Tag Archives: first man

Halloween Scares Up the Second Largest October Opening Weekend of All-Time

It was the second largest October weekend ever headed up by Halloween which earned an estimated $77.5 million for its debut weekend.

The three day debut is the second largest October opening weekend of all-time, just $3 million shy set by Venom earlier in the month. It did have the largest October opening day of all-time and the second largest ever opening for an R-rated horror film.

Internationally, the film earned an estimated $14.3 million from 23 markets. It will open in another 46 markets with France next weekend followed by Australia, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Spain the following weekend. It then opens in South Korea October 31.

With just a $10 million budget, the film’s team must be happy with the results. The film received a “B+” CinemaScore and played to an audience that was 53% males and 59% were age 25 or older.

In second place, and holding on to the spot three weeks in a row, was A Star is Born. The movie earned an estimated $19.3 million to bring its domestic total to $126.4 million on a $36 million budget. Internationally, the film added an estimated $22.8 million from 75 overseas market. It still has to open in Japan which doesn’t happen until December 21.

Venom dropped from first place last weekend to third place with an estimated $18.1 million. That brings its domestic total to $171.1 million. It also added $32.3 million from 65 markets to bring that total to $290.7 million and a worldwide total of $461.8 million.

In fourth place was Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween which held steady at that spot from the previous weekend. It earned an estimated $9.7 million to bring its domestic total to $28.8 million on a $35 million budget after two weeks. The film also added $6.2 million internationally to its total to bring its worldwide earnings to $39.9 million.

Rounding out the top five was First Man which earned an estimated $2.35 million over the three days. Domestically its earned just shy of $30 million. The film added 25 new markets to bring that total to 47. Internationally it earned an estimated $13.4 million to bring that total to $25.5 million.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic film adaptations.

Venom and A Star is Born Repeat at the Top of the Box Office

The top two spots at the weekend box office were a repeat from the previous week as Venom and A Star is Born went one-two again. Two new films, First Man and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween followed at three and four.

Venom dropped just 55.5% and earned an estimated $35.7 million to bring its domestic earnings to $142.8 million. That’s impressive as everyone expected a drop of at least 60%+ based on past movie performances. It’s outperforming expectations in every way.

Internationally, the film was in first place as well adding an estimated $69.7 million from 54 markets. It has now earned $235.3 million. It next opens in Japan on November 2 and an opening in China hasn’t been determined yet. That’s a worldwide total of $378.1 million after two weeks on just a $100 million budget. The film is a success surviving poor reviews from critics.

In second was A Star is Born which added $28 million domestically, a drop of just 34.7%. It’s earned $94.2 million so far. The film also added $20.2 million from 65 markets overseas, a 14% drop from th previous week. Next weekend the film opens in Australia and then Japan after that on December 21.

In third place was First Man which debuted around expectations. The film earned $16.5 million over three days. The movie received a “B+” CinemaScore and currently has an 88% rating on RottenTomatoes. The film’s audiience was 56% male and 52% were 35 years of age or older. Internationally the film opened in 22 markets with an estimated $8.6 million for a worldwide total of $25.1 million.

With $16.2 million and fourth place was Goosebumps 2 which also met expectations. The film’s audience was split 50-50 and 72% under the age of 25. It received a “B” CinemaScore. The movie also debuted in 16 markets with an estimated $3.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was Smallfoot which dropped from third place the previous week. The film earned an estimated $9.3 million to bring its domestic total to $57.6 million. It also earned $14.5 million from 57 markets to bring its international earnings to $52.6 million.

When it comes to comic films…

Ant-Man and the Wasp came in at #26 for the weekend adding $90,00 to its domestic total to bring that to $216.5 million.

We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic film adaptations.

Movie Review: First Man

firstmanposterFirst Man is a beautiful film celebrating the best in human achievement and brings drama and stakes to a story despite us knowing the ending. It still has some flaws, but its cast shines through and delivers a nostalgia blast of epic proportions as it tries its own moonshot of earning more Oscar gold for its director Damien Chazelle and main cast Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the eponymous First Man, and Clair Foy as his wife Janet.

The other shining star of this film is it supporting cast. This includes such mainstays as Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Ethan Embry, Ciaran Hinds, Shea Wigham, Patrick Fugit and Lukas Haas. It’s a cavalcade of “Oh, hey, I know that guy!” character actors doing their normal workmanlike best. But the true gem here is Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin. He’s everything that Armstrong is not in terms of being outward emotive, and even funny, and Stoll really relishes the part, having fun with every moment that you can.

Director Damien Chazelle here has two major moves. First he relies on the cinematography of the film to really offer some breathtaking emotions and empathy for what things were like for the early astronauts. Rather than the slick space-age feel of a lot of films about the era, Chazelle shows a lot of the dirt, grime, and machinery. We have so many other classic films that depict this era. Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff is still an amazing primer and still worthy of anyone’s attention even 35 years after it came out– focusing on the Mercury missions that predated the Gemini and Apollo programs. And Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 is an appropriate denouement for this film, as it shows what happens just less than a year later and everything that could have gone wrong that did not in the Apollo 11 mission. But the approaches could not be more different. Howard makes space feel slick and cool. Kaufman is a little more down and dirty, but less personal. Chazelle, by focusing so closely (literally) on his subject in these tight, confined spaces makes many of the films most intense moments feel claustrophobic and unsafe, even though you know the outcome of the film. Chezelle uses his camera lens to capture that feeling and put us as the audience as close to it as possible. We feel uncomfortable. We feel the tension.

His second trick is to emphasize the Man in First Man. Gosling is a character study as Neil Armstrong, with a sedate, understated tone that gives off a coldness, when we the audience recognize that underneath that placid surface is a turbulent whirlpool of emotion, barely held in check. While Gosling does an amazing job doing so much with so little, it is Claire Foy who really brings us in to the emotion of this piece. At once a master class in acting on her part, and also a commentary on the sacrifices forced on women in the era, and especially of these astronaut wives, she is able to show all of the heartbreak that we the audience feel. We empathize with her as her husband throws himself into his work and mission rather than putting his family first. His emotional compartmentalization takes a toll, and it’s heartbreaking to watch.

As I said in my review of Dunkirk last year, it’s important to note that whenever a filmmaker, especially one with the cache of a Chazelle or Christopher Nolan, at this time of greater cultural awareness decides to make a film with a mainly or even exclusively white and/or male cast, something needs to be investigated about that deliberate choice. Especially when the last film about the space program in this era was Hidden Figures, it’s social malpractice to not even note this. While I won’t go as far as The New Yorker’s claim that First Man is “accidental right wing fetish object,” it is still a story about white male heroism extolling a reserved, square-jawed version of masculinity that isn’t exactly toxic but isn’t exactly woke, either. However, to his credit, Chazelle is able to work with some of this and turn Foy’s and other women’s performances into a commentary on sexism and the gender politics of not only the 1960s, but also (reflectively) today.

On the racial bits, however there’s a bit more of a failure. One of the best bits of the film is as the Apollo missions are preparing, he cuts to some protests outside of Cape Kennedy, where we see people calling for the end of NASA and the moon mission, including a black man singing a song about how he doesn’t have a job or food to eat, but they’re putting white people on the moon. He has a point, and it’s important to note that whenever we tell a story like this that is primarily about white men, there needs to be space made as to why that choice was made. I’m not sure Chazelle really passes that bar here, but he certainly did a better job at it than Christopher Nolan did with Dunkirk. (low bar)

Regardless, the best thing you can say about a film that chronicles historical events, especially ones that are so well documented and remembered in recent history, that you feel a certain tension and anxiousness as events unfold, even though you know what is going to happen. That is the true testament of this film and why it works.

But the film doesn’t really reach its greatest heights until the very end. The scenes on the moon and the way they present it celebrate the majesty and greatness of the moment. It also has some specific personal payoff for Armstrong which will likely demand many audience members bring tissues. But perhaps its best moment is when it saves a key piece of space history into the mix. It is JFK’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech:

It’s hard to listen to this without tearing up a little bit.

“There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” (note: this was the most hilarious inadvertent laugh line in our Austin screening)

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

It’s hard to hear that, to understand the risk, the sacrifice that went into our space program, and not think about so many other societal issues that face us. Almost a decade ago I blogged about this same issue and the need to take climate change as seriously as Kennedy took going to the moon. And with the publishing of the new UN report on climate change, we now know we have even less time to avoid disastrous warming.

If you can put aside the gender and racial politics of First Man and take it as a story of everything we can and should be able to accomplish if we put the right resources into it, I hope we can take that hope that might be able to save humanity.

3.75 out of 5 stars