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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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“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

Z Weekend Report