It’s been a big month for me and this week’s blog is a little light on material.  I’ve also been a bit under the weather and am looking forward to a few movie free days.


Event Cinemas?


You might have noticed in the past month that some of the Birch, Carroll & Coyle cinemas have rebranded themselves.  They are now known as Event Cinemas.  According to their website, the reason for the change is that their cinemas are “being redeveloped and relaunched as state-of-the-art venues that offer customers a complete range of entertainment options.”  They will be an “entertainment precinct that offers customers options on every level, including dining, bars and a variety of screening opportunities to not only see movies in 2D and 3D, but also live music, concerts, sporting matches and special events.”


It’s all yadda, yadda, yadda as far as I’m concerned.  They are still the most over priced cinemas in Australia in terms of both ticket price and candy par prices.  I’d like to hope that people don’t go along to a movie at these cinemas because of this branding.  I know the reality is different but I can only hope.


My favourite cinema is still the Palace Centro at New Farm and I can tell you that it ticks off a lot of the boxes that these Event Cinemas promise.  A lot of cinemas in Brisbane do for that matter.  Just last week, I was visiting my old local – the AMC at Stafford City.  It hasn’t changed much in the three years since I moved out of the area but it’s still a nice complex and there are plenty of places to get food (e.g. Fasta Pasta) when you’re done.


I do need to update my cinema reviews (on my website) and will hopefully get around to it before the year is out.  Let me just say that regardless of name, these Event Cinemas still fail to deliver in terms of price relative to service.


Spring Awakening


It’s the first day of Spring and that’s good news as far as I’m concerned.  The warmer weather is nice but what’s just as exciting are the better movies that we’ll see.  The American summer blockbusters are behind us and we can focus on the upcoming award season.


Before shutting the book on this Australian winter, I thought I’d quickly point out which films have been the big success stories at the box office.  There are about a dozen or so films which are hyped to the extreme.  How many of them did you actually see though?  How many were any good?  What was your favourite?


As I’ve mentioned a few times previous, Star Trek was probably the surprise hit for me.  Most of the other “big” films didn’t impress me.  G.I. Joe was the worst of the lot.  A few small horror films snuck under the radar though and got my thumbs up – Drag Me To Hell and Orphan.


Here’s a look at how the blockbusters have performed here in Australia (in order of box-office dollars – I’ve listed the number of weeks inside the top 20 also):


Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen - $40.2m from 10 weeks

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - $39.6m from 7 weeks

Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs - $29.6 from 8 weeks

The Hangover - $21.3m from 12 weeks

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $18.5m from 8 weeks

Angels & Demons - $17.9m from 9 weeks

Night At The Museum 2 - $17.1m from 10 weeks

The Proposal - $16.5m from 9 weeks

Star Trek - $15.8m from 9 weeks

Terminator: Salvation - $14.8m from 6 weeks

Bruno - $13.9m from 5 weeks

The Ugly Truth - $10.6m from 4 weeks

Public Enemies - $8.6m from 5 weeks

G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra - $7.3m from 4 weeks

Land Of The Lost - $3.9m from 5 weeks


The two stand outs have been Transformers and Harry Potter 6.  I wasn’t fussed about either of them for whatever reason, they’ve got people off their butts and into movie theatres.  That’s a good thing… I think.


Ice Age 3 was the family film of the summer – well ahead of Night At The Museum 2.  I thought both were worth a look.


The sleeper of the summer was The Hangover which spent 12 weeks inside the top 20 – more than any other film.  That’s a good sign of word of mouth and the proposed sequel should be just as big.


The big losers were Bruno (which faded away quickly despite all the advertising), Terminator: Salvation (yet to find someone who liked it), Public Enemies (not a huge gross for Johnny Depp film), G.I. Joe (the less said the better) and Land Of The Lost (ditto).


The Toronto Film Festival kicks off next week (September 10) and as I say each year, it’s my favourite film festival… not that I’ve ever been.  The reason is that so many quality Oscar contenders get their first showing at Toronto and it starts the buzz in the lead up to award season.  Slumdog Millionaire won the audience award at Toronto last year and it went on to win 8 Academy Awards, including best picture.  There are hundreds of films being screened and I’ll provide a wrap of the major prize winners in the near future.