Saturday, December 31, 2005

DVD Release Schedule - January 2006

The New Year is upon us and it's time to review upcoming releases for January. Lists are courtesy TV Shows on DVD and Amazon. Note that the lists are NOT complete, but rather contain only those releases I find interesting. Click on the links to get complete release lists.

Now, TV shows coming to DVD in December:

January 3
All In The Family - Season 5
Alien Nation - Complete Series
Hunter - Season 3

You can also pick up 3 new 50th Anniversary Gunsmoke compilations.

January 10
Andromeda - Volume 5.3
The Flash - Complete Series
Hee Haw(!) - Volume 5
Strong Medicine - Season 1
Once and Again - Season 3

You can also pick up 2 new Wild Kingdom compilations. Marlon Perkins RULES!!!

January 17
Adventures of Superman - Season 2
Doogie Howser - Season 3
Lois and Clark - Season 2
Fraggle Rock - Volume 5
Mary Tyler Moore Show - Season 3

January 24
Dallas - Season 4 (actually available December 26)

You can also pick up 2 new Saturday Night Live compilations. One each for Alec Baldwin's and David Spade's best bits.

January 31
MI-5 - Season 3
Archie Bunker's Place - Season 1
A-Team - Season 3
Diff'rent Strokes - Season 2
Hill Street Blues - Season 1
Knight Rider - Season 3
Magnum P.I. - Season 3

There are also some special TV-related releases. The X-Files gets repackaged and repriced in $40 - $50 range. Seasons 1-3 are due January 31, seasons 4-6 are due in March ( is taking preorders for all 6 seasons at $40.90 per season). Also coming out on the 31st is the first collection of Pink Panther cartoons.

On the movie front:

January 3
The Cave
Snatch - Deluxe Edition

You can also pick up 6 new Sing-Along Song videos from Disney and some thematic box sets. One Football set features Radio, Rudy and Jerry Maguire and a Mob set includes Donnie Brasco, Snatch and Bugsy. The first two Stuart Little movies are getting re-releases and each contains an extra DVD previewing Stuart Little 3 (be still my heart!).

January 10
Hustle and Flow
Red Eye

There's also a truckload of various fitness videos coming out and a Sam Peckinpah Westerns collection (includes The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Ride The High Country and The Ballad of Cable Hogue). Underworld, like Stuart Little the week before. gets a re-release and contains an extra DVD previewing Underworld 2.

January 17
Dead Poets' Society (Special Edition)
Devil and Max Devlin
Good Morning Vietnam (Special Edition)
Kicking and Screaming
The Ring Two
Two For The Money

Carlito's Way gets an Ultimate Edition re-release, coinciding with the straight-to-video release of Carlito's Way: Rise To Power. Caveat emptor, however, as instead of a stellar A-list cast like the original's Al Pacino, Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller, we get B-listers Luis Guzman (a very good character actor), Mario Van Peebles (a very good director) and Sean (P-Diddy) Combs (a very good entrepreneur). Bill Murray's early comedic success also gets the box set treatment, with a package of Ghostbusters, Stripes and Groundhog Day.

January 24
The Fog

January 31
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Deluxe Edition)
Gone With The Wind (Special Edition)
Legend of Zorro

Look for 4Billy Graham Presents straight-to-video releases. There are also a number of films getting packaged in 2-packs (far too many to list). The Muppets get a box set treatment, with a package of Kermit's Swamp Years, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets From Space.

That's it. See you in February.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Box Office Numbers

Box Office Receipts for December 23-26:

1. King Kong - $33.2 million
2. Chronicles of Narnia - $31.7 million
3. Fun With Dick and Jane - $21.5 million
4. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 - $15.3 million
5. Memoirs of a Geisha - $10.1 million
6. The Family Stone - $10.0 million
7. The Ringer - $7.7 million
8. Rumor Has It - $7.5 million
9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $6.4 million
10. Munich - $6.0 million

In a much closer race than expected, King Kong holds the top spot for a second straight weekend. However, a 34% drop in revenues over the previous weekend is a strong signal that Kong is not the next Titanic. Kong's domestic revenues (as of Wednesday) are at $135 million and it's going to be a close call to make its $207 million production budget.

The far more impressive story is the legs Narnia has. It's $31.7 million weekend is only 0.5% off its previous weekend, indicating that it's getting repeat viewers and/or outstanding word of mouth. It's also regained the box office lead on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Box office receipts as of Wednesday are just over $183 million, putting the movie into the black (production budget was $180 million). The film is currently 9th best for 2005 and should pass Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Madagascar this weekend to move into 7th.

6 of the 7 wide releases this weekend made the top 10, with Wolf Creek sitting at #11. On a per-screen basis, Munich was a clear winner, collecting $11,355 from each of its 532 screens. Fun With Dick and Jane also did quite well, averaging $7,045 per screen on 3,056 screens. Memoirs of a Geisha was well-received by the masses, earning $6,075 per screen on 1,547 screens, expanding from 52. Sitting in 14th, Brokeback Mountain continues toi draw a lot of interest, averaging $13,599 per screen on 217 screens.

Another film that seems to be headed for the financial dung heap is The Producers. A pitiful $3,388 per screen led to a weekend total of $3.3 million. That's a long way off their $45 million production budget.

Until next week. Happy new year!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Short midweek note

As stated in my last post, the success or failure of King Kong depends on how it does against the huge glut of new releases hitting theatres this week. Well, the Wednesday numbers are in, and here's what we got:

1. Chronicles of Narnia - 4.94 million
2. King Kong - 4.87 million
3. Fun With Dick and Jane - 3.76 million
4. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 - 2.55 million
5. The Family Stone - 1.53 million

Narnia has chased Kong throughout the earlier part of the week and has now passed it. If this is any indication, Narnia could be tops at the box office this weekend and Kong could get left behind. The fan review site Rotten Tomatoes grades Kong 7.7 out of 10, which is quite good, but the word of mouth just doesn't seem to be driving folks to the theatre and commit 3+ hours to the flick.

Some of you may be wondering, why am I so interested in Kong? The answer is simple. It's the most expensive movie ever made, the director has made the greatest series of fanboy films not titled Star Wars in recent memory and it's a remake of film whose central character is a name brand to almost anyone over 30 and recognizable to even the youngest film buffs. If this film tanks, the impact on Hollywood will be far reaching.

Back next week with the final numbers and a list of January DVD releases.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Box Office Review

Sorry about not getting up a report for December 9-11, but I wanted to wait for Kong receipts for Wednesday and kill two birds with one stone. Then the numbers were low and I needed to rethink, so here we are:

Box Office Receipts for December 9-11:

1. Chronicles of Narnia - $65.5 million
2. Syriana - $11.7 million
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $10.3 million
4. Walk The Line - $5.7 million
5. Yours, Mine and Ours - $5.0 million
6. Aeon Flux - $4.6 million
7. Just Friends - $3.8 million
8. Pride and Prejudice - $2.6 million
9. Chicken Little - $2.3 million
10. Rent - $2.0 million

and Box Office Receipts for December 16-18:

1. King Kong - $50.1 million
2. Chronicles of Narnia - $31.8 million
3. The Family Stone - $12.5 million
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $5.9 million
5. Syriana - $5.6 million
6. Walk The Line - $3.7 million
7. Yours, Mine and Ours - $3.5 million
8. Brokeback Mountain - $2.5 million
9. Just Friends - $2.1 million
10. Aeon Flux - $1.7 million

Both weekends were significantly up from last year, when Ocean's Twelve and Lemony Snicket opened on the two weekends. Narnia looks to be a winner, cracking $113 million in two weeks. That makes it the 16th film to break the $100 million barrier. Harry Potter broke the $250 million barrier, leaving it just $10 million behind Chamber of Secrets for second-biggest grosser in the series. Of greater interest though is the fact that the film has cracked $700 million in worldwide receipts. That is still, believe it or not, last in the series, which has grossed a staggering $3.34 BILLION (Sorceror's Stone: $976mm, Chamber of Secrets: $876mm, Azkaban: $789mm). Walk the Line has climbed to $82 million and will have to struggle to make $100 million, but it has passed 2004's Ray to become the biggest biographical release ever (like you care).

While some films excel, the detritus pile grows ever bigger. Aeon Flux is officially a loser, dropping 61.6% of box office the past weekend. Looks like it will top out domestically at $26-$28 million, about 40% of its $62 million production cost. The same holds for Rent, which was pulled from over half its screens and shed 62.5% of its receipts from the previous week. An estimated top level of $30 million is 25% short of its $40 million production cost. Legend of Zorro (60% of costs), Jarhead (85% of costs), Get Rich or Die Tryin' (75% of costs), The Weather Man (52% of costs), Elizabethtown (60% of costs) and North Country (53% of costs) are all examples of late-year studio failures. Based on their performances this year, it's going to be hard for Charlize Theron (North Country and Aeon Flux) and Nicolas Cage (God of War and The Weather Man) to justify big salaries in the immediate future.

Oscar runs have been doing pretty well. Brokeback Mountain cracked this week's top 10 despite only being in 69 theatres (a per-screen average of $36,354). Memoirs of a Geisha ($25,044 per screen on 52 screens) and The Producers ($25,765 per screen on 6 screens) are also doing well. The same cannot be said for Dame Judi Dench's Mrs. Henderson Presents ($7,081 per screen on 6 screens), Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada ($4,711 per screen on 5 screens) or Transamerica ($6,798 per screen on 3 screens).

Now, Kong. As soon as I saw the results, I realized I forgot one very important point in estimating how Kong would do at the B.O. The movie runs three hours plus and didn't really have a built-in audience like the film I was boldly (stupidly) comparing it to (Return of the King). At three hours, many theatres will only run the film once per night, halving the maximum number of viewers per night. Kong did do over $14,000 per screen on a one-viewing-per-night basis, so that's actually very good. I read somewhere this week that Kong's opening weekend was in line with Titanic and a check of the figures shows that to be true. If 1997 dollars are converted to 2005 dollars, Kong is probably about 20% below Titanic's opening weekend. The film's director, Peter Jackson (like Titanic's James Cameron), will bring in a few folks on name recognition, but it will be hugely dependent on word of mouth.

The key will be checking the second week's numbers, which will be up against eleven new releases, including tomorrow's releases of Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and the Jim Carrey vehicle Fun With Dick and Jane. Friday includes Johnny Knoxville's new "comedy" The Ringer, the Steven Spielberg thriller Munich, and expanded releases of Memoirs of a Geisha and Brokeback Mountain. The glut concludes Sunday with wide releases of the Jennifer Aniston comedy Rumor Has It, the horror flick Wolf Creek and the expanded release of The Producers. Also, Heath Ledger's new film Casanova comes out for a limited Academy Award release.

There you go. See you next week.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Box Office - December 2 - 4


1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $19.9 million
2. Aeon Flux - $12.7 million
3. Walk The Line - $9.5 million
4. Yours, Mine and Ours - $8.3 million
5. Just Friends - $5.6 million
6. Rent - $4.4 million
7. Chicken Little - $4.4 million
8. Pride and Prejudice - $4.4 million
9. Derailed - $2.3 million
10. In The Mix - $1.9 million

Quite a week. The usual post-U.S. Thanksgiving numbers, as every top 15 film's box office dropped over 38% from last weekend. Business was down a bit compared to last year and 2005, as a whole, trails 2004 by about 8%.

Aeon Flux failed to unseat Harry Potter, which is a bit of a surprise. Shockingly, Flux actually exceeded distributor Paramount's expectations of a $10 million opening. I didn't realize it, but the post-Thanksgiving weekend is normally not a weekend when studios release anything wide. Obviously, Paramount saw a window of opportunity for a film that, based on its horrible reviews, might have been buried against stiff (or any) competition.

Things heat up this week, with the wide release of Syriana, which expanded from 5 to 9 theatres this past weekend and still drew a per-screen average of $57,935. Also, The Chronicles of Narnia bows this weekend and should open in the $20 - $30 million range. There's also a bunch of narrow releases for Academy Award consideration: Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Memoirs of A Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago), Mrs Henderson Presents starring Dame Judi Dench and The World's Fastest Indian, featuring Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Until next week.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Box Office - Weekend of Nov. 25-27

Well, no major surprises here:

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $54.8 million
2. Walk The Line - $19.2 million
3. Yours, Mine and Ours - $17.5 million
4. Chicken Little - $12.6 million
5. Rent - $10.0 million
6. Just Friends - $9.2 million
7. Pride and Prejudice - $7.2 million
8. Derailed - $6.5 million
9. In The Mix - $4.4 million
10. The Ice Harvest - $3.7 million

This was the best U.S. Thanksgiving weekend since 2000 and a 3% improvement over last year. Still, that was more due to the success of films still in theaters as opposed to the week's new releases. Only Yours, Mine and Ours had what could be called a decent opening, as Rent, Just Friends, In The Mix and The Ice Harvest all underperformed. Harry Potter sailed past the $200 million mark and, as of Wednesday, had passed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for #4 on the 2005 list of highest-grossing films. It will surpass Wedding Crashers this weekend and, if the weekend haul exceeds $28 million, it could pass War of the Worlds to move into the #2 spot behind Revenge of the Sith. That will about do it though, as I don't think it will break $300 million, much less approach Sith's $380 million take. Interestingly, Goblet of Fire, despite having the biggest opening weekend of the four Potter films, may not be the highest grossing. Sorceror's Stone (the first) took in just over $317 million, Chamber of Secrets took in $262 million and Prisoner of Azkaban came just short of $250 million. I think Goblet of Fire will get to 2nd, but will not catch Sorceror's Stone, as Kong is coming and Harry will become a distant memory in two more weeks. A challenge to Potter's supremacy will come this weekend with the arrival of Aeon Flux, touted as the next Matrix.

Some pretty surprising numbers in here, too. Both Walk The Line and Chicken Little held their audiences well, each dipping less than 15% from last week. It appears that Walk The Line will surpass Ray as the top-grossing musical biography and Chicken Little could well reach $150 million before its run ends, with only Hoodwinked on the horizon to challenge it for kiddie films. It also looks like only Yours, Mine and Ours is the only release this week with a chance to break even. Pride and Prejudice looks like it has legs, though. Going wide over Thanksgiving (from 221 screens to 1,299), its $7.2 million weekend was a $5,510 average per screen, third highest in the top 10 behind Goblet and Walk The Line.

This is also the time of year where studios get films out in highly limited release to allow them to qualify for Oscar voting. This week saw George Clooney's mid-east oil thriller Syriana released to 5 screens in New York and L.A. and people came out in droves, as Syriana averaged a whopping $74,900 per screen. That's over five times Harry Potter's per screen average on 3,853 fewer screens. Also opening on two screens, Johnny Depp's new period drama The Libertine pulled in $13,400 per screen.

Opening this weekend (along with Aeon Flux)....not much other than Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman's turn as a transsexual in Transamerica, which is an Oscar opening (2 screens in N.Y. and L.A.). Only Aeon Flux opens wide this week and it better do well, cause the competition gets stiff the following weekend as Narnia bows and Kong arrives in 2 weeks.

Until next time........