In the seat:
In the seat:
#1 Identity Thief from Universal rose from #2 to #1 with a gross of $14 million (-40.8%) in 3,222 theaters (+57). Total gross to date is $93.6 million. Budget was $35 million.
#2 Snitch from Summit Entertainment opened at #2 with a gross of $13.2 million in 2,511 theaters. Budget was unknown.
#3 Escape from Planet Earth from Weinstein Company rose from #4 to #3 with a gross of $10.7 million (-32.8%) in 3,353 theaters (+65). Total gross to date is $34.8 million. Budget was $40 million.
#4 Safe Haven from Relativity fell from #3 to #4 with a gross of $10.5 million (-51.1%) in 3,223 theaters. Total gross to date is $47.6 million. Budget was $28 million.
#5 A Good Day to Die Hard from 20th Century Fox fell from #1 to #5 with a gross of $10.2 million (-59.1%) in 3,555 theaters (+2). Total gross to date is $52 million. Budget was $92 million.
#6 Dark Skies from Weinstein/Dimension opened at #6 with a gross of $8.2 million in 2,313 theaters. Budget was $3.5 million.
#7 Silver Linings Playbook from Weinstein Company rose from #8 to #7 with a gross of $5.8 million (-7.9%) in 2,012 theaters (-190). Total gross to date is $107.2 million. Budget was $21 million.
#8 Warm Bodies from Summit Entertainment fell from #5 to #8 with a gross of $4.8 million (-45.6%) in 2,644 theaters (-253). Total gross to date is $58.2 million. Budget was unknown.
#9 Beautiful Creatures (2013) from Warner Bros. fell from #6 to #9 with a gross of $3.6 million (-52.4%) in 2,950 theaters. Total gross to date is $16.8 million. Budget was $60 million.
#10 Side Effects from Open Road Films fell from #7 to #10 with a gross of $3.4 million (-46.5%) in 2,070 theaters (-535). Total gross to date is $25.1 million. Budget was unknown.
#11 Zero Dark Thirty from Sony/Columbia fell from #10 to #11 with a gross of $2.2 million (-25.6%) in 1,197 theaters (-325). Total gross to date is $91.5 million. Budget was $40 million.
#12 Argo from Warner Bros. held at #12 with a gross of $1.8 million (-16.3%) in 802 theaters (-101). Total gross to date is $129.7 million. Budget was $44.5 million.
The combined gross of the top 12 movies this weekend was $88.3 million.
Box Office Mojo
Notes to follow
The Barrett family appears to be your average, ordinary family of four. The father, Dan, is an unemployed architect who’s trying to find work. The mother, Lacy, is earning a supplemental income in real estate sales. the oldest son, Jesse, is just discovering girls and getting into trouble with his best friend, Kevin. the youngest son, Sam, is an average kid playing with his friends and listening to scary stories told to him by his brother. Everything appears normal for this family until a series of disturbing events start to happen to them and then they learn that something is very much out to get them.
That’s the basic premise for the generically titled Dark Skies, a movie about an extraterrestrial encounter (that’s no real spoiler, it’s pretty much told in the trailers for the film) for an ordinary family. It’s the latest movie from writer/director Scott Stewart who’s previously directed the movies Legion (which I wasn’t that thrilled with) and Priest (which I actually liked quite a bit). Dark Skies doesn’t really do anything new with the genre, but for the most part, it’s pretty well executed and has a pretty effective ending.
As the events start to unfold, it all pretty much happens by rote- strange events happen, family gets worried, authorities are called in and are pretty dismissive of what happens, wanting to chalk it up to something happening internally in the family. This all happens at a pretty slow-burn pace, but starts to pick up some steam in it’s back third when Daniel and Lacy seek out the advice of an expert, Edwin Pollard, who warns them of what to expect next.
The movie has an overall good look to it, and in some places, it looks to me like Scott Stewart’s been studying some of what Stanley Kubrick has done with his storytelling approach, which I certainly think adds to the atmosphere. One of the nice things that I think Stewart gets across quite well is just the sheer isolation that the Barretts experience while this is happening to them. You’d like to think that if this sort of weirdness was starting to happen to you that you’d expect some sort of support through your friends and neighbors. The only support that the Barretts receive comes from Pollard and even then, it’s not so much support as it is expecting the inevitability of their situation.
Josh Hamilton and Keri Russell play Daniel and Lacy, and they’re both very good at projecting the everyman quality that this family should have (and I just want to shout out Keri Russell a little further here for the fine work that she’s currently doing in the new FX series, The Americans) Dakota Goyo and Kadan Rockett play their sons, Jesse and Sam respectively, and they’re certainly quite believable. The great J.K. Simmons plays Edwin Pollard, and it’s a pretty different performance for Simmons in that he’s a pretty beaten character who’s now totally resigned to the fact that he can’t do anything about any of the situations that he’s encountered.
While I enjoyed Dark Skies, it’s not exactly the sort of movie that I’m going to tell you to run right out and see in a theatre. For the most part, this seems like pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, but it does get saved by a pretty effective back third. The work here by both Stewart and the cast is certainly solid, but it’s pace is maybe a little too relaxed up front. It’s certainly worth seeing, but I think most will find it more entertaining as home video viewing than making the effort to go to a theatre to see it.
Welcome back, Monty, and congrats on your perfect score of 25!
Thanks to Tad and Art for their voice mails.
There are no other movies in wide release this weekend.
Back Seat Art House picks:
#1 A Good Day to Die Hard from 20th Century Fox opened at #1 with a gross of $24.8 million in 3,553 theaters. Total gross to date is $33.1 million. Budget was $92 million.
#2 Identity Thief from Universal fell from #1 to #2 with a gross of $23.7 million (-31.5%) in 3,165 theaters (+24). Total gross to date is $71 million. Budget was $35 million.
#3 Safe Haven from Relativity opened at #3 with a gross of $21.4 million in 3,223 theaters. Total gross to date is $30.2 million. Budget was $28 million.
#4 Escape from Planet Earth from Weinstein Company opened at #4 with a gross of $15.9 million in 3,288 theaters. Budget was $40 million.
#5 Warm Bodies from Summit Entertainment fell from #2 to #5 with a gross of $8.9 million (-21.9%) in 2,897 theaters (-112). Total gross to date is $50.1 million. Budget was unknown.
#6 Beautiful Creatures (2013) from Warner Bros. opened at #6 with a gross of $7.6 million in 2,950 theaters. Total gross to date is $10.1 million. Budget was $60 million.
#7 Side Effects from Open Road Films fell from #3 to #7 with a gross of $6.3 million (-32.6%) in 2,605 theaters. Total gross to date is $19.1 million. Budget was unknown.
#8 Silver Linings Playbook from Weinstein Company fell from #4 to #8 with a gross of $6.2 million (-2.9%) in 2,202 theaters (-607). Total gross to date is $98.6 million. Budget was $21 million.
#9 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters from Paramount fell from #5 to #9 with a gross of $3.5 million (-38.9%) in 2,103 theaters (-1,182). Total gross to date is $49.7 million. Budget was $50 million.
#10 Zero Dark Thirty from Sony/Columbia fell from #7 to #10 with a gross of $3 million (-25.2%) in 1,522 theaters (-1,040). Total gross to date is $88 million. Budget was $40 million.
#11 Mama from Universal fell from #6 to #11 with a gross of $2.7 million (-36.5%) in 1,648 theaters (-1,029). Total gross to date is $68.2 million. Budget was $15 million.
#12 Argo from Warner Bros. fell from #8 to #12 with a gross of $2.2 million (-8.1%) in 903 theaters (-502). Total gross to date is $126.8 million. Budget was $44.5 million.
The combined gross of the top 12 movies this weekend was $126.1 million.
Box Office Mojo
It’s a Quentin Tarantino Love Fest!!
Release date: 12/25/1995
Directed and Written by
“The Missing Ingredient”
“The Wrong Man”
“The Man from Hollywood”
The hosts review:
Trivial bits ‘n pieces:
Your Producers for this episode were:
This episode was recorded: 2/7/2013
Jack McClane, the estranged son of New York Police Detective John McClane is now living in Russia and has gotten himself caught up in some nasty bit of business that has him ready to be sent to jail. John McClane, wanting to do the right thing, plans a little “vacation” to Russia to see what he can do for his son. Of course, once John McClane gets there all hell starts to break loose as he soon discovers the real reasons why his son is there.
That’s a real loose description to the premise to A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth film in the Die Hard series, all featuring star Bruce Willis as the intrepid John McClane. It’s also the latest in a series of action films featuring the return of big name action stars of the 80s and 90s doing what they do best. This started with Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables and has continued with the recent releases of The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bullet to the Head again with Stallone. All of these have been fun movies which I’ve certainly enjoyed.
I guess it was time that the streak ended. It’s just a shame it has to do it with the Die Hard series.
A Good Day to Die Hard comes to us from director John Moore, who’s previously directed films like Behind Enemy Lines, Max Payne and the re-makes of The Omen and Flight of the Phoenix, and screenwriter Skip Woods, who’s written such movies as The A-Team, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Swordfish. Of Moore’s movies, I actually like Behind Enemy Lines a great deal, but thought he faltered with the others and there’s aspects of Woods’ prior work that I like , but I don’t think the whole of each ever quite came together. The thing is, I find it pretty hard to blame either of these guys totally for the mess that A Good Day to Die Hard is.
No, instead I’ll blame the bigwigs at 20th Century Fox for wanting to put this in production. They’re trying to keep it on the cheap by moving it’s production entirely out of this country and not wanting to invest in ay sort of casting beyond Willis that could’ve brought more to the table. I think both Moore and Woods fit into the budget that Fox wanted to give this and rushed this into production to get it to ride this wave of action star comebacks.
Other than Willis being here as McClane in name only, there’s really nothing here that says this is even a Die Hard movie in the first place. The set-up of the tension between the McClanes is ill-conceived, the action is way over-the-top in the most cartoonish of ways, there’s nothing to make you give a damn about either of the McClanes (who of course are both invincible to everything that gets thrown at them) and the villains of this piece are nowhere near the same league as what has been seen in the prior films.
Hitting a couple of these points individually, yeah sure, you expect John McClane to save the day in these films, that’s certainly a given. Some of the nicer aspects in the first three movies show at least a hint of vulnerability in the action, especially the first film. I mean who can ever forget the idea that John McClane is running about Nakatomi Plaza in just a t-shirt and pants and has that grueling bit of having to cross a floor filled with glass in his bare feet? That sort of thing gets carried through the movie, but here, Jack McClane gets a hunk of metal lodged into his gut, takes it out and doesn’t feel a thing the rest of the film.
A hallmark of the other films are really good villains that get as much good show as Willis does. Alan Rickman, William Sadler, John Amos and Timothy Olyphant all had good turns in the prior films to various degrees, but here our villainous side of the cast is made up of foreign actors who you simply will not remember after the film ends. They may very well be top-notch talents, but this film doesn’t give them the opportunity to really show it. Again, I’ll blame the idea of a rushed production that doesn’t give it’s writer the chance to do some memorable work with these characters.
Instead, this film hopes to succeed on the idea of John McClane being there and churning out a few one-liners while big-ass fireworks are going off in the background. It hopes you’ll get invested in it emotionally with it’s tired trope of the strained relationship between the father and the son and it all just feels like it’s in there by rote more than anything else.
As much as I want to blame Fox for this, I also have to throw some of that credit Willis’ way as well. I’d like to think that Fox is holding something over his head by committing him to this, but you’d still like to think he’d know better. Bruce Willis is certainly still capable of good action work as witnessed most recently in last year’s Looper, but here, it’s more like he’s just running this by the numbers and just cashing the check. Jai Courtney is cast as his son, Jack, and I think he’s certainly got the physical chops for this sort of thing, but there’s really nothing there in the character to get behind other than the fact that he’s John McClane’s son.
Supposedly, there’s still a sixth movie in this franchise to come and the idea there is that it’ll be the last in the series as well. I’d like to think that this franchise could still be brought back to glory as long as Fox doesn’t rush it into production and takes the time to invest in a script that lets you get fully behind it’s characters and a director who can show you just how special the Die Hard film series is. I’d like to think that anyway… but if A Good Day to Die Hard is any indication of how Fox wants to take this series, then maybe they should just let it die with this one. Your best bet here- miss this one entirely and watch any of the other ones (preferably any of the first three) again, you’ll have a far better time.
Back Seat Art House
There are no other movies in wide release this weekend.
Congrats to Jeff for his perfect score of 25!
Thanks to Art, Tad and Nick for their voice mails.