MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

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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“We now have a situation where audiences very often prefer commercial trash to Bergman’s Persona or Bresson’s L’Argent. Professionals find themselves shrugging, and predicting that serious, significant works will have no success with the general public. What is the explanation? Decline of taste or impoverishment of repertoire? Neither and both. It is simply that cinema now exists, and is evolving, under new conditions. That total, enthralling impression which once overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s was explained by the universal delight of those who were witnessing and rejoicing over the birth of a new art form, which furthermore had recently acquired sound. By the very fact of its existence this new art, which displayed a new kind of wholeness, a new kind of image, and revealed hitherto unexplored areas of reality, could not but astound its audiences and turn them into passionate enthusiasts.

Less than twenty years now separate us from the twenty-first century. In the course of its existence, through its peaks and troughs, cinema has travelled a long and tortuous path. The relationship that has grown up between artistic films and the commercial cinema is not an easy one, and the gulf between the two becomes wider every day. Nonetheless, films are being made all the time that are undoubtedly landmarks in the history of cinema. Audiences have become more discerning in their attitude to films. Cinema as such long ago ceased to amaze them as a new and original phenomenon; and at the same time it is expected to answer a far wider range of individual needs. Audiences have developed their likes and dislikes. That means that the filmmaker in turn has an audience that is constant, his own circle. Divergence of taste on the part of audiences can be extreme, and this is in no way regrettable or alarming; the fact that people have their own aesthetic criteria indicates a growth of self-awareness.

Directors are going deeper into the areas which concern them. There are faithful audiences and favorite directors, so that there is no question of thinking in terms of unqualified success with the public—that is, if one is talking about cinema not as commercial entertainment but as art. Indeed, mass popularity suggests what is known as mass culture, and not art.”
~ Andrei Tarkovsky, “Sculpting In Time”

“People seem to be watching [fewer] movies, which I think is a mistake on people’s parts, and they seem to be making more of them, which I think is okay. Some of these movies are very good. When you look at the quality of Sundance movies right now, they are a lot better than they were when I was a kid. I do think that there have been improvements artistically, but it’s tough. We’ve got a system that’s built for less movies in terms of how many curatorial standard-bearers we have in the states. It’s time for us to expand our ideas of where we find our great films in America, but that said, it’s a real hustle. I’m so happy that Factory 25 exists. If it didn’t exist, there would be so many movies that wouldn’t ever get distributed because Matt Grady is the only person who has seen the commercial potential in them. He’s preserving a very special moment in independent film history that the commercial system is not going to be preserving. He’s figuring out how to make enough money on it to save these films and get them onto people’s shelves.”
~ Homemakers‘ Colin Healey On Indie Distribution