MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report: October 2, 2011

Wail of a Tale

Families continued to hold sway at the multiplex as Dolphin Tale ascended to the top of the weekend movie charts with an estimated $14.3 million. Holdovers dominated frame sales with a quartet of new national releases bowing to mostly fair to poor response. The exception was the inspirational Courageous that ranked fourth with $8.8 million from a modest run of 1,161 playdates.

Trailing behind were the Cancer comedy 50/50 with $8.7 million, the chiller Dream House with $8.1 million and the teen targeted What’s Your Number eking out $5.5 million.

In Canada Breakaway, a tale of a Hindi hockey team, scored with $472,000 from 46 ice rinks. Conversely Bollywood import Force provided an ironic $99,000 at 58 venues and the black comic horror yarn Tucker & Dale vs. Evil dribbled $53,100 from 30 splattertoriums.

Bows in exclusive and limited release were rife but with few stand outs. Fest fave Take Shelter was upbeat with a $55,300 gross from three screens and on solo openings the policier Munger Road tracked down $40,400 in Chicago while Korean import War of the Arrows had a $21,800 bullseye following its $46 million tally at home.

Session revenues were slightly shy of $100 million that saw box office recede 18% from last weekend while registering a modest 3% rise from 2010. Last year the debut of The Social Network dominated with an opening $22.4 million salvo with holdovers of Legend of the Guardians and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps following respectively with $10.8 million and $10 million.

Pundits anticipated that holdovers would reign at the box office but weren’t unanimous about the order of Dolphin Tale, Moneyball and The Lion King. Unquestionably there was a mighty force from family viewing that’s been evident this time of year while Moneyball benefited from strong reviews and positive word of mouth.

The incoming movies all skewed female (admittedly exit demos weren’t available for Dream House) and older. Courageous _ which was aimed toward a faith-based crowd _ was expected to appeal older though perhaps not as decidedly as the 77% plus 25 years old indicated from exit polls. Tracking was pretty much on the mark with projections of between $8 million and $10 million.

The big question mark movie was 50/50, a comedy but centered on a young man diagnosed with cancer. Tracking indicated to would open between $10 million and $12 million. And while buttressed by positive reviews, audiences remained unconvinced the experience wouldn’t be a downer. Its fate now rests with strong word of mouth and bringing down the opening profile that registered a 65% plus 25 year old crowd.

For the nonce the industry is taking a deep breath in anticipation of a big bounce back at Thanksgiving.

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Weekend (estimates) September 30 – October 2, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Dolphin Tale WB 14.3 (4,060) -25% 3515 37.5
Moneyball Sony 12.5 (4,180) -36% 2993 38.5
The Lion King 3D BV 10.9 (4,670) -50% 2340 79.5
Courageous Sony 8.8 (7,590) NEW 1161 8.8
50/50 Summit 8.7 (3,540) NEW 2458 8.7
Dream House Uni 8.1 (3,060) NEW 2661 8.1
Abduction Lions Gate 5.6 (1,800) -49% 3118 19.1
What’s Your Number Fox 5,5 (1,840) NEW 3002 5.5
Contagion WB 4.9 (1,790) -42% 2744 64.6
Killer Elite Open Road 4.7 (1,570) -50% 2986 17.3
Drive FilmDistrict 3.3 (1,680) -43% 1974 27
The Help BV 3.0 (1,200) -31% 2505 159.4
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Code Black .74 (2,660) -35% 278 6.2
The Debt Focus .64 (1,060) -49% 604 30.1
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox .52 (880) -55% 591 174.5
Breakaway Alliance .47 (10,300) NEW 46 0.47
Warrior Lions Gate .44 (630) -60% 707 13.1
Straw Dogs Sony .43 (490) -79% 874 10.1
Captain America: The First Avenger Par .41 (1,180) 36% 350 175.3
Colombiana Sony .94 (1,110) -60% 847 35.1
Crazy, Stupid, Love WB .39 (960) -50% 405 82.7
I Don’t Know How She Does It Weinstein Co, .38 (510) -81% 745 9.2
Cars 2 BV .36 (1,600) 255 190
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World Weinstein Co, .34 (480) -53% 710 37.5
Dookudu Ficus .33 (7,50) -72% 44 1.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $92.20
% Change (Last Year) 3%
% Change (Last Week) -18%
Also debuting/expanding
The Guard Sony Classics .22 (1,380) -13% 157 4.5
Sarah’s Key Weinstein/A-Z .13 (830) -19% 153 7.2
Force Fox Star .10 (1,710) 58 0.1
Machine Gun Preacher Relativity 84,500 (2,560) 87% 33 0.14
Take Shelter Sony Classics 55,300 (18,430) 3 0.06
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil Magnolia 53,100 (1,770) 30 0.05
Munger Road FreeStyle 40,400 (40,400) 1 0.04
War of the Arrows CJ Entertainment 21,800 (21,800) 1 0.02
Bunraku Cinedigm 10,300 (1,030) 10 0.01
Cellule 211 Remstar 10,100 (1,440) 7 0.01
Finding Joe Balcony 9,200 (9,200) 1 0.01
Sahib Biwi aur Gangster UTV 8,900 (1,110) 8 0.01
Margaret Searchlight 7,300 (3,650) 2 0.01
Sarah Pallin: You Betcha! FreeStyle 6,700 (1,120) 6 0.01
American Teacher First Run 6,200 (6,200) 1 0.01
Mammuth Olive 1,900 (1,900) 1 0.01
Benda Bilili National Geo 1,700 (1,700) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Sept. 29, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (24) 1445.7 18.40%
Paramount (14) 1423.2 18.20%
Buena Vista (14) 987.6 12.60%
Sony (23) 973.9 12.40%
Universal (14) 916.6 11.70%
20th Century Fox (13) 766.1 9.80%
Weinstein Co. (12) 278.9 3.60%
Lions Gate (14) 168.8 2.10%
Relativity (7) 143.9 1.80%
Focus (7) 121.8 1.60%
Fox Searchlight (9) 107.4 1.40%
Film District (3) 101.3 1.30%
Sony Classics (14) 78.4 1.00%
Summit (6) 69.9 0.90%
CBS (3) 57.5 0.70%
Other * (267) 195.7 2.50%
7836.7 100.00%
* none greater than 0.35%
Top Limited Releases (Jan. 1 – Sept. 29, 2011) *
Title Distributor Gross
African Cats BV 15,428,747
The Tree of Life Searchlight/eOne 13,228,329
Born to Be Wild WB 13,069,673
Jane Eyre Focus 11,242,660
The Conspirator Roadside Attractions 11,538,204
Win Win Fox Searchlight 10,182,869
Blue Valentine * Weinstein Co. 9,597,588
Hubble 3D * WB 8,572,560
Barney’s Version * eOne/Sony Classics 7,130,176
Sarah’s Key Weinstein Co./A-Z 7,050,533
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight 6,861,102
Under the Sea 3D * Imax 6,349,080
Beginners Focus 5,855,346
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain Code Black 5,515,487
Cave of Forgotten Dreams IFC/Kinosmith 5,378,347
Biutiful Roadside Attractions 5,101,237
Atlas Shrugged Rocky Mountain 4,739,834
The Company Men Weinstein Co. 4,444,612
The Guard Sony Class/Alliance 4,261,792
Seven Days in Utopia Vision 4,093,251
* does not include 2010 box office

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Authors Anonymous 7,500 11
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Antboy 1,400 15
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The Hunger Games 153.6 (37,130) NEW 153.6
21 Jump Street 20.4 (6,550) -44% 70.2
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John Carter 5.0 (1,570) -63% 62.4
Act of Valor 2.0 (910) -46% 65.9
A Thousand Words 1.9 (1,050) -40% 14.9
Project X 1.9 (920) -53% 51.7
Safe House 1.4 (1,020) -50% 122.5
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 1.3 (1,000) -44% 97.1
Casa de mi Padre 1.0 (2,170) -55% 3.9