MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

Déjà vu … All Over Again

Real Steel nosed ahead of a couple of newcomers to take top spot at the weekend box office with an estimated $16.1 million. Dusted off but hardly gleaming were new versions of Footloose and The Thing that followed with respective grosses of $15.8 million and $8.7 million. The third new release was the birder comedy The Big Year that laid an egg with a $3.3 million launch.

In a week of significant disappointment there were few straws of hope to grasp with niche and regional freshmen largely flatlining. Exclusive openers weren’t much better though the belated release of star driven Fireflies in the Garden had an OK bow of $31,300 at five venues. And that sole bright spot was unquestionably Spaniard Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In that grossed $224,000 from an initial six screen run.

Box office dipped 7% from seven days earlier and a resounding 34% from 2010. Last year debuts of Jackass 3D and Red led with respective bows of $50.3 million and $21.8 million.

While expectations for all three incoming movies were modest, each of the trio failed to do better than low end projections. Both Footloose and The Thing managed to attract their target audiences but with not quite the intensity tracking reports had indicated. The Big Year can be viewed as close to a total audience rejection.

The exit demos once again tended to skew older or not quite as young as trending of the past two decades. The youthful Terpsichore that is Footloose attracted an audience that was 64% composed of folks 25 years and older while The Thing was 56% aged 30 years and younger. There was no discernable pulse among The Big Year’s ticket buyers.

Holdovers were generally resilient with drops generally in the 25% to 33% range. But apart from the 3Dized The Lion King the fall hasn’t generated a sizeable hit or a resounding commercial surprise. In such a climate one shouldn’t be taken aback by distribution plans for shorter theatrical windows or PPV experiments that will fall closer to opening dates.

The sense of desperation is palpable and growing. The erosion of the 18 to 25 frequent movie goer base can’t be ignored and providing easier and more economical access to that group has thus far resulted in some disastrous experimentation. But if they’re not coming back to the multiplex both distribution and exhibition are going to have to alter their playbook.

Weekend (estimates) October 14 – 16, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Real Steel BV 16.1 (4,690) -41% 3440 51.6
Footloose Par 15.8 (4,440) NEW 3549 15.8
The Thing Uni 8.7 (2,910) NEW 2996 8.7
The Ides of March Sony/Alliance 7.4 (3,360) -29% 2199 22
Dolphin Tale WB 6.3 (1,910) -31% 3286 58.6
Moneyball Sony 5.5 (1,940) -26% 2840 57.7
50/50 Summit 4.3 (1,810) -24% 2391 24.3
Courageous Sony/Tricord 3.4 (2,770) -31% 1214 21.4
The Big Year Fox 3.3 (1,530) NEW 2150 3.3
The Lion King 3D BV 2.7 (1,210) -40% 2267 90.5
Dream House Uni/eOne 2,5 (1,140) -45% 2172 18.4
Contagion WB 1.8 (1,090) -38% 1684 72
Abduction Lions Gate 1.4 (840) -50% 1707 25.8
The Help BV 1.2 (960) -38% 1267 164.9
Drive FilmDistrict 1.1 (1,540) -41% 703 32.1
What’s Your Number Fox 1.1 (870) -64% 1282 12.9
Killer Elite Open Road 1.0 (690) -55% 1431 23.7
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 WB .29 (890) -28% 330 380.2
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Code Black .28 (1,510) -39% 188 7.4
Take Shelter Sony Classics .27 (11,370) 425% 24 0.43
Cars 2 BV .26 (1,270) -8% 205 190.8
The Way PDA .24 (2,390) 117% 100 0.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $83.60
% Change (Last Year) -34%
% Change (Last Week) -7%
Also debuting/expanding
The Skin I Live In Sony Classics .22 (37,410) 6 0.22
The Guard Sony Classics .12 (1,290) 2% 94 4.8
Labios Rojos Lions Gate 65,200 (970) 67 0.07
Machine Gun Preacher Relativity 52,700 (1,250) 29% 42 0.41
Marecages Metropole 31,900 (1,520) 21 0.03
Fireflies in the Garden Senator 31,300 (6,260) 5 0.03
Silenced CJ Entertainment 27,400 (27,400) 1 0.03
The Woman Blood Disgusting 16,300 (960) 17 0.02
Aazaan Alchemia 11,300 (230) 50 0.01
Texas Killing Fields Anchor Bay 8,900 (2,970) 3 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Oct. 13, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (24) 1488.1 18.40%
Paramount (14) 1424.7 17.60%
Buena Vista (15) 1050.5 13.00%
Sony (25) 1034.7 12.80%
Universal (15) 932 11.50%
20th Century Fox (14) 779.2 9.60%
Weinstein Co. (12) 280.9 3.50%
Lions Gate (14) 180.6 2.20%
Relativity (7) 144.4 1.80%
Focus (7) 123 1.50%
Film District (3) 108.8 1.30%
Fox Searchlight (10) 107.7 1.30%
Summit (7) 89.9 1.10%
Sony Classics (15) 79.6 1.00%
CBS (3) 57.5 0.70%
Other * (282) 216.4 2.70%
8098 100.00%

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 39.5 4151 NEW 56.4
Big Hero 6 4.5 3650 -44% 120.1
Dumb and Dumber To 4.3 3188 -70% 48
Interstellar 4.2 3415 -49% 109.8
Gone Girl 0.8 1609 -41% 154.8
Beyond the Lights 0.8 1766 -66% 8.3
St. Vincent 0.65 1707 -43% 34.9
Fury 0.55 1720 -52% 77.8
Birdman 0.5 862 -27% 13.1
The Theory of Everything 0.4 140 86% 1.7
Also Debuting
Happy Ending 62,300 126
Rowdy Fellow 7,900 44
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 7,350 2
Food Chains 7,000 14
Monk with a Camera 4,000 1
Happy Valley 1,650 3
Me 1,600 1
Little White Lie 1,450 1
Heartbeat 1,150 1
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