At the box office this weekend, Jackass 3-D nearly doubled the average open of the first two films in the franchise with an estimated $50 million. That’s the best domestic weekend ever for a film in October (not accounting for inflation) and pretty impressive even factoring in the 3-D price gouging. The Social Network meanwhile gave up a miserly 29% (estimated) of its audience from last weekend and the film, which cost $50 million, finds itself in the $63 million ballpark and counting.

Finally, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, which has struggled with negative festival buzz and strongly divided critical reaction, averaged a solid $38,500 per screen in 3 cities. By my count, that’s the year’s 6th best average behind The Kids Are All Right ($70k), The Ghost Writer ($46K), Cyrus ($45K), The Secret of Kells ($40K) and Greenberg ($39K). I’m no Eastwood apologist, but I happened to like Hereafter and I hope this is a good sign it will do fairly well when it goes wide next weekend.

Here’s how it compares to other Eastwood limited openers:


Per Screen Average Total Box Office Highest Screen Count Metacritic
Mystic River $49,293 $90,135,191 1581 84
Gran Torino $45,287 $148,095,302 3045 72
Hereafter $38,500 53
Changeling $32,601 $35,739,802 1896 63
Iwo Jima $24,509 $13,756,082 781 89
Million Dollar Baby $22,494 $100,492,203 2375 86

Numbers via Box Office Mojo.

The opening numbers and the critical response put it roughly in line with Changeling which came in just shy of $36 million by the time it finished running its course in theaters. With an estimated $40 million budget, Hereafter doesn’t have to be a blockbuster, but it needs to do better than that. It’s not a movie marketers can fit into a neat box in order to sell it so it could be un uphill box office climb even with the promising start. It’ll be interesting to see how it holds up.

In actual movie-watching news, I caught up with the 5 1/2-hour, 3-part version of Olivier Assayas’ Carlos over the weekend. I’m still digesting it and will have to see it again before forming any kind of a coherent opinion of it, but the fact that I’m ready to watch it again is a good sign, don’t you think? Assayas paints on a large canvas that covers a little more than 20 years in the life of the notorious terrorist. Carlos himself is always the focus, but you get a strong sense of the geopolitics of the 1970s and 1980s and how terrorists led by men like Carlos could thrive in the crevices between global powers. Wanted by everyone more for the fear he inspired (with the help of a fear-mongering Western media) than for any success he achieved operationally, he’s a much different kind of terrorist than the kind that have evolved since the end of the Cold War.

On the DVD front, I finally caught up with last year’s indie haunted house sensation Paranormal Activity. Suffice it to say it’s the first movie I’ve seen in longer than I can remember that actually scared me; not in a traumatic way like I was checking under my bed before going to sleep at night, but the movie’s less-is-more approach fills you with the nervous anticipation that something horrible is going to happen any minute. I can imagine it would’ve been a lot of fun to see it in a theater full of jumpy horror fans.

11 Responses to “Watercooler: ‘Jackass 3-D,’ ‘Hereafter,’ ‘Carlos’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ 1 year later”

  1. No movie theater again, but I did catch up at home with a few movies that I’d never seen before. On Friday I saw The Dead Girl, an intriguing and superbly acted ensemble film, filled with complex and complicated characters . It stars Brittany Murphy in the title role and a whole cast of other excellent actors including Marcia Gay Harden, Toni Collette, James Franco and Josh Brolin among many more. The five individual stories that surround ‘the dead girl’ are compelling and range from poignant to heartbreaking to disturbing. The movie really lingers with you, and it ends with one of the creepiest, most haunting fade-outs.

    On Saturday I caught part of the Marlene Dietrich festival on TCM, which included Billy Wilder’s Foreign Correspondent and a flick with Marlene and Robert Donat called Knight Without Armor. Great classics, especially the first one.

    Right now I’m watching an old noir called Crime in the Street, which I’ve never seen and which kind of reminds me of a black and white West-Side Story without music (and there’s no love story). It’s very 1956. Young John Cassavetes is in it, along with Sal Mineo and James Whitmore.

  2. Wasn’t Dead Girl technically Murphy’s last? Sad.

    I’m glad even if you’re not making it to the theater that you’re keeping up a steady movie diet with TCM. You’re probably better off.

  3. I think you’re right, Craig, it was her last movie. And yes, it was pretty eerie to think of that when I was watching her in this (especially since she played the title role). It’s incredibly sad that she left the world so soon. She also really had something, and it just was never utilized as much as it could have been.

    TCM is the best. Though there are things that I want to see in the theater; just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m hoping to at least get to the Film Forum next weekend to see the Hildegard von Bingen film.

  4. I saw Buried on Thursday night and since that is all I have, I’m counting it in the weekend queue.

    Buried definitely feeds off its gimmicky premise and probably beats the premise to death with its narrative twists and turns, but I thought it was worth seeing just to see how they pulled it off. It was not worth seeing for the story though, which is at turns absurdly political and at others just trying too hard to make a guy buried in a coffin as thrillery as possible. Very uneven, but certainly original.

  5. I like to think of the Watercooler as inclusive of anything you may have seen since the last time so a Thursday viewing certainly counts.

    I was originally interested in Buried, then kind of decided it was so much fanboy hype. From what you say, I’m going to give a shot, even with your reservations.

    Alison are you going to try and go on a night when Von Trotta is there?

  6. Craig, unfortunately I missed those nights. She was there this weekend and I wasn’t able to go.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam Juliano made it to one of those shows this weekend though. :-)

  7. This week has been a memorable one on the cultural scene, with a reasonably solid off-Broadway stage play, another delightful Ozu screening, and two of the year’s very best films in the 330 minute roadshow edition of Olivier Assayas’s CARLOS and an intoxicating award-winning Australian film titled SAMSON AND DELILAH all managed.

    William Hoffman’s AS IS is an off-Broadway revival of a Tony Award-nominated play from 1985, at a time when AIDS was seen as a death sentence. It’s the story of an AIDS patient and his relationships, and the progression of his disease even in the played out interactions with medical personel. The spare and creative staging is imaginative, and for the most part the play builds some valid emotion by putting the leads under a magnifying glass. The performances are respectable, but are probably not on the same level as the original staging from decades ago (understandably). The only thing I could speak down are the hard wooden chairs we had to endure at the tiny Studio Theatre on Theatre Row.

    Carlos ***** (Sunday) IFC Film Center; Q & A with director

    Samson and Delilah **** 1/2 (Friday night) Village East Cinemas

    Good Morning *** 1/2 (Sunday morning) IFC Film Center

    The five-and-a-half hour epic CARLOS by one of the best of all contemporary filmmakers, Olivier Assayas, is the story of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who for two decades was one of the most wanted terrorists on the planet. Between 1974, in London, where he tried to assassinate a British businessman, and 1994 where he was arrested in Khartoum, he lives several lives under various pseudonyms, weaving his way through the complexities of the international politics of the period. The riveting drama (there wasn’t a boring minute) is built around questions like ‘Who is Carlos? and what instigated him on his never-ending body and soul war against various groups in the political and social stratosphere? Assayas may well have crafted his masterpiece here, and by any baraometer of measurement it’s one of the very best films of 2010. Edgar Ramirez is remarkable as are a plethora of supporting players, and the use of music and pulsating rhythms propel this film with an electrifying undercurrent. It’s been compared with GOOD FELLAS, and like that Scorsese gem, the final segment (when Ramirez goes through a stage of hedonistic corpulence) may lag a bit, but it’s a tiny blemish on a film that’s as entertaining as any one is likely to see these days. The acclaimed director Olivier Assayas was on hand to conduct a brief Q & A after the marathon viewing, and I was thrilled to get a chance to chat with him briefly in the lobby, asking him about the cuts that were made to accomodate the alternate two-hour-and forty-five-minute version showing in another theatre. Assayas responded by saying the cuts were basically equally distributed throughout the film, and there wasn’t an entire segment cut out. Lucille took a picture of Assayas with me, with the director’s blessing. Assayas is one personable guy!

    The Australian film SAMSON AND DELILAH has won many awards Down Under, and to this viewer they are well-deserved as this acute study of routine in an aborigine colony develops emotion in the most unlikely of situations and behavioral rituals. There’s a compelling Biblical underpinning in this enrapturing anthropological study, but the two leads are extraordinary, and in director Warwick Thornton, we have a major talent to reckon with. Thornton also lensed this story of teenage love with a dintinct sence of atmosphere in the central Australian desert. Like CARLOS, this is one of the best films of the year.

    Ozu’s GOOD MORNING is a delightful color entry that isn’t anywhere within hailing distance of his great masterpieces, but it’s still an example of how the master can navigate more comedic elements with mastery.

  8. Jeepers, Sam and Craig, those reactions to Carlos certainly are intriguing to me, and I’m again looking forward to Samson and Delilah.

    I finally saw The Social Network, which I liked very much. I found myself noting a few times how negative it all was, but I think Fincher’s influence, supported by fine technical support and a good script. really made this work. It might’ve been a disaster in someone else’s hands.

    Also I finally saw, for the first time, Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers, which was interesting and very good but not in my opinion a masterpiece despite its many notable qualities.

  9. I’m not as crazy about Carlos as Sam was, though my experience spread out over a few days on DVD was much different than his intensive immersion in all 3 parts. I hope to have more to say about it further on down the road.

    Rocco had a great performance in the lead and it seemed less…something… than later Visconti. More neorealist I guess.

  10. I caught up with I’m Still Here and somewhat to my surprise thought it was great. I tell you, if that had been a scripted narrative rather than improvisational pseudo-documentary, any given scene of Phoenix’s performance would be worthy of an Oscar clip. I found it refreshingly interesting and engaging in thinking about why they made the choices they made, how people reacted to him, how much this Faux-quin character (as I called him) had in common with reality TV stars and the predatory-yet-symbiotic nature of the celebrity beast in our society.

    I’ll also note that even the credits said certain parts were played by other actors (someone Affleck was playing Joaquin’s dad, for instance)–so isn’t that a big giveaway that it wasn’t truly meant to fool the audience for any sustained time? That plus it’s by They’re Going To Kill Us Productions. Lol.

  11. You’re my hero Jennybee. Glad you gave I’m Still Here a Chance and even more glad you didn’t hate it!

    hee hee “Faux-quin”

    The end credits were one thing the skeptics seized upon, but still for awhile no one was really sure.

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