Christmas weekend was a tough one at the box office with overall revenues down 45% vs. the same weekend a year ago.
The latest installment in the successful comedy franchise that started 10 years ago, Universal’s Little Fockers is poised to bring yet another number one debut home for Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Meet the Parents was the 7th highest grossing release of year 2000 earning $166.2 million in the wake of a weekend debut of $28.6 million. Its sequel, 2004’s Meet the Fockers switched to the holiday season by opening on Wednesday December 22 and earned $46.1 million in its first weekend and a whopping $70.5 million in its first five days on its way to becoming the 4th highest grossing film of that year with $279.2 million. This latest Fockers landed between the first two with $34 million for the weekend and $48.3 million in its first five days.
True Grit is a very worthy re-make of the 1969 film starring John Wayne as the crusty Rooster Cogburn, Glen Campbell as La Boeuf, Jeff Corey as Tom Chaney and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross. The Coen Brothers make a very faithful adaptation of the Charles Portis novel while paying homage to the original film and at the same time putting their signature visual stamp on the film. With Jeff Bridges as Cogburn, Matt Damon as La Boeuf and Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney and incredible newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, True Grit is an Oscar contender for sure and has been on the top of many a moviegoer’s must-see list for months. A much bigger-than-expected debut of $25.6 million for the weekend and an impressive $36.8 million for the Wednesday through Sunday time frame make this one a true winner. Look for “True Grit” to be a long term performer at the box office well into 2011.
Last weekend’s number one film Tron: Legacy from Disney landed in the third spot with $20.1 million over the Christmas weekend and is now closing in on the $90 million mark. The action sci-fi film has done well all mid-week with impressive daily grosses is maintaining a solid audience base through the holidays. Interestingly this gave Jeff Bridges a rare opportunity to become Mr. Box Office with the number two and three films for the weekend.
Fourth and fifth place saw two PG-rated family films going at it with Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in its third weekend earning $10.8 million and Warner Bros.’ Yogi Bear right behind it with $8.8 million. Both films gave kids and families a great option for their post and pre-Christmas shopping entertainment. Of course this bottleneck also included the second week of wide release for Paramount’s The Fighter which continues to draw accolades across the board and earned $8.5 million for the weekend and a domestic total that is closing in on the $30 million mark. Another newcomer in the mix is Twentieth Century Fox’s Friday opener Gulliver’s Travels starring Jack Black earning which opened in the seventh spot with $7.2 million.
In specialized film news, Weinstein Co.’s brilliant The King’s Speech expanded into 700 theatres nationwide on Christmas Day and cracked the top 12 earning $4.5 million as Sophia Coppola’s “Somewhere” earned over $20,000 per theatre in its 7 theatre debut.
Lionsgate’s Rabbit Hole ended XMAS day with a gross of $40,792 in 34 locations ($1,200 per theatre). A 3-Day weekend gross of $95,200 lifts the overall total for the film through Sunday to $176,000.
A 45% downturn vs. Christmas weekend a year ago sets up a slow end to the box office year of 2010 as specialized films and Oscar contenders reap the benefits of a lack of enthusiasm for the mainstream blockbusters. This was an important weekend at the movies as the year draws to a close, the final wide releases enter the marketplace and Oscar contenders continue to make their mark and impress audiences.
Weekend Box Office
Top 10 Movies - For Weekend of December 24, 2010 - Estimates
Movie Weekend Total
1 Little Fockers (PG-13) $34.0 M $48.3 M
2 True Grit (PG-13) $25.6 M $36.8 M
3 Tron: Legacy (PG) $20.1 M $88.3 M
4 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG) $10.8 M $63.9 M
5 Yogi Bear (PG) $8.8 M $36.8 M
6 The Fighter (R) $8.5 M $27.6 M
7 Gulliver's Travels (PG) $7.2 M $7.2 M
8 Black Swan (R) $6.6 M $29.0 M
9 Tangled (PG) $6.5 M $143.8 M
10 The Tourist (PG-13) $5.7 M $41.2 M
The final three wide releases of the year hope to bring some Christmas cheer back to the Box-Office with Little Fockers, True Grit and Gulliver’s Travels.
The latest installment in the successful comedy franchise that started 10 years ago, Universal’s “Little Fockers” is poised to bring yet another number one debut home for Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Meet the Parents was the 7th highest grossing release of year 2000 earning $166.2 million in the wake of a weekend debut of $28.6 million. Its sequel, 2004’s Meet the Fockers switched to the holiday season by opening on Wednesday December 22 and earned $46.1 million in its first weekend and a whopping $70.5 million in its first five days on its way to becoming the 4th highest grossing film of that year with $279.2 million. This latest Fockers should land somewhere between the first two in the high $20 million to low $30 million range for the weekend.
Last weekend’s number one film Tron: Legacy from Disney will race into the second spot with between $20 million and $25 million over the Christmas weekend on its way to $80 million and beyond. The action sci-fi film has done well mid-week with an impressive $6 million on Monday alone and should therefore maintain a solid audience base through the holidays. Interestingly this sets up a rare opportunity for Jeff Bridges to become Mr. Box Office and have two films in in the top five.
True Grit is a very worthy re-make of the 1969 film starring John Wayne as the crusty Rooster Cogburn, Glen Campbell as La Boeuf, Jeff Corey as Tom Chaney and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross. The Coen Brothers make a very faithful adaptation of the Charles Portis novel while paying homage to the original film and at the same time putting their signature visual stamp on the film. With Jeff Bridges as Cogburn, Matt Damon as La Boeuf and Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney and incredible newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, “True Grit” is an Oscar contender for sure and has been on the top of many a moviegoer’s must-see list for months. With its main target being older moviegoers the film will open Wednesday but hit its stride on the evening of Christmas Day when adults with renewed free time will seek out the film and help it to earn in the mid-teens for the weekend and a likely $20 million for the Wednesday through Sunday time frame. Look for this to be a long term performer at the box office well into 2011.
Fourth and fifth place will find a newcomer in the mix with Twentieth Century Fox’s Friday opener Gulliver’s Travels starring Jack Black earning in the sub $10 million range along with Warner Bros.’ Yogi Bear which will likely land in a similar range in its second weekend of release and benefit from kids and families looking for a fun holiday movie treat. Of course this bottleneck could also include the second week of wide release for Paramount’s The Fighter which continues to draw accolades across the board.
In other specialized film news, Weinstein Co.’s brilliant The King’s Speech expands into 600 theatres nationwide on Christmas Day.
An important weekend at the movies as the year draws to a close, the final wide releases enter the marketplace and Oscar contenders continue to make their mark and impress audiences.
Ever since Steve Carell announced that the next season of The Office would be his last, the show's writers and producers have been hard at work trying to find a suitable replacement for the star. Now, an Entertainment Weekly exclusive hints at what the hit comedy's brain trust may have in mind.
Sources reveal that since Carell's announcement, The Office's producers have been quietly reaching out to comic actors Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down) and New Zealander Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords) to "gauge their interest" in joining the cast at the end of this season in anticipation of Carell's departure. However, it's not yet clear whether the addition of either actor would serve to replace Michael Scott, or merely to come on as a new salesman while an Office veteran (perhaps Rainn Wilson's Dwight or Amy Ryan's Holly) is promoted to Regional Manager.
Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein has confirmed that they're "having discussions" about bringing on a new salesman at Dunder Mifflin, but would not reveal whether there were definite plans to groom the new addition for Carell's post. "We haven't settled exactly who will take over," he said.
Still, some members of the Office team have been quite vocal about who they'd like to see promoted. "I'd love to see Rainn Wilson in that position," co-executive producer Mindy Kaling told EW last month. "Dwight has become so nuanced - you actually care about him now. I think if [we did a good job laying the groundwork] this coming season, he would be a fantastic boss."
Personally, I would love to see either Danny McBride or Rhys Darby join the cast of The Office, no matter which position the show's producers ultimately decide to give them. Unfortunately, McBride's addition looks to be a long shot, as the rising star just got his HBO show Eastbound & Down renewed for a second season and has a number of film projects on the horizon. Luckily for us, Darby's schedule is mostly clear since the cancellation of HBO's Flight of the Conchords.
What do you think? Check out some of Darby and McBride's hilarious comedic stylings below and feel free to mouth off in the comments section.
Based on Cornelia Funke’s best-selling children’s book Inkheart takes its literary inspirations literally. It revolves around a father Mortimer “Mo” Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) who share a gift -- or curse -- of being able to make characters leap out of the pages just by reading aloud. Unfortunately whenever they do this a real person must then be transferred into the book as a replacement. It can get complicated especially when Mo accidentally sends his wife (Sienna Guillory) into a book called Inkheart only to bring out its villains to wreak havoc on the real world. He spends the next nine years trying to find another copy of the book and bring her back while one of the book’s main characters Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) follows Mo trying to get back into the book. An adventure waiting to happen! The entire cast is wonderfully in tune with the whimsical tone of this inventive and clever story. Fraser doesn’t stretch any acting muscles but serves the film well as its central father figure and hero. Bettany (Master and Commander) as the literary sidekick Dustfinger steals the whole show giving his character heaping amounts of irony warmth and humanity. Joining them is Helen Mirren who adds an element of elegance and uptightness as the great aunt swept along for the ride. Andy Serkis (LOTR’s Gollum) is properly villainous throughout while Brit Jim Broadbent (Iris) is daffy and hilarious as the author of Inkheart who keeps complicating matters for everyone. Inkheart uses sheer imaginative filmmaking prowess with an engaging story that feels as original and fresh as it does familiar. Director Iain Softley (Wings of the Dove) makes the most of the colorful European locations including the picturesque Italian Riviera transformed into storybook heaven. The film is well-paced carrying a great subtle message about the powers of reading and creative writing. Much like the Oscar-nominated The Reader -- a wildly different kind of movie to be sure -- this film shows the joys of getting lost and in this case found in the world of books.
Playing second fiddle to a more famous sibling can be rough. Just ask Fred Claus (Vaughn) a regular guy who has had to grow up under the shadow of his little brother Nicholas Claus (Paul Giamatti) aka Santa. That’s a big shadow to say the least both figuratively and literally. As an adult Fred has pretty much steered clear of his family but when he finds himself in dire need of some fast cash he calls his brother. Pleased as punch to hear from him Nicholas nonetheless makes him a deal: If he comes up to the North Pole for a visit and to help out the few days before Christmas then Fred can have the money. Fred reluctantly agrees and soon he’s being whisked off in Santa’s sleigh by head elf Willie (John Michael Higgins). But once Fred gets to the North Pole nothing seems to go right and soon he is the cause of much chaos--which unbeknownst to Fred causes Nicholas even more stress since his North Pole operation is one step away from being shut down by a cold-hearted efficiency expert (Kevin Spacey). Can Fred quit being bitter in time to save his brother’s livelihood? Of course he can. Hmmm Vince Vaughn minus the R-rated Wedding Crashers/Old School irreverence? It’s a stretch. Seeing the comic actor playing it PG is a little weird but you might enjoy how Vaughn infuses his unique energy into Fred Claus. From getting all the elves to boogie down in Santa’s workshop to going on one rant after another (on his brother: “He’s a clown a megalomaniac a fame junkie!”) to pilfering money on the street and then being chased by Salvation Army Santas it’s all good. Giamatti too seems a little out of his comfort zone as the saintly St. Nick. The actor who usually plays such endearing sad sacks has already played against type to great effect this year as the maniacal bad guy in Shoot ‘Em Up but he isn't nearly as successful in doing the flipside of that in Fred Claus. And what the hell is Kevin Spacey doing in this? As the villain of the film he fills the shoes nicely but he is almost too good at it (natch) for such a feel-good family film. Even Higgins--a character actor who is usually so hilarious in films such as The Break Up and all of Christopher Guest’s movies—has to shed the cheekiness and sugar himself up for Fred Claus. There’s also Rachel Weisz as Fred’s beleaguered girlfriend (you heard right) and Kathy Bates as the Claus boys’ mother who always sees Fred as inferior to her other son to fill out a cast of big names doing family fare. Director David Dobkin is a Vince Vaughn favorite having directed him in Wedding Crashers and Clay Pigeons but like his muse Dobkin seems a little out of place guiding this material. Granted Dobkin creates a pretty magical North Pole complete with an entire city of little dwellings a Frosty Tavern and a huge domed Santa’s Workshop. The montage of Fred delivering presents on Christmas Eve—falling down chimneys stuffing cookies in his face zooming around in the sleigh—is also well done. But overall Fred Claus is a Vaughn vehicle—even as sugary sweet and family-friendly as it is--and all Dobkin really does is turn the camera on and let the man do his stuff. Dan Fogelman's script is also so very bland full of any number of holes and only picks up once Vaughn starts to improvise. Bottom line: If you’re looking to take the kids to a sweet Christmas movie and are a Vince Vaughn fan then Fred Claus is for you.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all...hell is about to break loose! It starts when a snowstorm grounds all planes at Chicago’s fictional Hoover International Airport. Nobody’s happy to be potentially spending Xmas at an airport but least of all are the Davenport siblings Spencer (Dyllan Christopher) and his little sis Katherine (Dominique Saldana) as well as airport security boss Oliver (Lewis Black). The two kids are escorted to the airport’s “Unaccompanied Minors Lounge ” where kids run wild and terrorize pushover Zach Van Bourke (Wilmer Valderrama) who acts as chief airport babysitter. One look at the madness is all it takes for Spencer and Katherine to bust out along with fellow kiddie anarchists Charlie (Tyler James Williams) Timothy (Brett Kelly) Donna (Quinn Shephard) and Grace (Gina Mantegna). They embark on a pratfall-heavy game of cat and mouse with Oliver who is the Grinch to their collective Santa Clause as they try and salvage Christmas--and their families. Unaccompanied Minors makes some odd but admirable choices when it comes to the cast with virtually every single actor attempting a “Frat Pack” mutiny--Daily Show mainstay Black is joined by “correspondent” Rob Corddry as the Davenports’ Hummer-hating dad not to mention parts from The Office’s B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling Arrested Development’s Tony Hale and Jessica Walter SNL’s Rob Riggle and Kristen Wiig Paget Brewster David Koechner and a rare Kids in the friggin’ Hall (Kevin McDonald Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney) sighting. But the “Who’s that?” cameos aside the screen time is hogged by Black Valderrama and the children. Black the notoriously vulgar curmudgeon of a comedian shows great range and skill by dulling his shtick down but not so much that the kids watching won’t crack up while Valderrama’s performance is the same as his role--that of a bumbling easily overmatched lackey. With all the proverbial child actors in the mix it can seem a little Star Search-y but Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) steals most scenes with his amazing overall talent while Mantegna (Joe’s daughter) fares well too. Kelly (the bullied kid in Bad Santa) is exploited for his physicality and Christopher will likely go on to be a great actor even if he seems too seasoned at such a young age. The reason for the off-the-beaten-path cast is simple: director Paul Feig. The occasional actor has in the past directed episodes of The Office and the late Arrested Development Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks. It also might explain why he fell for a script--by Jacob Meszaros and Mya Stark--that takes a few stabs at grown-up comedy (i.e. Corddry’s character has a car that runs on vegetable oil). Such jokes will be lost on the exclusively preadolescent audience but almost all else will reel them in. Feig also seems adept at making the oft-unfunny (physical pratfalls) somewhat funny and he does so with little mention of bodily functions. Of course he stays true to the formula but all kid flicks are the ultimate exercises in contrivance--Feig just chooses to treat the viewers like kids instead of idiots.