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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“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas

A Spirited Exchange

“In some ways Christopher Nolan has become our Stanley Kubrick,” reads the first sentence of David Bordwell’s latest blog post–none of which I want or intend to read after that desperate opening sentence. If he’d written “my” or “some people’s” instead of “our”, I might have read further. Instead, I can only surmise that in some ways David Bordwell may have become our Lars von Trier.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum On Facebook

“Jonathan has written a despicable thing in comparing me to Trump. He’s free to read or not read what I write, and even to judge arguments without reading them. It’s not what you’d expect from a sensible critic, but it’s what Jonathan has chosen to do, for reasons of a private nature he has confided to me in an email What I request from him is an apology for comparing my ideas to Trump’s.”
~ David Bordwell Replies

“Yes, I do apologize, sincerely, for such a ridiculous and quite unwarranted comparison. The private nature of my grievance with David probably fueled my post, but it didn’t dictate it, even though I’m willing to concede that I overreacted. Part of what spurred me to post something in the first place is actually related to a positive development in David’s work–an improvement in his prose style ever since he wrote (and wrote very well) about such elegant prose stylists as James Agee and Manny Farber. But this also brought a journalistic edge to his prose, including a dramatic flair for journalistic ‘hooks’ and attention-grabbers, that is part of what I was responding to. Although I realize now that David justifies his opening sentence with what follows, and far less egregiously than I implied he might have, I was responding to the drum roll of that opening sentence as a provocation, which it certainly was and is.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum Replies