Tops at the Box: Something wicked called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters took the No. 1 spot at the lousy box office last weekend, selling $19 million over its first three days of release. Written and directed by Tommy Wirkola (whose first film, Dead Snow, should have been a career ender, not a career starter), Hansel stars the Bourne scab, Jeremy Renner, and Gemma Arterton. One of them plays Hansel and the other plays Gretel, I think. They have guns and the kill people and dress in black leather and say really bad ass things. It’s awesome. It’s $19 million awesome, guys. Go see it! (But really, maybe don’t ever go see it. It’s terrible.)
Also at the Box: A once-shelved horror flick called Mama took the No. 2 spot at last weekend’s box office, selling just under $13 million over its second weekend, upping the movie’s total sales to just under $50 million. Is Mama good? I couldn’t say. The trailer makes the flick look every bit as creative as its title. David O. Russell’s excellent new romantic drama, Silver Linings Playbook, took the No. 3 spot, selling $10 million over its eleventh weekend of release. So far the movie, which continues to pick up steam thanks to Jennifer Lawrence’s charming Oscar campaign, has made about $70 million in the U.S. and $86 million worldwide. Great flick, that one. Rounding out last weekend’s Top 5 were Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, with $9.8 million in sales (about $70 million so far), and a new Jason Statham action romp, titled Parker, that sold $7 million over its first three days. Parker? Another great title! But here’s the thing: Parker is directed by Taylor Hackford – a director who used to make great drama – and written by the man behind the Black Swan and Hitchcock scripts, John J. McLaughlin. So, who knows, maybe Parker is worth checking out. (In six months. While sitting on your couch. In the middle of a bored, sleepless night. After you’ve already seen every other movie ever made.) Also of note: that stinker doofus idiot film, Movie 43, opened small, selling just $5 million over its first three days; both Gangster Squad and Broken City continued to underwhelm, neither coming close to earning back their modest production budgets; and the awards season films keep chugging along, slowly.
New this Week: Testosterone-driven action flick Bullet to the Head, written by Sylvester Stallone and directed by the great Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs., The Long Riders, Trespass, etc.), will open wide this weekend. The movie, stupid as it looks, might sorta be worth seeing. Mostly because of Hill, but also because, from time to time, Stallone can kind of bring it. Zombie drama Warm Bodies, directed by Jonathan Levine, is the other movie opening wide this coming weekend. I didn’t like the trailer but Levine’s first two films – 50 / 50 and The Wackness – are both excellent flicks, so who knows. Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as two ex-con friends who spend one last day running wild together, will also see a limited release. I’ve seen the flick and enjoyed it just fine. Ebert said that the movie feels like a long third act, which I agree with. That said, no need to race out to the theater for Stand Up Guys – wait for the rental. Mostly, we recommend that you keep an eye out for smaller movies that might skid into town.
New to Home Video: Out last Tuesday, January 29: The Awakening; Citadel; The Cold Light of Day; Hello I Must Be Going; Hotel Transylvania; Paranormal Activity 4; Seven Psychopaths and season one of the babe-stocked drama known as “Pan Am.” Out this coming Tuesday, February 5: Alex Cross; Celeste and Jesse Forever; Deadfall; Flight; Here Comes the Boom; Little White Lies; My Worst Nightmare; Paul Williams Still Alive; Side by Side; season three of “Cougar Town”; and a huge number of Blu-Ray reissues. So, honestly … not much worth leaving the house for.