MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Box Office Report – November 14

Take the A Train

The animated Megamind with an estimated gross of $29.9 million again topped the weekend viewing charts despite a trio of new contenders in the marketplace. Second on the rails was the kinetic Unstoppable with $23.2 million while the District 9 homage Skyline slotted fourth with $11.5 million and echoes of Broadcast News in Morning Glory netted $9.4 million.

However, rather than a juggernaut weekend revenues experienced a dip both from last weekend and 2009 box office.

Unstoppable, loosely based on a less spectacular true life incident of a runaway train, hewed more closely to celluloid antecedents including Speed and Bullet Train and arrived at the station pretty much on commercial schedule. It curiously appeared to lack the momentum to truly engage an audience … at least to turn out in droves for opening weekend.

Similarly Skyline, returning to the well of a hostile alien invasion, fell between the cracks of a B movie programmer and a studio effects extravaganza. Industry trackers predicted a $20 million opening that proved overly optimistic.

Also overvalued was Morning Glory, a gentle send up of morning news shows with Amy Adams stepping into Holly Hunter’s well-worn pumps that was expected to gross in the mid-teens. It jump started the weekend with a Wednesday opening that provided a $2.6 million head start. But tepid reviewers and the presence of old vets in supporting roles failed to pump up the volume.

Weekend revenues pushed toward $125 million and a 20% slide from seven days earlier. It was also 13% off last year’s pace when the opening of the animated A Christmas Carol led the field with a commanding $65.2 million.

The session was light on new niche releases with the non-fiction Cool It rather frigid with a $640 average at 41 venues. More encouraging was the solo screen bow of mumble core comedy Tiny Furniture that rendered $20,500.

Bucking the trend of fast fading awards contenders, 127 Hours boosted it sophomore session by upping its theater count from four to 22 venues and maintained close to a $21,000 screen average. Fair Game also expanded with appropriately adverbial results of almost a $5,900 average from 175 screens.

The frame posted few sunny returns with many of the marketplace stalwarts taking sharp hits and new entries lacking the stamina to make up the difference. The industry is collectively crossing its fingers that the Harry Potter finale (Part I) and Thanksgiving entrees will provide a reversal of fortunes.

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Weekend Estimates – November 12-14, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theas Cume
Megamind Par 29.9 (7,580) 3949 -35% 89.6
Unstoppable Fox 23.2 (7,230) 3207 NEW 23.2
Due Date WB 15.6 (4,630) 3365 -52% 59.1
Skyline Uni 11.5 (4,010) 2880 NEW 11.5
Morning Glory Par 9.4 (3,750) 2518 NEW 12.1
For Colored Girls …  Lions Gate 6.6 (3,110) 2127 -64% 30.8
Red  Summit 5.1 (1,780) 2878 -41% 79.8
Paranormal Activity 2 Par 3.0 (1,260) 2403 -57% 82
Saw 3D Lions Gate 2.8 (1,420) 1976 -64% 43.5
Jackass 3D Par 2.3 (1,420) 1607 -54% 114.7
Secretariat BV 2.2 (1,050) -45% 2109 54.8
The Social Network Sony 1.7 (1,590) -50% 1088 87.8
Hereafter WB 1.3 (790) -67% 1691 31.5
Life As We Know It WB 1.3 (1,030) -59% 1239 50.7
Fair Game Summit 1.0 (5,880) 58% 175 1.9
Conviction Fox Searchlight .59 (1,200) -64% 493 6
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Music Box/Alliance .52 (2,570) -30% 202 2.8
127 Hours Searchlight .46 (20,980) 75% 22 0.8
The Town WB .44 (1,170) -62% 375 90.6
Inside Job Sony Classics .42 (1,670) 58% 252 1.5
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $118.00      
% Change (Last Year)   -13%      
% Change (Last Week)   -20%      
Also debuting/expanding
Cool It Roadside Attract. 26,300 (640)   41 0.03
Tiny Furniture IFC 20,500 (20,500)   1 0.02
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) Cohen Media 8,200 (4,100) 2% 2 0.02

 

Domestic Market Share – January 1 – November 11, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (26) 1513.7 16.70%
Paramount (18) 1502.4 16.50%
Fox (16) 1291.6 14.20%
Buena Vista (15) 1170.2 12.90%
Sony (23) 1156.9 12.70%
Universal (17) 776.8 8.50%
Summit (11) 500.8 5.50%
Lions Gate (14) 478.8 5.30%
Overture (7) 81.5 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (6) 78.8 0.90%
Focus (7) 75.1 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 62.4 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 56.4 0.60%
MGM (1) 51.2 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (287) 237.1 2.60%
* none greater than .04% 9083.7 100.00%

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“By the time the sounds of the Von Trapp children warbling ‘Silent Night’ drift through The Giver, you may find yourself wondering what fresh movie hell this is. In truth, the enervating hash of dystopian dread, vague religiosity and commercial advertising-style uplift is nothing if not stale. Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.”
~ Manohla Dargis’ Deadly Lede For Review Of The Giver

“It’s possible that in the coming days or, God forbid, weeks, the president could have something more specific to say about the freighted decades-long history of political imbalance at work, in this case between a mostly black working-class town and its majority white government and police force. But this is a black man who must choose his words about race, governance, and law enforcement even more carefully than a white politician would. And this is the third summer in which, as president, he would have to do so…

“Until this point in the turmoil, the absence of the crucial second face in the incident seemed to heighten the distance between police and the people they serve. It grants them both an anonymity and autonomy that matches the bizarre transformation, in Ferguson and elsewhere, of police into troops. The riot gear turns 2014 into a dot on a Jim Crow–era timeline. Since the officer’s name wasn’t made public more immediately, it should have seemed urgent for the police to lose the riot attire and take steps to minimize distrust, to dispel the contagious assumption that silence equates racism…

“What is so affecting isn’t just that 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed when he was barely a man. It’s other things as well. One was how many reports of the incident that first day mentioned that he was about to start college. That’s a rite that’s universally emotional. But for a black male from a poor family, the first day of college is a freighted day that usually requires the sacrifice of more than one person. Black people know the odds of getting to and graduating from college, and that they’re low. That Brown seemed to be on the right path compounded the parental, local, and national outrage over his being wiped from it.”

~ Wesley Morris On Let’s Be Cops, The Shooting In Ferguson, Obama…