To the surprise of no one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 earned a crapload of money this weekend. I’m sure you could put a finer point on it by comparing the numbers to the other entries in the series or to other blockbusters in recent years, but a crapload is a crapload and that’s what these things are made for. Mission accomplished!
Among the limited releases, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours‘ huge November 5 limited opening ($66,213 per screen on 4 screens) seems to be fading as Fox Searchlight slowly expands it. It averaged $19,934 per screen (22 screens) last weekend and only $8,472 (108 screens) this weekend. The Kids Are All Right on the other hand trended like this: $70,282 per screen (7 screens), $28,009 (38), $12,909 (201). It expanded quicker, held stronger and averaged better week to week on its way to nearly $21 million. I don’t know what the release trajectory of 127 Hours will be going forward, but at this point it doesn’t look like it’s going to match Kids which only cost $4 million compared to 127 Hours‘ $18 million. Despite the solid reviews all around (82 Metacritic), is it possible 127 Hours just isn’t going to break out of the internet bubble where it received nearly orgasmic praise?
Interestingly, Boyle’s last film, Slumdog Millionaire opened to a lower average ($36,002 per screen), but held strongly as it slowly expanded. It finally bounced over 500 screens in the 6th week of release and rode the Oscar buzz to over 3000 screens and $141 million in total box office. Not only does it seem clear 127 Hours will fall far short of that, I wonder if it will start dropping off the lists of Oscar prognosticators. Slumdog caught a wave and became nearly universally beloved on its way to a pile of Oscars but 127 Hours hasn’t seemed to have recaptured that magic. Maybe it still can. If not, that’s too bad because it’s a terrific little film.
On the movie viewing front, I rewatched Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan in preparation for an upcoming review. It holds up really well and is probably my favorite among the Oscar buzzed movies. The thing about it that became more obvious to me the second time through is that it only becomes great in the final 20 minutes or so. It’s good up to that point, but it really clicks in the end. The ending is a killer. Also, what was clear both viewings is that Natalie Portman is amazing the whole way through.
I also caught up with Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere which has received tepid reviews so far despite its win at the Venice Film Festival. I’m still sorting through my thoughts on it, but for now suffice it to say I think I liked it more than I loved it. It was beautiful to look at and had kind of a nice, low key melancholy mood, but it might’ve been a little too low key. Coppola was going for some sort of minimalism and she certainly achieved it, but as a result the movie never really seems to assert itself.
On DVD I rewatched How to Train Your Dragon, which remains hands down one of my favorite movies of the year. The first 10 minutes or so are still a little rocky – I was actually worried my original enthusiasm was going to fade – but it kicks in right at the time he finds the dragon for the first time and it never lets up. Also, the flying scenes which were so great on the big screen in 3D still play really well in 2D on television. Pixar’s secret is that they make movies for adults disguised as movies for kids. That’s great, but one thing I like about Dragon is that it’s genuinely a kids’ movie that is good enough that adults can also appreciate it. There’s an innocence to it that is very appealing and that in part is what leads me to rate it higher than Toy Story 3.
That’s all from me. Your turn.
Filed under: The Watercooler