This week, get Bourne (The Bourne Ultimatum) — or get Potter (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), or Efron (High School Musical 2), or opt for a different sort of winter treat (Silent Night, Deadly Night – Uncut and Uncensored, The December Boys).
Director Paul Greengrass took to the rooftops of Tangier and the bustling throughways of London’s Waterloo Station to close out the Jason Bourne trilogy the best way he knew how: with dizzying, up-close-and-personal handheld camera work! But what Greengrass invariably saved on Steadicam operator costs, he poured as sheer energy into his exhilarating sequel about the titular amnesiac CIA muscle (People‘s Sexiest Man Alive himself, Matt Damon) still on the run from his former bosses and struggling to remember his past. At 93 percent on the Tomatometer, The Bourne Ultimatum is the best-reviewed film of the series. Pick up the release on its own for a bonus menu packed with deleted scenes, featurettes on the guerrilla-style filming of action sequences, fight choreography, and commentary; score the entire trilogy box set for four discs of Bourne goodness — including your own Jason Bourne passport!
It’s pretty incredible that in five visions with four different directors the Harry Potter series hasn’t dipped out of Certified Fresh territory. Looks like someone cast a Tomatometerus protectus spell! The latest installment, David Yates‘ Order of the Phoenix, brings young wizard Harry new intrigue at Hogwarts: the menacingly perky teacher Dolores Umbridge, the lurking danger of He Who Shall Not Be Named, and the sweaty palms of young love. Special features take you behind-the-scenes on the Harry Potter set and allow you to edit a scene, but the coolest DVD offering may be the ability to download a digital copy to other devices.
Lost Season Three
For viewers whose interest in Lost hasn’t already given way to seething, bitter frustration (Curse you, J.J. Abrams, and your addictively mysterious productions! What the heck is Slusho??) Season Three is a must-have. Watch all 23 episodes of Castaway-on-Others action — we’re not just talking Jack and Juliet here, wink wink — and revel in a bonus menu featuring deleted scenes, literary references, Easter eggs, cast a crew revelations about the Others, and all new, never before seen character flashbacks! Discover the secret of the Island! (And then email me your findings, please!)
High School Musical 2
OMG! Like you, we were anxiously awaiting High School Musical 2 to see if Troy (Zac Efron) and Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) would finally kiss, already, but the DVD release of the most watched cable show in, like, ever, means we can do one better: learn the dances!
The December Boys
Because you can’t really get the Christmas spirit without seeing a psychopathic Santa slake his thirst for blood, take home the 1984 horror classic. Now Uncut and Uncensored!
Until next week, happy renting, everyone!
For the second straight weekend, a star-driven action drama aimed at adult
audiences opened at number one with $14M in ticket sales from roughly 2,700
theaters. This time it was
The Brave One
which topped the charts bumping former champ
3:10 to Yuma to
the runner-up spot.
Thornton‘s new comedy
opened respectably in third while the fantasy actioner
Dragon Wars bowed to
weak results in fourth place.
Warner Bros. captured the top spot with the vigilante thriller
The Brave One this
weekend averaging a solid $5,087 from 2,755 theaters. The Jodie Foster film’s
gross was enough to claim the number one spot, but was a far cry from the
numbers that the Oscar-winning actress has seen from recent films. The R-rated
pic’s bow was 43% weaker than her last film
$24.6M launch in September 2005 and down 53% from the $30.1M debut of
Panic Room in
March 2002. All were adult-skewing thrillers anchored solo by Foster playing a
strong woman who takes care of problems on her own.
Two elements that may have dampened the grosses for Brave were lukewarm
reviews and a better-than-expected hold from
3:10 to Yuma
which is also playing to a mature adult crowd. Foster was aggressively promoting
the Neil Jordan-directed
film on every TV and print outlet over the past two weeks but that did little to
prevent the revenge pic from posting one of her worst openings in recent years.
In fact, over the last decade, her only wide release to debut weaker was 1999’s
the King with $5.2M.
Dipping only 27% was
The Bourne Ultimatum which grossed an estimated $4.2M
pushing the massive cume to $216.2M. Only one 2007 release has performed better
in its seventh weekend — Wild Hogs with $4.7M in April. Overseas, the Universal
hit collected an estimated $20.8M from 4,333 theaters in 46 territories and
enjoyed number one debuts in France, South Korea, Belgium, Norway and the
Netherlands. That lifted the international total to $125M and the global tally
to $341M making it the biggest Bourne ever. Look for the $400M barrier to fall
later this fall.
The sports comedy Balls of Fury drooped down to eighth place with an estimated
$3.3M, off 41%, for a $28.9M total after 19 days for Focus. New Line’s action
sequel Rush Hour 3 held up well again sliding 32% to an estimated $3.3M for a cume of $133.2M to date. The family comedy
Mr Bean’s Holiday eased only 22% to
an estimated $2.7M for a $28.5M sum for Universal.
There was plenty of activity in the arthouses as Oscar season got underway with
strong limited launches from a handful of early contenders. Director
Cronenberg‘s crime thriller
Eastern Promises generated the best average with its
estimated $553,000 bow from 15 theaters for a muscular $36,867 per site. The
R-rated tale won the top audience prize at the Toronto International Film
Festival on Saturday boosting its industry profile and will expand on Friday to
more than 1,300 locations nationwide. This weekend’s results were almost
identical to the platform bow of Cronenberg’s last film
A History of Violence
which opened in mid-September two years ago in 14 theaters to a $515,992 frame
and $36,857 average before expanding wide the following weekend with $8.1M from
1,340 venues and a $6,047 average. Coincidentally, Jodie Foster was number one
at that time with Flightplan.
Sony’s musical extravaganza
Across the Universe was red hot also with a debut of
an estimated $685,000 from 23 venues for a potent $29,783 average. Studio data
showed that the Julie Taymor-directed pic skewed towards young women as the
audience breakdown was 62% female and 57% under 25. Universe also widens on
Friday and will be in roughly 400 playdates.
The Tommy Lee Jones military mystery
In the Valley of Elah opened to solid
results with an estimated $150,000 from nine locations for a $16,667 average.
Warner Independent reported that the audience was more male and older. Directed
by Paul Haggis,
Elah will expand to 250-300 runs next weekend. The
Daniel Radcliffe drama
December Boys did not fare as well and
grossed an estimated $18,000 from four theaters for a mild $4,500 average in New
York and Los Angeles. Pic will widen to 10 theaters on Friday and will have a
tough road ahead given the avalanche of limited-release options on the horizon.
Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. New Line’s stylish
action thriller Shoot
‘Em Up tumbled 55% in its second weekend to an estimated
$2.6M giving the Clive Owen pic only $10.3M after ten days. A $15M final seems
likely. The Nanny Diaries grossed an estimated $2.2M, off 31%, for a cume of
$24M. The MGM release should finish up with just under $30M. Paramount’s
expensive flop Stardust took in an estimated $1.4M, down 25%, for a domestic
tally of only $36.4M. With a reported production cost of $65M, the adventure
film looks to end its run with a disappointing $40M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $61.3M which was up 9% from last year
when Gridiron Gang debuted in first place with $14.4M; but down 8% from 2005
when Just Like Heaven opened in the top spot with $16.4M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru
This week at the movies, we’ve got vigilantes (The Brave One, starring
Jodie Foster), gym teachers (Mr. Woodcock, starring
Billy Bob Thornton and
Susan Sarandon), war correspondents (The Hunting Party, starring
Richard Gere and
Terrence Howard), and
flying menaces (Dragon Wars, starring
Behr). What do the critics have to say?
In Taxi Driver,
Robert DeNiro played a cabbie that went on a killing
spree to "protect" a teenage hooker played by Jodie Foster. Now, with
The Brave One, it’s Foster’s turn to take the law into her own hands. She plays
a talk radio host whose significant other is killed in a random attack,
triggering an impulse to arm herself and "avenge" her husband’s killing.
Terrence Howard plays a detective who’s on the trail of this vigilante. Critics
say The Brave One‘s an-eye-for-an-eye message is problematic, but the
material is slightly elevated by
Neil Jordan‘s direction and strong performances from Foster
and Howard. At 43 percent on the Tomatometer, Brave may not be one to watch.
(Check out our review from the Toronto Film Festival
Also opening this week in limited release:
The Great World of Sound, a
drama about a pair of traveling music producers, is at 82 percent;
a documentary about Paris’s famed Pere-Lachaise cemetery, is at 80 percent;
Eastern Promises, starring
Viggo Mortensen as a member
of London’s underworld, is at 79 percent (check out our interview with Cronenberg and Mortensen
King of California, starring
Evan Rachel Wood as a father and daughter on a quest for gold, is at
75 percent; Paul Haggis‘
In the Valley of Elah, starring
Tommy Lee Jones
and Charlize Theron, about a war vet’s search for his missing son who recently
returned from Iraq, is at 63 percent;
Ira & Abby, a rom-com about a
whirlwind courtship that takes a dark turn, is at 50 percent;
Julie Taymor‘s ambitions musical that chronicles the 1960s through
the music of the Beatles, is at 45 percent (check out our Beatles movie feature
December Boys, a story of orphaned teenagers in Australia starring
Daniel Radcliffe, is at 43 percent; and
Silk, a period romance starring
Keira Knightley and Michael Pitt, is at zero percent.