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The Weekend Report

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Although it took a sharp hit, American moviegoers continued to top Fifty Shades of Grey with an estimated $23.2 million. The session saw three new national releases open to fair if not-so-astounding figures headed by the inspiring (true) sport saga McFarland, USA with $11.1 million. Just a step behind was the high school comedy The Duff at $11 million with Hot Tub Time Machine 2 trailing with $5.8 million.

Best of the exclusives was Oscar-nominated Argentine black comedy Wild Tales with $84,700 from four screens.

In the niches the Hindi Badlapur had a blah start of $224,000 at 84 venues while Hong Kong’s Triumph in the Skies soared with $183,000 in 12 flights. Manilla Film Fest winner English Only, Please was a not so stellar $37,100 at 28 sites and French import Asterix: Le Domaine des dieux had an OK $229,000 gross from 77 cels.

Oscar weekend revenues pushed to better than $115 million and a 46% decline from seven days earlier. It was however 6% improved from 2014 when the third weekend of The Lego Movie dominated with a $31.3 million box office and newcomers 3 Days to Kill and Pompeii bowed respectively with $12.2 million and $10.3 million.

The want see factor for Fifty Shades of Grey proved to be palpable as second weekend grosses fell 70% domestically and 55% overseas as the sizzler approached a staggering $400 million cume in a mere 10 days.

Bolstered by strong reviews and a paucity of family fare in the marketplace McFarland, USA bested tracking that suggested high end results of $10 million. There were also unfounded studio concerns that having another Kevin Costner film (Black or White) in the marketplace might be a detriment. Exit demos provided upbeat results of a 50/50 gender split but families surprisingly comprised only 29% of the audience. And 70% of the crowd was aged 25-years and older.

Expectations were even more modest for The Duff (Designated Ugly Female Friend) but clearly young women were anxious for a movie that reflected their realm. It swung heavily female with 75% of viewers and skewed young with 68% of the audience aged 25-years and younger.

Conversely, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 whose original has become a cult classic in ancillary exposure was perceived as the leader among the newcomers with estimates ranging from $12 million to $14 million. It tilted 63% male but failed to get the youth crowd with 76% of ticket buyers aged 25-years and older.

The evanescence of awards personally is represented by an encounter with Michael Lerner who was nominated in 1991’s Barton Fink for his portrayal of fictional studio head Jack Lipnick. Several years after,  I said to him “I bet people come up to you and congratulate you on winning an Oscar (he didn’t).” He smiled and affirmed. “And you don’t correct them,” I replied. He just smiled broadly.

Good night and good luck.

Weekend (estimates) February 20 – 22, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
50 Shades of Grey Uni 23.2 (8,740) -70% 2655 130.1
Kingsman: The Secret Service Fox 17.5 (5,370) -52% 3266 67.1
SpongBob: Sponge Out of Water Par 15.6 (4,250) -50% 3680 125.3
McFarland, USA BV 11.1 (4,020) NEW 2755 11.1
The Duff CBS 11.0 (4,260) NEW 2575 11
American Sniper WB 9.5 (2,940) -42% 3235 319.5
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Par 5.8 (2,010) NEW 2880 5.8
Jupiter Ascending WB 3.7 (1,480) -60% 2503 39.6
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 2.5 (1,790) -28% 1408 83.9
Paddington Weinstein Co. 2.3 (1,240) -44% 1837 67.7
Still Alice Sony Classics 2.1 (2,720) 23% 765 7.9
The Wedding Ringer Sony 1.2 (1,290) -62% 950 61.9
Black or White Relativity/D Film 1.0 (870) -62% 1166 19.6
Seventh Son Uni .95 (930) -77% 1019 16
Birdman Fox Searchlight .82 (2,010) -4% 407 37.7
Project Almanac Par .81 (980) -71% 828 21.5
Selma Par .65 (1,580) -36% 412 49.6
Whiplash Sony Classics .57 (1,290) -4% 440 11.3
Big Hero 6 BV .55 (1,880 -19% 292 220.2
The Theory of Everything Focus .54 (990) -27% 545 34.1
The Boy Next Door Uni .51 (1,010) -71% 503 34.9
Taken 3 Fox .48 (1,060) -57% 454 87.6
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox .34 (1,210) -17% 280 111.6
Old Fashioned FreeStyle .33 (1,110) -67% 298 1.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $111.90
% Change (Last Year) 6%
% Change (Last Week) -46%
Also debuting/expanding
2015 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .26 (1,150) -26% 227 2.2
Asterix: Le Domain des dieux Metropole .23 (2,970) 77 0.23
Badlapur Eros .22 (2,670) 84 0.22
Triumph in the Skies Media Asia .18 (15,270) 12 0.18
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .18 (1,510) -6% 120 3
What We Do in the Shadows Paladin/VSC .15 (7,700) 73% 20 0.29
Timbuktu Cohen Media .11 (2,110) 3% 53 0.47
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .10 (980) -26% 101 1.4
Foxcatcher Sony Classics 87,200 (740) 2% 118 12
Wild Tales Sony Classics 84,700 (21,170) 4 0.08
Leviathan Sony Classics 82,400 (1,920) 21% 43 0.7
Elephant Song eOne 59,500 (2,700) 22 0.06
English Only, Please ABS 37,100 (1,320) 28 0.04
Bandipotu Moviemills 7,100 (250) 28 0.01
Queen and Country BBC 6,300 (6,300) 1 0.01
All the Wilderness Screen Media 5,900 (590) 10 0.01
Domestic Market Share (January 1 – February 19, 2015)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
Warner Bros. (7) 420.7 27.30%
Universal (8) 218.6 14.20%
Paramount (6) 205.3 13.30%
20th Century Fox (9) 199.1 12.90%
Weinstein Co. (6) 125.8 8.20%
Sony (5) 92.7 6.00%
Buena Vista (5) 91.1 5.90%
Relativity (4) 42.7 2.80%
Lionsgate (4) 34.3 2.20%
Fox Searchlight (2) 29.9 1.90%
Sony Classics (6) 19.1 1.20%
Focus (3) 11.8 0.80%
Other * (59) 51 3.30%
1542.1 100%
* none greater than 0.5%

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey|8|3655|-65%|114.9
Kingsman: The Secret Service|5.3|3266|-49%|54.9
The Duff|4.3|2575|NEW|4.3
SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water|4.1|3680|-37%|113.7
McFarland, USA|3.6|2755|NEW|3.6
American Sniper|2.7|3235|-27%|312.7
Hot Tub Time Machine 2|2.3|2880|NEW|2.3
Jupiter Rising|1.1|2503|-47%|36.9
The Imitation Game|0.75|1408|-6%|82.1
Still Alice|0.65|765|46%|6.4
||||
||||
Also Debuting||||
Badlapur|85,300|84||
Asterix: Le Domain des dieux|69,700|77||
Triumph in the Skies|68,900|12||
Wild Tales|23,600|4||
Elephant Song|16,400|22||
English Only, Please|11,500|28||
Queen and Country|2,100|1||
Bandipotu|2,400|28||
All the Wilderness|1,900|10||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Valentine’s Day provided considerable ardor for movie going with a record-breaking bow of approximately $81.8 million for the highly anticipated 50 Shades of Grey, dominant internationally as well. Despite its potency, $35.6 million debut for runner-up Kingsman: The Secret Service seems to have been properly contracted submissive counterprogramming.

Weekend revenues surged to an estimated $212 million, a 40% balloon from seven days past. It was also 17% improved from 2014 when the second weekend of The Lego Movie prevailed with $62.5 million and newcomers About Last Night and RoboCop followed respectively with $27.8 million and $25.1 million.

Incoming product in the niches was also strong with the Telugu Temper grossing $643,000 at 122 venues and China’s Somewhere Only We Know opening with $357,000 from 45 engagements on the now-established Chinese film circuit. Best of the exclusive newbies were Kiwi vampire mock-doc What We Do in the Shadows with a $79,600 tally at 5 bites and Israel’s foreign-language Oscar submission Gett: The Trial of Vivian Ansalem grossing $24,400 from two jury boxes.

The want-t0-see factor for the screen rendtion of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey was demonstrated by advance ticketing in the stratosphere, particularly outside of urban markets. The studio remained cautiously optimistic while pundits and trackers posited expectations ranging from $80-100 million for the four-day results. It delivered on its promise with the biggest Valentine box office ever and the second biggest February debut behind The Passion of tbe Christ, a flogger of a much more explicit stripe.

Studio exit polls indicated the expected female tilt of 68% with 58% of viewers aged 25-years and older. The next question—apart from who might direct the obligatory next two chapters—is how well the current movie will hold. Word-of-mouth from readers of the books may well hold the key: audience satisfaction and return visits are yet to be measured.

Fifty Shades cuffed an additional 58 territories, taking an estimated $158 million total to its Room of Pain. The UK provided roughly $21 million of that cache with most major territories save South Korea opening day-and-date and Japan and China yet to decide whether to open the film theatrically.

Objectively one would be perceived as slightly mad to open a picture against such might but Kingsman: The Secret Service proved up to the challenge. The film was admittedly tracking well with $30 million estimates for the four-day frame that it easily surpassed in three days. The film had already opened in a handful of foreign climes and racked up an impressive $20 million but with an R-rating it was hardly typical counterprogramming.

It skewed male with 57% of the opening crowd that was also 60% aged 25-years and older. The film also expanded internationally to 38 countries and added about $23 million to its tally.

With the Oscars a week away, the contenders are lingering with bated breath for the opening of the envelopes, largely filled with foregone conclusions. But that’s not how it’s being perceived by the folks at the Academy. With so many award show predecessors and so many of the same winners to date, Oscar malaise may be at its highest level ever.

Is that reason to fantasize that there could be a possible lower than usual ballot return by members who believe their vote doesn’t matter? Or, will it result in an uprising among voters with the majority voting against the apparent frontrunners?

The Academy doesn’t know (nor does PricewaterhouseCoopers) but since the conversion from paper to largely online voting, members appear to vote much later in the process and a greater percentage may not  be voting at all. It’s prompted a step-up of robocalls from the Academy president and numerous email reminders. So fasten your seat belts. Even if it turns out not to be bumpy night.

Weekend (estimates) February 13 – 15, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
50 Shades of Grey Uni 81.8 (22,440) NEW 3646 81.8
Kingsman: The Secret Service Fox 35.6 (11,123) NEW 3204 35.6
SpongBob: Sponge Out of Water Par 31.1 (8,510) -44% 3654 94.2
American Sniper WB 16.2 (4,720) -30% 3436 303.9
Jupiter Ascending WB 9.4 (2,960) -49% 3181 32.5
Paddington Weinstein Co. 4.1 (1,820) -22% 2244 62.3
Seventh Son Uni 4.1 (1,430) -43% 2874 13.4
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elev 3.6 (2,290) -24% 1551 79.7
The Wedding Ringer Sony 3.4 (2,310) -29% 1456 59.7
Black or White Relativity/D Film 2.7 (1,710) -40% 1591 17.4
Project Almanac Par 2.7 (1,570) -48% 1732 19.5
The Boy Next Door Uni 1.8 (1,520) -56% 1192 33.8
Still Alice Sony Classics 1.7 (3,310) 94% 502 4.7
Taken 3 Fox 1.2 (1,710) -49% 691 86.9
Old Fashioned FreeStyle 1.1 (4,950) 2736% 224 1.5
Selma Par 1.0 (1,820) -39% 566 48.3
Birdman Fox Searchlight .88 (1,830) -32% 481 36.5
The Theory of Everything Focus .79 (1,690) -20% 466 33.2
Big Hero 6 BV .68 (2,140) 96% 317 219.3
Temper Great India .64 (5,270) NEW 122 0.92
Whiplash Sony Classics .74 (1,540) 23% 515 9.85
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB .41 (1,510) -46% 272 253.6
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox .39 (1.380) -23% 282 111
Somewhere Only We Know China Lion .36 (7,930) NEW 45 0.36
Into the Woods BV .35 (1,210) -59% 287 126.3
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $205.05
% Change (Last Year) 17%
% Change (Last Week) 40%
Also debuting/expanding
2015 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .33 (1,740) -32% 188 1.6
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .20 (2,090) -17% 95 2.7
A Most Violent Year A24/Elevation .19 (1,220) -80% 157 5.2
Roy White Hill .17 (1,980) 85 0.17
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .13 (1,070) -39% 119 1.2
Timbuktu Cohen Media .10 (3,110) 31% 33 0.29
Anegan e4 Entertainment 91,800 (1,950) 47 0.09
Foxcatcher Sony Classics 83,500 (850) -54% 98 11.9
What We Do in the Shadows Paladin/VSC 79,600 (15,920) 5 0.08
Leviathan Sony Classics 61,700 (2,130) -24% 29 0.57
The Last 5 Years Weinstein Co. 34,100 (5,680) 6 0.03
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amselem Music Box 24,400 (12,200) 2 0.02
The Rewrite Image Ent. 20,800 (2,310) 9 0.02
Hits Honora 15,500 (910) 17 0.02
3 coeurs Metropole 9,600 (2,400) 4 0.01
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Gravitas 5,700 (710) 8 0.01
White Rabbit Breaking Glass 4,200 (840) 5 0.01
Domestic Market Share (January 1 – February 12, 2015)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
Warner Bros. (7) 384.8 30.60%
Paramount (6) 152.9 12.10%
20th Century Fox (8) 147.1 11.70%
Weinstein Co. (5) 113.9 9.10%
Universal (8) 111.7 8.90%
Buena Vista (5) 89.1 7.10%
Sony (5) 88 7.00%
Relativity (4) 39.5 3.10%
Lionsgate (4) 33.8 2.70%
Fox Searchlight (2) 28.2 2.20%
Sony Classics (6) 14.8 1.20%
Focus (3) 10.7 0.80%
Other (51) * 44.5 3.30%
1259 100%
* none greater than 0.5%

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

50 Shades of Grey *|30.2|3646|NEW|30.2
Kingsman: The Secret Service|10.4|3204|NEW|10.4
SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water|6.5|3654|-56%|69.6
American Sniper|3.8|3436|-39%|291.5
Jupiter Rising|2|3181|-68%|25.3
Seventh Son|0.85|2864|-63%|10.1
Paddington|0.8|2244|-28%|59
The Imitation Game|0.8|1551|-37%|76.9
Black or White|0.6|1591|-52%|15.3
The Wedding Ringer|0.6|1456|-54%|56.9
||||
* includes previews||||
||||
Also Debuting||||
Temper|0.26|122||
Somewhere Only We Know|0.1|45||
Roy|59,400|85||
Anegan|35,100|44||
What We Do in the Shadows|20,700|5||
The Last 5 Years|12,900|6||
The Rewrite|6,400|9||
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amselem|4,600|2||
3 coeurs|2,300|4||
White Rabbit|2,200|5||
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus|1,750|8||
Hits|1,200|17||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge in the Water was the undisputed champion with a flushing estimated debut of $55.8 million. That left only disappointment for two other national newcomers. The futuristic Jupiter Ascending slotted third with $18.7 million while the supernatural power struggle Seventh Son bowed to $7.1 million.

In the niches new Indian imports ranged from a solid $413,000 debut for the Tamil Yennai Arindhaal to a flaccid $224,000 for the Hindi Shamitabh. In Quebec the French import Samba danced off to a nicely choreographed $93,200 and a solo bounce for Korea’s Gangnam Blues was an encouraging $14,800.

Best of the exclusive debs were the dance doc Ballet 422 with a two step of $31,200 and the American indie Old Fashioned downing $40,400 from a triple shot.

Weekend revenues ballooned to roughly $155 million for a 52% puff from seven days back. It was nonetheless a slight 1% dip from 2014 when the launch of The Lego Movie asssembled $69 million and bridesmaid The Monuments Men arrived with $22 million.

It’s been more than a decade since the venerable animated TV charmer SpongeBob Squarepants took to the big screen and tracking indicated a strong response for Sponge Out of Water. However estimates of $35 million or so seriously under appreciate his full appeal. The film had already got off to a good start last weekend with a $7.7 million gross in six foreign territories.

The character has been around long enough to instill adult interest and that provided much of the difference. It was also anticipated that the film would skew female but studio exit polls identified viewers as 53% female with 60% of the audience aged 25-years and younger. It also helped that early February has traditionally been a strong period for films with appeal to families and kids.

The session head scratcher was pitting two films with similar audience appeal against one another with the verdict that neither Jupiter Ascending nor Seventh Son would reach full commercial potential. The inside story added the fact that Seventh Son had been part of Relativity Media’s WB deal and was wrested away (with some difficulty) when the company migrated to Universal who slotted it in early February. Meanwhile one of Warners’ summer 2014 titles _ Jupiter Ascending _ missed crucial delivery deadlines and charitably opted not to go up against next weekend’s debut of 50 Shades of Grey.

Jupiter’s opening crowd was 57% male with 82% of ticket buyers aged 25-years and older while Seventh Son was 61% male and 68% aged 25-years and older.

With Oscar two weeks off one’s hard pressed to equate box office interest (or ancillary sales) to eventual winners. Nonetheless there are several handfuls of titles that have benefited from the awards spotlight and unquestionably a statuette is going to reap big rewards for several movies, particular those yet to substantially mine foreign soil.

Weekend (estimates) February 6 – 8, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
SpongBob: Sponge Out of Water Par 55.8 (15,320) NEW 3641 55.8
American Sniper WB 23.9 (6,150) -22% 3885 282
Jupiter Ascending WB 18.7 (5,870) NEW 3181 18.7
Seventh Son Uni 7.1 (2,460) NEW 2875 7.1
Paddington Weinstein Co. 5.3 (1,840) -36% 2888 57.2
Project Almanac Par 5.3 (1,820) -36% 2900 15.7
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 4.7 (2,410) -5% 1963 74.6
The Wedding Ringer Sony 4.7 (2,130) -18% 2193 55
Black or White Relativity/D Film 4.4 (2,430) -29% 1823 13
The Boy Next Door Uni 4.1 (1,860) -33% 2193 30.8
Taken 3 Fox 2.3 (1,540) -38% 1507 85
Selma Par 1.7 (1,820) -33% 941 46.4
The Loft Open Road 1.4 (740) -50% 1841 5.1
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1.3 (1,990) -10% 666 35.2
The Theory of Everything Focus 1.0 (1,690) 4% 602 32.1
A Most Violent Year A24/Elevation .91 (1,340) -40% 680 4.6
Into the Woods BV .87 (1,160) -54% 750 125.7
Still Alice Sony Classics .86 (6,370) 56% 135 2.6
Strange Magic BV .84 (640) -75% 1322 11.4
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB .76 (1,510) -41% 503 252.9
Whiplash Sony Classics .74 (1,540) 23% 479 9.6
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox .52 (1,190) -37% 437 110.5
Wild Fox Searchlight .46 (1,620) -16% 286 36.4
Unbroken Uni .44 (1,100) -41% 397 114.6
Yennai Arindhaal ATMUS .41 (4,050) NEW 102 0.59
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $147.20
% Change (Last Year) -1%
% Change (Last Week) 52%
Also debuting/expanding
2015 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .38 (3,110) -9% 122 1
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .23 (2,950) 50% 79 2.4
Shamitabh Eros .22 (1,630) 137 0.22
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .22 (2,060) 52% 109 1
Foxcatcher Sony Classics .17 (990) -26% 174 11.7
Samba Seville 93,200 (4,240) 22 0.09
Malli Malli Idi Roni Roju 7 Star 84,500 (3, 250) 26 0.08
Leviathan Sony Classics 78,700 (3,280) 25% 24 0.46
Timbuktu Cohen Media 76,500 (5,460) 70% 14 0.15
Red Army Sony Classics 59,200 (4,230) 233% 14 0.12
Old Fashioned FreeStyle 40,400 (13,470) 3 0.04
Ballet 422 Magnolia 31,200 (15,600) 2 0.03
Love, Rosie Film Arcade 16,700 (930) 18 0.02
Gangnam Blues CJ 14,800 (14,800) 1 0.01
The Voices Film Arcade 12,800 (1,070) 12 0.01
Boys Meets Girl Wolfe 6,100 (6,100) 1 0.01
Matt Shephard is a Friend of Mine Education Pics 5,500 (2,750) 2 0.01
One Small Hitch FreeStyle 4,200 (470) 9 0.01
1971 Maximum 4,100 (4,100) 1 0.01
Enter the Dangerous Mind Variance 3,900 (650) 6 0.01
Domestic Market Share (January 1 – February 5, 2015)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
Warner Bros. (7) 330.9 31.20%
20th Century Fox (8) 142.8 13.50%
Weinstein Co. (5) 102.1 9.60%
Universal (6) 87.8 8.30%
Buena Vista (5) 86.4 8.20%
Sony (5) 81.7 7.70%
Paramount (5) 80.6 7.60%
Relativity (4) 33.4 3.20%
Lionsgate (4) 32.9 3.10%
Fox Searchlight (2) 25.8 2.40%
Sony Classics (6) 11.7 1.10%
Focus (3) 8.9 0.80%
Other (43) 35.7 3.30%
106.7 100%

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water|15|3641|NEW|15
Jupiter Rising|6.3|3181|NEW|6.3
American Sniper|6.2|3885|-38%|264.3
Seventh Son|2.3|2875|NEW|2.3
Project Almanac|1.5|2900|-52%|11.9
The Wedding Ringer|1.3|2138|-32%|51.6
Black or White|1.3|1823|-43%|9.9
The Imitation Game|1.2|1963|-23%|71.1
The Boy Next Door|2.1|2193|-43%|28
Paddington|2|2888|-43%|53
||||
||||
Also Debuting||||
Yennai Arindhaal|0.13|102||
Shamitabh|70,200|137||
Samba|24,600|20||
Malli Malli Idi Roni Roju|19,500|26||
Old Fashioned|13,750|3||
Ballet 422|7,400|2||
Love, Rosie|6,100|18||
The Voices|5,000|12||
Gangnam Blues|4,200|1||
Matt Shepherd is a Friend of Mine|3,000|2||
Boys Meets Girl|2,600|1||
One Small Hitch|1,800|9||
Enter the Dangerous Mind|1,700|5||
1971|1,600|1||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Go Patriots … regardless of your opinion of American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s late-career phenom once again led session viewing with an estimated $31.5 million box office. The frame saw three new national releases that did not compete with Super Bowl Sunday. “Found footage” time-travel yarn Project Almanac arrived with $8.4 million while the tale of custody and race Black or White grossed $6.4 million. The Loft, a second remake of a 2008 Belgian film by its original director, struggled to $2.8 million.

In the niches the finale of the season finale of “Game of Thrones” got super-sized to IMAX for a $1.5 million tally at 205 mega locations. The latest from Bollywood Hawaizaada misfired with $18,300 from 57 engagements while the Filipino sequel The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin that recently became that country’s all-time box office grosser saw an impressive $202,000 tally. Also potent was the Chinese adventure Running Man with $207,000 debut. The annual collection of Oscar-nominated shorts program was off to a gallop with $363,000 total gross for its three separate programs.

Exclusive debuts included Mauritania’s Oscar hopeful, Timbuktu, with an impressive $44,500 from just four villages.

The frame also included major expansions for A Most Violent Year and Black Sea – neither evincing tremendous commercial strength.

Weekend revenues pushed to $105 million for a sharp 36% decline from seven days prior. But it was a decided 20% improvement from 2014 when the third weekend of Ride Along led with $12 million and the top freshman was That Awkward Moment with an $8.7 million bow.

It’s safe to say that the commercial phenomenon that is American Sniper has bolstered that film’s Oscar prospects by giving Academy voters a reason for reflection. Should it take home top honors it would be the first film since 1989 to win best picture whose director was not nominated.

With the Super Bbowl traditionally taking a bite out of session moviegoing, it provides distributors an opportunity to dump or counter-program their wares. Low-budget Project Almanac had initially been scheduled to open in 2014 and the current session afforded it the prospect of potentially a $12 million to $14 million debut according to industry tracking. Oh, well! Studio exit demos identified the audience as 55% male and 63% aged 25-years and younger.

Kevin Costner’s passion project Black or White landed as expected in projections of $5 million to $7 million. It skewed 64% female and appealed to an older crowd that was 78% aged 25-years and older. And in respect to black or white the split was 53% and 30% respectively.

The weekend anomaly was HBO’s decision to reconstitute last year’s season four finale of Game of Thrones (plus the opening five minutes of the forthcoming season) for the very, very large screen for a locked one-week engagement. While studio polling was unavailable it’s hard to imagine that a significant part of the audience was viewing the conclusion for the first time. The trial balloon in counter-program was an unqualified success and could pave the way for further experiments.

Weekend (estimates) January 30 – February 1, 2015)
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
American Sniper WB 31.5 (8,100) -51% 3885 248.6
Paddington Weinstein Co. 8.6 (2,590) -30% 3303 50.6
Project Almanac Par 8.4 (2,910) NEW 2893 8.4
Black or White Relativity 6.4 (3,500) NEW 1823 6.4
The Boy Next Door Uni 6.1 (2,340) -59% 2602 24.7
The Wedding Ringer Sony 5.7 (2,020) -50% 2820 48.1
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 5.2 (2,160) -25% 2402 68
Taken 3 Fox 3.6 (1,430) -51% 2533 81.3
Strange Magic BV 3.5 (1,150) -37% 3020 9.9
The Loft Open Road 2.8 (1,520) NEW 1841 2.8
Selma Par 2.7 (1,560) -50% 1714 43.6
Into the Woods BV 1.9 (1,110) -51% 1725 124.4
Game of Thrones (Imax) WB 1.5 (7,510) NEW 205 1.5
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1.5 (1,550) -22% 976 33.2
A Most Violent Year A24/Elevation 1.4 (1,750) 236% 818 2.9
Mordecai Lionsgate 1.4 (560) -67% 2648 6.8
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 1.3 (1,420) -53% 910 251.7
The Theory of Everything Focus 1.0 (1,230) -22% 805 30.6
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox .83 (1,090) -54% 763 109.8
Unbroken Uni .77 (960) -63% 800 113.9
Whiplash Sony Classics .65 (1,240) -17% 525 8.6
Still Alice Sony Classics .61 (7,260) 54% 84 1.6
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate .55 (1,120) -47% 490 335.1
Wild Fox Searchlight .54 (1,290) -44% 418 35.7
Black Sea Focus .46 (1,470) 1116% 313 0.51
Big Hero 6 BV .45 (1,340) -34% 336 218.1
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $98.55
% Change (Last Year) 20%
% Change (Last Week) -36%
Also debuting/expanding
2015 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .36 (3,780) 96 0.36
Cake FreeStyle .35 (720) -62% 482 1.7
Foxcatcher Sony Classics .27 (900) -52% 302 11.4
Running Man China Lion .21 (10,350) 20 0.21
The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin ABS .20 (4,700) 43 0.2
Inherent Vice WB .17 (1,570) -55% 110 7.7
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .16 (2,980) -7% 54 2.1
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .14 (2,220) 7% 64 0.73
Ode to My Father CJ .13 (5,040) -45% 24 1.7
Leviathan Sony Classics 67,500 (5,190) -2% 13 0.37
Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe White Hill 54,200 (1,810) 30 0.05
Guten Tag, Ramon Fox Intl 47,400 (3,160) 15 0.05
Timbuktu Cohen Media 44,500 (11,120) 4 0.05
Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of Gravitas 24,700 (2,250) 11 0.02
Legends from the Sky Holt Hamilton 18,800 (2,350) 8 0.02
Hawaizaada Big Pictures 18,300 (330) 57 0.02
Wild Card Film Arcade 9,900 (760) 13 0.01
Girlhood Strand 7,600 (3,800) 2 0.01
Suburban Gothic FilmBuff 7,300 (1,220) 6 0.01
The Devil’s Violinist FreeStyle 6,900 (690) 10 0.01
The Posthuman Project Reckless Abandonment 5,500 (5,500) 1 0.01

 

 

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

American Sniper|9.9|3885|-45%|227
Project Almanac|3.1|2893|NEW|3.1
Black or White|2.2|1823|NEW|2.2
The Boy Next Door|2.1|2615|-63%|20.7
Paddington|2|3303|-24%|44
The Wedding Ringer|1.9|2820|-42%|44.4
The Imitation Game|1.6|2402|-17%|64.4
Taken 3|1.2|2533|-42%|78.9
The Loft|1.2|1841|NEW|1.2
Selma|0.85|1714|-42%|41.8
||||
||||
Also Debuting||||
Game of Thrones|0.68|205||
2015 Oscar Shorts|94,800|85||
Running Man|81,700|20||
The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin|60,100|43||
Guten Tag, Ramon|14,500|15||
Eh Janam Tumhare Lekhe|13,400|30||
Timbuktu|12,600|4||
Backstreet Boys|11,900|11||
Hawaizaada|6,000|57||
Legends from the Sky|5,800|8||
Suburban Gothic|3,500|6||
Wild Card|3,200|13||
The Devil’s Violinist|2,900|10||
Girlhood|2,100|2||
The Posthuman Project|1,900|1||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

American Sniper continued to hold sway at the box office with an estimated weekend gross of $63.9 million. Trailing in second place was the debut of the sexual suspenser The Boy Next Door with $15 million. Two other titles opened nationally with near-D.O.A. results. The not-so-madcap comedy Mortdecai was deathly with $4.1 million and the animated Strange Music (“from the mind of George Lucas”) eked $5.5 million.

In limited wide release the emotionally charged Cake had an OK bake off of $976,000. The session also included a trio of new films from India with best results for the Hindi Baby of $423,000 from 85 engagements. A torrent of exclusives produced no standouts with results varying from good for hockey doc Red Army to puzzling for the Al Pacino vehicle The Humbling.

Overall revenues for the frame approached $160 million that translated to a 22% decline from the 3-day portion of last weekend’s MLK holiday. It was a significant 34% improvement from 2014 when the second weekend of Ride Along grossed $21.3 million and no new release cracked the top 5.

With close to $200 million in two weeks of wide release American Sniper has evolved into a phenomenon on and off screen. It’s almost reached a level where anyone brave enough to question its artistry, content or perspective is in danger of being brought up on charges of treason.

While none of the new titles in the marketplace was expected to display significant commercial potency, The Boy Next Door at least came close to tracking expectations and produced on a mini-budget will prove profitable. Studio exit demos revealed a decidedly female crowd of 71% and a plurality Hispanic viewer at 45%. Additionally the audience was 60% aged 25-years-old and more senior.

The other new entries appeared to suffer in different fashion. Mortdecai was promoted as a wacko comedy and a change of pace for headliner Johnny Depp. It was not what fans wanted to see and attracted a 52% female crowd with a whopping 76% of viewers aged 25-years and older.

Conversely, Strange Magic’s dubious selling point was its association to the Star Wars creator and that proved insufficient for mass imagination. Demos skewed slightly female at 56% with 71% of viewers identified as families and 53% aged 25-years and younger.

Weekend (estimates) January 23 – 25, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (average) % chng Thtrs Cume
American Sniper WB 63.9 (17,240) -28% 3705 199.6
The Boy Next Door Uni 15.0 (5,760) NEW 2602 15
Paddington Weinstein Co. 12.3 (3,680) -35% 3355 40
The Wedding Ringer Sony 11.3 (3,770) -45% 3003 39.4
Taken 3 Fox 7.6 (2,600) -49% 2909 76
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 7.0 (3,450) 3% 2025 60.5
Strange Magic BV 5.5 (1,830) NEW 3020 5.5
Selma Par 5.3 (2,580) -40% 2046 39
Mortdecai Lionsgate 4.1 (1,560) NEW 2648 4.1
Into the Woods BV 3.9 (1,710) -43% 2270 121.5
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 2.8 (1,930) -43% 1444 249.6
Unbroken Uni 2.0 (1,280) -51% 1606 112.4
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1.9 (2,260) 22% 833 30.9
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 1.8 (1,280) -55% 1370 108.6
Blackhat Uni 1.6 (640) -58% 2568 7.1
The Theory of Everything Focus 1.3 (1,490) 33% 858 29.1
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 1.0 (1,510) -46% 676 334.3
Cake FreeStyle 1.0 (2,020) NEW 482 1
Wild Fox Searchlight .94 (1,860) -35% 505 34.7
Annie Sony .77 (1,020) -61% 756 84.2
Whiplash Sony Classics .74 (1,310) 105% 567 7.6
Spare Parts Lionsgate .72 (1,700) -46% 424 1.81
Big Hero 6 BV .67 (1,490) -38% 451 216.77
Foxcatcher Sony Classics .55 (1,070) -44% 516 10.39
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Relativity/eOne .51 (1,000) -70% 510 25.38
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $154.20
% Change (Last Year) 34%
% Change (Last Week) -22%
Also debuting/expanding
A Most Violent Year A24 .43 (6,530) 60% 66 1.3
Baby T-Series .42 (4,980) 85 0.42
Still Alice Sony Classics .39 (10,310) 99% 38 0.76
Inherent Vice WB .38 (1,570) -66% 244 7.4
Ode to My Father CJ .21 (6,200) -35% 34 1.5
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .17 (3,880) -10% 43 1.9
Dolly  Ki Dolly Viva .113 (1,880) 60 0.11
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .12 (3,260) 17% 38 0.53
Patas Blue Sky .111 (3,690) 29 0.11
Leviathan Sony Classics 68,700 (6,250) 75% 11 0.27
Manny Gravitas 35,600 (1,780) 20 0.04
Black Sea Focus 34,300 (6,860) 5 0.03
Mommy Roadside Attractions 29.500 (3,690) 8 0.03
Song One Film Arcade 22,900 (850) 27 0.02
The Humbling Millennium 21,300 (1,250) 17 0.02
Red Army Sony Classics 19,200 (6,400) 3 0.02
Americons Archstone 12,800 (910) 14 0.01
The Duke of Burgundy IFC 12,100 (4,030) 3 0.01
Love Forecast CJ 10,800 (10,800) 1 0.01
We’ll Never Have Paris Orion 6,700 (520) 12 0.01
R100 Drafthouse 6,500 (810) 8 0.01
Son of a Gun A24 3,400 (240) 14 0.01
Tru Love Indiecan 3,100 (3,100) 1 0.01

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

American Sniper|18.3|3705|-40%|154.1
The Boy Next Door|5.6|2602|NEW|5.6
The Wedding Ringer|3.3|3003|-53%|31.4
Paddington|2.6|3355|-44%|30.2
Taken 3|2.1|2909|-51%|70.5
The Imitation Game|2|2025|4%|55.5
Selma|1.5|2046|-37%|35.2
Mordecai|1.5|2648|NEW|1.5
Strange Magic|1.3|3020|NEW|1.3
Into the Woods|0.95|2270|-43%|118.6
||||
||||
Also Debuting||||
Cake|0.27|482||
Baby|0.12|85||
Dolly Ki Dolly|34,000|60||
Patas|19|20||
Manny|12,000|5||
Black Sea|12,000|5||
Song One|9,500|27||
Americons|6,300|14||
The Humbling|6,200|16||
Red Army|4,700|3||
The Duke of Burgundy|3,450|3||
Love Forecast|3,400|1||
R100|2,290|8||
We’ll Never Have Paris|2,200|10||
Tru Love|1,300|1||
Son of a Gun|1,000|14||

The Weekend Report (4-day numbers)

Monday, January 19th, 2015

 

Weekend (estimates) January 16 – 18, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
American Sniper WB 105.0 (29,530) 15300% 3555 108.4
Paddington Weinstein Co. 25.1 (7,590) NEW 3303 25.7
The Wedding Ringer Sony 24.2 (8,060) NEW 3003 20.9
Taken 3 Fox 17.3 (4,810) -64% 3594 66.1
Selma Par 10.9 (4,890) -26% 2235 28.5
Into the Woods BV 8.3 (3,000) -31% 2758 116.5
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 8.2 (5,070) 0% 1611 51.8
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 6.0 ((2,690) -49% 2220 245.6
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 5.1 (2,100) -42% 2437 106.1
Unbroken Uni 4.9 (1,890) -48% 2602 109.3
Blackhat Uni 4.4 (1,710) NEW 2567 4.4
Annie Sony 2.7 (1,720) -59% 1585 82.9
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 2.3 (1,870) -51% 1221 333
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1.9 (3,970) 166% 471 28.6
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Relativity/eOne 1.9 (1,340) -65% 1392 25.1
Wild Fox Searchlight 1.7 (2,190) -46% 764 33.3
Spare Parts Lionsgate 1.6 (3,680) NEW 440 1.6
Big Hero 6 BV 1.6 (2,120) -53% 739 216.6
Inherent Vice WB 1.3 (2,020) -58% 653 6.6
Foxcatcher Sony Classics 1.2 (1,530) 104% 759 8.92
The Theory of Everything Focus 1,2 (2,300) 41% 509 27.5
I Aascar .79 (3,570) NEW 222 1.5
The Penguins of Madagascar Fox .73 (1,750) -56% 417 80.8
Interstellar Par .66 (2,010) -54% 328 185.9
Big Eyes Weinstein Co. .62 (1,060) -59% 587 13.5
Whiplash Sony Classics .43 (2,280) 176% 189 6.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $239.60
% Change (Last Year) 14%
% Change (Last Week) 62%
Also debuting/expanding
Ode to My Father CJ .39 (11,850) 1% 33 1.1
A Most Violent Year A24 .34 (8,670) 142% 39 0.83
Still Alice Sony Classics .23 (19,330) 12 0.3
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .21 (5,700) -17% 37 1.6
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .13 (4,350) 65% 23 0.25
20 Once Again CJ .12 (9,560) 13 0.12
Leviathan Sony Classics 56,300 (9,380) 92% 6 0.19
The Grand Budapest Hotel Fox Searchlight 49,200 (1,070) 46 59.1
Appropriate Behavior Gravitas 23,800 (2,380) 10 0.02
My Big Bossings ABS 20,100 (2,870) 7 0.02
Human Capital Film Movement 11,300 (2,820) 4 0.01
Match IFC 8,200 (2,730) 3 0.01
Little Accidents Amplify 5,800 (730) 8 0.01
Gangs of Wasseypur Cinelicious 6,100 (470) 13 0.01
Three Night Stand FreeStyle 2,900 (290) 10 0.01

The Weekend Report (3-Day)

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

The national release of American Sniper was better than a bullseye with a record-breaking estimate of $89.3 million (all figures reflect 3-day box office) that represented roughly 45% of session box office. The Martin Luther King holiday frame saw three other national releases including strong returns of $20.9 million for the urban comedy The Wedding Ringer and $19 million for the beloved kid-lit bear Paddington. Conversely, there was little threat from the hack attack Blackhat, which bowed to $4 million.

The weekend portion of the MLK weekend posted revenues of more than $205 million that expanded box office by 62% from seven days back. It was also 13% better than the 2014 session when debuts of Ride Along and The Nut Job launched respectively with $48.6 million and $25.7 million.

In the niches the Hispanic-targeted Spare Parts had OK response of $1.3 million while the Tamil I (also released in Tamil and Hindi versions) had solid returns of $752,000 from 222 locations. Also strong was the Chinese comedy 20 Once Again with $93,500 at 13 screens. Among exclusive bows the most promising newcomer was the Oscar-contender Still Alice that arrived with $204,000 from 12 engagements.

Following two days in national release American Sniper became the top-grossing best picture nominee among this year’s contenders. While tracking had it clearly in front of the pack this weekend, no one was predicting better than (a still impressive) a $65 million tally. Easily the biggest grossing January debut, it also happens to be the largest opening (unadjusted) ever for a dramatic film or sequel.

Studio exit demos identified the opening crowd as 57% male and 63% aged 25-years and older. A WB spokesman noted that the film played particularly strong with the heartland audience. However, what appears to have pushed it over the top is a significant response from people that identified themselves as rare or infrequent movie goers. It also happens to be (by a country mile) actor-director Clint Eastwood’s biggest ever opener… and he doesn’t have his next project set.

The tradition of opening an African-American comedy for the holiday continued with The Wedding Ringer. It opened slightly below expectations with Sniper taking a bite out of virtually everything at the multiplex. Its audience was 58% female 62% aged 25-years and older.

There was a big question mark hanging over Paddington, a hugely popular children’s book favorite in Europe and South America but not so much in North America. However, marketed for families plus timing and solid reviews contributed to better than anticipated returns. The film was released internationally two months ago and has already grossed a very potent $135 million plus.

While Blackhat hadn’t been tracking well, expectations were for a $7-8 million debut. It’s likely the real life hacking attacks in the news proved more vital than the fictional ones and viewer malaise toward the subject pushed a nail into its commercial coffin.

There was considerable buzz about I in the Indian community including record exposure globally for a Tamil movie. The tale of a character with multiple identities easily set records (including in the U.S.) for that sector of the biz.

On the heels of last Thursday’s Oscar unveiling the slate leaders all expanded their theater counts with the more aggressive titles such as Birdman and Foxcatcher receiving significant boosts. While Boyhood remains the frontrunner, it hasn’t stopped several potential apple cart upturners including The Imitation Game from effectively ramping up their campaigns. However, this weekend’s attempt to revive the prospects of The Grand Budapest Hotel with a reissue arrived with a thud.

Weekend (estimates) January 16 – 18, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
American Sniper WB 89.3 (25,120) 15300% 3555 92.7
The Wedding Ringer Sony 20.9 (6,960) NEW 3003 20.9
Paddington Weinstein Co. 19.0 (5,740) NEW 3303 19
Taken 3 Fox 14.2 (3,960) -64% 3594 63
Selma Par 8.4 (3,750) -26% 2235 26
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 7.2 (4,490) 0% 1611 50.8
Into the Woods BV 6.6 (2,400) -31% 2758 114.4
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 4.8 (2,170) -49% 2220 244.5
Unbroken Uni 4.2 (1,630) -48% 2602 108.6
Blackhat Uni 4.0 (1,560) NEW 2567 4
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 3.9 (1,600) -42% 2437 104.9
Annie Sony 1.9 (1,220) -59% 1585 82.1
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 1.8 (1,500) -51% 1221 332.5
Birdman Fox Searchlight 1.6 (3,330) 166% 471 28.3
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Relativity/eOne 1.6 (1,170) -65% 1392 24.8
Wild Fox Searchlight 1.4 (1.730) -46% 764 33
Spare Parts Lionsgate 1.3 (3,020) NEW 440 1.2
Inherent Vice WB 1.2 (1,790) -58% 653 6.5
Big Hero 6 BV 1.1 (1,460) -53% 739 216.1
Foxcatcher Sony Classics 1.0 (1,290) 104% 759 8.92
The Theory of Everything Focus .95 (1,870) 41% 509 27.3
I Aascar .75 (3,390) NEW 222 1.4
Interstellar Par .53 (1,620) -54% 328 185.8
The Penguins of Madagascar Fox .51 (1,220) -56% 417 80.6
Big Eyes Weinstein Co. .51 (870) -59% 587 13.4
Whiplash Sony Classics .39 (2,080) 176% 189 6.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $199.55
% Change (Last Year) 13%
% Change (Last Week) 62%
Also debuting/expanding
A Most Violent Year A24 .28 (7,620) 142% 37 0.77
Ode to My Father CJ .21 (6,300) -32% 33 0.94
Still Alice Sony Classics .20 (17,010) 12 0.2
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .19 (5,220) -17% 37 1.6
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole .11 (4,750) 65% 23 0.23
20 Once Again CJ 93,500 (7,190) 13 0.09
Leviathan Sony Classics 51,200 (8,530) 92% 6 0.19
The Grand Budapest Hotel Fox Searchlight 41,800 (910) 46 59.1
Appropriate Behavior Gravitas 17,100 (1,710) 10 0.02
My Big Bossings ABS 13,900 (1,990) 7 0.01
Human Capital Film Movement 7,700 (1,920) 4 0.01
Match IFC 6,200 (2,070) 3 0.01
Little Accidents Amplify 5,700 (710) 8 0.01
Gangs of Wasseypur Cinelicious 5,900 (450) 13 0.01
Three Night Stand FreeStyle 2,800 (280) 10 0.01

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

American Sniper |30.3  |3555  |19314%  |33.7
The Wedding Ringer   |6.9  |3003  |NEW | 6.9
Paddington |4.6  |3303  |NEW  |4.6
Taken 3   |4.3  |3594 | -71% | 53.1
Selma   |2.4  |2235 | -37%  |20
The Imitation Game  |1.9  |1611  |-12%  |45.5
Into the Woods |1.7 | 2758 | -31% | 109.4
Blackhat | 1.4  |2567  |NEW | 1.4
Unbroken  |1.2  |2602  |-53% | 105.6
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies | 1.2  |2200  |-52% | 230.7

Also Debuting
Spare Parts  |0.39  |430
I  | 0.12  |335
Still Alice  |51,700  |13
20 Once Again |30,700  |12
Appropriate Behavior   |5,100 |10
My Big Bossings |3,350 | 7
Human Capital |3,100 |4
Little Accidents |2,300 |8
Match | 1,600 |3
Gangs of Wasseypur |1,400 |13
Three Night Stand | 1,100 |10

Studio Market Share 2014

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Domestic box office ended the year with a $10.43 billion tally, a 5% downturn from the prior twelve months. Actual admissions will dip for 2014 by roughly 7%.

Bragging rights went to 20th Century Fox, releases from which accounted for $1.79 billion and a market share of 17.1%. It was also a boost for the studio that had finished last among the traditional majors a year ago. With eight of its releases grossing in excess of $100 million, Fox saw its box office expand by 69%.

None of the majors saw a comparable boost or dip, with Universal taking the hardest hit of 22%. But that’s market share, not at all related to profitability. Universal’s lineup was absent a significant sequel or a potential tentpole and a slate of modestly-produced films such as Neighbors and Ride Along crafted a highly profitable year.

Conversely while Sony’s box office experienced an 11% boost its franchise titles fell short of expectations as well as such new releases as the RoboCop sequel and Sex Tape. Matters for that studio were not helped by the hacking of its internal security systems and the curtailed release of The Interview.

2014’s top title was Guardians of the Galaxy, with $332.9 million. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1 ranked second with $313.3 million but is poised to beat Guardians‘  total from spillover business in 2015. Seven of the top 10 big grossers were sequels, while one of the originals, The Lego Movie, has already lined up multiple extensions and sequels.

Overall the independents experienced market shrinkage. The anomaly was IFC, whose fortunes turned on a single box office hit,  Oscar-touted Boyhood. But the likes of the Weinstein Company and Open Road respectively failed to maximize the perceived potential of such films as The Giver and Nightcrawler.

While the multiple platform release of The Interview was neither well plotted nor organized, it might well hold out the prospect of some intentional simultaneous theatrical/pay-per-view releases of films by the majors. However, for the near future such experiments are likely to be confined to marginal productions … unless some alarming financial situation transpires. The industry historically hates change unless it’s confronted with catastrophe.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 6.24.55 PM

The Weekend Report

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

The third installment of  unlikely franchise Taken easily led weekend movie going with an estimated debut gross of $40.1 million. Farther back in second spot was the national expansion of Selma with $11.1 million. Also expanding from Oscar qualifying runs was Paul Thomas Anderson’s post-Altman Pynchon adaptation, the neo-noir Inherent Vice, which buzzed $2.8 million from 645 screens.

In the niches a couple of Indian imports bowed with the Telugu Gopala Gopala generating a potent $830,000 from 93 venues. Fortunes weren’t as bright for the Hindi Tevar that eked out $174,000. The Filipino Feng Shui 2—a big hit at the recently concluded nationally-focused Metro Manila Film Fest—had OK results of $103,000 from 30 locations and the Korean Ode to My Father hit the circuit with an excellent $253,000 box office.

Session revenues pushed to roughly 130 million for an 18% decline from the post-New Year’s frame. It was also 9% down from 2014 when the national launch of Lone Survivor grossed $37.8 million and newcomer The Legend of Hercules struggled to $8.9 million.

The public clearly disagreed with critical disdain for the latest Liam Neeson-on-the-run vehicle, with the film outdistancing tracking that suggested an opening salvo of $30 million to $32 million. Studio exit demos showed a slight male tilt of 54% with 64% of the audience aged 25-years and older. Taken 3 opened a week ago in two international territories to a sturdy $5.4 million and added 35 markets this weekend and an impressive $41 million to its ransom.

Despite critical praise and an aggressive marketing campaign, Selma fell short of tracking predictions of $13 million to $15 million. It’s a picture on a long, fractious trek to overcome a perceived resistance to a school lesson. Thursday’s Oscar announcement may provide a positive boost to its fortunes.

Studio demos identified a 61% female crowd with the audience 83% aged 25-years and older. While there’s an obvious appeal to those that remember and/or experienced the event, the film desperately needs to reach a broader base ready for discovery and enlightenment.

Also hoping for some Oscar glitter to enhance its creds is American Sniper that goes strategically wide next weekend following post-Christmas day dynamic results at four theaters. The Imitation Game has been the primary beneficiary to date of Academy buzz but four days hence the likes of Into the Woods and Unbroken could enjoy a second wind.

Weekend (estimates) January 9 – 11, 2015
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Taken 3 Fox 40.1 (11,150) NEW 3594 40.1
Selma Par 11.2 (5,130) 1645% 2179 13.5
Into the Woods BV 9.7 (3,410) -48% 2833 105.2
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 9.2 (2,710) -58% 3402 236.3
Unbroken Uni 8.4 (2,530) -54% 3301 101.6
The Imitation Game TWC/Elev 7.6 (4,830) -3% 1566 40.8
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 6.6 (1,970) -54% 3371 99.4
Annie Sony 4.8 (1,690) -57% 2855 79.3
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Relativity/e1 4.7 (1,800) -69% 2602 22.2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 3.8 (1,470) -49% 2603 329.7
Inherent Vice WB 2.8 (4,400) 1031% 645 4.4
Wild FoxSearch 2.7 (2,130) -40% 1286 30.4
The Gambler Par 2.3 (1,090) -63% 2121 32.3
Big Hero 6 BV 2.2 (1,400) -53% 1580 214.4
Big Eyes TWC 1.3 (1,230) -51% 1044 12.2
Interstellar Par 1.1 (1,690) -54% 674 184.8
The Penguins of Madagascar Fox 1.1 (1,080) -61% 1057 79.8
Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox 1.0 (910) -73% 1142 63.6
Gopala Gopala Blue Sky .83 (8,560) NEW 97 0.83
The Theory of Everything Focus .67 (1,640) -9% 408 25.22
Birdman FoxSearch .58 (2,540) -33% 228 26.3
Top Five Par .56 (880) -40% 636 24.34
American Sniper WB .55 (137,500) -19% 4 3.1
Foxcatcher SPC .51 (2,150) -40% 237 8.7
The Interview Sony .39 (800) -64% 492 5.7
Horrible Bosses 2 WB .37 (980) -60% 375 53.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $124.30
% Change (Last Year) -9%
% Change (Last Week) -18%
Also debuting/expanding
Ode to My Father CJ .25 (6,660) 446% 38 0.43
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .23 (5,950) 2% 39 1.3
Tavar Eros .17 (1,390) 125 0.17
Whiplash Sony Classics .15 (2,120) -34% 69 6.1
A Most Violent Year A24 .12 (29,500) -32% 4 0.45
Feng Shui 2 ABS .10 (3,440) 30 0.1
The Taking of Tiger Mountain Well Go 72,700 (7,270) 44% 10 0.14
Two Days, One Night IFC/Metropole 63,200 (4,510) 106% 14 0.19
Predestination Stage 6 38,100 (2,120) 18 0.04
Leviathan Sony Classics 26,800 (6,700) -15% 4 0.12
Beloved Sisters Music Box 17,300 (2,160) 8 0.02
The Con Artists CJ 10,800 (10,800) 1 0.01
The World Made Straight Millennium 6,400 (580) 11 0.01
Top Global Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2014)
Title Distributor Box Office
Transformers: Age of Extinction Par 1,083,817,908
Guardians of the Galaxy BV 773,225,635
Maleficent BV 757,608,511
X-Men: Days of Future Past Fox 746,224,744
Frozen * BV 724,322,158
Captain America: The Winter Soldier BV 713,778,940
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sony 709,012,447
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Fox 708,272,420
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 682,981,253
Interstellar Par; WB 652,000,939
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 638,012,767
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Fox 619,891,729
Godzilla WB; Toho 523,345,942
Rio 2 Fox 498,781,117
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Par 478,491,123
The Lego Movie WB 472,173,863
Lucy Uni; Europa 462,126,598
Edge of Tomorrow WB 368,667,083
Noah Par 362,164,780
Gone Girl Fox 359,713,334
The Wolf of Wall Street * Par; Red Granite 350,418,304
Big Hero 6 BV 349,858,080
The Maze Runner Fox 339,927,855
300: Rise of an Empire WB 331,624,640
22 Jump Street Sony 331,392,898
* does not include 2013 box office

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Taken 3|14.7|3594|NEW|14.7
Selma|3.8|2179|1556%|6.1
Unbroken|2.6|3301|-65%|95.8
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies|2.5|3402|-70%|229.5
Into the Woods|2.5|2833|-67%|98
The Imitation Game|2.1|1566|-28%|35.4
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb|1.6|3371|-73%|94.4
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death|1.5|2602|-81%|19
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1|1.1|2603|-63%|327
Annie|1|2856|-78%|75.5
||||
Also Debuting||||
Gopala Gapola|0.3|93||
Tavar|53,200|125||
Feng Shui 2|29,800|30||
Predestination|11,500|18||
Beloved Sisters|4,700|8||
The Con Artists|4,000|1||
The World Made Straight|2,950|11||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies remained a hard habit to break as it retained the top spot in weekend moviegoing, with an estimated $21.8 million. Christmas Day openers Into the Woods and Unbroken followed with $18.8 million and $18.3 million, respectively, and the session’s sole newcomer The Woman in Black: Angel of Death ranked fourth with $15 million.

Exclusive newcomers included 2014’s last awards contender A Most Violent Year, with a potent opening weekend of $165,000 at four venues and Chinese blockbuster The Taking of Tiger Mountain with a sturdy $50,800 from seven screens.

Box office revenues for the frame exceeded $155 million and ebbed from last weekend’s tally by 26%. It was  11% improved from 2014 when Frozen inched ahead of newcomer Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones with $19.6 million to $18.3 million.

Preliminary domestic figures for 2014 added up to $10.43 billion (actual will be available later in the week) and that represents a 5% decline from the prior annum. Admissions will take a 7% downturn in a year that generally had fewer misfires but whose “hits” didn’t quite reach anticipated heights. The biggest domestic grossers were Guardians of the Galaxy with $332.9 million and The Hunger Games: Mockinjay–Part 1 at $313.3 million through December 31. The global champ was Transformers: Age of Extinction at $1.08 billion, the sole title to attain a 10-figure gross in last year’s calendar period.

The coming weeks will be heavily weighted toward Oscar expansion, positioning with the stakes higher-than usual in a field with few frontrunners. Boyhood has generally been the critic’s favorite but forthcoming national releases of current limited exposures Selma and American Sniper are likely to benefit from kudos fatigue.

Another late season opener, Mr. Turner, appears to be gaining traction in major categories and the best actress field is wide open as a result of touted performances by Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Jennifer Aniston in Cake received only qualifying runs last year and critic’s fave Marion Cotillard’s role in Two Days, One Night is currently on only two screens.

Other likely beneficiaries of the Academy spotlight include The Imitation Game, Wild and The Theory of Everything.

Weekend (estimates) December 26 – 28, 2014
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 21.8 (5,620) -47% 3875 220.6
Into the Woods BV 18.8 (7,420) -39% 2538 91
Unbroken Uni 18.3 (5,750) -40% 3190 87.8
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Relaivity 15.0 (5,770) NEW 2602 15
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 14.6 (3,840) -28% 3802 89.9
Annie Sony 11.7 (3,690) -29% 3166 72.8
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 8.1 (10,780) 2% 754 30.8
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 Lionsgate 7.7 (3,080) -23% 2505 323.9
The Gambler Par 6.3 (2,540) -31% 2494 27.6
Big Hero 6 BV 4.8 (2,500) -4% 1913 211.2
Wild Fox Searchlight 4.6 (3,360) -15% 1361 25.9
Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox 3.7 (1,630) -45% 2260 61.2
The Penguins of Madagascar Fox 2.9 (1,820) -11% 1585 78.1
Big Eyes Weinstein Co. 2.6 (1,840) -14% 1408 8.5
Interstellar Par 2.4 (2,330) -19% 1048 182.7
Top Five Par 2.2 (1,820) -40% 1195 23.8
The Interview Sony 1.1 (1,940) -37% 581 4.9
The Theory of Everything Focus 1.1 (1,670) -9% 651 24.8
Horrible Bosses 2 WB .92 (1,380) -37% 667 53.1
Foxcatcher Sony Classics .88 (2,950) -6% 298 7.9
Birdman Fox Searchlight .84 (2,980) 5% 282 25.4
P.K. UTV .72 (3,350) -58% 215 9.9
Selma Par .65 (29,590) 14% 22 2.1
American Sniper WB .64 (15,980) 1% 4 2.2
Gone Girl Fox .39 (1,400) -6% 279 166.7
Dumb and Dumber To Uni .31 (940) -34% 331 85.4
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $152.35
% Change (Last Year) 11%
% Change (Last Week) -26%
Also debuting/expanding
Inherent Vice WB .24 (15,250) 20% 16 1.45
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .22 (9.250) -10% 24 0.95
Whiplash Sony Classics .20 (2,420) 4% 84 5.9
St. Vincent Weinstein Co. .18 (450) -38% 402 43.2
A Most Violent Year A24 .16 (41,180) 4 0.27
The Babadook IFC 63,700 (1,380) 3% 46 0.73
Ode to My Father CJ 44,900 (22,450) 32% 2 0.14
The Taking of Tiger Mountain Well Go 50,800 (7,260) 7 0.05
Leviathan Sony Classics 30,200 (10,070) 89% 3 0.08
Two Days, One Night IFC 29,200 (14,600) -2% 2 0.11
The Search for General Tso IFC 7,900 (7,900) 1 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 28, 2014)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
20th Century Fox (21) 1767.6 17.20%
Buena Vista (17) 1594.7 15.50%
Warner Bros. (26) 1533.2 14.90%
Sony (23) 1238.9 12.00%
Universal (19) 1091.1 10.60%
Paramount (17) 1045.3 10.10%
Lionsgate (22) 731.7 7.10%
Weinstein Co. (27) 223 2.20%
Relativity (10) 179 1.70%
Open Road (9) 152.6 1.50%
Fox Searchlight (10) 143.7 1.40%
Focus (11) 118.7 1.10%
FreeStyle (10) 104.3 1.00%
eOne/Seville (31) 54.4 0.50%
Other * (346) 326.8 3.20%
10305 100%
* none greater than 0.4%

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies|8.4|3875|-46%|207.2
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death|7.7|2602|NEW|7.7
Into the Woods|7.4|2538|-39%|79.5
Unbroken|7.4|3190|-40%|76.8
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb|5.9|3802|-20%|81.2
Annie|4.6|3166|-24%|65.8
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1|3|2505|-15%|319.2
The Imitation Game|2.9|754|1%|25.6
The Gambler|2.6|2494|-25%|23.8
Big Hero 6|1.9|1913|12%|208.3
||||
Also Debuting||||
A Most Violent Year|60,500|4||
The Taking of Tiger Mountain|19,320|7||
The Search for General Tso|2,650|1||

The Weekend Report

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies led the weekend for a third time with an estimated $41.6 million but not without unexpected competition from new titles. Both the harrowing journey of Unbroken and the Grimm musical Into the Woods opened to better-than-expected box office of $31.7 million and $31 million, respectively.

The majors bowed four new national releases and three additional titles in limited platforms. With the winners came disappointments. On the minus side were the remake of the 1974 James Caan-Jimmy Toback drama The Gambler that grossed $9.2 million,  and Tim Burton’s lower-case biopic Big Eyes with a $3 million tally.

And The Interview grossed an OK $1.9 million at 331 independent locations.

Oscar-potential exclusives both had excellent results. Selma, centered on Martin Luther King’s historic protest march, bowed to $590,000 on 19 screens and Clint Eastwood’s true-life contemporary war saga American Sniper hit a bullseye with $580,000 from five entrenchments.

In the niches, new titles from India couldn’t find any traction in a marketplace dominated by the phenomenal success of P.K. New titles on the Chinese, South Korean and Filipino circuits had better if not dynamic results. And Oscar submitted foreign-language films included Russia’s Leviathan (on the short list) with $14,900 at two locations and from Belgium, Two Days, One Night (which missed the cut) grossed $27,800 from two playdates.

Session business was upbeat with roughly $215 million in revenues and a sizeable 58% bump from the prior weekend. It was also 8% improved from 2013 when holdovers of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Frozen led with $29 million and $28.6 million respectively and the top newcomers was The Wolf of Wall Street with $18.4 million.

Unbroken, based on the inspirational book on Olympian and World War II P.O.W. Louis Zamperini led daily box office on opening day (Christmas Thursday). The grueling tale had top-end expectations of $30 million for the four-day span and easily surpassed that with a $47.3 million gross. It unexpectedly tilted female with 52% of the opening crowd with 71% of the audience aged 25-years and older.

Similarly, Sondheim adaptation Into the Woods was tuned up to gross $30 million and wound up with $46.1 million. It emerged as the holiday family choice through a clever and effective marketing campaign. It also favored women with 54% of viewers and tilted slightly older with 57% of the audience aged 25-years and older. The film also bowed in six international venues to $2.7 million with South Korea accounting for the majority with $1.9 million.

The Gambler got lost in the shuffle due to a lack of Oscar buzz and its basis on a film that lacked a following. Studio exit demos identified the audience as 51% male and 81% aged 25-years and older.

The near-unbelievable tale of Margaret Keane, painter of google-ocular children, provided the inspiration for Big Eyes. But the cult nature of the subject recalled the appeal of filmmaker Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (written by the same scribes) and delivered comparably limited returns. Opening viewers were 59% female with 75% aged 25 years and older.

The drama surrounding The Interview resulted in a potent $1 million gross on Christmas day. But interest waned as the weekend progressed. Capacity crowds in smaller independent theater venues had a top-end potential of $5 million and furnished $2.9 million for the four-day span.

Oscar qualifiers Selma and American Sniper provided unexpected toeholds in the closing days of 2014. Set in 1965 and focusing on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic march, Selma had already established its creds and was expected to figure prominently in Oscar consideration. But American Sniper had largely been ignored by oddsmakers and that might now change … or at least provide voters pause for re-evaluation.

Weekend (estimates) December 26 – 28, 2014
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies WB 41.6 (10,730) -24% 3875 168.7
Unbroken Uni 31.7 (10,130) NEW 3131 47.3
Into the Woods BV 31.0 (12,650) NEW 2449 46.1
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 20.6 (5,270) 21% 3914 55.4
Annie Sony 16.5 (5,160) 4% 3197 45.7
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Lionsgate 10.2 (3,640) 29% 2793 306.8
The Gambler Par 9.2 (3,720) NEW 2478 14.2
The Imitation Game Weinstein/Elevation 8.0 (10,670) 828% 747 14.7
Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox 6.8 (2,270) -16% 3002 52.6
Wild Fox Searchlight 5.4 (4,220) 32% 1285 16.4
Big Hero 6 BV 5.0 (2,070) 37% 2407 200.1
Top Five Par 3.8 (2,670) 6% 1426 19.3
The Penguins of Madagascar Fox 3.2 (1,590) -7% 2033 70.1
Interstellar Par 3.0 (2,410) 12% 1253 177.4
Big Eyes Weinstein Co. 3.0 (2,260) NEW 1307 4.4
The Interview Sony 1.9 (5,800) NEW 331 2.9
P.K. UTV 1.6 (5,980) -56% 264 7.7
Horrible Bosses 2 WB 1.4 (1,440) -35% 1002 50.8
The Theory of Everything Focus 1.2 (1,620) -26% 736 22.1
Foxcatcher Sony Classics .93 (2,950) -1% 315 6.1
Birdman Fox Searchlight .81 (2,770) -6% 292 23.8
Selma Sony .59 (31,050) NEW 19 0.91
American Sniper WB .58 (144,750) NEW 4 0.82
Dumb and Dumber 2 Uni .49 (1,240) -36% 394 84.6
Gone Girl Fox .41 (1,530) 9% 269 165.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $208.50
% Change (Last Year) 8%
% Change (Last Week) 58%
Also debuting/expanding
St. Vincent Weinstein Co. .26 (5,150) 14% 497 42.9
Mr. Turner Sony Classics .24 (10,130) 128% 24 0.48
Inherent Vice WB .20 (12,370) 37% 16 0.95
Whiplash Sony Classics .17 (1,990) -19% 87 5.4
Love on the Cloud China Lion 64,500 (3,790) 17 0.08
The Babadook IFC 58,300 (1,140) -44% 51 0.61
Chinnadana Nee Kosam CineGalaxy 53,200 (740) 72 0.05
Mukunda CineGalaxy 47,600 (640) 74 0.05
Ode to My Father CJ 29,200 (2,920) 1 0.04
Two Days, One Night IFC 27,800 (13,900) 2 0.03
Leviathan Sony Classics 14,900 (7,450) 2 0.02
Preybat Benjamin 2 ABS 6,900 (6,900) 1 0.01
Kayal ATMUS 5,400 (280) 19 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 21, 2014)
Distributor (releases) Box Office Market Share
20th Century Fox (21) 1708.3 17.20%
Buena Vista (16) 1538.3 15.50%
Warner Bros. (25) 1449.8 14.60%
Sony (22) 1205.6 12.10%
Universal (18) 1043.8 10.50%
Paramount (15) 1017.8 10.20%
Lionsgate (22) 714.1 7.20%
Weinstein Co. (26) 208.3 2.10%
Relativity (10) 178.9 1.80%
Open Road (9) 152.3 1.50%
Fox Searchlight (10) 133 1.30%
Focus (11) 116.1 1.20%
FreeStyle (10) 104.3 1.10%
eOne/Seville (31) 54.6 0.60%
Other * (342) 316.1 3.10%
9941.3 100%
* none greater than 0.4%

Friday Box Office Estimates

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies|15.7|3875|-5%|143.14
Unbroken|12.3|3131|NEW|27.9
Into the Woods|12.1|2444|NEW|27.2
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb|7.6|3914|-34%|42.2
Annie|6.1|3197|16%|33.3
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1|3.6|3174|58%|300.2
The Gambler|3.4|2478|NEW|8.4
The Imitation Game|2.9|747|1165%|9.5
Exodus: Gods and Kings|2.4|3002|7%|48.2
Wild|1.9|1285|57%|12.8
||||
Also Debuting||||
Big Eyes|1|1307||
The Interview|0.72|331||
Selma|0.21|19||
American Sniper|0.2|4||
Love on the Cloud|26,300|16||
Chinnadana Nee Kosam|19,800|72||
Mukunda|18,900|74||
Ode to My Father|10,000|1||
Two Days, One Night|9,900|2||
Leviathan|5,400|2||
Preybat Benjamin 2|2,500|1||
Kayal |2,100|19||