By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com
The Weekend Report: September 25, 2011
Show Me the Moneyball
The Lion King continued to roar with an estimated $22.1 million gross that placed it at the top of weekend viewing charts. Four debuting films ranked right behind. The critically acclaimed baseball opus Moneyball bowed to $20.4 million and the family targeted Dolphin Tale opened with $19.9 million. Movie goers were less enthusiastic for premiering action fare with Abduction garnering $11 million and Killer Elite trailing on a $9.4 million box office.
Alternative circuits provided what appears to be a record bow for Telugu-language Dookudu of $933,000 at 42 venues. There were also a pair of new Hindi imports _ the politically controversial Mausam grossed $455,000 from 88 playdates while Yaara o Dildaara had an OK $64,800 from 18 exposures. In Quebec Café de Flore brewed up $183,000.
Limited and exclusives newcomers provided few highlights with encouraging results of $43,100 from four engagements for the inspirational based on fact Machine Gun Preacher and a $22,600 tally for the gay-themed Weekend on a solo flight. Pearl Jam Twenty had a tuneful $64,500 following a single day blitz last week that grossed $280,000.
Overall weekend revenues generated slightly more than $120 million that provided an 18% boost from the immediate prior session. It was also 22% improved from 2010 when newcomers Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Legend of the Guardians led with respective bows of $19 million and $16.1 million.
Leading up to the weekend pundits wondered whether The Lion King could hold its grip on the box office. Mid-week business had been ferocious and the only surprise was that more playdates weren’t added for its sophomore round; especially as it becomes available on disc next weekend.
The most potent competition appeared to be Moneyball that had top end estimates of $20 million. Filmmakers have tried several times to mount the saga of baseball’s Oakland As in the early part of the new millennium. Buttressed by critical hosannas and a campaign that downplayed its sporting background the film drew almost equally between the sexes but skewed older with exits indicating 64% attending were 35 years and older. Early signs suggest its commercial arc could be similar to last year’s Social Network domestically but international will be a greater challenge that will swing on Brad Pitt’s appeal vs. a resistance to a largely unfamiliar sport; Japan and Cuba notwithstanding.
Dolphin Tale conversely skewed 66% female with 49% of the crowd was 18 years and younger. Its 3D component generated roughly 50% of its opening box office and its opening strength was zapped by the unexpected Lion King stamina. Still it debuted better than expected and unless Simba once again defies industry wisdom and continues to perform following its DVD availability, the film should have a strong second weekend hold.
Post-Twilight, Abduction at least confirmed Taylor Lautner’s base with exit demos reflecting a 69% female audience and 56% of the crowd younger than 25 years of age. Exits weren’t available for Killer Elite but it would be a total surprise if it weren’t male dominant. Regardless the full throttle promotion for new distributor Open Road of its star action vehicle is already a commercial disappointment.
Also on the down side is the close to 50% drop for the critical favorite Drive.
Domestic box office for 2011 appears to be on the upswing but remains roughly 4% behind last year at this point as a result of the movie going malaise during this year’s first six months.
|Weekend (estimates) September 23 – 25, 2011|
|Title||Distributor||Gross (avg)||% chng||Thtrs||Cume|
|The Lion King 3D||BV||22.1 (9,480)||-27%||2330||61.6|
|Dolphin Tale||WB||19.9 (5,680)||NEW||3507||19.9|
|Abduction||Lions Gate||11.0 (3,530)||NEW||3118||11|
|Killer Elite||Open Road||9.4 (3,160)||NEW||2986||9.4|
|The Help||BV||4.4 (1,640)||-32%||2695||154.5|
|Straw Dogs||Sony||2.1 (860)||-60%||2408||8.9|
|I Don’t Know How She Does It||Weinstein Co,||2.0 (810)||-54%||2490||8|
|The Debt||Focus||1.2 (1,150)||-58%||1067||28.9|
|Rise of the Planet of the Apes||Fox||1.2 (980)||-57%||1178||173.6|
|Warrior||Lions Gate||1.1 (790)||-61%||1411||12.2|
|Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain||Code Black||1.1 (3,760)||-9%||287||5.1|
|Crazy, Stupid, Love||WB||.77 (1,140)||-51%||675||82.1|
|Spy Kids: All the Time in the World||Weinstein Co,||.69 (570)||-57%||1207||37|
|The Smurfs||Sony||.55 (820)||-56%||669||138.4|
|Shark Night||Relativity||.44 (660)||-76%||637||18.2|
|Harry Potter & the Deadly Hollows, Part 2||WB||.37 (1,160)||-47%||320||378.8|
|Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark||Film District||.34 (800)||-70%||424||23.5|
|Captain America: The First Avenger||Par||.30 (900)||-47%||334||174.8|
|Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)||$114.00|
|% Change (Last Year)||22%|
|% Change (Last Week)||18%|
|The Guard||Sony Classics||.26 (1,570)||-23%||167||4.2|
|Café de Flore||Alliance||.18 (4,940)||37||0.18|
|Sarah’s Key||Weinstein/A-Z||.14 (880)||-54%||155||6.9|
|Higher Ground||Sony Classics||72,200 (1,130)||-35%||64||.58|
|Pearl Jam Twenty||Abramorama||65,400 (6,540)||10||0.35|
|Yaara o Dildaara||Big Pictures||64,800 (4,050)||16||0.06|
|Thunder Soul||Roadside Attr||52,500 (1,500)||35||0.05|
|Machine Gun Preacher||Relativity||43,100 (10,770)||4||0.04|
|Marrying the Mafia 4||CJ Ent||8,900 (8,900)||1||0.01|
|The Man Nobody Knew||First Run||7,450 (7,450)||1||0.01|
|Omar m’a tuer||Mongrol||4,900 (820)||1||0.01|
|A Bird of the Air||Paladin||4,100 (4,100)||1||0.01|
|Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – September 22, 2011)|
|Distributor (releases)||Gross||Market Share|
|Warner Bros. (23)||1408.8||18.30%|
|Buena Vista (14)||952.2||12.40%|
|20th Century Fox (13)||764.4||10.00%|
|Weinstein Co. (12)||274.5||3.60%|
|Lions Gate (13)||153.7||2.00%|
|Fox Searchlight (9)||107.4||1.40%|
|Film District (3)||92.8||1.20%|
|Sony Classics (13)||77.6||1.00%|
|Other * (256)||175.4||2.30%|
|* none greater than 0.35%|
|Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – September 22, 2011)||*|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2||WB||378,436,868|
|Transformers: Dark of the Moon||Par||351,501,539|
|The Hangover 2||WB||254,464,305|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides||BV||241,029,902|
|Captain America: The First Avenger||Par||174,490,933|
|Rise of the Planet of the Apes||Fox||172,438,523|
|Kung Fu Panda 2||Par||165,151,698|
|X-Men: First Class||Fox||146,396,804|
|The King’s Speech *||Weinstein Co.||121,123,415|
|* does not include 2010 box office|