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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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“We don’t defy the laws of physics: There are no flying men or cars in this movie. So it made sense to do it old-school: real vehicles and real human beings in the desert. We shot the movie more or less in continuity, because the cars and the characters get really banged up along the way. The biggest benefit of digital technology for me was that the cameras were smaller and much more agile, so you could put them anywhere. We also spent a huge amount of time on spatial awareness—making sure the viewer could follow the action and understand what was happening. There has to be a strong causal connection from one shot to the next, just the same way that in music, there has to be a connection from one note to the next. Otherwise it’s just noise. Too often, if you just cram a lot of stuff into the frame, you get the illusion of a fast pace. But there’s no coherence. It doesn’t flow. It comes off as headbanging music, and it can be exhausting. We storyboarded the movie before we had a script: We had 3,500 boards, which helps the cast and crew understand how everything is going to fit together. Movies are getting faster and faster. The Road Warrior had 1,200 cuts. This one has 2,700 cuts. You have to treat it like a symphony.”
~ George Miller

“I was having issues with my script for It’s All About Love, so I called Ingmar Bergman and we ended up talking about everything but the script. He said, “Well, Festen is a masterpiece, so what are you going to do now?” At that point, I had not decided if I was going to make It’s All About Love, so I answered, “Hmmm, I don’t know. Maybe this, maybe that.” There was just a long pause, and then he said, “You’re fucked.” I said, “Well, how can you know?” “Well, Thomas, you always have to decide your next movie before the movie you’re doing presently opens.” And I said, “Why is that?” “Well, two things can happen. One thing is that you fail, and then you’ll feel scared and humiliated. It’ll get into your head. Second, and even worse, you have success, and then you’ll want more of it, or you’ll want to maintain it. But if you decide on your next film while you’re in the middle of editing, it becomes a very nonchalant choice. And then it’s shorter from the heart to the hand.”
~ Thomas Vinterberg

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