Published on 20 Aug 1919
Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of film critics two questions and publishes the results on Monday. The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?“, can be found at the end of this post.
Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” came and went last weekend, and while critics were mixed on the movie, few could deny the joy of Cate Blanchett’s lead performance. Across his long and eccentric career, Linklater has always been able to inspire the best from his cast.
This week’s question: What is the best performance in a Richard Linklater movie?Jack Black “Bernie”
Joel Mayward @joelmayward Cinemayward.com
Though the “Before” films are my all-time favorite trilogy, with Delpy and Hawke giving some of the most raw and complex performances of their careers, I want to celebrate the under-appreciated wonder that is Jack Black as mortician-turned-murderer Bernie Tiede in “Bernie.” It’s the perfect role for emphasizing Black’s strengths and none of his weaknesses as he imbues Bernie with an energetic earnestness. Black shows unusual restraint here, keeping all that explosive “School of Rock” Jack Black manic energy pent up until Bernie finally commits the unthinkable, surprising even himself with his violence. And the “Seventy-Six Trombones” and “Love Lifted Me” musical moments highlight Black’s vocals and dance moves–the guy can really sing, and “Bernie” allows him to do so as an authentic part of his character’s personality. It’s all about the tiny details: the mustache, the hair, the outfits, the singing and dancing, the prayers, even his walk and posture. It’s quirky, sincere, darkly comic, and enigmatic. Thanks to Linklater, it’s Jack Black at his best.
Don Shanahan @casablancadon, Every Movie Has a Lesson, 25YL, and Medium.com
The transformation of Jack Black in “Bernie” is on another level to anyone else from other Richard Linklater movies. Black had always been multi-talented and a sly SOB, but I didn’t think he had this kind of performance in him. Watching him restrain his usual manic self and squeeze into the shell of Bernie Tiede the first real person Jack’s ever played was a revelation.  The movie is well-lathered in black comedy and Black hits every mark  to brush his own paint of mystery and doubt onto his nefarious character. The measurement Jack put into his gait, stature, tone, volume, line delivery, and timing was marvelous to see creating a true enigma.  That kind of full immersion is a high level of acting. I know 2011 was a loaded year for male performances, but Jack Black deserved an Oscar nomination. His performance and the film are under-appreciated.
Clint Worthington @clintworthing, Consequence of Sound, The Spool
Linklater brings out something really special in Jack Black. Sure, he calibrated the comedian’s peak-era star persona to maximum adorability in “School of Rock,” but it’s in his 2012 film “Bernie” that Linklater made Black really sing. As the real-life Bernie Tiede, Black feels like the perfect fit for the material: at all times, he masks Bernie’s true motivations with his beady eyes and Cheshire-cat smile. He’s at once all that is wholesome and deeply rotten about modern evangelical Christianity Bernie’s far from a gaudy televangelist, but there’s clearly a power dynamic he enjoys with the small-town folk of Carthage, Texas that he mines to terrific effect.
He’s still got the voice of an angel, but this time his golden pipes are used to unironically worship God rather than Tenacious D’s tongue-in-cheek hailing of the Dark Lord. Despite being a short, stout, supercilious man, it’s easy to see how someone as effortlessly present and transactionally helpful as Bernie could win the trust of an entire town… enough to acquit him of murder. In many senses, Bernie is a child - currying favor by making himself of use, hiding behind kindness and religion because he can’t bear to face uglier, more uncomfortable truths about himself.
Attuning Black’s innately comedic shades to a character as disarming as Bernie Tiede is perhaps Linklater’s most genius bit of casting, second only to his work with Matthew McConaughey in “Dazed and Confused” and, well, “Bernie” being one of the McConnaissance’s most foundational bricks. But here, in Linklater’s most tonally complicated and innately journalistic film, Black truly gets the chance to be not just a performer, but an actor, and it’s nothing short of miraculous.Jack Black “School of Rock”
Daniel Joyaux @thirdmanmovies, freelance contributor for Vanity Fair, The Verge, MovieMaker Magazine, Filmotomy
The best performance in a Richard Linklater film is the one performance that absolutely no other actor could have pulled off: Jack Black in “School of Rock.” It’s an apex movie star performance&mdashthe film primarily succeeds because of the pure joy elicited by watching a particular person play a character they’re uniquely qualified to play. If we’re being honest, “School of Rock” has one of the more absurd plots in movie history. But you never think about checking out on the film’s premise because Jack Black has you so firmly in his grasp. Like “Beverly Hills Cop,” or even “City Lights,” “School of Rock” feels something like a classic purely on the strength of being the perfect vehicle for a singularly gifted performer.Matthew McConaughey “Dazed and Confused”
Anne McCarthy @annemitchmcc, BBC, Teen Vogue, Ms. Magazine
Alright, alright, alright… Matthew McConaughey as slacker/stoner Wooderson a role he was born to play in “Dazed and Confused” sticks out as one of the best performances in a Linklater movie not only because it was one of the actor’s first big roles, but also for how memorable he was onscreen. The dialogue, the swagger, the everything &ndash he nailed it. An unsurprising note about the origin of this role: most of the character’s lines were improvised or written on the spot, which attributes to why the character is so much like McConaughey himself. McConaughey wasn’t even originally cast in the film, either. At a bar in Austin, he approached the film’s casting director, and the rest is history.  It was a small role comparatively speaking, but the performance made an impact, as evidenced by the roles that McConaughey went on to garner following the role, and the way Wooderson’s lines are still quoted today. “You just gotta keep livin’, man, L-I-V-I-N.”Parker Posey “Dazed and Confused”
Alonso Duralde @aduralde, TheWrap, Linoleum Knife, Who Shot Ya?, Breakfast All Day
So many to choose from, but I have to go with Parker Posey, blasting into the public consciousness in “Dazed and Confused.” When Darla barks, “Wipe that face off your head, bitch!” moviegoers everywhere immediately wondered who this creature was and where she came from. It’s a character turn worthy of a Preston Sturges movie, and it heralded the arrival of one of the most bewitching and scene-stealing performers of our generation. Hollywood still doesn’t deserve her.
Christina Radish @ChristinaRadish, Collider.com
It's so hard to pick a “best“ performance in a Richard Linklater film when there are so many to choose from, but one of my most memorable is definitely Parker Posey in “Dazed and Confused.“ The film, which follows the adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976, is a classic that helped launch and raise the career visibility of many of its cast members including Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Renée Zellweger and Milla Jovovich, and while Posey isn't in as many scenes as some of the other actors, her presence is one of the most talked about.
As foul-mouthed senior Darla, Posey is the ultimate bitchy mean girl in any era, terrorizing the incoming freshmen girls that she's subjecting to her own form of hazing. Whether she's spraying freshmen with ketchup and mustard, or demanding that they submit to her every whim, you often wonder what might have driven someone to such behavior, but still enjoy how much she revels in the nastiness of it all. Posey also delivers one of the films best lines, “What are you looking at? Wipe that face off your head, bitch.“Keanu Reeves “A Scanner Darkly”
Luke Hicks @lou_kicks, Film School Rejects/One Perfect Shot, Birth.Movies.Death.
Not that any of us are actually sick of hearing the sweet sound of his name, but Keanu Reeves reigns supreme once again, this time as a rotoscoped undercover cop with an autonomously splitting brain in Linklater’s Philip K. Dick near-future adaptation, “A Scanner Darkly.” Bob Arctor might be Reeves’ most brooding, peculiar, esoteric, and introspective performance to date, as well as the most impressive performance in a Linklater film. Drug-addled and ontologically lost, Arctor drifts through a digitized world in his identity-shifting uniform, nearly every moment an ominous requiem for an exponentially vanishing civilization. And it didn’t hurt that he had a phenomenal supporting cast in Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, and a witty, paranoid Robert Downey Jr. who preceded–but smoothly transitioned into–“Iron Man.” Arctor’s titular voiceover captures the essence of Reeves’ performance perfectly: “What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me? Into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly because I can’t any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone’s sake the scanners do better, because if the scanner sees only darkly the way I do, then I’m cursed and cursed again.”
Mike McGranaghan @AisleSeat, The Aisle Seat, Screen Rant
The thing about Linklater’s films is that the performances are always good. It’s part of what makes his body of work so special. In the interest of calling attention to a performance that deserves more praise, I’ll pick Keanu Reeves as Bob Arctor in “A Scanner Darkly.” The character is a cop on the trail of dealers making and peddling a drug that causes severe hallucinations and split personalities. He’s hooked on the stuff himself, which just adds a layer of complexity to everything. Reeves has always excelled at playing individuals who are spacey or introspective. Those qualities serve him well as Arctor. The character occasionally forgets who he is and Reeves makes that loss of identity disturbing for the audience.Patricia Arquette “Boyhood”
Ken Bakely @kbake_99, Freelance for Film Pulse
Even though it’s been a while since I’ve watched “Boyhood,” I find it hard to forget the strength and power of Patricia Arquette’s performance in that film. As Olivia, the mother of Mason Jr. Ellar Coltrane and Samantha Lorelei Linklater, Arquette is a constant presence throughout, and, though the film is largely geared towards tracking Mason’s life in the twelve years the story covers, Olivia’s journey is just as&mdashif not even more at times&mdashvital to the film in all its transfixing, wrenching, and thoughtful dynamics. Arquette is truly magnificent, portraying the character throughout the many difficulties and struggles she faces and above all, Olivia is never presented as a mere supporting character along someone else’s narrative. “Boyhood,” despite its title, is most enriching when taken as an examination of more people than just Mason, and nowhere is that more clear than when discussing Arquette’s nuanced and moving work.
Candice Frederick @ReelTalker, Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Wrap, Portfolio
Patricia Arquette as the mom in “Boyhood.” You might think that a film about boyhood wouldn’t have much to say about motherhood, but Arquette’s performance manages to prevail above any other in the film that at its core is a unique interpretation of what parenthood looks like through the eyes of a child. You see the confounding agony, poor decisions, and a deep yearning emanating through every line of Arquette’s line delivery and choices she made both her facial expressions and the tiniest of gestures. It is utterly gutting and so moving to watch.
Joey Keogh  @JoeyLDG:,News Editor for Wicked Horror, freelance for Birth.Movies.Death, Vague Visages, The List, Girls On Tops
Patricia Arquette is put through the ringer in “Boyhood” more so than anybody else. Ethan Hawke gets some difficult moments as the father character, but he flits in and out of the action. Arquette is tasked with carrying the emotional weight of the movie, whether she’s letting everybody down or, in what is easily the film’s most devastating scene, proclaiming her life is over now that her youngest child is off to college. Hers is a performance honed over 12 years of making not just the movie itself, but tackling other roles outside of it, as well as being a mother herself. Although Hawke’s performance feels lived in, Arquette’s is effortlessly realistic. The character fits her almost too well, her commitment forcing us to confront feelings about our own mothers long since buried as adults, if they were ever even consciously there in the first place.
“Boyhood” is the story of a young man’s journey to maturation, but really it’s about a woman trying to keep her family and everything else in her life together who, when she finally gets a handle on it, finds her children have moved on and don’t need her anymore. And, as a result, she no longer has a purpose. As she tearfully intones, Mason’s mom just…thought there would be more. It’s a devastating proclamation delivered with the precise amount of pathos by an actor in complete control, who has an inescapably personal connection to the material. As we watch Arquette perform it, forgetting hers is a performance at all, we realize with sadness that we all do too and we should probably call our mothers and thank them.
Joanna Langfield @Joannalangfield, The Movie Minute
I was almost astonished Patricia Arquette won all the awards for “Boyhood”. Not because she didn’t deserve them. She did.  But her performance, so delicate, powerful and revealing is also far more subtle and selfless than the usual prize grabbers. One of the many things that knocked me out about this great, experimental piece is the natural progression of all the characters as we reunite over the years. Clearly, Linklater had a thoughtful process with each actor. What he drew from the very willing Arquette is not just a remarkable feat, but it is also work that’s true, raw and as vivid as it is profound.
Aaron Neuwirth AaronsPS4, We Live Entertainment, Why So Blu, Out Now with Aaron and Abe
Part of the benefit of making a movie that only filmed periodically for over a decade is seeing the actors grow over that time. That’s not to take away from what Ethan Hawke or my pick for this question, Patricia Arquette, were able to bring to the beginning chapters of “Boyhood.” However, the evolution of their characters is only enhanced by the growing awareness of these people as performers continuing to inhabit a role year after year.
With Arquette in particular, I found a lot to relate to with a single-mother dealing with starting over, raising kids, and trying to hold everything together amid poor choices, and other stressors of life. It’s an entirely effective performance made better by Linker’s way of directing the actors quite well and knowing how to stay out of their way.
“Boyhood” may have been an ambitious film project, but it’s not a showy one in terms of direction. Instead, the actors convey what’s needed, and Arquette became an instant favorite for awards voters for a good reason. You see the support she brings to her children, the sadness and fear that comes at points where things could have been different, as well as her resolve to keep herself and her children safe.
All of that leads to a few final scenes where she gets to both receive accolades for how influential she has been, as well as breakdown when realizing she will no longer have her children under her care. It’s a lot of emotions to play, and they’re all well earned.Teresa Taylor “Slacker”
Ray Pride @RayPride Newcity, Movie City News
There is so much in the “Before” trilogy,” especially the ending of “Sunset”&mdash”Baby, you’re gonna miss that plane”&mdashbut the emblematic performance has to be Terese Taylor in “Slacker,” selling Madonna’s pap smear. That she’s also the Butthole Surfers drummer AND central to the poster and key art fulfills icon status.Q: What is the best movie currently playing in theaters? A: “Blinded by the Light”
Published on 20 Aug 1919
Bruce Springsteen is coming to the big screen like you've never experienced him before. Earlier this summer, Blinded by the Light told the fictional story of a young man inspired by the music of The Boss. Now comes the real thing as Warner Bros. announces Western Stars, which will bring Bruce Springsteen's latest album around the world as a big screen event that marks The Boss' directorial debut. Warner Bros. has delivered the first trailer and poster.
Warner Bros. Pictures will release a cinematic film version of Bruce Springsteen's latest album, Western Stars, worldwide, on the big screen. Longtime collaborator Thom Zimny directs together with Bruce Springsteen in his directorial debut. The announcement was made today by Toby Emmerich, Chairman Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
Western Stars which will make its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, is slated for release this fall. However, fans can get an exclusive first look ahead of New Line Cinema's Blinded by the Light, opening in theatres nationwide today.
Springsteen's first studio album in five years, Western Stars marks a departure for the legendary singer/songwriter while still drawing on his roots. Touching on themes of love and loss, loneliness and family and the inexorable passage of time, the documentary film evokes the American West, both the mythic and the hardscrabble, weaving archival footage and Springsteen's personal narration with song to tell the story of Western Stars
Western Stars offers fans the world over their only opportunity to see Springsteen perform all 13 songs on the album, backed up by a band and a full orchestra, under the cathedral ceiling of his historic nearly 100-year-old barn. Emmerich stated.
"Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With 'Western Stars,' Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead. As one of his many fans for over 40 years, I couldn't be happier to be a rider on this train with Bruce and Thom."
Western Stars, Springsteen's 19th studio album, has achieved global success. It has been #1 on the iTunes charts on every continent, including such countries as the U.S., the UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, India, South Africa, and all of Scandinavia, among other countries. It has also received rave reviews, with critics using words like "hauntingly brilliant," "beguiling," "gorgeous" and a "masterpiece.
Springsteen and Zimny, who together helmed Western Stars, have collaborated on several projects over the years, including the documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and the Netflix filmed version of the Tony Award-winning Springsteen on Broadway,, which Zimny directed.
Western Stars is written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, with Special Guest Patti Scialfa. Thom Zimny, Jon Landau, Barbara Carr and George Travis produced the film, with Springsteen serving as executive producer. The original score is by Springsteen. The trailer comes direct from Warner Bros.
Published on 19 Aug 1919
Universal is shaking off the damage from pulling “The Hunt” from release, but it can take comfort in the surprise showing of R-rated comedy “Good Boys.” Not only is it the first original film to reach number one since “Us” in March another Universal title, but it also shows the depth of the studio’s lower-budget slate.
“Good Boys” pushed a Universal franchise, “Hobbs & Shaw,” from the top spot, and created the rare case when a non-Disney studio held the top two spots. The week also came with four new wide releases: Two were sequels “The Angry Birds Movie 2” and Meters Down: Uncaged”, both of which failed to do more than mediocre business. “Blinded By the Light” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” both targeted older audiences and struggled to gain attention, though the former &mdash a Bruce Springsteen-inspired crowd pleaser &mdash seemed to show initial word-of-mouth appeal.
A stronger than expected Saturday, which boosted the totals of most films from initial estimates, pushed initial weekend totals to a little under $120 million. However, this weekend still reflects an estimated $10 million shortfall against last year. The year-over-year gap stands at 7.5%, or over $600 million.
“Good Boys,” like the three other biggest non-franchise domestic successes this year “Us,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Rocket Man” is R-rated. Studios dodge this rating for most top budget, mass-audience  blockbusters it’s possible that the rating helps set these films apart.
R-rated comedies featuring underage boys is a theatrical tradition that goes back to “Porky’s” in 1981. Universal’s own 1999 “American Pie” became a franchise in its own right. Here, “Good Boys” includes spying on a sexy neighbor, viewing internet porn in preparation for a kissing party, and other similar exploits the difference here is that the kids are pre-teens.
Produced for $20 million, it’s the directorial debut of “The Office” veteran writer Gene Stupnitzky. With a $21 million opening, it falls in the range of mid-level success like “Bridesmaids,” “Old School,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and, yes, “Porky’s.” Throw in the recent dearth of comedies and even though $21 million isn’t huge an opening, and it’s a low #1 even for mid-August, it remains impressive.
Last year, “Crazy Rich Asians” opened to $26.5 million and grossed $174 million domestic, a multiple of over six times. That’s tough to duplicate, but it does show that a comedy with good word of mouth with little competition can ride a wave at this time of year.
“The Upside” in January was the last comedy to place #1. And while Jordan Peele’s “Us” was original, the success of “Get Out” gave it a strong presell. For “Good Boys,” it was the rare case when an original concept seemed to push it to success.
Entertainment Studios/screenshot from YouTube
Two years ago, the British-produced shark thriller Meters Down” saw modest success on a $5 million budget, with a surprising $44 million domestic total from an $11 million opening. The sequel opened to $9 million, which is better than expected. “Uncaged” doubled the budget, but given likely decent foreign pre-sales, it should be at least a minor success.
The shark movie grossed slightly less “The Angry Birds Movie 2.” The animated sequel opened last Tuesday, with a six-day total of $16.2 million, way down from the nearly $40 million earned by the 2016 original. This one had a smaller budget $65 million this time, but it needed a much better initial result. However, foreign holds promise the earlier effort grossed $244 million overseas.
George Kraychyk / CBS Films
Second-week players saw last week’s best opener “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” fall 52% &mdash not bad for horror, and it likely felt some competition from “Good Boys.” The $25 million-budgeted film is already at $40 million.
Paramount’s more expensive “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” fell about the same, but is only at $34 million so far. Dog-centered “The Art of Dancing in the Rain” Disney, a Fox holdover dropped 45% and managed to hold on in the top 10.
Standout among all holdovers is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Quentin Tarantino’s film dropped only 35%. Even more impressive, it did so while losing 40% of its theaters, and the per-theater average slightly increased. Now at $114 million, it has a real shot at $130-140 million.
The Top  Ten
1. Good Boys Universal NEW – Cinemascore: B+ Metacritic: 60  Est. budget: $20 million
$21,000,000 in 3,204 theaters PTA: $6,554,000 Cumulative: $21,000,000
2. Hobbs & Shaw Universal Week 3 Last weekend #1
$14,140,000 -44% in 3,757 theaters -587 PTA: $3,764 Cumulative: $133,742,000
3. The Lion King Disney Week 5 Last weekend #3
$11,900,000 -41% in 3,560 theaters -660 PTA: $3,343 Cumulative: $496,108,000
4. The Angry Birds Movie 2 Sony NEW – Cinemascore: B+ Metacritic: 60  Est. budget: $65 million
$10,500,000 in 3,869 theaters PTA: $2,714 Cumulative: $16,237,000
5. Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark Lionsgate Week 2 Last weekend #2
$10,500,000 -52% in 3,135 theaters no change PTA: $3,206 Cumulative: $40,217,000
6. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged Entertainment Studios NEW – Cinemascore: C+ Metacritic: 43  Est. budget: $12 million
$9,000,000 in 2,853 theaters PTA: $3,155 Cumulative: $9,000,000
7. Dora and the Lost City of Gold Paramount Week 2 Last weekend #4
$8,500,000 -51% in 3,735 theaters no change PTA: $2,276 Cumulative: $33,910,000
8. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood Sony Week 4 Last weekend #5
$7,600,000 -35% in 2,504 theaters -1,003 PTA: $3,035 Cumulative: $114,348,000
9. Blinded By the Light Warner Bros. NEW – Cinemascore: A- Metacritic: 71  Est. budget: $15 million acquisition cost
$4,450,000 in 2,307 theaters PTA: $1,929 Cumulative: $4,450,000
10. The Art of Racing in the Rain Disney Week 2 Last weekend #6
$4,403,000 -46% in 2,765 theaters no change PTA: $1,929 Cumulative: $16,881,000
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Published on 19 Aug 1919
Elsewhere, 'Blinded by the Light' and 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' bombed, while 'Angry Birds 2' and '47 Meters Down 2' didn't have much of a bite.
In a surprise victory and much-needed boost for the comedy genre, Universal's raunchy tween pic Good Boys laughed its way to the top of the U.S. box office chart with $21 million from 3,204 theaters.
The pic, produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, marks the first time that an R-rated comedy has placed No. 1 since The Boss in spring 2016. It's also the biggest opening for an original comedy in 2019 thus far and the second-biggest of any comedy this year behind Madea's Family Funeral $27.1 million.
Heading into the weekend, Good Boys had been expected to lose to Hobbs & Shaw in North America with an opening in the $12 million-$15 million range.
The film follows a trio of 12-year-old boys who will do anything to gain admittance to a kissing party. Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon star, with Gene Stupnitsky helming in his feature directorial debut. Nearly 70 percent of the audience was between ages 18 and 34.
Universal had a great weekend overall, becoming only the second major Hollywood studio behind Disney to boast $1 billion or more in 2019 domestic ticket sales Disney's slice is more than $2.8 billion. And Universal is the only major to have an original film open in first place this year, a feat it has now accomplished twice the first was Jordan Peele's Us.
Other Universal wins at the August box office include Hobbs & Shaw. The Fast & Furious spinoff placed No. 2 in its third weekend with an estimated $14.1 million from 3,757 theaters as it topped the $400 million mark globally. Overseas, the action pic earned another $45.7 million &mdash including a franchise-best debut of $15 million in South Korea &mdash to finish Sunday with an international tally of $303 million and $436.7 million worldwide.
Disney's The Lion King continued to display enviable staying power. It came in at No. 3 in its seventh weekend in North America with $11.9 million for a domestic cume of $496.1 million. Overseas, the film earned $33.8 million for a foreign total of $939.1 million and $1.4 billion worldwide.
However, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood bested both Hobbs & Shaw and Lion King abroad as it began opening offshore in earnest. Once Upon a Time earned $53.7 million from 46 markets to score Tarantino the best start of his career in like-for-like markets, according to Sony. The movie's global total through Sunday is $180.5 million.
In the U.S., the weekend's four other new wide releases after Good Boys didn't make much noise.
Sony and Rovio Entertainment's animated family film The Angry Birds Movie 2  grossed an estimated $10.5 million from 3,869 theaters for the weekend proper, putting its six-day debut at $16.2 million. The first film in the budding franchise launched with $38.2 million in May 2016. Overseas, the sequel opened to $19.4 million from 29 markets &mdash including a subdued $10 million in China &mdash for an early global total of $46.4 million.
While Sony didn't have much to crow about regarding Angry Birds 2, it did celebrate Spider-Man: Far From Home surpassing the James Bond installment Skyfall $1.1 billion on Sunday to become Sony's top-grossing film of all time globally, not adjusted for inflation.
Entertainment Studios' indie shark pic 47 Meters Down: Uncaged debuted to an estimated $9 million from 2,853 locations. While the sequel didn't match the $11.2 million bow of the first 47 Meters Down in summer 2017, the gap was far less dramatic.
New Line's Bruce Springsteen-inspired Blinded by the Light and Annapurna's Where'd You Go, Bernadette both bombed, becoming the latest adult-skewing, wide-release summer titles to misfire. Exceptions include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Yesterday.
Blinded by the Light opened to an estimated $4.1 million from 2,307 cinemas to land at No. 10. Directed by Gurinder Chadha Bend It Like Beckham, the film is a coming-of-age tale about a British teen born to Pakistani immigrants whose life changes when he falls in love with Springsteen's music. Newcomer Viveik Kalra stars.
In an unusual move, New Line acquired Blinded by the Light out of this year's Sundance Film Festival at a price tag of $15 million or more the studio label isn't generally in the business of making festival acquisitions. Last weekend, New Line's female-fronted mob pic The Kitchen also fered.
Bernadette, starring Cate Blanchett, followed at No. 11 with an estimated $3.5 million from 2,404 locations. Filmmaker Richard Linklater's adaptation of the 2012 comic novel about an agoraphobic Seattle housewife and once-brilliant architect who goes missing marks another disappointment for Megan Ellison's Annapurna.
Both Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Blinded by the Light skewed notably older. In the case of Bernadette, only 15 percent of ticket buyers were 25 or younger, while more than half of Blinded by the Light ticket buyers were 50 or older.
In terms of CinemaScore grades, Good Boys and The Angry Birds Movie 2 earned a B+ Where'd You Go, Bernadette, a B 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, a C+ and Blinded by the Light, an A-.
Aug. 18, 10:15 a.m. Updated with additional foreign numbers.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Published on 19 Aug 1919
Two wide releases from top directors with appeal to adult audiences are speciy films, even if their distributors opted to open them in over 2000 theaters. Warner Bros. had strong reasons for wide-releasing New Line Cinema’s Bruce Springsteen-infused Sundance pickup “Blinded By the Light” this weekend, as did United Artists with Annapurna’s long-delayed Cate Blanchett vehicle “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.”
The question is how to find audiences for these films, as studios and indies alike wrestle with deeply rooted issues in today’s theatrical market. Even Sony Pictures Classics, which has pivoted to documentaries, found a weak initial arthouse audience for fast-frame-rate “Aquarela,” despite top-end reviews and theaters.
In wider release, “The Farewell” A24 continues to add to its impressive totals, as Roadside Attractions’ crowd-pleasing “The Peanut Butter Falcon” showed a strong second weekend, with non-specialized audiences a key element.Opening
Blinded By the Light Warner Bros. Metacritic: 71 Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2019 $4,450,000 in theaters PTA: $1,929
Where’d You Go, Bernadette United Artists Metacritic: 51$3,450,000 in 2,404 theaters PTA per theater average: $1,438
The comparative initial response to two top-end independent films from acclaimed and successful directors is revealing. There are significant differences, as the Saturday gross for Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded By the Light” Warner Bros. shows initial strong growth. Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” United Artists also showed an unusual second-day increase, fueled in both cases by older audiences who are far less likely to attend Thursday early shows.
Many observers question why these speciy-audience films opened so wide. This question came up earlier this summer when Annapurna’s “Booksmart” took that route and opened to $6.9 million. But the following week, “Late Night,” with bigger stars and a $15-million Amazon Sundance buy, had built even more anticipation than “Booksmart,” and went from a four-theater platform with a strong $61,000 PTA to a lesser initial wide result of $5.3 million. And SXSW-launched “Booksmart,” without a name cast, ultimately grossed more than $22 million, almost $7 million more than “Late Night.”
Neither “Late Night” nor “Booksmart” will likely turn a profit. With “Late Night” Amazon has a branded streaming title, while $6-million “Book Smart” cost less.
“Blinded” and “Bernadette” both represent significant investments for their companies. New Line bought the period British-set Springsteen-themed crowdpleaser from the director of “Bend It Like Beckham” which tallied an adjusted domestic gross close to $50 million in 2003, for around $15 million after a great Sundance response for the world, except the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. “Blinded” seemed to have potential, but as “Late Night” showed, even a great platform run doesn’t guarantee success. The film scored a respectable but not stellar 71 on Metacritic, brought down by a harshly negative New York Times review, which hurt the movie where it should have been strongest.
Universal took wide another similar movie from a top director with great success earlier this summer: Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday,” also set in England and featuring a young Anglo-Asian lead riffing on popular retro music, scored a surprise $75 million domestic.
Presumably the Beatles bring wider appeal than Springsteen. But also, when New Line spends $15 million on a mainstream movie intended to hit audiences all over the country, staggering initial dates can be risky while adding to the marketing total.
The Saturday increase is an encouraging sign of upbeat word of mouth. With the mid-August release date, room to run, and a likely 100% theater hold on week two, “Blinded” could reach $20-25 million ahead. That’s still disappointing, but the strategy will be justified if it gets there, because at this moment, slow rollouts are risky when audiences not only have access to so much content, but “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” dominates adult moviegoers.
What comes next: Next weekend will be crucial for “Blinded,” with the possibility that it holds well and then finds enough response to not only maximize the gross but also add to its post-theater value.
Initially, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” boasted better grosses than “Blinded.” But the film based on the Maria Semple bestseller fell short of the Top Ten with a weaker Saturday. Richard Linklater swings both toward studio fare “School of Rock,” “The Bad News Bears” and speciy films “Boyhood,” “Last Flag Flying”. Throw in Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as a brilliant but blocked designer stymied by parenthood, and the film could warrant a slow roll-out.
But Annapurna who hire and trust top talent delayed the release several times, and when the movie finally opened without festival support, “Bernadette” garnered tepid critical response. Not a formula for success. With its reported $18 million initial cost, going limited would have made no sense. A distributor at that point needs to get it open, take its chances, and try to realize as high a gross as possible, even if it’s disappointing.
What comes next: “Bernadette” likely will fare far less well, and unless it holds better than expected, could quickly disappear.
Sony Pictures Classics
Aquarela Sony Pictures Classics  Metacritic: 84 Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018, Venice 2018, Sundance 2019 $23,474 in 5 theaters PTA: $4,693
Despite the recent success of several documentaries often celebrity-related, some acclaimed efforts struggle to find interest. That’s the case with this strongly reviewed, visually stunning study of water and its power, which failed to connect with initial New York/Los Angeles audiences. This had the benefit of playing at some of the best available theaters in both cities, making the result more disappointing. The film comes from Participant Media, a frequent high-end non-fiction film provider. The film’s promotional materials include the line “the ultimate theatrical experience” which should set this apart from other releases, but not so far. It’s odd that SPC did not do more to make an event around the film’s fast-frame-rate presentation in New York’s Landmark at 57 West the only theater showing the film at 96 frames per second and other more numerous 48 frame-per-second formats.
What comes next: Word of mouth along with SPC’s usual ability to attain top theaters everywhere could help boost this above its weak initial reaction.
End of the Century Cinema Guild  Metacritic: 84 Festivals include: New Directors/New Films, Frameline 2019 $10,398 in 1 theater PTA: $10,398
This Argentine drama about two men who unexpectedly reconnect 20 years after their initial encounter had a strong initial response at New York’s IFC Center. The film, propelled by strong reviews, had an above average initial result for a subtitled film of late.
What comes next: This will have a slow expansion, with Los Angeles opening mid-September Landmark is showing the film in multiple theaters among upcoming dates.
Seth Johnson, Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Armory FilmsWeek Two
The Peanut Butter Falcon Roadside Attractions $294,090 in 49 theaters +32 PTA: $6,002 Cumulative: $589,915
Roadside continues to include heartland theaters early in this movie’s run. This story of a 22-year-old special needs man who pursues his dream of wrestling success continues to show interest and word of mouth appeal outside normal specialized theaters. The careful handling so far is paying off. This well-selected date allows room for the drama to grow and could yield a sleeper success.
After the Wedding Sony Pictures Classics $86,957 in 26 theaters +21 PTA: $3,345 Cumulative: $159,378
Bart Freundlich’s gender-switching remake of Susanne Bier’s earlier Danish arthouse comedy about a family reunion gone bad showed a modest second weekend expansion. Starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, the movie continues to deal with mixed reviews. The comparative gross falls well below the second weekend of “The White Crow,” SPC’s best grossing narrative release so far this year.
One Child Nation Amazon $49,569 in 19 theaters +17 PTA: $2,609 Cumulative: $79,367
Despite continued great reviews as the standout documentary opens in new cities, this expose of China’s draconian population control policy is drawing only modest response in its initial big city theaters.
A24Ongoing/expanding Grosses over $50,000
The Farewell A24 Week 6 $1,502,000 in 861 theaters +157 Cumulative: $12,838,000
Still expanding, Lulu Wang’s return-to-China dramedy continues to pull added interest. The results per theater as well as the total gross are dropping, but the trajectory for the total is now headed to over $16 million. This year, that number is terrific for any specialized/festival world title, but even more so for a primarily non-English language one.
Maiden Sony Pictures Classics Week 8 $186,319 in 154 theaters -19 Cumulative: $2,259,000
Off its peak in terms of number of theaters, this rousing documentary about women sailors circumnavigating the globe continues to find interest. It could end up at $3 million or better. It is SPC’s top grosser this year.
Luce Neon Week 3 $163,965 in 58 theaters +34 Cumulative: $530,402
With Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts giving this interracial adoption drama some added heft, Neon is expanding this drama slowly with hope that word of mouth will boost it ahead of wider dates. At the same third weekend point, it is grossing somewhat less than their recent “Wild Rose” at a similar number of theaters.
Tel Aviv on Fire Cohen Week 3 $60,566 in 30 theaters +2 Cumulative: $234,586
As usual, Israeli films this one, a comedy about a Palestinian who becomes a successful local TV writer find interest more easily than many subtitled films. Further play ahead is likely, particularly with the film holding well in ongoing theaters.
Honeyland Neon Week 4 $56,997 in 32 theaters +20 Cumulative: $211,721
The slow expansion of this highly regarded non-fiction account about different cultures among Macedonian beekeepers continues to show steady interest.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Magnolia Week 9 $est. 56,000 in 58 theaters +11 Cumulative: $est. 727,000 Though this documentary hasn’t had anything like the response that Magnolia’s “I Am Not Your Negro” a similar look at a literary-figure, the death of Toni Morrison led to some continued interest in this well-reviewed film.
David Crosby: Remember My Name Sony Pictures Classics – $45,492 in theaters Cumulative: $385,946
The Nightingale IFC – $45,409 in 39 theaters Cumulative: $184,257
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love Roadside Attractions – $40,502 in 65 theaters Cumulative: $860,500
Last Black Man in San Francisco A24 – $37,490 in 29 theaters Cumulative: $4,486,000
Jay Myself Oscilloscope – $13,550 in 2 theaters Cumulative: $71,579
Echo in the Canyon Greenwich – $29,325 in 35 theaters Cumulative: $3,250,000
The Biggest Little Farm Neon – $17,370 in 27 theaters Cumulative: $4,340,000
Wild Rose Neon – $13,893 in 17 theaters Cumulative: $1,615,000
Jay Myself Oscilloscope – $13,550 in 2 theaters Cumulative: $71,579
Sword of Trust IFC – $12,633 in 20 theaters Cumulative: $317,512
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