MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Suburban Crawl

The debut of Lakeview Terrace was the idyll of choice for weekend movie goers as it grossed an estimated $15.4 million. Three other films bowed in the current session including the Dane Cook comedy My Best Friend’s Girl that ranked third with $8.3 million and the family animated offering Igor that opened to $7.6 million. Another comedy, the fanciful Ghost Town, eked out a disappointing $5 million.

The competition among new films in limited release was equally fierce though noticeably more vibrant. Platforms for a couple of freshman established solid foundations. The western Appaloosa shot off $262,000 for a panoramic $18,290 theater average while the period drama The Duchess generated a $26,000 average from seven exposures. The politically charged Battle in Seattle posted an OK $45,300 gross from seven outposts and the ecological documentary Walking on Dead Fish smelled like a rose with $9,100 from a single fishery. However there was no feel good for the family warmityHounddog that posted $12,600 in 11 kennels.

Overall business came up shy of $90 million to inch bank 12% from seven days earlier. It was also 7% behind 2007 when the launches of Resident Evil: Extinction and Good Luck Chuck (another from the Dane Clark canon) led the pack with respective grosses of $23.7 million and $13.6 million.

Comparative box office for the year to date shows revenues just barely better from last year by 0.2% and not trending for improvement. A recent survey conducted by MovieTickets.com asked how/whether current economic conditions was affecting personal movie going habits and found that 36% of respondents said it had no effect. Conversely 64% replied with “noticeably” or “drastically.”

That cautious majority was clearly in evidence with a quartet of new films that lacked obvious or boasted only modest audience magnets. In a healthier environment one would expect Lakeview Terrace to bow closer to $20 million while My Best Friend’s Girl and Igor would be tracking between $10 million and $12 million. The slim margins amount to the difference between maintaining a consistent audience and experiencing the slow death by a thousand cuts.

Despite generally positive response for Appaloosa, the folks at Warners remained somewhat unconvinced modern audiences were willing to get back in the saddle for a western. Opening numbers exceeded expectations and a second wave will flow out Oct. 3 with the possibility of a few additional theaters added in existing markets next weekend.

Warners also sent out the news that the 3D portion of Journey to the Center of the Earth had become the top stereoscopic box office champ with $65.5 million of its $99.1 million tally coming from those engagements. Figures for the 1953 House of Wax were unavailable but if an estimated $5 million holds the horror classic would handily retain the crown adjusted by admissions.

– Leonard Klady


Weekend Finals – September 19-21, 2008

Title Distrib Weekend % Change Theaters Cume Wks
1 New Lakeview Terrace Sony 15,004,672 2464 15,004,672 1
2 1 Burn After Reading Focus 11,028,257 -42% 2657 36,135,221 2
3 New My Best Friend’s Girl Lions Gate 8,265,357 2604 8,265,357 1
4 New Igor MGM 7,803,347 2339 7,803,347 1
5 3 Righteous Kill Overture 7,424,479 -54% 3152 28,534,233 2
6 2 The Family That Preys Lions Gate 7,271,899 -58% 2070 28,128,159 2
7 4 The Women Picturehouse 5,417,779 2995 19,321,011 2
8 New Ghost Town Par 5,012,315 -46% 1505 5,012,315 1
9 7 The Dark Knight WB 2,915,174 -29% 1905 521,890,027 10
10 6 The House Bunny Sony 2,662,650 -36% 2675 45,587,131 5
11 5 Tropic Thunder Par 2,556,241 -39% 2333 106,805,722 6
12 12 Mamma Mia! Uni 1,046,575 -43% 1121 141,192,290 10
13 10 Death Race Uni 1,036,105 -50% 1240 34,918,855 5
14 15 Vicky Christina Barcelona MGM 951,512 -25% 637 19,394,888 6
15 9 Traitor Overture 946,744 -56% 1407 22,372,692 4
16 8 Bangkok Dangerous Lions Gate 844,608 -67% 1349 14,535,371 3
17 14 Fly Me to the Moon Summit 776,759 -48% 662 11,005,828 6
18 16 Journey to the Center of the Earth WB 768,325 -32% 675 99,096,933 11
19 11 Babylon A.D. Fox 754,936 -59% 1013 21,709,956 4
20 13 Disaster Movie Lions Gate 660,627 -58% 971 13,600,376 4
21 17 Pineapple Express Sony 500,726 -54% 550 86,974,352 7
22 18 Mirrors Fox 455,368 -49% 584 29,853,320 6
23 20 The Mummy: Tomb of Dragon Emperor Uni 399,855 -41% 494 102,176,165 8
24 19 Star Wars: The Clone Wars WB 393,460 -55% 688 34,477,361 6
25 24 Get Smart WB 312,051 -21% 306 129,472,725 14
26 22 Wall-E BV 310,469 -43% 435 220,503,606 13
27 21 The Longshots MGM 264,765 -56% 502 11,088,628 5
28 New Appaloosa WB 248,847 14 248,847 1
29 26 Kung Fu Panda Par 248,524 -26% 338 214,949,523 16
30 27 Hancock Sony 248,213 -25% 300 228,727,176 12
31 28 Elegy IDP 203,570 -24% 134 3,070,308 7
32 23 Step Brothers Sony 202,214 -51% 258 100,468,793 9
33 New The Duchess Par Vantage 190,426 7 190,426 1
34 33 Tell No One Music Box 178,845 7% 99 5,268,195 12
35 31 Space Chimps Fox 178,712 -8% 303 29,613,818 10
36 32 Transsiberian First Look 146,253 -12% 124 1,798,213 10
37 25 Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 WB 143,344 -63% 330 43,757,474 7
38 34 Frozen River Sony Classics 133,494 -18% 96 1,760,310 8
39 30 Indiana Jones & Kingdom of Crystal Sk Par 127,737 -37% 206 316,670,320 18
40 35 Man on Wire Magnolia 119,484 -24% 93 2,232,828 9
31 29 Bottle Shock FreeStyle 113,301 -48% 134 3,846,206 7
32 40 Hellboy II: The Golden Army Uni 81,021 -22% 148 75,872,806 11
33 62 For the First Time ABS 77,274 193% 5 150,537 4
34 36 Mera Pind Adlabs 71,264 -48% 23 489,229 3
35 50 Towelhead WB 64,365 22% 18 137,817 2
36 44 I Served the King of England Sony Classics 60,972 -24% 38 345,126 4
37 41 Iron Man Par 59,037 -38% 124 318,219,154 21
38 43 Wanted Uni 58,775 -29% 121 134,385,900 13
39 47 Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure nWave 56,991 -5% 45 18,968,324 51
50 42 The Rocker Fox 48,669 -41% 128 6,339,401 5
51 New Battle in Seattle FreeStyle 46,903 8 46,903 1
52 45 Swing Vote BV 41,452 -40% 123 16,098,516 8
53 56 A Secret Strand 41,422 3% 8 157,702 3
54 65 Beer for My Horses Roadside Attract. 40,062 67% 74 586,242 7
55 76 The Wackness Sony Classics 39,893 135% 42 2,022,846 12
56 63 Trouble the Water Zeitgeist 37,375 51% 14 238,591 5
57 73 When Did You Last See Your Father Sony Classics 36,624 100% 39 1,017,623 16
58 46 Dolphins and Whales 3-D 3D Entertainment 34,279 -49% 13 4,703,190 32
59 39 Hamlet 2 Focus 31,252 -72% 56 4,857,521 5
60 51 Brideshead Revisited Miramax 30,551 -40% 75 6,414,563 9
61 60 A Girl Cut in Two IFC 28,839 -5% 16 222,089 6
62 64 Deep Sea 3-D WB 26,885 9% 8 36,334,515 134
63 49 Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis Link 26,745 -50% 29 1,385,021 11
64 38 College MGM 25,084 -78% 70 4,659,477 2
65 83 FLOW: For Love of Water Oscilloscope 24,876 50% 10 52,249 5
66 54 Rock On Adlabs 24,613 -41% 20 328,905 4
67 57 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Picturehouse 24,126 -38% 84 17,614,805 14
68 52 Il y a longtemps que je t’aime Metropole 24,100 -49% 10 94,939 2
69 71 U2 3D nWave 22,965 25% 6 9,494,745 35
70 59 Ce qu’il fait pour vivre Seville 22,438 -27% 14 192,118 4
71 67 The Children of Huang Shi Sony Classics 21,596 -6% 24 940,035 18
72 RE The Flyboys DarkCoast 20,144 17 101,473 6
73 79 Magnificent Desolation Imax 19,084 15% 3 25,778,102 157
74 53 Brick Lane Sony Classics 18,950 -55% 23 1,049,379 14
75 66 X-Files: I Want to Believe Fox 18,642 -21% 50 20,959,743 9
76 58 You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Sony 17,059 -56% 59 100,108,011 16
Source: MCN/EDI

Estimates – September 19-21, 2008

Title Distributor Gross (avera % chang Theater Cume
Lakeview Terrace Sony 15.4 (6,260) 2464 15.4
Burn After Reading Focus 11.4 (4,310) -40% 2657 36.5
My Best Friend’s Girl Lions Gate 8.3 (3,200) 2604 8.3
Igor MGM 7.6 (3,230) 2339 7.6
Righteous Kill Overture 7.5 (2,390) -54% 3152 28.6
The Family That Preys Lions Gate 7.1 (3,420) -59% 2070 27.9
The Women Picturehouse 5.6 (1,880) -44% 2995 19.5
Ghost Town Par 5.0 (3,300) 1505 5
The Dark Knight WB 2.9 (1,510) -30% 1905 521.8
The House Bunny Sony 2.7 (1,020) -34% 2675 45.6
Tropic Thunder Par 2.6 (1,110) -38% 2333 106.8
Mamma Mia! Uni 1.1 (950) -42% 1121 141.2
Death Race Uni 1.0 (800) -52% 1240 34.9
Vicky Christina Barcelona MGM 1.0 (1,540) -23% 637 19.4
Traitor Overture .96 (680) -55% 1407 22.4
Bangkok Dangerous Lions Gate .82 (610 -68% 1349 14.5
Journey to the Center of the Earth WB .79 (1,170) -30% 675 99.1
Fly Me to the Moon Summit .77 (1,160) -48% 662 11
Babylon A.D. Fox .73 (720) -61% 1013 21.7
Disaster Movie Lions Gate .62 (640) -60% 971 13.6
Pinapple Express Sony .51 (930) -54% 550 87
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $84.40
% Change (Last Year) -7%
% Change (Last Week) -12%
Also debuting/expanding
Appaloosa WB .26 (18,290) 14 0.26
The Duchess Par Vantage .18 (26,000) 7 0.18
Battle in Seattle Redwood Pal 45,300 (6,470) 7 0.05
Hounddog Empire 12,600 (1,150) 11 0.01
Walking on Dead Fish Variance 9,100 (9,100) 1 0.01
A Thousand Years of Good Prayer Magnolia 8,300 (4,150) 2 0.01
Elite Squad IFC 3,400 (3,400) 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share – To September 18, 2008

Distributor (releases) Gross Mrkt Share
Warner Bros. (21) 1444.8 20.30%
Paramount (13) 1227.5 17.20%
Universal (16) 952.5 13.40%
Sony (19) 944.1 13.30%
Fox (19) 777.2 10.90%
Buena Vista (11) 653.6 9.20%
Lions Gate (12) 251.8 3.50%
Fox Searchlight (5) 150.9 2.10%
Focus (6) 89.9 1.30%
MGM (12) 80.4 1.10%
Overture (6) 74.6 1.00%
Paramount Vantage (10) 72.9 1.00%
New Line (4) 61.8 0.90%
Miramax (6) 54.5 0.80%
Picturehouse (6) 50.2 0.70%
Summit (3) 45.1 0.60%
Other * (244) 194.9 2.70%
* none greater than 0.4% 7126.7 100.00%

Top Domestic Releases – To September 18, 2008

Title Distributor Gross
The Dark Knight WB 969,262,113
Indiana Jones & Kingdom of the Crystal Sk Par 783,416,087
Kung Fu Panda Par 620,553,019
Hancock Sony 607,422,907
Iron Man Par/Marvel 573,249,389
Mamma Mia! Uni 461,283,402
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian BV 418,872,068
Wall-E BV 411,855,266
Sex and the City WB/New Line 405,843,671
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Uni 374,627,514
Horton Hears a Who Fox 295,162,019
Wanted Uni 294,804,462
I Am Legend * WB 270,507,723
10,000 B.C. WB 269,309,372
National Treasure: Book of Secrets * BV 263,704,304
The Incredible Hulk Uni/Marvel 261,968,156
Get Smart WB 222,342,385
What Happens in Vegas Fox 218,249,765
Bienvenue chez les Ch’tiis Pathe 212,996,121
Jumper Fox 212,990,344
Juno * Fox/Mandate 202,277,219
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Sony 186,415,047
The Bucket List WB 173,937,499
Alvin and the Chipmunks * Fox 172,869,569
Journey to the Center of the Earth WB/New Line 165,981,897
* does not include 2007 box office

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Klady

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“I remember very much the iconography and the images and the statues in church were very emotional for me. Just the power of that, and even still — just seeing prayer card, what that image can evoke. I have a lot of friends that are involved in the esoteric, and I know some girls in New York that are also into the supernatural. I don’t feel that I have that gift. But I am leaning towards mysticism… Maybe men are more practical, maybe they don’t give into that as much… And then also, they don’t convene in the same way that women do. But I don’t know, I am not a man, I don’t want to speak for men. For me, I tend to gravitate towards people who are open to those kinds of things. And the idea for my film, White Echo, I guess stemmed from that — I find that the girls in New York are more credible. What is it about the way that they communicate their ideas with the supernatural that I find more credible? And that is where it began. All the characters are also based on friends of mine. I worked with Refinery29 on that film, and found that they really invest in you which is so rare in this industry.”
Chloë Sevigny

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier