MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

The much-ballyhooed debut of Divergent handily led weekend moviegoing with an estimated $56.2 million. That left newcomer Muppets Most Wanted with poor seconds of $16.5 million. But the session curve ball belonged to the inspirational God’s Not Dead that played largely heartland multiplexes and grossed a significant $8.7 million.

Results for new niche and exclusive title were largely moribund-to-fair. The controversial Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (Volume 2 opened in Canada) did little to overcome American unease with graphic sexual material with a box office of $157,000 at 24 venues. The true life chronicle of the film that never was – Jodorowsky’s Dune – was off to a good start of $35,800 from three screens.

Overall revenues for the sessions climbed to more than $140 million and an upward bump of 25%. It was a more modest 2% improvement from 2013 when freshmen entries The Croods and Olympus Has Fallen led the charge with respective bows of $43.6 million and $30.4 million.

Divergent, based on a trilogy of young fiction books aimed at female readers, with its depiction of a dystopian future was naturally viewed as a potent successor to The Hunger Games. And while it doesn’t appear to be nearly as commercially vibrant, it opened with sufficient force to buttress the decision to commit to a three-picture investment.

The film got off to a quick start with Thursday late night shows that grossed roughly $4.9 million. But its Friday to Saturday bump was just a modest 11%. Unsurprisingly the opening audience skewed 59% female with a 50/50 split at the over/under 25-year threshold.

Reinventing, or at least revitalizing the Muppets multi-generational appeal has been a daunting challenge. Muppets Most Wanted came short of that task as it fell short of tracking that anticipated an opening better than $20 million. Exit polling revealed its strongest appeal with younger viewers and families with under 25-year olds accounting for 54% of opening weekend audiences with 71% identifying as families. It tilted slightly female with 54% of the crowd.

Identifying the appeal of faith-based movies has largely been abysmal as the majors very rarely dip into that niche. So pundits largely dismissed the prospects of God’s Not Dead with grim predictions that ranged from a low of $2.5 million to dubious top end of $5 million. Admittedly its labor intensive to divine which pictures have support from the pulpit and special church projections and this latest outing must have had both to generate its box office response.

CinemaCon, the annual convention of film exhibition, gets underway tomorrow in Las Vegas and while by its nature it’s unlikely to grapple substantively with the issues that sustain an uneasy relationship between those who play and those who supply movies, these are transitional times. A new generation of viewers is watching film on platforms other than traditional theatrical outlets. The majors are anxious to capitalize on this fact with new patterns of availability for ancillary revenue streams as theater owners dig in to prevent erosion of the theatrical window that’s its bread and butter. One can expect there will be a lot of data and details tossed around to support the pro and con sides of the argument.

So it’s appropriate to invoke the words of Benjamin Disraeli: “the three things I hate most are lies, damn lies and statistics.”

 

Weekend (estimates) March 21 – 23, 2014
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Divergent Lionsgate 56.2 (14,280) NEW 3936 56.2
Muppets Most Wanted BV 16.5 (5,160) NEW 3194 16.5
Mr. Peabody & Sherman Fox 11.7 (3,250) -46% 3607 81
God’s Not Dead FreeStyle 8.7 (11,200) NEW 780 8.7
300: Rise of an Empire WB 8.4 (2,730) -56% 3085 93.5
Need for Speed BV 7.7 (2,470) -57% 3115 30.3
The Grand Budapest Hotel Fox Searchlight 6.7 (21,910) 83% 304 12.9
Non-Stop Uni 6.3 (2,140) -40% 2945 78.6
The Lego Movie WB 4.1 (1,640) -47% 2501 243.3
The Single Moms Club Lionsgate 3.1 (1,630) -61% 1896 12.9
Son of God Fox 2.6 (1,230) -52% 2139 55.6
The Monuments Men Sony .96 (1,020) -53% 938 75.7
Frozen BV .73 (680) -66% 1069 397.7
Ride Along Uni .60 (930) -56% 650 133.1
3 Days to Kill Relativity .57 (760) -67% 752 29.7
Bad Words Focus .49 (5,630) 334% 87 0.64
Veronica Mars WB .46 (1,330) -77% 347 2.8
12 Years a Slave Fox Searchlight .44 (840) -64% 522 56
The Nut Job Open Road/eOne .31 (930) -35% 335 62.6
Queen Viva .28 (5,160) -6% 55 0.9
American Hustle Sony/eOne .24 (840) -61% 281 149.8
RoboCop Sony .23 (700) -73% 328 57.1
Gravity WB .21 (670) -61% 320 273.1
About Last Night Sony .20 (930) -70% 214 48.3
Enemy eOne/A24 .19 (2,070) -25% 93 0.56
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $135.35
% Change (Last Year) 2%
% Change (Last Week) 25%
Also debuting/expanding
Lunchbox Sony Classics .18 (5,040) 104% 36 0.42
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 Magnolia .16 (6,550) 24 0.16
Tim’s Vermeer Sony Classics .16 (1,220) -22% 129 1.2
Le Weekend Music Box .13 (5,500) 203% 24 0.19
Les Garcons et Guillaume Seville .10 (4,340) 183% 24 0.16
Particle Fever Abramorama 84,200 (4,010) -6% 21 0.32
50 to 1 Ten Furlongs 79,500 (3,970) 20 0.08
The Great Beauty Janus/Mongrel 77,400 (1,230) -44% 63 3.3
Anita IDP 45,300 (6,470) 7 0.05
Jodorowsky’s Dune Sony Classics 35,800 (11,930) 3 0.04
A Birders Guide to Everything Screen Media 23,900 (2,990) 8 0.03
Blood Ties Roadside 28,200 (1,010) 28 0.03
Maina Equinoxe 18,600 (1,430) 13 0.02
Ragini MMS 2 White Hill 16,700 (840) 20 0.02
John Doe: Vigilante Main Street 12,400 (690) 18 0.01
Rob the Mob Millennium 11,200 (11,200) 1 0.01
Cheap Thrills Drafthouse 10,600 (10,600) 1 0.01
Just a Sigh Distrib Films 10,200 (5,100) 2 0.01
Nymphomaniac: Volume 2 Mongrol 8,300 (2,770) 3 0.01
It Felt Like Love Variance 8,100 (8,100) 1 0.01
The Missing Picture Strand 6,400 (2,130) 3 0.01
Thread of Lies CJ 5,100 (5,100) 1 0.01
Gang of Ghosts Eros 3,850 (210) 18 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Januruary 1 – March 20, 2014)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Mrkt Share
Warner Bros. (8) 450.5 21.70%
Universal (8) 362.2 17.40%
Somy (8) 278.4 13.40%
Paramount (7) 220.4 10.60%
Buena Vista (6) 204.5 9.80%
20th Century Fox (7) 178.2 8.60%
Lionsgate (8) 86.5 4.10%
Weinstein Co. (7) 68.3 3.30%
Open Road (3) 57.8 2.80%
Focus (3) 31 1.50%
Relativity (3) 30.5 1.50%
eOne/Seville (8) 28 1.30%
Fox Searchlight (3) 23.9 1.20%
CBS (2) 10.9 0.50%
Other * (76) 46.9 2.30%
2078 100%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Limited Releases (January 1 – Marh 20, 2014)
Title Distributor Box Office
Nebraska * Par 11,596,814
Dallas Buyers Club * Focus/Remstar 11,070,131
Inside Llewyn Davis * CBS/Mongrel 8,064,844
The Grand Budapest Hotel Fox Searchlight 6,210,519
The Wind Rises BV 4,342,709
Jerusalem NationalGeo 3,016,178
The Great Beauty * Janus/Mongrel 2,483,637
Veronica Mars WB 2,264,744
2014 Oscar Nominated Shorts Magnolia 2,345,501
Gloria Roadside/Mongrel 1,939,285
Starting Over Again ABS 1,741,838
1 (Nenokkadine) Ficus 1,471,088
Gimme Shelter Roadside Attractions 1,359,910
Bride for Rent ABS 1,281,815
Jai Ho Eros 1,267,820
* does not include 2013 box office

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
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