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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Klady

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton