Between The Killing Joke, Hell & Back, and Anomalisa destroying Charlie Kaufman’s career, R-rated animation is making a real comeback! Continuing the hot streak unabated is this week’s Sausage Party, which looks to be the purest distillation of co-creator/star Seth Rogen’s comedy MO: a literal walking talking dick joke. And we keep the party going with this week’s gallery: the
24 28 best and worst R-rated animated movies by Tomatometer.
The nominations for the 80th Academy Awards won’t be announced until January 22, but the names of the films being submitted for consideration are starting to trickle in.
Variety reports that in the animated feature film category, the Academy will have 12 movies to consider — and whittle down to three nominees. From the article:
Submitted features are: “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters,” “Bee Movie,” “Beowulf,” “Meet the Robinsons,” “Persepolis,” “Ratatouille,” “Shrek the Third,” “The Simpsons Movie,” “Surf’s Up,” “Tekkonkinkreet” and “TMNT.”
Yes, you read that right. Alvin and the Chipmunks. Think the voters will have problems narrowing down this list?
Paramount replaced itself at the top of the North American box office chart as its new teen thriller "Disturbia" opened ahead of expectations in first place bumping the studio’s two-week champ "Blades of Glory" into the runnerup spot.
The weekend’s other new suspense thriller "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis disappointed and landed in fourth place. Four other new films debuted in wide release but generated little interest from moviegoers. Overall, the marketplace suffered the usual late spring slowdown as for the first time since February, the top ten failed to sell $100M worth of tickets.
Rising star Shia LaBeouf scored a big victory over the weekend with the thriller "Disturbia" which shot straight to number one debuting with an estimated $23M. The PG-13 pic was given the widest release of the frame’s six new entries playing in 2,925 theaters and generated a strong $7,872 average. A modern day version of Alfred Hitchcock’s "Rear Window," Disturbia played to a young female audience as studio research showed that 57% of the crowd was female and 75% was under 35.
Just before the film’s opening day, the studio announced that LaBeouf had been cast opposite Harrison Ford in its next "Indiana Jones" film. The news may have helped to generate more excitement for Disturbia which was the only major choice for teenage girls this weekend. The safe rating and fairly good reviews may also have contributed. The $20M production looks to become a profitable vehicle.
After its two-week run at the top, Will Ferrell’s comedy hit "Blades of Glory" slipped to second place dropping a moderate 38% to an estimated $14.1M. The 17-day cume stands at a potent $90.2M. Like "Disturbia," "Blades" was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by its new parent Paramount.
Slipping only 28% was Disney’s animated comedy "Meet the Robinsons" with an estimated $12.1M which lifted the total to $72M. With no new films for young kids this weekend, "Robinsons" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten.
Halle Berry and Bruce Willis failed to turn their starpower into box office bucks as their new suspense thriller "Perfect Stranger" debuted weaker than expected in fourth place with an estimated $11.5M. The critically-panned Sony release averaged a mediocre $4,322 from 2,661 theaters. With its R rating, "Perfect Stranger" played to an adult audience with a female skew. Studio research showed that women made up 54% of the audience and a very high 70% were 25 or older. The opening was weaker than the bows of other films headlined by Berry like "Catwoman" ($16.7M) and "Gothika" ($19.3M).
Ice Cube had a decent second weekend for his comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" which fell by 36% to an estimated $9.2M. That gave the Sony release a cume of $33M after 12 days. Its predecessor enjoyed a much slimmer 12% dip to $16.3M in its second weekend on its way to $82.3M. "Done" might find its way to the vicinity of $55M.
Fox’s Viking actioner "Pathfinder" limped into sixth place with a weak $4.8M opening, according to estimates. The R-rated film averaged a mild $2,791 from 1,720 locations.
The rest of the top ten was filled with four films separated by only $400,000. Buena Vista’s motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs" grossed an estimated $4.6M, down only 30%, for a stellar cume of $152.2M. Hilary Swank’s horror flick "The Reaping" tumbled 55% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.6M giving Warner Bros. $19.8M in 11 days.
The mighty "300" broke through the double century mark over the weekend both domestically and internationally. In North America, the Warner Bros. smash dropped 48% to an estimated $4.3M boosting the total to $200.8M. Overseas, "300" collected an estimated $14.8M this weekend to lift the international haul to $204.1M giving the Spartan epic a global tally of $405M and counting. The stylish war film is now the highest grossing March release ever having surpassed the old record holder "Ice Age: The Meltdown" which grossed $195.3M last spring.
Rounding out the top ten was the Quentin Tarantino–Robert Rodriguez flop "Grindhouse" which plunged 63% in its sophomore session to an estimated $4.2M. Budgeted at $53M, the double feature has taken in just $19.7M in its first ten days and looks headed for a weak $25-27M finish for The Weinstein Co.
In addition to the three new wide releases that debuted in the top ten, another three opened outside of it with weaker results. The car racing pic "Redline" bowed to an estimated $4M from 1,607 sites for a slow $2,492 average per theater. The first title from rookie distributor Chicago Pictures stars Eddie Griffin and targeted young males.
First Look opened the animated film "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" to the tune of $3.1M, according to estimates, giving the R-rated film an average of just $3,521 from 877 locations. Lionsgate made no impact with its Ray Liotta actioner "Slow Burn" which bowed to an estimated $805,000 from 1,163 playdates for a puny average of $692 per theater.
Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Mark Wahlberg’s sniper pic "Shooter" dropped 47% to an estimated $3.1M putting its total at $42.1M. The $60M Paramount release should end its run with $47-49M. Fox’s family film "Firehouse Dog" held up well in its second weekend, despite collecting low overall grosses. The PG-rated drama dipped 28% to an estimated $2.8M for a cume of $9.9M after 12 days. Warner Bros. took in an estimated $2.1M for the animated actioner "TMNT," off 56%, for a total of $50.7M. Look for a $53-55M final.
Platforming to solid results was the Molly Shannon comedy "Year of the Dog" which bowed in seven New York and Los Angeles sites and grossed an estimated $112,000. The Paramount Vantage release averaged $16,049 and will open in nine additional cities this Friday boosting its theater count to more than 30.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $92.5M which was down 14% from last year when Scary Movie 4 opened at number one with $40.2M; but up 29% from 2005 when The Amityville Horror debuted on top with $23.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This weekend Hollywood just doesn’t know its limits. Six new releases will jam into an already crowded marketplace on Friday trying to connect with spring moviegoers.
That makes for a whopping 20 new films over a four-week ultracompetitive period. This weekend’s ticket buyers will not have enough time or money to see them all, especially in a relatively weak playing period like mid-April. Friday the 13th may indeed be a terrifying day for the accountants behind some of these freshman flicks.
Call it "Catwoman" vs. "Hudson Hawk." Sony unleashes its latest star-driven thriller "Perfect Stranger" which finds Halle Berry playing an investigative reporter following an ad mogul (Bruce Willis) who may have killed her friend. The R-rated pic boasts the most star wattage of any new film this weekend and that will mean something at the cash registers. The actor combo is unique, appealing, and diverse enough to bring in two different audiences which is always good for business. Poor reviews probably won’t mean too much to the box office. Sony’s marketing push has been commendable and with Spartans, Ninja Turtles, and figure skaters ruling the charts over the last five weeks, many moviegoers will be ready to shift over to this type of film. "Perfect Stranger" invades 2,661 theaters and stands a chance of hitting number one with around $15M.
Paramount counters with its own thriller this Friday the 13th with "Disturbia." With a more teen-friendly PG-13 rating, the pic tells the tale of a young man under house arrest who suspects that his neighbor is a serial killer. Shia LaBeouf, Carrie-Anne Moss, and David Morse make up the cast so clearly the film is not being sold on its starpower. "Perfect Stranger" will provide some healthy competition as those looking for a scare, and are 17 or older, will find Berry and Willis worth paying money for. But young teens that have already skated with Will Ferrell may look here for their weekly escape to the movies. Entering about 2,500 theaters, "Disturbia" could scare up around $10M over the weekend.
Rookie distributor Chicago Releasing drives into theaters with its maiden film "Redline," an action drama about bored rich kids who drag race for fun. The PG-13 film is being aimed at teenage boys and young men with action-packed commercials and trailers full of hot cars and hotter babes. Eddie Griffin is the only major star in this vehicle so only those who really crave another "Fast and the Furious" flick will make it out. But in a weekend when most new films have been slapped with an R, this one could carve out a small audience of teens. Racing into about 2,000 theaters, "Redline" might finish with roughly $7M this weekend.
With all the films thrown into theaters this year, nobody has offered up a handy dandy Viking flick. That changes this weekend with the action-adventure "Pathfinder," an R-rated pic that looks at a young man’s battle against Norse invaders in North America centuries ago. Following the runaway success of "300," it’s no surprise that Fox is marketing "Pathfinder" as a historical war epic based on a graphic novel. But this new film has nothing on Leonidas and pals. The Viking subject matter is not interesting, the marketing push has been weak, and lead actor Karl Urban is no commercial draw. Attacking 1,720 theaters, "Pathfinder" might find only $5M on opening weekend.
Lionsgate goes after an adult audience with its new crime drama "Slow Burn" which stars Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, and Taye Diggs. The R-rated film about a district attorney whose colleague gets tied up in a murder case will go out in a moderate wide release with only a mild marketing push behind it. The starpower is not strong enough to attract a sizable crowd and there is little buzz among movie fans. Opening in 1,163 locations, "Slow Burn" could die a quick death at the multiplexes with a $4M bow.
In a world overstuffed with animated films, First Look Pictures turns the tables and aims at adults with the R-rated toon "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters." Based on the animated series on Cartoon Network, the pic is trying to follow in the footsteps of "Borat" by taking a TV property with a cult following and making a long-titled feature film that pushes the envelope. Even the term ‘Movie Film’ seems taken from the Kazakh journalist. "Aqua Teen" scored some extra publicity with its marketing debacle in Boston several weeks ago, however that will not give the film more mainstream appeal. Only the die hard "Aqua" fans are likely to come out here. Competition is stiff this weekend and with the fewest theaters of the six pack of new flicks, this one could get left behind. Landing in over 800 locations, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" may collect approximately $4M over three days.
After back to back wins atop the box office charts, "Blades of Glory" will face a fierce challenge this weekend from the new releases. Few have the starpower that the Will Ferrell comedy packs and last weekend’s strong hold suggests that crowds are being pleased. A 35% fall would give "Blades" $14M for the weekend and $89M in 17 days.
"Meet the Robinsons" and "Are We Done Yet?" have no new competition for the family audience so respectable holds are likely here as well. A 35% drop would give the Disney toon about $11M for a 17-day tally of $70M while a 40% decline for the Ice Cube sequel would give Sony around $9M for the sophomore frame and $33M after 12 days.
LAST YEAR Easter weekend saw the arrival of "Scary Movie 4" which commanded a powerful opening grossing $40.2M in its debut. It was the second largest opening in the spoof comedy series and went on to capture $90.7M for The Weinstein Co. The animated blockbuster "Ice Age: The Meltdown" dropped to second place with a still-potent $20M in its third frame followed by the sports comedy "The Benchwarmers" with $9.9M. Disney saw a disappointing debut in fourth with the animated film "The Wild" which took in just $9.7M on its way to $37.4M. "Take the Lead" rounded out the top five with $6.8M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got snoops ("Disturbia," starring Shia LaBeouf), temps ("Perfect Stranger," starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis), Mooninites ("Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters"), and frauds ("The Hoax," starring Richard Gere). What do the critics have to say?
With a plot involving a bored house-arrested teenager, binoculars, and a neighbor who may be a murderer, it’s hard not to imagine "Disturbia" as "Rear Window" for the YouTube generation. Shia LaBeouf plays the James Stewart role as a kid trying to figure out whether he’s witnessing the work of a serial killer — or if it’s just his imagination. Though critics say "Disturbia" rips off Hitchcock, some still praise the film’s tense atmospherics; others call it too predictable, with the exception of one problematic twist late in the game. However, most agree that star Shia LaBeouf is evolving into an engaging screen presence. At 56 percent on the Tomatometer, keep your expectations in check and "Disturbia" may be worth a peep.
Frankly, we’re getting a little worried about Halle Berry. Ever since she took home the Oscar for "Monster’s Ball," she hasn’t been able to steer clear of mediocre movies. The latest example: "Perfect Stranger," a twisty whodunit that is unlikely to redeem her in the eyes of the scribes. Berry stars as an investigative reporter looking into the murder of a friend; signs seem to point to a powerful, sketchy ad exec (played by Bruce Willis), so she goes undercover as a temp in his firm. There’s nothing wrong with sexy potboilers, but the critics say "Perfect Stranger" is way too convoluted and filled with lame red herrings to work. At 16 percent on the Tomatometer, you may want to avoid this "Stranger."
Another month, another swords-and-decapitations-filled epic. "Pathfinder" stars Karl Urban as Ghost, an orphaned Viking boy raised by Native Americans, destined to fight off his ancestors when they come back to pillage pre-Columbus America. Despite a few rousing action sequences, critics are finding lots to take issue with in "Pathfinder" including a non-existent plot, silly dialogue, a sophomoric obsession with gory violence, and even the cinematography, which bathes everything in a washed-out blue. This "Pathfinder" is lost in the woods with a 33 percent Tomatometer.
If you’re a fan of Adult Swim’s "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," critics say you’ll probably dig its big screen adaptation, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters." If you’re not initiated into the world of those wacky anthropomorphic fast food items Meatwad, Frylock, and Master Shake, however, you’re likely to be left cold. Absurdist antics are the order of the day as our heroes seek out a piece of antiquated gym equipment called the Insanoflex. Long story short, critics say if you’re up for wacky non-sequiturs and are untroubled by such pesky cinematic conventions as narrative, "ATHFCMFFT" is as tasty as a Happy Meal. If not, politely ignore the film’s 68 percent Tomatometer.
When it comes to literary scandal, James Frey and Stephen Glass ain’t got nothing on Clifford Irving, whose phony "autobiography" of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes was a sensation — until Hughes emerged to dispute it. Irving appeared as himself in Orson Welles’ endlessly inventive final film "F for Fake," and now Lasse Hallström has made "The Hoax," a fictional account of the affair that critics say features Richard Gere’s best performance in years. The pundits say Hallström’s direction is deft enough to make the film work as a comedy, a thriller, and an empathetic character study to boot. At 85 percent, this "Hoax" is no joke. In fact, it’s Certified Fresh.
Add two more flicks to ever-growing list of movies hidden from critics. "Redline," starring Angus MacFadyen and Eddie Griffin, is set in the world of illegal drag racing, while "Slow Burn" stars Ray Liotta and LL Cool J in a complex murder mystery. Guess those Tomatometers, kids.
Also opening this week in limited release: "Red Road," a tense, Hitchcockian meditation on grief, is at 88 percent; the documentary "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis," about the underground artist, is at 88 percent; "Year of the Dog," a Sundance-approved comedy about the love of man’s best friend starring Molly Shannon, is at 86 percent; the Slamdance-accepted "Rock the Bells," a doc about efforts to stage a Wu-Tang reunion, is at 86 percent; "Private Fears in Public Places," a melodrama about relationships by legendary French director Alain Resnais, is at 82 percent; "Everything’s Gone Green," the tale of a slacker written by Gen-X writer Douglas Coupland, is at 67 percent; and "Lonely Hearts," a noir starring John Travolta, Salma Hayek, and Jared Leto, is at 43 percent.
Months after scaring an entire American city with its marketing material, the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" film is finally coming out. As with that poorly received promo campaign, the movie itself is dividing and baffling critics — so, was it worth it?
You might recall last January’s Boston "ATHF" snafu, the movie marketing campaign from hell that brought the city to its knees and cost Turner Broadcasting $2 million in apology money. Who’d have thought 38 panels of blinking lights shaped like aliens giving the middle finger could do so much damage?
Since the scare, Cartoon Network head Jim Samples has resigned, parent company TBS ponied up said cash, and nary a Mooninite has been spotted anywhere outside of the Adult Swim time slot on Cartoon Network, which incidentally, seems to be the primary airer of the film’s TV spots. Preaching to the choir? Probably. But if you’ve ever caught an episode of "ATHF" you know how unlikely it is to cast a demographic net wider than the college-age stoner set.
The inanely titled "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters" (shortened: "ATHFCMFFT") follows a trio of anthropomorphic animated food products (the egomaniac jumbo milkshake Master Shake, simple-minded meatball Meatwad, and a super-intelligent hovering box of French fries named Frylock) on a winding adventure through ancient Egypt and present-day New Jersey and involves kleptomaniac aliens, a mad scientist, and a mysterious exercise machine from the future. Lost yet? Fans of the show know to expect surrealist, random logic, absurd pop culture references and ADD-style plot movements (or lack thereof); the question is, can the "ATHF" M.O. — usually delivered in perfect 11-minute episodes — translate to a full 86-minute runtime?
Taking a look at the batch of reviews in for the Friday release, one thing is clear: the movie, like the show, is going to divide viewers. (And yes, we could do this for every movie that comes out each week — but most films don’t elicit as much bemusement or sheer vitriol as this has.)
For your reading enjoyment, peruse a selection of quotes from the satisfied, the mystified, and the downright livid critics who have chimed in thus far.
Orlando Weekly’s Jason Ferguson writes that, while the film’s jumble of storytelling conventions may be off-putting, there’s plenty still to laugh at:
Josh Tyler of Cinema Blend is of the mind that the optimal state of viewing is one of higher consciousness, though he viewed it sober and suggests just rolling with the absurdist punches:
Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine sits on the fence, but gives "ATHF" the benefit of the doubt for its "Dadaesque" film language and a hilarious opening sequence that is "unquestionably the s**t," but has yet to determine if directors Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis are mad or geniuses:
"Like the video cassette system on the back of someone’s head, which a character wows to by saying, "It’s like David Cronenbergian up in here!," this jambalaya of pop clutter, more perplexing than humorous in its insane brinkmanship, never stops boggling the mind. A second viewing with a joint in hand awaits to determine if its fierce comic bombardment means it’s either the worst movie ever made or an act of movie-film revolution."
And our favorites, from two of the ‘net’s singular voices:
CHUD’s Devin Faraci begins with a disclaimer countering the assumption that unless you partake in mind-altering substances, you won’t like "ATHF" ["My experience with psychedelics is also very extensive, ranging from s****y blotter acid to mushrooms to mescaline to PCP (totally by accident)."]. That said, sitting through the feature-length film entirely sober left something to be desired:
"It’s not often that I see a movie that leaves me with the desire to do actual bodily harm to the people who made it, but walking out of ATHFCMFFT I was filled with rage and hatred. Honestly, if George W Bush could prove that Saddam Hussein had funded this movie I would reverse my stance on the Iraq War and say that every single civilian casualty was justified."
Likewise, Ed Douglas of ComingSoon found himself beyond the realm of enjoyment:
"Yes, kids, this critic is taking the stance that if I don’t get it, it can’t possibly be funny, and this movie was one of the most unbearable and unwatchable movie experiences I’ve had this year. Then again, if you’re a fan of the show, you’re probably already beyond help. By all means, go waste your money on this."
"ATHFCMFFT" By The Numbers:
$2 Million = Money paid by Turner Broadcasting after the Boston fiasco
$750,000 = Reported production budget of "ATHFCMFFT"
386,000 = "ATHF" series viewership the week after the marketing fiasco
$3.5 Million = Opening weekend take of Cartoon Network’s last feature length theatrical attempt, "The Powerpuff Girls Movie" (budgeted at $11 Mil)
18-24 = "ATHF"’s target demographic age (males)
866 = Number of screens First Look Pictures is releasing "ATHFCMFFT" on Friday
2 = Critics so far who admit to being fans of the show (Chicago Tribune’s Eric Gwinn, Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers)
So, "ATHF"; will it indeed be "Number one in the hood, G?" Eh, probably not. Better question: Will 18-24 year old males who appreciate Dadaist filmmaking, absurdist humor, pixelated, contrarian aliens and talking food products buy enough tickets (and eventually, DVDs) to make the whole thing worthwhile?
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters" has climbed to a 64 percent Tomatometer with 22 reviews in (14 Fresh, 8 Rotten).
You Adult Swim fans already know the big-screen "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" movie is coming soon (yay!), but thanks to the flick’s recent marketing campaign-gone-wrong, even your parents may be wondering what a Mooninite is (…weird).
In just one day, the city of Boston has launched cartoon antiheroes Meatwad, Master Shake, and Frylock (a talking meatball, milkshake, and box of French fries, respectively) a little bit higher into the arena of public awareness with the massive stir (we will refrain from calling it "overreaction") that has erupted over a guerilla marketing campaign involving wire-ridden devices. Blinking magnetic devices. Blinking devices with lights in the shape of…block-shaped two-dimensional aliens with pixilated faces.
These aliens are Mooninites, two of the more recognizable frenemies from the "ATHF" cartoon series. Their names are Ignignokt (the green mastermind) and Err (the mean sidekick), and any "Hunger Force" fan worth their salt would giggle with unbridled laughter if they saw a Mooninite stuck to the side of a building flipping them off.
Ignignokt, Err, and one of the offending devices; hear them talk here!
But such is not the case with the alarmed officials of Boston, who not only shut down parts of the city’s infrastructure (bridges, subways, buildings) Wednesday, but later that night arrested two of the men responsible, both employees of a New York-based marketing firm promoting awareness of the March 23 release. Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were charged with placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct; both pleaded not guilty today in court. And then proceeded to give a press conference fielding questions only about hairstyles.
For the record, similar Mooninite-planting efforts were made in nine other metropolitan cities at the same time (reportedly weeks ago) with no resulting legal fuss: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Austin, Portland, and Philadelphia. (Anyone in those cities take pictures before the devices were removed/posted on ebay/removed from ebay?)
The incident already has it’s own Wikipedia page (and is alternately being called "the 2007 Boston magnetic light scare" and the way funnier "Aquagate").
In all seriousness, the perpetrators (who face up to five years in prison) did make efforts to express regret to a city whose officials remain adamantly offended, even in the face of nationwide ridicule.
Though the criminal charges (hopefully) won’t stick, it seems parent company Turner Broadcasting (whose Cartoon Network airs "Aqua Teen Hunger Force") might get hit with a lawsuit; over in Los Angeles, the producers of "Mission: Impossible III" made a similar misjudgment in marketing back in April of 2006, when Paramount decided to promote the Tom Cruise actioner with theme song-playing music boxes. Music boxes inserted in news racks. News racks (well, one) that were subsequently blown up by the LA County Sheriffs department; cops also evacuated a veteran’s hospital because of another news rack device.
As of Thursday, Paramount and The LA Times will be consequently sued by federal prosecutors over the stunt. It seems the "ATHF" brouhaha is destined to follow suit; let’s just hope that the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres" box office take makes up for the legal costs and potential monetary fines of the Boston Mooninite Affair of 2007.
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres" opens March 23; watch the trailer here!