MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by Soul Klady

And this is why weekend-to-weekend looks so crappy. Last year on “this” weekend, there were $27m in openers. This weekend, $46m. But the weekend is still well behind last year because Sucker Punch was WB’s entry, not Clash of the Titans, and there was no DWA film (last year, it was a leggy Dragon) doing $25m in a third weekend while Hop, which is a success story (but a mild one), did $21m in Weekend Two. Those two holdovers and one $25m opener (Date Night) overpower nearly $20m in more opening firepower this year than last.

If you simply flipped last year’s WB entry for this year’s, “this year’s weekend” would be ahead of “last year’s weekend” by over $15 million. And if wishes were fishes… But you get the point, no? It’s about the movies, not the market. Until there is a much longer lasting set of data that involves a more muscular set of movies being off by similar amounts, I’m not taking any “slump” seriously. Of course, if you want to believe that somehow Clash of the Titans would have done half the business it did if it opened this year or that Sucker Punch would have done more than double what it’s doing opening last year, please, feel free to make the argument.

One genre that may be nearing its end in this cycle as an industry cash cow is the stoned comedy. Since the Superbad/Knocked Up back-to-back smashes, Team Apatow has racked up just one $100m movie (Step Brothers) in 8 attempts. And while Apatow had nothing to do with the two movies gently opening this weekend (Arthur/Your Highness), they are both bastard children of his camp. Like many niche genres in Hollywood, no reason that this one can’t go on. But costs have to be contained and then these are the kinds of legged-out doubles that studios can use to keep the balance sheet positive build library, an occasionally get a surprise big hit. But right now, they are a little expensive and aren’t delivering on the expectations that the studios have when greenlighting them. (Expectations from tracking come long after the horse is out of the barn.)

Hanna is a really nice opening for Focus. They picked up the film in most of the world (Sony has some territories), extending their relationship with Joe Wright, and this opening is better than any two weekends of Atonement domestic grosses combined. Given some strong word-of-mouth (and a soft market for good movies), it could even end up passing Atonement‘s $50m gross.

Bob Berney is back in business. Soul Surfer is a Sony release, but Film District marketed it for Sony, and the results are strong for what could well have been a much smaller feel-good film. And Insidious had a 26% hold, which is almost unheard of for any film in this front-loaded market, much less a horror film. This is one of this year’s real success stories already, likely heading to more than $50m domestic.

Source Code didn’t hold quite as well, but it does seem that we are in the first stretch of commercial movies this year that anyone is happy to recommend.

31 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Soul Klady”

  1. Eds says:

    Love to see Hanna overtake Arthur when the actuals come in tomorrow. Either way, Arthur and Your H is pretty disappointing given how much ads I’ve seen of them both.

  2. bulldog68 says:

    Insidious may actually outgross Source Code. Did not see that coming.
    Gotta give these guys credit for creating franchises. After watching Insidious, I remember thinking that it only cost about a buck twenty five to make and wishing that they actually had a bit more money to raise the production values in the final act. But it built the suspense well and I generally liked the film.

  3. jesse says:

    Aw, I feel bad for Your Highness. I saw this coming when I went to see it Times Square on a Saturday night (well, early evening, but still) and there were about 25, 30 people in the auditorium. And seven of them were with me. But that movie was a lot of fun! I hate to play the “you don’t get it” card but that’s the reaction I had to many of the reviews after I actually saw the movie. Any critic that uses Robin Hood: Men in Tights as a frame of reference is, yeah, going to be wondering about the lack of wall-to-wall jokes, or maybe mistake some of the movie for jokes that don’t work… but it’s pretty clear that the filmmakers were making a silly eighties-style fantasy movie with some actual jokes layered onto it, not really making an all out Mel Brooks spoof of the genre. I’m not even a huge fan or aficionado of eighties fantasy movies and I could see this. Mind, some of the mixed reviews seem to get it and just not like it that much; that’s fine. But anyone calling Your Highness the worst anything pretty much doesn’t get it.

    Also, my extremely meager crowd seemed to have fun with it, for whatever that’s worth (and I’ve said it before, but audience-reaction anecdotes are as spotty and statistically useless as just about anything). It almost certainly *won’t* have a good hold regardless but I bet the DVD will do OK.

    I’m just pleased (relatively) that the mostly wan, inoffensive but uninteresting Arthur was only able to manage a few million more, owing more to the number of screens it was on than audience enthusiasm. But I’m frankly surprised that *neither* of those movies could clear $15 million. I figured at least one would.

  4. EthanG says:

    “Rio” apparently opened to $55 million internationally…so maybe the slump will end next weekend.

  5. JKill says:

    Loved HANNA. By a good margin, the best film I’ve seen this year. Awesome mix of art and entertainment, the type of movie that reminds me of why I love movies so much in the first plce. Killer flick, no pun intended.

    For me the first GREAT, 4 out of 4 stars, film of 2011.

  6. bulldog68 says:

    Actually jkill, I have seen Limitless, Lincoln Lawyer, Paul, Hanna and Insidious within the past 2 weeks, and I gotta say, I enjoyed them all, particularly LL. Which reminded me why I liked Matthew McConeghay (forgive the spelling), in the first place.

  7. JKill says:

    Oh don’t get me wrong, bulldog. So far this is a much better year for movies than I remember last year being. I dug all the movies you mentioned. I would add SOURCE CODE, RANGO, ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, CEDAR RAPIDS, YOUR HIGHNESS and (gasp) SUCKER PUNCH. There’s been a lot of stuff I thoroughly enjoyed and thought was really good or great.

    I guess HANNA is first movie I’ve seen this year that I could see myself placing on my top ten of the year, if that makes sense. I walked out of the theater jazzed.

    In total agreement on LINCOLN LAWYER. Utterly engrossing and captivating with a wildly talented cast getting fun stuff to do.

    So far, for me, 2011…

    1. HANNA 2. SOURCE CODE 3. LINCOLN LAWYER 4. INSIDIOUS 5. LIMITLESS (Which was surprsingly awesome and unexpected.)

  8. IOv3 says:

    Have you not seen Rango, Jkill? Seriously, that film is something special.

  9. JKill says:

    IO, I have seen RANGO. I thought it was beautiful and impressive. It just didn’t personally speak to my aesthetic to the extent that the others movies did. But yeah, it’s great. I’ll take back my “first great” proclamation, but HANNA is the year’s crowning acheivement, for me, so far. (I’m terrible at lists like the one above because I keep wanting to bump things and change the order. Art can’t be judged that way, but it does help facilitate discussion…)

    SPOILERS FOR RANGO…SORT OF…SPOILERS FOR RANGO…

    There were a couple of incredibly lovely moments in that movie wasn’t there?…That very untraditional opening sequence and the crash, Rango walking back across the street, The Spirit of the West…A neat film and, as you say, special.

  10. bulldog68 says:

    Just because I’m something of a list whore, here’s my 2011 list of movies I’ve seen thus far in order of enjoyment.

    Lincoln Lawyer
    Limitless
    The Adjustment Bureau
    Paul
    Rango
    Source Code
    Hanna
    Green Hornet
    Insidious
    Battle LA
    I am number 4
    Eagle
    Sucker Punch

  11. movieman says:

    Gee, I don’t know.
    I thought 2010 got off to a much stronger start than ’11 has.
    At this point last year we had “Greenberg,” “Ghost Writer,” “Shutter Island,” “Mother,” “Fish Tank,” “A Prophet,” “The Red Riding Trilogy” and Breillat’s delicious “Bluebeard.”
    Not to mention unusually strong “honorable” mention stuff like “Kick-Ass,” “Girl on the Train,” “Easier With Practice,” “Terribly Happy,” “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Runaways,” “Alice in Wonderland” and even “Edge of Darkness.”
    I still haven’t given a single four-star rating out this year.
    Favorites so far, I guess, are “Win Win,” “Cedar Rapids,” “Rango,” “Adjustment Bureau,” “Kaboom,” “The Other Woman” and possibly “Hanna.”
    I liked, but didn’t LOVE “Limitless,” “Lincoln Lawyer,” “Insidious,” “The Mechanic,” “Green Hornet,” “Source Code” and, yeah, even “No Strings Attached.”
    Two of those early ’10 films (“Ghost W.” and “Greenberg”) wound up making my 10-best list.

  12. Nick Rogers says:

    Because all the cool kids are listing …

    Rango
    Green Hornet
    The Adjustment Bureau
    The Lincoln Lawyer
    Source Code
    Cedar Rapids
    The Eagle
    Limitless
    Hanna
    Paul

    Hanna was technically impressive, but left me cold, as the last of Wright’s three movies have done.

  13. JKill says:

    Movieman, from this point last year, GREENBERG and KICK-ASS made my 2010 list, although I didn’t actually see the former until it came out on DVD in the summer.

    I think there are a lot of solid doubles and triples this year, if that makes sense. But I would’ve given four stars to SHUTTER ISLAND, THE GHOST WRITER, A PROPHET, RED RIDING TRILOGY and FISH TANK so I think you have a point. I would also include THE GREEN ZONE and BROOKLYN’S FINEST in the “honorable” category personally.

    But I would argue the wide releases are stronger this year as most of what you’re offering were in limited. (I don’t think this is a meaninful distinction but it does color what I’ve seen so far as I don’t live in a major market…I’m still impatiently waiting for JANE EYRE.)

  14. chris says:

    So I’m guessing y’all haven’t seen “Meeks Cutoff?” Because I can’t imagine any discussion of the year’s great movies that won’t include it.

  15. Rob says:

    Three favorites so far this year: Poetry, Certified Copy, Insidious.

  16. Favorites so far – Rango, Cedar Rapids, Lincoln Lawyer, and 13 Assassins (wow… that last act… just wow).

  17. movieman says:

    I’m still impatiently waiting for JANE EYRE.

    I know what you mean, JKill. Living in the (relative) backwaters of Ohio, it takes a while for some of these things to get here (e.g., “Meek’s Cutoff” and “Poetry” as Rob and Chris already mentioned). Of course, if I hadn’t skipped Toronto last fall, I would have probably seen both of them. Oh, well.
    And I’m anxious to check out a couple of screeners (“Potiche,” “Certified Copy” and “Super”) that came in the mail on Saturday. That might change the complexion of 2011 movies for me, too.

  18. bulldog68 says:

    A question I have always to ask persons who critique movies for a living, or at least professionally, relates to viewing screeners. I know it’s impossible to get to a theatre for every flick, but to those of you who view screeners on a regular basis, do you think it somehow diminishes the impact of the movie, and therefore may either taint or color in some way, your view of the movie?

    How would it affect your view of Tron Legacy if you viewed a screener? Does Toy Story 3 have a less of an emotional wallop if its viewed in the comfort of your living room. Would you have so enamored by Inception if you were watching it in your boxer shorts? Anyone can chime in.

  19. bulldog68 says:

    That should be “wanted” to ask…..

  20. IOv3 says:

    BD, yeah, because those three movies are tremendous.

  21. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Yes, seeing them on the small screen does affect your viewing because the movies are tremendous?

  22. movieman says:

    Bulldog- Good question. The only screeners routinely available to press are generally of art movies released by indie distributers. In smaller markets like mine where the “press corps” is shrinking more and more every day, it’s a lot cheaper to mail out dvds than it is to rent a theater for screenings.
    Would I prefer to see every film on a “big” screen rather than my hi-def TV? Not really. Certain titles are actually enhanced by watching them in a more intimate venue (e.g., my bedroom). Plus, I don’t have to drive an hour and a half each way for a screening/promo (always a good thing, trust me).
    Certain movies, of course, demand to be seen on as big a screen as possible (“Avatar” being the most obvious recent-ish example), and I would never opt for a “home-viewing experience” in those instances.
    But in the madness of the annual year-end awards season crunch, I generally opt for screeners (versus screenings) strictly for convenience, and to maintain my sanity.
    Do I feel that I “missed” something by watching “True Grit” or “The Fighter” for the first time on my TV set rather than at a theater. Not really.
    I probably see 80% (or more) of “reviewable” new releases in a theater.
    Yet considering how unpleasant the theatrical experience has become these days (evening promos are generally nightmarish; even weekday afternoon “catch-up” screenings of stuff currently playing in theaters can be an endurance test thanks to 30 minutes of commercials/trailers and–more often than not–appallingly rude audience behavior), I wouldn’t complain about upping that percentage.

  23. movieman says:

    …not sure whether my response to “Inception,” “TS3″ or “Tron Legacy” would have been markedly different if I’d seen them on my TV rather than a theater.
    But considering the trippy “sight & sound” nature of at least two of them (“Tron” and “Inception”), possibly.
    Of course, those are precisely the type of movies (well, maybe not “TS3″) I always make a point of seeing on a multiplex screen (the first time anyway).

  24. anghus says:

    Source Code was my favorite of the year so far. Rango was fun.

    I’ve seen about 20 movies so far this year.

  25. IOv3 says:

    FS: tremendous is tremendous. There have been movies that I have seen on the couch that have been as powerful an experience as seeing them in the theatre. Why? TREMENDOUS!

  26. anghus says:

    Michael Shannon as General Zod

    http://movies.ign.com/articles/116/1160912p1.html

    I just got more interested in Snyder’s Superman

  27. IOv3 says:

    I have been a fan of Shannon for a long time but the choice of Zod is throughly disappointing. It’s basically a Superman 2 remake after a Superman remake. The ageda. The ageda.

  28. LYT says:

    Tron Legacy is not the kind of movie one usually gets a screener for.

    But I did see Owls of Ga’Hoole in 2D on a screener, and it still made my best of year list.

  29. anghus says:

    i liked Tron Legacy better on Blu Ray than in the theater. The design and the visuals just popped on the 50 inch.

  30. Hopscotch says:

    The actuals came in. Hanna is #2 by a squeeker. Good for Focus, it’s a helluva an entertaining film that I hope action audiences enjoy.

  31. cadavra says:

    Movieman, I’m in L.A., and MEEK’S CUTOFF hasn’t opened here yet, either.

Box Office

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4