Tagged: Movies

Tom Cruise and American Made LOSES at the box office!


I’m stunned, folks. The new Tom Cruise movie American Made, with its CIA and drug smuggling storylines, finished with a domestic haul of $16.85 million and lost out to the horror flick IT, which is back on top of the box office with a haul of over $17 million, projected to finish just ahead of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. 

(Update– Monday: Actually, based on today’s figures it looks like the Kingsman sequel pulled out a No. 1 finish after all.)

This ranks among Cruise’s worst opening weekends of all time. Moreover, according to that Deadline: Hollywood article I linked to, only nine percent of people under age 25 bought tickets to see Tom Cruise in this movie. 

Needless to say, some major finger-pointing is now on about this effort, and how badly it has done with Cruise in the lead role. But quite honestly, I don’t get it! This looks like a movie I would actually want to see. Moreover, it is doing very well at Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 87 percent! Yet, audiences rejected it anyway, at least in the domestic market.

I guess all the news stories that ran this summer about how influential Rotten Tomatoes is in convincing people to go to the movies were a bunch of “fake news”, then. Anyway, that’s that.

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Ain’t It Cool News in full implosion mode as we speak


Been reading The Wrap about the full-on implosion happening this week at pioneering film-geek website Ain’t It Cool News. 

It seems site founder Harry Knowles (seen above) has stepped down in disgrace over sexual assault allegations he is facing. Meanwhile, two of their top writers, Eric Vespe (“Quint”) and Steve Prokopy (“Capone”) have disgustedly quit because they want nothing whatsoever to do with this. Well, if Quint and Capone are out of there, then so am I. Done.

Honestly, this looks like another Jian Ghomeshi type of situation (the disgraced CBC host who also left over sexual harassment allegations). It also could be the end of the site as we know it. 

The best thing about it, frankly, were the witty comment sections that ran below all the movie reviews and news. But now it sounds like those are being taken down, too, because of vitriol from readers over Knowles and his conduct. 

It’s too bad Ain’t It Cool News is in total chaos, because it was a good site for a long time, but things definitely sound messed up at the top.

Enough with the politics, already. Kingsman: The Golden Circle takes the weekend!


For those looking for any relief from this weekend’s divisive, Trump-inspired, bend-on-one-knee football politics, look no further than the movie box office news where Kingsman: The Golden Circle toppled IT with a domestic haul of $39 million

On the flip side, it was a disappointing haul for Lego: Ninjago, the latest effort of that franchise, at a little over $21 million.

In other movie news, you might be surprised to hear this but the top-grossing superhero movie of the year worldwide happens to be Spider-Man: Homecoming. I know that is a surprise to some people given all the hype about Wonder Woman, but the international markets outside North America really came through for the Marvel flick bigtime, and its overall haul is now past the $874 million mark. 

In other interesting reading, here are the ten biggest flops of the year. 
That is all.

It was the “mother!” of all box-office debacles this weekend at the movies!

This weekend, IT took the top domestic box office again with a haul of $60 million, but the story really was the debacle for Darren Aronofsky’s effort “mother!“, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. It bombed completely at the box office with a low $7.5 million haul thanks in no small measure to some epic-bad word of mouth. 

Audiences were turned off so completely by the storyline — an arthouse-y horror-psychological thriller with heavy religious overtones and lots of violence, apparently — that this movie sunk to a CinemaScore of “F”. You cannot get much lower than that, folks, in measuring audience reaction. 

What is odd is this is completely at odds with critics’ reactions. According to Rotten Tomatoes, this movie is at 69 percent! That’s 69 percent of film critics claiming they liked this movie and recommend you go and see it. Yet the audience’s reaction is more like a zero percent! 

I could not put a finger on why the audience reaction was so extreme. And quite honestly, I don’t want to head to the cinema to find out, because this sure doesn’t look like my kind of movie anyway.

IT hauls in a record September $123 million opening weekend!


I don’t know about you, but there is only so much storm disaster news I can take. So, instead, here is the box office news: the scary, creepy-clown IT movie opened to a September/October domestic record of $123 million! This is also an R-rated horror movie record!

This haul really is unheard of for this time of year, which usually ranks among the worst times for movie box office because so many people are going back to school/work or spending their weekends attending football games. This weekend gross is particularly remarkable because almost the entire state of Florida as well as much of Puerto Rico were out of commission due to Hurricane Irma evacuations and power blackouts. And yet this movie still made $123 million! What a performance this is.

That tells you something about how much people wanted to be frightened at the movies. I guess what’s happening in the world right now isn’t frightening enough.

Labor Day weekend wraps up the movies’ worst summer box office in 25 years!!


Wow, what an awful Labour Day/Labor Day weekend it was for Hollywood grosses, putting a big exclamation point (!) to this summer at the movies. 

The $13.4 million haul of The Hitman’s Bodyguard topped a dismal weekend, the worst Labor Day weekend since the late Nineties. And this entire summer season was the worst summer movie box office in 25 years

I notice this piece at right-leaning Breitbart was gleefully dancing on Hollywood’s grave, talking about how “Hollywood’s problems are permanent and deep“. I’m not so sure about that — a lot of the problems are fixable, in my view. But I do believe Hollywood is out of touch with the masses right now, generally. The political slant is turning lots of people off: at least half the US population, by my estimate. Hollywood needs to quit shoving their liberal politics down people’s throats, and ought to try and concentrate on giving people what they want! Then maybe they might get some more business in the future.

It’s also true what the article says: people really are getting to be more discerning in what they will see, simply because it’s not worth the hassles anymore to go to a cinema and then have it turn into a subpar experience. 

Anyway, as I said before, November and December ought to be better. Then again, how many Star Wars and Marvel and DC movies can you stand? Hollywood needs to come up with some fresh ideas, right now.

Good way to escape from the real world: go to a movie


Hi, folks. I have been absent from the blog for the last 24 hours or so because I decided I was sick and tired of the real world and the deluge of bad news from places like Texas, and North Korea.

I also decided I was sick and tired of life in Saskatchewan. So last night, I drove to Saskatoon and was out on a date with my hot blonde girlfriend Charlize Theron at the movies. 

All right, I confess: I wish she was my girlfriend. Charlize was actually in the movie. Atomic Blonde

I can definitely recommend it to spy movie fans. Women will like this movie because it’s feminist; guys will like it because Charlize spends 90 percent of the movie absolutely beating up on people and another 10 percent getting naked and having sex with another woman. 

I’m sorry, folks, but this is exactly what guys like to see! Sex and violence! Anyway it’s a good way to get your mind off of flooding news.

And if you are interested in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, and the rock music of the time period, that’s another reason to like it. Can you believe 1989 is 28 years ago already? And speaking of the passage of time: Princess Diana died 20 years ago Aug. 31.

My column looking at this summer’s box office (led by Wonder Woman) is now up!

Wonder Woman to win the summer box office, now over $400 million!


Here is an update on what has been happening at the box office. I guess I should update people on the latest news about Wonder Woman

News is that Wonder Woman is now on track to win the domestic box office for the summer months, overtaking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a haul now estimated at over $400 million. It also is a record haul for a movie with a female director (Patty Jenkins).

In related news, Wonder Woman cleaned up at the Teen Choice Awards yesterday, with Gal Gadot winning  for Choice Action Movie Actress.

In other box office, Annabelle: Creation won the weekend with a haul of $35 million.

And there is some news from the set of Deadpool 2. The movie starring Ryan Reynolds has been shooting in Vancouver and there was a lot of local excitement about it last week, with lots of TV news coverage about it and so on. Unfortunately, the news is all bad today because a stunt woman has been killed in an on-set motorcycle crash.

That’s all for today.

Box office: a little under $20 mil domestic for The Dark Tower

Here is the weekend box office news with word that The Dark Tower finished in first place with a relatively modest $19.5 million domestic haul, edging out two-time defending weekend champ Dunkirk. Meanwhile, Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow continues her trend of making great movies that nevertheless aren’t big box office winners at the movie theatres as Detroit, set in the ’67 riot year, finished with $7.25 million. 

Hey, it’s now August. Nobody should be surprised by these sorts of numbers.

Box office: The Emoji Movie is a pile of ____! $25.6 mil for an 8% Rotten Tomatoes movie!


We are now almost done with July and with “summer blockbuster season”, and you can tell because the lousy movies are now showing up to blight the cinemas now.

This weekend was a box office battle between Dunkirk and The Emoji Movie and it was Dunkirk that ended up first, for the second weekend running, by roughly $28.1 mil to $25.6 mil. 

It’s incredible The Emoji Movie did so well given how appalling the reviews were — so much so that entire articles are being written about why this piece of junk did as much business as it did. By all rights it should have done no better than $10 or $15 million, based on the reaction to it.

In fact, a few days ago this awful flick was running at zero percent at Rotten Tomatoes. But I guess a few idiot movie critics were desperate to get themselves quoted in ads for this movie, so they gave it positive reviews and it’s now up to eight percent

Honestly, this is the type of movie that you could tell would be awful just looking at the trailers. My guess is that the people who made it must have thought “you know what? Hollywood got away with making The Lego Movie, and it even got positive reviews, so we couldn’t do any worse with The Emoji Movie!” Uh, right.

In the meantime, I can’t believe this total pile of ____ actually did better than Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, which ran fourth with an approx. $18.5 million haul. That is sad, ladies and gentlemen. Not enough North American moviegoers have taste, clearly.

Dunkirk leads the way this weekend, topping $50 million


The summer movie season is showing signs of winding down soon as Dunkirk debuted this weekend to $50.5 million at the domestic office, good for top spot.

This Christopher Nolan effort has been getting rave reviews for the most part, however, and is being touted as even a potential Oscar contender. So I expect it will do good business for a while, especially since there isn’t going to be a ton of major competition over the coming weeks. 

But this movie has not escaped the usual politically-correct controversy: some idiotic, widely-ridiculed review ran in USA Today in which a movie critic said this movie had (a) not enough women, and (b) not enough people of color!

Aaargh! Could someone tell this critic that this was World War II, and that these were Brits who were being evacuated? As well as the French, and the Belgians, and even Canadians, among others? Anyone who has any knowledge at all of World War II knows that during that particular time there were no women in combat roles — lots of them were instead drilling rivets into fighter planes and doing other such jobs — and few people of color. At least, not in that part of the world. This wasn’t the Pacific, this was Europe, for $&@! sakes, man! World War II!

My advice to these uptight Americans is: if you are bent on seeing women or minorities in a war movie, watch something about the Vietnam War or some other conflict more to your liking, because clearly Dunkirk is not for you. Honestly, folks, what a joke. What a farce.

In other box office news, Girls Trip hauled in $30.4 million while director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and supermodel Cara Delevingne, crashed to $17 million. 

That’s all.

Movies: Apes reign supreme, Martin Landau dies, and Charlize Theron sexes it up in Atomic Blonde

I have a lot of movie news I want to get to today: 

First, it was a big weekend for cinematic chimpanzees as War for the Planet of the Apes won the domestic weekend box office at $56 million, beating Spider-Man: Homecoming which fell all the way to $45 million. I guess “franchise fatigue” didn’t show up last week for this latest re-booted Spider-Man movie, but it sure did this weekend with a 61 percent drop. Also, while it was a decent showing for the Apes, it was still lower than the $72 mil opening for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

In another astute observation that any chimpanzee can figure out, CNBC reports superheroes are single-handedly saving the box office. (Note: it appears Wonder Woman may win the entire summer box office race now.)

Personally, I don’t think I am all that enthusiastic about the Apes. What I like are the spy movies, and I’m definitely interested in this Atomic Blonde movie starring Charlize Theron, who is being billed in the trailers as the “female James Bond”. (I thought Blake Lively was supposed to be the next “female James Bond“; whatever.)

This Atomic Blonde movie is going to be hot stuff, apparently. Charlize has a big sex scene in the movie in which she makes out with another woman, and Charlize was quoted as saying “I just loved it.

Well, well, well. Atomic Blonde rolls out July 28th.

In other actress news, I read this piece in TMZ about the movie Quentin Tarantino wants to do about the Manson murders, in which the sister of Sharon Tate said she prefers to see Margot Robbie cast in that role instead of Jennifer Lawrence, saying Lawrence isn’t “pretty” enough. 

Well, that statement got the usual uptight people upset, yet again, but the cold hard truth is she’s right! The hard reality is that anyone playing Sharon Tate is going to have a tough act to follow in any event because, let’s face it, the real live Sharon was absolutely, incredibly gorgeous. She really was/is a timeless beauty — and taken way too soon.

Anyway, I think Margot Robbie is about as good as you’re going to get to play Sharon Tate, because she is gorgeous. That’s my vote, and too bad Jennifer Lawrence.

Finally, I don’t know about you but I was quite despondent to hear the news that Martin Landau had died this weekend.

Of course, he had appeared on Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999, but he also saw his career revive years later when he appeared in movies like Ed Wood, playing the legendary Bela Lugosi. That’s probably my favorite Landau role of them all. Later, he was in Entourage playing producer Bob Ryan.

That’s all for the moment.

Spider-Man: Homecoming. Domestic box office: $117 million bucks!


Here are the reports from Deadline: Hollywood about the winning weekend for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the latest “reboot” of the Spider-Man movie series, which opened to a massive $117 million domestic for Sony plus another $140 million internationally

Obviously, “franchise fatigue” is certainly not impacting Marvel in any way, shape or form this summer, based on these latest numbers.

My movie column, about how tired everyone is of all the sequels this summer, is now up!

My “Cairns on Cinema” column about Cars 3 is up!

Franchise fatigue hits Transformers: The Last Knight. Opens at $69 million.


The summer movie box office has not been kind to a lot of familiar franchises and sequels. The two big hits of this summer so far have been Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (now at $380 million domestic) and Wonder Woman ($318 million). Most of the others have ranged from mildly underperforming, to big flops in terms of gross. 

Just now, I read a report in Variety that said Transformers: The Last Knight opened in first place this weekend with a haul of $69 million. Normally, any studio ought to be pleased with a haul like that, but this is the worst domestic opening for this franchise in years, maybe even ever if this number holds up, after opening hauls around $100 million for previous efforts. 

The Variety article was blaming franchise fatigue, yet again, which doesn’t surprise me. Surely, people have got to be tired of this god-awful series by now. Others are blaming poor word of mouth due to bad Rotten Tomatoes scores, which would be the first time in human history that a bad Rotten Tomatoes score made any negative impact at all on ticket sales for any Transformers movie. 

Oh, well, it sounds like the international box office will save this particular effort and give the folks at Paramount enough reason to serve up Transformers 6. 

Cars 3 races to $53.5 million on Father’s Day weekend!


Box office news: Cars 3 has halted Wonder Woman’s two-week reign atop the domestic box office. Lightning McQueen and the rest of the race cars finished with $53.5 million to the DC superheroine’s $40.8 million.

You’d think Disney would be pleased. Unfortunately, this is the worst opening ever for a Cars movie. The first Cars opened to a little over $60 million and then the sequel Cars 2 got $66 million! Maybe people are finally believing the many critics of this series, who have continually showed little enthusiasm for this Pixar line of animated movies compared to others from the studio. Then again, maybe people are simply bored with sequels in general. Or maybe people are bored with all things NASCAR. I dunno what the deal is. 

Anyway, it could’ve been better. That’s all for the moment.

Wonder Woman saves the summer box office to the tune of over $100 million!

Franchise fatigue to blame for latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” crummy numbers


The box office results are coming in for this Memorial Day weekend and it looks as if Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales came in lower than anticipated. Their weekend haul is $62.2 million domestic with a four-day haul of $75 million. 

While the international numbers are quite a bit better, Deadline Hollywood points to this as evidence of franchise fatigue. Also, the new Baywatch movie has completely gone under water coming in at $22 million over four days and $26 mil for five days. 

I notice they are blaming the bad Rotten Tomatoes scores for the lousy numbers for these two movies. Maybe Hollywood should blame “word of mouth” instead, because honestly, that’s what it is. No one particularly wanted these movies made. While I thought there would be an appetite for another Pirates movie, that is clearly not the case. And not even the fans of the TV series wanted this Baywatch piece of junk.

The thing is, every year, people say they want to see something original at the movies. The fans want originality! And yet every summer, Hollywood turns around and churns out the “same old crap”.

Opening later this coming week: Wonder Woman. Maybe this will do better, but I notice right now that some theatres don’t want male paying customers at screenings of this movie. 

That’s it for now; now back to my annual Memorial Day weekend auto racing TV binge-watching.

It’s official: the new Baywatch movie is garbage

I didn’t expect this new Baywatch movie (opening Thursday) to get good reviews, as most film critics are uptight snobs about this sort of fare and the TV series it is based on was absolute cheese. Yet, even by the usual low Baywatch standards the reviews are really awful. It’s running at 20 percent at Rotten Tomatoes! (Update: they’ve dropped to 18 percent as of Friday!)

Word on the street is this is an unfunny, gross-out type of movie that not even Dwayne Johnson can save. I guess no one ought to be surprised.

And this is not the only new movie getting pelted. The film critics are already blasting away at the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, due to open Friday, which is running currently at 31 percent

Oh, well, maybe this is a good week for moviegoers to stay home and save their money.

Box office — Alien: Covenant beats out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


The weekend box office totals are in for what turned out to be the tightest, closest race of the summer blockbuster season so far. According to the numbers, Alien: Covenant has beaten out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a haul of $36 million, a difference of about $700,000.

But this could hardly be called a fabulous showing for the Alien franchise, and my guess is that my prediction that this,would be in the top 10 for the whole summer is already up in smoke. I’m thinking now that Dunkirk gets there instead. Anyway, the analysis and post-mortems for this flick are now on.

A big week of releases is ahead as Baywatch opens Wednesday followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on Friday.

First big flop of the summer season is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword


Every year, it is usually around week two or so of the Summer Blockbuster Season that the first big bomb shows up at the domestic box office. This time, and right on schedule, it is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which only made — what, $14.7 million? And the budget was reported to be $175 million? 

This, my friends, is horrendous. It’s hard to think of any other upcoming release that could possibly be this big a flop for the rest of this summer.

Of course, the director was Guy Ritchie, who I still haven’t forgiven for what he did to The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was another big fat flop under his watch. But by all accounts U.N.C.L.E. was still a better effort than this, running at only 27 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. 

As for this weekend’s domestic No. 1, it was once again Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, coming in at a cool $63 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicks off blockbuster season with a $145 mil domestic weekend haul!

My “Cairns on Cinema” 10th Anniversary column is now up!

The Fate of the Furious cleans up: $100 mil domestic! $532.5 mil worldwide!


I have nothing better to do today so I might as well put up the weekend box office results for The Fate of the Furious. 

It opened Friday and as predicted by everyone it is cleaning up with a $100 million domestic weekend and $532.5 million worldwide, including all-time record weekends in 17 markets. (Update: it was China that powered this movie to the record worldwide opening of all time.)

Why did this movie clean up? Easy: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and cars — lots of them. This is the eighth Fast and the Furious movie and this franchise may never end, even without Paul Walker (spoiler alert!). That’s it for today.

TV, I mean movie news: CHIPS is a box office dud! Plus, Baywatch trailer is out. 


If you want to do something different from watching TV, guess what: going to the movies is not going to help! Movie theatres are certainly the “home of the TV retreads” these days. All the shows that used to be on your TV set can now be seen on the big screen in the cinema. Aren’t you excited by this prospect? No?!

Fortunately, fans have sent Hollywood a message and have spurned the awful-looking CHIPS, the retread movie version of the old NBC television show about the California Highway Patrol that had starred Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. Neither Dax Shepard nor Michael Pena could save this latest critically-panned turkey, which earned a lousy $2.6 million on Friday night. Its projected weekend haul is an awful $7.3 million! (If you are wondering, it was Beauty and the Beast that cleaned up again this weekend, with Power Rangers second. Power Rangers — that’s another ex-TV show revival.)

I wonder if this abysmal box office showing by CHIPS could be a bad sign for Baywatch, another upcoming revival of yet another remarkably cheesy TV series. Maybe Dwayne Johnson’s involvement will save it. Or maybe guys will want to check out gorgeous Kelly Rohrbach and Priyanka Chopra. Anyway, they released their trailer this week and since I have nothing better to do today, I thought I would share it here.

Beauty and the Beast scores March box office record opening of $174.8 million!

Long-awaited box office news: from all accounts it was going to be a “monster” opening, and that was exactly the case. Disney’s highly-anticipated Beauty and the Beast raked in $174.8 million this weekend, easily winning the weekend and eclipsing the previous $166 million March record set by Batman V. Superman. It’s also the top pre-summer (meaning: May) box office of all time.

Beauty and the Beast is also doing so well overseas that it looks like its entire worldwide haul could ultimately top a billion dollars.

You can do a lot with a billion dollars, folks.

Kong: Skull Island wins weekend battle with $61 million haul!

The story from this weekend at the box office is the battle between Kong: Skull Island and its competition Logan. That latter movie is the last one in the Wolverine role for Hugh Jackman, and also the reigning box office champ from last week. Despite some predictions of a close race, it was King Kong who decisively prevailed with a domestic haul of $61 million, compared to $37.9 million for Logan. Internationally in 65 territories, the haul for the big gorilla topped $81 million. 

I’m happy to hear this news because, to be honest, I have a soft spot for monster movies — the bigger the monster, the better. Plus, I have fond memories of our family’s trip to Universal Studios in 1988, in which our tour carriage was attacked by none other than King Kong. (Sadly, this attraction fell victim to the massive 2008 fire on the lot.) 

But I’m also partial to green lizards. So I wonder, which of these cinematic monsters do I like better? King Kong, or Godzilla? No doubt about it, there ought to be a movie to settle the question. 

King Kong vs. Godzilla. I’d see it.

Links to columns on the Oscars, fast food joints, etc.


I don’t feel like writing much here today. Instead, here are links to some columns of mine that ran this week:

First, my News Watch column on fast food joints, which recounted a notorious trip to a Carl’s Jr. in Los Angeles years ago that went so badly that it was comical. 

(Pictured above: a typical Carl’s Jr. ad.)

Second, my cinema column The Last Word on the Oscars, recounting an Oscar telecast that went about as well as our trip to Carl’s Jr. did. The end of the show was such a train wreck that it was comical.

Finally, my legislature column John Cairns’ Leg Watch, in which I focus on the first day of the legislature’s return earlier this week. Not quite as comical.

Maybe tomorrow I will get around to talking about the WikiLeaks’ CIA leak and other major news of the week, but not right now.

Sad news for film buffs: TCM host Robert Osborne is dead at 84

What are you most excited about today? Daytona 500, or the Oscars?


As usual, the great American tradition of Oscar Night is colliding the same day as another great American event: NASCAR. Boogity Boogity Boogity

It seems like this happens every year, except this time the Oscars are up against the Great American Race, the Daytona 500! I guess the good news is this year they won’t be going head-to-head: the 500 is in the afternoon while the Academy Awards goes later in the evening. The only way there will be a conflict is if there is a rain delay or a lot of crashes and car-pileups. Right now, though, there is rain in the forecast — in LA.

Here’s something that just occurred to me: does anyone think the Daytona 500 might have influenced the slogan of Donald Trump’s campaign for President?

The Great American Race?” “Make America Great Again?” (Another thing to think about: Trump’s second home is in Florida.)

Of course, these two events are going to have completely different sets of audiences. The Daytona crowd is about God, country, and country music: rabid Republican, rapidly populist, and therefore, rabid Trump. 

The Oscar crowd, though, is totally socially and culturally liberal and international in its outlook. And it couldn’t be less populistic, because it’s rich celebrities and industry people there. They’re also probably pro-Globalization there, too, because Hollywood does its business all over the world. In short, they’re Democrats

This piece in Fox News sums up the cultural divide for these two events. To me it really is a stark elitist-vs.-populist divide, and has been for years. And it kind of makes no sense, either, because lots of NASCAR fans love going to movies, too. But this isn’t about the movies; it’s about the Oscars. There is this general knee-jerk reaction to this awards show in particular, because most of these nominees are just too darned pretentious for the general population.

Anyway, I must be one of the few people interested in both these things. I will admit this: of these events today, I am far more excited about NASCAR being back. I gotta admit it, it’s more my scene than the Oscars with all their fashions and political speeches. Seriously, can’t we give the politics a rest, for a change? You can be darned sure there won’t be political speeches at Daytona, these folks will be too busy racing.

Also, at least with the Daytona 500 it’s guaranteed to be exciting and entertaining — something the Oscars usually are not. Oh, well, maybe with Jimmy Kimmel hosting it will be a livelier show. 

Update: Actually, based on the Twitter reaction from Saskatchewan, most people from around here were interested in the freaking Scotties Tournament of Hearts curling! To heck with that!!

The Great Wall hits the wall at the President’s Day weekend domestic box office

 

This weekend is utterly boring here, so I will liven up this blog with news of how lousy The Great Wall did at the domestic box office.

The four-day President’s Day weekend haul for this latest Matt Damon-headlined effort is a projected $21 million, way behind estimates for The LEGO Batman Movie ($43 mil), and Fifty Shades Darker ($24 mil). Honestly, I’m not shocked; people have been telling me for a while that this movie looks depressing. But it’s not doing poorly everywhere; I understand it is getting much better business in, surprise surprise, China.

Instead of going to The Great Wall, I might take the opportunity to fire up the old DVD player to watch Rounders, plus maybe a few gift-card movies I purchased from the big HMV closing fire sale going on. It’s either that, or watching the “NFL replacement programming” we’ve all come to expect on sports TV (ie. the NBA All-Star Game). Life in February is dull! That is all.

The LEGO Batman Movie beats up Fifty Shades Darker at the weekend box office

It was quite a race this weekend at the domestic box office, and it was The LEGO Batman Movie that prevailed, beating the overhyped Fifty Shades Darker by a final score of $55.6 million to $46.6 million. The action movie John Wick: Chapter 2 starring Keanu Reeves finished third with $30 million.

And quite honestly, I’m surprised Fifty Shades Darker did as well as it did given all the horrific reviews out there for it. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was nine per cent

I guess the female segment of the audience didn’t care about the film critics. The ladies wanted their erotic S&M entertainment violence, no matter what. It sure as heck wasn’t the male segment of the audience who were lining up to see this Christian Grey character. I said it the last time and I will say it again: guys are not responsible for making this lousy Fifty Shades series a hit. We stayed away, in droves!

In fact, I’m sure many more guys were at The LEGO Batman Movie which, based on the trailer, actually looks like lots of fun — certainly much better than the last LEGO movie. And there were definitely more guys at the John Wick sequel; definitely our kind of entertainment. 

I guess guys will never understand females’ tastes in entertainment. Anyway, I’d better shut up now before I get in any more trouble.

My review of The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, is now up!


I haven’t done this in a while, but I gave in to my inner “Siskel & Ebert” and wrote this review of The Founder, the biopic of Ray Kroc starring Michael Keaton, which I saw earlier this week. 

After the movie ended, I went for dinner at — no, not McDonald’s, but Fuddruckers. Better burgers. 

The headline on the website sort of made it look like I didn’t like the movie, but actually I’d give it about three out of four stars — it just could have been a bit more “meaty”, if you will, when it came to telling us Kroc’s story. Anyway, it was still interesting. If you’re interested in fast food and McDonald’s, and in Fifties and Sixties nostalgia in general, it won’t be a waste of your time.  

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story now officially the No.1 domestic release of 2016

I had predicted this would happen in my box office year-in-review column, and after this past weekend it is now official. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the top box office movie release of 2016, passing Finding Dory for over $500 million domestic gross.  

Worldwide, it is closing in on a $1 billion gross.

But it wasn’t the winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. box office weekend. That honor, according to Box Office Mojo, goes to Hidden Figures.

Golden Globes are on as we speak! 

Just wanted to let you know that my New Year’s resolution is to have less depressing hard news at this blog. That said, the Golden Globes are on tonight down in LA and updates on what is happening is here. And here.

Just now Ryan Gosling won for musical or comedy actor for La La Land, which is having a good night so far.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens to $155 mil.! Second best Dec. opening ever!

We all need some cheering up this week, so here is the happy box office news for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Its opening weekend was $155 million for the second best December opening weekend of all time, behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. It’s also the 12th best opening weekend of all time and third-best opening weekend for 2016.

It was also a terrible weekend for the usually box-office-winning Will Smith, whose depressing Collateral Beauty was his worst opening ever, at $7 million. 

Will Smith is definitely in a box office funk. He needs to get himself cast into a Star Wars movie, pronto.

Boxing and football make for a winning movie box office combination

Recently, I read an article on TSN’s BarDown website that talks about Darren Rovell’s list that he posted of the top ten-grossing sports movies of all time — in today’s dollars might I add. As it turns out, the top movies he listed are mainly football or boxing related. 

At the top: Rocky and Rocky III, followed by The Blind Side. Then it is Rocky IV and Rocky II. The Waterboy, The Longest Yard, Talladega Nights, Creed, and Remember the Titans round out the list. So, basically, it’s all Rocky or football movies, and one NASCAR movie. 

We shouldn’t be surprised these are up there. The Rocky franchise starring Sylvester Stallone is one that transcends sports, and football seems to be the one sport that translates the best to the big screen in terms of drama and action. Of course, there have been numerous iconic auto racing movies made. But I guess the surprise for me is that of all the racing movies, the one that landed in the Top 10 was Talladega Nights, the comedy with Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby. Not that it’s a terrible movie, but I’m surprised.

Now, here is my big rant about that BarDown article I just linked to. You can tell it was a Canadian article, because they made a huge deal out of the fact that there was no hockey movies in the top 10. And I’m going, good grief, man, can’t anyone in Canada run a story about the sports movie box office without using hockey as a point of reference?! It’s almost as if they are all offended that hockey did not make the list! As if the sport was being slighted! 

Guys, guess what: the reason no hockey movies made the list is because hardly any hockey movies get made! The only two that anyone has ever really heard of was Slap Shot and The Mighty Ducks, and that’s it!

The folks at the sports nets in Toronto need to realize the world does not revolve around their beloved hockey. Deal with it, Canada.

Frankly, though, the real surprise for me is not that there are no hockey movies on Rovell’s list — it’s the lack of any baseball and basketball movies. 

Think of the multitude of baseball movies ever made (Pride of the Yankees, The Natural, Major League, Moneyball, A League of Their Own etc.) and the number of basketball movies (Hoosiers, Space Jam, White Men Can’t Jump etc.) and it really is amazing neither sport made it into Rovell’s top 10 list. 

In fact, I’m thinking maybe this list of Rovell’s might not even be accurate, because I can’t believe some of these movies that were left off the top ten (ie Space Jam and A League of Their Own in particular) given the amount of money they made back in the day. I’m thinking maybe these are just the domestic grosses Rovell’s referring to? (If that’s the case, no wonder football movies did so well!) Anyway, I ought to look into it a bit further.

#TIFF16 kicks off with red carpet premiere of The Magnificent Seven

Last night marked the start of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. For those of you living in the rest of Canada it can be hard to imagine what kind of impact this festival has on that city over the week and a half it is on. Basically, it takes over the city, with so many fans hitting the various TIFF locations to go star-watching and autograph-hunting. The event most definitely takes over all the local TV newscasts as the stations hit the red carpet to get interviews with all the big stars, and the CTV Toronto news story above is a good example of that. 

(Hey, it’s Zuraidah Alman anchoring! Cool.) 

This is what I really miss about Toronto now that I live way out in the ‘sticks: all that excitement. That, and Major League Baseball. Oh, and in another week Toronto will also be hosting the World Cup of Hockey, but that’s another topic.

Last night, the film festival kicked off with the premiere of The Magnificent Seven, which features stars such as Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke and is directed by Antoine Fuqua. This is being billed as a “contemporary” and “progressive” Western for today’s audiences

This is also a remake of the 1960 movie, which probably is better known today for its theme music, which was used for years in commercials for Marlboro cigarettes! (Of course, you younger folks probably have never seen a cigarette commercial in your entire lives, so seeing one would be a huge shock.) Anyway, the new version hits theatres Sept. 23.

Later tonight is going to be the red carpet for Snowden, the movie about the ex-CIA employee who leaked all those NSA files. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed Snowden in the movie, which is directed by Oliver Stone. So it’s probably worth seeing simply because Stone is the director; he usually brings his “A” effort to whatever he does, even if the finished product ends up looking, well, conspiratorial (Nixon, JFK, etc.). (Wasn’t it an SNL skit that dubbed Stone the world’s first “investigative director”?)

That is about it for now; for more festival coverage I notice eTalk and ETCanada are at it again and so is Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.