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Apr 29 2019

"Endgame"breaks all the records.Is counterprogramming dead?

What did you see over the weekend?Or perhaps we should ask "Were you part of the record 1.2 billion global haul ofAvengers Endgame?"Yes,we're living in the capitalist end times when one corporation (Disney) will soon control the entire world.Or 50% of showbusiness soon.With that in mind let's look at everything in wide release (that's only 13 films and just barely that withEndgameon 4661 screens) and their limited/platform counterparts...

Weekend Box Office (Actuals)
April 26th-28th
= new or expanded theater counts
1Avengers Endgame$357.1 on 4662 screens *NEW*
1Amazing Grace$519k on 245 screens (cum.$2.1)
2Captain Marvel$8.3 on 2435 screens(cum.$413.8)REVIEW,HITS 1ST QTR
2The Mustang$291k on 277 screens (cum.$4.5)
3The Curse of La Llorona$8 on 3372 screens (cum.$41.8)REVIEW
3Kalank$278k on 283 screens (cum.$2.4)
4Breakthrough$6.8 on 2913 screens (cum.$26.6)
4Hotel Mumbai$168k on 170 screens (cum.$9.2)REVIEW
5Shazam!$5.5 on 3631 screens (cum.$131.2)
5Red Joan$165k on 45 screens (cum.$222k)JUDI DENCH
6Dumbo$3.4 on 2380 screens (cum.$107.2)BEST OF TIM BURTON,PODCAST
6High Life$133k (cum.$1.4) on 146 screens (cum.$933k)REVIEW,PODCAST
7Little$3.4 on 2119 screens (cum.$35.8)
7Family$102k on 104 screens (cum.$126k)
8Pet Sematary$1.3 on 1655 screens (cum.$52.6)
8Wild Nights With Emily$91k on 65 screens (cum.$226k)
9Us$1.1 on 1255 screens (cum.$172.8)REVIEW,PODCAST,BEST SHOT
9The White Crow$78k (cum.$201k) on 5 screens *NEW*
10Penguins$1.1 on 1815 screens (cum.$5.8)
10The Chaperone$71k on 50 screens (cum.$333k)
11Missing Link$1.0 on 1588 screens (cum.$15.5)REVIEW
11Hail Satan?$48k on 18 screens (cum.$83k)REVIEW
12After$403k on 607 screens (cum.$11.6)
12Woman at War$45k on 46 screens (cum.$714k)REVIEW
12Hellboy$354k on 927 screens (cum.$21.5)
12Apollo 11$41k on 62 screens (cum.$8.5)

numbers on that chart are pulled fromboxofficemojo.


Endgamewas so enormous that it even liftedCaptain Marvelway back up to #2 in its 8th week in theaters.It was so gigantic that it grossed as muchor morein its first three days domestically assome #1 movies oftheir entire yearshave grossed in their whole runs this decade (like 2011's Harry Potter finale,2013'sHunger Games: Catching Fireor 2014'sAmerican Sniper).It was so colossal that it hogged 89% of the revenue at US movie theaters this week despite 87 other films in release.

Which leads us to wonder if counterprogramming is a dead artform now that there are so few pieces of the pie left once the franchises have eaten.Maybe audiences only want one kind of thing and Hollywood isn't to blame?

I dont know why I didn't reviewEndgameyet.Perhaps it was the tiniest subconscious form of rebellion against total global dominance?

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Reader Comments (24)

Stayed home and watched Ozu and Greenaway,whose films will certainly outlast anything in that dire top five!

April 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I'll be watching Endgame on Tuesday.I caught up on Us.I thought Get Out was better but Us had some great performances.If there is any justice Elizabeth Moss will be in contention for some best supporting actress prizes.

April 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

If "we're living in the capitalist end times when one corporation (Disney) will soon control the entire world,"why are we (TFE) even *talking* about Avengers: Endgame?I,for one,didn't—and don't plan to—but maybe that's just me.

April 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I won't be donating any more money to Marvel/Disney's coffers.Even the best of these movies (say,Doctor Strange or Thor: Ragnarok or Black Panther) disintegrate into incoherent,rambling CGI delivery systems.If you enjoy 'em,good on ya.I'm done.

April 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

SawEndgameon Sunday will never be another film like that ever.Superhero films that are to come and follow afterwards are going to have a hell of a time to try and top that.

April 29,2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Was there really anything released wide this weekend to counterprogram Endgame?Regardless,I don't think there's going to be a film that will beat the records set by Endgame for at least five or ten years,so I think counterprogramming will still be practiced for now.It just so happens that this particular film had such a wide mainstream appeal that no other stood a chance (even Star Wars doesn't reach as wide as the MCU does,and given that this was a culmination,nothing else had a prayer)...

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Hey Jonathan,I'm all about that Ozu life (Late Spring is in my all-time top 10),and I think Mirren gives one of her best performances in The Cook,the Thief and so on.But,I must say,I saw Endgame this weekend and thought it was wonderful.There's room for both and it's one of my least favorite things when a moviegoer throws up their cinema bona fides as a way to shit on the entertainment of the masses.Like I said - there's room for both.My advice to all film fans: like what you like.Don't be a snob.

I'm making T-shirts.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJake

is this the last series of this film as the name "end game"?
I don't think it's possible ...jjajajaja ...
just likefertilizers,more and more fertilizers produce / harvest ...jajajaja
but I enjoyed it

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commenterharilinn

I watched Witness,still great after nearly 35 years.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Take a stand Nat and be the 1 blog who doesn't care.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Was genuinely surprised at how many times I cried duringEndgame.I've seen maybe 15-20% of the MCU movies released since the firstIron Manand didn't think I was emotionally invested in these characters.However,the movie has a melancholic air to it that's quite affecting.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

@Jake - Thank you!I was part of that $1.2 B and I loved it.But the one-two punch with A:Endgame on Saturday night and GoT on Sunday night was A LOT.

But I softened the blow with decent British TV (caught up on S4 of The Durrells (man,I adore Keeley Hawes);Back to Life (a Fleabag-ish dark comedy about a woman just out of prison),and Home (Syrian refugee hides in car crossing the Channel from France to UK (ala Villanelle) and stays with the family)).

Hoping to see The Farewell this week at IFFBoston.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I watched Chungking Express for the first time in about 10 years,and I can't stop thinking about it.I'm not sure I "got"it the first time,but now I keep mentally "singing"California Dreaming.You can see this movie's influence on so many other filmmakers like Sofia Coppola and Barry Jenkins,who taped a piece on it for the Criterion Channel.

I also watched JT Leroy on demand.Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern (the reasons I rented the movie) were fantastic,but the film let them down.It didn't really have a sense of timing or narrative drive.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I watchedThis is Spinal Tapagain.With a revisit of sight gags,deadpan jokes,the commitment to remain consistent with the characters,the 'rockumentary' aged really well.There were new instances where I laughed almost uncontrollably the way I didn't when I first saw it.The songs were performed really well.Then and now,my favorite is Christopher Guest's Nigel.Plus it was a treat to see a young-ish Anjelica Huston and her Stonehenge sculpture.I don't know about you but each time Rob Reiner appears,I get the sense he is barely keeping it.Must be wild being part of the crew when it was filmed.

Finally caughtCan You Ever Forgive Me?which has been discussed here in TFE.I love the subtle shadings Melissa McCarthy brought to the story in her delineation of a con woman who is a touching and tragic figure whose misstep in sidestepping the law led to her eventual criminalization.McCarthy is like a steady pendulum in a clock where she reliably made nary a false move in my eyes,but it is Richard E.Grant who I think is the heart and soul and eye and bile and ....of the film.He is truly affecting all throughout especially in his last scene and was a total blast everytime he is onscreen.The small supporting players like Jane Curtin,Dolly Wells and Stephen Spinella were all uniformly excellent proving that a truly gifted thespian can breathe life to a small role and ignite it so that the smallest of gestures can be laden with lived in meanings.Maybe Nicole Holofcener's screenplay played a huge part in making the characters real and who seem like someone you met before.Or maybe it was Marielle Heller's deft hand in guiding the actors to be subtle yet be truly effective.Melissa McCarthy is a revelation (at least for me) and although hers may not be the best female lead performance of the year,this is nevertheless a high water mark for her.And more roles for Richard E.Grant (and Jane Curtin and Dolly Wells!).

Watched lots of French animated shorts.While technical craft is always a plus,I always love the way shortfilm filmmakers portray fleeting emotions and moods rather than tell stories with a story arc.Just a preference,I guess.

I will get to seeEndgameon its 4th or 6th or 7th week when I can sit comfortably in a movie house.Also ifWoman at Warmakes a rare return to a small venue,I will be there for it.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Remember when Mamma Mia!opened against The Dark Knight...

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoey M

I am easing up on my superhero boycott and will be seeing both Burton's Batman (back in theaters for Saturday only) and Endgame this weekend.My friends and the Internet talked me into it.

I watched Creed II and loved it.The actors were uniformly terrific and this new director has some skills.This is how you do a sequel,no matter how perfunctory.

The way Disney is dominating all culture now,I can't help but think of William Holden's classic line in Network: "(The Death Hour) will wipe that fucking Disney right off the air."Sigh.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I don't think counter-programming is quite just means that the counter programming will be significantly smaller when going up against gargantuan films.I also don't think counterproograming will ever be for just the weekend of big films (e.g.,Mamma Mia during the Dark Knight),but will be more something that's released and will take a while to build.

Last summer,we had Mamma Mia,Eigth Grade,Sorry to Bother You,RGB,Book Club,Won't You Be My Neighbor,Black Klansmen,and Searching all turn a profit.I think low-to medium-sized budget films with a very specific audience can do okay (e.g.,the arthouse/adult crowd,women,gay men,etc).

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I 'm a bit tired these Marvel and do not like three hour movies so in no rush to see this one

April 30,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Having skipped Infinity War (and not really feeling the lack),I rented it from Red Box to catch up,just in case I got dragged to Endgame.My expectations must have been sufficiently lowered,because I enjoyed it much more than expected.Also it didn't hurt that I got to watch it lying on a couch and pause it whenever necessary.Can't say I'm looking forward to Endgame,but now I'm not dreading it either.That's progress,I guess.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Surprisingly really liked Endgame and saw it twice.The 3 hours fly by and its greatest strength is how much time it dedicates to quiet moments of the characters hanging with each other.It makes the fanservicey action-oriented second half have more of an impact than it usually does in Marvel films.

I also saw HIGH LIFE.I wish I got it.There were some strong elements,but it never grabbed me.Big disappointment,since I was really looking forward to it.

April 30,2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

I saw Avengers: Endgame.

And people complained that "Lord of the Rings"had too many endings.This one is almost all endings.

May 1,2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I don't think you need to be a "resistance"to Endgame,especially as this blog has never shied away from the populist.It's part of your appeal.You are never stuffy and mainstream stuff hit your top 10 all the time.Go for that review/podcast!

As for the movie,I saw it mostly out of curiosity on how they would resolve the situation with Infinity War.While I have only saw the first Avengers and Black Panther in the MCU before this,I did enjoyed the experience all the same.It is basically a well written (3 hour) TV series finale.Fans would definitely enjoy this a lot more (watch for push for best picture),but I appreciate that it did what it set out to do very well.For a movie that will be part of history,it is at least not embarrassing.

May 1,2019 | Unregistered Commenterkin

Kin -- good point.I know i need to write about it it's just i felt overwhelmed with the entire world talking about it.

May 1,2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I also could care less about Endgame!These movies are basically cartoons designed to sell toys and have ruined moviegoing.

I saw Ash is Purest White from China which is kind of fantastic.The lead actress Zhao Tao is stunning and gives a really amazing performance.

I also love Barry,which is very funny and twisted with great work by Bill Hader.

May 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

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