(Photo by Buena Vista/ courtesy Everett Collection)
John Cusack pulled off the tricky act of being one of those It kids of the ’80s without having that distinction become an albatross hanging across his career once the decade ended. Cusack found breakthrough roles in just about every permutation of the teen comedy in the spandex and big-hair era: the hormonal-driven (One Crazy Summer), the bizarro creations (Better Off Dead), the rom-com (The Sure Thing). But Cusack had an erudite quality that separated him from his contemporaries, drawing him to name directors like John Sayles (Eight Men Out) and Cameron Crowe, the latter of whom he worked with to close out the decade with perhaps the best romantic-comedy in a decade full of classics: 1989’s Say Anything….
Cusack of the 1990s represented a maturation that allowed him to fit into just about any mold: drama (The Thin Red Line), comedy (Bullets Over Broadway, The Grifters, Being John Malkovich), romance (Pushing Tin), and even action (Con Air). Some movies combined all the genres, like 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank (in which he plays a hitman attending his high school reunion), one of those high-concept Hollywood movies that endures for decades after release.
2000’s High Fidelity may have been the last we’ve seen of Cusack in classic rom-com leading man form, as in the ensuing years he’s been putting more work into genre fare, and playing shadowy figures and villains. Highlights from this ongoing period include 1408, 2012, and Grand Piano. Meanwhile, 2015’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy is just about as good as anything he’s done in his career. And now we’re taking a look back with all John Cusack movies ranked by Tomatometer!
The North American box office exploded thanks to the scorching debuts of the
Crowe crime drama
Seinfeld‘s animated comedy
Bee Movie which
combined for over $85M in ticket sales. Following weeks of sluggish business
where the marketplace failed to match 2006 levels, this weekend’s box office
enjoyed a healthy bounce over last year and kicked off the holiday movie season
with a bang.
Washington and Crowe both scored new career highs with the estimated $46.3M
opening weekend for the crime saga
which dominated the multiplexes. Universal opened the R-rated tale in 3,054
theaters and generated a scorching $15,175 average per location. Directed by
Gangster tells the true story of a drug kingpin who built up a heroin empire in
Harlem in the early 1970s. The opening easily beat out the former all-time
biggest debuts for the Oscar-winning actors: Washington’s
Inside Man with
$29M and Crowe’s Gladiator with $34.8M.
American Gangster enjoyed the second highest launch of the year for an
R-rated film trailing only 300‘s
$70.9M. Much of the success came from strong sales from young males and the
urban audience which saw it as a
today’s generation. The same audience also helped to power
hip hop drama 8 Mile
to a surprising number one opening of $51.2M in November of 2002. Brian Grazer
produced both Mile and Gangster. Reviews were mostly favorable and
early Academy Award buzz could help the film in the weeks ahead. Despite the
long running time of nearly two hours and forty minutes, moviegoers lined up and
found their showtimes.
Paramount and DreamWorks settled for a second place debut for their latest
animated film Bee
Movie which grossed an estimated $39.1M in its opening weekend. The
PG-rated toon averaged a sturdy $9,954 from 3,928 locations and performed just a
bit below the levels of recent November animated titles. Last year, the penguin
pic Happy Feet
bowed to $41.5M while the previous year’s
launched with $40M. The two went on to gross $198M and $135.4M, respectively,
from the North American market. Co-written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld, Bee
Movie enjoyed virtually no competition in the current marketplace for family
audiences. Critics were not too kind, but ticket buyers showed interest on the
opening weekend. For 2007, the toon posted the fourth biggest debut for an
animated film after
Shrek the Third
Simpsons Movie ($74M) and
Suffering the largest sophomore drop in franchise history,
Saw IV tumbled 65%
from its top spot bow and grossed an estimated $11M. The Lionsgate title has
still banked an impressive $51.1M in ten days and should finish with nearly
Dan in Real Life
fared much better in its second weekend dropping a slim 31% to an estimated
$8.1M. With $23M in ten days, the romantic comedy might find its way to around
$50M despite playing in less than 2,000 theaters.
Neglected and landing in seventh place was the new
Child which opened with an estimated $3.7M. Playing in 2,020
locations, the PG-rated story of a man that adopts a boy who says he’s from Mars
averaged a pitiful $1,807 for New Line. Child was the seventh wide release in
the past six weeks to debut with an average of less than $2,000.
Three adult-skewing fall pics followed.
Michael Clayton collected an estimated $2.9M, down 41%, for a sum of
$33.2M for Warner Bros. Lionsgate’s
Did I Get Married? got hit hard by Denzel’s arrival tumbling 52 to
an estimated $2.7M. Cume is $51.2M. The Miramax mystery Gone
Baby Gone captured an estimated $2.4M, off 37%, for a $14.9M total.
Warner Independent saw a solid platform bow for its documentary
which saw an estimated $24,000 in ticket sales from only three theaters.
Averaging $8,000 per venue, the Don Cheadle-narrated film will expand on Friday
to more cities.
Three October titles fell sharply and left the top ten this weekend. Disney’s
latest re-release of
Nightmare Before Christmas saw its post-Halloween sales slump 55% to
an estimated $1.5M for a cume of $12.8M. A $15M final seems likely. The
We Own the Night
fell 59% to an estimated $1.4M. The Sony release has taken in $27.7M and could
make it to $30M. The spoof comedy
grossed an estimated $1.5M, down 56%, and has collected a disappointing $11.9M
for Fox. Look for a $13M final.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $124.1M which was up 14% from last
year when Borat debuted
in first place with $26.5M; and up 8% from 2005 when Chicken Little
opened in the top spot with $40M.
Author: Gitesh Pandaya,
This week at the movies, we’ve got crime lords (American Gangster,
Denzel Washington and
Russell Crowe), busy bees (Bee Movie,
starring Jerry Seinfeld), and kids from another planet (The Martian Child,
starring John Cusack). What do the critics have to say?
It’s a crime flick starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe that’s directed
by Ridley Scott. How could this possibly go wrong? According to critics, it
American Gangster tells the story of a low-level criminal
(Washington) who moves up the ladder when his boss dies; Crowe plays an
outcast cop on his trail. Pundits say Gangster is a remarkable entry into
the crime genre, with excellent performances, a compelling sense of moral
ambiguity, and an outstanding eye for 1970s period detail. At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, American Gangster is Certified Fresh. (Check out
this week’s Total Recall, where we examine some notable organized crime films from the
Jerry Seinfeld lends his distinctive brand of observational humor to
Bee Movie, a CGI feature about our
pollen-producing pals and their interactions with people. Seinfeld stars as the voice of a recent bee graduate
looking for a purpose in life. Leaving the hive for the first time, he comes
into contact with a human (Renée Zellweger) and becomes concerned over
humanity’s rampant consumption of honey. Critics say Bee Movie is
elevated by Seinfeld’s witty humor, but otherwise, this is an amiable but
forgettable affair. At 57 percent on the Tomatometer, this is no killer Bee.
(Check out RT’s interview with Seinfeld
Also opening this week in limited release:
re-release of the 1981 French action classic, is at 100 percent;
Joe Strummer: The Future is
Unwritten, a documentary about the late, great singer of the Clash, is at
94 percent on the Tomatometer (check out our interview with director Julien
here); Sharkwater,a documentary that explains the importance of are sharp-toothed friends in the
global ecosystem, is at 75 percent;
Fat Girls, an indie comedy about a
pair of high school outcasts, is at 60 percent; and
Darfur Now, a doc
about efforts to end the genocide in Sundan, is at 45 percent.
Following a sluggish fall season, November kicks off with a bang this weekend with two high profile films both reaching for the number one spot while appealing to vastly different audiences. Paramount and DreamWorks target kids with the animated comedy Bee Movie from Jerry Seinfeld while Universal goes after adult audiences with its crime drama American Gangster which pits Denzel Washington against Russell Crowe. With little overlap in business, the overall North American box office should surge and finally beat out year-ago levels leading to a solid kickoff for the holiday movie season.
A decade after conquering the television world, Jerry Seinfeld aims to take over the land of film with Bee Movie. The PG-rated toon tells the story of a bee that must try to save his world from those nasty humans that take their honey. Also lending vocal talents are Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Rock who snagged the coveted ‘and’ credit for what amounts to about 60 seconds of dialogue. Timing for the Paramount/DreamWorks release is as good as it gets. Not only is early November a hot time for kids movies to score at the box office but the marketplace has suffered a virtual drought when it comes to family-friendly entertainment this fall with The Game Plan being the only major contender. Parents are dying to take their kids to something else, anything else.
Bee Movie falls into the lucrative category of digitally animated comedies about talking creatures featuring the voice of a popular comedian. Last November’s Happy Feet with Robin Williams opened to $41.5M, the previous year’s Chicken Little bowed to $40M, and 2004’s Shark Tale debuted with $47.6M. Bee has the slick animation and funny situations that kids like but also features humor that adults will enjoy too so it will play to a broad audience. And the millions of Seinfeld fans that have had nothing but DVD box sets every Thanksgiving will finally have some new material they can check out from their favorite comic. Critics have not been very kind but that should not affect the grosses that much. The studio’s marketing blitz will be enough to make children demand a trip to the local megaplex. With a highly commercial product, no competition for the family audience, and an ultrawide launch in over 3,500 theaters, Bee Movie could win the box office battle this weekend and gross about $42M.
Gangster should play out like a Denzel movie more than anything else since his box office track record is the strongest and has more consistency than those of Scott and Crowe. Having scored ten career number one openings to date, Washington has seen his top bow come from last year’s Inside Man which debuted to $29M and a $10,275 average. Last fall’s organized crime hit The Departed opened to $26.9M and a $8,912 average and makes for a good comparison given its genre, starpower, acclaim, rating, and length. Gangster will attract a larger African American audience than Scorsese‘s award winner did so an opening north of $30M seems likely. Appeal to men and women will be equally strong. Many adult dramas have struggled at the box office this fall but American Gangster has the firepower to go out there and pull in paying audiences. Plus the weekend’s other major offerings will not eat into its customer base by too much. Heading into 3,054 theaters, American Gangster might debut with around $34M this weekend.
Look for a better hold from Steve Carell‘s dramedy Dan in Real Life. The Buena Vista title enjoyed a solid average and has generated good word-of-mouth. The weekend’s new releases may not provide too much competition so a decline of 35% could result. That would put Dan at around $7.5M for a total of $22M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Crashing into multiplexes on a tidal wave of buzz was the raunchy comedy Borat which only debuted in 837 theaters but scored a potent top spot bow of $26.5M for a sizzling average of $31,607. The Fox blockbuster was the only film in 2006 to hit number one while playing in less than 2,000 venues. Final grosses reached $128.5M domestically and over $260M worldwide. Two new kidpics split the family audience and followed in second and third. Disney’s Tim Allen sequel The Santa Clause 3 bowed to $19.5M on its way to $84.5M while Paramount’s animated comedy Flushed Away debuted close behind with $18.8M before finishing with $64.5M. Falling to fourth was Saw III with $14.8M for Lionsgate while the Warner Bros. crime thriller The Departed rounded out the top five with $7.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com,
Described by The Hollywood Reporter as "a cross between E.T. and Parenthood" is the upcoming family film "The Martian Child." John Cusack ("High Fidelity") and Amanda Peet ("The Whole Nine Yards") are set to play the lead roles, and Menno Meyjes ("Max") will be in the director’s chair. First-time feature screenwriters Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass will be adapting David Gerrold’s short story. Plus Joan Cusack‘s set to play the sister of John’s character … which is great because they really are siblings, and because Joan’s usually pretty hilarious.