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New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Choose Milk, Wall-E

Milk

Just last week, the National Board of Review named Slumdog Millionaire its Best Film of 2008. Not surprisingly, that selection isn’t an opinion shared by all.

So which films could eventually be up for the Academy Award come February 22nd? (That is - assuming a possible SAG strike doesn’t halt the ceremony altogether.) Based on the choices just revealed by the New York and Los Angeles film critics, it could be anyone’s game.

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Box Office Breakdown: Burn After Reading Smokes Past Competition

Burn After Reading

Around this same time last year, Tyler Perry was beating George Clooney in a battle at the box office. Now the Sexiest Man Alive is having his day.

This past weekend, cineplexes were kept busy with a handful of new releases. Although each film had a chance of reaching #1, - starring Clooney, Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand - emerged as the eventual winner. But the news wasn’t so bad for the other three contenders. Theatergoers clearly starving for fresh material placed all four wide release entries into the chart’s four top slots.

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Variety


Box Office Breakdown: Bangkok Dangerous Tops Dismal Weekend

Bangkok Dangerous

Eek. And I thought a $14 million weekend was bad.

Seven days ago, Tropic Thunder reached the #1 spot despite an unimpressive box office turnout. This week, accomplished that same achievement—with only $7.7 million dollars.

While number crunchers weren’t expecting stellar numbers (kids are back in school, football’s back gone), the underwhelming response to ‘s latest film was a bit surprising. Not only did the film industry have its worst weekend of 2008, Bangkok had the lowest take for any first-placed flick in five years. (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star topped with $6.6 million in 2003.)

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Variety


Box Office Breakdown: Tropic Thunder Makes It Three for Three

Disaster Movie

At any other time of the year, a $14 million take would probably get you a decent ranking in the Top Ten. This holiday weekend, that box office total was enough to put into first place. Again.

Despite a new Vin Diesel entry, the Ben Stiller comedy led the top of the pack for the third weekend in a row. (If it reaches that mark a fourth time, it will have officially reached Dark Knight territory.) Meanwhile, Babylon A.D. settled for second place with only $11.5 million in ticket sales. I’m guessing the sci fi film’s reviews - in particular, the one from the movie’s own director - might have had something to do with the disappointing turnout.

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Yahoo! Movies


Box Office Breakdown: Tropic Thunder Wins the Death Race

Jason Statham in Death Race

Although it was widely believed that (hunky) Jason Statham would emerge as this weekend’s winner, somehow managed to hold its ground. The comedy, which only raked in $16.2 million during this outing, became the third movie this year to make a repeat appearance at #1. (The other two films were those giant blockbusters called Iron Man and The Dark Knight.)

Overall, this was an unimpressive weekend for films. Theatergoers probably confused (like me) by Joan Allen’s participation only poured $12.6 million of their dollars into . Meanwhile, The House Bunny became this week’s highest-grossing chick alternative (Sorry, Sisterhood!) with its $14.5 million gross.

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Variety


Actors Donate Paychecks to Heath Ledger’s Daughter

Heath Ledger and MatildaBack in February, it was announced that Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell would all be chipping in to complete Heath Ledger’s final project. Now we’re learning the trio had more than their fellow thespian in mind when they agreed to help. They were also thinking of Ledger’s daughter, Matilda.

Heath, who died of an accidental overdose back in January, had been working on at the time of his passing. Although it was feared the magical movie would have to be scrapped, director Terry Gilliam was able to have other actors play different versions of Tim, Ledger’s character.

According to Gilliam, the generosity of the fill-ins extended beyond the film’s set. Out of concern for 2-year-old Matilda, the three fathers donated their paychecks to young girl.

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The Sun


Box Office Breakdown: Dark Knight Struck Down by Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder

Despite a somewhat disappointing opening last Wednesday ($6.5 million), actually managed to surpass the four-time box office winner. The comedy grossed $25.8 million over the past three days, nearly $10 million more than its caped competitor.

And while Ben Stiller should be happy by his movie’s accomplishment, the Dreamworks/Paramount film still left a lot to be desired. Recent comedies such as Get Smart ($38.6 million) and Step Brothers ($30.9 million) debuted to better numbers. But then those two films didn’t have a distraction like Michael Phelps to contend with.

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Variety


Box Office Breakdown: Batman Smokes Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

’ strong open last week made number crunchers wonder: Would this be the week Batman was finally taken down? Unfortunately, breaking the record for ‘Any Wednesday in August’ doesn’t necessarily mean a movie will succeed on Friday or Saturday or Sunday. And despite Pineapple‘s promising start (the movie grossed $12.1 million on its first day), the comedy found itself smoked by the Caped Crusader.

‘s recent $26 million take has now pushed the film past $441 million. When the sequel passes Star Wars’ $461 million (which should happen shortly), it will become the #2 film of all time. By staying on top for the fourth weekend in a row, Knight has also accomplished something that hasn’t been done since 2003’s Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

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Yahoo! Movies


Box Office Breakdown: The Dark Knight Fights Off the Mummy

The Mummy's Michelle Yeoh

It was a close one. A very close one. But after a tight contest, once again emerged as the box office winner this weekend.

Although it initially appeared as if was going to bring Batman down, the three-quel lost steam at the end. The film, which grossed $40.4 million over the past three days, narrowly lost out to Knight and wound up being the lowest performer in its series. (The Mummy opened at $43.4 million in 1999 while The Mummy Returns scored $68 million in 2001.)

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Variety


Box Office Breakdown: The Dark Knight Hits $300 Million

The Dark Knight

Despite the combined forces of Ferrell/Reilly and Duchovny/Anderson, Team Bale/Ledger could not be slowed down.

This past week, added a few more records to the franchise’s box office mantle:

  • The film became the fastest movie ever to surpass the $300 million mark. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest crossed that line in 16 days; Knight did it in 10.)
  • The sequel is now predicted to break $400 million in approximately 18 days. Shrek 2 took 43 days to the same in 2004.
  • IMAX theaters also continue to benefit from the blockbuster’s success. Another $4.6 million was grossed over the weekend.
  • It’s now believed the latest Batman installment could soar to $500 million - making it only the second movie to do so. Domestically, ($601 million) still reigns as the box office champ. (The original Star Wars pocketed $461 million while Shrek 2 earned $436 million.)

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Variety


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