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MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report: May 8

Oh, God! Book XXIV

The god of thunder  -  Thor – hammered an estimated $65.8 million to handily reign at the top of the weekend box office charts. The session also saw a pair of counter-programmers bow nationally with the sweetly romantic Something Borrowed slotting third with $13.2 million and Jumping the Broom a breath behind at $13 million.

In limited wide was the political drama There Be Dragons with $660,000 from 259 playdates and once again it was a Telegu film from India  -  100% Love -  that dominated in that niche with an impressive $203,000 at a mere 23 screens.

Among the exclusive bows the focus was unquestionably on the highly acclaimed The Beaver. Audiences however failed to concur with the film grossing roughly $102,000 in its first blush at 22 venues.

In what’s become the kickoff for the summer season of blockbusters, you’d have to say that 2011 came in like a lamb with revenues of just north of $160 million. It was a sliver better than last weekend and an 11% depression from last year when Iron Man 2 debuted to $128.1 million.

Thor wasn’t expected to debut to jaw dropping numbers with pundits predicting opening power between $70 million and $80 million. Exit polls not surprisingly pegged ticket buyers at 63% male but, more surprisingly, it was according to the studio a crowd that was 72% over the age of 25 years.

Add to that a decidedly older crowd for Jumping the Broom. Only Something Borrowed skewed younger and again predictably female.

So, where are the young males that have historically been at the vanguard (and head of the line) of movie going? That’s the industry’s biggest question and so far no one has a definitive answer (it’s unlikely they were buying $30 passes to the recently launched premiere VOD). Though not personally a betting man, I wouldn’t want to take the side _ regardless of long odds _ that the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean would turn the tide back.

The other puzzler of the frame was the limpid debut of The Beaver. The film’s subject matter _ abject depression _ was never likely to be an audience magnet. But its prestige elements should have at least drawn an upscale crowd regardless of such barriers and an opening salvo twice as large as what’s been recorded.

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Weekend Estimates: May 6-8, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Thor Par Intl 65.8 (16,640) NEW 3955 65.8
Fast Five Uni 32.3 (8,830) -62% 3662 139.7
Something Borrowed WB 13.2 (4,540) NEW 2904 13.2
Jumping the Broom Sony 13.0 (6,370) NEW 2035 13
Rio Fox 8.3 (2,560) -44% 3258 115
Water for Elephants Fox 5.6 (2,150) -40% 2614 41.6
Medea’s Big Happy Family Lions Gate 3.5 (1,850) -65% 1881 46.4
Prom BV 2.4 (880) -48% 2730 7.8
Soul Surfer Sony 2.1 (1,170) -38% 1781 36.7
Hoodwinked Too! Weinstein Co. 1.9 (770) -53% 2505 6.8
Insidious Film District 1.3 (1,340) -50% 1001 50.3
Source Code Summit 1.2 (1,300) -52% 930 50.9
Hanna Focus 2.2 (1,410) -58% 748 36.79
African Cats BV .87 (840) -64% 1035 12.7
Scream 4 Weinstein Co. .71 (530) -67% 1333 36.9
The Conspirator Roadside Attractions .68 (1,480) -38% 460 9.8
There Be Dragons IDP .66 (2,550) NEW 259 0.66
Hop Uni .50 (550) -81% 902 106.4
Win Win Fox Searchlight .46 (1,730) -30% 268 8.3
The Lincoln Lawyer Lions Gate .45 (1,030) -43% 440 55.5
Limitless Relativity .43 (1,1300 -61% 379 76.9
Rango Par .41 (1,480) 31% 277 120.4
Jane Eyre Focus .37 (1,500) -27% 248 9.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $154.80
% Change (Last Year) -11%
% Change (Last Week) 1%
Also debuting/expanding
100% Love Blue Sky .20 (8,840) 23 0.2
The Beaver Summit .10 (4,650) 22 0.1
In a Better World Sony Classics 82,300 (1,710) 15% 48 0.52
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Sony Classics 65,700 (1,430) -27% 46 0.34
Engeyum Kadhal Sun 38,500 (2,960) 13 0.04
Forks Over Knives Monica Beach 26,600 (4,430) 6 0.03
Last Night TriBeCa 25,300 (2,810) 9 0.03
Battle of the Brides Variance 20,200 (4,040) 5 0.02
Octubre New Yorker 6,900 (3,450) 2 0.01
Haunted 3D Big Pictures 6,100 (550) 11 0.01
Caterpillar Lorber 2,100 (2,100) 1 0.01
Passion Play Image Entertainment 1,800 (900) 2 0.01

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Klady

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“Chad Harbach spent ten years writing his novel. It was his avocation, for which he was paid nothing, with no guarantee he’d ever be paid anything, while he supported himself doing freelance work, for which I don’t think he ever made $30,000 a year. I sold his book for an advance that equated to $65,000 a year—before taxes and commission—for each of the years of work he’d put in. The law schools in this country churn out first-year associates at white-shoe firms that pay them $250,000 a year, when they’re twenty-five years of age, to sit at a desk doing meaningless bullshit to grease the wheels of the corporatocracy, and people get upset about an excellent author getting $65,000 a year? Give me a fucking break.”
~ Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

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