Weekend Box Office: September 2 – 4

#1 The Help from Buena Vista holds at #1 with a weekend gross of $14.5 million (+0.4%) in 2843 theaters (+65). Total gross to date is $118.9 million. Budget was $25 million.

#2 The Debt from Focus debuts at #2 with an opening weekend gross of $9.9 million in 1826 theaters. Budget is unknown.

#3 Apollo 18 from Weinstein/Dimension debuts at #3 with an opening weekend gross of $8.7 million in 3328 theaters. Budget is unknown.

#4 Shark Night 3D from Relativity debuts at #4 with an opening weekend gross of $8.4 million in 2806 theaters. Budget is unknown.

#5 Rise of the Planet of the Apes from Fox drops from #3 to #5 with a weekend gross of $7.9 million (-10.7%) in 3193 theaters (-181). Total gross to date is $160.1 million. Budget was $93 million.

#6 Colombiana from TriStar drops from #2 to #6 with a weekend gross of $7.4 million (-28.3%) in 2614 theaters (no change). Total gross to date is $22.0 million. Budget was $40 million.

Rounding out the top 12 are:

#7 Our Idiot Brother drops from #5 to #7 with a weekend gross of $5.4 million (-22.3%) in 2555 theaters (no change). Total gross to date is $15.6 million. Budget was $5 million.

#8 Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark drops from #4 to #8 with a weekend gross of $5.1 million (-39.1%) in 2780 theaters (+20). Total gross to date is $16.6 million. Budget was $25 million.

#9 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World drops from #6 to #9 with a weekend gross of $4.8 million (-19.8%) in 3007 theaters (-298). Total gross to date is $29.2 million. Budget was $27 million.

#10 The Smurfs drops from #7 to #10 with a weekend gross of $4.0 million (-13.8%) in 2706 theaters (-155). Total gross to date is $132.0 million. Budget was $110 million.

#11 Crazy, Stupid, Love drops from #9 to #11 with a weekend gross of $3.3 million (+6.4%) in 1450 theaters (-127). Total gross to date is $74.5 million. Budget was $50 million.

#12 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 holds at #12 with a weekend gross of $2.4 million (-3.6%) in 1092 theaters (-236). Total gross to date is $374.6 million. Budget is unknown.

The combined gross of the top 12 movies this weekend was $82.3 million (+10.1%).

New movies debuting in wide release this weekend are Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Contagion and Warrior.

A note on “Gross”: On average, studios will earn approximately 55 percent of the final gross.

Box Office Mojo

Back Seat Quickies Shows

Back Seat Quickies 12: Paul

In the backseat (of a Winnebago):

  • Bhavna
  • Scott

Recorded 8/26/11 in a movie theatre.

Back Seat Producers Season 06 Shows Special Episode Special Guests

BSP Special Episode 14: Summer Super-Hero Movies 2011

In this episode, Tony, Tee and Pip talk about Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class with a bit of Cowboys and Aliens tossed in for good measure.

Also discussed:

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: The Devil’s Double

The Devil’s Double is loosely based on the true story of Latif Yahia.  Latif Yahia was an Iraqi army lieutenant hand-picked to be the “fiday” (body double) for one of Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday.  If Latif refuses, his family would be condemned to death.  Ultimately, Latif agrees and basically gives up his own life to exactingly learning how to be Uday.  Uday tells Latif that what belongs to him (Uday) is now his (Latif’s), though Latif is appalled at Uday’s decadent lifestyle.  Latif has no idea of who he can trust within Uday’s circle.

The Devil’s Double has been described as a “Mid-East Scarface” and while that description isn’t far off the mark, there’s certainly a lot more to it than just being what some would see as another gangster film.  Thanks to extremely skillful direction from veteran director Lee Tamahori and absolutely brilliant performances from Dominic Cooper, this hits on another couple of levels.  Not only do you have what can be seen as this Mid-Eastern gangster lifestyle, but Latif does everything he can to still keep his own sense of morality strong.  At the same time, this gets more complex with Uday who essentially falls in love with Latif, not in any sort of homosexual way, but more because he’s built Latif into an extension of himself.

Director Lee Tamahouri first got great notice with his first feature, Once Were Warriors which tells the story of a family descended from Maori warriors struggling to keep itself together while dealing with an abusive father and societal problems.  It’s a terrific film, and Tamahori deserved every bit of praise that he got for it.  Since then, he got involved with bigger Hollywood films with varying degrees of success.  Some of those movies include Mullholland Falls, The Edge, and the James Bond film, Die Another Day. I wasn’t that great a fan of his last movie, the Nicholas Cage thriller Next from 2007, but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed his work.

I first saw the trailer for The Devil’s Double earlier in the year when I saw 13 Assassins and was just mesmerized by it.  I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one and so when it came here to St. Louis, I couldn’t wait to see the movie.  I’m happy to say that The Devil’s Double didn’t disappoint me in the slightest and I’d certainly put it right up there with 13 Assassins as one of the best films I’ve seen this year so far.

From what I understand, Latif’s duty as Uday’s double lasted for about a 4-year period, so the events of this film are presented in a pretty condensed way.  I’d tend to think that the overall intent is pretty accurate to how things played out, but considering the things that Latif had to do, we may not know for sure just how complicit he was in some of the atrocities that Uday was responsible for.  I’d certainly expect that liberties were taken (and one is very obvious by the fact that this is all presented in English) and regardless, it certainly felt to me like I got an accurate portrayal of the big picture.

Tamahori doesn’t politicize this either.  While it’s set during the Gulf War, that scene is set primarily using news footage and it’s not the central focus of the film.  That focus is more on dictatorship in general and it’s effects.  I didn’t feel like I was being sold propaganda about America’s involvement in Mid-Eastern affairs at all, but more getting a picture from an Iraqi’s point of view of being on the inside.

Technically speaking, Tamahori’s film is absolutely beautiful.  Dominic Cooper plays both roles of Latif and Uday and the effects used for when both are on-screen at the same time are pretty seamless.

Dominic Cooper is just tremendous in this film.  Prior to this, he was seen in movies like Mamma Mia and An Education neither of which I’ve seen.  Currently though most of the audience will be familiar with Cooper thanks to the part that he played in Captain America: The First Avenger which was the part of Howard Stark, the father of Tony Stark who of course is Iron Man.  Even though it’s a smaller part, I thought Cooper was terrific in Captain America and so I was a little stunned to hear that it was the same guy in the lead for The Devil’s Double. As I said above, Cooper plays both roles of Latif and Uday and one could also see him doing extra duty of playing a performance within a performance when he has to play Latif playing Uday.  It’s not just a simple matter of him turning off one character and going right into the other- you can still see parts of Latif while he is standing in for Uday.  Uday is almost cartoonish in contrast to Latif, but even though I say that, I don’t mean it in any sort of derogatory way.  Uday’s the son of a despot and gets anything he wants any time he wants, and so I’d expect him to be quite a bit over-the-top.  Latif is stoic and does his best to keep his composure as he bears witness to the shocking experiences he goes through.  While at first this may not seem to get the most emotional depth out of the character, it does build, and by the film’s end the real emotion is there when Latif makes his break.  If may not be the same thing that we’d necessarily feel in our own culture, but it certainly felt authentic to what was presented here.  This is an Oscar-worthy performance and I can only hope that Cooper gets recognized for it when the time comes.

The Devil’s Double is a pretty powerful movie that works on a couple of levels.  It can be seen as a gangster film, most certainly, but works even more as a complex character study of two characters, both with completely different views on life.  It is an extremely violent movie and it’s certainly graphic about it, though again, I believe it’s just scratching the surface of the total horrors Latif actually faced.  Still, what’s seen here is probably enough to put off squeamish viewers, so that should certainly be kept in mind if you’re considering seeing this.  Regardless of that, for myself, The Devil’s Double is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.  Highly, highly recommended.


Theatrical Review: Apollo 18

In 1972, NASA supposedly ended manned moon missions with Apollo 17, but one year later, a covert mission was set up by the Department of Defense for one more trip to the moon.  Chosen to make this mission were astronauts Nathan Walker, Ben Anderson and John Grey, all very enthusiastic to continue NASA’s work, but that enthusiasm fades as the real details of their mission slowly come to light.

That’s the opening premise to Apollo 18, the latest entry in the horror sub-genre of “found footage” movies, and personally, I thought this was a lot of fun, though from what I’m seeing so far, I’m a minority with that.

As I’ve stated in other reviews about films in this sub-genre (Paranormal Activity 2, TrollHunter), I’m a big fan of this type of film.  I like their sense of immediacy and urgency and I really like how they make you watch the little things that you might not normally pay much attention to.  Right from the start, Apollo 18 gives you a pretty logical explanation about why they have so many cameras at work and thanks to director Gonzalo López-Gallego’s attention to set detail, it all looks extremely authentic.

The only real gripe that I have about the film is that I think the effect of the technical deficiencies used in the “found” stock is a little bit over-used, but it’s a small gripe.  That effect is certainly overcome by the above-mentioned attention to detail, some pretty effective “jump scare” scenes and a very nice sense of dread that’s pretty much there right from the start of the film.  In addition, I thought the amplified use of ambient sound was a great touch in punctuating that sense of dread.

Apollo 18 is a short movie, but it’s effectively paced as a slow-burn tension builder.  The real discovery for the astronauts is shown in little glimpses which furthers the tension, and frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Showing too much would’ve shown more visible seams, so I think a right balance was found.

Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen and Ryan Robbins play our trio of astronauts and I think they’re all terrific.  Christie and Owen get the majority of the screen time as they’re the two astronauts (Walker and Anderson) who actually make the landing on the moon.  Robbins (as Grey) remains in the command craft, and at least offers some hope of salvation to his comrades.  No they don’t go into any real depth of character, they just hit things in the broadest of strokes, but that’s not the point of the movie.  They look and sound authentic and that certainly adds to the credibility of the situation.

I thought Apollo 18 was a lot of fun.  It’s very well made, it’s short enough that it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and it’s setting and premise is a nice twist on the “found footage” sub-genre.  Of course, that sub-genre is what will be the bone of contention to many viewers.  For the detractors, this won’t offer enough; you won’t get an explanation of events, you won’t get obvious set pieces and you won’t get real depth of character simply due to the immediacy of the situation as it’s presented.  If you don’t care for this type of film, well, I seriously doubt my review will change anyone’s mind. I had a great time with it, and if you’re a fan of this type of film, I’d certainly recommend giving Apollo 18 a chance.

Back Seat Box Office Shows

Back Seat Box Office #50

Amongst the hosts, Jonathan came in first this week with 25 points, Tony came in second with 24 points while Andrew brought up the rear with 20 points. Average scores for the first thirty-five weeks of 2011 have Jonathan in first place with 20.91 points, Tony in second with 20.71 and Andrew in third with 20.31 points.

Visit our scoreboard for a comprehensive list of results as well as an explanation of our scoring system. Play along at home, email or call your picks in before Friday night and get on the board.

New movies debuting in wide release this weekend are Apollo 18, Shark Night 3D, and The Debt.

Picks for the week:


  1. The Help
  2. Apollo 18
  3. Shark Night 3D
  4. The Debt
  5. Colombiana


  1. Apollo 18
  2. The Help
  3. Shark Night 3D
  4. Colombiana
  5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes


  1. Apollo 18
  2. Shark Night 3D
  3. The Help
  4. The Debt
  5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Got something to say? Head over the the Back Seat Producers forum and let us know what you think.