In which Benjamin channels Variety

Just in time for the Oscar kudocast, and following up on Emily Riemer’s (AM’09) post from last week, I’m pleased to present you with last quarter’s Doc Films box office winners and losers.

A few caveats about the numbers: the recent H’w’d pictures Doc unspools on weekends get three or four showings each, while films from the weekday series get only one. Attendance includes individual ticket buyers and season-pass holders, but not people who sneak in through the back door of Ida Noyes.

The leadership of Doc Films had a few comments about the hotsy biz (or lack thereof) done by a couple of the pictures.

Five most boffo titles by attendance:

  1. Up (731)
    “Kids loved it, old people loved it. Pixar is one of the only companies that can reliably make a film just as appealing to our entire audience, ages 9 to 90. Sort of like Sesame Street, but more expensive.”

  2. Star Trek (481)
    “Not only was this a rare franchise reboot that was actually entertaining enough for a second viewing, it capitalized on the traditionally political science-tinged reputation that attracts U of C undergrads in a way that Star Wars can't.” (As perhaps the only old-line Trekkie who didn’t like this movie, I’m going to reserve my vitriol for another day and move on.—BR)

  3. Inglourious Basterds (445)
    “Fetishized Nazi-killing provides the sort of cathartic release (particularly in advance of finals week) that no other film on our calendar can.”

  4. The Hangover (362)
    “Two frat boys puked in the cinema during the 11 p.m. screening. Appropriate, if disgusting."

  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (352)
    “For every undergraduate secretly wishing that our school was actually Hogwarts.”

Five worst floppola films by attendance:

  1. The Kitchen Presents Two Moon July (17)

  2. Selected Works I & II (18)

  3. Home of the Brave (26)

  4. Dirigible (28)

  5. Ellis Island and Book of Days (29)

“All of the bottom five titles are from the Downtown 81 series, except Dirigible (from Frank Capra). It's a shame that these sorts of series don't exactly hit it out of the ballpark in terms of attendance, but we still feel a duty to showcase them for the Chicago community regardless of the attendance, and we do gain a few converts to less-than-mainstream cinema with every passing quarter. That won't be changing anytime soon.”

To join the audience of a mainstream or not-so-mainstream showing, Doc’s Winter 2010 sked can be found here.

Benjamin Recchie, AB'03

February 18, 2010