With so many amazing films in theaters this month, the MoviePass Member Top 5 can be a close call. After all, the difference between this week’s #2 and #3 entries is a mere .06%. However, the #1 entry on our list comes as no surprise. We could build suspense, but why prolong it (you’ve read the title)? So, let’s look at Rogue One’s performance among members and see what else makes this week’s list.
Synopsis: In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
With a dedicated fan base that spans multiple generations, Star Wars is a beloved cultural icon. And with such a strong legacy, every time a new film is introduced in the series, there’s a mixture of excitement and dread. After all, the film could do justice to its “family name” or it could disappoint it. Luckily, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 84%, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continues to strengthen the franchise. Mark Kermode of The Guardian writes,”[Director Gareth] Edwards appears to have elevated what could have been simply a cash-in into something that feels essential, even magical. It has the distinct smell of victory.” In his 5/5 star glowing review, Christopher Machell at CineVue writes that Rogue One is “an exhilarating triumph that name-drops extremism and invokes hope in equal measure.” With all of these positive reviews, how did the film fare among MoviePass members?
During its opening weekend, Rogue One claimed 27.22% of member check-ins. Domestically, it earned $155 million, giving it the second highest December gross in box office history, behind its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Its worldwide total, not including South Korea and China is $290.5 million, on a production budget of $200 million. Rogue One clearly shows that the force is strong and we look forward to tracking the film’s performance among other sci-fi competition–Passengers–and Oscar contenders.
Synopsis: The story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts. With modern day Los Angeles as the backdrop, this musical about everyday life explores what is more important: a once-in-a-lifetime love or the spotlight.
At #2 on our list is the Golden Globe nominated, La La Land. Claiming 13.36% of this weekend’s member check-ins, the musical has climbed our list 2 spots, since its entry last week. The film has also climbed the domestic box office rankings, where it holds the #7 slot, compared to its previous #15 placement. The rise in rankings can be attributed to a significantly wider release. With an expansion to an additional 195 theaters (compared to its initial 5), the film has increased its box office gross by 356.2%, earning $4.02 million this weekend. However, it should be mentioned that in its opening weekend, with a gross of $881k, the film averaged a take of $176k per theater! And it’s not hard to see why. Director Damien Chazelle scored big with his previous feature, Whiplash, which earned J.K. Simmons the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the 2015 ceremony. And having played prestigious film festivals such as Venice, Toronto International, and AFI, the film has garnered massive critical praise and 7 Golden Globe nods. Be sure to keep your eyes glued to La La Land because you will definitely see it at the 2017 Oscars.
Synopsis: When a successful New York advertising executive (Will Smith) suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. When his notes bring unexpected personal responses, he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.
Entering the MoviePass Member Top 5 is Will Smith’s latest feature, Collateral Beauty. Earning 13.30% of member check-ins, the film was in close competition to La La Land, though not domestically so. In fact, the film earned $7 million in its opening weekend, giving it a #4 ranking at the box office. However, this number can be misleading. Though the drama earned almost $3 million more than La La Land, it opened in 3,028 theaters, compared to the latter’s 200. So, the theater average gives a better indication of the films’ success with Collateral Beauty averaging $2,312/theater and La La Land averaging $20,100, almost 9x more. The star-studded drama represents the lowest opening weekend of Will Smith’s career.
So, what went wrong? Well, overwhelmingly negative reviews seem to be the culprit. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 13%, the film has not faired well among critics. However, it does find solace among audiences with a score of 68%. In a positive review of the film, Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson writes, “It’s got good actors in it—everyone is great, really—it looks real nice, and I’m brave enough to admit that, yes, reader, I got a little teary in parts.” We weren’t discouraged by the negative reviews and those who haven’t seen it, should not be either. If you’re even remotely interested in seeing the Fresh Prince on the big screen, then give Collateral Beauty a try. After all, that’s why you’re a MoviePass member, right?
Synopsis: Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother’s heart has given out suddenly, and he’s been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren’t enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.
For any dedicated reader of our blog, you may find that we talk about this film A LOT! Like, A LOT, A LOT! However, we can’t help it. The film’s generated high praise since its Sundance premiere in January 2016. And clearly, our members are interested to see what all of the well-earned hype is about, as Manchester by the Sea has held a spot on our last three lists. When put into context, its firm grip makes sense: the film continues its theatrical expansion, adding an additional 842 theaters in its fifth weekend. Domestically, the film has risen in ranking from #7 to #6, with a weekend gross of $4.16 million. Among MoviePass members, it accounts for 6.91% of this weekend’s check-ins.
We’ve spoken in-depth about Manchester by the Sea’s critical acclaim. We’ve even written our own review of the film. And with 5 Golden Globe nominations, the drama continues to assert its strength in the awards race. So, expect us to continue our discussion of it for the next two months.
Synopsis: When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother’s (T.J. Miller) branch, he and his chief technical officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.
Claiming 6.35% of member check-ins, the star-studded comedy, Office Christmas Party rounds out this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5. Domestically, the film still asserts a solid presence at the box office, holding the #3 position (down from last week’s #2) with a weekend gross of $8.45 million. To date, it has earned $51.46 million worldwide on a $45 million budget. Despite a Rotten Tomatoes score of 43%, the comedy has found some favor among filmgoers. In fact, Jackie K. Cooper of The Huffington Post writes, “‘Office Christmas Party’ is the funniest movie I have seen since ‘Bridesmaids’ first rolled into town.” That’s a bold claim when you look at the latter’s 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Then again, comedy is relative. What works for some, may not work for others. So, get your laughs with Office Christmas Party.
IN THEATERS THIS WEEK
In the world of cinema, Christmas is not quite synonymous with gifts. In fact, the word evokes excitement, since it means that the theater will be inundated with promising film fare. Come to think of it, this is a a gift, isn’t it? So, let’s take a look at what this week has in store for us.
Synopsis: On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions. As Jim and Aurora face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction until they discover the ship is in grave danger. With the lives of 5,000 sleeping passengers at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.
Synopsis: Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th-century Spain. Callum discovers he is a descendant from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.
Synopsis: Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a bit of a scoundrel, he loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he takes one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Five contestants emerge: a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) joins courageous survivors, first responders and other investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects.
Synopsis: A chance encounter causes a woman (Emma Suárez) to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her daughter.
Synopsis: Over the holidays, Ned, an overprotective but loving dad, and his family visit his daughter at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird (James Franco). The straight-laced Ned thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter. The one-sided rivalry — and Ned’s panic level — escalate when he learns that Laird is about to pop the question.
Synopsis: Two 17th-century missionaries (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan to find their missing mentor (Liam Neeson).
Synopsis: When an ill carpenter finds himself in need of state welfare, he meets a desperate single mother who needs the same thing. Together, the duo discovers that negotiating through the red tape is a challenge.
Synopsis: A former professional baseball player (Denzel Washington) creates tension in his family when he denies his teenage son’s dream of playing college football and comes home with the baby he had through an affair.
Synopsis: Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.
Synopsis: It’s the Roaring `20s and Prohibition hasn’t stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve, and Joe Coughlin, the son of the Boston Police superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules, and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll.
Synopsis: A reluctant woman (Sandra Hüller) must spend time with her estranged father (Peter Simonischek) when he comes for a surprise visit.
Synopsis: In 1979 Santa Barbara, Calif., Dorothea Fields is a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie, at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion. Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women — Abbie, a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home and Julie, a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor — to help with Jamie’s upbringing.