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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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas