Night Moves
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 city to me is the only possible vehicle we have to measure human achievement. We’re an urban species now. If you look at Karachi or Mexico City or Hong Kong or London or New York or Yonkers or Baltimore or any of these other places, the pastoral is now a part of human history. We’re either going to figure out how to live together in these increasingly crowded, increasingly multi-cultural population centers or we’re not. We’re either going to get great at this or we’re going to fail as a species.”
~ David Simon

“I wondered how different it would be to write a novel and it’s totally different. It’s very internal. The weird thing about it is that I found that novel-writing was much more like directing than it is like screenwriting. You’re casting it, you’re lighting it, you’re doing the costumes, you’re doing the locations, you’re doing it all yourself as a director would. In screenwriting, you don’t do that stuff. You don’t describe the face of the actor or the character when you’re writing a screenplay because Tom Cruise is going to do it and he doesn’t look like that, whereas in the novel to describe what he is is what he is. The actual act of writing, just like shooting on a set, is a slow slog. It’s going to work every day.”
~ David Cronenberg On Screenplay vs. Novel