MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report: April 10, 2011

The Best That You Can Do is …

Audiences continued to Hop to it as the animated Easter eggs-travaganza topped weekend tickets sales with an eggs-timated $21.6 million. The film bounded well ahead of a quarter of new national releases that saw the remake of Arthur and the distaff thriller Hanna competing for the second slot with the former squeaking ahead by about 200k with a $12.5 million tally. The inspirational Soul Surfer bowed to $10.9 million and the tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler Your Highness swiped $9.5 million.

Among the new niche releases were the non-fiction nature study Born to Be Wild with $820,000 from 206 cages (194 in 3D) and the Mexican comedy No Eres Tu, Soy Yo that grossed $530,000 at 226 venues. Bollywood entry Thank You failed to revivify that sector with a $253,000 bow from 92 engagements.

Exclusives this weekend saw a couple of glimmers of hope including the minimalist western Meek’s Cut Off with $19,800 at two screens. Solo outings for docs Blank City on Manhattan’s early Punk scene and American: The Bill Hicks Story profiling the late comic genius respectively rang up $10,600 and $6,400 in ducats.

The frame’s overall tally generated roughly $118 million and slipped 5% behind last weekend’s biz. It was a slightly more severe 7% lag from 2010 when the second weekend of Clash of the Titans led with $26.6 million; edging out the $25.2 million gross for newcomer Date Night.

Hopes weren’t particularly high for any of the quartet of newcomers with Arthur given the best prospects that ranged from $12 million to $18 million. Your Highness was also overestimated with pundits pegging its bow somewhere between $11 million to $15 million. Conversely the mavens viewed Hanna’s topmost performance at $10 million with similar expectations for Soul Surfer that proved to be accurate.

Hanna’s strength largely came from unexpected response from males that composed slightly more than half of its audience. Soul Surfer drew a resounding 80% female crowd and was the only one of the four new films that had a majority under 25 demographic with 56%. Arthur was 64% older, Your Highness was 55% dominated by plus 25s and Hanna was at the high end with 69%.

The shift so far this year to an older set of ticket buyers has largely been cited as a reflection of weak product though one can hardly imagine what aspect of such films as Sucker Punch or Drive Angry could possibly draw a mature buyer to the multiplex. The industry mantra is that younger male avids will be back in force come May when the summer tentpole fun rides are unleashed.

What appears to have stumped the pundits is what exactly are these bulwarks of movie going doing during this apparent hiatus? No one appears to have done surveys that might indicate whether a trend exists or if there’s an absence of a conclusive shift to other activities. Regardless, no one believes this segment is staying at home and exercising their fast food options. So, clearly the new VoD initiatives are directed toward them and their involvement in the movie experience remains vital to the industry’s health and welfare.

Weekend (estimates)
April 8 – 10, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Theaters Cume
Hop Uni 21.6 (5,980) -42% 3616 68.1
Arthur WB 12.5 (3,810) NEW 3276 12.5
Hanna Focus 12.3 (4,850) NEW 2535 12.3
Soul Surfer Sony 10.9 (4,910) NEW 2214 10.9
Insidious Film District 9.8 (4,060) -26% 2419 27.2
Your Highness Uni 9.5 (3,420) NEW 2769 9.5
Source Code Summit 9.0 (3,040) -39% 2971 28.6
Limitless Relativity 5.6 (2,130) -40% 2642 64.3
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! Fox 4.9 (1,690) -52% 2881 45.5
The Lincoln Lawyer Lions Gate 4.4 (1,830) -35% 2420 46.3
Rango Par 2.3 (1,140) -49% 2007 117.5
Sucker Punch WB 2.1 (1,180) -66% 1755 33.9
Paul Uni 1.7 (1,040) -59% 1667 35.1
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 1.5 (1,090) -57% 1408 81.2
Jane Eyre Focus 1.2 (4,780) -3% 247 5.2
Win Win Fox Searchlight 1.2 (5,220) 4% 226 3.5
The Adjustment Bureau Uni .88 (1,120) -59% 783 60.1
Born to Be Wild WB .82 (3,980) NEW 206 0.82
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .55 (810) -52% 675 137.6
No Eres Tu, Soy Yo Lions Gate .53 (2340) NEW 226 0.53
Red Riding Hood WB .52 (670) -71% 777 36.7
Weekend Total
($500,000+ Films)
$113.80
% Change (Last Year) -7%
% Change (Last Week) -5%
Also debuting/expanding
Thank You UTV .25 (2,750) 92 0.25
Kill the Irishman Anchor Bay 91,600 (1,760) -19% 52 0.85
Miral Weinstein Co. 55,700 (1,920) -24% 29 0.25
In a Better World Sony Classics 48,600 (4,050) 47% 12 0.1
Meek’s Cut Off Osciloscope 19,800 (9,900) 2 0.02
Blank City FilmsWeLike 10,600 (10,600) 1 0.01
Meet Monica Velour Anchor Bay 7,300 (3,650) 2 0.01
Ceremony Magnolia 6,800 (2,270) 3 0.01
Henry’s Crime Moving Pictures 6,600 (3,300) 2 0.01
American: The Bill Hicks Story Variance 6,400 (6,400) 1 0.01
To Die Like a Man Strand 2,150 (2,150) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – April 7, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (9) 413.6 18.20%
Sony (10) 370.9 16.30%
Universal (8) 276.1 12.10%
Warner Bros. (14) 273.6 12.00%
Buena Vista (6) 255.2 11.20%
Weinstein Co. (4) 133.4 5.90%
Fox (6) 127.6 5.60%
Relativity (4) 90.5 4.00%
Fox Searchlight (4) 82.9 3.70%
CBS (3) 56.6 2.50%
Lions Gate (6) 47.5 2.10%
summit (4) 31.8 1.40%
Focus (3) 25.1 1.10%
FilmDistrict (1) 17.4 0.80%
eOne/Seville (7) 14.5 0.60%
Sony Classics (6) 12.3 0.50%
Other * (99) 44.3 2.00%
2273.3 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Domestic Grossers *
(Jan. 1 – April 7, 2011)
Title Distributor Gross
The King’s Speech * Weinstein Co. 119,361,676
Rango Par 115,230,893
Just Go With It Sony 101,651,979
True Grit * Par 100,131,192
The Green Hornet Sony 98,588,503
Gnomeo and Juliet BV/eOne 97,075,887
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 79,700,377
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Par 72,707,468
No Strings Attached Par 70,662,220
Black Swan * Fox Searchlight 65,964,914
Little Fockers * Uni 64,117,440
Unknown WB 62,821,544
The Adjustment Bureau Uni 59,231,700
Limitless Relativity 58,688,230
The Fighter * Par/Alliance 54,624,687
Tron: Legacy * BV 54,483,200
I Am Number 4 BV 53,949,381
The Dilemma Uni 48,800,147
Hop Uni 46,456,305
Hall Pass WB 44,034,990
* does not include 2010 box office

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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