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MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

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.

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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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“I was a brat back when I made Pootie Tang. I was dealing with people every day whose pressures I didn’t understand, and I wasn’t very nice about how I said no to them. I put myself in a position I didn’t have to be in. A lot of what makes this kind of stuff work is empathy. If you’re taking money from somebody, they have a right to look after it. It’s all just trying to be clear about the arrangement. That’s why when I set up ‘Louie,’ I just said, ‘This is what I’m comfortable doing, and if you don’t want to do it, I don’t blame you. But in exchange, I’ll take very little money.’ I was only getting $200,000 per show from them, which is insane, and it goes up just by tiny increments every year. The other part of the arrangement with FX is that if this stops working for them, they should just tell me and we’ll stop doing it. Contractually, FX has a right to demand that the scripts be filtered through them before I shoot them, just like any other show. But from the beginning, they haven’t read anything, and they like the show. If I start turning in shit, then they’re going to start asking to see scripts, and that’s perfectly fair.”
~ Louis C. K.

BOMB: Do you give a lot of direction?

ASSAYAS: I give zero indications. Nothing. To me, it’s all physical. It is all about getting the right actors. They understand the part. They’re not idiots. They’re going to sit down, and they’re going to work. They don’t need my explanations. The problem is that actors listen to directors. They respect them. So, when you say something, it becomes gospel. In a certain way, this limits their imagination. I’d rather say nothing. Then, when we shoot, I fix whatever I don’t like. I channel it as softly as I can in a direction where, maybe, there’s something to gain. But, usually, if you are working with the right people, their instinct will be correct. They will bring something of their own to the character, and to the situation. Ultimately, there will be some kind of human truth to what they are doing.
~ Olivier Assayas on directing

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