MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report: July 24, 2011

We Need Another Hero

The debut of Captain America: The First Avenger surprised skeptics with a sturdy $65.1 million that ranked it first in hearts and box office. Conversely the week’s other major opening, the rom-com Friends with Benefits, slightly under-performed with an $18.5 million bow that ranked third overall.

Niche newcomers included an OK start of $147,000 at 50 theaters for Bollywood’s Singham. Korea’s popular Sunny had an impressive $20,300 at two venues while a couple of other exclusives received strong starts. French import Sarah’s Key garnered $112,000 from five exposures and Sundance lauded Another Earth grossed $76,400 from four initial playdates.

Weekend box office totaled more than $190 million that translated into a 28% slide from seven days earlier. It was, however, 17% improved from 2010 when Inception’s $42.7 million trumped the $36 million debut of Salt.

Industry trackers concluded that summer crowds were growing weary of caped and hooded crusaders and pegged the launch of Captain America coming in at between $50 million and $55 million. Its $4 million cache from Thursday previews appeared to signal that the prognosticators were on target and that the Captain – movies very first super hero thanks to a 1943 serial – would trail the second weekend of the Harry Potter finale.

But a larger than expected Harry decline coupled with a hearty Friday debut put the venerable avenger at the head of the class. Exit polls tipped the scales with 64% of ticket buyers male. The crowd was also 58% in excess of 25 years of age and its 66% stereoscopic engagements accounted for 38% of the box office. It now appears that the audience most receptive to 3-D movies is aged between 18 and 30 years old and that’s exactly the part of ticket buyers that have declined the most in 2011.

The zeal to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 was apparently greater than had been perceived. The hallowed series has generally experience 50% second weekend drop offs domestically and if international declines are comparably severe the box office bar will have to be lowered on the franchise conclusion.

Tracking on Friends with Benefits was supposed to translate into a $20 million to $22 million opening and that seemed doable especially as the film had no direct genre competition. Exit polls showed a not unexpected female tilt of 62% and 56% of buyers aged 25 years and older underlying once again the erosion of younger crowds at the multiplex.

Next weekend’s launch of Cowboys & Aliens has the industry in an anxious mood. A straw poll at CinemaCon in March revealed the industry was most dubious about the film’s commercial prospects but optimism has build since then with daily tracking reports being closely scrutinized for clues to its opening stamina.

Weekend (estimates) July 22 – 24, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Captain America: The First Avenger Par 65.1 (17,530) NEW 3715 65.1
Harry Potter & the Deadly Hollows, Part 2 WB 48.2 (11,020) -62% 4375 274.3
Friends with Benefits Sony 18.5 (6,310) NEW 2929 18.5
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Par 12.1 (3,590) -43% 3375 325.9
Horrible Bosses WB 11.7 (3,770) -34% 3104 82.4
The Zookeeper Sony 8.7 (2,690) -30% 3215 59.2
Cars 2 BV 5.7 (2,140) -32% 2668 176.4
Winnie the Pooh BVI 5.1 (2,140) -34% 2405 17.6
Bad Teacher Sony 2.6 (1,280) -49% 2034 94.4
Midnight in Paris Sony Classics 1.9 (3,010) 0% 621 44.9
Bridesmaids Uni 1,3 (1,950) -23% 680 163.8
Larry Crowne Uni/Alliance 1.0 (990) -62% 1035 34.3
Mr. Popper’s Penguins Fox .91 (1,540) -34% 591 63.5
Super 8 Par .75 (1,140) -62% 658 124.2
The Tree of Life Searchlight/eOne .56 (2,430) -11% 230 11
Monte Carlo Fox .48 (1,330) -64% 360 21.8
Beginners Focus .43 (2,740) 0% 157 4.6
Green Lantern WB .37 (870) -73% 421 113.9
X-Men: First Class Fox .34 (1,150) -47% 295 144.2
Thor Par .32 (1,370) -16% 236 180.1
Kung Fu Panda 2 Par .31 (1,240) -33% 250 160.8
Rio Fox .30 (1,430) -7% 210 142.6
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides BV .30 (1,210) -40% 246 238
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $184.60
% Change (Last Year) 17%
% Change (Last Week) -28%
Also debuting/expanding
A Better Life Summit .22 (1,210) -35% 182 1.4
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Searchlight .20 (3,230) 47% 24 0.41
Beats, Rhynes & Life Sony Classics .15 (2,800) 10% 54 0.51
Singham Big Pictures .15 (2,940) 50 0.15
Sarah’s Key Weinstein Co. .11 (22,460) 5 0.11
Another Earth Searchlight 76,400 (19,100) 4 0.08
A Little Help FreeStyle 43,600 (1,820) 24 0.04
Sunny CJ Entertain. 20,300 (10,150) 2 0.02
The Myth of an American Sleeepover IFC 9,100 (9,100) 1 0.01
World on a Wire Janus 5,800 (5,800) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – July 21, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (13) 1200.4 20.40%
Warner Bros. (20) 1027.9 17.50%
Universal (12) 770.6 13.10%
Buena Vista (11) 708.1 12.00%
Sony (15) 630.3 10.70%
Fox (11) 568.8 9.70%
Weinstein Co. (7) 184.3 3.10%
Relativity (5) 124.9 2.10%
Lions Gate (9) 118.6 2.00%
Fox Searchlight (8) 102.8 1.70%
Focus (5) 76.8 1.30%
Summit (6) 69.3 1.20%
Sony Classics (10) 60.9 1.00%
CBS (3) 57.5 1.00%
Film District (1) 53.9 0.90%
Other * (201) 134.9 2.30%
5890 100%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Limited Releases * (Jan. 1 – July 21, 2011)
Title Distributor Gross
African Cats BV 15,428,747
The Conspirator Roadside Attractions 11,523,720
Jane Eyre Focus 11,242,660
The Tree of Life Searchlight/eOne 10,482,577
Win Win Fox Searchlight 10,182,869
Blue Valentine * Weinstein Co. 9,597,588
Born to Be Wild WB 9,471,012
Barney’s Version * eOne/Sony Classics 7,130,176
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight 6,861,102
Hubble 3D * WB 6,829,304
Biutiful Roadside Attractions 5,101,237
Cave of Forgotten Dreams IFC 4,978,415
Atlas Shrugged Rocky Mountain 4,739,834
The Company Men Weinstein Co. 4,444,612
Beginners Focus 4,182,213
Of Gods and Men Metropole/Sony Class 3,887,642
Incendies * Seville/Sony Classics 3,887,409
Under the Sea 3D Imax 3,859,760
Another Year * Sony Classics 3,117,722
From Prada to Nada Lions Gate 3,061,474

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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