Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Tops WEEKEND TOP TEN BOX OFFICE 1/27/13

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IT’S A FAIRY TALE ENDING FOR HANSEL & GRETEL, BUT NOT FOR JLO

1. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Wknd/$ 19.0 Total/$ 19.0
2. Mama/Universal Wknd/$ 12.9 Total/$ 48.6
3. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein Wknd/$ 10.0 Total/$ 69.5
4. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony Wknd/$ 9.8 Total/$ 69.9
5. Parker/ Wknd/$ 7.0 Total/$ 7.0
6. A Haunted House/ Wknd/$ 8.3 Total/$ 30.0
7. Django Unchained/Weinstein Wknd/$ 5.0 Total/$ 146.3
8. Gangster Squad/Warners Wknd/$ 4.2 Total/$ 39.6
9. Broken City/Fox Wknd/$ 4.0 Total/$ 15.3
10. Les Miserables/Universal Wknd/$ 3.9 Total/$ 137.2

SHOULDN’T SNOW WHITE HAVE MADE A CAMEO?
Wait. Are you kidding me? Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters opened at number one? I saw it as a goof, but clearly I wasn’t the only one down for some dumb fun this weekend. Ironically this film was postponed numerous times and clearly dumped in January because they expected it to completely tank (January and August are where studios release films they expect to tank but have to release for contractual reasons). It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but not awful either and the saving grace of this movie is that it knows it’s ridiculous. From the opening credits where Hansel & Gretel are built by the newspapers at the time into media heroes to the very first shot afterwards where pictures of missing kids are attached to…milk bottles. Get it? If anything it should have embraced this just a little bit more and taken it fully over the top. Of course then you’d need a director with a better sense of comic timing and a wittier script, both of which are in short supply here because the director was the writer. Let me put it this way: that milk carton joke? That’s as smart and as it gets (a truly imaginative director/writer would have filled the climax where literally dozens of evil witches appear with homages to classic witches of the movies). The rest is filled with rather generic action and gore; entertaining for that moment but instantly forgettable. In fact the only thing I really do remember is that Gemma Areterton takes a beating in her action scenes like I’ve on seen male action heroes take, so…progress? But of course she still has a male-friendly costume (tight leather pants, corset and a serious push-up bra) and for that little lack of progress I am appreciative. She was pushed as the “new hot thing” only a year or two back when she was in every other film (Quantum of Silence, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans) but since most of them were disappoints Hollywood moved on, but this unexpected big opening may have put her back into the game.

YEAH, I READ A REAL BOOK ONCE
Mama is down to number two and also in this is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, best known from Game of Thrones but I know him from an underrated show called New Amsterdam about a NYPD detective (named Amsterdam of course, but it works since the actor is Danish…or is he Dutch?) who is cursed by immortality until he falls in love. No, it was not based on the book, Forever, by Pete Hamill about a man who is given immortality so long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan, though I can see how you and Pete Hamill’s lawyers might think that. On New Amsterdam it was given by a Native American; in Forever it was given by Africans slaves begging the question, if they had this much power why weren’t using it for other things like stopping genocide or fleeing themselves from bondage. Yeah, when you see the words “immortal cop” you can’t go around asking yourself deeper questions. Just go with it. Nikolaj was also in one of my late night cable guilty pleasures: Wimbledon. Seriously. I’ll watch it whenever it’s on.

JNo
Silver Linings Playbook holds at number three, followed by Zero Dark Thirty down to number four and Parker opening poorly at number five. This is based on a character from a series of books one of which was the basis of the movie Payback with Mel Gibson (though in that movie they changed it to Porter). Sadly, the Mel Gibson movie was better. When you pay to see a revenge movie with Jason Statham you expect an unholy barrage of retribution via bodycount and broken limbs, not the occasional action scene between a lukewarm, charmless Ocean’s Eleven type heist flick filled with aesthetically challenged actors. And Jennifer Lopez was doing better genre pictures back in the days of Money Train. At least then she was a butt-kicker in her own right. Here, she’s just “the girl” all the way down to a gratuitous scene where she has to strip down to her underwear. It’s great she can still look great doing it at 43, but sad that’s all she’s contributing in a movie at 43. And whose bright idea was to put them together in a movie and not hook them up? What exactly do they think people are paying for!?!

MOVIE 43, LAUGHS 0
Django Unchained is down to number six, followed by Movie 43 opening up at number seven and this is seemingly the comedic equivalent of those horrible all-star holiday movies with one difference: people actually go to see those. I mean, Haunted House opened better. I’ve got nothing against crude and tasteless humor, but there’s just one add requirement: it has to be funny and the name Farrelly on this pretty much guaranteed that this would be only be crude and tasteless and I have given them their last chance. Granted, he’s only one of many producers and writer and directors (this was filmed over a period of five years), but his name is a gigantic warning sign. Not helping matters: Brett Ratner. Now you know not only will it not be funny but it will make other things you thought were funny before now unfunny. Every time Brett Ratner makes a supposed comedy a real joke somewhere dies.

ANYBODY CAN READ SHAKESPEARE
Gangster Squad is down to number eight and also in this is Anthony Mackie and I’m pretty sure the actual “Hat Squad” of the LAPD in the 50’s was hardly a fan of affirmative action so this is purely “get butts in the seats with multi-ethnic casting”. Like Gemma Arterton, Mackie was also touted as “the next big thing” a few years back, only to be in a bunch of duds and again, Hollywood moved on, but next year he’ll have his second shot at the brass ring as he’s playing The Falcon in new Captain America movie. In the comics, The Falcon became Captain America’s best friend and partner when he awoke from suspended animation. This has been your moment of geek knowledge for today. Now you can embarrass yourself in any bar in America and make people wonder if you’ve even had your first kiss yet.

SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
Broken City is down to number nine and Kyle Chandler is in this too? Honestly, this movie is one “Big 90’s” bit of casting. Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mark Walberg, Barry Pepper, Michael Beach and Jeffery Wright are all people who started off hot in the 90’s. Granted clearly casting is being done along a certain age requirement but all I’m feeling is a since of nostalgia, like I can hear Nirvana and Blackstreet in the background as I read over that list. Then again, the director is Allan Hughes of The Hughes Brothers who also blew up in the 90’s with Menace II Society, so maybe he’s casting along to people he always wanted to work with.

THE END
Finally, Les Miserables closes out the top ten and with a $313 worldwide box office from a $61M budget this is clearly a hit and honestly one both Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe needed judging by their other two films on this list (Jackman is in Movie 43).





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