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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

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Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Buscemi2 » December 3rd, 2018, 7:38 pm

“You took the box! Let's see what's in the box! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!” – Kuni, UHF (1989)

And in terms of wide releases, there really is nothing in the box. That makes my week a little bit easier. However, there are three limited releases this weekend.

Last Week

Ralph Breaks the Internet didn’t exactly do such a thing but it stayed in first place despite a 55% drop, making $25.6 million ($119.1 million to date). Second was The Grinch, with $17.9 million of cash to match his color in its fourth week. Third was Creed II with $16.6 million, fourth was Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald with $11.3 million, and rocking out the top five was Bohemian Rhapsody, still making the world go ‘round with $8 million. The only wide opener, The Possession of Hannah Grace, finished in seventh with a $6.4 million weekend.

On the PTA scene, The Favourite remained such with a $31,538 per in 34 theatres. Second was Shaun of the Dead but It’s a Musical, I mean Anna and the Apocalypse with an okay $10,518 average in five theatres. The planned wide expansion seems unlikely at this point. Shoplifters was third with a $6,971 per in its second week and Ralph and Creed were 4-5.

This Week

No wide releases this weekend, as noted above. They are bringing back Schindler’s List this weekend in preparation for the new Blu-ray/UHD/DVD/VHS/Beta/laserdisc/DIVX/Video 2000/insert random obscure home format here though. That should be of interest to some readers.

Maybe no wide releases this weekend is a good thing. We can get ready for the massive onslaught of movies coming in the next two weeks. It kind of feels like that brief period in the 90’s (and perhaps the 00’s) where eight or nine wide releases opened so close together.

But enough history lessons because we have to make it for next period.


Arthouse Class 101

This week, we go to school with three new titles.

Ben is Back (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions) – anyone remember that Katie Holmes movie from several years back called Pieces of April? No? Well, Peter Hedges, that film’s director, basically remade it but changed a few things, mainly the holiday (Thanksgiving to Christmas) and the gender of the titular character. Otherwise, you’ve got the same case of a confused young person being forced to reconnect with their estranged family.

The premise for all you non-cynics focuses on a missing teenager who returns to his family on Christmas Eve. It is later learned that he owes a debt and has to depend on his mother to help pay. If he doesn’t, his acts could destroy the family. Lucas Hedges (the younger and less-talented version of Jesse Plemons) plays Ben, Julia Roberts plays his mother, and Courtney B. Vance plays his stepfather.

Reviews have been decent but who knows how Lionsgate will distribute this one as they are handling in tandem with Roadside Attractions instead of the latter handling it themselves. With Roberts’ name recognition (Wonder made millions for Lionsgate last fall), this could end up being wider than the typical 4-6 theatres a title like this would open in. A risky pick for Ultimates but could be an okay pick for Box Office if cheap.

The film should end up with 2-3 PTA points and $2-3 million in box office.

Mary, Queen of Scots (Focus) – another film about royalty, yawn. But why should I complain? These movies make money and Universal might have been smart to make another version of this story (they previously did a 1971 film with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I).

The story, for those not into European history, focuses on the 1569 conflict between England and Scotland, also known as the Rising of the North. Saoirse Ronan is Mary, Margot Robbie is Elizabeth, and the supporting cast is rounded out by Joe Alwyn, David Tennant (the Whovians are going to love it), and Guy Pearce.

Early reviews are quite good and as I said, there’s a strong audience for this kind of movie. With On the Basis of Sex having disappointing early word, this is probably Focus’s best bet for awards. Focus will probably open small and expand small while making sure not to conflict with The Favourite in getting that box office coinage. You should go for it with what money you have.

In the end, there should be 7-12 PTA points and $15-20 million in box office.

Vox Lux (Neon) – Brady Corbet, from the same state that gave us our King of the Fantaverse, has had an odd career. Starting as your typical teen actor, appearing in the film version of Thunderbirds and episodes of 24, his career took an interesting turn when he appeared in Michael Haneke's American remake of Funny Games and since then has gone into making unusual independent films, first as a screenwriter (with Simon Killer among other films) and then as a director (with The Childhood of a Leader). Retired from acting since 2015, Corbet has now put his creative juices into directing full-time and given us a new film about the pop music industry. Could it be another A Star is Born, a decent limited release performer like Love & Mercy (a film that used a similar narrative), or will it be forgotten like many other music-themed films of the past?

Despite being advertised as a Natalie Portman vehicle, she is actually not in that much of the film (using the Love & Mercy example, I would imagine it’s much like John Cusack in that film). The film is set across two time periods: 1999 and 2017. In 1999, our heroine uses music to escape tragedy. In the process, she gets famous through the work of a zealous manager. In 2017, the price of fame has broken our heroine as the past begins to catch up in a new form. The film also stars Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle, Willem Dafoe, Maria Dizzia, and Christopher Abbott. The film’s music was performed by Sia.

The film has gotten stellar reviews but I have a feeling it might not be enough. Neon picked this up hoping it would be 2018’s I, Tonya. However, the highly artistic style and lack of Portman in the first half might cause this to not break out. A good comparison in terms of box office potential could be Suspiria, which opened to a large amount of hype but died fast once audiences learned what it actually was. But this one’s probably a better sell, being over 40 minutes shorter and with more marketable elements.

Let's go with 5-9 PTA points and $3-4 million in total box office.

Next week, Monkey will cover three wide releases, Mortal Engines (Universal), The Mule (Warner Bros.), and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony/Columbia), and two limited releases, Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) and If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna). Honey, where are my pants?
Last edited by Buscemi2 on December 4th, 2018, 8:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Shrykespeare » December 3rd, 2018, 7:50 pm

OMG. A Kuni quote. First I've heard in decades. Go' bless ya, guv'na!

Gedde Watanabe. Underrated actor. :)


Celebrity birthdays:

Ozzy Osbourne turns 70 on 12/3
Brendan Fraser turns 50 on 12/3
JoBeth Williams turns 70 on 12/6
Emily Browning turns 30 on 12/7
Ian Somerhalder turns 40 12/8
Happy 40th birthday Katie Holmes! (12/18/18)
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Screen203 » December 3rd, 2018, 9:39 pm

Vox Lux is probably the film I am most excited for of the Oscar contenders, but I don't expect it to do well outside of the big cities. While I do have the film on my box office slate, I chose it more as a filler than anything else. Mary, Queen of Scots - which I also have on my slate - looks extremely bland, but it will probably do well.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby numbersix » December 4th, 2018, 4:23 am

I think Vox Lux will nab the PTA crown this weekend and earn points across the holidays. Hopefully Neon will have learned their lesson and not open something too wide (ahem ahem Assassination Nation), whereas Mary Queen of Scots suffered from a lack of festival presence and the reviews seem warm rather than glowing. Plus it hasn't been doing much on the awards/Best-of circuit either, and I bet Focus will expand more aggressively.

Is this the first time ever in which we've had two weekends in a row where nothing new opened? Okay, there was that horror film last week but who cares about that?
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Chienfantome » December 4th, 2018, 5:01 am

Yeah, it's a chance for the films from previous weeks, to capitalize on the Top 5 points, that's why I put Ralph on my Ultimate slates.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Buscemi2 » December 4th, 2018, 6:58 am

The new Vox Lux trailer basically focuses entirely on the second half of the film. I'm not sure if this is to attract interest to more than the four people who saw The Childhood of a Leader or if Neon has given up on marketing it and decided, "You liked A Star is Born? Here's another Lady Gaga-influenced awards film". I think a lot of you might be overhyping it.

And I wonder if that one theatre in Manhattan is still showing Assassination Nation. Apparently, they were trying to turn it into the next big cult film.

As for Mary, Queen of Scots, people eat up these kinds of movies. Victoria & Abdul had weak reviews but still made some money as American audiences still have a fascination with royalty. It's also perhaps an easier sell than The Favourite despite not having a big American star. And I'm sure a lot of those already saw the real Lady Gaga and don't need a hollow imitation.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby numbersix » December 4th, 2018, 7:14 am

I believe Vox Lux is a much more arthouse film, consciously undermining the concept of fame and the identity of those who achieve it. And for sure, that makes it a more niche film. But Portman has a draw, and can give arthouse prestige. I agree this won't break out, and that's the very reason I think it may end up expandingly slowly and sucking up those beautiful PTA points.

I agree on all points regarding Mary Queen of Scots, but period British drama isn't what it used to be (The Favourite doesn't quite count as it's apparently more daring and shocking), and an aggressive expansion by Focus will result in poor results.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Screen203 » December 7th, 2018, 12:25 pm

numbersix wrote:I agree on all points regarding Mary Queen of Scots, but period British drama isn't what it used to be (The Favourite doesn't quite count as it's apparently more daring and shocking), and an aggressive expansion by Focus will result in poor results.


One of the theaters near me is getting Mary, Queen of Scots, so I would assume it is going wide relatively quickly. This theater gets less mainstream movies than most of the other theaters near me, however (they were the only ones near me - the closest art-house is an hour away - to get Three Identical Strangers, Free Solo, and Suspiria, although I am sure that other theater near me got those movies, but the closest theater I regularly go to). I haven't seen any marketing for Mary, Queen of Scots, besides seeing the preview a few times in theaters, so I'm not sure how wide it's going next weekend. I thought that The Favorite was going wide as well on the 14th, but that's Fox Searchlight so it probably won't be that wide.
Last edited by Screen203 on December 7th, 2018, 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Buscemi2 » December 7th, 2018, 12:48 pm

The Favourite expands on the 21st.

And some news related to a forthcoming release: Aquaman had the biggest opening day ever for a Warner Bros. title in China. I call it an ass-whooping.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Screen203 » December 7th, 2018, 1:34 pm

Buscemi2 wrote: And some news related to a forthcoming release: Aquaman had the biggest opening day ever for a Warner Bros. title in China. I call it an ass-whooping.


Venom did really well over there (despite being an awful movie), so that's not surprising.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Shrykespeare » December 9th, 2018, 12:45 pm

Weekend Estimates

Top 10:
5 points - Ralph Breaks the Internet, $16.1M
4 points - Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, $15.2M
3 points - Creed II, $10.3M
2 points - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, $6.8M
1 point - Bohemian Rhapsody, $6.0M
Instant Family, $5.6M
Green Book, $3.9M
Robin Hood, $3.6M
The Possession of Hannah Grace, $3.2M
Widows, $3.1M



PTA:
5 points - Mary Queen of Scots, $50K
4 points - Vox Lux, $27K
3 points - Ben is Back, $20K
2 points - The Favourite, $15.7K
1 point - Ralph Breaks the Internet, $4.2K
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Shrykespeare » December 10th, 2018, 7:03 pm

Huh. Every one of this week's T5 has hit double-digits!

Weekend Actuals

Top 10:
5 points - Ralph Breaks the Internet, $16.3M (15)
4 points - Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, $15.0M (20)
3 points - Creed II, $10.0M (10)
2 points - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, $7.0M (11)
1 point - Bohemian Rhapsody, $6.1M (15)
Instant Family, $5.8M
Green Book, $3.9M
Robin Hood, $3.5M
The Possession of Hannah Grace, $3.2M
Widows, $3.2M



PTA:
5 points - Mary Queen of Scots, $48,694 (5)
4 points - Vox Lux, $25,952 (4)
3 points - Ben is Back, $20,183 (3)
2 points - The Favourite, $16,441 (12)
1 point - Ralph Breaks the Internet, $4,283 (6)



Predictions/observations:

1. The original Ralph made $189M. I'm thinking Ralph 2 will fizzle out around $170M. Who'd've thought it'd be outgrossed by Crazy Rich Asians?

2. Grinch should easily hit $250M, though its legs will disappear the second Mary floats in on her umbrella.

3. Creed II will hit $120M.

4. Boheman Rhapsody will not hit $200M, but it will come close. What's the all time record for a biopic about a musician/group?

5. Fantastic Beasts will end at around $160M.

6. Whoever was certain Star is Born would hit $200M? You nailed it. It should hit it by next weekend.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Buscemi2 » December 11th, 2018, 12:26 am

I think Nico had A Star is Born hitting $200 million.

And Bohemian Rhapsody actually does have the record for highest grossing music biopic (it passed Straight Outta Compton recently). Quite amazing, as rock music films are typically box office poison.
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby numbersix » December 11th, 2018, 4:48 am

Twas Chien who called A Star is Born hitting 200m, I believe. When he's not staring at pictures of Kevin Costner he can really make good predictions
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Re: Down the Rabbit Hole with Buscemi: December 7th-9th

Postby Chienfantome » December 11th, 2018, 6:38 am

Yeeeeeeeeeeep indeed ! Since Costner hasn't made a film in a while I've had time to focus on the predictions ;)

A Star is Born will probably end up hitting $215/220M, and it might end up the biggest film on my draft slate ahead of Solo and MI6.
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