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Gran Torino Archives -

Gran Torino Archives -

Mack Chico


2009/01/12 at 12:00am

‘Gran Torino’ pulls an upset at box office!

'Gran Torino' pulls an upset at box office!

Warner Bros. sped to the top of the domestic boxoffice this weekend, as Clint Eastwood’s urban drama “Gran Torino” registered an estimated $29 million with a turbocharged expansion into wide release.

Fox’s opening salvo with the romantic comedy “Bride Wars” captured second place with $21.5 million, while Universal’s supernatural thriller “The Unborn” delivered $21.1 million in third. The three top debutantes outpaced expectations in a weekend so robust as to blow away any concern that economic hard times might discourage moviegoing.

Sony’s urban drama “Not Easily Broken” bowed less dramatically, but with just 724 runs even its ninth-place showing of $5.6 million amounted to a solid showing.

Industrywide, the first weekend of the 2009 boxoffice year marked a 4% improvement over the same frame last year with $146 million in collective grosses, according to Nielsen EDI data.

The specialty market also was ebullient.

Paramount Vantage added 97 playdates for a total of 135 for its Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet starrer “Revolutionary Road” and grossed $1.4 million. That represented an impressive $10,666 per engagement and boosted its cume to $3.2 million.

Fox Searchlight added 42 locations for a total of 60 for its Mickey Rourke vehicle “The Wrestler” and grossed $873,900, or an auspicious $14,565 per site, for a $2.8 million cume.

The Weinstein Co.’s Winslet-toplined drama “The Reader” added 109 theaters for a total of 507 to gross $1.4 million, or a so-so $2,666 per venue, for a $5.5 million cume.

Overture added 10 playdates for a total of 16 for its romantic comedy “Last Chance Harvey,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and registered $151,058, or a solid $9,441 per engagement, as its cume reached $541,212.

And Sony Pictures Classics’ animated drama “Waltz With Bashir” added three locations for a total of eight and grossed $80,889, or a pleasing $10,111, with a cume of $363,859.

Then there was the situation with IFC Films’ Benicio Del Toro starrer “Che.”

As planned, the distributor began distributing the Ernesto “Che” Guevara biopic in two parts following three weeks of bicoastal exclusives for the entire four-hour-plus epic. But it reported grosses for the two parts jointly.

The Steven Soderbergh-helmed pics grossed a combined $37,546, or $7,509 per theater, as cume hit $293,641. IFC programmed theaters with the separate films christened “Che, Part I” and “Che, Part II,” abandoning the festival-circuit titles of “The Argentine” and “The Guerrilla.”

In another twist, “Che” will expand Friday into solo runs in nine additional markets, where theaters will program both parts together for one weekend before splitting the film into two parts in each venue. “Che” will continue to play in two parts in New York and Los Angeles.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to see the same ‘road show’ presentation that we had so much success with in New York and L.A.,” IFC distribution president Mark Boxer said.

Mack Chico


2008/11/25 at 12:00am

Clint Eastwood retires from acting!

Clint Eastwood retires from acting!

The Dirty Harry star says he has no plans to appear in films again after starring in Gran Torino, a drama about a racist veteran of the Korean War.

“That will probably do it for me as far as acting is concerned,” said the 78-year-old, who stressed he had no plans to stop directing films.

“You always want to quit while you are ahead,” he said. “You don’t want to be like a fighter who stays too long in the ring until you’re not performing at your best.”

His performance in Gran Torino, which is released in Britain in February and which he also directed, has already been tipped as worthy of an Oscar. The drama revolves around the relationship between a disgruntled war veteran and his young neighbour, an Asian American teenager who tries to steal his prized possession, a 1972 Gran Torino.

Eastwood worked as a petrol pump attendant, a bar-room piano player and a lumberjack before becoming an actor, where his 1959 western TV series Rawhide turned him into a household name and he was cast by Sergio Leone in the cowboy classic A Fistful of Dollars.

But his film direction now earns him his greatest acclaim. In the New Year he will direct The Human Factor, a drama about the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa, with Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela.

“Everybody thinks making films back to back is a big deal but they did it all the time in the old days,” he said.

However a friend of Eastwood said he would never rule out an acting comeback for the veteran star:

“If something comes along that attracts his attention or demands his involvement and he is still able to consider acting in a picture then who knows? Gran Torino was such a movie.

“But that is not his priority and he is not seeking an acting role,” the friend said.

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