MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: October 9, 2011

Real Steel provided the TKO to ascend to the top of weekend movie going charts with an estimated $26.8 million debut. The sessions other national freshman, the political thriller The Ides of March, was a distant second with $10.4 million launch.

The lull pre-Thanksgiving also saw another Telugu movie out-pacing the traditionally stronger Hindi newcomer from Bollywood. Oosaravelli bowed with $342,000 at 63 venues (a record number of theaters) while Rascals opened to $164,000 from 61 screens. In Quebec two local productions were indifferently received. The Franco Le Bonheur des autres grossed $51,700 at 30 venues and Anglo French Immersion had a $40,200 box office at 49 exposures. More encouraging was the debut of the Filipino hit No Other Woman with an opening tally of $30,500 from two engagements.

The limited release of The Way had an OK $113,000 from 33 theaters and the dozen Midnight runs of The Human Centipede 2 grossed $39,400. The rest of the limited and exclusive newcomers ranged from dull to moribund.

Overall weekend box office clocked in at slightly more than $90 million for a 5% erosion from the prior frame. It was flat with 2010 results when the second weekend of The Social Network edged out the debuts of Life as We Know It and Secretariat with a $15.4 million frame. The others bowed respectively with $14.5 million and $12.7 million.

Pundits were right on the money with mid-$20 million estimates for Real Steel. The futuristic Rocky spin added nuts and bolts to the scenario and saw an initial crowd composed 66% male. The audience was 44% under the age of 25 (an additional 26% aged between 26 – 35 years). As with Moneyball and 50/50, strong word of mouth should sustain the picture leading into the commercial maelstrom that begins following the first carve of the turkey.

Less assured is the future of The Ides of March which was respectfully rather than enthusiastically received by critics and audiences. Tracking while hardly buoyant pegged the picture to open between $12 million and $14 million. It will require considerable buttressing if it hopes to factor into award’s season. It skewed 58% female with 40% of ticket buyers under the age of 35 years.

The long standing industry divide of audiences +/- 25 years old appears to be coming to an end. The past year has demonstrated that the profile of a typical movie goer is aging and, of greater concern, shrinking. The situation has created the most contentious environment between exhibition and distribution in decades unless you’re marketing to a mature audience. Add in the cost of digital conversion and the issue of a shrinking theatrical window and it amounts to something akin to the Jackson County wars.

The past week saw both Disney and Sony domestic box office revenues exceed $1 billion with Universal edging toward that benchmark and Fox likely to fall short by the Dec. 31 deadline.

Weekend Estimates – October 7-9, 2011

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Real Steel  BV 26.8 (7,800) NEW 3440 26.8
The Ides of March Sony 10.4 (4,740) NEW 2199 10.4
Dolphin Tale WB 9.1 (2,610) -35% 3478 49
Moneyball Sony 7.3 (2,430) -39% 3018 49.1
50/50 Summit 5.6 (2,250) -35% 2479 17.4
Courageous Sony/Tricord 4.5 (3,910) -50% 1161 15.8
Dream House Uni/eOne 4.4 (1,660) -46% 2664 14.4
The Lion King 3D BV 4.4 (1,960) -58% 2267 85.8
What’s Your Number Fox 3.1 (1,020) -43% 3011 10.3
Abduction Lions Gate 2.9 (1,110) -49% 2591 23.4
Contagion WB 2.8 (1,250) -43% 2250 68.9
Killer Elite Open Road 2.1 (860) -58% 2411 21.5
The Help BV 2.0 (960) -34% 2064 162.7
Drive FilmDistrict 1.8 (1,330) -46% 1330 30
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Code Black .45 (1,820) -39% 248 6.9
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 WB .42 (1,040) 55% 407 379.8
Oosaravelli Hari ,34 (5,430) NEW 63 0.34
Breakaway Alliance .32 (6,690) -37% 48 1
Captain America: The First Avenger Par .31 (1.020) -29% 303 175.8
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox .28 (750) -48% 379 175.8
Cars 2 BV .27 (1,040) -29% 262 190.4
The Debt Focus .24 (670) -62% 358 30.6
Colombiana Sony .22 (770) -46% 288 36.1
Crazy, Stupid, Love WB .21 (930) -48% 222 83.1
Warrior Lions Gate .18 (550) -62% 319 13.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $87.20      
% Change (Last Year)   0%      
% Change (Last Week)   -5%      
Also debuting/expanding          
Rascals Eros .16 (2,690)   61 0.16
The Guard Sony Classics .13 (1,030) -34% 124 4.7
The Way PDA .11 (3,430)   33 0.11
Machine Gun Preacher Relativity .11 (1,180) 29% 93 0.29
Take Shelter Sony Classics 52,700 (4,790) 1% 3 0.13
Le Bonheur des autres Seville 51,700 (1,720)   30 0.05
1911 Variance 51,300 (1,550)   33 0.05
French Immersion TVA 40,200 (820)   49 0.04
The Human Centipede 2 IFC 39,400 (3,280)   9 0.04
No Other Woman ABS 30.500 (15,250)   2 0.03
The Women on the 6th Floor Strand 24,100 (4,020)   6 0.02
The Dead Global 20,300 (410)   25 0.02
Dirty Girl Weinstein Co. 17,200 (1,910)   9 0.02
Blackthorn Magnolia 15,400 (1,930)   8 0.02
Margaret Searchlight 12,600 (900) 67% 14 0.02
Flying Monsters National Geo 12,300 (2,050)   6 0.01
Yaar Annmulle Viva 11,400 (1,140)   10 0.01
Hell and Back Again New Video 5,200 (5,200)   1 0.01


Domestic Market Share:  January 1-October 6, 2011

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (24) 1470.3 18.50%
Paramount (14) 1424.1 17.90%
Buena Vista (14) 1005.3 12.60%
Sony (24) 1003.1 12.60%
Universal (15) 926.3 11.60%
20th Century Fox (14) 774.1 9.70%
Weinstein Co. (12) 280.3 3.50%
Lions Gate (14) 176.5 2.20%
Relativity (7) 144.1 1.80%
Focus (7) 122.7 1.60%
Fox Searchlight (10) 107.6 1.30%
Film District (3) 106.1 1.30%
Summit (7) 81.7 1.00%
Sony Classics (15) 79.1 1.00%
CBS (3) 57.5 0.70%
Other * (273) 206.6 2.50%
  7965.4 100.00%


Top Global Grossers:  January 1 – October 6, 2011

Title Distributor Gross
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 WB 1,331,781,768
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Par 1,119,127,691
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides BV 1,043,011,925
Kung Fu Panda 2 Par 662,956,709
Fast Five Uni 617,140,838
The Hangover 2 WB 582,704,066
Cars 2 BV  555,001,102
The Smurfs Sony 520,106,205
Rio Fox 484,357,010
Thor Par 449,091,019
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox 410,396,986
The King’s Speech * Weinstein/Film Nation 408,823,504
Captain America: The First Avenger Par 363,317,546
X-Men: First Class Fox 353,566,581
Tangled * BV 296,514,084
Black Swan * Fox 287,898,948
Bridesmaids Uni 287,015,223
Super 8 Par  259,059,275
Rango Par  244,721,751
The Green Hornet Sony 227,892,167
Green Lantern WB 223,002,215
Just Go With It Sony 215,073,990
Bad Teacher Sony 213,312,680
Battle: Los Angeles Sony 211,092,627
Horrible Bosses WB 210,689,865

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas