In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”


Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies is a daring, studied and mannered true story that is at once remarkably genuine and deeply cinematic at the same time.


Knock Knock

As a piece of social satire, Knock Knock winds up being not just toothless but anticlimactic.

Other Reviews
Review Archives

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Life Itself Debuts at #1 in Specialty Box Office

This weekend I went to see "Motown The Musical," at the Oriental Theater in Chicago and loved it! Roger and I used to give a Motown Party for the Fourth of July at our summer house in Michigan and so the dance and song numbers featuring the likes of the Supremes, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Commodores, Rick James, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Marvelettes, and the bring-the-house-down Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 just left me smiling from ear to ear. We in the audience were clapping our hands and tapping our feet, and were so joyful and happy I thought it couldn't get any better without actually having Roger in attendance.

Then I came out of the theater and was greeted with this great news. I am happy to announce that audiences around the country turned out in big numbers for the July Fourth weekend opening of  “Life Itself.” The Steve James-directed documentary about Roger was #1 at the specialty box office, averaging $6,000 on 23 screens. It took in $138,000 in 14 markets for a promising $6,000 per-screen average. And as The Wrap notes, that is very positive for a small documentary on a few screens, and even more promising considering it happened over the Fourth of July weekend which is usually a slow week for non-tentpole blockbusters. 

Magnolia Pictures is distributing the film in a very respectful manner and has plans to expand “Life Itself” to an additional 25 theaters next week and up to 100 theaters in two weeks. The film is also available on iTunes and on video on demand. In his Arthouse Audit analyzing the current box office, Indiewire’s Tom Brueggemann writes that the theatrical results for “Life Itself” would be “considered positive” even if it weren’t on VOD.  

What I have been most pleased about, however, is the response to the movie. In addition to reports of people sniffling and sobbing during some parts of the movie, and laughing uproariously during other parts, I have been receiving dispatches of how moved people have been by the movie and by Roger's courage in being so transparent. And how ultimately life-affirming the film is. 

I have to admit it is very different for me to be on this side of the movie equation, talking about the box office, and wanting people to go to their local movie theater to see "Life Itself," not for the commercial aspect of it, but to spend some time hanging out with Roger on the screen. But that is a different story that I will write about separately.  

To view the theaters currently showing “Life Itself,” click here. To view the digital platforms showing "Life Itself," click here.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

NYFF 2015: "Miles Ahead"

A NYFF report on Don Cheadle's directorial debut, "Miles Ahead."

NYFF 2015: "Bridge of Spies"

A review of Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" from its NYFF premiere last night.

FX’s “Fargo” Maintains High Quality in Second Chapter

A review of season two of FX's "Fargo."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus