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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“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
~ Mark Harris On The State Of The Movies

How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire