RIP Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols, the director of classic works like The Graduate and The Birdcage, has passed away at the age of 83. He had achieved the coveted EGOT, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award over the course of his career. He won a Grammy in 1961, a Tony in 1964, an Oscar in 1968, and an Emmy in 2001.

He leaves behind a staggering body of work, including recognized classics like The Graduate, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, and The Birdcage, as well as more recent acclaimed works like Closer, Angels In America, and Charlie Wilson’s War. He was also responsible for Primary Colors, Working Girl, Regarding Henry, Biloxi Blues, Silkwood, and countless others.

He was working on the HBO project Master Class with Meryl Streep at the time of his death.

Box Office Predictions: How High Can ‘Hunger Games’ Go?

1) Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1- 140M Weekend, 140M Total
Catching Fire opened to 158M last year, but Mockingjay doesn’t quite have the same reviews. Also, Hunger Games had almost no competition. Thor was in 2nd place with 14M. This year, it’s a little different.

2) Big Hero 6- 20M Weekend, 136M Total
Big Hero 6 will likely face a harder drop this weekend, but I still don’t think it’ll be enough to drop 50%. It’s the only “kids film” in the marketplace until next week, and audiences have been giving this great word of mouth.

3) Interstellar- 16M Weekend, 122M Total
Interstellar also holds up nicely, and actually becomes the #1 film during the midweek period. Word of mouth could keep Interstellar in 3rd place this week.

4) Dumb and Dumber To- 15M Weekend, 59M Total
Dumb and Dumber To will see the harshest drop of last weeks top 3. Audiences gave it only a B- cinemascore, suggesting word of mouth might not be very strong. Hunger Games will chop into its audience by over half.

5) Gone Girl- 3.5M Weekend, 157M Total
6) Beyond The Lights- 3M Weekend, 10M Total
7) St Vincent- 2.5M Weekend, 36M Total
8) Fury- 2.5M Weekend, 80M Total
9) Birdman- 2.0M Weekend, 15M Total
10) The Theory Of Everything- 1.5M Weekend, 3M Total

Weekend Box Office: ‘Dumb’ Wins, ‘Hero’ and ‘Interstellar’ hold OK

Dumb and Dumber To was the big new movie of the weekend, becoming Jim Carrey’s first 30M opening in 10 years. THe franchise proved it had life left in it, as it managed to open above expectations, and even beat Disney’s crowdpleasing Big Hero 6. Dumb and Dumber To has only a B- cinemascore, so it might not play well in the coming weeks.

Rosewater opened in limited release with a so-so per screen of 3,235, about the same as Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, which bowed with 2,468PSA. Neither could hold a candle to Foxcatcher, which commanded a 48K per screen average, launching the film to the front of the Oscar race. The Homesman had a good, not great bow, of 12K per screen.

Other holdovers are doing nicely. Whiplash maintained a 1,912PSA in its expansion (not great, but so-so). Birdman kept 2,859 in expansion (pretty good). The real winner was The Theory Of Everything which expanded slightly and did another 18K per screen.

Of course, the top 10 has crowdpleasers with legs too. Gone Girl was down only 25%. St Vincent also dipped only 25%. Interstellar dropped 38%, while Big Hero 6 dropped 36%. Fury held well with a 32% drop, and Nightcrawler dropped only 43%. Even The Judge at 14th dropped only 39%.

Next weekend, The Hunger Games will take up a huge chunk of the box office.

1) Dumb and Dumber To- 38M Weekend, 38M Total
2) Big Hero 6- 36M Weekend, 111.6M Total
3) Interstellar- 29.1M Weekend, 97.8M Total
4) Beyond The Lights- 6.5M Weekend, 6.5M Total
5) Gone Girl- 4.6M Weekend, 152.6M Total
6) St Vincent- 4M Weekend, 33.2M Total
7) Fury- 3.8M Weekend, 75.9M Total
8) Nightcrawler- 3M Weekend, 25M Total
9) Ouija- 3M Weekend, 48.1M Total
10) Birdman- 2.4M Weekend, 11.5M Total
11) John Wick- 2.2M Weekend, 38.9M Total
12) Alexander…- 1.5M Weekend, 62.3M Total
13) Rosewater- 1.2M Weekend, 1.2M Total
14) The Judge- 1.0M Weekend, 44.3M Total
15) Saving Christmas- 1.0M Weekend, 1.0M Total
17) Whiplash- 801K Weekend, 2.4M Total
18) The Theory Of Everything- 738K Weekend, 1M Total
??) Foxcatcher- 288K Weekend, 288K Total
??) The Homesman- 48K Weekend, 48K Total

Why You Should Care That The Best New Sitcom Was Cancelled

#SaveSelfie should be trending on Twitter right now.

Instead, most Americans are glad that Selfie was cancelled. It sounds dumb. Selfie. Who names a show Selfie?

Well, sometimes the most unfortunately named shows (Trophy Wife, Cougar Town) are actually really good shows. Selfie started out as just a so-so pilot, and transformed quickly into a must watch comedy and the best new comedy of the season.

Yes, I’m officially saying that Selfie is better than Black-ish, Mulaney, The McCarthys, Bad Judge, A To Z, and Cristela.

Selfie deserved better than getting the axe just a few episodes into its freshman run, after being saddled with Manhattan Love Story, and being expected to open up the night for ABC.

I’m not alone either. Other entertainment websites from TV Line to Entertainment Weekly have been mourning the loss of the funniest show on TV, with Karen Gillan recently being called the Performer Of The Week by TV Line.

What have you been missing? A show with two perfect leads, who have the kind of chemistry you can’t fake, and are slowly building the kind of will-they-or-won’t-they relationship that gets people to watch for season after season.

Selfie is still airing, and has all aired episodes available on Hulu. I challenge you to watch a few episodes and not be charmed by how quickly Selfie will pull you in.

Trust me. I’m as surprised as you. I did NOT expect Selfie to be my favorite new sitcom, but it is.

CBS Cancels ‘The Millers’

I’m surprised that The Millers went before The McCarthy’s, but CBS has axed the Will Arnett sitcom in the middle of its sophomore run (not the first time that has happened to Will Arnett). They tried to help boost ratings by adding Sean Hayes (who had a failed sitcom last year, so probably not the best addition), but it didn’t work. I’m betting The McCarthy’s isn’t far behind.

Box Office Predictions: Will ‘Dumb’ Take First, Or Will ‘Hero’ Repeat?

1) Big Hero 6- 35M Weekend, 111M Total

Big Hero 6 received praise from moviegoers last week, and also faced tough competition from Interstellar. Dumb and Dumber To is not quite as big of a competitor, and animated films rarely dip more than 40% in their second weekend. Big Hero 6 will see a soft decline, and it should be enough to win the weekend.

2) Dumb and Dumber To- 30M Weekend, 30M Total

This weekend could be closer than I’m thinking, but 30M for a Jim Carrey movie is pretty amazing, and hasn’t happened since 2004’s Lemony Snicket. If he was still a massive bankable star, I would guess this film would go higher. Tracking is pretty solid, and the film does carry an accessible PG-13 rating. The competition is just really high, as both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar remain must-see’s with strong word of mouth.

3) Interstellar- 28M Weekend, 96M Total

Interstellar has held up really well mid week. It even passed Big Hero 6 on Monday and Wednesday. Even though not everyone loved Interstellar, I think there’s enough buzz to keep this from falling apart.

4) Beyond The Lights- 8M Weekend, 8M Total

A well reviewed drama targeted at a black audience. I think the film has been undermarketed, but Addicted did a lot better than I thought it would, so I’ll give Beyond The Lights some benefit of the doubt that its marketing reached the target demo. It’s tough to be a first choice this weekend, but a lot of people saw Interstellar and Big Hero 6 last weekend… and maybe those people also don’t want to see Dumb and Dumber To.

5) Saving Christmas- 5M Weekend, 5M Total

Christian films are almost impossible to predict, because so many of them go unnoticed and flop. But when one breaks out, they break out big. Kirk Cameron is the biggest “Christian” actor, and he’s been marketing this film like crazy (as well as offending some people in the process). My gut is that he’s done what he needed to do to ensure this is another Fireproof.

6) Birdman- 4.5M Weekend, 13.5M Total

Birdman is doubling its screen count this week, and with strong word of mouth, it should find some audience this weekend.

7) Gone Girl- 4M Weekend, 151M Total

8) Fury- 4M Weekend, 74M Total

9) St Vincent- 3.5M Weekend, 31.5M Total

10) Rosewater- 3M Weekend, 3M Total

Jon Stewart’s Rosewater opens in a little more than 300 screens, and should be buzzy enough to crack the top 10. Reviews have been strong, and Stewart has had his own show to market the show to his loyal audience. I think both Stewart fans, as well as those who notice reviews and Oscar buzz, will check out this film and help it crack the Top 10. Alternatively, it could be Ouija in this slot, but I’m pulling for Rosewater.

USA Renews ‘Graceland’, TNT Cancels ‘Bash’

USA has renewed their hit drama Graceland for a third season to run next summer. Graceland made fans squirm recently, and prompted a lot of “will it come back?” questions after killing off one of the lead characters at the end of the second season.

Meanwhile, TNT has opted not to move forward with a fifth season of Franklin and Bash. The Mark Paul Gosslear/Breckin Meyer dramedy finished its season under a million viewers, so this really is not a huge shock (even if it may disappoint what few fans it seemed to have left).

‘Evil Dead’ Becomes A Series At Starz

Well, Starz has figured out a way to tap into The Walking Dead craze. The Evil Dead is being developed into a series, with Bruce Campbell returning to reprise his role as Ash. Apparently, deadites are trying to take over the world, and it’s up to Ash to stop it. The bigger question, I suppose, is will the film take the serious approach that the first Evil Dead had, or will it be more campy comedy like Army Of Darkness? Hopefully an equal mixture of both.

Snowpiercer

Starring: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Alison Pill.
Directed By: Joon-ho Bong

I definitely missed out on Snowpiercer when it was making its round in the theatres. Luckily, it’s already on Netflix. So, I win anyway. I completely understand the hype now, and why the critics loved it. It’s a fun, inventive, original, stylish, pointed film.

The plot revolves around a post-apocalyptic winterscape that has left the remainder of humanity trapped inside a train (called an ark). Sadly, this train still has a class system, from upper to lower class. Chris Evans plays a guy trapped in the lower class compartment who dreams of a better life for him and his co-patriots.

Director Joon-ho Bong should be seen as a huge rising star in Hollywood. If Rian Johnson and Gareth Edwards can direct Brick and Monsters and get huge franchise opportunities, Bong should get the same offers. He can stop directing Korean cinema now. He should be invited to the big leagues to play.

Chris Evans is also really good. He carries the film well. The coolest thing about the film though is how it looks. Just the way it was shot, from how the train looks, to the costumes, to the visual effects. I’d imagine this film didn’t cost a lot, so he did a lot with very little.

If you have Netflix, watch it. It’s just damn good cinema, and one of the best films of the year.

FINAL GRADE: A

Lifetime Burns ‘Witches Of East End’

Lifetime has cancelled The Witches Of East End after two seasons. I’m disappointed in this cancellation, as I thought it was a strong series, one that I thought was doing OK for their network. Lifetime has a problem creating long running series, with the exception of Army Wives. Drop Dead Diva was cancelled, revived, and cancelled again, but still didn’t make it to even five seasons. I suppose Devious Maids has potential to run a while, but after Witches cancellation, I’d be a little worried myself.

NBC Essentially Cancels ‘Bad Judge’ and ‘A To Z’

NBC has said they will not be ordering the back nine for either Bad Judge or A To Z. Both shows have been struggling in their Thursday night timeslot with Judge doing a bit better than A To Z. FOX essentially did the same thing with Mulaney by cutting the episode order back. NBC has committed to airing the remainder of the episodes (at least for now). A To Z has been drawing incredibly low numbers, and by the time State Of Affairs is ready to premiere and The Blacklist switches timeslots, they’ll want a better lead in for those shows than something pulling a 0.7 in the demo.

Box Office Predictions: Kidman and Gyllenhaal Struggle To Make 10 Mil

Opening on Halloween weekend is quite a struggle. The last time Halloween was on a weekend was when Saw 3D opened to 22M in 2010. That year, it was on Sunday. The year before, it was on a Saturday, and This Is It was the #1 movie with 23.2M. Everyone else avoided the weekend with wide releases. Paranormal Activity repeated with 16.3M in Week 6. But the last time Halloween was on a Friday? The number one movie was a holdover, High School Musical 3, with only 15.3M. Zack and Miri Make A Porno could only grab 10M, and The Haunting Of Molly Hartley died in 5th with 5.4M.

So this weekend, we have Nightcrawler (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) and Before I Go To Sleep (starring Nicole Kidman), opening against the 10th Anniversary Re-Release of Saw.

1) Nightcrawler- 10M Weekend, 10M Total

In what will definitely be a very slow weekend, Jake Gyllenhaal will benefit from the fact that most people don’t go to the movies on Halloween, and then after Halloween, what’s the point of seeing Ouija? Good reviews will bring some interest to this project, but for my money, it’s been under advertised, and Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t a big draw on his own. But, he might land a #1 opening this weekend because it’s so incredibly slow.

2) Ouija- 8M Weekend, 33M Total

Ouija hasn’t even been holding up mid-week. It’s been losing to Fury, which it handily defeated over the weekend, as well as John Wick. I’m betting on a large drop (60%) for Ouija.

3) Fury- 7.5M Weekend, 59M Total

Brad Pitt’s war epic should see a small decline, likely pulling ahead of John Wick (and possibly even Ouija if it does worse).

4) John Wick- 7M Weekend, 27M Total

The cinemascore¬† wasn’t good enough to suggest this won’t drop 50%, especially when Nightcrawler is targeting the same general demographic.

5) Gone Girl- 7M Weekend, 135M Total

Gone Girl should still hold well. Word of mouth is very strong, and it’s the buzziest film in the marketplace right now.

6) Book Of Life- 6.5M Weekend, 38M Total

With no new kids films in the marketplace, this shouldn’t get hit too hard.

6) Before I Go To Sleep- 6M Weekend, 6M Total

Nicole Kidman’s latest is under marketed, and could easily be forgotten about. Plus, it’s releasing in under 2,000 screens, which is making it even harder to be a breakout. The last time that Nicole Kidman starred in a major wide release was 2008’s Australia. She’ll be lucky to get 6M this weekend.

7) St Vincent- 4.5M Weekend, 16M Total

Basically, the only comedy in the marketplace. With a really good cinemascore, and zero competition, I think St Vincent will hold up pretty well this weekend.

8) Alexander- 4M Weekend, 51M Total

9) Saw Re-Release- 3M Weekend, 3M Total

The Saw re-release is getting a nice push. For 3M to happen, it only needs a (rather sad) 1,621 per screen average, which is equivalent to what The Judge and The Equalizer pulled in last weekend. It’s possible.

10) The Judge- 2.5M Weekend, 39M Total

Speaking of The Judge, it should pull ahead of The Best Of Me and Dracula Untold and round out the Top 10.

 

Too Cool For Comic-Con

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