New York, Sep 24 (AP/UNB) — The gothic family fantasy "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" exceeded expectations to debut with an estimated $26.9 million in ticket sales at the weekend box office, while audiences showed considerably less interest in Michael Moore's Donald Trump-themed documentary, "Fahrenheit 11/9," than his George W. Bush-era one.
"The House With a Clock in Its Walls" was easily the biggest draw on a quiet weekend at North American movie theaters, where the other three new wide releases all disappointed or downright flopped.
"Fahrenheit 11/9" opened with $3.1 million in 1,719 cinemas — a huge debut for most documentaries but a fraction of the $23.9 million opening generated in 2004 by Moore's record-breaking "Fahrenheit 9/11." That film went on to make $222.4 million worldwide, a record for documentaries.
Moore's new film, which examines the rise of Trump and other developments like the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, was the first release from former Open Road chief executive Tom Ortenberg's new distributor, Briarcliff Entertainment. It had been predicted to open with $5 million to $8 million.
But despite a surge in success for documentaries at the box office — including "RBG," ''Won't You Be My Neighbor" and "Three Identical Strangers" — "Fahrenheit 11/9" didn't catch on.
Dan Fogelman's "Life Itself" and the home invasion thriller "Assassination Nation" both barely made a blip in nationwide release. Though Fogelman's "This Is Us" is one of TV's top-rated series, his "Life Itself" bombed with $2.1 million despite a starry cast including Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac and Antonio Banderas.
The film — an unabashedly sentimental tale of destiny across generations — drew some of the most scathing reviews of the year, landing it a 13 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In an interview last week, Fogelman blamed "primarily white male critics who don't like anything that has any emotion," prompting many female critics to point out that they, too, thought "Life Itself" was, as Variety's Jessica Kiang wrote, "manipulative and contrived."
The Amazon Studios release, which opened in 2,609 theaters, was one of the worst performing wide releases of the year, as was Sam Levinson's "Assassination Nation." The Neon thriller grossed just $1 million in 1,403 theaters.
But Universal Pictures' "The House With a Clock in Its Walls," based on the classic book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, capitalized on a recent dearth of child-friendly options. The film, directed by the horror veteran Eli Roth with a budget of $40 million, stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett.
"This was on the high end of any expectations," said Jim Orr, head of distribution at Universal. Orr credited the studio's producing partners at Amblin Entertainment as well as the release date in a normally slow month. "We really saw an opportunity in late September to kick off the fall season with this PG family film, and obviously it was well-positioned."
With the fall movie season getting started, a few specialty films hit theaters, drawing packed theaters in limited release.
Bleecker Street's "Colette," starring Keira Knightley as the iconic French author, debuted with $156,000 in four theaters, good for a per-screen average of $39,000. Jacques Audiard's dark Western "The Sisters Brothers," starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly, opened with $122,000 in four theaters for a $30,500 per-screen average.
Last week's top film, "The Predator," slid fast with a 65 percent drop, earning $8.7 million in its second week. Holding stronger was Lionsgate's "A Simple Favor." Paul Feig's suburban noir, starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, dropped only 35 percent for a $10.4 million second weekend.
"Fahrenheit 11/9" may have decent weeks ahead leading up to the November midterm elections. ComScore's PostTrak survey found that 82 percent of viewers gave it four out of five stars. It landed an A CinemaScore.
"Those who did see it really enjoyed it," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "People have said: Should they have gone limited? Should they have gone wide? I think they needed to get it out there nationwide with midterms six weeks away. But it's very easy to second-guess how to release a documentary like this. It's one of the most difficult types of films to release."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The House With a Clock in Its Walls," $26.9 million ($8.7 million international).
2. "A Simple Favor," $10.4 million ($5.2 million international).
3. "The Nun," $10.3 million ($35.4 million international).
4. "The Predator," $8.7 million ($15.2 million international).
5. "Crazy Rich Asians," $6.5 million ($5.1 million international).
6. "White Boy Rick," $5 million.
7. "Peppermint," $3.7 million ($1.6 million international).
8. "Fahrenheit 11/9," $3.1 million.
9. "The Meg," $2.4 million ($3.4 million international).
10. "Searching," $2.2 million ($3.6 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
1. "The Nun," $35.4 million.
2. "Golden Job," $23.2 million.
3. "Johnny English Strikes Again," $17.2 million.
4. "The Predator," $15.2 million.
5. "L Storm," $9 million.
6. "The Great Battle," $8.9 million.
7. "The House With a Clock in Its Walls," $8.7 million.
8. "Incredibles 2," $8.3 million.
9. "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," $8 million.
10. "Ash Is the Purest White," $5.9 million.
Dhaka, Sept 23 (UNB) - Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's film Doob (No Bed of Roses) is going to represent Bangladesh in the foreign movie category of the 91st Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.
Chairman of Bangladesh Federation Film Societies Habibur Rahman Khan announced the news in a press briefing held in a city hotel.
Internationally acclaimed Indian superstar Irrfan Khan, who acted in Hollywood productions like Jurassic World and Life of Pi besides many Indian blockbusters, played the lead role in the film Doob. He also co-produced the film.
The cast also include Nusrat Imroz Tisha, star of Farooki's Third Person Singular Number that was Bangladesh's entry to the 2011 Oscars and of Television that was Bangladesh's entry to the 2014 Oscars.
Bangladeshi production house Jaaz Multimedia produced the film alongside India's Eskay Movies with Khan's IK Company on board as co-producer.
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and Nusrat Imroz Tisha were also present at the press conference.
The 91st annual Oscars will be held on February 24 in 2019.
San Sebastian, Sep 23 (AP/UNB) — Actor Danny DeVito has been honored with a lifetime achievement award at Spain's most prestigious film festival in the northern coastal city of San Sebastian.
DeVito, 73, received the award from the San Sebastian International Film Festival during Saturday's gala. The American comic film star is promoting the animated children's film "Smallfoot" at the festival.
DeVito won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in the 1970-80's TV sitcom series "Taxi." Other career highlights include leading roles in the hit 1980s comedies "Throw Momma from the Train" and "Twins" and scores of endearing supporting parts.
He also shared an Oscar nomination for best picture as a producer of "Erin Brockovich" in 2000.
He currently stars in the TV series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - The muhurat (launching ceremony) of a film based on a novel penned by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader was held at Dhaka Club on Wednesday.
The shooting of the film based on novel ‘Gangchil’ will begin from next month. Its story is based on the life of people living in coastal belt of Cox’s Bazar.
Quader, also Awami League General Secretary along with Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, State Minister for Information Tarana Halim, Bangladesh Film Directors Association president Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar, Actors Tarik Anam Khan, Ferdous Ahmed, Actress Purnima and Rituparna Sengupta from Kolkata took part in the launching ceremony.
Minister Obaidul Quader said “The politicians of the sub-continent do not write novel but I have written it. I want to project the real life story of coastal people and that’s why I spend a week with the coastal people in Cox’s Bazar after my jail release.”
The novel Gangchil has become the best seller after release in the Ekushey Boi Mela. The minister said it was beyond his imagination that a cinema would be produced based on his novel.
Hasanul Haq Inu said the movie will play an important role to portray the development of the country.
Asaduzzaman Noor said it is a great example of a politician’s creative work.
New York, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — Julie Chen announced Tuesday that she was leaving the cast of the CBS daytime show "The Talk" a week after her husband, CBS Corp. boss Leslie Moonves, was ousted from the company due to sexual misconduct allegations.
Chen hadn't appeared on the show during its season-opening week last week. She wasn't on the set Tuesday, either, making her announcement via a taped message from the set of "Big Brother," the prime-time CBS show that she also hosts.
She made no mention of the case involving Moonves. On one episode of "Big Brother" last week, she pointedly signed off as "Julie Chen Moonves," when she usually doesn't use her married name professionally.
"Right now, I need to spend more time at home with my husband and my son," she said.
She's been with the show since its inception nine years ago, along with co-hosts Sara Gilbert and Sharon Osbourne. Chen called the trio "The Three Musketeers" in her goodbye message, played at the end of Tuesday's episode.
Chen appeared to fight back tears when thanking crew members, but quickly gathered her composure.
"I know this show and the sisterhood it stands for will continue on for many, many more years to come," she said.
She appeared to endorse "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba as a successor. Inaba was filling in for Chen behind the show's desk on Tuesday. Chen was effectively the moderator of "The Talk," steering the show's conversation.
"The Talk" began strongly against "The View," the ABC show it is clearly modeled after, and even eclipsed its rival in the ratings four years ago. Since then, "The View" righted itself and has taken over first place.
It's the second traumatic television exit that Gilbert has endured this year. The actress who's in the "Roseanne" reboot also saw Roseanne Barr fired from that show for an offensive tweet.
"We love you, Julie," Gilbert said after the message aired.