The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

Limbo Rock … How Low Can You Go

Moviegoers were otherwise engaged this weekend and overall box office sank by slightly more than half. With no new national releases in the mix, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn easily held onto the top spot with an estimated $16.8 million.

Niche and exclusive newcomers generally did little to brighten the picture. The exception was the exclusive bow of the controversial Shame that grossed $364,000 from 10 engagements. Also good was Bollywood newcomer The Dirty Picture with a $263,000 tally at 52 venues. But otherwise it was the blahs across the ages and genders.

Weekend box office generated roughly $83 million to record the second lowest weekend of 2011. Only the weekend following Labor Day provided an even more dire result. Business sank 51% from last weekend’s Thanksgiving holiday and a more 6% abatement from 2010. A year back Tangled was top draw with $21.6 million in its second weekend and the first half of the Harry Potter finale added $17 million to its larder.

Traditionally the first weekend of December ranks among the lowest attended session’s of the year and the current frame is the worst for this week in the past five years. Still there was an element of a self-fulfilling prophecy in the decision by the majors and indies not to provide a wide release. Traditionally at least some genre potboiler rears its head this time of year and sometimes does better than expected business.

Disclosure in 1994 was a rare instance of a major release opening in early December. And despite a strong bow its distributor was disappointed by an eventual domestic gross of about $85 million.

Amid the current rubble some of the family friendly pictures held well as well as a few of the awards targeted titles. The Artist, named best film by the New York Critics Circle, added two screens and held steady. Other relatively resilient films included Hugo, Arthur Christmas, The Descendants and My Week with Marilyn.

However, the shrewdest move had to be the opening of Shame. In the absence of a new national title or a major expansion, the grim yarn of sexual dependency received an enhanced publicity focus and drew in the alternative audience. With potential awards recognition in the offing this formidable start has a big upside.

Weekend (estimates) December 2 – 4, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Summit 16.8 (4,160) -60% 4046 247.2
The Muppets BV 11.2 (3,270) -62% 3440 56.5
Hugo Par 7.6 (4,130) -33% 1840 25.2
Arthur Christmas Sony 7.3 (2,170) -39% 3376 24.9
Happy Feet Two WB 5.9 (1,680) -56% 3536 51.7
Jack and Jill Sony 5.4 (1,780) -46% 3049 64.2
The Descendants Fox Searchlight 4.9 (8,590) -33% 574 17.8
Immortals Relativity 4.4 (1,680) -50% 2627 75.6
Tower Heist Uni 4.1 (1,710) -43% 2404 70.8
Puss in Boots Par 3.0 (1,080) -60% 2750 139.4
J. Edgar WB 2.4 (1,190) -53% 1985 32.6
My Week with Marilyn Weinstein Co. 1.2 (4,800) -33% 244 3.9
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas WB 1.0 (1,380) -39% 710 33.1
Moneyball Sony .57 (570) 100% 1004 73.8
In Time Fox .55 (1,310) -29% 421 35.8
The Ides of March Sony/Alliance .53 (520) 109% 1016 40.1
Shame Fox Searchlight .36 (36,380) NEW 10 0.36
Dolphin Tale WB .32 (780) 74% 410 70.7
Like Crazy Par Vantage .27 (1,760) -37% 152 2.9
Midnight in Paris Sony Classics .26 (860) 344% 305 56
The Dirty Picture Alt Entertainment .26 (5,060) NEW 52 0.26
Melancholia Magnolia/eOne .23 (2,230) -30% 104 1.6
The Artist Weinstein Co. .20 (33,900) -1% 6 0.5
Real Steel BV .17 (680) -48% 253 83.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $76.85
% Change (Last Year) -6%
% Change (Last Week) -51%
Also debuting/expanding
The Way PDA .17 (1,050) -18% 160 3.6
The Skin I Live In Sony Classics .16 (1,380) -14% 116 2.7
A Dangerous Method Sony Classics .12 (29,850) -29% 4 0.41
Pastorela Lions Gate 65,700 (1,190) 55 0.07
I Am Singh Big Pictures 25,300 (470) 54 0.03
Kinyarwanda AFFRM 21,500 (2,390) 9 0.02
Answers to Nothing Roadside 14,400 (690) 21 0.01
Bezawada Annapurna 11,700 (420) 28 0.01
Sleeping Beauty IFC 8,300 (4,150) 2 0.01
Outrage Magnolia 6,200 (3,100) 2 0.01
Khodorkovsky Lorber 5,600 (5600) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 1, 2011)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (19) 1736.3 18.50%
Warner Bros. (26) 1614.5 17.30%
Sony (28) 1177.1 12.60%
Buena Vista (16) 1156.1 12.40%
Universal (18) 1030.1 11.00%
20th Century Fox (16) 825.4 8.80%
Summit (9) 354.9 3.80%
Weinstein Co. (15) 285.7 3.10%
Relativity (8) 216.1 2.30%
Lions Gate (15) 184.6 2.00%
Film District (4) 125.6 1.30%
Focus (7) 123.6 1.30%
Fox Searchlight (12) 123.2 1.30%
Sony Classics (17) 84.9 0.90%
CBS (3) 57.5 0.60%
Other * (325) 261.8 2.80%
9357.4 100.00%
* none greater than 0.35%
Top Global Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 1, 2011) *
Title Distributor Gross
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 WB 1,339,007,353
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Par 1,123,779,767
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides BV 1,043,585,965
Kung Fu Panda 2 Par 665,712,192
Fast Five Uni 628,291,158
The Hangover 2 WB 582,704,066
The Smurfs Sony 561,341,168
Cars 2 BV 559,955,381
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Summit 534,112,490
Rio Fox 484,654,961
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Fox 481,180,399
Thor Par 449,362,618
The King’s Speech Weinstein/FilmNation 408,823,504
Captain America: The First Avenger Par 368,629,160
X-Men: First Class Fox 353,624,124
Tangled * BV 296,514,084
Bridesmaids Uni 288,483,356
Black Swan * Fox 287,898,948
Super 8 Par 259,835,830
Real Steel BV 253,806,606
Rango Par 245,728,275
Green Lantern WB 234,559,572
The Green Hornet Sony 227,892,167
Bad Teacher Sony 216,438,475
Just Go With It Sony 215,073,990

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
THG: Mockingjay - Part 1 Lionsgate 6.6 4054 -73%
Horrible Bosses 2 WB 2.7 3400 -57%
Penguins of Madagascar Fox 2.4 3775 -77%
Interstellar Par 2.1 3028 -67%
Big Hero 6 BV 1.8 3168 -77%
Dumb and Dumber To Uni 1.2 3088 -63%
The Theory of Everything Focus 0.75 826 -61%
The Pyramid Fox 0.45 589 NEW
Gone Girl Fox 0.4 1205 -57%
St. Vincent Weinstein Co. 0.3 1432 -56%
Also Debuting
Wild Searchlight 0.16 21
Action Jackson Eros 55,200 125
Corner Gas Prairie Pants 52,500 96
Past Tense ABS 34,900 50
Serena eOne 17,800 38
Panico 5 Bravo Lionsgate 9,700 22
Dying of the Light Lionsgate 3,700 10
Miss Julie Wrekin Hill 3,250 5
She's Beautiful When She's Angry Intl Film Circuit 3,100 1
Uzumasa Limelight 11 Arts 2,500 13
Tell Orion 2,500 9
The Passionate Thief (reissue) Rialto 2,200 1
Zero Motivation Zeitgeist 1,850 1
Concerning Violence Kino 1,050 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
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies