Sunday, September 16, 2012

‘The Master' Opens With Record-Shattering Grosses In NY/LA


The day finally came on Friday as Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" finally opened in limited release. Playing in just 5 theatres in NYC and LA, the film had sellout shows all weekend taking in an incredible $729,745 and breaking the record (previously held by Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom") for the best limited debut ever for a live-action film with a $145,949 per-theater-average. (For comparison "There Will Be Blood" averaged $95,370 when it opened in 2 theaters back in 2007.) Deadline has the scoop straight from Weinstein Co.
“We’re thrilled with the numbers. It set the screen record and all the credit in the world goes to Paul Thomas Anderson with his guerrilla marketing strategy combined with moving the [release date] to this weekend,” said said TWC Head of Distribution Erik Lomis. “I’m expecting my phone to ring off the hook from exhibitors tomorrow.” The Weinstein Company had initially set an October rollout of The Master which picked up best director and actor awards at the recent Venice Film Festival where it was reportedly also the be jury’s pick for the top prize, the Golden Lion, until fest officials enforced a rule that limits the number of big awards per film. Lomis credited the cast’s performances for bringing out audiences over the weekend and Anderson for organizing pop-up screenings, driving word-of-mouth. Lomis called the strategy “an eye-opener” that clearly worked. “We could not be happier”. Weintstein plans to move The Master into 600-800 theaters in its second round.

What else happened this weekend? Well, Joaquin Phoenix gave an interview to Time Magazine where he says he's only seen the film as a rough cut with no score and "thought it was a comedy."

UPDATE 9/17: There are three brand new new interviews with Paul over at Filmmaker Magazine, SF Gate and the Vancouver Sun, all absolutely worth reading.

The Atlantic has a must-read piece about the evolution of PTA's style citing the divide between his first three films to "Punch-Drunk Love" charting a new path for his career. The end rings particularly true.
Each of Anderson's works prepares us for the next, and each is unimaginable without its predecessor. Tarantino has a new picture out this fall as well, and it looks like fun. But it also looks, unquestionably, like the latest film from the director of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. His style is set and probably won't change much. Anderson's style, on the other hand, is still evolving, and will probably continue to do so as long as he remains patently uninterested in bending to expectations.
Your move, Quentin. Speaking of the "Django Unchained" director, he was just one of a few famous folks checking out "The Master" this weekend. Tarantino was spotted at the 8pm showing at the Arclight on Friday night presumably checking out his (friendly) competition, while Steve Martin, Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone, Susan Sarandon and Sam Rockwell were all sighted at various NYC screenings.

Yahoo has a short but very spoilery interview with a British actress who plays a small but pivotal part in the film. WARNING: it is VERY VERY spoiler-heavy, a.k.a. You Do Not Want To Know Until After You've Seen The Film. Cool?

I saw the film a 3rd and 4th time this weekend, on Friday night at Lincoln Square and Sunday evening at the Village East. I really don't know what else to say except that I truly fucking love this film & it gets richer with each viewing. There are still plenty of things I'm puzzling through (some of which will likely never be "solved") but repeated viewings have definitely brought some things into clearer view.

Between the presentations at both cinemas, I much preferred my experience at the Village East. The screen is HUGE, the 70mm looked especially crisp and the sound was LOUD. Lincoln Square volume was a little low and the 70mm didn't blow me away like in Chicago, TIFF and Village East for some reason...not sure why because I usually love that room. To those of you outside both coasts, apologies for the #FOMO, but the film will be with you soon enough. The film expands from 5 locations to 700-800 this Friday including a few more 70mm engagements.

If plan on catching the film more than once, hang onto your ticket stubs. We may have some use for them in the near future...

#THEMASTER70MM

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates. 

14 comments:

  1. That's interesting--every time I've been to Village East I've had terrible experiences, especially in that big theater where all you can hear is reverb. I saw it for the 2nd time at Lincoln Sq Friday (at the same showing you were!) and it was a perfect viewing experience, possibly the best I've ever had.

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    1. I agree. Village East is like listening to music in the bathroom. Just terrible. I enjoyed the Lincoln Square screening, but definitely loved the Ziegfeld the most.

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    2. Was it AMC Loews Lincoln Square, or the underground Lincoln Plaza theater?

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    3. Village East was really bad in regards to sound quality. That really ruined the experience for me, so I will need to try Lincoln Square 13 before I can say I've really seen this movie.

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  2. I'm definitely curious as to what you're going to do with those stubs =).

    Money will probably be the deciding factor into how many more times I see it. (hoping at least 5-6 more viewings)

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  3. The 11:30 showing on Friday at Village East was crooked the entire time, with a bad flicker as well. It was a total shame. Saw it again today at Lincoln Square... Much better.

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  4. so many conflicting reports... Im goin tonight... village east or lincoln sq???

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    1. I agree with the above poster on the East Village. While it looked great on screen, my wife and I both had a very difficult time hearing clearly all of the dialogue. I know Joaquin mumbles at times, but for the audio in general, we realized there was a reverb. I was worried from the stat when I couldn't understand the dialogue being spoke in half of the opening trailers. I would go to Lincoln, where I plan to see it for a second time.

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  5. I think what's truly amazing about this is how it's probably the most true form of a "grassroots" effort of creating and marketing a film, seeing how PT himself went ahead and brought his film to theaters to screen it to totally random and non-unique people, without even outsourcing the duty to other people. He really manages to make his projects his "children," which he raises himself through his own efforts.

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  6. Agree with the bad sound/viewing experience at the village east. Furthermore, the film is his worst. It's tedious and boring and about a lot of things but never fully engaged in any of them....

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