Weekend Box Office: ZERO DARK THIRTY Leads with $24 Million; A HAUNTED HOUSE Edges Out GANGSTER SQUAD for Second Place

by     Posted 1 year, 97 days ago

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In its first weekend in wide release, Zero Dark Thirty easily captured first place with an estimated $24 million from 2,937 locations. With months of press coverage, great reviews and a Best Picture nomination behind it, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the CIA thriller won the frame. A bit more surprising is the position claimed by A Haunted House. The low-budget genre spoof overcame the higher-profile (and higher-budgeted) Gangster Squad for second place at this weekend’s box office.

Title Weekend Total
1. Zero Dark Thirty $24,000,000 $29.4
2. A Haunted House $18,817,000 $18.8
3. Gangster Squad $16,710,000 $16.7
4. Django Unchained $11,065,000 $125.3
5. Les Miserables $10,127,000 $119.2
6. The Hobbit $9,080,000 $278.8
7. Lincoln $6,314,000 $152.5
8. Parental Guidance $6,100,000 $60.6
9. Texas Chainsaw 3D $5,150,000 $30.7
10. Silver Linings Playbook $5,000,000 $41.3

Friday Box Office: ZERO DARK THIRTY Tops GANGSTER SQUAD and A HAUNTED HOUSE with $9 Million

by     Posted 1 year, 98 days ago

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She may have been overlooked by the Academy, but director Kathryn Bigelow has been avenged at the box office. Zero Dark Thirty, the “controversial” CIA thriller that has been enjoying incredible success in limited release, is now a success on a much wider scale. The Best Picture nominee took first place on Friday with an estimated $9 million from 2,937 runs. With its three-day take expected to top $25 million, Zero Dark Thirty will remain on top through Sunday, giving Bigelow the first number one hit of her career. Once the presumptive pick for the top spot, Warner Brothers’ Gangster Squad had to settle for third on Friday. The R-rated crime drama, which has had its own share of controversy following the events in Aurora and Newtown, earned an estimated $6.6 million from 3,103 locations – just under the $6.7 million estimate of the new R-rated comedy A Haunted House. With Django Unchained in fourth, it looks like the four highest-grossing domestic films will all carry an R-rating this weekend – the equivalent of a solar eclipse in box office parlance. We’ll have full details tomorrow.

  Title Friday Total
1.   Zero Dark Thirty $9,000,000 $14.4
2.   A Haunted House $6,700,000 $6.7
3.   Gangster Squad $6,665,000 $6.6
4.   Django Unchained $3,456,000 $117.7
5.   Les Miserables $2,800,000 $111.8

ZERO DARK THIRTY Review

by     Posted 1 year, 99 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from December when Zero Dark Thirty opened in limited release.  The film opens today in wide release.]

Kathryn Bigelow‘s previous film, The Hurt Locker, opened with the statement, “war is a drug.” Like The Hurt Locker and her earlier film K-19: The Widowmaker, Bigelow’s new picture, Zero Dark Thirty, deals with a deadly obsession created in wartime. But unlike Hurt Locker and K-19, Zero Dark Thirty exists on a different battlefield—one of intelligence gathering, subterfuge, shady tactics, and misinformation. It’s a battlefield that is arguably more lethal than what we’ve seen before. It’s not where we place our troops. It’s where we place our citizens, and every moment in a post-9/11 world is a time bomb waiting to explode. In this world, Bigelow has crafted a thrilling and disturbing tale about how deeply an obsession can warp an individual, and how far we’re willing to go for the illusion of safety.

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards Nominations Include ZERO DARK THIRTY, ARGO, and TED

by     Posted 1 year, 99 days ago

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The 85th Annual Academy Awards announced its slew of nominations yesterday, but today the American Cinema Editors guild has released their nominations for excellence in editing for 2012.  Nominees for the 63rd Annual ACE Eddie Awards in the dramatic category include Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Skyfall, while the comedy or musical category includes Best Picture hopeful Silver Linings Playbook and Seth MacFarlane’s R-rated comedy TedArgo and Zero Dark Thirty seem like the formidable competition in the dramatic category given how expertly both films layer and manage tension throughout their running times, and coincidentally they both share one of the same editors: William Goldenberg.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees in the dramatic, comedy or musical, and animated categories, as well as documentary and television categories.  The 63rd Annual ACE Eddie Awards will be held on February 16th.

2013 Oscar Nominations Announced; LINCOLN Leads with 12 Nominations, Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck Snubbed for Best Director

by     Posted 1 year, 100 days ago

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The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards have been announced, and it’s quite a whirlwind of nominees.  As expected, Lincoln landed the most nominations with 12, followed with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi which nabbed 11.  The big story here, though, is the Best Director category.  Shockingly, only two (two!) of the DGA nominees for Best Director made the Oscar cut: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg.  The rest of the category was filled out by Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern WildDavid O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Michael Haneke for Amour.  It was almost guaranteed that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow would be landing nominations for Argo and Zero Dark Thirtyrespectively, but shockingly neither made the cut.  Apparently those films just directed themselves.  Based off today’s nominations, it now looks like it’s (surprisingly) down to Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook for the big win.

Hit the jump to check out the list of nominees, and click here to check them against my predictions (somehow I predicted the Best Picture and Supporting Actor categories perfectly).  The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24th.

Jessica Chastain Talks ZERO DARK THIRTY, Deleted Scenes, Getting the Role, Changes on Set, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 101 days ago

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Opening in wide release this weekend is one of the best films of 2012: director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty.  Loaded with amazing performances, an incredible script by Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), and perfect direction, Zero Dark Thirty is sure to be nominated for a number of Oscars tomorrow morning.  In the film, Jessica Chastain plays a CIA operative spearheading the manhunt, and she stars alongside Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton, and James Gandolfini.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I got to speak with Jessica Chastain.  We talked about how she got involved in the project, her reaction to seeing the film, deleted scenes, the way things changed on set, and more.  Hit the jump for what she had to say.

Adam Predicts the 2013 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 1 year, 101 days ago

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At last, Oscar is upon us.  Back in November I shared a look at the early awards season race by way of our 2013 Oscar Preview articles, and now nearly two months later there’s still quite a bit up in the air.  This truly is one of the more exciting awards races in recent years, as 2012 is so stacked with quality that there are a surprising number of uncertainties this close to the Academy Awards ceremony.  Nevertheless, I am once again foolishly going to attempt to predict how the Oscar nominations will shake out when they’re announced tomorrow morning, January 10th.  Hit the jump to check out my predictions.

Directors Guild of America Announces Nominations for the 65th Annual DGA Awards, Including Ben Affleck

by     Posted 1 year, 102 days ago

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The Directors Guild of America has just announced their nominations for “Outstanding Direction in Feature Film” for the 65th Annual DGA Awards.  The nominees are as follows:

These nominations, as well as the omission of certain other directors, carry certain implications heading into the Academy Awards contest.  Hit the jump for more DGA-related news.

2013 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations Include LIFE OF PI, THE HOBBIT, THE AVENGERS, and BATTLESHIP

by     Posted 1 year, 103 days ago

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The Visual Effects Society has announced the nominees for the upcoming 11th Annual VES Awards.  This year’s major players include Life of Pi, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Prometheus, The Avengers, and Battleship, all of which landed nominations for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture.  The VES Awards also recognize visual effects work in more dramatic fare, singling out the impressive effects of films like Flight and The Impossible.  Duking it out for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature will be the ridiculously impressive Richard Parker in Life of Pi, Hulk in The Avengers, and Gollum and Goblin King in The Hobbit.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominees.  The 11th Annual VES Awards will take place on February 5th.

2013 Writers Guild Awards Nominations Include LOOPER, THE MASTER, ZERO DARK THIRTY, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

by     Posted 1 year, 106 days ago

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As we head into the thick of awards season, we’re starting to see how the various guilds stack up with regards to the best of 2012 (the PGA nominations were announced yesterday).  The guilds are usually a good Oscar predictor as their voting bodies overlap significantly with the Academy’s voting body, and today we have a peek into the screenplay race by way of the nominations for the 2013 Writers Guild Awards.  The list includes some pleasant surprises like Rian Johnson’s brilliantly original script for Looper and Steven Chbosky’s touching adaptation of his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as well as expected candidates like The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Zero Dark Thirty, and Lincoln.

Each year a number of screenplays are ruled ineligible for the WGA’s, and this year is no exception as Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Behn Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and William Nicholson’s Les Miserables were all  ineligible for WGA consideration for various insignificant reasons.  Hit the jump to check out the full list of WGA nominations.  The 2013 Writers Guild Awards will be held on February 17th.

2013 Producers Guild Awards Nominees Include LINCOLN, DJANGO UNCHAINED, LES MISERABLES, and SKYFALL

by     Posted 1 year, 108 days ago

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The nominations for the 2013 Producers Guild Awards have been announced.  The PGA’s are a fairly reliable predictor of the Academy Awards, as last year all but two eventual Best Picture nominees (The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) were PGA nominees.  This year’s contenders include expected fare like Argo, Les Miserables, and Lincoln, indies such as Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom, and critical favorite Zero Dark Thirty.  The PGA’s are also fond of singling out one “popular” choice, and in this year’s case that film looks to be the excellent Skyfall

In addition to the feature films, the PGAs also announced the nominees in television.  Drama series nominees include the usual suspects like Homeland, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones, while the comedy category is filled out by 30 Rock, Louie, Modern Family, and for some reason The Big Bang Theory.  Notably absent is HBO’s Girls and NBC’s brilliant Parks and Recreation.  Hit the jump to check out the full list of film and television nominees.  The 24th Annual PGA Awards will be held on January 26th.

Top 10 Movie Posters of 2012 Including THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, DJANGO UNCHAINED and ZERO DARK THIRTY

by     Posted 1 year, 110 days ago

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While I stuck to my genre-loving guns in my Top 10 Films of 2012 and Top 10 Trailers of 2012, I’m happy to branch out a bit more with respect to the year’s ten best movie posters.  Here’s where I get pretentious.  Posters have the difficult task of attracting attention, holding it long enough to convey a message and getting that message across without the use of sound or motion (normally).  I prefer posters that are minimalist in nature and leave you with an iconic image that you’ll forever associate with the film.  Bonus points are given to those posters that offer layered meanings tied into the movie in question and which inspire curiosity in the picture.  What follows are the year’s ten best posters from a mix of big budget and lesser known movies.  Hit the jump to check them out.

Matt’s Top 10 Films of 2012

by     Posted 1 year, 112 days ago

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There’s a bit of silliness to a “Top 10″ list.  It’s similar to giving letter grades to movies.  We’re grading art, and trying to standardize a subjective appraisal.  But perhaps the grade can be instructive.  I always hope that my grade will guide you to read the full review, and then to the movie whether I liked it or not.  I think people should see as many movies as possible, but I know that’s not realistic.  Tickets cost too much, audiences are increasingly rude (I can’t remember the last time I went to a non-press or non-Drafthouse screening, and someone didn’t take out his or her cell phone), and the amount of entertainment options can be overwhelming.  That’s where I think a Top 10 list matters.  If you see only ten movies this year, these are the ones you should check out.  I found them moving, funny, thoughtful, and enduring.  I hope you’ll feel the same way.

Hit the jump for my Top 10 films of 2012.  Please note that to make the list, the film had to receive a theatrical release in 2012.  Click on the respective links for my Best of 2012, Top 10 Trailers, Dave’s Top 10 Films, and Adam’s Top 10 Films.

Best Performances, Directing, and Other Miscellany of 2012

by     Posted 1 year, 115 days ago

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In past years for my “Best of” list, I’ve been able to provide fun categories like “Best Kill” and “Best Quotes”, but sadly, that won’t be happening this year.  I keep notes throughout the year, but in July, my hard drive crashed, and because I am a foolish person, I didn’t back up the notes to a separate drive.  However, I do have enough information to do the traditional categories as well as Breakthrough Performance, “A Very Good Year”, Best Villain, Best Surprises, Biggest Disappointments, and a new category, “Best Movie You Probably Missed This Year.”  One final note: unlike previous years, the film had to come out in 2012; festival-only flicks don’t count, so that’s why there’s no love for The Place Beyond the Pines on this year’s list.

Hit the jump to check out my miscellaneous “Best of 2012″ picks.  Be sure to keep checking back this week as we’ll be running Top 10 lists from Adam, Dave, and me.

Friday Box Office: THE HOBBIT Continues to Dominate; JACK REACHER Solid in Second; THIS IS 40 in Third

by     Posted 1 year, 118 days ago

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‘Tis the season for lots of movies, fa la la la… oh, you know the rest. Always a crowded period, this holiday season saw Hollywood’s major releases packed into just a seven day span – leaving The Hobbit plenty of room to grow into a blockbuster. Part one of Peter Jackson’s trilogy ended its first week with $113.2 million in the US, and added another $10.1 million (estimated) to that total yesterday. Despite an onslaught of new titles – including Jack Reacher and This is 40 on Friday – An Unexpected Journey is expected to stay on top until Christmas Day, when Les Miserables has a chance to unseat it.

Here’s a look at Friday’s top five:

Title Friday Total
1.  The Hobbit $10,170,000 $123.3
2.  Jack Reacher $5,100,000 $5.1
3.  This is 40 $3,700,000 $3.7
4.  Rise of the Guardians 41,566,000 $75.3
5.  The Guilt Trip $1,493,000 $3.5

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