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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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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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