Box Office: Game Over for Pixels?

pixels_picA photo from Chris Columbus’ Pixels (via GameZone)

Over the Weekend…

As Chris Columbus’ Pixels concludes, the words “Game Over” appear on the screen. A clear reference to the film we’ve just seen – in which software installer Adam Sandler, POTUS Kevin James (yes, you read that correctly), incarcerated Peter Dinklage, and conspiracy theorist Josh Gad (all former video-game champs) and Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Monaghan battle aliens via real-life, large-scale video games – it’s also quite prescient.

Pixels debuted in second place with a less-than-animated $24 million. Early projections, which ranged from $29 to $39 million, suggested a box-office victory. Better numbers would have paved the way for longer box-office legs, which could have landed Pixels‘ nostalgia-heavy execution of its video game-centric concept in Oscar’s initial visual-effects bakeoff. (more…)


Oscar Predictions 2015: Chi-Raq and Trainwreck Enter the Fray

Hey all! Back for another predictions update!

In case you missed them, here are some news bits that may prove relevant during the awards season:

Photo (via TIME) by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Amazon Studios to give Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq Oscar-qualifying run in December. The film, based on the classical Greek comedy Lysistrata, will have an official opening after the new year. The theatrical release will precede its streaming debut, in order to avoid a Beasts of No Nation-esque conflict. The film focuses on a woman (played by Teyonah Parris) who goes on a sex strike to protest black-on-black gun violence in Chicago.

The Amy Schumer-led, Judd Apatow-helmed Trainwreck soars. The acclaimed comedy surpassed its mid-teens expectations with $30.2 million – the second-best for an Apatow film, just behind Knocked Up (2007)’s $30.9 million debut. Universal Pictures may push Schumer’s original screenplay for awards consideration; the actress-writer may also find herself in the best-actress conversation – at least at the Golden Globes, right?

Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes wins the specialty box office. The film, led by Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes battling senility and grappling with an unsolved case, made $2.49 million from just 363 locations. If the drama continues to succeed in the coming weeks, we may have another legitimate contender for the best actor Oscar.

Fox Searchlight sets Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition for April 6, 2016. With Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead and Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper in supporting roles, this looked like another awards magnet for Vallée, but maybe this will be a commercial hit next year. The distributor still has contenders in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, John Crowley’s Brooklyn, Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash, and Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America.

Sony Pictures Classics pulls The Lady in the Van from its 2015 slate. Once set for limited release on December 11, the drama looked like an Oscar vehicle for Maggie Smith, who reprises her Olivier Award-nominated role as a woman who lived in a man’s driveway for 15 years. No word on a new release date, but I imagine it will make its mark early next year. SPC probably pushed Lady back to make room for other best-actress contenders.

Now, this week’s predictions:


Box Office: Ant-Man Wins, Trainwreck Shocks

paulrudd_ant-manMarvel formula: Throw recognizable person into a superhero costume, count cash – yes, I’m bitter (image via Tech Times)

To the surprise of no one familiar with Marvel’s current domination of Hollywood, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man topped the weekend box office with an estimated $58 million. The Paul Rudd-led superhero flick just fell short of the projected $60-65 million opening, and its $15,501 per-screen average was a bit low, but strong word of mouth should keep audiences coming back for more.