MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Fagetaboutit!

The anticipated dust up between the Jackie and Jet in Forbidden Kingdom and the naughty bits of Forgetting Sarah Marshall saw the martial artists draw in an estimated $20.8 million and the latest comedy from the Apatow corral gross $17.4 million. The opening strength of the two films left poor seconds for the Al Pacino thriller 88 Minutes that ranked fourth with $6.8 million and a better than expected $2.9 million bow for the curmudgeonly Ben Stein in the quasi-documentaryExpelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The session’s limited freshmen were largely a commercial wash. Audiences didn’t appear to care Where is the World is Osama Bin Laden?; providing a limp $1,500 screen average from 102 darkened locales. There was proportionally more interest for the race track doc First Saturday in May with a $48,200 gross from 20 turfs and the portrait of composerPhillip Glass (in Twelve Parts) generated $5,200 from a single venue. Pathology failed to infect with a $52,300 from 46 labs and the critically heralded The Life Before Her Eyes failed to stir with a $17,600 gross from eight screens that likely to jeopardize the film’s expansion plans.

Overall box office experienced a slight b.o. bump from 2007 and while no one is going to begrudge improved results, closer inspection hardly suggests rosy rebounds or a reversal of fortune from recent viewing downturns.

In addition to the first pairing of martial art’s royalty, Forbidden Kingdom concocted an East meets West scenario with a Boston youth (and devoted genre fan) magically transported to ancient times to fulfill a legendary legacy. Reminiscent in story to The Last Action Hero, the new entry fared better artistically and commercially with superior action set pieces. It remains to be seen whether its popularity will be extended as a family picture or how Asians will respond when it opens in that arena next weekend.

The vultures swarmed around Forgetting Sarah Marshall, suspecting vulnerability in the raunchy comedy fare that’s become the staple of hyphenate Judd Apatow. While it ranked high among R-rated comedy debuts pundits are likely to see only that it ranked second and ignore that it’s apt to win the tortoise-hare race it confronts with its rival.

Revenues for the weekend edged toward $93 million and a slim 3% decline from seven days ago. They bumped up 3% from 2007 when the second weekend of Disturbia led with $13 million and the opening of Fracture followed at $11 million.

The 58% improvement for the top two respective titles obviously experienced fierce erosion as one expanded the viewing palette. Expectations were low for 88 Minutes that has already had sporadic and indifferent theatrical exposure internationally though prognosticators anticipated grosses closer to $10 million. Similarly there was no surprise in the 56% decline for Prom Night.

However, sophomore drops for Street Kings and especially Smart People were much greater than has been the trend. The latter film with its adult appeal and positive initial response is a head scratcher the industry hopes is just an anomaly. But indifferent response to the exclusive runs of The Life Before Her Eyes attest to a growing doubts and reticence among specialized audiences.

The sunnier anomaly is the surprising strength of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in which creationism finds a surprising tour guide in Ben Stein. The film effectively targeted the converted and committed and while it’s unlikely to cross over, initial returns and subsequent ancillary activity add up to niche success.

– Leonard Klady


Weekend Finals – April 18-20, 2008

Title Distrib Weekend % Change Theaters Cume Wks
1 New Forbidden Kingdom Lions Gate 21,401,121 3151 21,401,121 1
2 New Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni 17,725,330 2798 17,725,330 1
3 1 Prom Night Sony/Alliance 8,670,364 -58% 2700 32,133,926 2
4 New 88 Minutes Sony 6,957,216 2168 6,957,216 1
5 4 Nim’s Island Fox 5,687,072 -38% 3277 32,894,115 3
6 3 21 Sony 5,520,362 -47% 2903 70,004,505 4
7 2 Street Kings Fox Searchlight 4,179,505 -66% 2469 20,058,143 2
8 6 Horton Hears a Who Fox 3,511,834 -41% 2670 144,418,495 6
9 5 Leatherheads Uni 3,049,465 -51% 2798 26,605,235 3
10 New Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Rocky Mountain 2,970,848 1052 2,970,848 1
11 9 Superhero Movie MGM 1,608,072 -50% 1880 23,604,200 4
12 7 Smart People Miramax 1,600,687 -61% 1119 6,805,392 2
13 8 The Ruins Par 1,209,263 -64% 1857 15,828,143 3
14 10 Drillbit Taylor Par 894,990 -56% 1367 29,782,431 5
15 11 Meet the Browns Lions Gate 700,271 -55% 675 41,159,982 5
16 12 10,000 B.C. WB 603,380 -59% 855 92,826,810 7
17 17 Under the Same Moon Weinstein Co. 585,132 -39% 454 11,187,306 6
18 16 Shine a Light Par Vantage 567,933 -41% 220 3,755,976 3
19 New Dans une galaxie pres de chez vous 2 TVA 503,922 123 503,922 1
20 15 The Bank Job Lions Gate 412,851 -58% 473 29,206,841 7
21 18 College Road Trip BV 406,528 -53% 650 42,918,585 8
22 14 Shutter Fox 280,285 -74% 433 25,428,675 5
23 24 The Bucket List WB 260,019 -30% 350 92,589,760 17
24 22 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Focus 254,783 -50% 332 11,767,372 7
25 25 The Counterfeiters Sony Classics 240,753 -32% 170 3,742,262 9
26 21 Vantage Point Sony 234,042 -55% 336 72,266,306 9
27 13 Stop-Loss Par 232,112 -79% 534 10,641,262 4
28 26 The Spiderwick Chronicles Par 230,635 -30% 370 70,601,440 10
29 20 Run Fat Boy Run Picturehouse 191,055 -67% 227 5,796,720 4
30 19 U, Me Aur Hum Eros 171,503 -73% 89 903,680 2
31 45 The Visitor Overture 166,499 92% 18 283,400 2
32 31 Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure nWave 164,814 -15% 47 11,527,270 29
33 23 Never Back Down Summit 160,239 -66% 297 24,212,330 6
34 32 National Treasure: Book of Secrets BV 157,717 -18% 225 219,191,729 18
35 55 Young@Heart Fox Searchlight 151,998 198% 33 232,912 2
36 28 Juno Fox Searchlight 151,908 -49% 230 143,253,943 20
37 New Where in the World is Osama …? Weinstein Co. 148,698 102 148,698 1
38 36 Jumper Fox 145,883 1% 200 79,166,197 10
39 30 Fool’s Gold WB 142,340 -44% 220 69,222,160 11
40 35 Priceless IDP 109,647 -28% 42 680,024 4
41 34 Step Up 2 the Streets BV 106,928 -33% 191 57,743,881 10
42 29 The Other Boleyn Girl Sony 106,190 -64% 198 26,814,957 8
43 33 In Bruges Focus 103,436 -42% 123 7,276,922 11
44 61 My Blueberry Nights Weinstein Co. 103,137 136% 59 267,573 3
45 37 Flawless Magnolia 79,788 -43% 65 705,017 4
46 38 Alvin and the Chipmunks Fox 71,469 -49% 176 217,172,612 19
47 48 Dolphins and Whales 3-D 3D Entertainment 70,713 3% 13 1,067,183 10
48 44 Emma Smith: My Story Candlelight 68,760 -27% 37 234,901 2
49 27 Krazzy 4 Eros 68,248 -79% 59 433,472 2
50 47 Penelope Summit 67,694 -9% 142 9,841,968 7
51 43 27 Dresses Fox 63,202 -36% 102 76,624,274 14
52 42 The Band’s Visit Sony Classics 59,796 -43% 85 2,709,751 11
53 39 Married Life Sony Classics 55,592 -57% 76 1,297,066 7
54 New First Sunday in May Truly Indie 54,553 20 54,553 1
55 New Pathology MGM 54,244 46 54,244 1
56 49 U2 3D nWave 52,659 -20% 19 7,503,609 13
57 51 Space Station 3-D Imax 50,560 -12% 10 74,613,329 313
58 41 Bella Roadsd/Maximum 50,348 -53% 31 7,937,783 26
59 New Madame Butterfly Bigger Picture 48,111 120 48,111 1
60 40 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus 3-D BV 43,765 -60% 11 65,220,019 12
61 63 Deep Sea 3-D WB 42,812 20% 10 34,976,753 112
62 50 Definitely, Maybe Uni 42,305 -27% 100 32,135,032 10
63 70 Flight of the Red Balloon IFC 42,001 76% 11 127,416 3
64 66 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Uni 40,411 15% 66 42,271,830 11
65 58 Magnificent Desolation Imax 37,814 -19% 8 23,496,777 134
66 52 Semi-Pro WB 37,677 -29% 110 33,429,169 8
67 53 Year My Parents Went on Vacation City Lights 29,676 -43% 28 604,367 10
68 67 The Hammer Intl Film Circuit 27,753 -17% 23 413,218 5
69 46 Persepolis Sony Classics 25,505 -69% 46 4,364,662 17
70 59 Be Kind Rewind WB 24,593 -46% 56 11,144,965 9
71 65 Doomsday Uni 24,428 -34% 56 11,086,106 6
72 78 Roving Mars BV 23,910 38% 10 8,527,875 117
73 73 The Eye Lions Gate 21,621 -4% 25 31,469,619 12
74 107 The Singing Revolution Abramorama 21,236 288% 3 110,018 9
75 54 Caramel Roadside Attract. 21,136 -59% 24 913,265 12
76 62 Untraceable Sony 19,738 -53% 51 29,154,625 13
77 New The Life Before Her Eyes Magnolia 20,220 8 20,220 1
78 64 Snow Angels WIP 17,737 -53% 40 349,133 7
Source: MCN/EDI

Estimates – April 18-20, 2008

Title Distributor Gross (averag % change * Theaters Cume
Forbidden Kingdom Lions Gate 20.8 (6,610) 3151 20.8
Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni 17.4 (6,220) 2798 17.4
Prom Night Sony/Alliance 9.2 (3,390) -56% 2700 32.6
88 Minutes Sony 6.8 (3,150) 2168 6.8
Nim’s Island Fox 5.6 (1,733) -39% 3277 32.8
21 Sony 5.5 (1,900) -47% 2903 70
Street Kings Fox Searchlight 4.0 (1,620) -68% 2469 19.9
Horton Hears a Who Fox 3.4 (1,290) -42% 2670 144.4
Leatherheads Uni 3.0 (1,070) -52% 2798 26.6
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Rocky Mountai 2.9 (2,790) 1027 2.9
Smart People Miramax 1.6 (1,400) -62% 1119 6.8
Superhero Movie MGM 1.5 (790) -54% 1880 23.5
The Ruins Par 1.2 (620) -66% 1857 15.8
Drillbit Taylor Par .89 (650) -56% 1367 29.8
Meet the Browns Lions Gate .66 (980) -58% 675 41.1
10,000 B.C. WB .61 (710) -59% 856 92.8
Shine a Light Par Vantage .58 (2,640) -40% 220 3.8
Under the Same Moon Weinstein Co. .56 (1,230) -41% 454 11.1
The Bank Job Lions Gate .41 (870) -59% 473 29.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $86.20
% Change (Last Year) 3%
% Change (Last Week) -3%
Also debuting/expanding-
The Visitor Overture .16 (8,850) 89% 18 0.28
Where in World is Osama? Weinstein Co. .15 (1,500) 102 0.15
Young@Heart Fox Searchlight .14 (4,280) 177% 33 0.22
Pathology MGM 52,300 (1,140) 46 0.05
First Saturday in May Truly Indie 48,200 (2,410) 20 0.05
The Life Before Her Eyes Magnolia 17,600 (2,200) 8 0.02
Constantine’s Sword First Run 10,500 (5,250) 2 0.01
Kiss the Bride Regent 9,100 (1,820) 5 0.01
Glass: A Portrait in Twelve Parts Koch Lorber 5,200 (5,200) 1 0.01
Anamorph IFC 2,870 (2,870) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – To April 17, 2008

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Fox (10) 472.1 19.00%
Warner Bros. (12) 379.4 15.20%
Sony (12) 282.1 11.30%
Buena Vista (8) 269.9 10.80%
Paramount (8) 232.9 9.40%
Universal (7) 151.3 6.10%
Lions Gate (7) 147.9 5.90%
Fox Searchlight (5) 136.1 5.50%
Par Vantage (7) 67.7 2.70%
New Line (4) 61.6 2.50%
Focus (4) 58.5 2.40%
Miramax (4) 43.3 1.70%
MGM (7) 42.4 1.70%
Summit (2) 33.8 1.40%
Overture (3) 20.9 0.80%
Other * (106) 90.1 3.60%
2490 100.00%

Global Grossers – To March 30, 2008

Title Distributor Gross
I Am Legend WB 270,214,778
National Treasure: Book of Secrets BVI 258,452,003
10,000 B.C. WB 230,668,896
Jumper Fox 198,747,514
Horton Hears a Who Fox 197,609,863
Juno Fox/Mandate 185,142,982
Alvin and the Chipmunks Fox 168,679,687
Cloverfield Paramount 157,903,442
Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis Pathe 157,314,114
The Bucket List WB 148,939,032
27 Dresses Fox/Spyglass 134,783,157
Asterix aux jeux Olympiques Pathe 130,521,428
Vantage Point Sony 126,507,378
The Spiderwick Chronicles Paramount 118,422,878
Sweeney Todd Paramount/WB 125,045,246
Step Up 2 BV/Summit 110,504,896
No Country for Old Men Miramax/Para 110,232,834
P.S. I Love You WB/Summit 109,635,887
Enchanted BV 107,450,510
The Golden Compass New Line 106,921,784
Rambo Lions Gate/NuI 103,202,282
* does not include 2007 box office

Top Domestic Grossers – To March 27, 2008

Title Distributor Gross
Juno * Fox Searchlight 113,564,674
Horton Hears a Who Fox 99,849,148
The Bucket List * WB 90,378,651
National Treasure: Book of Secret BV 84,668,814
10,000 B.C. WB 80,045,351
Cloverfield Par 79,868,530
Jumper Fox 77,984,874
27 Dresses Fox 75,941,603
Alvin and the Chipmunks * Fox 68,973,565
The Spiderwick Chronicles Par 68,646,009
Fool’s Gold WB 67,524,778
Vantage Point Sony 66,948,480
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Co BV 64,547,158
Step Up 2: The Streets BV 57,001,753
I Am Legend * WB 56,933,914
Rambo Lions Gate 42,754,105
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Uni 42,093,210
Atonement * Focus 39,617,946
There Will Be Blood * Par Vantage 39,438,070
First Sunday Sony 38,182,387

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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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