MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Diary of a Wimpy Weekend

March 21 , 2010


There was good response for national freshmen releases Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Bounty Hunter but the third weekend of Alice in Wonderland prevailed at the top of the box office with an estimated $34.6 million. Diary, based on the teen lit favorite, ranked second with $22.1 million; followed by a $20.9 million Bounty bounty.

Repo Men, the third national opener, pretty much flamed out with a $6.1 million debut.

The floodgates opened for limited, regional and exclusive entries. The bygone rock opus The Runaways garnered fair results of $770,000 from 244 gigs. In Canada, The comic culinary Cooking with Stella simmered to $31,600 at 13 kitchens while the concert musical Neil Young Trunk Show was far from S.R.O. with $22,400 from 12 bandstands.

The weekend standout in the niches was Swedish import Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, the first of a thriller trilogy. The film engraved a screen average of $10,370 from 32 locations. A global phenomenon, the first entry grossed more than $2 million in Quebec last year and an additional $85 million internationally to date.

Other exclusives with heat included the offbeat Greenberg with $118,000 from three screens and the warmity City Island that generated $32,700 at two venues. There was also momentum for a pair of Italian imports — Vincere with $18,800 on two screens and a $9,300 Manhattan solo for Mid-August Lunch.

The Imax doc Hubble 3D bowed on 39 institutional sites with excellent returns of $440,000.

Overall ticket sales pushed to roughly $127 million that amounted to a 15% decline from seven days past. It was 22% stronger than the 2009 comparable when the incoming trio of Knowing, I Love You Man and Duplicity entered with respective grosses of $24.6 million, $17.8 million and $14 million.

Both Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Bounty Hunter debuted roughly to industry expectation though the latter was believed to have a slight edge. In the end audiences perceived Bounty as more rom-com than actioner and lost a chunk of the young male crowd. However, that attrition appeared to provide little benefit to Repo Men, which was predicted to gross about $10 million.

Last weekend’s freshmen quartet generally experienced 50% plus casualties and that was particularly battering for Green Zone. Slightly sturdier was She’s Out of My League, though it hardly shapes up as a breakout comedy.

And the vestiges of Oscar are disappearing fast. Avatar admittedly was taking its biggest loss from the loss of 3D venues while the likes of The Hurt Locker, The Blind Side and Crazy Heart received an immediate boost (not that The Blind Side required a second wind) that has rapidly dissipated.

-by Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates: March 19-21, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Alice in Wonderland BV 34.6 (9,250) -45% 3739 265.9
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Fox 22.1 (7,170) New 3077 22.1
The Bounty Hunter Sony 20.9 (6,810) New 3074 20.9
Repo Men Uni 6.1 (2,420) New 2521 6.1
Green Zone Uni 5.9 (1,980) -58% 3004 24.7
She’s Out of My League Par 5.9 (1,980) -40% 2958 19.8
Shutter Island Par 4.8 (1,760) -42% 2704 115.8
Avatar Fox 3.9 (3,180) -40% 1236 736.8
Our Family Wedding Fox Searchlight 3.8 (2,340) -51% 1609 13.6
Remember Me Summit 3.3 (1,500) -59% 2212 14
The Ghost Writer Summit 2.0 (2,470) 39% 819 6.7
Brooklyn’s Finest Overture 1.6 (1,230) -54% 1311 24.8
The Crazies Overture 1.5 (1,010) -59% 1495 36.4
Cop Out WB 1.4 (910) -67% 1563 42.6
Crazy Heart Fox Searchlight 1.3 (1,150) -56% 1154 36.4
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 1.3 (970) -57% 1348 85
The Blind Side WB .83 (1,380) -48% 602 254.3
The Runaways Apparition .77 (3,160) New 244 0.77
Hubble 3D WB .44 (11,330) New 39 0.44
Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox .41 (1,080) -11% 380 218.7
The Hurt Locker Summit .39 (1,440) -58% 273 16.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $122.00
% Change (Last Year) 22%
% Change (Last Week) -15%
Also debuting/expanding
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box .33 (10,370) New 32 0.33
A Prophet Sony Classics .16 (2,550) -30% 62 1.04
Greenberg Focus .18 (39,270) New 3 0.18
Mother Magnolia 50,300 (2,960) 40% 17 0.1
City Island Anchor Bay 32,700 (16,350) New 2 0.03
Cooking with Stella Mongrel 31,600 (2,430) New 13 0.03
Neil Young Trunk Show Shakey 22,400 (1,870) New 12 0.02
Vincere IFC 18,800 (9,400) New 2 0.02
The Red Baron Monterey 12,900 (1,080)

New

12 0.01
Mid-August Lunch Zeitgeist 9,300 (9,300) New 1 0.01
See What I’m Saying Worldplay 5,100 (5,100) New 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share: January 1 – March 18, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Fox (5) 690.1 29.70%
Warner Bros. (10) 464.1 20.00%
Buena Vista (5) 295.3 12.70%
Paramount (5) 218.7 9.40%
Universal (6) 179.8 7.70%
Sony (10) 132.2 5.70%
Lionsgate (5) 86.9 3.70%
Overture (5) 59.2 2.60%
Fox Searchlight (3) 48.4 2.10%
Weinstein Co. (4) 34.4 1.50%
Summit (5) 30.9 1.30%
Sony Classics (7) 22.1 1.00%
CBS Films (1) 12.5 0.50%
Other * (81) 49.8 2.10%
2324.4 100.00%

Top Domestic Releases – January 1 – March 14, 2010

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 448,956,762
Alice in Wonderland BV 231,243,668
Shutter Island Par 111,014,632
Valentine’s Day WB 109,476,616
Sherlock Holmes * WB 105,360,425
Alvin & the Chipmunks: Squeakquel * Fox 97,535,916
The Book of Eli WB 93,875,054
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 83,670,296
Dear John Sony/Alliance 79,005,278
It’s Complicated * Uni 72,105,040
The Wolfman Uni 61,623,250
The Tooth Fairy Fox 57,697,442
The Blind Side * WB 56,932,927
Up in the Air * Par 49,912,345
The Lovely Bones * Par 43,709,823
Edge of Darkness WB 43,052,908
Cop Out WB 41,154,113
Legion Sony 40,112,294
The Crazies Overture 34,907,940
Crazy Heart * Fox Searchlight 34,556,286

* does not include 2009 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