By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com
The Weekend Report
Fang You Very Much
Audiences checked into Hotel Transylvania and the occupancy rate in its maiden edition topped session charts with an estimated $42.6 million. The bridesmaid’s spot went to freshman sci-fi entry Looper with $20.9 million and a third national debut – the hot-button education yarn Won’t Back Down – flunked the commercial test with a $2.7 million gross.
Also upbeat was the limited opener of the tuneful Pitch Perfect (expanding nationally next weekend) that tallied $5.2 million at 335 venues.
In the niches a couple of Bollywood entries were off to good starts that included OMG Oh My God! That bowed to $297,000 at 70 locations and Thaandavam with $128,000 from 32 screens. In Quebec, local entry Inch’Allah generated just shy of $100,000 from 22 playdates and the omnibus Stars in Shorts had an OK $38,100 in 22 theaters.
Best of the exclusive bows was nonfiction The Other Dream Team centering on the 1990s Lithuanian basketball squad with a $23,400 box office at two courts. The Iran Job on an American hoopster playing in Iran lacked a comparable fast break with $4,600 from an alternate two locations.
Overall frame box office climbed to about $120 million and 34% bump from seven days earlier. It was also 25% improved from 2011 when holdovers of Dolphin Tale and Moneyball led with respective box office of $13.9 million and $12 million with the top newcomer Courageous grossing $9.1 million.
Tracking provided a clear edge for Hotel Transylvania but pundits predicted a top end of $35 million. The unexpected uptick largely came from adult interest though it was unquestionably family centric with opening weekend exit demos giving that sector a 76% share. Overall ticket buyers skewed 60% female.
The highly lauded Looper captured males to the tune of 59% and the initial crowd was 75% aged 25-years old and maturer. The pic’s future should be positive as it filters down to younger folk.
With so much political/social matter in the air this campaign season Won’t Back Down’s focus on parent’s efforts to change an inner city school seemed perfectly timed. However, it was greeted with audience malaise. Those that turned up were unsurprisingly 67% female and more than 70% older than 25.
The big gamble of platforming the tale of a university singing contest, Pitch Perfect, successfully cleared the first hurdle. While a not unprecedented release strategy it is a very rare approach and a refreshing alternative to the usual paid previews method of building word-of-mouth. It also skewed 75% female with a 25-and-younger viewership of 58%.
The industry let out a collective sigh of relief as boxoffice expanded and comparatively improved. It was albeit a marketplace that generally experienced more breadth than strength with scant indication for a respite for the remainder of the year. The challenge for alternative fare will simply be to secure screens in a crowded field that is now as daunting as the traditional summer season.