With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s important to remember the films that help to remind us just how crazy Thanksgiving can be. Unlike Christmas or birthdays, family interactions are not hidden behind festive gift-giving. For that reason, it makes for a fantastically interesting backdrop for cinematic drama.
The first film we’ll look at is Pieces of April (2003), directed by Peter Hedges (writer of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and director of The Odd Life of Timothy Green) and starring Katie Holmes. This Thanksgiving dark comedy focuses on April, a young woman looking to host her family for Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately April lives in a rough part of New York City, has little to no cooking skills and, coupled with her mother’s terminal illness, has little chance of keeping things civil. The production value is gritty and the humor is cringe-worthy, helping to make this one of the most unique holiday films on the market. Continue reading
Oz The Great and Powerful Movie Poster
It was another runaway success this weekend for Oz The Great and Powerful but there was an unexpected twist to what was otherwise a similar weekend to last year. Oz held strong, although not as strong as Alice in Wonderland. The $41 million weekend helps set the Disney adventure picture well on its course for $250 million when it finally closes.
To call the success of Halle Berry’s latest film The Call unexpected would be an understatement. The film which was co-produced by TriStar and WWE Films, saw a $17 million opening weekend. Distributor Sony’s aggressive marketing campaign helped ticket buyers understand, early on, what they were getting into. That knowledge definitely contributed to the film’s strong opening. Attendees skewed female, not surprisingly, and reviews were favorable for the most part. A film like this never holds incredibly well after its first week but expectations are that it will finish around the $45 million mark. That would be considered a huge success considering where this film was headed just a few months earlier. Continue reading
Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Poster
After two months of flops and less than stellar numbers that have left the business well behind last year’s figures, Oz The Great and Powerful has arrived to be the shining beacon of hope. At $79 million, Oz became the first film to crack $50 million in one weekend since The Hobbit. Overall the totals are up 15 percent from last year when John Carter reigned supreme with a minimal $30 million weekend.
The success of 2010′s Alice in Wonderland laid the groundwork for Oz‘s success in 2013. With a release in the same month two years earlier, Disney found a winning formula with fantasy, PG, entertainment. Oz didn’t venture far from that formula and found similar success. They also grabbed a battle tested director that added an edge to keep the film from falling too far into the children’s genre. Sam Raimi has once again found success with a previously established brand. His success and visual style with Spider-Man found a home in the land of Oz. Continue reading
A Good Day to Die Hard Movie Poster
While it’s not an overwhelming victory, Bruce Willis will reign over the President’s Day weekend as A Good Day to Die Hard finishes on top of the box office. Finishing up just shy of $29 million, the fifth installment of the Die Hard series may be the last or perhaps the last to be rated R. The previous film Live Free or Die Hard took in roughly $48 million on its opening weekend and that wasn’t a holiday release. In the end, A Good Day to Die Hard may not even crack $100 million. Where the finger should be pointed for the blame isn’t quite as clear. Although many will say that the PG-13 rating gave them the ability to get more eyeballs on the screen. Throwing in overseas numbers, this latest Bruce Willis action film will be seen as a success for Fox. However, whether or not the gamble on future films will be necessary remains to be seen.
Identity Thief finished second and nearly took first place for the first time. Adding the $27 million into the mix and the Melissa McCarthy driven comedy is the highest grossing film of the year thus far. With a string of comedies in the works for McCarthy, she may be taking the reigns as the queen of comedy in Hollywood in the coming months. Identity Thief is well on its way to becoming the first film in 2013 to reach $100 million. While this is no slight on the success of the film, it is quite telling that Identity Thief is the most successful film of the year. Most of the films have seemingly felt like leftovers from 2012 or sequels to franchises years in the making. This will of course change as 2013 rolls on but the slow start has left the major films of the year with quite a load to carry. Continue reading
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Movie Poster
Jeremy Renner continues to be the dominant male action star as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters claimed the top spot in a relatively quiet weekend. The $19 million opening is better than Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and The Brothers Grimm. Renner’s involvement can easily be linked to the film’s early success. In the last few years the action star has become quite a draw with theatergoers. As to be expected, critics panned the film but that has never been a problem with over-the-top, special effects driven, action films. Combined with overseas totals, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters will more than likely double its $50 million production budget.
Last week’s king, or queen, Mama saw a considerable drop in week two but is still on pace to perform better than any film of the same genre from 2012. Proving that the old horror formula is not dead, Mama has used a straight forward marketing campaign to continue drawing audiences despite the normal decline that comes with a January release. Having already closed in on $50 million, every dollar from here on in is icing on the cake for a film that has definitely over-performed. Continue reading
Mama Movie Poster
The first three day weekend of 2013 saw Jessica Chastain flex her muscle as one of the new superpowers in Hollywood while Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger saw their latest releases fizzle. By all expectations, Mama should not have been as successful as it was. For a genre that has been dominated by a “found-footage” style, Mama went back to horror roots, delivering a solid premise that hooked audiences. Jessica Chastain’s rising star power helped to push the film to over double its production budget in its first weekend. The other secret to the film’s success lies in the numbers. The much desired female demographic flocked to the film in large numbers. Over 60% of the audience was comprised of women and under the age of 25. Combined with a PG-13 rating, Mama should have legs as the month drags on.
Finishing in second was another film starring Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty. Earning nearly $16 million in its second week of full release, Katherine Bigelow’s latest film has held better than comparable films such as Black Hawk Down. Similarly, Zero Dark Thirty is only slightly off from the total of Black Hawk Down at this same point. Overall, the buzz from the slow release, combined with the award show nominations, has helped to set the film up for a successful run. February will see stiff competition with Live Free or Die Hard. However, the film should do most of its damage before the latest installment of the Die Hard series. Continue reading
Zero Dark Thirty Movie Poster
Zero Dark Thirty fired a warning shot to all of the other Oscar contenders with a $24 million opening in its first weekend of wide release. Katherine Bigelow’s latest film proves that all of the real life controversy has helped to garner a more rabid following. The strong opening weekend was better than both Argo and Lincoln. The decision to push the release date back from December helped Sony’s marketing effort as they took advantage of a usually slow month. Aside from having the time to grow unopposed, the film has seen an unusual amount of coverage given the content and how it may have been acquired. The extra few weeks helped to build up extreme anticipation and so far audiences are certainly interested.
In second place was A Haunted House, the horror movie spoof written by and starring Marlon Wayans. While the film only brought in $18 million, it managed to bring in a higher per-theater average attendance. A Haunted House screened in nearly 800 less theaters than Zero Dark Thirty but still managed a respectable showing. In the end it will most likely finish around $40 million which is par for the course with such films. The audience demographics skewed more ethnic as 48% were African American and 30% were Latino ticket buyers. Continue reading
It took us a while to finally post these, but here are the last two photos Anthony and I took in the year 2012. As always, this daily project was an adventure wrought with lots of challenges — but we managed to thrive. We are looking forward to challenging ourselves in new ways in 2013. Keep an eye out for our first group of photos from 2013 next week!
December 30, 2012
Santa’s in a Tree by Jen Gallardo
Places I’ve Visited by Anthony J. Merced
Christmas finally arrived this week and we spent much of the time eating, as you’ll see below! We also spent a lot of time playing with gifts we received and, of course, having a good time with family and friends as well. We hope your holiday was joyous and well-catered! As always, let us know which photos are your favorites in the comments area below this post.
December 23, 2012
Handmade Card by Jen Gallardo
Kid Toys by Anthony J. Merced
At this point, we reached the holiday home stretch! Christmas cards were mailed out, some gifts were exchanged and preparations were made for vacation time. Let us know which photos were your favorites in the comments below.
December 16, 2012
Waiting on a Train by Jen Gallardo
Across the Street by Anthony J. Merced