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Entries in Mission Impossible (34)

Monday
Dec 26 2011

Box: Office - Ghostly Christmas

One of my favorite traditions when I was a kid and later a visiting adult was picking the movie to watch on Christmas day with the family.It was usually me making the final decision since I was the oneforcingkeeping the tradition alive.My favorite of these as an adult wasTitanic(1997) because even my Dad loved it and he never loves movies.This Christmas evening movie-going tradition maybe isn't as strong as it once was with American families since the weekend didn't jingle merrily with box office change.

Nevertheless,it was definitely crowded with new releases,week old releases and all of those frustratingly shy Oscar hopefuls who refuse to go wide enough for audiences to enjoy them.The weekend was won byGhostocolwhich you could categorize as a big hit were it not for that super-sized budget.Whose idea was it to give it a budget that was even higher than the domestic gross of its predecessor five years ago?

Box Office Top Fifteen (Estimates)
~ over 2000 theaters
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL$29.5(cum.$61.9)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS$20.2(cum.$79)
03 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO$12.7(cum.$21.1)
04 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED$12.6(cum.$49.5)
05 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN$9.7(cum.$17.7)
06WE BOUGHT A ZOO$9.4 christmas day only
07WAR HORSE$7.5 christmas day only [STAGE VS.SCREEN]
08 NEW YEARS EVE$4.9(cum.$34.2)
09THE DARKEST HOUR$3 christmas day only
~ under 2000 theaters
10 THE MUPPETS$2.1(cum.$75.7)
11 THE DESCENDANTS$2.1(cum.$32.3)
12 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS$2.1(cum.$43.5)
13 HUGO$2(cum.$43.6)
14 THE SITTER$1.8(cum.$22.3)
15 YOUNG ADULT$1.7(cum.$7.1)

Talking Points
Pina,Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseandTinker Tailor Soldier Spyhad the best per screen averages.I was at a Christmas party yesterday and the latter was definitely a movie people were talking about.The conversation frequently swerved to Benedict Cumberbatch (People knew him asthe other new Sherlock Holmes-- the not Robert Downey Jr Holmes) and there were at least a couple of "I didn't understand what was going on!"s uttered.But the point is that people are interested in it.They should've opened wider.

You could finally give the gift of Marilyn.But did the wide release come two weeks too late?Same goes forMy Week With Marilyn.It doubled its screen count,finally going wide this weekend for the holiday,but the widening came too late.The movie's moment,if you will,was definitely back around Thanksgiving time when competition was slightly less severe and it had that new girl sparkle in a weekend that was otherwise all about the little kiddies.Now it's competing with other adult appeal movies and it's not entirely fresh news in our fast-paced pop culture.The big expansionfiveweeks later saw dwindling revenues andit landed on the worst opening weekend chart.Did they not think Marilyn was a brand?Movies are obsessed with selling us the familiar and there's no way that MARILYN didn't have enough branding to open wider earlier.It isn't a French film without dialogue with no stars,after all.

Did you hit the theater and does your family always do this on Christmas?

Thursday
Dec 22 2011

The Year in Gay Characters

Year in Review...more to come,too.

Though you know I am unfond ofJ.Edgar,it was super easy to make a list of the best gay characters without the noisiest ones: ol' Hoover and his much abused man Clyde.For my weekly column at Towleroad,I thought I'd wrap the year with a list onthe Best LGBT movie characters of the yearso click away if you'd like a few notes onPariah,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,Potiche,and evenMission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.Okay,the latter I only imagined but I like to engage with the movies in unexpected ways.Don't let filmmakers box you in;practice freeform movie watching!

Because the holidays are all about spreading oneself thin,I'm also a guest today at AfterElton.I met AfterElton's Brian Juergens at a Madonna event -- it's true,I met the Queen herself (M,not Brian!) but more on that in February when the embargo breaks -- and he was cracking me up with his insane Oscar predictions like "Best Supporting Actor Jim Parsons as Charlotte Phelan inThe Help".Hee.

So I had to bring him back to reality,set him...uh...straight.Such a killjoy I am!An Oscar man's work is never done.

Sunday
Dec 18 2011

Box Office: Ethan,Sherlock and Alvin Return

The newishSherlock Holmesfranchise was down from its first go around and the news was even worse forThe Chipmunksin their third attack on the box office.Those high pitched rodents were off 50% so maybe we can safely bury this franchise?

I could have put a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks here.Thank me!

The big story was crowded houses in limited release for the return of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) inMission: Impossible 4.(The four is silent or pronounced "Gost Pro•toh•call".) I'm eager to see it myself,not because of that prologue toThe Dark Knight Risesthat's attached in some theaters but because...director BRAD BIRD!He hasn't let us down yet:Family Dog,The Incredibles,Iron Giant,Ratatouille!So curious to see how he handles flesh and blood actors instead of drawings and pixels.

Box Office Top Ten
01SHERLOCK HOLMES A GAME OF SHADOWSnew$40
02ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKEDnew$23.5
03MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL$13
04 NEW YEAR'S EVE new$7.4(cum.$24.8)
05 THE SITTERnew$4.4(cum.$17.7)
06 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1$4.3(cum $266.4)
07 YOUNG ADULT$3.6(cum $4)
08 HUGO$3.6(cum $39)
09 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS$3.6(cum.$38.5)
10 THE MUPPETS$3.4(cum $70.9)

Other Talking Points
Precursor Nominations Mean Nothing to Ticket Sales:The Descendants[Michael's review] didn't really get a boost from its week of precursor glories,off 23% from last week,but then neither did any of the other films.It's all white noise to general audiences...until Oscar nominations,one supposes.Meanwhile one wonders if the Weinstein Co is being too cautious.The Artist[Nathaniel's review]was off only 2% but they only added one screen.My Week With Marilyn[Nathaniel's review] is also losing heat without expansions.It's taking forever and what gives with that.Marilyn is a brand.

Jodie in Hiding:Carnageis the second Jodie Foster picture in a row to open in a tiny number of locations followingThe Beaver.While I realize she isn't the draw she once was,it seems like she'd still be enough of a draw in wide release to at least make some money on a wider opening,even if people don't end up liking the movie,instead of the torturous inching along which prevents revenue.

Indie Success:Shamecrossed the $1 million mark with 30 screens added andMargin Callcrossed the $5 million mark (on a $3.5 million budget) as it continues to lose theaters.IsMargin Calla sign that Zachary Quinto is going to be a real behind-the-scenes force?He really seems to be taking to the producer's rolewith several projects lined up.

What did you see this weekend?Was it worth your time?

Wednesday
Jun 29 2011

Yes,No,Maybe So: "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

The titles within this franchise always surprise with the punctuation.This one opts for one colon and a dash.A dash,huh?It must feel the need,the need for speed.This is the first time they've used a dash unless you prefer yourMission: Impossible 2in its funkier weirdlyabbreviated decapitalizedM:i-2format.Anyway....the point is thatTom Cruiseis back as agent Ethan Hunt inMission: Impossible - Ghost ProtocolorM:I-GP Vol.4if you'd like to complicate it.Let's accept the mission to break down the trailer with ourYes,No,Maybe Soprotocol.

Tom Cruise Does His Own Stunt Running

YESYou wouldn't know it from the trailer which focuses on reminding you of the stunttacular nature of this franchise and the familiar but arguably still special effect of Tom Cruise running-jumping-glaring (say what you will about Tom Cruise -- and we all have -- but there are few movie stars as committed/believable in action sequences)but Brad Bird directed this.BRAD BIRD.If it has the teensiest sliver ofThe Iron Giant's humanity and if the action scenes are anywhere close to as good as the ones inThe Incredibles,it's going to be straight up awesome.The big question is: can Brad Bird work directing wonders with flesh & blood actors the way he can with animators?

NO-Did we really need a fourth picture?My biggest beef with this franchise,continued here with the title card insistence thatonlyTom Cruise is starring in the picture,is that theMission: Impossibleseries would be so much better if it were more team-oriented.Ethan pulls too much focus and the team maneuvering and chemistry is the real spark it needs to generate fireworks.

Mission: Impossible - Team 4: Pegg,Renner,Cruise and Patton

MAYBE SO-On the other hand,even if they aren't given enough to do the cast is exciting: Simon Pegg,the always welcome until he gets too ubiquitous (any second now) Jeremy Renner,Josh Holloway,Michael Nykqvist,Paula Patton,Lea Seydoux,and Tom Wilkinson doing what he does best (that distinctive voice: authoritative but always suspect with hints of possible certifiable whack-a-doo pulsating underneath)

The Trailer...

Do you think Tom Cruise will have the comeback he's looking for over?
Will Brad Bird work well with actors who can talk back?
If you were an action star would you do your own stunts?
Are you a Yes,No or Maybe So?

Related Post from the Archive:
Directors of the Decade: Brad Bird "Mr Complexity"

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