MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Hog Wild …

March 4, 2007
Weekend Estimates
Domestic Market Share

It was the snort of approval for Wild Hogs and – in the words of Borat – not so much for Zodiac. The two freshmen entries debuted in the top two slots for weekend moviegoers with respective estimated grosses of $38.1 million and $12.9 million. Overall business saw a noticeable boost from 2006 but through the first two months of the year box office was trailing last year by 3%.

Once again a low brow comedy proved to be just what the public craved. The yarn of aging hipsters hitting the road to recapture youthful ardor, Wild Hogs was expected to lead the frame. However, trackers projected no more than a $30 million bow with low enders off by close to 50% on their estimates.

It was a reverse prognosis for Zodiac, based on the true life serial killings that haunted the Bay area more than three decades ago. Upbeat reviews and pedigree credits suggested an opening between $16 million and $19 million despite its 160 minute running length. The studio is hoping word-of-mouth will translate into minimal erosion in the coming weeks.

Weekend revenues should clock in at close to $120 million for a 5% boost from Oscar weekend. Box office was 19% improved from 2006 when the $12.6 million second weekend of Medea’s Family Reunion edged out the $11.8 million launch of 16 Blocks.

The prior weekend debs The Number 23 and Reno 911!: Miami each saw 50% plus drops but most holdover titles experienced 33% to 40% erosion.

Once again there wasn’t much of an Oscar boost factor on the viewing landscape. Dreamgirls saw marginal improvement and Pan’s Labyrinth experienced a very slight decline. Both The Last King of Scotland and foreign-language winner The Lives of Others added theaters and had box office increases.

Activity in regard to new limited releases was largely unimpressive with the exception of the two and one-hour French documentary Into Great Silence that grossed $10,900 on a single screen. The profile of a religious monastery has been a niche success in Europe and has tallied close to $150,000 since its release in Canada in the late fall.

Other new openers including the coming-of-ager Full of It and the French animated import Azur et Asmar in Quebec generated theater averages of less than $1,000. The Sally Field warmity Two Weeks that had an Oscar qualifying run in December did marginally better with a $30,300 gross from 12 venues.

– Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates – March 2-4, 2007

Title
Distributor
Gross (averag
% chang
Theaters
Cume
Wild Hogs
BV
38.1 (11,600)
3287
38.1
Zodiac
Par
12.9 (5,450)
2362
12.9
Ghost Rider
Sony
11.4 (3,170)
-43%
3608
94.7
Bridge to Tarabithia
BV
8.7 (2,740)
-39%
3159
58
The Number 23
New Line
6.4 (2,320)
-56%
2759
24
Norbit
Par
6.4 (2,260)
-35%
2827
82.9
Music and Lyrics
WB
4.9 (1,850)
-36%
2644
38.7
Black Snake Moan
Par Vantage
4.0 (3,200)
1252
4
Reno 911!: Miami
Fox
3.7 (1,380)
-64%
2702
16.4
Breach
Uni
3.4 (2,290)
-43%
1498
25.4
Amazing Grace
IDP
3.0 (3,830)
-25%
791
8.2
The Astronaut Farmer
WB
2.2 (1,010)
-51%
2155
7.8
Daddy’s Little Girls
Lions Gate
2.1 (1,850)
-56%
1146
28.3
Night at the Museum
Fox
1.4 (1,540)
-34%
927
243.5
Because I Said So
Uni/TVA
1.3 (1,160)
-53%
1131
40.4
Pan’s Labyrinth
Picturehouse
1.2 (2,250)
-8%
525
34.2
The Last King of Scotland
Fox Searchligh
.93 (1,800)
19%
517
15.3
The Queen
Miramax
.89 (1,630)
-20%
545
54.3
The Lives of Others
Sony Classics
.76 (6,490)
72%
117
2.3
The Messengers
Sony
.72 (1,020)
-55%
706
34.5
Dreamgirls
Par
.58 (1,280)
2%
454
102.1
Hannibal Rising
MGM
.52 (700)
-70%
746
27
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)
$115.50
% Change (Last Year)
19%
% Change (Last Week)
5%
Also debuting/expanding
Two Weeks
MGM
30,300 (2,520)
12
0.03
Full of It
New Line
13,500 (900)
15
0.01
Into Great Silence
Zeitgeist
10,900 (10,900)
1
0.01
Azur et Asmar
Seville
6,700 (610)
11
0.01
Nos jour heureux
Alliance
5,500 (550)
10
0.05
Wild Tiger I Have Known
IFC
4,400 (4,400)
1
0.01

Domestic Market Share: Jan 1 – March 1, 2007

Distributor (releases)
Gross
Percentage
Sony (10)
286.8
20.80%
Paramount (7)
211.6
15.40%
Fox (9)
199.6
14.50%
Universal (6)
168.3
12.20%
Warner Bros. (12)
125.6
9.10%
MGM (8)
74.2
5.40%
Buena Vista (9)
72.9
5.30%
Lions Gate (4)
42.6
3.10%
Picturehouse (2)
32.5
2.40%
New Line (4)
30.1
2.20%
Miramax (2)
27.9
2.00%
Fox Searchlight (4)
27.7
2.00%
Focus (1)
16.4
1.20%
Sony Classics (4)
14.2
1.00%
Par Vantage (1)
14.1
1.00%
Other * (45)
32.2
2.30%
* none greater than .05%
1376.7
100.00%

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Klady

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott