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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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“Chad Harbach spent ten years writing his novel. It was his avocation, for which he was paid nothing, with no guarantee he’d ever be paid anything, while he supported himself doing freelance work, for which I don’t think he ever made $30,000 a year. I sold his book for an advance that equated to $65,000 a year—before taxes and commission—for each of the years of work he’d put in. The law schools in this country churn out first-year associates at white-shoe firms that pay them $250,000 a year, when they’re twenty-five years of age, to sit at a desk doing meaningless bullshit to grease the wheels of the corporatocracy, and people get upset about an excellent author getting $65,000 a year? Give me a fucking break.”
~ Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

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