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October 15, 2017

‘Happy Death Day’ Smells Sweet at Weekend Box Office

Horror flick “Happy Death Day” (Universal) easily topped the weekend. The latest production from prolific horror supplier Blumhouse ranked below their early year openers “Get Out” and “Split,” but $26.5 million for a movie with a $5-million production budget marks an instant success.

While some of the Blumhouse aura has been overshadowed by the massive success of Warner Bros.’ Stephen King juggernaut “It,” that shouldn’t take away producer Jason Blum’s mastery at consistently packaging original low-budget smash hits.

“Happy Death Day” is a bit lower-profile than other recent Blum house efforts, but it still landed some respectable mainstream reviews. That’s a big change from how the genre has been treated in recent years.

The film was positioned well in two ways. Mid-October is often a prime pre-Halloween date for horror entries. Lionsgate claimed the weekend before October 31 for “Jigsaw,” so Blumhouse went with the earlier weekend — without any competition from Halloween parties. Also the timing allowed the trailer for “Happy” to play in front of some 30 million ticket buyers for “It.” This marks a mid-level Blumhouse success. Both “Ouija” and its sequel last October opened smaller.

“Happy” led the way for a slight boost in grosses over a year ago. With prime-time TV baseball games with teams from the three largest markets and only one wide opening, that’s not a bad result. Last year saw “The Accountant” open to a bit less, along with a $12-million grossing Kevin Hart comedy concert film.

Courtesy of STXfilms

“The Foreigner” (STX), the other wide opener, showed that after decades of success Jackie Chan still can draw a middling audience. Worldwide, the film has already passed $100 million. It had a strong Cinemascore (A-), which might account for its Saturday increase. (That’s rare for second-day mass market openers; “Happy Death Day” was down 19 per cent.) Asian-American audiences remain under-represented among commercial films, and STX reports they were well-represented in the 59 per cent male audience.

"Blade Runner 2049"

“Blade Runner 2049”

Warner Bros.


All eyes were on the second weekend of the disappointing “Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros.). Its drop was 54 per cent, good enough for second place at $15.1 million. The problem is it fell from a lower number than hoped for last weekend. That is a marked improvement over the 62 and 70 per cent respective drops for summer’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” and “Alien: Covenant” and suggests a longer shelf life for Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed film. Having reached $60 million at this point, its chances of hitting $100 million domestic are much improved.

Expectations are everything. Take the director’s recent “Arrival” (which topped out at $100.5 million domestic off a budget of $47 million): the sci-fi drama opened on a date that allowed it to have a boost over Thanksgiving, then sustain a longer run that included Christmas dates. That movie reached about $44 million after ten days, dropping 49 per cent on weekend two. But that was strong enough to boost its chances for leading Oscar nominations, which is still possible for the “Blade Runner” sequel.



“It” only fell 39 per cent, which is incredible. Now at $315 million, figure it to add another $20 million or so before it’s done. Only one film had a major drop, with the second weekend of “My Little Pony: The Movie” (Lionsgate) falling 55 per cent,  which is high for an animated film. The second weekend falloff for the disappointing “The Mountain Between Us” (20th Century Fox) was more modest at 46 per cent.

Wider niche films continue to hover in the vicinity of the Top Ten. “Victoria & Abdul” (Focus) held with a small 25 per cent drop, while still not up to 1,000 theaters. “Marshall” (Open Road) and “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman” (Annapurna) in 821 and 1,229 theaters respectively, were #11 and #14. The former, about the early days of Civil Rights pioneer Thurgood Marshall, made a promising debut. However, “Professor Marston” was a complete dud despite upbeat reviews.

Top Ten Box Office Chart

1. Happy Death Day (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 57; Est. budget: $5 million

$26,500,000 in 3,149 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $8,415; Cumulative: $26,500,000

2. Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #1

$15,100,000 (-54%) in 4,058 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,721; Cumulative: $60,578,000

3. The Foreigner (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 57; Est. budget: $35 million

$12,840,000 in 2,515 theaters; PTA: $5,105; Cumulative: $12,840,000

4. It (Warner Bros.) Week 6 – Last weekend #3

$6,050,000 (-39%) in 3,176 theaters (-429); PTA: $1,905; Cumulative: $314,930,000

5. The Mountain Between Us (20th Century Fox) Week 2 – Last weekend #2

$5,650,000 (-46%) in 3,259 theaters (+171); PTA: $1,734; Cumulative: $20,503,000

6. American Made (Universal) Week 3 – Last weekend #6

$5,423,000 (-36%) in 3,098 theaters (+171); PTA: $1,750; Cumulative: $40,153,000

7. Kingsman:  The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) Week 4 – Last weekend #5

$5,315,000 (-39%) in 2,982 theaters (-506); PTA: $1,782; Cumulative: $89,652,000

8. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.) Week – Last weekend #7

$4,315,000 (-38%) in 3,053 theaters (-558); PTA: $1,413; Cumulative: $51,578,000

9. My Little Pony: The Movie (Lionsgate) Week 2 – Last weekend #4

$4,000,000 (-55%) in 2,528 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,582; Cumulative: $15,513,000

10. Victoria & Abdul (Focus) Week 4 – Last weekend #8

$3,115,000 (-25%) in 900 theaters (-168); PTA: $3,461; Cumulative: $11,342,000

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Björk Writes About Being Sexually Harassed by an Unnamed Filmmaker: ‘I Was Framed as the Difficult One’

Björk wrote a Facebook post about being sexually harassed by an unnamed Danish director, saying “it was extremely clear to me when i walked into the actresses profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it.”

Björk has few acting credits to her name, with most notable being Danish auteur Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark,” for which she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

“i became aware of that it is a universal thing that a director can touch and harass his actresses at will and the institution of film allows it,” she wrote. “when i turned the director down repeatedly he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where i was framed as the difficult one.”

Björk says she “walked away from it” in part because she had no ambitions as an actor — a sentiment shared by Sarah Polley in a New York Times essay yesterday — and recovered from the experience after a year.

“i am worried though that other actresses working with the same man did not,” she adds. “the director was fully aware of this game and i am sure of that the film he made after was based on his experiences with me . because i was the first one that stood up to him and didn’t let him get away with it.”

Still, she does include the somewhat hopeful note that “in my opinion he had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after my confrontation so there is hope.” Read her full comments below.

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

‘Marshall’ Origin Myth Leads Weak Biopics at Specialty Box Office

Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” which debuted in competition in Cannes and scored fresh acclaim at the New York Film Festival, is a day-and-date Netflix release, so no numbers are reported. It’s likely that the family comedy starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman, who all did substantial press, played well enough at high-end theaters in New York and L.A. to take a bite out of its competitors.

Josh Gad Chadwick Boseman Marshall


Barry Wetcher

Other openers continued the string of movies about real people that are dominating the specialized release schedule. A wide opening for “Marshall” (Open Road) with a particular emphasis on African-American audiences showed some life and a chance for possible word of mouth, but Fox Searchlight’s A.A. Milne film “Goodbye Christopher Robin” made little impact, and “Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman,” from new distributor Annapurna, despite some strong reviews, totally failed to justify its over 1,000-theater break.

On the more limited front, Ai Weiwei’s refugee camp documentary “Human Flow” (Amazon) showed impressive numbers in its first two cities. Another documentary, “Tom of Finland” (Kino Lorber) also had a strong exclusive New York debut.

Both “Victoria & Abdul” (Focus) and “Loving Vincent” (Good Deed) lead the way among more slowly expanding specialized films amid a group of otherwise lackluster titles.

"Goodbye Christopher Robin"

“Goodbye Christopher Robin”


Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Searchlight) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Hamptons 2017

$55,800 in 9 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $6,200

The latest biopic about an English writer (a curious subgenre these days) was doomed by not only having a familiar feel to other recent films but also mediocre reviews below several other high-end specialized releases. How A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh didn’t have the interest of “Finding Neverland” and other past biopics. This opened in five cities, beyond just the typical New York and Los Angeles. The earlier U.K. wider release has grossed over $2 million.

What comes next: The expansion starts this Friday.

Marshall (Open Road) – Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: San Diego, Chicago 2017

$3,039,000 in 821 theaters; PTA: $3,702

This independent project backed by a Chinese investor and directed by veteran Reginald Hudlin (“House Party,” “Boomerang”) focuses on the early career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman). The courtroom drama opened semi-wide to reach its core audience. Media attention centered on rising star Boseman who portrayed the iconic Jackie Robinson in “42” as well as James Brown and is coming up in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” “42” scored an initial per theater total nearly triple this effort despite playing on over 3,000 screens. Still, “Marshall” managed some serious sampling and a second day increase. Whether it has a multi-week life will be better determined next weekend.

What comes next: Expect some ongoing push to sustain a further life for this.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman (Annapurna) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Toronto, London 2017

$737,000 in 1,229 theaters; PTA: $600

From indie veteran director Angela Robinson (“D.E.B.S.” and extensive premium cable work), this story about the man who created Wonder Woman is nascent distributor Annapurna’s latest pickup. The hoped-for interest tied into the recent D.C. Comics smash failed to materialize despite some good reviews including raves in both the New York and Los Angeles Times.

What comes next: This will struggle to even hold many of its initial theaters.

Human Flow Ai Weiwei

“Human Flow”

Human Flow (Amazon)  – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, Hamptons 2017

$47,000 in 3 theaters; PTA: $15,667

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei directed this documentary with stories about refugees all over the world. It is one of the best-positioned non-fiction fall entries, with top festival presentation, strong reviews and significant media publicity centering on the artist (whose tricky position in his native China itself was the focus of an earlier documentary). This opened in New York (including the new Landmark 57th Street theater, a strong performance at this location) and Washington, D.C..

What comes next: 15 additional cities open next week including Los Angeles.

Kino Lorber

“Tom of Finland”

Kino Lorber

Tom of Finland (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Tribeca, Seattle 2017

$13,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $13,000

A strong initial result for this documentary about the legendary leather artist (which curiously is Finland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission) in its initial Manhattan downtown run. Yet again, a doc about a creative figure of note scores ahead of what many non-fiction films manage

What comes next: Los Angeles and San Francisco add on this Friday.


Breathe (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 47; Festivals include: Toronto, London, Hamptons 2017

$26,254 in 4 theaters; PTA: $6,563

Actor Andy Serkis directed this drama about a polio-stricken man (Andrew Garfield) who with support from his wife (Claire Foy) and friends opts to live at home and not curtail his life over being sequestered in a hospital ward. Bleecker Street got four top New York/Los Angeles theaters to open this, but unsupportive reviews took their toll, with the result a mediocre initial gross.

What comes next: This will expand weekly with a wider national release set for Nov. 3.

American Satan (Sumerian) – Festivals include: Oceanside 2017

$132,000 in 55 theaters; PTA: $2,400

A Friday the 13th release about a rock group entangled in a horror plot is directed by John Avildsen’s son Ash and others associated with Rob Zombie. The horror flick played at a range of big-circuit general audience theaters nationwide with mixed results.

What comes next: Not likely to sustain any significant theatrical toehold.

“The Departure”

The Departure (Matson) – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Hot Docs, Tribeca 2017

$5,684 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,684

A rather unusual Buddhist priest who specializes in counseling suicidal people at the expense of his own health is the focus of this documentary, which received strong reviews in its New York debut. The result is reasonable given the sensitivity of the subject.

What comes next: Los Angeles and Seattle open this Friday.

Also available on Video on Demand:

Wasted: The Story of Food Waste (Super) – $15,552 in 11 theaters

78/52 (IFC/Sundance 2017) – $4,081 in 1 theater

“The Florida Project”

Week Two

The Florida Project (A24)

$401,141 in 33 theaters (+29); PTA: $12,156; Cumulative: $623,949

Sean Baker’s acclaimed drama came up with the best second weekend for any limited A24 film this year. The figure, for a film positioned to follow last year’s awards trajectory of the distributor’s “Moonlight,” is about half as good as that successful release. That’s a positive initial result, as is the 36 per cent increase Saturday from Friday.

Agnes Varda Faces Places

“Faces Places”

Faces Places (Cohen)

$46,159 in 25 theaters (+20); PTA: $1,846; Cumulative: $96,282

Agnes Varda and French artist JR’s acclaimed road trip documentary quickly added Los Angeles and other top market theaters. The grosses aren’t up to the Cannes prize-winner’s rave reviews, but it could still see some continued appeal, particularly as later awards factor in.

Chavela (Music Box)

$19,778 in 14 theaters (+10); PTA: $1,413; Cumulative: $61,162

This documentary about the iconic Latina chanteuse expanded, including theaters outside the usual art house world, with modest results.

Dina (The Orchard)

$12,775 in 4 theaters (+3); PTA: $3,194; Cumulative: $19,777

The Sundance Documentary Jury prize winner about a couple who are both on the Autism spectrum learning to live together expanded to Los Angeles, with a continued modest response.

“Victoria & Abdul”

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Victoria & Abdul (Focus) Week 4

$3,115,000 in 900 theaters (+168); Cumulative: $11,342,000

Still expanding (more slowly than several other post-festival releases) and already with a bigger total than “Battle of the Sexes” which went wider, “Victoria & Abdul” is holding decently so far. Focus has done a good job of positioning Dame Judi Dench for later awards. In its fourth week the Queen Victoria biopic just edged the opening weekend for “Marshall” in about as many theaters.

Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight) Week 4

$1,375,000 in 1,394 theaters (-498);  Cumulative: $10,389,000

Fox Searchlight pushed this 1970s Billie Jean King tennis match story fairly wide, hoping for strong audience appeal. They got this to $10 million–plus, with a few million more possible. But it never quite clicked as hoped.

Actor Robert Glyacz is Vincent van Gogh, Loving Vincent

“Loving Vincent”

Loving Vincent (Good Deed) Week 4

$319,008 in 54 theaters (+26);  Cumulative: $738,160

Excellent results continue for this animated expansion of Van Gogh’s art. This has been an impressive performance, even more so from a first-time distributor.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$123,607 in 89 theaters (+72);  Cumulative: $257,019

Another true life, untold story behind a public figure film that is failing to find an audience, despite the presence of Liam Neeson and SPC supporting it.

Tatiana Maslanay and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Stronger"


Stronger (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$115,035 in 174 theaters (-161);  Cumulative: $4,039,000

The total is higher than most fall releases so far, but it came with an initial multi-hundred run. The hoped for positive word of mouth never transpired.

Lucky (Magnolia) Week 3

$(est.) 115,000 in 55 theaters (+21);  Cumulative: $(est.) 362,000

The great Harry Dean Stanton’s last lead performance continues to bring in niche audiences as it expands wider.

Wind River (Weinstein) Week 11

$106,806 in 194 theaters (-164); Cumulative: $33,455,000

What will perhaps be the final Harvey Weinstein release provided positive results.

Also noted:

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton (IFC) – $34,462 in 24 theaters; Cumulative: $91,072

The Big Sick (Lionsgate) – $27,500 in 64 theaters; Cumulative: $42,862,000

Dolores (PBS) – $26,460 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $486,152

Columbus (Superlative) – $25,370 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $942,500

Brad’s Status (Annapurna) – $23,000 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $2,112,000

Columbus (Superlative) – $25,370 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $942,500

The Viceroy’s House (IFC) – $21,886 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $1,072,000


Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Rose McGowan Slams Lisa Bloom: ‘Did You Think of How It Would Affect Victims to See You Champion a Rapist?’

Rose McGowan has written an open letter of sorts to Lisa Bloom, holding nothing back as she addresses the well-known attorney who served as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein before resigning from that position last weekend. Calling Bloom a “cancer” whose “very name makes my stomach clench with a stressed tightness that takes my breath away,” the actress reveals that she was recently saddled with a $24,000 bill from her own lawyer because he had to deal with Bloom and her counsel Charles Harder.

“Did you think of how it would affect victims to see you champion a rapist? How it felt to those you once ‘fought for,’ for them to know that you used them. You remember them right?” writes McGowan. Bloom most often works on the other side of such cases — as does her mother Gloria Allred, who publicly rebuked her daughter for working with Weinstein.

“This is the lie you rode in on, Lisa Bloom,” the actress and activist continues. “You are done. We see you for who and what you are. You are a snake that sold out other women who are purer than you can ever hope to be.”

McGowan also reveals that, the night before the initial New York Times story about Weinstein was published, she was “being pushed hard to settle. I was offered one million dollars. No way. I then drove it to 6 million. I was warring with thoughts about being able to take care of my aunt, Mom and family vs my integrity.” Ultimately she opted not to take the money because she “will not be sold. Never again.” She also says that she never signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).

“When I was 23 I was hurt by the Swine,” McGowan says. “I have had a 350 lbs monster stuck to me for twenty years. Guess what, Lisa? Now he’s all yours. It’s your obituary his name will be in, not mine.” Read her full letter here.

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

Woody Allen Calls the Harvey Weinstein Scandal ‘Sad for Everybody Involved’

Woody Allen has weighed in on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, telling the BBC that it’s “sad for everybody involved” and that he hopes it doesn’t lead to “a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

Allen, whose new movie “Wonder Wheel” just premiered as the closing-night selection at the New York Film Festival, has been accused of molesting his former stepdaughter Dylan Farrow.

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Allen said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up. There’s no winners in that. It’s just very, very sad and tragic for those poor women that had to go through that.”

“You don’t want it to lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either,” he continued. “But sure, you hope that something like this could be transformed into a benefit for people rather than just a sad or tragic situation.”

Allen has worked with Weinstein on more than one occasion and says that “no one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness. And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie. But you do hear a million fanciful rumors all the time. And some turn out to be true and some — many — are just stories about this actress, or that actor.”

Source: IndieWire film

October 15, 2017

What Are Horror Master John Carpenter's Favorite Films?

Though director John Carpenter might enjoy making horror flicks, his cinematic diet surprisingly doesn’t have as much blood and guts.

John Carpenter has spent his career scaring the bejeezus out of movie-goers, and since it’s almost Halloween, it seems right to talk about the films that inspired him to make films that helped contribute to one of the most beloved horror subgenres in cinema. In the video below, Fandor has put together a list of the director’s favorite films, but interestingly enough, you’re not going to see a whole lot of blood, butcher’s knives, or Captain Kirk death masks in the films that shaped Carpenter as a filmmaker. However, that doesn’t mean the films on his list aren’t dark and twisted, as you’ll soon see.

Read More

Source: NoFilmSchool

October 14, 2017

Now you're playing with a cool retro Power Glove VR controller

Teague labs has created a peripheral any retro video game fan would love – a Power Glove VR controller for the HTC Vive VR system. What’s more, the technical specs are freely available so you can make your own.

The post Now you're playing with a cool retro Power Glove VR controller appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital Trends VR

October 13, 2017

Two Defining Dan Harmon Traits That Every Screenwriter Should Take to Heart

Dan Harmon’s process bears many lessons for aspiring screenwriters.

With a track record spanning dozens of TV shows and movies, Dan Harmon has established a unique and successful voice as someone for young writers to learn from and emulate. Best known for his work creating hit comedies like Community and Rick and Morty, Harmon has become a cultural force in the comedy community, able to understand and manipulate story structure while subverting expectations and building characters and comedic moments that speak to broad audiences. Harmon has been highly open about his process and methods, doing extensive Reddit AMA’s, and detailing the Story Circle he uses as the basis for many of his scripts. But beyond Harmon’s methodologies, the man has a great deal to offer in the way that he treats his writing process as well.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

October 13, 2017

Weekly Rewind: A spying Google Home Mini, the Nobel winner, 'Star Wars' spoilers

In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of it. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top tech stories from this week.

The post Weekly Rewind: A spying Google Home Mini, the Nobel winner, 'Star Wars' spoilers appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital Trends VR

October 13, 2017

Watch: Why Pennywise is Such a Scary Horror Villain

This classic scientific concept can help us create terrifying villains.

Why exactly is Pennywise from It so terrifying? It may be as much due to a theory from robotic science as it is a factor of great cinematic storytelling. Before we begin, it should be noted that, in the words of video essayist Karsten Runquist, while “technically Pennywise is an undefined morphable character….for the most part he’s a clown.”

Clowns are currently all over pop culture, for instance appearing in the current season of American Horror Story. And, morphable though It might be, Pennywise the Clown is the main attraction in the story. This video looks at the roots of Pennywise’s effectiveness of as a horror villain by examining, among other things, the concept of the Uncanny Valley, as well as his status as a modern-day troll (not the internet kind, though.)

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Source: NoFilmSchool