MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn’t blink as it opened to an estimated $239.4 million and corralled roughly 78% of weekend revenues. The frame’s other two national newcomers followed in the distance with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip grossing $14.2 million and the raucous Sisters right behind with $13.4 million.

Also entering the fray was the acclaimed Oscar foreign-language short-listed Son of Saul on three screens for a $36,800 tally. The season’s other Oscar contenders experienced screen loss with the exception of The Danish Girl and Youth which both expanded to good results.

A pair of Indian imports cracked the top 10. Dilwale entered with a potent $1.9 million while Bajirao Mastani closely followed with $1.6 million. Also solid were the Chinese entries Mojin: The Lost Legend and Surprise – Journey to the West with respective openings of $228,000 and $134,000.

Session revenues ballooned to about $305 million and 303% uptick from seven days prior. It was 126% improved from 2014 when The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies led with $54.7 million and freshmen Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie debuted respectively with $17.1 million and $15.9 million.

The anticipation for Star Wars: Episode VII was palpable with advance ticket sales in excess of $100 million setting records and the likely prospect of a debut littered with new box office benchmarks. Its Friday opening (including Thursday box office) of $120 million and weekend gross of $239.4 million set records for biggest single day and weekend debut besting prior levels held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 of $91.1 million and Jurassic World’s $208 million launch earlier this year.

The film opened day-and-date in most international territories with the notable exception of China (January 9) to an estimated $280 million that ranked third all-time behind Jurassic World and the Harry Potter finale. The UK was the top territory with $49 million where it is now the record holder for best opener. It set the same record in first tier nations including Germany, Australia and Russia… and not to forget it also received positive reviews from top critics.

Studio exit demos identified the domestic audience as 58% male and 63% aged 25-years and older. Additional 20% were families. It also scored high on 3D with 47% taking that option and 19% buying large format (including Imax) tickets. Unquestionably more records will tumble in subsequent weeks.

On the counterprogramming side, both Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Sisters opened to tracking estimates in the low to mid-teens. Alvin skewed slightly female at 52% with 54% of the audience aged 25-years and younger. Its family audience component was not unsurprisingly 70%. Sisters befittingly had a 79% female crowd with 58% aged 30-years and younger.

Holdovers generally experienced drops of 50% to 60% and lost hundreds and hundreds of engagements.

Weekend (estimates) December 18 – 20, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (average) % chng Thtrs Cume
Star Wars: The Force Awakens BV 239.4 (57,920) NEW 4134 239.4
Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Fox 14.2 (3,890) NEW 3653 14.2
Sisters Uni 13.4 (4,560) NEW 2962 13.4
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Lionsgate 5.6 (2,120) -51% 2653 254.4
Creed WB 5.0 (2,060) -51% 2433 87.8
The Good Dinosaur BV 4.2 (1,530) -59% 2755 96.5
Krampus Uni 3.8 (1,590) -55% 2371 34.8
In the Heart of the Sea WB 3.4 (1,100) -69% 3103 18.6
Dilwale UTV 1.9 (7,020) NEW 268 2
Bajirao Mastani Eros 1.6 (5,460) NEW 304 1.6
Spotlight Open Road/eOne 1,4 (1,730) -43% 825 22.8
Spectre Sony 1.3 (1,090) -67% 1225 193.8
Brooklyn Fox Searchlight/Mongrel 1.2 (1,920) -40% 614 16.5
The Night Before Sony 1.1 (900) -73% 1235 41.4
The Danish Girl Focus .54 (6,680) 106% 81 1.3
The Peanuts Movie Fox .53 (690) -80% 771 126.3
The Martian Fox .45 (910) -69% 493 223.9
Trumbo Bleecker Street .39 (1,420) -54% 273 6.3
The Big Short Par .35 (44,120) -50% 8 1.3
Love the Coopers CBS/eOne .29 (490) -79% 593 25.5
Youth Fox Searchlight .25 (4,030) 130% 61 0.52
Mojin: The Lost Legend Well Go .23 (11,400) NEW 20 0.23
Carol Weinstein Co. .22 (13,940) -34% 16 1.6
Bridge of Spies BV .22 (870) -63% 258 69.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $298.60
% Change (Last Year) 126%
% Change (Last Week) 303%
Also debuting/expanding
Room A24 .15 (890) -42% 171 4.5
Surprise – Journey to the West Media Asia .13 (5,360) 25 0.13
Macbeth Weinstein Co. .13 (1,380) -48% 97 0.65
Legend Uni/Elevation .13 (1,490) -61% 85 1.7
Chi-Raq Roadside Attractions .11 (1,520) -81% 74 2.4
Thanga Magan Wunderbar 94,800 (1,930) 49 0.09
Son of Saul Sony Classics 36,800 (12,270) 3 0.04
Hitchcock/Truffaut Cohen Media 26,200 (1,190) -47% 22 0.16
Loafer iDream 19,800 (660) 30 0.02
The Himalayas CJ 10,500 (3,500) 3 0.01
Extraction Lionsgate 8,300 (640) 13 0.01
He Never Died Vertical 6,400 (640) 10 0.01
Domestic Market Share (January 1 – December 17, 2015) *
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
Universal (24) 2387.1 23.40%
Buena Vista (15) 1666.1 16.30%
Warner Bros. (30) 1556.3 15.20%
20th Century Fox (21) 1213.6 11.90%
Sony (18) 939.5 9.20%
Paramount (13) 587.9 5.70%
Lionsgate (20) 580.3 5.70%
Weinstein Co. (19) 286.7 2.80%
Focus (13) 119.9 1.20%
Fox Searchlight (10) 113.2 1.10%
Relativity/Europa (7) 86 0.85%
Open Road (7) 62.6 0.60%
Sony Classics (21) 62.5 0.60%
STX (2) 58.9 0.60%
CBS (2) 57.3 0.55%
A24 (9) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (377) 388.2 3.80%
10216.5 100%
* none greater than 0.4%
Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 17, 2015) *
Title Distributor Box Office
Jurrasic World Uni 652,308,704
Avengers: Age of Ultron BV 459,029,868
Inside Out BV 356,461,711
Furious 7 Uni 353,125,507
American Sniper * WB 348,797,073
Minions Uni 336,045,770
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Lionsgate 248,788,774
The Martian Fox 223,429,423
Cinderella BV 201,151,353
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Par 195,257,225
Spectre Sony 192,476,132
Pitch Perfect 2 Uni 184,446,466
Ant-Man BV 180,202,163
Home Fox 177,397,510
Hotel Transylvania 2 Sony 167,604,319
Fifty Shades of Grey Uni 166,248,790
SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Par 163,553,869
Straight Outta Compton Uni 161,246,861
San Andreas WB 155,190,832
Mad Max: Fury Road WB 153,636,354
* does not include 2014 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