MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey staved off a torrent of new product to easily retain top spot in the marketplace with an estimated $36.6 million. Its closest competition came from Tom Cruise actioner Jack Reacher and mid-life comedy This is 40, which debuted respectively with $15.5 million and $12.1 million. Two other national releases opened to listless results. The mother-son road movie The Guilt Trip had an opening weekend of $5.3 million and the reissue of Monsters Inc. found $5 million in its stocking.

The frame also saw the national launch (it opened in home ring Québec two weeks ago) of Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Apart with $2.1 million and Bollywood’s Debangg 2 was a solid but not record breaking $980,000 at 155 locations. And also in Québec, the hockey comedy genre went pint-sized with Les Pee-Wee 3D scoring $280,000 at 88 rinks.

In exclusives the big bang was the controversial Zero Dark Thirty with $408,000 ($640,000 since Wednesday) at five sites. Also off to a strong start was Foreign-Language Oscar-tipped Amour with a $68,300 tally from three apartments. Otherwise results for late-year contenders, including the tsunami-themed The Impossible, Beat classic On the Road and coming-of-age Not Fade Away were softish but not yet irreparable.

Weekend revenues crawled toward $115 million for a 19% decline from seven days earlier. The soft openings of several new entries also translated into a 14% drop from 2011 when the second weekends of Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows led with respective grosses of $29.5 million and $20.3 million. The top freshmen titles were The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($12.7 million) and The Adventures of Tintin ($9.7 million).

Still, box office to date (with eight days left in the year) has surpassed last year’s total and is now almost 2% ahead of the entire 2011 figure with a week and a bit to slip into the stocking.

Critical response to Jack Reacher was generally positive with caveats about the film’s violent strain. Regardless, it fell short of a $20 million-plus projected opening and may not be the new franchise hoped for in the star’s future. The film tilted 60% male and needs to connect more demonstrably with Cruise’s female base. It was also 76% aged 25 years and older according to studio exit polls.

This is 40 was considerably closer to expectations and demographics. Its opening weekend crowd was 57% female and 74% aged 25 and over. Its future largely rests on word-of-mouth which thus far has been less than four-star endorsements.

But it looks like a traffic accident for The Guilt Trip, which failed to bring in younger fans of Seth Rogen and was largely skewered by the critical community. Barbra Streisand fans anxious to see the icon in her first major film role in a decade translated into a viewership that was 60% female and 82% aged 25 years on up.

The vacuum of films for a younger demographic could well elevate the opening box office of Django Unchained next week.  

Tensions continue to mount between the film industry and the Motion Picture Academy over the latter’s ramped-up nomination-broadcast schedule. Ballots are already out and historically members are quick to return their ballots, which can’t be good for the likes of Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty. Reaction to the announcement of nominees on Jan. 10, 2013 could well result in some tweaking of the process in what appears to be an awkward period of adjustment.

Weekend (estimates) December 21 – 23, 2012
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WB 36.6 (8,930) -49% 4100 149.8
Jack Reacher Par 15.5 (4,630) NEW 3352 15.5
This is 40 Uni 12.1 (4,160) NEW 2913 12.1
Rise of the Guardians Par 5.9 (1,750) -17% 3387 79.7
Lincoln BV 5.7 (2,480) -19% 2285 116.8
Skyfall Sony 4.8 (2,040) -27% 2365 279.9
The Guilt Trip Par 5.3 (2,200) NEW 2431 7.4
Monsters Inc. (reissue) BV 5.0 (1,910) NEW 2618 6.5
Life of Pi Fox 3.8 (2,190) -29% 1750 76.2
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Lions Gate 2.7 (1,340) -48% 2000 281.7
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Apart Par 2.1 (2,490) NEW 840 2.2
Wreck-It Ralph BV 2.0 (1,360) -39% 1444 171.9
Silver Linings Playbook Weinstein Co. 1.8 (4,800) -16% 371 19.9
Debangg 2 Eros 1.0 (6,290) NEW 155 1
Argo WB .89 (1,980) -24% 450 106.4
Red Dawn Film District .79 (780) -67% 1011 42.6
Flight Par .71 (960) -63% 742 91
Anna Karenina Focus .67 (2,020) -34% 331 9.6
Hitchcock Fox Searchlight .59 (1,100) -47% 535 4.2
Playing for Keeps Film District .42 (500) -46% 851 12.4
Zero Dark Thirty Sony .41 (81,660) NEW 5 0.64
Hyde Park on Hudson Focus .39 (4,510) 32% 86 0.92
Hotel Transylvania Sony .32 (980) 331% 331 144.3
Les Pee-Wee 3D Seville .28 (3,200) -25% 88 0.28
Taken 2 Fox .21 (770) -27% 275 138.5
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $107.95
% Change (Last Year) -14%
% Change (Last Week) -19%
Also debuting/expanding
The Impossible Lions Gate .13 (8,970) 15 0.13
Rust and Bone Sony Classics .12 (4,610) 117% 27 0.36
Amour Sony Classics 68,300 (22,770) 3 0.1
Chasing Ice National Geo 57,600 (1,240) -12% 47 0.72
Barbara Adopt 56,900 (3,790) 15 0.06
On the Road IFC 39,800 (9,950) 4 0.04
Sarocharu Blue Sky 32,400 (1.350) 24 0.03
Not Fade Away Par 18,200 (6.070) 3 0.02
Whatcha Wearin’? CJ Entertain. 6,600 (6,600) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 20, 2012)
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Sony (25) 1761.2 17.10%
Warner Bros. (27) 1532.6 14.80%
Buena Vista (17) 1503.3 14.60%
Universal (16) 1213.2 11.70%
Lions Gate (20) 1201.1 11.60%
20th Century Fox (18) 976.5 9.50%
Paramount (21) 824.1 8.00%
Relativity (6) 202.4 2.00%
Weinstein Co. (18) 178.2 1.70%
Focus (9) 141.6 1.40%
Open Road (6) 138.5 1.40%
Fox Searchlight (10) 115.3 1.10%
CBS (4) 90.3 0.90%
Film District (5) 58.3 0.50%
Summit (4) 47.1 0.45%
Sony Classics (20) 47 0.45%
Other * (339) 289.3 2.80%
10320 100.00%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 20, 2012)
Title Distributor Box Office
The Avengers BV 623,444,910
The Dark Knight Rises WB 448,159,219
The Hunger Games Lions Gate 408,043,896
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Lions Gate 279,005,734
Skyfall Sony 275,091,774
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony 262,083,357
Brave BV 237,229,573
Ted Uni 218,795,265
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Par 216,509,794
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Uni 214,571,106
Men in Black III Sony 179,199,159
Wreck-It Ralph BV 169,922,525
Ice Age: Continental Drift Fox 161,029,989
Snow White and the Huntsman Uni 155,326,249
Hotel Transylvania Sony 143,942,931
21 Jump Street Sony 138,591,227
Taken 2 Fox 138,265,100
Prometheus Fox 126,477,084
Safe House Uni 126,367,263
The Vow Sony 125,074,813

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Rio 2 9.5 3975 -21% 62.4
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 9.4 3825 -21% 184.3
Heaven is for Real 7.8 2417 NEW 14.9
Transcendence 4.8 3455 NEW 4.8
A Haunted House 2 4 2310 NEW 4
Bears 2.3 1720 NEW 2.3
Divergent 2.2 2486 -1% 130.4
Draft Day 2.1 2781 -40% 15.8
Oculus 2 2648 -59% 18
Noah 2 2537 -20% 89.9
God's Not Dead 1.6 1758 3% 45.2
Also Debuting
Trailer Park Boys 3 0.45 144
2 States 0.36 136
Fading Gigolo 58,000 5
Make Your Move 30,100 142
That Demon Within 23,300 14
Tenali Raman 10,200 19
En Solitaire 9,900 14
Authors Anonymous 7,500 11
Lotoman 003 4,300 11
13 Sins 3,300 45
small time 2,300 11
Tasting Menu 1,900 5
Mi Verano con Amanda 3 1,700 10
Antboy 1,400 15
Manakamana 1,350 1
Une Autre vie 1,350 3
Fermieres 1,150 7
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
The Hunger Games 153.6 (37,130) NEW 153.6
21 Jump Street 20.4 (6,550) -44% 70.2
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax 13.0 (3,540) -43% 177.3
John Carter 5.0 (1,570) -63% 62.4
Act of Valor 2.0 (910) -46% 65.9
A Thousand Words 1.9 (1,050) -40% 14.9
Project X 1.9 (920) -53% 51.7
Safe House 1.4 (1,020) -50% 122.5
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 1.3 (1,000) -44% 97.1
Casa de mi Padre 1.0 (2,170) -55% 3.9