critics have to say?

Is Martin Scorsese America’s greatest living filmmaker? He’s certainly bolstering his case with "The Departed." The film, which is a loose remake of the Hong Kong thriller "Infernal Affairs," tells the story of two moles, one of whom (DiCaprio) a cop undercover within a Boston crime family led by Jack Nicholson, and the other (Damon) a hood who has infiltrated the police department. Critics say Scorsese has created a crime drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality that infused such past triumphs as "GoodFellas," with outstanding work from an excellent cast. At 96 percent on the Tomatometer, "The Departed" may signify a new arrival for the master director; Scorsese’s best reviewed wide release since "GoodFellas." And it’s not only Certified Fresh, but it’s also the best reviewed wide release of the year.


"Wait a minute… you’re telling me I ripped that ‘how do you like them apples’ line off from you?"

The lives of wage slaves are often grist for the cinema’s mill, whether comic ("Clerks"), dramatic ("One Hour Photo") or both ("The Good Girl"). Now comes "Employee of the Month," starring Cook as a slacker at a Costco-like box store who whips himself into shape when attractive new hire (Simpson) comes on board. Critics say the movie has a few good laughs, but Cook and Simpson lack chemistry, and the film doesn’t do much beyond showing employee antics. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, audiences may want to hire a different "Employee."


"And these are called ‘numbers.’ I know, it’s confusing."

For horror fans who are interested in the origin of Leatherface, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" provides some back story on the Lone Star State’s scariest resident. It also provides oodles of gore, and a style reminiscent of the original. Unfortunately, the critics say it doesn’t provide enough scares to make the experience worthwhile. The plot involves a group of young adults headed to Mexico for a good time before two brothers go to fight in Vietnam; naturally, Leatherface curtails their enjoyment in a hurry. The scribes say the film is a little too rote, and at 14 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Chainsaw" doesn’t cut very deep. (Read RT’s interview with director Jonathan Liebesman here.)


"The unsuspecting teenagers wail/ along the trail/ deep in the heart of Texas"

Also opening this week in limited release: "Blood Tea and Red String," a handmade stop-motion fairy tale 13 years in the making, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "So Goes the Nation," a documentary about the 2004 election season in Ohio, is at 100 percent; "49 Up," the latest in Michael Apted‘s remarkable documentary series about growing and changing in England, is at 94 percent; "Black Gold," a documentary about the global effects of the coffee trade, is at 88 percent; "Little Children," a tale of suburban angst starring Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly, is at 79 percent; "Shortbus," John Cameron Mitchell‘s warmhearted exploration of unconventional sexuality, is at 68 percent; and "Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," a documentary about the eponymous Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning scribe, is at 55 percent. And "The Queen," which is expanding this week, is at 98 percent, making it the third best reviewed limited release of the year.


"Blood Tea and Red String":"The King of Cartoons!"

Recent Martin Scorsese Movies:
—————————————
92% — No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)
89% — The Aviator (2004)
77% — Gangs of New York (2002)
100% — My Voyage to Italy (2001)
72% — Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Texas Chainsaw Massacres:
———————————-
86% — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
50% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
23% — Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1989)
16% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
37% — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Best Reviewed Wide Releases Of 2006
————————————-
(Releases with at least 40 reviews)
96% — The Departed
93% — Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
93% — Little Miss Sunshine
90% — United 93
88% — Inside Man
84% — Akeelah and the Bee
83% — Slither
83% — The Descent
80% — A Prairie Home Companion
78% — The Devil Wears Prada

Best Reviewed Limited Releases Of 2006
—————————————
(Releases with at least 40 reviews)
98% — Kekexeli: Mountain Patrol
98% — The War Tapes
98% — The Queen
96% — Army of Shadows
95% — Wordplay
93% — Fateless
93% — Little Miss Sunshine
92% — The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
92% — An Inconvenient Truth
92% — Lassie

This week’s wide releases both involve publishing. In "The Devil Wears Prada," the setting is a fashion magazine, and in "Superman Returns," it’s The Daily Planet. So maybe that’s why the critics like both these movies so much…

While there has been some debate over the quality of Lauren Weisberger’s novel "The Devil Wears Prada," there’s less divergence over the movie adaptation, particularly because of the presence of Meryl Streep in the titular role. Anne Hathaway plays an earnest small-town girl who hopes to write high-minded stuff for the New Yorker, but is little match for the Cruella De Ville-esque Miranda Priestly (Streep). The scribes say the film ultimately works because of Streep’s excellent performance, but "The Devil Wears Prada" is also an incisive examination of workplace politics. At 76 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Devil" wears a Certified Fresh badge.


After a long, arduous trial, Meryl Streep was acquitted by the fashion police, but convicted by the sunglass police.

You may have heard that there’s a new Superman movie out. It’s called "Superman Returns," and it stars a relative unknown as the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh), an actress who was in that Bobby Darin movie (Kate Bosworth), and the guy who played Bobby Darin himself in that same movie, this time playing Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey). (Dude, he was probably Keyzer Soze as well) The critics say "Superman Returns" is able to pull off the neat trick of sticking closely to the age-old particulars of the Superman myth, while making them fresh. "Superman Returns" is at 76 percent on the Tomatometer, and it’s Certified Fresh.


"I’ll have a root beer float, hold the kryptonite."

This is a week of well-reviewed releases in general. Also opening, albeit in limited release: "Who Killed the Electric Car," a documentary about the short-lived EV1, is at 87 percent; "The Motel," a coming-of-age tale set in a fleabag motel, is at 82 percent; "The Blood of My Brother," a documentary about death in Iraq, is at 67 percent; and the big-screen adaptation of the cult TV hit "Strangers With Candy" is at 57 percent.

Recent Meryl Streep Movies:
————————————
80% — A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
50% — Prime (2005)
81% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
71% — Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
62% — Stuck On You (2003)

Recent Bryan Singer Movies:
————————————-
87% — X2: X-Men United (2003)
80% — X-Men (2000)
53% — Apt Pupil (1998)
90% — The Usual Suspects (1995)
50% — Public Access (1993)

Despite the arrival of four new films cluttering the multiplexes, the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars remained the most popular movie in North America for a second straight weekend.

Among the freshman class, both the comedy Nacho Libre and the actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift opened with impressive numbers targeting young male moviegoers. The Keanu ReevesSandra Bullock romance The Lake House appealed to adult women and saw a respectable showing while the kid sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties opened poorly. With so much new product entering the marketplace, most holdovers suffered large declines.

Cars was once again the box office champion and grossed an estimated $31.2M in its second weekend boosting its ten-day cume to a stellar $114.5M. Though taking home another trophy, the G-rated film experienced a disturbing decline of 48% from last weekend which was much higher than the sophomore drops of previous Disney/Pixar toons. The last film from the companies, The Incredibles, dipped only 29% while 2003’s Finding Nemo eased 34%. Each bowed to about $70M and raced to over $143M in ten days. Cars opened last week about $10M weaker and is now eroding faster which means it is not likely to come close to the lofty heights reached previously. After ten days, Cars is running 20% behind the pace of Nemo and Incredibles. The talking automobile flick will still try to reach the $200M mark before running out of gas.

Opening a few notches behind in second place was the wrestling comedy Nacho Libre with an estimated $27.5M from 3,070 theaters. Averaging a muscular $8,962 per ring, the Paramount release stars Jack Black as a cook who moonlights as a flamboyant wrestler and was directed by Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess. The $35M film appealed to young guys with studio data showing that 53% of the audience was male and 55% was under the age of 25. Nacho Libre began its weekend a bit early with 10pm preview shows on Thursday night which helped propel Friday’s opening day to a solid $11M. The PG-rated film dropped 14% to $9.4M on Saturday however, which could indicate a bumpy ride ahead.

Universal raced into third place with its street racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which opened with an estimated $24.1M. The PG-13 pic debuted in 3,027 locations and averaged a strong $7,947 average. The studio generated a strong performance considering this was the third time around for the franchise and that most of the stars of the first two Furious films were nowhere to be found. Young guys were the driving force behind the $75M Drift which like its predecessors appealed to a multicultural audience. According to studio data, 58% of the audience was male, 60% was under 25, and 71% was non-white.

Lucas Black and Bow Wow led the mostly unknown cast as fans responded more to the fast cars and racing attitudes than to starpower. The studio’s decision to include Vin Diesel‘s cameo in the television commercials also may have sparked interest from fans of the franchise. Tokyo Drift did not open as well as the first two pics in the series, but that was expected. In 2001, The Fast and the Furious opened to $40.1M on its way to $144.5M while its 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious debuted to $50.5M leading to a $127.2M tally. Tokyo Drift also opened in eight international markets this weekend grossing an estimated $7.5M from 825 theaters including number one openings in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand. Japan, where the film is set, will open in September.

A dozen years after exciting audiences in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunited in the romantic drama The Lake House which debuted in fourth place with an estimated $13.7M. The Warner Bros. release averaged a respectable $5,166 from 2,645 theaters. The PG-rated film was a remake of the Korean drama Il Mare and told the story of a man and a woman from two different years who communicate and fall in love through letters they send to each other in a magical mailbox at a lake house. Reviews were not very good and both stars routinely see bigger openings for their films.

Universal’s The Break-Up dropped 53% in its third weekend and took fifth place with an estimated $9.5M boosting the 17-day cume to $91.9M.

Fox took up the next three spots on the chart starting with its kidpic sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties which flopped in its debut grossing an estimated $7.2M. Playing in 2,945 theaters, the PG-rated comedy averaged a weak $2,445 per venue. The first Garfield opened to $21.7M in June 2004 on its way to $75.4M domestically and a stellar $198M worldwide forcing the studio to dip into the well again with a new story. Bill Murray returned to voice the fat cat in Kitties which brought the characters to England for another adventure, but most families did not show much interest.

The year’s top-grossing domestic hit, X-Men: The Last Stand, tumbled another 56% in its fourth outing and grossed an estimated $7.2M. With a stellar $215.5M in the bank, the mutant sequel became the top-grossing installment of the super hero trilogy surpassing the $214.9M of X2: X-Men United from 2003. The horror remake The Omen placed eighth with an estimated $5.4M conveniently making its decline 66.6%. The top ten’s only R-rated pic has now grossed $46.9M to date for Fox.

Sony’s The Da Vinci Code followed with an estimated $5M, off 52%, pushing the domestic cume to $198.5M. Overseas, the Ron HowardTom Hanks vehicle uncovered another $15.2M this weekend as the international sum surged to $480M. The world’s biggest blockbuster of the year has now taken in an incredible $678.5M globally. Rounding out the top ten was the animated pic Over the Hedge with an estimated $4M, off 60%, for a $138.8M total.

The biggest summer hits continued to keep pace with last year’s. The collective gross for the top five summer releases reached $797.3M which was down less than 1% from the $802.5M from this point a year ago.

Four films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Robert Altman‘s A Prairie Home Companion fell 43% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $2.6M giving the Picturehouse release a ten-day tally of $8.8M. Look for a finish in the vicinity of $15M. The hit family comedy RV held up well during its seven-week run in the top ten, but this weekend the Robin Williams pic crashed 74% and grossed an estimated $500,000. With $66.4M in its tank, the Sony release is not expected to collect much more.

The Tom Cruise spy sequel Mission: Impossible III tumbled 61% in its seventh mission to an estimated $1.2M putting its cume at $130M. The Paramount sequel is the highest-grossing summer kick-off film since 2003’s X2, but with a $150M budget and a deafening amount of marketing hype, it has to be considered somewhat disappointing for the studio. The first two Mission pics grossed $181M in 1996 and $215.4M in 2000. MI3 should end its campaign with around $132M. Overseas, the Ethan Hunt film has grossed more than $200M to date.

The summer season’s second big offering Poseidon continued to sink dropping 66% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $620,000. The $160M Warner Bros. disaster film has taken in only $56.5M from North America making it one of the biggest underachievers of the summer. However, like most effects-driven action films, Poseidon is doing much better internationally where it grossed another $9M from 41 countries this weekend to boost the overseas take to $70.8M. Korea and Japan continue to be the most successful markets for the ocean liner pic with grosses that far outdistance those in key European territories.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $134.7M which was up 6% from last year when Batman Begins debuted at number one with $48.7M; and up 5% from 2004 when Dodgeball opened in the top spot with $30.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The Disney/Pixar animated film Cars raced past the competition to finish in first place at the North American box office. Though it did not open as strong as some of its predecessors, the toon easily outdistanced everything else in the current marketplace outselling the second place film by a three-to-one margin.

Also debuting this weekend, the horror remake The Omen scared up a solid debut since its Tuesday launch and the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion also posted healthy numbers in its opening. Overall, the box office remained stronger than last year’s thanks to an assortment of popular films offering something for everybody. Six films reached double-digit millions this weekend as the marketplace displayed great breadth in its product offering.

Crossing the finish line with an estimated $62.8M in ticket sales, Cars easily topped the charts this weekend giving Disney and Pixar their seventh number one hit together. Playing at an ultrawide 3,985 theaters, the G-rated story of a cocky race car who learns that winning isn’t everything averaged a musclar $15,759 per site. The opening did, however, put an end to the decade-long streak that Pixar enjoyed where every film debuted bigger than the previous one. The company’s last entry The Incredibles bowed to $70.5M from 3,933 theaters for a $17,917 average in November 2004 while the previous smash Finding Nemo opened to $70.3M from 3,374 venues for a $20,821 average in May 2003.

Cars did not reach the $70M mark that those two hits surpassed on opening weekend and instead performed just like Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. which launched with $62.6M in November 2001. However, the new automotive adventure enjoyed higher ticket prices and 748 more theaters yet still reached the same figure. Among all animated films, the Cars opening ranks fifth all-time behind Shrek 2 ($108M), The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Ice Age: The Meltdown which bowed to $68M this past March. Cars did generate the second largest June opening ever behind Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which exploded two years ago with $93.7M.

One reason Cars did not surge higher may have been that the marketplace has suffered through a glut of computer animated films this year. Not long ago, the arrival of a digital toon was an event as it only happened once or twice a year. Nowadays with weaker entries like Doogal and The Wild hitting theaters, and more studios jumping into the game, the novelty has worn thin. Over the Hedge and Ice Age have been satisfying families over the past two months grossing a stellar $322M combined. Also not helping matters was the film’s lengthy 116-minute running time which is considerably longer than the typical 90-minute length that most young kids are used to sitting through.

Directed by Pixar veteran John Lasseter (Toy Story, Toy Story 2), Cars features the voices of Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, and Larry the Cable Guy. Disney pumped in lots of marketing to push its first major entry in the summer sweepstakes and hopes to keep audiences coming back for more with the July 7 release of its Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.

With more and more school children starting their summer vacations every day, mid-week grosses should be strong in the weeks ahead for Cars. Reviews have been good so many fans may end up catching the film in the weeks ahead. The Incredibles went on to reach a final domestic haul of $261.4M which was almost four times its opening weekend. Nemo had even stronger legs finding its way to $339.7M, or about five times its debut. Given its start out of the gate, Cars still looks set to zoom well past the $200M mark in North America.

Following its surprise top spot debut last weekend, the Vince VaughnJennifer Aniston comedy The Break-Up dropped a sizable 48% in its sophomore frame and placed second with an estimated $20.5M. With an impressive $74.1M in only ten days, the Universal release looks to reach the neighborhood of $120M by the end of its domestic run. It was produced for $52M. Overseas, The Break-Up opened in Australia and New Zealand with a combined $2.2M from 230 locations, helped by local appearances by the film’s stars. It ranked number one in both countries on Thursday and Friday, but was bumped by Cars on Saturday and Sunday thanks to the Pixar flick’s strong matinee business with children. Most other major international markets will open after the World Cup.


X-Men: The Last Stand
dropped a hefty 54% in its third weekend and grossed an estimated $15.6M. The super hero hit upped its cume to $201.7M after 17 days and became the top-grossing film of 2006. Fox’s franchise flick is still on course to surpass the $214.9M of its predecessor to become the highest grossing X-Men installment.

Opening right on the heels of the mutants was the studio’s remake of The Omen which took in an estimated $15.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Fox launched the R-rated thriller with a much-hyped Tuesday debut on 6/6/06 grossing a stunning $12.6M in its first day. That made it the largest Tuesday gross ever for any film. The son-of-the-devil pic settled in to more normal grosses on subsequent days and collected a hefty $20.3M over the Tuesday-to-Thursday mid-week period giving The Omen a strong six-day opening tally of $35.7M. Reviews were not too favorable.

Starring Julia Stiles, Liev Schreiber, and Mia Farrow, the new religious chiller played more to today’s younger horror audience than to the older fans who were spooked by the 1976 original. Studio research showed that 52% of the audience was female and a very high 63% was under the age of 25. Fox estimated that the production cost for the new Damien pic was in the mid-$20M range. The studio’s decision to open the film globally on the devilish date was central to the marketing campaign and made it an event film rather than yet another remake of a horror classic. But with sales eroding over the course of the week, The Omen could be in for some steep declines in the weeks ahead.

The animated comedy Over the Hedge experienced its largest drop yet thanks to the arrival of Cars falling 50% to an estimated $10.3M. The Paramount release has collected a solid $130.3M thus far. Tied for fifth place, Sony’s religious thriller The Da Vinci Code dropped 45% to an estimated $10.3M pushing its domestic total to $189M.

Opening in seventh place with respectable results was Robert Altman’s latest film A Prairie Home Companion with an estimated $4.7M from only 760 theaters. Averaging a solid $6,146 per location, the PG-13 film about the backstage drama behind a country music reunion show featured an all-star ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Lindsay Lohan. Prairie, which earned mostly positive reviews, was released by Picturehouse and played to a mature adult audience.

Paramount’s spy sequel Mission: Impossible III grossed an estimated $3M, down 35%, giving the Tom Cruise actioner $127.5M to date. Robin Williams saw his family comedy RV dip 38% to an estimated $2M in its seventh weekend giving Sony $65M. Rounding out the top ten was Poseidon with an estimated $1.8M, down 47%, for a $54.9M cume for Warner Bros.

Although the summer season is lacking a $300M+ megahit like last year’s Star Wars Episode III, the most popular films are still pulling in the same amount of business. The collective gross of the top five summer films so far is $722.6M which is up 2.4% from this same point a year ago. However, it is still a far cry from the mammoth $907M that 2004’s five biggest summer hits grossed at this stage two years ago led by the Shrek and Harry Potter sequels.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Paramount Vantage’s global warming hit An Inconvenient Truth widened from 77 to 122 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.5M in its third frame. Though no longer in the top ten, it did still post a strong per-theater average of $12,077. The Al Gore film has taken in just under $4M from its limited release and will expand to about 400 runs nationwide this Friday.

The Lionsgate horror entry See No Evil got hacked 58% to an estimated $860,000 for a cume of $14M. A $15M final seems likely. Lindsay Lohan‘s teen comedy Just My Luck tumbled by two-thirds to an estimated $295,000. The Fox title has grossed a disappointing $16.2M to date and should finish up with only a little more.

Opening this weekend in limited release was the documentary The Heart of the Game which follows a girls high school basketball team and its coach. The Miramax title grossed an estimated $12,200 from just three theaters for a decent $4,068 average.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.4M which was up 9% from last year when Mr. & Mrs. Smith debuted at number one with $50.3M; but off 3% from 2004 when Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban remained in the top spot with $34.9M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com