MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

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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Klady

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton