With the year drawing to a close this very weekend, there isn’t much in the way of new releases to talk about. Only two films are opening this weekend, both of them in limited, and only one of those really worth mentioning in any amount of detail. The rest of the cards have been set. Many of them will be falling into the same slots where they were dealt last weekend save for a few shakeups here and there. The Fockers might get knocked down a peg or two. Rooster Cogburn might fill those theaters, you son of a bitch. The King’s Speech could hold onto its numbers just well enough to squeak onto the charts. All in all, it seems like good weekend for some Four Loko, a few friends, and a dropping ball that may or may not hold Snookie inside.
That’s not nearly as controversial as what’s been going on these past few months with Blue Valentine. The Weinstein Company picked it up out of Sundance 2010, and little did they know they would have an MPAA fight on their hands. The film, which contains a scene of oral sex between stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, was slapped with the dreaded NC-17 back in early October. The world of film-related journalism quickly became up in arms at such a tragic rating. Many of them, myself included, had seen the film at Sundance, and no one felt the rating was justified in any way. Even more cries of fury came out when Black Swan, which contains an equal if not more graphic depiction of oral sex between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis (buy your tickets now), slid through with an unscathed R rating.
Now, nearly three months later, Blue Valentine and the Weinsteins have been able to overturn the NC-17 rating, get the R they needed and deserved, and the film is hitting limited release this weekend. It opened in New York and L.A. on Wednesday.
Ryan Gosling could very well pull in an Oscar nomination if for nothing else the guy is the coolest person in the history of cool to play a ukulele. Check that out right here with the Blue Valentine trailer. We swear, it’s work safe:
Also opening in limited release is Mike Leigh’s newest film, Another Year. I’m not sure what the film is about other than what is gleaned from the trailer, which you can check out for yourself below. It’s about British people. It’s about old people. You can’t get much drier than that if you were walking through the desert on camel-back. But, hey, it’s from the guy who directed Topsy-Turvy and Vera Drake, so it’s probably got Oscar buzz written all over it. Another Year opened in New York and L.A. on Wednesday.
Here’s that trailer for you. Jim Broadbent is in there, but don’t expect him singing Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”:
As for the actual box office this weekend, it’s all built on familiarities. The real question is who can step up and claim that #1 spot. The likeliest of candidates is True Grit, which won’t have much of a drop-off based on the overly positive word of mouth it’s getting. The drops on New Years weekend are always less than those found throughout the rest of the year, so everything will be on a skewed scale this weekend. True Grit, as well as the rest of the awards-worthy films, and family films will fare the best.
That includes Chronicles of Narnia and Tangled for sure. It will also be in Gulliver’s Travels favor as that film expands its release by about 500 screens.
What will favor the worst is Little Fockers, a PG-13 film that is getting panned by critics pretty much across the board. Its rating will keep the families away, and the lack of acceptance from the critical world as a whole will likely push more people towards films like Black Swan and The Fighter instead.
Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:
- True Grit – $22.3m (-10%)
- Little Fockers – $18.1m (-41.1%)
- Tron Legacy – $12.5m (-34.3%)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – $8.5m (-8.9%)
- Gulliver’s Travels – $6.5m (+1%)
- The Fighter – $6m (-20%)
- Tangled – $5.9m (-7.5%)
- Black Swan – $5.2m (-15%)
- Yogi Bear – $4.9m (-36.6%)
- The King’s Speech – $3.9m (-11.2%)
That puts the total for the final weekend of 2010/first weekend of 2011 at $93.8 million, a definite downturn from New Years weekends in the past when big budget films are in the heart or right at the outset of their releases. Regardless, it’s not a serious disappointment given the level of film listed. With True Grit leading the charge, a film that is anything but a tent pole for Paramount, this weekend is looking to do just about as well as it should be expected to.
So, from all of us here at Film School Rejects to all of you out here basking in the merriment of the closing of 2010, we wish you a happy and very safe New Years.