MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: Abandon Hope

A couple of new releases hardly made a ripple in weekend movie going that sunk to a level not seen in decades. The Words, a convoluted yarn of authorship, bowed to an estimated $4.8 million that ranked fourth on the leader board while the thriller The Cold Light of Day – a leftover from Summit films_bowed with $1.8 million. The latter film has already opened overseas where it grossed a disappointing $12.5 million.

In the niches, 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark was reissued exclusively on Imax screens and grossed a respectable $1.6 million. However, there was negligible product placement for the futuristic parable Branded that debuted to $250,000 at 307 venues and new Indian imports Hindi Raaz 3 and Telegu Shirdi Sai Baba received tepid response.

Exclusive newcomers were generally dull with only the gay relationship Keep the Lights On; the offbeat rom-com Hello I Must Be Going; and a single screen bow for the non-fiction Detropia displaying the slightest bit of encouraging commercial signs.

Overall weekend box office added up to a smidgen more than $65 million and a 38% plunge from the 3-day portion of last weekend’s holiday session. It was also 18% down from 2011 when the $22.4 million debut of Contagion top the charts.

It was the lowest weekend box office of the past decade and adjusted for admissions one would have to embark on an Indian Jones expedition to find a worse attended session historically. One can only hope that it’s the combination of disinterest for recent product combined with spent interest in holdover fare that’s contributed to such a stark result. Pray that it’s an anomaly.

About the only titles that appear to be maintaining some continued appeal are alternative and adult such as Robot & Frank, Samsara and Sleepwalk with Me. So unless one lives in one of the 25 major metropolitan areas, keep an eye out for pay-per-view opportunities.


Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Possession Lions Gate 9.6 (3,380) -46% 2834 33.4
Lawless Weinstein Co. 5.9 (1,880) -41% 3138 23.4
The Expendables Lions Gate 4.8 (1,470) -47% 3260 75.5
The Words CBS 4.8 (1,730) NEW 2801 4.8
ParaNorman Focus 4.1 (1,440) -35% 2856 45.4
The Bourne Legacy Uni 4.0 (1,450) -45% 2766 103.7
The Odd Life of Timothy Green BV 3.7 (1,370) -41% 2717 43.1
The Campaign WB 3.5 (1,370) -39% 2542 79.4
2016 Obama’s America Rocky Mountain 3.3 (1,630) -41% 2017 26.1
The Dark Knight Rises WB 3.2 (1,630) -47% 1987 437.8
Hope Springs Sony 2.8 (1,160) -40% 2437 57.6
Premium Rush Sony 2.2 (1,030) -44% 2182 16.7
The Cold Light of Day Lions Gate 1.8 (,210) NEW 1511 1.8
Raiders of the Lost Ark (reissue) Par 1.6 (6,100) NEW 267 1.6
Hit and Run Open Road 1.1 (600) -48% 1810 12.5
Ice Age: Continental Drift Fox .83 (1,090) -36% 763 157.2
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Fox .81 (870) -43% 931 46.7
Sparkle Sony .79 (900) -56% 873 23.4
The Avengers BV .77 (640) -60% 1209 621.4
Brave BV .70 (730) -51% 959 233.4
Ted Uni .55 (1,070) -32% 515 216.9
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony .53 (1,220) -43% 435 260.5
Robot and Frank IDP .52 (2,570) -25% 202 2
Total Recall Sony .44 (850) -49% 517 57.6
Celeste and Jesse Forever Sony Classics .39 (890) -45% 441 2.6
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Par .38 (1,110) -43% 345 215.2
Beasts of the Southern Wild Searchlight/eOne .36 (1,350) -31% 269 10.3
Sleepwalk with Me IFC .33 (4,520) 2% 73 0.87
Intouchables Alliance/Weinstein .31 (1,580) -19% 194 11.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $61.90
% Change (Last Year) -18%
% Change (Last Week) -38%
Also debuting/expanding
Branded Barboss .25 (820) 307 0.25
For a Good Time, Call … Focus .22 (3,890) 51% 56 0.45
Samsara Oscilloscope .19 (7,560) 76% 25 0.48
Bachlorette Weinstein Co. .18 (3,850) 47 0.18
Shirdi Sai Baba Sree Lakshmi .16 (3,080) 53 0.16
Searching for Sugar Man Sony Classics .13 (3,880) -9% 33 0.91
Killer Joe LD .12 (1,810) -50% 68 1.6
Raaz 3 Fox Intl .10 (3,610) 28 0.1
Keep the Lights On Music Box 53,300 (10,060) 5 0.05
Un Bonheur n’arrive jamais seul Remstar 38,800 (3,880) 10 0.03
The Inbetweeners Wrekin Hill 31,900 (3,190) 10 0.03
The Eye of the Storm Sycamore 26,600 (3,800) 7 0.03
Hello I Must Be Going Oscilloscope 25,700 (12,850) 2 0.03
Ajj de Ranjhe Big Pictures 21,900 (1,680) 13 0.02
Detropia Loki 16,500 (16,500) 1 0.02
Toys in the Attic Hannover House 14,200 (570) 25 0.01
Adieu Berthe Metropole 13,800 (4,450) 3 0.01
Beauty is Embarrassing Tremolo 13,500 (4,500) 3 0.01
Beat Down Equinoxe 9,700 (1,210) 8 0.01
For Ellen TriBeCa 5,900 (5,900) 1 0.01
Girl Model First Run 4,800 (4,800) 1 0.01
Pickin’ & Grinnin’ House Lights 3,700 (1,850) 2 0.01

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Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“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