Seek out some great Oscar films during the winter movie doldrums
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Once again, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass took the No. 1 spot at a very weak U.S. box office, selling just $9.5 million over the weekend, bringing the flick’s 17-day U.S. sales total to just under $89 million. Add in foreign sales and Glass is just under $200 million in sales.
That’s a whole lot of money for M. Night Shyamalan, who has now directed eight films that top the $200 million mark in sales. Say what you want about the guy, he’s having a undeniably notable career despite what the critics say about his work. Looking over his filmography, I can say, with no lack of sincerity, that he has made five good movies. Out of 12.
Also at the Box
The Upside, this year’s The Soloist, continued to roll, selling another $8.9 million in sales, bringing the film’s four-week total to $76 million in the U.S. and $82 million worldwide. It’s just that time of year, guys, where not-great films sell tickets.
Miss Bala, a Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, Twilight) action-thriller starring Gina Rodriguez (I’m in!), took the No. 3 spot at the U.S. box, selling $6.7 million over its first three days of release. Reviews aren’t great, but the Hardwicke/Rodriguez combo is promising.
Aquaman continued to sell tickets, taking the No. 4 spot at last weekend’s box with $4.8 million in sales, bringing the movie’s seven-week worldwide sales total to over $1.1 billion. How many Aquaman films do you think we’ll have when it’s all said and done?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this year’s frontrunner for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, rounded out last weekend’s Top 5 in sales with $4.4 million in sales, bringing Spidey’s eight-week sales total to $175 million in the U.S. and $347 million worldwide.
Also of note: Best Picture frontrunner Green Book continued to make noise, selling another $4.3 million, bringing the slow-burn film’s 12-week sales total to just under $56 million in the U.S. This one is getting a second marketing campaign and a lot of word-of-mouth energy. Don’t be surprised if this flick wins Best Picture in a few weeks at the Oscars ceremony. I can tell you two facts about this film: (1) It’s a good movie. (2) It’s not a great movie.
New This Week
This week will see the release of four wide releases, starting with Warner Bros.’ new animated film, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. Next up is director Adam Shankman’s new comedy, What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson, Tracy Morgan, Max Greenfield, and, supposedly, Shaquille O’Neal. This one is a gender swap remake of Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, basically.
Horror flick The Prodigy stars the always mediocre Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) as the mother of a possessed boy (Jackson Robert Scott). Looks not good.
And, finally, we have action-drama hybrid Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson, Emmy Rossum, and Laura Dern. This one, based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance, looks to be the only new wide release worth watching this week.
That being said, a lot of the great Oscar films are still playing in theaters, and what looks to be a new classic, Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows (aka Todos lo saben), will also start screening in major markets. This one, which stars Javier Barden and Penelope Cruz, looks special. Farhadi’s last few films (The Salesman, A Separation, The Past) have all been incredible, and so I expect big things from this one.
Five years ago we lost Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor who will likely go down as the best American actor of his generation. As a tribute, I figured I’d put together something of a Top 10 list of films responsible for his legacy.
1. The Master (dir. PT Anderson)
2. Synecdoche, New York (dir. Charlie Kaufman)
3. The Savages (dir. Tamara Jenkins)
4. Capote (dir. Bennett Miller)
5. Doubt (dir. John Patrick Shanley)
6. Almost Famous (dir. Cameron Crowe)
7. Boogie Nights (dir. PT Anderson)
8. Magnolia (dir. PT Anderson)
9. Charlie Wilson’s War (dir. Mike Nichols)
10. Happiness (dir. Todd Solondz)
Honorable mention: 25th Hour (dir. Spike Lee) and Jack Goes Boating (dir. Philip Seymour Hoffman)