MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: March 27, 2011

Burger King

Rodrick indeed ruled as Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 trumped fellow debutante Sucker Punch to take the weekend box office crown with an estimated $24.5 million. The visually bombastic head game Sucker settled in the second slot with $19.2 million.

The session was chock-a-block with entries in limited and exclusive debuts. The inspirational sports-themed The 5th Quarter proved to be a low scorer with $208,000 tally from 123 courts while in Canada the local vigilante carnage of Hobo With a Shotgun blew away $168,000 at 47 box cars. Also in Canada, Brit import West is West (following up on East is East) compassed to $39,800 from 17 venues.

Exclusives saw good results for the controversial Palestine-set Miral of $65,600 from four screens and $84,300 at seven locales for French comedy Potiche. Also Gallic, animated prize winner Mia and the Migoo rang up $16,400 from a single reported engagement.

Weekend revenues topped $120 million for a slim 5% boost from seven days earlier and sank a further 7% from the 2010 comparable. A year ago the bow of How to Train Your Dragon led with $43.7 million and newcomer Hot Tub Time Machine slotted third with $14 million.

With only a single weekend bettering last year’s record, Q1 domestic box office is running an alarming 23% behind 2010. That’s a lot of catching up to do and certainly a daunting challenge to generate comparable admission stats.

Tracking pegged the weekend as an easy win for Sucker Punch with pundits convinced young males would propel the slightly salacious fantasy of young femme warriors to low to mid-$20 million box office. Indeed exit polling showed the audience as 64% male and 45% under the age of 25. A further 29% were aged 26 to 35 and should those kind of demos continue as they have this year, the summer tentpoles won’t be quite at the level of past seasonal fare.

The second installment of kid lit fave Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules was pegged to gross between $18 million to $22 million, or at the high end slightly less than what the first episode grossed its opening weekend. Rather it bettered the original by 11% with males edging out females with a 51% slice if the audience. The target audience of youth and families resulted in a crowd comprised 59% under the age of 25. Mars Needs Moms notwithstanding, pictures aimed at the very youngest movie goers have been least effected by viewing declines in 2011.

The other resilient audience segment has been plus 25 women and this weekend that translated into strong holds for the likes of The Lincoln Lawyer and The Adjustment Bureau. As for the elusive four quadrant movie, the only evidence of its existence in Q1 was True Grit.

Weekend Estimates

Weekend (estimates)
March 25 – 27, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (average) % change Theaters Cume
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! Fox 24.5 (7,730) NEW 3167 24.5
Sucker Punch WB 19.2 (6,340) NEW 3033 19.2
Limitless Relativity 15.2 (5,410) -20% 2805 41.2
The Lincoln Lawyer Lions Gate 10.7 (3,960) -19% 2707 28.7
Rango Par 9.9 (2,710) -35% 3645 106.4
Paul Uni 7.5 (2,660) -43% 2806 24.6
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 7.4 (2,370) -49% 3118 72.4
Red Riding Hood WB 4.3 (1,570) -41% 2715 32.4
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 4.2 (1,840) -27% 2282 54.8
Mars Needs Moms BV 2.2 (1,000) -59% 2170 19.1
Beastly CBS 2.1 (1,350) -33% 1585 25.3
Hall Pass WB 1.7 (1,400) -35% 1204 42.3
The King’s Speech TWC 1.6 (1,480) -23% 1062 134.9
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 1.5 (1,080) -36% 1364 95.8
Just Go With It Sony 1.5 (1,330) -34% 1116 100.2
Jane Eyre Focus .96 (10,670) 106% 90 1.9
Unknown WB .62 (900) -51% 688 62.2
Tangled BV .52 (1,730) -16% 301 198.5
I Am Number 4 BV .48 (940) -52% 512 53.5
Win Win Searchlight .46 (20,040) 207% 23 0.67
Cedar Rapids Searchlight .41 (1,200) -22% 342 6.1
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Fox .37 (910) -48% 406 36.9
Of Gods and Men SPC .35 (2,960) 26% 120 2
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $115.60      
% Change (Last Year)   -7%      
% Change (Last Week)   5%      
Also debuting/expanding          
The Fifth Quarter Rocky Mtn .21 (1,690)   123 0.21
Hobo With a Shotgun Alliance .17 (3,570)   47 0.17
Kill the Irishman Anchor Bay .14 (3,440) 1% 41 0.5
Potiche Music Box 84,300 (10,540)   7 0.08
Miral TWC 65,600 (16,400)   4 0.07
West is West D Film 39,800 (2,340)   17 0.04
Winter in Wartime SPC 26,200 (3,270) 75% 8 0.05
White Irish Drinkers ScrnMedia 17,900 (2,980)   6 0.02
Jaloux Seville 17,700 (2,210)   8 0.02
Mia and the Migoo Gkids 16,400 (16,400)   1 0.02
My Perestroika INFC 14,600 (14,600)   1 0.01
Catch Me I’m in Love ABS 6,200 (6,200)   1 0.01
Peep World IFC 5,800 (1,940)   3 0.01
Bal (Honey) Olive 4,300 (4,300)   1 0.01
Domestic Market share
(Jan. 1 – March 24, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share      
Paramount (9) 393.3 20.20%      
Sony (10) 352.5 18.10%      
Buena Vista (6) 246.8 12.60%      
Warner Bros. (13) 227.2 11.60%      
Universal (7) 204.5 10.50%      
Weinstein Co. (3) 129.3 6.60%      
Fox (5) 86.1 4.40%      
Fox Searcchlight (4) 79.5 4.10%      
Relativity (4) 57.8 3.00%      
CBS (3) 52.6 2.70%      
Lions Gate (6) 23.5 1.20%      
Focus (3) 21.9 1.10%      
eOne/Seville (7) 13.9 0.70%      
Summit (3) 12.2 0.60%      
Sony Classics (5) 11.1 0.60%      
Other * (83) 38.3 2.00%      
  1950.5 100.00%      

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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