Monday, November 6, 2017

Bringing Down the Hammer

"‘Thor: Ragnarok’ tops box office with $121 million" by Jake Coyle Associated Press  November 05, 2017

‘‘Thor: Ragnarok’’ thundered to one of the year’s best box-office debuts with an estimated $121 million domestically, proving again the might of the Walt Disney Co.

The robust debut for Marvel’s third ‘‘Thor’’ movie was a welcome shot in the arm for Hollywood and theater owners who have suffered through a terrible October at the box office. ‘‘Thor: Ragnarok’’ also bucked the trend of diminishing returns for sequels.

The weekend’s other new nationwide release, STX Entertainment’s ‘‘A Bad Moms Christmas,’’ opened with $17 million over the weekend and $21.6 million since opening Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday. The holiday-themed sequel, which returns stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, came in shy of the 2016 original’s $23.8 million opening.

But the big story was ‘‘Thor.’’

Disney isn’t alone in being able to roll out such blockbusters but three of the year’s five $100 million-plus releases are theirs. The studio has recently, as reported by The Wall Street Journal last week, pushed new terms to theater owners, saying it will demand a 65 percent cut of ticket sales for its upcoming ‘‘Star Wars’’ film ‘‘The Last Jedi,’’ as opposed to the more typical 60 percent.

The Los Angeles Times also said Friday that Disney barred its critic from attending ‘‘Thor: Ragnarok’’ after the paper published an investigative report about Disneyland’s business ties with the city of Anaheim. In a statement Friday, Disney said that the two-piece report showed ‘‘a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.’’

The issue of revenue splitting is an acute one for theater owners already fighting against up-and-down ticket sales and mounting competition from streaming outlets. Disney plans to launch a streaming service in 2019 that will include some film releases.

It’s often been feast or famine this year at the box office. August was historically dismal, September swung to record-breaking highs, and October badly slumped with the lowest overall gross in a decade. The year is running down 4.8 percent off last year’s record pace according to comScore.

I guess they need the $80 million taxpayer set aside.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, expects November will, thanks to ‘‘Thor,’’ Warner Bros.’ ‘‘Justice League,’’ and the Disney-Pixar release ‘‘Coco,’’ swing back up. ‘‘It’s not for the faint of heart,’’ Dergarabedian said. ‘‘The industry has its work cut out for it to make up that nearly 5 percent deficit as we hit the home stretch of what has been an incredibly volatile box-office year.’’



"Ben Affleck says the storm of sexual harassment allegations engulfing Hollywood has led him to examine his own behavior. In an interview Sunday to promote the superhero film ‘‘Justice League,’’ Affleck said he’s ‘‘looking at my own behavior and addressing that, and making sure I'm part of the solution.’’ After condemning Harvey Weinstein’s actions last month, Affleck was forced to defend his own conduct. He apologized for groping the actress Hilarie Burton on camera in 2003 when she was a host on MTV’s ‘‘Total Request Live.’’ Another video from 2004 showed Affleck pulling Montreal TV host Anne-Marie Losique onto his lap. In the interview, Affleck said two things need to happen, that ‘‘more women need to be pushed to power’’ and that sexual harassment has to also be ‘‘a men’s issue’’ where guys call out inappropriate behavior."

Here's looking at you, kid!