MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report

Booty Call … Yoo Hoo Noo

The urban comedy Think Like a Man held onto the top spot in its sophomore session with an estimated $17.8 million in a session that featured a quartet of new national releases. The Newcomers that were bunched in the top five included the stop motion animation of The Pirates! Band of Misfits and the rom-com The Five Year Engagement that opened respectively to $11.4 million and $11.1 million.

A little bit further down the list were the testosterone thriller Safe that grossed $7.6 million and the nevermore whodunit The Raven with $7.2 million. Indian imports provided solid returns for Tamil Dammu of $243,000 and indifferent response for Hindi Tezz of $148,000. In Quebec Derapage provided a listless $142,000 box office at 58 locations.

Exclusive bows were largely fungible with the exception of the Jack Black vehicle Bernie that tallied $88,200 at three venues and the Norwegian thriller Headhunters that racked up $41,100 from four engagements.

Cusp of summer box office experienced a lull with weekend revenues of roughly $115 million that amounted to a 17% decline from the prior frame. It was a steeper 30% downturn from 2011 when the bow of Fast Five blew away the competition with an $86.1 million launch.

The weekend’s big noise was happening overseas with The Avengers getting a jump start on domestic with a 39 territory debut estimated at close to $180 million. Also heaping up advance gelt internationally is Battleship with $150 million to date prior to its North American bow on 5/18.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits entered its fifth weekend internationally with $70 million and performed pretty much to tracking pegged at between $11 million and $14 million. To no great surprise exit demos identified the audience as 76% family. It also tilted slightly female with 54%.

The Five Year Engagement arrived below expectations of $15 million to $18 million. Again exit demos were as expected with 57% of viewers aged 30 years and older and a female tilt of 64%. As with Wanderlust two months back this stripe of yucks and kisses seems to be a formula that’s rapidly losing its appeal.

Holdover titles generally experienced 50% drops and apart from The Hunger Games look to be swept out by the incoming summer tentpoles. Yet to be determined is the fate of alternative adult fare that’s been strengthening during the hot months as Midnight in Paris proved in extremis with a $55 million domestic tally.

Weekend Estimates:  April 27-29 2012

Title Distributor Gross (avg) Change Theaters Cume
Think Like a Man Sony 17.8 (8,850) -47% 2015 60.7
The Lucky One WB 11.4 (3,600) -49% 3175 40
Pirates! Band of Misfits Sony 11.4 (3,390) NEW 3358 11.4
The Five Year Engagement Uni 11.1 (3,790) NEW 2936 11.1
The Hunger Games Lions Gate 11.1 (3,110) -24% 3572 372.3
Safe Lions Gate 7.6 (3,370) NEW 2266 7.6
The Raven Relativity 7.2 (3,290) NEW 2203 7.2
Chimpanzee BV 5.4 (3,460) -49% 1567 19.1
The Three Stooges Fox 5.4 (1,750) -44% 3105 37.2
Cabin in the Woods Lions Gate 4.6 (1,730) -43% 2639 34.7
21 Jump Street Sony 3.1 (1,690) -34% 1820 132
American Reunion Uni 3.0 (1,380) -46% 2154 53.4
Mirror Mirror Relativity 2.2 (1,100) -49% 2017 58.9
Wrath of the Titans WB 2.0 (1,250) -50% 1572 80.5
Titanic 3D (reissue) Par 1.9 (1,340) -62% 1409 56.3
Lockout Open Rd/Alliance .96 (760) -70% 1259 13.3
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Uni .87 (980) -54% 883 208.5
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island WB .52 (1,300) -15% 401 101.9
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen CBS .43 (1,290) -37% 335 7.8
Bully Weinstein Co. .33 (1,250) -36% 263 2.1
Intouchables Alliance .29 (6,650) -4% 42 1.4
To the Arctic WB .24 (4,740) -12% 50 0.67
Monsieur Lazhar Music Box .24 (3,650) 58% 66 0.61
Dammu Ficus .24 (5,060) NEW 48 0.24
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) 107.55
% Change (Last Year) -30%
% Change (Last Week) -17%
Also debuting/expanding
Footnote Sony Classics .16 (1,560) -16% 101 1.6
Tezz Eros .15 (1,540 96 0.15
Derapage Alliance .14 (2,450) 58 0.14
The Raid: Redemption Sony Class/Alliance .14 (1,110) -68% 126 3.9
Damsels in Distress Sony Classics 89,500 (1,570) -22% 57 0.44
Bernie Millennium 88,200 (29,400) 3 0.09
The Deep Blue Sea Music Box 73,600 (1,440) -12% 51 0.87
Darling Companion Sony Classics 69,500 (4,090) 74% 17 0.12
Warriors of the Rainbow Well Go 57,300 (4,780) 12 0.06
Headhunters Magnolia 41,400 (10,350) 4 0.04
Sound of My Voice Searchlight 39,200 (7,840) 5 0.04
Elles Lorber 26,100 (4,350) 6 0.03
Restless City AAFF 9,800 (3,270) 3 0.01
The Highest Pass Cinema Libre 8,700 (4,350) 2 0.01
Broken Tower Focus 7,400 (7,400) 1 0.01
Mamitas Screen Media 5,800 (1,160) 5 0.01
96 Minutes Arc 5,600 (1,400) 4 0.01
Case depart K Films 4,400 (1,470) 3 0.01
Whore’s Glory Lorber 4,100 (2,050) 2 0.01
Inventing Our Life First Run 2,900 (2,900) 1 0.01
Booker’s Place TriBe Ca 2,600 (2,600) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share:  Jan 1 – April 26, 2012

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Universal (7) 490 15.30%
Sony (11) 468.6 14.60%
Lions Gate (5) 458.5 14.30%
Warner Bros. (18) 407.2 12.70%
20th Century Fox (9) 332.5 10.30%
Paramount (11) 285.7 8.90%
Buena Vista (8) 200.9 6.30%
Relativity (4) 146 4.50%
Weinstein Co. (7) 78.9 2.50%
Open Road (3) 70.3 2.20%
CBS (2) 61.6 1.90%
Summit (4) 47.1 1.50%
Fox Searchlight (3) 46.1 1.40%
Focus (3) 22 0.70%
Sony Classics (11) 18.7 0.60%
Other * (109) 75.2 2.30%
3209.3 100.00%

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas