The adventure is one of the hardest kinds of movie to define, but like certain other genres: “You know it when you see it.” Adventures are grand, exciting, and often epic tales, usually focused on people on a mission, whose purposes include fame, fortune, and glory. The best adventure movies can run on the thrill of exploration and discovery, treading deep into jungles, stalking across arid deserts, or sailing across open oceans. The casts of characters feature rambunctious pirates, lordly counts, mercenaries and bounty hunters, big whales, and even bigger apes. And adventure movies can invite their other genre buddies along for the ride, too, including fantasy and science-fiction.
Now we’re embarking on our own journey, plundering gem after gem for a guide to what we’re calling the essential adventure movies if you love the genre. Listing these best adventure movies in chronological order, we begin a century in the past, when the adventure genre was defined by the swashbucklers of Captain Blood and The Three Musketeers. At the same time, the fantastical elements introduced in King Kong and Wizard of Oz marked adventure movies as the spot to introduce the latest in dazzling special effects.
After World War II, the adventure genre entered its prestige era, with historical epics like Lawrence of Arabia and The Man Who Would Be King, and tales of derring-do in The African Queen and The Great Escape. Here it should be said there is a certain Western-centric viewpoint that cannot be denied as inherent to many adventure movies, one that ‘others’ different countries and cultures. And hopefully what elevates these movies above that are their swaggering sense of playful optimism and lighthearted fun.
That’s certainly evident in Raiders of the Lost Ark, whose retro serial action and intrigue established the adventure formula for a new generation, which marched on through Indiana Jones’ sequels, Romancing the Stone, National Treasure, and The Mummy. During the same ’80s Indy decade, the adventure genre opened itself back up to sci-fi and fantasy, along with spotlighting younger protagonists, leading to The Goonies, The NeverEnding Story, Labyrinth, and more.
Around the turn of the century, the adventure movie successfully aided the resurrection of other genres that common Hollywood wisdom had deemed box office poison: swashbucklers (The Mask of Zorro), high fantasy (The Lord of the Rings), and even the pirate movie (Pirates of the Caribbean), which had been sent to Davy Jones’ Locker after Cutthroat Island sank Carolco Pictures.
And since 2012’s Life of Pi, there’s been another adventure resurgence with The Jungle Book and more Kong and Jumanji movies.
Now, continue on and discover the 60 best adventure movies to watch now!
Inspired by The Green Inferno, this week’s 24 Frames treks deep into some of the most dangerous and deadly jungle settings ever captured on film.
New Line hopes to breathe some life into the North American box office with the launch of its pricey adventure film The Golden Compass which stands as the frame’s only new wide release. Directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), the PG-13 film aims to capture a large crowd including the family audience and fans of sci-fi and fantasy. Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, who proved in the summer flop The Invasion that their names only carry so much commercial weight, reunite to star in the effects-heavy film.
Working in its favor is the fact that all other studios have avoided programming their major offerings onto this weekend’s schedule. In fact it is quite rare to see two consecutive frames with only one national opener each. Media attention is concentrated on it this week and with multiplexes dumping their aging November flops, Compass will secure extra screens. The studio’s marketing push has been powerful and awareness is high which makes sense as New Line is hoping for a new fantasy franchise that can keep the cash rolling in for years to come. Teens and young adults who frequent the multiplexes the most should come out in solid numbers since they’ve seen every other worthy film already. Older adults will be a little harder to reach since holiday shopping is a major distraction on weekends right now plus reviews for Compass have not exactly been stellar.
Although the property will target many of the same folks who have dropped billions on fantasy smashes like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia, the source material is not as popular plus there is already backlash from some in the religious community for the anti-Christian material in the Philip Pullman books. Reaching the $65.6M opening of Narnia from this very weekend two years ago will be impossible. Instead, a debut closer to the $27.5M of Beowulf last month could be in order since there may be much overlap. Compass has more appeal for younger kids and females so a bigger bow should result. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, The Golden Compass might premiere to the tune of $33M this weekend.
With girls lining up for Giselle and company, their brothers have been taking a historical adventure with the computer-animated action pic Beowulf which has been holding its own since its debut. Golden Compass will also be a threat since there is much audience overlap. But Beowulf‘s good legs suggest that a drop of 35% could be in order here as well. That would leave the Paramount project with about $5M pushing the cume up to $76M.
Sony’s holiday reunion film This Christmas and Fox’s assassin thriller Hitman both witnessed larger sophomore declines so a fall of 40% each should occur this weekend. Christmas would take in just under $5M for a $42M total while Hitman should bank $3.5M for a $36M sum.
LAST YEAR: Mel Gibson scored his second straight number one opening for a historical foreign language film he directed with Apocalypto which debuted on top with $15M. The Buena Vista release went on to capture a solid $50.9M. Three-time champ Happy Feet was bumped down to second with $12.9M in its fourth frame. Sony’s romantic comedy The Holiday bowed in third with $12.8M for Sony. The Cameron Diaz–Kate Winslet pic went on to gross $63.2M domestically and a stunning $200M worldwide. Studio stablemate Casino Royale slipped to fourth with $8.9M. Warner Bros. launched its action thriller Blood Diamond in fifth with a mediocre $8.6M on its way to $57.4M from North America and $171M globally. Opening in seventh was the studio’s other new wide release of the frame, the family comedy Unaccompanied Minors, with only $5.8M leading to a weak $16.6M final.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Sound the alarms! Tonight’s telecast (8pm EST) of the 64th Annual Golden Globes Awards signaled the real start of Oscar mania, so check out our list of winners…and weigh in with your own two cents on who won, who should’ve won, and who definitely should not have worn what. RESULTS IN NOW!!
Royal thesps Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker took home Best Actor nods (for "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland," respectively) as expected, and "Dreamgirls" re-cemented its still-potent Oscar power with three wins (Jennifer Hudson for Best Supporting Actress, Eddie Murphy for Best Supporting Actor, and "Dreamgirls" for Best Picture – Comedy/Musical).
"The Departed" director Martin Scorsese capitalized on his recent Awards Season favor by nabbing Best Director, while fellow nominee Clint Eastwood collected a Globe for Best Foreign Film (the Japanese-language "Letters From Iwo Jima").
The show’s capper — presented by the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger (he used to be in the movies, right?) — awarded the Best Drama trophy to surprise pick "Babel," instantly renewing that film’s chances come Oscar time.
Find out who else won the hearts of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Monday night [scroll down for full list of winners and nominees]…
And check out Rotten Tomatoes’ Awards Tour for winners and nominees of this season’s other film awards and critics’ group picks (plus our handy-dandy Buzz chart combining Tomatometer, Awards Won, and Box Office numbers into an Oscar guide for you prognosticators)!
And the nominees for the 64th Annual Golden Globes Awards are (Winners in bold):
Best Supporting Actress, Drama
Best Animated Film
Best Supporting Actor, Drama
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Original Score
Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Johnny Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Aaron Eckhart for Thank You For Smoking
Chjwetel Ejiofor for Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell for Stranger Than Fiction
Best Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy
Best Actress in a Drama
Best Actor in a Drama
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Best Television Series – Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Patricia Arquette for "Medium"
Edie Falco for "The Sopranos"
Evangeline Lilly for "Lost"
Ellen Pompeo for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Patrick Dempsey for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter"
Hugh Laurie for "House"
Bill Paxton for "Big Love"
Kiefer Sutherland for "24"
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Marcia Cross for "Desperate Housewives"
America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty"
Felicity Huffman for "Desperate Housewives"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures Of Old Christine"
Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock"
Zach Braff for "Scrubs"
Steve Carell for "The Office"
Jason Lee for "My Name Is Earl"
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk"
Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
"Bleak House" (PBS)
"Broken Trail" (AMC)
"Elizabeth I" (HBO)
"Mrs. Harris" (HBO)
"Prime Suspect: The Final Act" (PBS)
Best Performance By An Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Gillian Anderson for "Bleak House"
Annette Bening for "Mrs. Harris"
Helen Mirren for "Elizabeth I"
Helen Mirren for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act"
Sophie Okonedo for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"
Best Performance By An Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
André Braugher for "Thief"
Robert Duvall for "Broken Trail"
Michael Ealy for "Sleeper Cell: American Terror"
Chiwetel Ejiofor for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"
Ben Kingsley for "Mrs. Harris"
Bill Nighy for "Gideon’s Daughter"
Matthew Perry for "The Ron Clark Story"
Best Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Emily Blunt for "Gideon’s Daughter"
Toni Collette for "Tsunami, The Aftermath"
Katherine Heigl for "Grey’s Anatomy"
Sarah Paulson for "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip"
Elizabeth Perkins for "Weeds"
Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Thomas Haden Church for "Broken Trail"
Jeremy Irons for "Elizabeth I"
Justin Kirk for "Weeds"
Masi Oka for "Heroes"
Jeremy Piven for "Entourage"
Box office heavyweight Will Smith scored his sixth consecutive number one opening this weekend with his new rags-to-riches drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" which raced past two new kid movies to claim the top spot.
The mythical adventure "Eragon" opened well in second place while the family film "Charlotte’s Web" debuted in third with a modest launch. The one-two punch of "Pursuit" and "Eragon" kicked in a combined $50.5M and for only the second time in box office history, two December films opened to over $20M each on the same weekend.
Proving once again how strong his pull is with moviegoing audiences, Smith conquered the charts with an estimated $27M bow for "The Pursuit of Happyness" which on Thursday picked up two Golden Globe nominations including one for Best Actor in the drama category. Averaging a stunning $9,467 per theater in 2,852 locations, the PG-13 film tells the real-life story of a San Francisco man and his young son who become homeless and must try to get back on their feet. The former fresh prince’s real son Jaden plays his on-screen son in the uplifting, feel-good story.
With mixed reviews and no famous director or co-stars, "Pursuit" succeeded solely on the starpower of Smith and followed his last five films "Hitch," "Shark Tale," "I, Robot," "Bad Boys II," and "Men in Black II." Those five hits all opened at number one and went on to gross a jaw-dropping combined haul of $1.7 billion worldwide. With such a strong start, Will Smith should easily be able to score the tenth $100M domestic blockbuster of his career.
For Sony, "Pursuit" marked its record 13th number one opener of 2006 from a jam-packed slate of 27 releases. Sony also broke its own all-time studio box office record by crossing the $1.57 billion mark in domestic ticket sales with two full weeks still to go and three titles remaining in the top ten. The previous record was set by Sony in the "Spider-Man"-fueled year of 2002.
Opening in second place with some strength of its own was the dragon tale "Eragon" with an estimated $23.5M. Playing in 3,020 sites, the PG-rated film averaged a stellar $7,765 per theater. Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Djimon Hounsou, and Rachel Weisz star in the mythical adventure which was based on a teen author’s story. Driven by special effects, "Eragon" carried a reported production cost of more than $100M. With no "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter," or "Narnia" films this holiday season, fantasy audiences had nothing else to rally behind and so Fox took advantage of the opportunity by placing its actioner into the pre-Christmas slot. With school kids leaving for their holiday breaks in the days ahead, the dragon pic aims to soar towards the land of nine digits.
The only other time two December openers bowed to more than $20M each on the same frame was on this very weekend in 1997 when "Titanic" debuted at number one with $28.6M followed by the launch of the James Bond flick "Tomorrow Never Dies" with $25.1M. This weekend’s two new releases also helped to keep the overall box office within striking distance of last year’s colossal frame when "King Kong" ruled with a $50.1M opening and "Narnia" in its second weekend contributed a stellar $31.8M. Despite not having any film of the same magnitude, the marketplace this weekend had great breadth and saw the Top 20 dip only 7 percent versus last year.
Paramount got off to a slow start with its big holiday season offering for families "Charlotte’s Web" which bowed to an estimated $12M from 3,566 theaters for a mild $3,372 average. Based on the popular children’s book, the G-rated film stars Dakota Fanning and features voices from Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cleese. Studios never want to see an opening weekend average lower than its theater count, but Paramount is hoping that the upcoming school holidays will allow the well-reviewed film to have legs. Recent kidpics that the studio opened in mid-December went on to make six to seven times their opening weekend grosses. These include 2002’s "The Wild Thornberrys" with a $6M bow on its way to $39.9M and 2001’s "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" whch debuted to $13.8M and reached $80.9M. "Web," which cost over $80M to produce, hopes to follow and capture the attention of parents and their smaller children in the days and weeks ahead when they have more available time.
The penguin blockbuster "Happy Feet" followed with an estimated $8.5M, down just 34 percent, for a $149.4M sum. The Warner Bros. smash now ranks number eight among 2006 films and should climb into the top five after the holiday season. Sony’s Cameron Diaz–Kate Winslet comedy "The Holiday" dropped only 36 percent in its second weekend to an estimated $8.2M pushing its ten-day cume to $25.3M. Overseas grosses for the films rose to $59.7M and $28.5M, respectively.
Last weekend’s number one film "Apocalypto" tumbled down to sixth place with an estimated $7.7M. Dropping 49 percent, the Mayan adventure has grabbed $27.9M for Buena Vista in ten days but also suffered the largest decline of any film in the top ten. Fellow sophomore "Blood Diamond" fared better in its second weekend sliding only 28percent to an estimated $6.3M. Earning its star Leonardo DiCaprio one of his two Golden Globe nominations this year for Best Actor – Drama, the Warner Bros. title has mined $18.4M in ten days. "Blood Diamond" got off to a slow start, but is now showing that it could have the legs to go the distance over the holiday season.
The James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" grossed an estimated $5.7M, off 36 percent, to put its total at $137.6M for Sony. New Line’s Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" once again enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten dipping a mere 18percent to an estimated $4.7M for a $23.1M cume. The family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" followed in the ten spot with an estimated $3.7M, off 37percent, giving Warner Bros. a poor $10.2M to date.
Opening to spectacular results, thanks in part to its $25 ticket price, was the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" from DreamWorks and Paramount with an estimated $360,000 from only three theaters for an unprecedented $120,000 average. Winner of five Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture in the comedy/musical category, the PG-13 pic was given a special exclusive release in solo houses in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For the extra cash, ticket buyers were given a Broadway-style experience with reserved seating and a limited-edition program book. At a more standard adult ticket price of $10, that would translate to an average of about $48,000 which is still phenomenal. The studios reported that all 21 shows over the weekend were sold out. Starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls" opens nationally on Christmas Day in over 800 theaters.
Also platforming this weekend was the George Clooney starrer "The Good German" which opened to an estimated $79,000 from just five locations for a solid $15,800 average. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the R-rated film co-stars Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire and follows an American war reporter’s escapades in Germany.
Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" fell 50 percent to an estimated $3M in its fourth assignment putting the total at $57.8M. Buena Vista should find its way to the neighborhood of $65M. Opening just five days after rival action pic "Casino Royale" has proven to be a major obstacle for "Deja Vu" which will end up with less than half the gross of the better-received Bond flick.
Fox’s holiday comedy "Deck the Halls" has also faced stiff competition for its target audience. The Danny DeVito pic took in an estimated $2M this weekend, down 50 percent, for a $32.9M cume. A $40M final seems likely. Disney’s "The Santa Clause 3" dropped 43 percent to an estimated $1.9M giving the studio $79.8M thus far. Tim Allen and pals should reach the $85M mark, or about 40 percent below the $139.2M of "Clause 2" from four years ago.
Elsewhere below the top ten, Golden Globe nominees for Best Picture posted good numbers. Fox’s "Borat," nominated for both Picture and Best Actor in the comedy/musical category, slipped 39 percent to an estimated $1.6M for a $122.8M total to date. The raunchy comedy had fallen by more than 45 percent in each of the last two weekends. Miramax’s "The Queen" slipped only 22 percent to an estimated $685,000 for a $25.7M cume in its eleventh consecutive weekend in the Top 20. Fellow Best Picture nominee in the drama category "Babel," which led all films with seven total Globe nominations, saw its weekend gross inch up 7 percent to an estimated $490,000 despite losing over one-third of its theaters. Paramount Vantage has taken in $18.3M so far and hopes that the nominations will allow the ensemble film to remain a relevant box office player through the holidays.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $107.3M which was down 10 percent from last year when "King Kong" opened at number one with $50.1M; but up 13 percent from 2004 when "Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events" debuted in the top spot with $30.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Hollywood studios try to inject some juice into the North American box office this weekend by unleashing three big new releases aimed at getting people back into the habit of going to the movies.
Boys will be courted with the fantasy adventure pic "Eragon," girls will get to play with "Charlotte’s Web," and adults looking for a feel-good story to counter their holiday shopping blues will have the father-and-son Smith team in "The Pursuit of Happyness."
The dragon tale "Eragon" attacks the cinemas on Friday giving fantasy audiences the entertainment they’ve been missing this holiday season. Fox’s PG-rated actioner will try to fill a void in a season without a "Potter," "Narnia," or "Hobbit." Don’t expect grosses to come close to the numbers posted by those megahits, but if "Eragon" can still reach a portion of that huge audience, the studio will be happy. Ordinarily, the effects-driven film would probably have a tough time at the box office but thanks to a severe lack of competition, Fox has a golden opportunity. The marketing push has been strong and young males have little else to be excited by. Gamers might also be interested in seeing this adventure on the big screen and leave behind their new hardware for a couple of hours. A built-in audience of readers of the book will help too. Landing in 3,020 theaters, "Eragon" could open with around $23M this weekend.
The beloved children’s story "Charlotte’s Web" hits the multiplexes with Hollywood’s favorite young girl Dakota Fanning in the lead role. Paramount’s G-rated tale will aim for family audiences and is using the starpower of voice actors Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and John Cleese to connect with parents. With "Happy Feet" being the only major family film to do well over the past few weeks, kids should be ready to move on to something new. Girls will probably outnumber the boys here especially with "Eragon" opening at the same time. But the brand is known and the rating is tame so parents will look at this as a safe bet for their younger ones. Good reviews will help too. With children going on their school holidays soon, look for long-term strength as many will wait until Christmas week to go and see it. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "Charlotte’s Web" might take in about $21M this weekend.
Will Smith and his real-life son Jaden Smith hit the big screen together in Sony’s uplifting drama "The Pursuit of Happyness" which aims to give adult moviegoers something to see this weekend. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, the PG-13 film tells the story of a man who hits hard times and becomes homeless and moonlights during the day in a stock broker training program hoping for a new lease on life. "Pursuit" has gotten Smith some notice for his acting performance (including a Golden Globe nomination) and the novelty of seeing father and son in a movie together will certainly help sell tickets. The man in black has some of the strongest pull among Hollywood stars at the box office with appeal that transcends all age, race, and gender lines. It’s no wonder that he is now pursuing his tenth $100M blockbuster.
Reviews have been mixed for the film overall even though Smith is hearing buzz about a possible Oscar nomination. Sony must have been hoping for better reactions from critics though. Instead, the studio will appeal directly to adult moviegoers and their desire to see an uplifting feel-good story anchored by a popular star at this time of year. Don’t expect "Pursuit" to reach the levels of the actor’s last film "Hitch" which bowed to $43.1M from 3,575 theaters for a $12,068 average. But if good word-of-mouth circulates, it could stay in the top ten throughout the holiday season and go on to be a winner. Appeal looks solid with both men and women plus a strong turnout from African Americans will help to boost the grosses. Opening in 2,852 theaters, "The Pursuit of Happyness" might debut with around $19M.
Opening with special solo engagements in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco is the lavish musical "Dreamgirls" starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, and Jennifer Hudson. Paramount and DreamWorks are putting on a special live roadshow performance with these engageemnts for ten days before the film expands across the country on December 25. In New York City, "Dreamgirls" opens exclusively at the giant Ziegfeld theater which has already sold out its five weekend performances. With a giant auditorium of 1,200 seats and ticket prices of $25, look for this one theater to contribute over $100,000 to the weekend gross. West Coast venues hope to contribute similar numbers. Though the gross will be inflated by the ticket price, sky high demand thanks to critics awards, Globe nods, and Oscar buzz has already led to Friday’s opening night shows in California to sell out as well.
Other new films entering the marketplace in limited release include Steven Soderbergh‘s World War II drama "The Good German" starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, and Tobey Maguire from Warner Bros. MGM counters with its Iraq War drama "Home of the Brave" starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christina Ricci, and 50 Cent. The Weinstein Company platforms the Jude Law thriller "Breaking and Entering" from director Anthony Minghella in an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles.
Among holdovers, last weekend’s top film "Apocalypto" moves into its all-important second weekend which will indicate what type of staying power Mel Gibson‘s latest film has. Curiousity and media hype helped to bring out moviegoers on the first weekend, but will they keep coming? The Buena Vista release fared much better than expected on Sunday grossing $840,000 more than originally expected. The studio expected a Sunday drop of 38% but was pleased to see the bloody epic dip only 23%. This weekend’s three new offerings do not look to give too much of a direct threat to "Apocalypto" so a 35% drop may in order. That would give the Mayan adventure about $9M for the frame and $29M in ten days.
Warner Bros. will see some competition for its penguin blockbuster "Happy Feet," but its hit toon has been holding up quite well each week. A 35% fall would leave "Feet" with around $8.5M and allow it to flirt with the $150M mark. Sony’s "The Holiday" got off to a decent but not spectacular start with its $12.8M bow. The Cameron Diaz–Kate Winslet starrer may slide 35% to roughly $8.5M pushing the total to $25M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Leaping into the number one spot, although with less muscle than expected, Peter Jackson‘s "King Kong" opened with $50.1M over the weekend and $66.2M over its five-day debut. Universal’s mega-budgeted ape flick went on to gross a commendable $218.1M domestically and $549M worldwide which fell a bit short of the film’s lofty expectations given its budget and filmmaker. "Kong" knocked fellow effects-driven actioner "The Chronicles of Narnia" to second place with $31.8M dropping 51% in its sophomore frame. "Narnia" would eventually climb back into the top spot. Debuting in third was the romantic comedy "The Family Stone" starring Sarah Jessica Parker with $12.5M on its way to $60.1M for Fox. Warner Bros. rounded out the top five with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" which grossed $6M and "Syriana" which collected $5.6M. No other films dared to open against "King Kong," however the critically acclaimed "Brokeback Mountain" expanded to just 69 theaters in its second weekend and jumped into the top ten with $2.5M for a scorching $36,355 average.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
"Babel"’s back in the game as this year’s Golden Globes nominations were announced, including many expected Oscar pics — and a few smaller surprises.
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu‘s multi-lingual drama had been praised by critics (and stands Certified Fresh at 70 percent on the Tomatometer) but had not been thought of an obvious contender for awards season, let alone the nominations leader with seven Golden Globes nods. Among the noms, "Babel" is in contention for Best Picture – Drama, Best Director (Innaritu), Best Actor (Brad Pitt) and two Best Supporting Actresses (Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza).
Also representing in force this year is Martin Scorsese‘s gangster pic, "The Departed," which nabbed the second-most nominations with six, including Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and two competing Best Supporting Actors (Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson).
DiCaprio is one of the year’s double-nominees, as he faces off with himself for Best Actor for his performances as an undercover cop in "The Departed" and a mercenary in "Blood Diamond."
Another filmmaker competing with himself for Golden Globes honors is Clint Eastwood, who is nominated twice for Best Director — first, for helming his World War II drama "Flags of Our Fathers," and again for its Japanese-language companion piece, "Letters From Iwo Jima." "Letters" is also an entrant in the Best Foreign Language category, qualifying because it was filmed in Japanese, much like another American-made film in the running — Mel Gibson‘s Mayan-language "Apocalypto."
But for all of these expected big-budget nominees, there were a few surprise picks from the film festival set. "Sherrybaby," for which Maggie Gyllenhaal is nominated for Best Actress, might be the smallest pic in the running; the film debuted at Sundance and played theatrically in only thirteen theaters during its release.
Tobacco industry send-up "Thank You For Smoking," a $6.5 million project which built momentum from last year’s Toronto and Sundance fests into $38 million gross worldwide, is in the running for Best Picture – Comedy and Best Actor (Aaron Eckhart). The feature-film debut of director Jason Reitman scored well with critics and stands at an impressive 87 percent on the Tomatometer.
In a year of unusual multiple nominees, some performers racked up Globes noms with their television work as well. Helen Mirren, long-though to be the Best Actress front-runner for Brit biopic "The Queen," is up for two additional awards in the Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie category where she’ll compete against herself (for performances in "Elizabeth I" and "Prime Suspect: The Final Act").
Mirren will also face off against another dual nominee, Annette Bening, in this category (Bening’s up for the TV pic "Mrs. Harris" and her film "Running With Scissors"). Thesps Chiwetel Ejiofor, Toni Collette, and Emily Blunt are also competing for both film and television Globes.
Further surprises came at the inclusion of devastatingly rotten films like the super-budget bomb of the summer, "The Da Vinci Code" (24 percent on the Tomatometer), which can now boast a Golden Globe nomination thanks to Hans Zimmer’s Original Score.
Emilio Estevez‘s ensemble piece "Bobby" is also rotten at 43 percent, yet will inexplicably vie for the Best Picture award against "Babel" (70 percent), "Little Children" (83 percent), "The Departed" (92 percent) and "The Queen" (98 percent).
Darren Aronofsky‘s sci-fi romance "The Fountain" split critics at 50 percent on the Tomatometer, but its score courtesy of "Pi" and "Requiem for a Dream" composer Clint Mansell captured the attentions of HFPA voters in the same category.
And that other unknown film in the running for Best Original Score? "Nomad," a Kazakh language, Kazakhstan-set historical epic starring Jason Scott Lee and Jay Hernandez that has only yet been released in Switzerland and — yep — Kazakhstan.
The 64th Golden Globes Awards will take place January 15, 2007. Read on for the full list of film nominees.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Performance By An Actress in A Motion Picture – Drama
Best Performance By An Actor in A Motion Picture – Drama
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Best Performance By An Actress in A Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Best Performance By An Actor in A Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest"
Aaron Eckhart, "Thank You For Smoking"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Kinky Boots"
Will Ferrell, "Stranger Than Fiction"
Best Animated Feature Film
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Adriana Barraza, "Babel"
Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"
Emily Blunt, "The Devil Wears Prada"
Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"
Rinko Kikuchi, "Babel"
Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Best Director – Motion Picture
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
The romantic comedy "The Holiday" had to settle for a second place showing following close behind while Leonardo DiCaprio’s new actioner "Blood Diamond" finished the frame a few notches back in fifth with a not-so-sparkling bow. Overall, the marketplace was sluggish as total ticket sales fell significantly from the corresponding weekends from each of the last two years.
The ancient Mayan adventure "Apocalypto" shot to the top of the box office charts with an estimated $14.2M over the weekend giving Gibson a major industry victory just months after a scandalous summer. Playing in 2,465 theaters, the R-rated action film averaged a solid $5,747 per location. Apocalypto entered the marketplace as a tough sell given its unknown cast, subtitles, and extreme brutality. However, good reviews helped the film and the free publicity Gibson received since being arrested in July certainly boosted the overall awareness of the picture.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker’s last movie, 2004’s "The Passion of the Christ," generated tons more controversy and found itself with a colossal $125.2M opening over five days on its way to a domestic haul of $370.3M. "Apocalypto" stood as a very different film and was never expected to come close to that level. Studio research showed that 60% of the audience was male which was expected given its action story and extreme levels of torture and violence. Buena Vista has been on a roll in the second half of 2006 and "Apocalypto" should become the studio’s ninth consecutive wide release to reach past $50M domestically.
Movie patrons looking for lighter fare lined up for the new romantic comedy "The Holiday" which debuted close behind in second place with an estimated $13.5M. The PG-13 film stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women who switch homes for the Christmas season and find love with a pair of new chaps played by Jude Law and Jack Black. Spreading cheer in 2,610 locations, "The Holiday" averaged a good $5,172 per site. Not surprisingly, adult women made up the largest part of the audience. According to studio research, 65% of the crowd was female and 57% was 25 and older. Reviews were not very kind. The film was helmed by Nancy Meyers who directed Mel Gibson in the smash hit "What Women Want" in 2000. The two went head-to-head this weekend with their new projects but it was Gibson who managed to race ahead and claim the box office crown.
The debut of "The Holiday" was on the lower end of the range reached by similar films opening in mid-December like last year’s "The Family Stone" ($12.5M), 2003’s "Something’s Gotta Give" ($16.1M), and 2002’s "Two Weeks Notice" ($14.3M). Unlike the other eleven months of the year, December usually sees movies enjoy better legs thanks to the extra time people have off from work and school. Those who miss a film on opening weekend often have time to see it later on and movies routinely reach a final gross that is five to seven times their debuts. "Stone"’s bow accounted for only 21% of its overall tally while "Something" and "Notice" enjoyed shares of 13% and 15%, respectively.
Following its three-week stint at number one, the penguin hit "Happy Feet" dropped down to third place but still witnessed a strong hold. The Warner Bros. toon enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten dipping only 28% to an estimated $12.7M and raised its cume to $137.7M. With solid word-of-mouth and the upcoming school holidays approaching, "Happy Feet" stands a good chance of reaching the $200M domestic mark. Internationally, the animated film grossed an estimated $25.4M from 37 markets this weekend boosting the overseas cume to $40.8M
For the fourth consecutive weekend, "Casino Royale" followed right behind the penguins on the box office chart. The new James Bond actioner fell 42% to an estimated $8.8M putting the domestic total at $128.9M. "Casino" is now running only 2% behind the pace of the last Agent 007 flick "Die Another Day" which had banked $131.9M after its fourth weekend. Overseas, Daniel Craig continued to shine lifting "Casino"’s international tally to $247.2M putting the global gross at a stunning $376.1M and counting. By the end of the week, the Sony smash will zoom past the worldwide tallies of "Superman Returns" ($390M) and "Mission: Impossible III" ($395M).
Opening in fifth place with mediocre results was Leonardo DiCaprio’s "Blood Diamond" with an estimated $8.5M from 1,910 sites for a decent $4,458 average. Directed by Ed Zwick ("The Last Samurai," "Glory"), the R-rated film finds the "Titanic" star playing a white African diamond smuggler hunting down a rare pink diamond found by an enslaved fisherman. Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly co-star and reviews were generally positive. "Blood" attracted media attention for its story which examines how conflict diamonds are used by rebel groups to finance their wars in parts of Africa. The opening weekend average did not reach the levels of the debuts of last year’s R-rated political thrillers set near that part of the world. "The Constant Gardener" bowed to $8.7M and a $6,444 average while "Syriana" opened nationally this weekend in 2005 to $11.7M with a $6,699 average.
Warner Bros. also opened its new family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors" but was met with weak results thanks in part to a crowded market for kidpics. The PG-rated film grossed an estimated $6.2M from 2,775 theaters for a poor $2,234 average. "Minors" finds a group of kids stranded in an airport during the holiday season.
Denzel Washington’s action thriller "Deja Vu" dropped 45% to an estimated $6.1M in its third weekend and upped its cume to $53M for Buena Vista. Following in eighth place was the Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" with an estimated $5.6M declining only 29%. With $15.8M in ten days, the New Line release may find its way to $35-40M.
More Christmas pics rounded out the top ten. Fox’s "Deck the Halls" grossed an estimated $3.9M, off 41%, to push its total to $30.1M. Disney’s "The Santa Clause 3" dipped 32% to an estimated $3.3M giving the studio $77.2M to date. The holiday comedy is running 36% behind the pace of the last Tim Allen installment which had taken in $120.1M at this same point in its run. Factor in ticket price increases since 2002 and "Clause 3" is trailing by 43%.
Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Fox’s smash hit "Borat" fell 46% to an estimated $2.6M giving the blockbuster comedy $120.3M to date. Budgeted at only $18M, look for the Sacha Baron Cohen concoction to finish with $125-130M domestically. Cohen’s "Talladega Nights" foe Will Ferrell has not met with the same kind of success with his latest comedy "Stranger Than Fiction." The Sony release fell 55% to an estimated $1.5M to put its cume at $39.2M. Budgeted at just under $30M, "Fiction" should end up with $40-45M.
The horror thriller "Turistas" from Fox’s new teen genre division Fox Atomic tumbled 63% in its second weekend to an estimated $1.3M. With only $5.9M in ten days, look for the R-rated film to harvest just $8-10M from its theatrical run. Fellow sophomore "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" has grossed less than $4M to date and seems headed for a finish of just $5-7M for MGM.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.8M which was down 27% from last year when "The Chronicles of Narnia" opened at number one with $65.6M; and down 16% from 2004 when "Ocean’s Twelve" debuted in the top spot with $39.2M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
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A wave of new releases hits the multilplexes on Friday as the North American box office looks to bounce back after a slugglish weekend and get the final month of the year started with a bang.
Mel Gibson‘s ultraviolent historical epic "Apocalypto" hits theaters nationwide while his "What Women Want" director Nancy Meyers counters with the feel-good romantic comedy "The Holiday" starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. The latter’s iceberg lover Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the new political thriller "Blood Diamond" and kids too young for all those flicks will be offered the family comedy "Unaccompanied Minors."
Mel Gibson once again plays tricks on the box office bringing forth one of the most unpredictable grossers of the year in "Apocalypto." The R-rated film examines the end of the once-great Mayan civilization from five centuries ago with the story of one brave man, captured by warriors and set to be sacrificed, who must break free and rescue his pregnant wife and young son. As one of the bloodiest and most violent films of 2006, the Buena Vista release is also one of the most challenging to market. Like the director’s last effort, 2004’s smash hit "The Passion of the Christ," "Apocalypto" is made in a language now dead and is subtitled all the way through. But whereas "Passion" had some small level of starpower, Gibson’s new offering boasts a cast of unknowns including many non-actors.
Selling a subtitled film with no stars about a part of history that few today are talking about is risky enough. But Gibson’s arrest over the summer for drunk driving and his anti-Jewish remarks led to horrible PR for "Apocalypto’s" only marketable asset. A few weeks ago, this film looked like it would have a tough road to travel in order to succeed. But like with "Passion," targeted marketing at those audience segments most likely to embrace the pic has helped fuel positive buzz and even good reviews have sparked more interest, not only with moviegoers, but also with exhibitors. Disney upped its opening weekend run from 2,000 to 2,500 theaters as the exhibition community is showing more confidence in the box office potential of the film. "Passion" also saw its theater bookings jump in the final weeks before launching.
Because of Gibson’s summer escapade, there are some who cannot be convinced to spend money and time on a Mel movie. However, the controversy has given "Apocalypto" a ton of free media exposure over the last couple of months and curiosity has grown. Plus the studio has wisely targeted the large Latino audience which never gets to see a big Hollywood epic made about its ancient history. They came out in big numbers for "Passion" and are expected to show up again this weekend. Also there are moviegoers sick of wasting time and money on sequels and remakes who want something fresh and unique that are looking at the Mayan adventure as an experience they can’t get anywhere else. It will be a closely-watched opening for "Apocalypto," but a weekend tally of about $15M could result giving Gibson a reasonable shot at scoring back-to-back number one hits with foreign language movies.
Moviegoers in search of less bloodshed and a lower body count this weekend will be checking out the new romantic comedy "The Holiday" which stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two frustrated professionals who decide to swap homes in order to get away from their woes. The PG-13 film finds Diaz going to snowy England while Winslet’s character heads to sunny Los Angeles. Jude Law and Jack Black play the love interests in the Nancy Meyers film. "Holiday" boasts plenty of starpower even though the casting of Nacho Libre in a date movie will have many scratching their heads. Teenage girls and adult women will make up the primary audience, but male interest will be there too thanks to the sassy Diaz who remains a big box office pull with both genders.
Female audiences have been neglected in recent weeks with most major grossers tapping into male or family audiences. The December marketplace will welcome a multi-star romantic comedy set during the Christmas season, however the whites-only casting policy may prevent a more diverse turnout. Sony offered sneak previews last Saturday to boost awareness and word-of-mouth. "Holiday" looks to reach the same crowds that came out for previous mid-December romantic comedies like last year’s "The Family Stone" ($12.5M opening), Meyers’ 2003 hit "Something’s Gotta Give" ($16.1M), and 2002’s Yankee-Brit combo "Two Weeks Notice" ($14.3M). "The Holiday" should receive good cheer from ticket buyers and take in roughly $15M this weekend.
Like this weekend’s Mel Gibson epic, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film "Blood Diamond" is also a violent tale of a man whose village is ransacked by warlords and who must fight to retrieve his wife and family. This time, the action takes place only seven years ago in the African nation of Sierra Leone where rebels fight to protect their illegal diamond trade. Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly co-star in the R-rated film directed by Ed Zwick ("The Last Samurai," "Glory"). Warner Bros. has poured some major marketing dollars into hyping up its new political thriller and like most major releases these days, "Blood Diamond" has some controversy of its own which the studio hopes will help generate more interest. Many stories have been written about how the film might impact the global diamond industry as more Americans (by far the world’s largest consumers of the gem) learn about how conflict diamonds make their way into the market.
Story and starpower should be the main factors at the box office, however. DiCaprio has pull and Hounsou has been getting lots of notice for this role including winning the Best Supporting Actor award from the National Board of Review this week. A year ago this weekend, DiCaprio’s "Departed" foe Matt Damon teamed up with George Clooney for the international political saga "Syriana" which went nationwide with a $11.7M opening from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. With mixed reviews and only 158 more theaters, "Blood Diamond" could find itself in the same neighborhood as it will appeal to much the same audience. Young women who dig the "Titanic" boy and want more upbeat entertainment may get steered over to "The Holiday" and young men who seek screen violence will find much more of it in "Apocalypto" so competition will be fierce this weekend. Opening in 1,910 theaters, "Blood Diamond" might shine with around $12M this weekend.
Kids have just one new movie aimed at them this weekend. Warner Bros. offers up its second wide release of the frame with "Unaccompanied Minors," a story about a group of children causing chaos when left behind at an airport. The PG-rated film will play exclusively to the family crowd and with "Happy Feet," "Deck the Halls," and even "The Santa Clause 3" still lingering in the marketplace, competition will be tight. Lewis Black and Wilmer Valderrama are the only major names here so starpower will not be much of a factor in drawing in paying customers. "Minors" just does not have enough bells and whistles to rise above the crowded arena. Although the film opens with the most number of theaters, it may end up with the worst gross among the newbies. "Unaccompanied Minors" sneaks into 2,775 sites and could take in about $9M.
After a three-week party atop the box office charts, "Happy Feet" will dance its way down a couple of notches thanks to the wave of new product. "Unaccompanied Minors" will be the only true competitor so the drop should not be too hard. A 35% fall to about $11M could result giving Warner Bros. $136M overall.
James Bond has also been celebrating a solid box office run with its three straight silver medals and is hoping to surpass "The Devil Wears Prada" ($124.7M) and "Over the Hedge" ($155M) to eventually become the top-grossing film of 2006 to not reach the number one spot. This weekend, a 40% decline could be in order giving Agent 007 around $9M for the session pushing the cume for Sony to $129M.
LAST YEAR: Making a big splash at the box office was "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" which bowed to a ferocious $65.6M for the second largest December opening in history. Disney’s effects-filled adventure went on to capture $291.7M domestically and a stunning $750M worldwide. Opening far back in the runnerup spot, but still posting solid numbers, was the oil industry drama "Syriana" with $11.7M and a $6,699 average. The Warner Bros. release went on to gross $50.8M domestically and $93M globally. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dropped to third after three weeks at number one and grossed $10.3M. The Johnny Cash flick "Walk the Line" followed with $5.7M and the family comedy "Yours, Mine & Ours" rounded out the top five with $5.1M. Debuting in limited release with explosive averages were "Memoirs of a Geisha" with a $85,313 average from eight locations and "Brokeback Mountain" with a $109,485 average from only five theaters. Final domestic grosses reached $57M and $83M and each won three Oscars.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got declining civilizations ("Apocalypto," directed by Mel Gibson), conflict diamonds ("Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly), airport horseplay ("Unaccompanied Minors," starring Wilmer Valderrama), and seasonal love ("The Holiday," starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black). What do the critics have to say?
Give Mel Gibson credit: he’s one of the few filmmakers who has enough clout and technical skill to realize his grand visions. But he’s also been criticized for the fact that said visions are often bloody to the extreme. Critics say "Apocalypto" contains the best and worst of Mel’s impulses. The film tells the story of the last days of Mayan civilization through the eyes of a man (played by Rudy Youngblood) attempting to save his family.The pundits say "Apocalypto" is visually remarkable and viscerally compelling, but also note that the copious amounts of gore and shaky historical details mar the film’s overall impact. It currently stands at 70 percent on the Tomatometer.
Is a Hollywood action picture the best vehicle to enact social change? It’s a question that dogs "Blood Diamond," a thriller that takes on the illicit trade of precious stones in destabilized African nations. Set in the midst of civil war in Sierra Leone, "Blood Diamond" is the story of a fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who discovers a particularly valuable gem, and teams up with a mercenary (Leonardo DiCaprio) to get the rock out of the war torn area. Critics say the film is well crafted and features strong performances, but it ultimately shortchanges its politics by emphasizing the action. At 56 percent on the Tomatometer, "Blood Diamond" doesn’t quite dazzle.
Sort of a cross between "Home Alone" and "The Terminal," "Unaccompanied Minors" tells the story of a group of kids snowed in at the airport during the holidays; suffice to say that mischief and merriment ensue. Unfortunately, the film arrives in theaters unaccompanied by widespread critical praise, as the pundits feel the film makes the least of its talented cast, and lacks the originality needed to really make the jokes work. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s "Minor," indeed.
This is definitely against NSA regulations.
Just in time for the yuletide season, "The Holiday" provides a sugary treat for fans of chick flicks. Perhaps, say critics, a little too sugary. "The Holiday" tells the tale of two women who live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean; unlucky in love, they decide to swap houses in order to jump-start their lives. Love ensues. The pundits say the film has undeniable charm and a great cast, but is as predictable and fluffy as the day is long. It currently stands at 50 percent on the Tomatometer.
"’Rainbow in the Dark’ by Dio is my favorite song too!"
Also opening this week in limited release: the Argentine "Family Law," about the trials and tribulations of a father-son relationship, is at 91 percent; "Bergman Island," a feature-length interview with Ingmar Bergman, arguably the world’s greatest living director, is at 83 percent; "Days of Glory," an Algerian World War II film, is at 67 percent; "Off the Black," starring Nick Nolte as an alcoholic baseball umpire, is at 55 percent; and "Inland Empire," David Lynch‘s latest assault on cinematic convention starring Laura Dern, is at 52 percent.
"Inland Empire": When a David Lynch movie becomes a Pat Benatar video.
And finally, props to LimpytheTurtle, who correctly guessed "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj"’s Tomatometer would be seven percent. Limpy wins a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax. (Ha! I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)
Check out the drool over at AICN.
"Apocalypto was one of the most wildly entertaining movies I have seen all year. I’m kind of upset I saw it at my school, because of the smaller screen and the inferior sound quality, but it was free so who can complain?
The movie, was funny, exciting, disgustingly violent (This was especially satisfying since my pass had listed the movie as being rated PG-13, which is contrary to the ads running now and to the violence and blood that I saw onscreen), and it was at times emotionally wrenching."
Check out the full piece right here. "Apocalypto" opens on December 8th.