MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

Buzz in the New

They simply can’t put a stake through the heart of Texas Chainsaw. The newest incarnation of the 1974 original, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, was top of weekend movie sales with an estimated $23.1 million debut.

Chainsaw was also the only new national release though several late-year award qualifiers also expanded to national exposure. Eco-themed drama Promised Land failed to ignite with the addition of 1,650 screens and a gross of $4.2 million. More promising though hardly explosive was The Impossible with a $2.8 million from 572 locations.

Also expanding from exclusive to limited status was Oscar-touted Zero Dark Thirty on the hunt for Osama with a $2.7 million gross from just 60 playdates. The flip side was the total collapse of Not Fade Away that eked out $278,000 at 565 garages.

Other new titles were scarce. Bollywood entry Table No. 21 was moribund and the lastest Up—56 and counting—on the Brit kids first intro’ed almost a half century ago—had a decent start of $28,400 on two screens.

Domestic 2012 box office wound up cashing in with $10.87 billion and a more than encouraging 6.2% revenue boost from the immediate prior year. Admissions were also on the rise by roughly 3%.

Historically, going to the movies reflects economic conditions but lags by three years. In this instance, looking back to 2009 would suggest few folk at the multiplex. But the thing about trend analysis is that when things change one has to alter the graph.

Still, there’s nothing one can point to definitively to explain why exactly there was such a significant upturn. One pundit proffered to this scribe that “the movies were better.” “Better” remains an amorphous term. Qualitatively, one would have to find a newfangled apparatus to gauge on that basis and the results would likely display a positive in micromillimeters.

If the standard is measured on the basis of profitability, the outcome is equally fuzzy. As with any year, there were hits and misses. Does the $1 billion-plus worldwide box office of The Avengers wipe out the $250 million writedown taken on John Carter and leave money on the table? The answer can only be found in the bowels of the creative accounting department.

What has changed (and not simply in 2012) is the actual composition of the audience. The once vigorously and slavishly pursued demo of 18-25-year-old males was likely the fastest eroding segment of ticket buyers. Conversely bean counters tell me that there’s tremendous growth among both sexes aged 25-34.

However, the future isn’t merely re-jiggering the production slate to reflect the tastes of a more mature audience. Apart from this week’s launch of Texas Chainsaw, there’s relatively little for the once-dominant young crowd to see on the big screen.

What ought to be keeping execs up late at night is the prospect that younger audiences are losing the moviegoing habit. These very folk were exposed to the experience by parents who had “it” but they have opted for other pursuits—including alternative platforms to view movies—upon reaching the age of maturity. So the link in the chain has effectively been broken or at least been temporarily severed.

If nothing is done to reset the situation. the next generation will have even fewer moviegoers and the medium will be truly on the road to oblivion. Ignore the inevitable at your own peril.

Weekend (estimates) January 4 – 6, 2013
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Texas Chainsaw Lionsgate 23.1 (8,710) NEW 2654 23.1
Django Unchained Weinstein Co. 19.8 (6,580) -34% 3010 106.1
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WB 17.5 (4,660) -45% 3755 263.8
Les Miserables Uni 16.1 (5,540) -41% 2904 103.6
Parental Guidance Fox 10.1 (2,990) -31% 3368 52.7
Jack Reacher Par 9.4 (2,870) -31% 3288 64.9
This is 40 Uni 8.5 (2,910) -32% 2931 54.4
Lincoln BV 5.3 (2,800) -27% 1901 144
The Guilt Trip Par 4.5 (1,950) -31% 2312 31.2
Promised Land Focus 4.2 (2,490) 2302% 1675 4.5
Monsters Inc. (reissue) BV 3.9 (1,844) -40% 2103 27.9
Silver Linings Playbook Weinstein Co. 3.6 (4,880) -11% 745 34.7
Skyfall Sony 3.2 (2,480) -29% 1307 297
Life of Pi Fox 2.9 (2,980) -24% 965 91.1
The Impossible Lionsgate 2.8 (4,840) 1414% 572 3.4
Zero Dark Thirty Sony 2.7 (45,500) 764% 60 4.4
Rise of the Guardians Par 2.5 (1,680) -49% 1507 97.1
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Lions Gate 1.5 (1,770) -38% 825 289.2
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Apart Par 1.2 (1,500) -49% 817 10.8
Wreck-It Ralph BV 1.2 (1,640) -38% 709 178.5
Hyde Park on Hudson Focus 1.0 (4,680) 142% 222 3.2
Argo WB .79 (2,620) -22% 302 110.1
Hotel Transylvania Sony 51 (1,810) -10% 281 145.8
Anna Karenina Focus .34 (2,120) -34% 163 11.5
Not Fade Away Par .28 (490) 405% 565 0.42
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $146.30
% Change (Last Year) 8%
% Change (Last Week) -17%
Also debuting/expanding
Rust and Bone Sony Classics .17 (4,470) 47% 39 0.88
Amour Sony Classics 62,700 (22,230) 1% 3 0.31
Table No. 21 Eros 33,200 (1,580) 21 0.03
56 Up First Run 28,400 (14,200) 2 0.03
All Superheroes Must Die Image 2,700 (270) 10 0.01
Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 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
Skyfall Sony 290,904,271
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Lions Gate 286,422,893
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony 262,083,357
Brave BV 237,262,103
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WB 228,546,604
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 175,990,019
Ice Age: Continental Drift Fox 161,139,599
Snow White and the Huntsman Uni 155,326,249
Hotel Transylvania Sony 145,321,690
Taken 2 Fox 138,936,379
21 Jump Street Sony 138,591,227
Lincoln BV 134,189,097
Prometheus Fox 126,477,084
Safe House Uni 126,367,263
The Vow Sony 125,074,813
Magic Mike WB 113,741,031
The Bourne Legacy Uni 113,462,849
Argo WB 108,720,920

FINAL MARKET SHARES 2012

Distributor (releases) Gross (millions) Mkt Share % Change Rank ’09
1 Sony (25) 1780.6 16.40% 40% 3
2 Warner Bros. (27) 1651.8 15.20% -8% 2
3 Buena Vista (17) 1551.5 14.30% 26% 4
4 Universal (17) 1325.5 12.20% 27% 5
5 Lionsgate (21) 1209.5 11.10% 553% 10
6 20th Century Fox (19) 1024.5 9.40% 5% 6
7 Paramount (23) 919.8 8.50% -53% 1
8 Weinstein Co. (19) 257.5 2.40% -13% 8
9 Relativity (6) 202.4 1.90% -11% 9
10 Focus (10) 145.1 1.30% 14% 12
11 Open Road (6) 140.8 1.30% 459% 18
12 Fox Searchlight (10) 117.1 1.10% -22% 11
13 CBS (4) 92.3 0.80% 60% 15
14 Film District (5) 60.7 0.60% -52% 13
15 Sony Classics (21) 47.6 0.40% -46% 14
16 Summit (4) 47.1 0.40% -89% 7
Other (345) 294.2 2.70% N/A
10868 100% 6%

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 39.5 4151 NEW 56.4
Big Hero 6 4.5 3650 -44% 120.1
Dumb and Dumber To 4.3 3188 -70% 48
Interstellar 4.2 3415 -49% 109.8
Gone Girl 0.8 1609 -41% 154.8
Beyond the Lights 0.8 1766 -66% 8.3
St. Vincent 0.65 1707 -43% 34.9
Fury 0.55 1720 -52% 77.8
Birdman 0.5 862 -27% 13.1
The Theory of Everything 0.4 140 86% 1.7
Also Debuting
Happy Ending 62,300 126
Rowdy Fellow 7,900 44
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night 7,350 2
Food Chains 7,000 14
Monk with a Camera 4,000 1
Happy Valley 1,650 3
Me 1,600 1
Little White Lie 1,450 1
Heartbeat 1,150 1
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4