MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Sexyyyyyy…

In possibly the first pleasant surprise of the season Sex and the City led weekend movie going with an estimated $56.1 million in its debut session. Also unexpected was a potent $20.6 million bow for the horror programmer The Strangers that ranked third in the frame lineup. Together they provided for a thrust that translated into a significant boost from 2007 grosses.

Response to limited releases was generally good with the mocumentary The Foot First Way generating $34,300 at four sites and the similarly themed verity Bigger, Stronger, Faster adding up $29,700 at six venues. American indie Saving Grace had an encouraging start of $22,300 in a pair of exclusives and the genre thriller Stuck proved a passable amusement with an $8,400 gross form two encounters.

While the critics were generally ho-hum about the big screen Sex and the City, there was no sign of indifference from devotees of the further exploits of Carrie and her posse. Expectations of an opening salvo between $35 million and $40 million were shattered when Friday figures tallied up to more than $26 million. However, Saturday experienced a sharper than anticipated 34% drop that was more typical of arcs for concert films with high first day “want see.”

Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman said first day exits reflected an extraordinarily high 85% female attendance. The film also set a new benchmark for the debut of an R-rated comedy; shattering the $45 million bow ofAmerican Pie. Sex additionally ranked in the top 10 for advance ticket sales that suggested box office estimates were conservative about the film’s potency.

Sex and the City went day-and-date in a handful of overseas venues generating uniformly strong response. Among initial results was a $10 million weekend in Great Britain following $7.5 million from Wednesday/Thursday business. It grossed $5 million in Germany and an opening day gross of $1.3 million in France from 550 theaters.

The Strangers – a tale of a vacationing couple terrorized by thugs – was largely viewed as counter-programming with limited chances to prevail in the competitive marketplace. But reviews were generally upbeat and word-of-mouth proved sufficiently strong to provide a slight boost for Saturday returns in a genre that generally experiences double-digit second day declines.

Weekend box office should by close to $170 million for a slim 1% decline from last weekend’s three-day portion of the Memorial weekend session. There was a demonstrable 28% improvement from 2007 when the second weekend of The Pirates of the Caribbean finale grossed $44.2 million and the bow of Knocked Up followed with $30.7 million.

The anticipated 50% to 60% drop for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull fell roughly in the middle of the range but such films as Iron Man and What Happens in Vegas are holding well against the competition. Nonetheless, the number of films in wide release continues to erode rapidly with just 10 movies grossing in excess of $1 million during the past weekend.

– Leonard Klady


Weekend Finals – May 30-June 1, 2008

Title Distrib Weekend % Change Theaters Cume Wks
1 New Sex and the City WB 56,848,056 3285 56,848,056 1
2 1 Indiana Jones & Kingdom of Crystal Sk Par 44,754,615 -55% 4264 215,635,899 2
3 New The Strangers Uni/Alliance 20,997,985 2466 20,997,985 1
4 3 Iron Man Par 13,541,264 -34% 3650 276,166,336 5
5 2 Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian BV 12,704,545 -44% 3801 115,362,725 3
6 4 What Happens in Vegas Fox 6,681,097 -27% 3086 65,904,971 4
7 5 Speed Racers WB 2,259,031 -43% 2070 40,677,371 4
8 7 Baby Mama Uni 2,194,320 -35% 1784 56,117,805 6
9 6 Made of Honor Sony 1,913,035 -43% 1905 42,878,354 5
10 8 Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni 1,059,840 -40% 768 60,485,980 7
11 10 The Visitor Overture 553,704 -23% 270 5,322,550 8
12 9 Harold & Kumar Escape Guantanamo WB 487,021 -47% 474 36,967,086 6
13 11 Horton Hears a Who Fox 367,734 -23% 428 152,571,420 12
14 42 The Fall Roadside Attract. 345,138 597% 108 646,364 4
15 12 Forbidden Kingdom Lions Gate 247,656 -41% 262 51,730,925 7
16 13 Then She Found Me Thinkfilm/TVA 244,812 -39% 150 2,840,511 6
17 15 Nim’s Island Fox 230,671 -22% 350 46,109,150 9
18 14 Young@Heart Fox Searchlight 220,190 -32% 197 2,840,511 8
19 16 21 Sony 204,891 -35% 336 83,025,091 10
20 17 College Road Trip BV 195,596 -36% 241 44,531,764 13
21 22 Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure nWave 189,845 16% 48 13,430,080 35
22 19 Son of Rambow Par Vantage 165,570 -31% 139 1,175,679 5
23 20 Prom Night Sony/Alliance 137,033 -34% 203 43,995,413 8
24 18 Drillbit Taylor Par 121,119 -62% 142 32,700,565 11
25 23 Dolphins and Whales 3-D 3D Entertainment 114,539 -1% 15 2,035,377 15
26 21 Roman de Gare IDP 104,267 -33% 35 648,202 5
27 37 U2 3D nWave 88,611 10% 11 8,232,943 19
28 32 Superhero Movie MGM 82,780 -5% 157 25,638,520 10
29 27 The Counterfeiters Sony Classics 80,161 -22% 97 5,154,980 15
30 26 10,000 B.C. WB 69,505 -34% 139 94,647,446 13
31 29 Street Kings Fox Searchlight 65,113 -35% 98 26,238,385 8
32 24 Before the Rains Roadside Attract. 64,932 -39% 44 445,280 4
33 25 88 Minutes Sony 63,770 -38% 86 17,194,916 7
34 35 The Ruins Par 63,700 -22% 140 17,348,436 9
35 60 Space Station 3-D Imax 63,467 116% 8 75,242,680 319
36 31 Leatherheads Uni 60,015 -33% 138 31,199,215 9
37 75 Edge of Heaven Metropole 55,954 129% 9 192,815 5
38 43 The Bank Job Lions Gate 52,959 2% 130 30,028,592 13
39 33 Reprise Miramax 50,720 -40% 14 253,785 3
40 46 The Children of Huang Shi Sony Classice 45,392 6% 17 111,137 2
41 36 Priceless IDP 45,116 -36% 35 1,358,226 10
42 41 La Piege Americain Alliance 43,298 -41% 40 370,394 4
43 30 National Treasure: Book of Secrets BV 37,104 -60% 64 219,932,519 23
44 40 Redbelt Sony Classics 37,019 -33% 41 2,279,073 5
45 62 Dans une galaxie pres de chez vous 2 TVA 36,758 22% 24 1,714,439 7
46 39 Shine a Light Par Vantage 36,460 -49% 17 5,279,073 9
47 New The Foot Fist Way Par Vantage 36,391 4 36,391 1
48 47 The Stone Angel Alliance 36,090 -25% 15 281,500 4
49 64 The Band’s Visit Sony Classics 34,774 26% 42 3,002,385 17
50 53 Deep Sea 3-D WB 34,260 -3% 10 35,397,194 118
51 66 Mama est chez les coiffeurs Equinoxe 34,227 35% 24 503,215 5
52 80 Shutter Fox 34,211 117% 37 25,876,782 11
53 New Bigger, Stronger, Faster Magnolia 31,576 6 31,576 1
54 55 Fugitive Pieces Maximum/IDP 31,386 -7% 26 449,048 5
55 45 The Bucket List WB 29,348 -34% 57 93,452,056 23
56 28 The Spiderwick Chronicles Par 28,058 -76% 53 71,656,162 16
57 98 Emma Smith: My Story Candlelight 27,872 99% 13 532,761 6
58 44 Smart People Miramax 27,367 -46% 48 9,496,882 8
59 54 Flawless Magnolia 26,355 -21% 28 1,146,525 10
60 52 Magnificent Desolation Imax 25,752 -37% 7 23,977,530 140
61 70 Surfwise Magnolia 24,447 14% 9 86,172 4
62 63 Fool’s Gold WB 24,408 -14% 46 70,255,449 17
63 67 Never Back Down Summit 24,389 -21% 8 24,848,292 11
64 68 Roving Mars BV 24,367 -3% 10 8,808,315 123
65 48 My Blueberry Nights Weinstein Co. 23,248 -39% 46 766,989 9
66 New Savage Grace IFC 22,311 2 22,311 1
67 50 War Inc. First Look 19,970 -43% 2 74,474 2
68 69 In Bruges Focus 19,649 -17% 28 7,670,371 17
69 73 Vantage Point Sony 19,363 -9% 23 73,073,540 15
70 49 Under the Same Moon Weinstein Co. 18,618 -49% 41 12,461,368 11
71 34 Bujjigaadu: Made in Chennai Tollywood 18,334 17 133,998 2
Source: MCN/EDI

Estimates – May 30 – June 1, 2008

Title Distributor Gross (average % change * Theaters Cume
Sex and the City WB 56.1 (17,080) 3285 56.1
Indian Jones & Kingdom of Crystal S Par 45.8 (10,740) -54% 4264 216.7
The Strangers Uni 20.6 (8,360) 2466 20.6
Iron Man Par 13.9 (3,810) -32% 3650 276.5
Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian BV 13.1 (3,440) -43% 3801 115.7
What Happens in Vegas Fox 6.9 (2,230) -25% 3086 66.1
Baby Mama Uni 2.2 (1,240) -34% 1784 56.1
Speed Racer WB 2.1 (1,030) -46% 2070 40.6
Made of Honor Sony 2.0 (1,030) -41% 1905 42.9
Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni 1.0 (1,330) -42% 768 60.5
The Visitor Overture .58 (2,150) -20% 270 5.4
Harold & Kumar Escape Guantanam WB .52 (1,100) -44% 474 37
Horton Hears a Who Fox .39 (900) -18% 433 152.6
The Fall Roadside Attract .31 (3,300) 463% 94 .61
Then She Found Me Thinkfilm/TVA .26 (1,820) -32% 143 2.5
Forbidden Kingdom Lions Gate .24 (910) -43% 262 51.7
Nim’s Island Fox .23 (670) -22% 350 46.1
Young@Heart Fox Searchlight .21 (1,080) -34% 197 2.8
Son of Rambow Par Vantage .17 (1,200) -31% 139 1.2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $164.80
% Change (Last Year) 28%
% Change (Last Week) -1%
Also debuting/expanding
The Foot First Way Par Vantage 34,200 (8,550) 4 0.03
Bigger, Stronger, Faster Magnolia 29,700 (4,950) 6 0.03
Savage Grace IFC 22,300 (11,150) 2 0.02
Stuck Thinkfilm 8,400 (4,200) 2 0.01
Wonders are Many Actual 2,150 (2,150) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – To May 29, 2008

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (10) 674.5 19.00%
Fox (12) 567.9 16.00%
Warner Bros. (14) 459.3 12.90%
Sony (14) 377.8 10.60%
Buena Vista (9) 376.2 10.60%
Universal (9) 272.6 7.70%
Lions Gate (8) 202.4 5.70%
Fox Searchlight (5) 149.3 4.20%
Par Vantage (8) 70.8 2.00%
New Line (4) 61.8 1.70%
Focus (4) 59.8 1.70%
Miramax (5) 47.7 1.30%
MGM (9) 46.2 1.30%
Summit (2) 34.8 1.00%
Overture (3) 25.6 0.70%
Other * (146) 126.7 3.60%
3553.4 100.00%

Top Domestic Grossers – To May 22, 2008

Title Distributor Gross
Iron Man Par 232,167,416
Horton Hears a Who Fox 151,451,618
Juno Fox Searchlight 115,528,466
10,000 B.C. WB 94,399,183
The Bucket List WB 92,598,405
National Treasure: Book of Secrets BV 86,509,816
21 Sony 81,310,815
Cloverfield Par 80,048,433
Jumper Fox 79,747,602
27 Dresses Fox 76,799,867
Vantage Point Sony 73,022,962
The Spiderwick Chronicles Par 71,485,087
Alvin and the Chipmunks Fox 70,235,929
Fool’s Gold WB 70,182,818
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian BV 68,045,010
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Concert in 3- BV 65,281,781
Step Up 2: The Streets BV 58,017,783
I Am Legend WB 57,047,856
Forgetting Sarah Marshall Uni 56,528,970
The Forbidden Kingdom Lions Gate 50,802,603
* does not include 2007 box office

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Klady

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“With any character, the way I think about it is, you have the role on the page, you have the vision of the director and you have your life experience… I thought it was one of the foundations of the role for John Wick. I love his grief. For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
~ Keanu Reeves

“I was checking through stuff the other day for technical reasons. I came across The Duellists on Netflix and I was absolutely stunned to see that it was exquisitely graded. So, while I rarely look up my old stuff, I stopped to give it ten minutes. Bugger me, I was there for two hours. I was really fucking pleased with what it was and how the engine still worked within the equation and that engine was the insanity and stupidity of war. War between two men, in that case, who fight on thought they both eventually can’t remember the reason why. It was great, yeah. The great thing about these platforms now is that, one way or another, they’ll seek out and then put out the best possible form and the long form. Frequently, films get cut down because of that curse in which the studio felt or feels that they have to preview. And there’s nothing worse than a preview to diminish the original intent.Oh, yeah, how about every fucking time? And I’ve stewed about films later even more because when you tell the same joke 20 times the joke’s no longer funny. When you tell a bad joke once or twice? It’s fine. But come on, now. Here’s the key on the way I feel when I approach the movie: I try to keep myself as withdrawn from the project as possible once I’ve filmed it. And – this is all key on this – then getting a really excellent editor so I never have to sit in on editing. What happens if you sit in is you become stale and every passage or joke, metaphorically speaking, gets more and more tired. You start cutting it all back because of fatigue. So what you have to do is keep your distance and therefore, in a funny kind of way, you, as the director, should be the preview and that’s it.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott