MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: March 25, 2012

Starved For Inattention

The Hunger Games set a slew of records and debuted to a jaw dropping estimated $153.6 million. Nuff said.

The competition decided there was little point to even consider a counter-programmer. But in the niches Bollywood offered Agent Vinod that bowed to an OK $440,000 at 121 venues.

There were also a few limited freshmen that showed signs of life. The Raid: Redemption, an urban shootout, grossed $219,000 from 14 locations while the Brit period drama The Deep Blue Sea fared fair with $113,400 on 28 screens. The frame’s handful of exclusive generated generally disappointing results.

The anticipation for The Hunger Games was palpable. The popularity of its series of young adult novels was likened to the Harry Potter books … albeit slightly more sophisticated and unquestionably more sober sided. Pundits could not image anything less than a $100 million debut and tracking pegged it at between $130 million and $135 million in the days leading up to its release.

Neither the film’s Thursday midnights of $19.7 million nor Friday additional box office of $48.5 million indicated that the prognostications were off track. Saturday was expected to experience a downturn but (previews aside) stunned the industry with a slight boost and estimates quickly shot up by $20 million.

As for records Hunger can claim the biggest domestic opening for a non-sequel and slots third all-time behind the Harry Potter finale and The Dark Knight. It also fueled the biggest weekend box office outside a holiday session. It also opened day and date in 57 international territories and scored an impressive estimated $60 million that should eventually provide it for the sort of business experienced by the recent Twilight installments.

Exit demos also provided a bit of a surprised. While its 61% female tilt wasn’t really a shocker what stood out was that less than half the crowd was under the age of 25 years; specifically 44%. All this ultimately bodes well in the coming weeks as the current momentum is likely to bring in a younger male crowd.

The Hunger Game accounted for more than 70% of weekend admission that should add up to roughly $212 million. That was sufficient for a 97% boost from last weekend’s tally and 79% better than last year’s gross when debuts of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Sucker Punch opened respectively to $23.7 million and $19 million.

Holdover titles generally took 50% hits in the wake of The Hunger tsunami. The weather notwithstanding, summer definitely arrived early in 2012.

Weekend Estimates: March 23-25, 2012

Title Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Hunger Games 153.6 (37,130) NEW 4137 153.6
21 Jump Street 20.4 (6,550) -44% 3121 70.2
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 13.0 (3,540) -43% 3677 177.3
John Carter 5.0 (1,570) -63% 3212 62.4
Act of Valor 2.0 (910) -46% 2216 65.9
A Thousand Words 1.9 (1,050) -40% 1787 14.9
Project X 1.9 (920) -53% 2065 51.7
Safe House 1.4 (1,020) -50% 1330 122.5
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 1.3 (1,000) -44% 1340 97.1
Casa de mi Padre 1.0 (2,170) -55% 475 3.9
This Means War 1.0 (830) -54% 1188 52.3
The Vow .83 (660) -60% 1258 122.8
Friends with Kids .80 (1,440) -45% 556 5.5
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen .68 (5,480) 47% 124 1.6
Silent House .63 (520) -70% 1202 11.9
Good Deeds .59 (950) -57% 621 33.7
Jeff Who Lives at Home .57 (2,240) -33% 254 1.8
The Artist .47 (820) -55% 576 43
Agent Vinod .44 (3,640) NEW 121 0.44
A Separation .34 (1,320) -27% 261 6.1
The Iron Lady .25 (770) -41% 327 29.1
Hugo .24 (850) -50% 283 73.4
Alvin & the Chipunks: Chip-Wrecked .24 (960) -14% 248 132
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $206.60
% Change (Last Year) 79%
% Change (Last Week) 97%
Also debuting/expanding
The Raid: Redemption .22 (13,670) 14 0.22
Footnote .16 (6,920) 137% 23 0.32
The Deep Blue Sea .11 (4,050) 28 0.11
We Need to Talk About Kevin 94,300 (1,180) -6% 80 1.3
Being Flynn 72,100 (990) -51% 73 0.4
In Darkness 58,700 (1,130) -20% 52 0.79
Comme un chef 41,200 (2,750) 15 0.04
Un Heureux evenement 11,400 (540) 21 0.01
One Life 8,700 (2,900) 3 0.01
4:44: Last Day on Earth 8,400 (2,800) 3 0.01
Musical Chairs 7,300 (810) 9 0.01
The Trouble with Bliss 4.950 (4,950) 1 0.01
Brake 4,600 (2,300) 2 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – March 23, 2012)
Distributor (releases) Market Share
Universal (6) 17.50%
Sony (10) 15.30%
20th Century Fox (8) 13.20%
Warner Bros. (11) 12.90%
Paramount (10) 9.90%
Buena Vista (7) 7.80%
Relativity (3) 3.70%
Lions Gate (4) 3.70%
Weinstein Co. (6) 3.30%
Open Road (2) 2.50%
CBS (2) 2.40%
Summit (4) 2.10%
Fox Searchlight (3) 2.00%
Focus (2) 1.00%
Sony Classics (8) 0.60%
Other * (76) 2.10%
Top Limited Releases (Jan. 1 – March 22, 2012) *
Title Box Office
A Separation 5,746,324
Friends with Kids 4,696,681
A Dangerous Method * 4,131,966
Pina * 3,712,244
Goon 3,689,726
Albert Nobbs 2,864,761
Casa de mi Padre 2,848,252
Born to Be Wild * 2,219,802
Carnage * 2,217,733
Shame * 2,049,382
Agneepath 1,990,856
Monsieur Lazhar * 1,748,051
2012 Oscar Nominated Shorts 1,693,261
We Need to Talk About Kevin 1,252,363
Jeff, Who Lives at Home 1,187,358

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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