(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)
After a decade of bit parts, many of them within the gainful employ of Steven Soderbergh’s production company, Viola Davis broke into the mainstream with a movie-stealing turn – and from Meryl Streep! – in 2008’s Catholic Church child abuse drama Doubt. Davis has all of 10 minutes of screen time in Doubt but earned an Oscar nomination for her work, joining the likes of Ruby Dee for American Gangster or Ned Beatty for Network of Oscar nominees who made the most out of their single-scene appearances. Yet, Davis forms Doubt’s emotional pillar, powerfully delivering social and cultural history that further obfuscates the film’s central mystery.
Davis has been releasing multiple movies a year ever since, frequently playing women of power or high up in their professions, in the likes of Law Abiding Citizen, Knight & Day, Ender’s Game, and Suicide Squad, as Amanda Waller, one of that movie’s rare bright spots. And Davis has frequently reached the same heights as Doubt in Certified Fresh films like Widows, The Help (receiving a Lead Actress nomination), and Fences, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Davis got another Lead Actress nom for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and she returned as Waler for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. And now, we’re ranking all Viola Davis movies by Tomatometer!
The adult-themed superhero film Watchmen seized control of the North American box office posting the biggest debut of the year with an estimated $55.7M in ticket sales over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), the R-rated film based on the acclaimed 1986 comic series averaged a muscular $15,413 from 3,611 theaters. It was the third best March opening ever trailing 300 ($70.9M) and Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M) and the sixth largest bow for an R-rated film after The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8M), The Passion of the Christ ($83.8M), 300, Hannibal ($58M), and Sex and the City ($57M).
With a reported budget of about $125M, the anti-heroes began the weekend with a terrific $25.1M on Friday including $4.6M in Thursday night shows beginning at midnight. Saturday fell sharply by 25% to $19M while Sunday is estimated to drop 38% to $11.6M.
Expectations were high for Watchmen with many thinking it could match or even beat 300‘s debut given that it boasted the same director, studio, release weekend, and rating. But the Spartan tale played broader as an exciting stylish actioner of the moment with more female appeal. Watchmen generated less interest with women and stuck mostly to a finite fan base of lovers of the comic and graphic novel. Still, the debut was impressive as it wasn’t an easy sell. Reviews were mixed and the longer running time of 2 hours and 43 minutes meant less showtimes per auditorium.
But Watchmen did enjoy a less competitive field as no studio dared to counter with another wide release this weekend. The rest of the Top 20 stole away $56.5M versus $75.5M for 300‘s opening weekend. The superhero saga managed to gross more than the next 17 films combined and eked out a new record for the widest launch of an R-rated pic inching past the 3,603 sites for Reloaded from May 2003.
In the world of superheroes that jump from the page to the screen, Watchmen performed just like the first films in the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises which bowed to $54.5M in 2000 and $56.1M in 2005, respectively. All three were based on ensemble groups of characters, had large built-in fan bases, but were not universally known heroes like Spider-Man or Batman. Watchmen had a more restrictive rating and played outside of the prime summer season, however it also enjoyed higher ticket prices.
Imax played an important role in Watchmen‘s debut. 124 of the total theaters offered the large-screen presentation at slightly higher prices grossing an estimated $5.5M making it the second biggest Imax bow ever after The Dark Knight which debuted in 94 sites. That translated to a sensational average of $44,556. Imax accounted for just 3% of the Watchmen locations but 10% of the weekend gross.
Overseas where Paramount is handling the release, Rorschach and company grossed a solid but not spectacular $27.5M from 45 markets. The global bow was $83.2M.
Following its two-week stint on top, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail dropped down to second place with an estimated $8.8M in its third weekend of release. The PG-13 comedy has so far grossed $76.5M in 17 days and currently ranks as Lionsgate’s fourth biggest grosser ever after Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2M), Saw II ($87M), and Saw III ($80.2M). Already Perry’s top career pic, look for Jail to end its run as the second biggest hit ever for the distributor. The movie mogul remains busy with his next film I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which also features the Madea character, set to be released this September and the sequel Why Did I Get Married Too slated for Easter weekend next year. Lionsgate once again will distribute. Perry’s seven films to date have grossed a combined $356M domestically.
Fox’s sleeper hit thriller Taken enjoyed yet another solid performance with audiences taking in an estimated $7.5M for a low decline of just 25%. That boosted the cume to a robust $118M. Dropping 42% in its 17th weekend was Oscar champ Slumdog Millionaire with an estimated $6.9M boosting the tally to date to $125.4M. The Danny Boyle-directed hit is on course to beat Juno’s $143.5M to become the top-grossing film ever for Fox Searchlight. The global cume has now surpassed $225M.
Climbing one spot to fifth place was the durable comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop which dipped only 25% to an estimated $4.2M boosting the remarkable cume to $133.6M. Now in its eighth weekend, the Sony release has never dropped by more than 40%. Another comedy showing good legs is the date flick He’s Just Not That Into You which declined by only 33% to an estimated $4M for sixth place. Warner Bros. has taken in $84.6M with this New Line production.
Falling 37% to an estimated $3.3M was the stop-motion animation hit Coraline. The Focus release has now taken in a stellar $65.7M to date and ranks as one of the year’s top ten grossers. The Isla Fisher comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic got off to a rocky start but has now posted back-to-back weekends with drops of less than 35%. The Buena Vista release took in an estimated $3.1M, off 33%, and lifted its sum to a decent $38.4M.
Disney’s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience suffered one of the largest second weekend drops in box office history crumbling a stunning 78% to an estimated $2.8M. This followed what was widely considered an underwhelming debut last weekend of $12.5M which was enhanced by $15 ticket prices. After ten days, the G-rated music pic has grossed $16.8M underscoring how the Jonas brand is not nearly as popular as the Hannah Montana name. That character’s 3D concert film from last year fell by 67% in its sophomore session and banked an amazing $53.2M in its first ten days despite playing in half as many theaters.
Rounding out the top ten was the high school comedy Fired Up with an estimated $2.6M for Sony, down just 30%, for a new total of $13.4M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $98.9M over the weekend which was up 14% from last year when 10,000 B.C. opened in the top spot with $35.9M; but down 27% from 2007 when 300 debuted at number one with a stunning $70.9M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com
Despite the arrival of rocking teens, Tyler Perry enjoyed a back-to-back stint at number one with the hit comedy Madea Goes to Jail which led a sluggish frame despite suffering a sizable sophomore drop. Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience debuted in second place while many holdovers posted small declines remaining popular with moviegoers once again. Overall the North American box office once again beat year-ago levels by a comfortable margin keeping the momentum going for 2009.
Last weekend’s top film Madea Goes to Jail tumbled 60% in its second weekend grossing an estimated $16.5M which was still good enough for the top spot. The drop was slightly more than the 58% fall that Madea’s Family Reunion (Tyler Perry’s previous best opener) suffered in its sophomore frame during the first weekend of March in 2006. After ten days of release, Jail has amassed a stellar $64.9M and has already become the popular filmmaker’s highest grossing movie ever edging out Reunion‘s $63.3M total gross. Lionsgate could see the final tally reach the neighborhood of $85-90M.
Disney opened its music pic Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience in second place with an estimated $12.7M. Playing in 1,271 3D theaters, the G-rated concert flick averaged a healthy $9,992 and was helped by higher $15 ticket prices that exhibitors were charging. The bow was not even close to the performance of last year’s Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus 3D concert film which opened with $31.1M from 683 locations for a scorching $45,561 average. Though launching in nearly half as many theaters, that film was helped by what was then scheduled as a one-week-only run which generated more excitement plus was based on a more popular brand from the Disney Channel arsenal.
Following its sweep of the Academy Awards last Sunday, Slumdog Millionaire enjoyed a 45% surge in business thanks to a wave of press attention and an additional 699 playdates. The Fox Searchlight hit grossed an estimated $12.2M putting it into third place, the highest chart position yet across its 16 weekends in theaters. That translated to a $4,128 average from 2,943 locations. Slumdog boosted its cume to a sensational $115.1M from North America alone.
Fox’s sleeper action hit Taken joined the century club over the weekend. The Liam Neeson thriller eased only 12% to an estimated $10M lifting the cume to $107.9M. Date flick He’s Just Not That Into You took in an estimated $5.9M for Warner Bros., down just 31%, with the sum thus far reaching an impressive $78.5M.
Sony’s runaway hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop took in an estimated $5.6M in its seventh weekend slipping a mere 18% and raising the amazing total to $128.1M. The stop-motion animated hit Coraline followed in fourth with an estimated $5.3M, down 54%, for a $61.1M total to date for Focus.
The videogame-inspired actioner Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li debuted in eighth place with an estimated $4.7M. Fox’s PG-13 release averaged a mild $4,093 from 1,136 locations and played to a young male audience.
Falling 33% was the chick flick Confessions of a Shopoholic with an estimated $4.5M giving Buena Vista $33.7M to date. Rounding out the top ten was the male cheerleader flick Fired Up! which collected an estimated $3.8M, down 31%, for a $10.1M total after ten days in multiplexes.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $81M over the weekend which was up 10% from last year when Semi-Pro opened in the top spot with $15.1M; but down 21% from 2007 when Wild Hogs debuted at number one with a stunning $39.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com
This weekend Tyler Perry once again showed why he is the King (and Madea his Queen) of the box office as Madea Goes to Jail slaughtered the competition this weekend. Holdovers were mixed and the only other new release landed with a soft thud.
Taking his rightful place atop the box office charts, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail ruled the roost this weekend bringing in a stunning $41.2M, according to estimates, for a per screen average of $20,236. Perry’s fans have obviously been hungering for another round of Madea and they came out in droves to see her. Madea Goes to Jail replaces Madea’s Family Reunion as Perry’s biggest opening weekend gross. That film opened three years ago to a $30M bow and $13,688 average. Perry’s last two films have been relative disappointments (relative only within the Perry universe) but Madea has set him back on track. In fact, Madea Goes to Jail this weekend alone has made more money than Perry’s last film The Family That Preys, did in its entire run late last year, when it finished with $37.1M.
Continuing its impressive run and refusing to let go of second place was the Liam Neeson action-thriller Taken fell 40% from last weekend’s three-day totals to an estimated $11.4M bringing its cume to within a hair of the century club at $95.1M. The family film Coraline came in third this weekend, dropping a small 25% for an estimated weekend take of $11M. Its cume now stands at $53.4M for Focus Features.
Fourth place belonged to the chick lit pic He’s Just Not That Into You which fell 56% from last weekend’s Valentine’s Day fueled total to $8.5M, according to estimates. Its cume now stands at $70.1M with the century club still a possibility.
Fifth place belonged to multiple Oscar hopeful Slumdog Millionaire which saw its gross increase by 10% from last weekend to an estimated $8M. Its total after nearly four months in theaters is $98M and could grow much higher if it takes home the coveted Best Picture Oscar tonight.
Crashing and burning into sixth place was last weekend’s champ Friday the 13th which fell an astounding 80% to $7.8M. A big drop was expected as fans of the genre rushed out on opening weekend, but this drop gives Friday the 13th the distinction of being one of the top 10 worst second weekend drops for a wide release in history. Its total stands at $55M with a final gross somewhere in the $65-70M range. While there are two more Friday the 13ths in this year (much too soon for a sequel to hit) the only Friday the 13th in 2010 is in August, the perfect time for an end of summer horror film.
The second chick lit flick on the charts landed in seventh this weekend as Confessions of a Shopaholic took in an estimated $7M of consumer dollars bringing its cume to $27.6M. A drop of 53% from last weekend does not bode well for the Disney release. Look for a final total in the $40-45M range.
A trio of Sony releases closes out the top 10 this weekend. In eighth place was arguably the biggest surprise hit so far this season, Paul Blart: Mall Cop which fell only 36% from last weekend to an estimated $7M. Its total now stands at a terrific $121.3M. Opening poorly in ninth place was the high school not-a-cheerleading movie Fired Up! The movie starring two guys who haven’t been in high school in about 10 years took in $6M this weekend, according to estimates, for a per screen average of $3,315. And rounding out the top 10 was The International in its second weekend. The banking thriller took in $4.5M this weekend bringing its cume to a disappointing $17M. Look for a final total in the $25M range.
Three of the other four Best Picture nominees added theaters this weekend and all saw their grosses rise slightly from last weekend. The Reader grossed an estimated $2.8M this weekend, (up 25% from last weekend) bringing its total to $23.1M. Milk also saw its grosses rise 25% from last weekend, grossing an estimated $1.1M this weekend for a total of $28.1M. Frost/Nixon saw its weekend take rise 31% from last weekend, raking in $678,000 according to estimates, bringing its cume to $17M. The final nominee, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was the only Best Picture nominee to lose theaters this weekend and saw its gross fall 25% from last weekend to $1.2M, bringing its total to $124.2M
This week at the movies, we’ve got spirited scoundrels (Fired Up!, starring Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen) and septuagenarian scofflaws (Madea Goes to Jail, starring Tyler Perry and Derek Luke). What do the critics have to say?
If you’re going to make a raunchy cheerleading comedy, you’re going to need plenty of energy and some good jokes. Unfortunately, critics say Fired Up! is short on laughs and pep.The film stars Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen as a pair of high school football stars that decide to join the painfully inept cheerleading squad as a ploy to meet girls. Naturally, the lads learn a thing or two about love and competitiveness in the process. The pundits say Fired Up! does little with a limited premise, delivering a few chuckles but ultimately coming across as alternately shopworn and mean-spirited.
There are two ways of looking at the evolution of Tyler Perry’s career: either mainstream critics are slowly coming around to his brand of comedic melodrama and spiritual uplift, or he’s getting better at his craft. Regardless of the answer, we’ll have to wait for the pundits’ evaluations of Madea Goes to Jail, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. Madea stars Perry as the irrepressible (and slammer-bound) matriarch, whose no-nonsense candor serves to inspire her damaged fellow inmates. Kids, ask your parole officer for help in guessing that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release:
Jason Voorhees may have met his match in Madea. Tyler Perry‘s latest comedy Madea Goes to Jail from Lionsgate leads a light weekend when eyes will be on the Academy Awards and aims to give the filmmaker yet another top spot debut. The only other film debuting in wide release is Sony’s teen comedy Fired Up! which will offer up a different style of laughter. Coming off of a record Presidents’ Day holiday frame, the North American marketplace should easily beat year-ago levels once again.
Three years ago this month, Perry stunned the film industry with a $30M bow and $13,688 average for his hit comedy Madea’s Family Reunion setting a career high he still hasn’t topped. Now, the foul-mouthed matriarch is back in Madea Goes to Jail which puts the spotlight back on the favorite character of his fans. The PG-13 film should play to the filmmaker’s core audience of African-American women but should do well with males too. Perry has been a consistent draw at the box office with powerful openings for recent films like Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4M opening, $10,618 average), Meet the Browns ($20.1M opening, $10,011 average), and The Family That Preys ($17.4M opening, $8,397 average). But with two movies per year in theaters and two hit sitcoms on TBS, he does run the risk of oversaturating the marketplace.
Lionsgate has been pushing the Madea brand big time with posters featuring the title character’s mugshot. The built-in audience is huge and the debut figure should exceed what Perry has been seeing with his last few films. Competition is weak as no current hit comedy is catering to the same demographic. Perry should be on top, something he missed out on with his pair of films from last year. Opening in 2,032 locations, Madea Goes to Jail could gross about $25M this weekend.
For those looking for laughs, but not from cross-dressing movie moguls, Sony offers the teen comedy Fired Up! The PG-13 pic finds two high school football players attending cheerleading camp in order to meet some ladies. Teens and young adults are the target audience here so expect most of the business to come from the under-30 set. With no major stars, the studio has focused its campaign on the jokes and the overall humor of the story. The marketing has been commendable so look for a decent showing before the eventual DVD which will reach an even bigger crowd. Jumping into more than 1,800 locations, Fired Up! could take in about $8M this weekend.
Last weekend’s top draw Friday the 13th pulled in an enormous chunk of business over the long holiday frame so there isn’t much left of the total audience for the remake. The Warner Bros. release looks to crumble by around 60% which would give the slasher redo about $17M for the weekend and a stellar $64M in ten days.
Liam Neeson‘s surprising action smash Taken will flirt with the century club over Oscar weekend. The film’s legs have been just amazing and another strong performance is on tap given that the two new wide openers will not compete for the Fox release’s core audience. A 20% decline would give the kidnapping thriller around $15M for the weekend and a cume of $98M after 24 days.
The romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You has been yet another overachiever at the box office and is gunning for a decent figure this weekend. Coming off of Valentine’s Day weekend, the Warner Bros. title may fall by 45% to about $11M boosting the 17-day total to $71M.
LAST YEAR: The presidential assassination thriller Vantage Point gunned down a number one opening with $22.9M over Oscar weekend. Sony went on to collect $72.3M with the ensemble pic. Holdovers filled out the rest of the top five with the fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles grossing $13.1M for Paramount and Jumper taking in $12.7M for Fox, both in their second weekends. Fellow sophomore Step Up 2 the Streets followed with $9.6M for Buena Vista while Fool’s Gold rounded out the top five with $6.6M for Warner Bros. Three films opened with smaller numbers and ended up in lower positions. New Line’s Be Kind Rewind bowed to $4.1M on its way to $11.2M. Debuting outside the top ten with dismal results were the Lionsgate comedy Witless Protection with $2.1M and the MGM drama Charlie Bartlett with $1.8M. Final grosses were $4.2M and $4M, respectively.
Author: Gitesh Pandya: www.BoxOfficeGuru.com