MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Dough Nut …

July 29, 2007
Weekend Estimates
Domestic Market Share

“Why,” asks Homer Simpson rhetorically, “would anyone go to the theater to see something they could see on TV?” Answer (diplomatically): Because it’s bigger, man.

The Simpsons Movie earned its big screen stripes with an estimated $71.2 million, roughly 40% of all ticket sales in the domestic marketplace. The unlikely American sweethearts created a sizeable boost in movie going leaving a trio of other national debuts scurrying for spill over business.

The kitchen romantic comedy No Reservations basted together a respectable $11.5 million to rank sixth but other newcomers suffered from the competition. The Lindsay Lohan chiller I Know Who Killed Me (why would anyone go to the theater to see something they could see on TV) eked out $3.4 million and the golf comedy Who’s Your Caddy? nipped into the top 10 with $2.8 million.

The frame also saw a torrent of limited releases including good results of $30,400 for French import Moliere in six venues and a single screen gross of $17,100 for This is England. The frame was heavy with non-fiction fare that ranged from Iraq (No End in Sight) and Darfur (The Devil Came on Horseback) to Vietnam protest (The Camden 28), ecology (Arctic Tale) and a bygone Hollywood scandal (Girl 27).

It was clear that The Simpsons Movie would be the top ranked film in the marketplace but none of the industry’s tracking services saw a top end of more than $55 million and most predicted about $10 million lower. Obviously its considerable fan base couldn’t wait to see the yellow-faced clan and put down enough change to generate the third highest opening gross for an animated feature behind the second and third installments of Shrek.

And if there was any question of the series’ global reach, its launch in 71 international territories silenced that discussion. Sunday estimates are projecting a $96 million gross with record-breaking animation openings in Germany and Australia and not too shabby returns in England, France, Spain and Korea.

Marking on the curve, both I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Hairspray‘s second weekend’s held well. The overall weekend total approached $180 million for a 17% hike from the immediate prior frame. It exceeded the 2006 tally by 39% when Miami Vice debuted to $25.7 million. The current season has evidenced a strong second wind that should continue with upcoming third installments of Rush Hour and Bourne in the wings.

No Reservations, based on the German film Mostly Martha, positioned itself as an adult alternative to The Simpsons and audiences decided to nibble on its modest offerings. However, Sony approached I Know Who Killed Me like a hot potato when its headliner Lindsay Lohan received a harsh media spotlight for her extracurricular activity.

There was also scant interest for Who’s Your Caddy?, an unofficial update of Caddyshack with the country club intruder coming from the ranks of rap music.

The session also saw good but not great expansions for both Rescue Dawn and Sunshine. In the present crowded marketplace it’s unlikely either of the highly lauded pictures has a chance of upping the ante as high as 1,000 playdates.

In the niches there were a number of surprises that included a potent single screen gross of $23,600 for the American indie Transformation and the aptly titled Iraq war documentary No End in Sightgenerating a roughly $15,000 screen average from two venues.

– Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates – July 27-29, 2007

Title
Distributor
Gross (average)
% chang
Theater
Cume
The Simpson Movie
Fox
71.2 (18,160)
3922
71.2
I Now Pronounce You Chuck &
Uni
19.1 (5,470)
-44%
3501
71.7
Harry Potter & the Order of the
WB
17.3 (4,320)
-47%
4005
242
Hairspray
New Line
15.6 (5,000)
-43%
3121
59.4
Transformers
Par
11.5 (3,430)
-44%
3349
284.5
No Reservations
WB
11.5 (4,730)
2425
11.5
Ratatouille
BV
7.3 (2,470)
-33%
2934
179.7
Live Free or Die Hard
Fox
5.2 (2,310)
-26%
2271
125
I Know Who Killed Me
Sony
3.4 (2,550)
1320
3.4
Who’s Your Caddy?
MGM
2.8 (2,790)
1019
2.8
Rescue Dawn
MGM
1.5 (3,040)
334%
500
2.8
License to Wed
WB
1.3 (810)
-63%
1610
41.7
Sunshine
Searchlight
1.2 (2,690)
410%
460
1.6
Knocked Up
Uni
1.1 (1,440)
-50%
792
145.1
1408
MGM
1.1 (1,090)
-59%
981
69.9
Evan Almighty
Uni
1.0 (1,020)
-60%
1010
96.2
Sicko
LGF/Alliance
1.0 (1,190)
-48%
850
21.3
Talk to Me
Focus
.77 (6,690)
116%
115
1.9
Shrek the Third
Par
.53 (1,160)
38%
455
319.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)
$174.50
% Change (Last Year)
39%
% Change (Last Week)
17%
Also debuting/expanding
Moliere
Sony Classics
30,400 (5,070)
6
0.03
No End in Sight
Magnolia
29,900 (14,950)
2
0.03
Transformation
Reel Diva
23,650 (23,650)
1
0.02
Arctic Tale
Par Vantage
19,350 (4,840)
4
0.02
This is England
IFC
17,200 (17,200)
1
0.02
The Devil Came on Horseback
Break Thru
10,050 (10,050)
1
0.01
The Camden 28
1st Run
3,600 (3,600)
1
0.01
Girl 27
Westlake
2,100 (2,100)
1
0.01

Top Domestic Grossers: To July 26, 2007

Title
Distributor
Gross
Spider-Man 3
Sony
335,798,600
Shrek the Third
Par
319,201,132
Pirates of the Caribbean: At
BV
306,483,088
Transformers
Par
273,034,005
Harry Potter & the Order of th
WB
224,706,129
300
WB
210,702,543
Ratatouille
BV
172,448,802
Wild Hogs
BV
168,100,227
Knocked Up
Uni
143,935,350
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silve
Fox
129,289,364
Night at the Museum *
Fox
125,041,114
Live Free or Die Hard
Fox
119,777,661
Blades of Glory
Par
118,542,791
Ghost Rider
Sony
117,257,346
Ocean’s Thirteen
WB
115,077,496
Meet the Robinsons
BV
97,206,741
Norbit
Par
95,908,391
Evan Almighty
Uni
95,186,730
Bridge to Terabithia
BV
82,361,273
Disturbia
Par
79,970,004
* does not include 2006 box office

Domestic Market Share: To July 26, 2007

Distributor (Releases)
Gross
Market Share
Paramount (14)
1123.9
19.70%
Sony (17)
881.3
15.50%
Buena Vista (14)
872.5
15.30%
Warner Bros. (21)
872.1
15.30%
Fox (15)
530.1
9.30%
Universal (12) 513.2 9.00%
MGM (14) 180.3 3.20%
New Line (7) 152.7 2.70%
Lions Gate (12) 120.9 2.10%
Fox Searchlight (11) 83.5 1.50%
Focus (4) 53.5 0.90%
Picturehouse (3) 45.8 0.80%
Miramax (6) 44.3 0.80%
Par Vantage (4) 34.5 0.60%
Sony Classics (12) 33.2 0.60%
Other * (157) 154.4 2.70%
* none greater than 0.5% 5696.2 100.00%

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Klady

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch