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MCN Originals

The Weekend Report

It was a four-peat as Furious 7 shifted down a gear and still finished ahead of the pack with an estimated $18.2 million. The sessions only wide national release was the saga of eternal love The Age of Adaline that opened third with $13.3 million. Two other films opened in limited wide to fair results. World War II-set Little Boy bowed to $2.7 million while Russell Crowe’s World War I saga The Water Diviner grossed $1.2 million. Considerably better was the national expansion of Ex Machina that held strong with $5.3 million at 1255 locations.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Regardless of whether Age of Adaline or Furious 7 ends up in the top slot this weekend, it seems sure to be the 2nd worst 3-day #1 of 2015, ahead of only Chappie‘s $13.3 million launch last month. We see this kind of weekend about 4 times each year, often in early September and December and a couple times in the first 4 months of any given year. In this case, it is the lull before next week’s storm of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The only really happy box office stories this weekend are the expansion of Ex Machina, which makes the massive leap from 39 screens to 1255 and lands with around $4k per screen. And Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck , which is on just 3 screens, but is looking at over $50k per screen on this post-Coachella weekend.

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Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (1 marked spoiler… at the end)

There is fun in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But it’s like sitting through a long conversation with someone you are desperate to borrow money from… all you really want is for them to lend you the money so you can relieve whatever discomfort that money will fix. But they need to tell you about why you shouldn’t be borrowing money and how important it is to be responsible like they are, etc, etc, etc. You just want Hulk to smash Loki again.

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Wlmington on Movies: Black Souls

Dark, stark and bleak, and filled with a sense of impending disaster, Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls is an anti-romantic Italian mob drama—a great brooding powerhouse of a film that reminds you of violent mob classics like The Godfather and Goodfellas, and more recent Italian crime gems like Gomorrah, only to veer off into a shocking climax that’s more reminiscent in tone and impact of a Greek tragedy.

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The DVD Wrapup; Curling, God Help the Girl, Like Sunday Like Rain, Escape From New York and more

Something tells me that Stuart Murdoch’s underappreciated musical fantasy, God Help the Girl, might have found its rightful audience if the title were a bit more precise in targeting its intended audience. Something like, “MTV Presents ‘God Help the Girl’” or “Belle and Sebastian Want You to See This Movie” or “Love in the Time of Retro Rock.’”

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Wilmington on Movies: True Story

Truth may not always be stranger than fiction, but it sometimes seems to sell better—even though that “truth” may be ambivalent and the reporting questionable. True Story, a true-crime movie which has some very good scenes and performances, and also some that are disturbingly dubious, supplies a couple of juicy fact-based roles for real-life buddies Jonah Hill and James Franco, and both dive right in, taking over the screen joyously, both when they’re together and sometimes when they aren’t. That doesn’t mean that the movie is entirely or even largely satisfying. It’s not, though the two lead actors give it everything they can.

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The Weekend Report

The Furious 7 news wasn’t the domestic gross or a third weekend on top of the charts, but breaking the worldwide $1 billion ceiling. Chasing the bad drivers was Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, which got the same crap reviews as the original, but still drew almost $24 million in domestic ticket sales, about a quarter off the original, but still a solid family opening. Underperforming on the surface, but doing just fine, thanks, was Unfriended, a horror cheapie opening to 15 and making a profit by getting over $25 million total domestically, P&A costs outstripping production. Less happy openers were Disney’s Monkey Kingdom, back-to-back Oscar-winning Fox Searchlight’s True Story, and Child 44. On the limited tip, Ex Machina does a sensational $20k+ per screen on 39, which is much more impressive than, say, $100k per on two. Also strong by per-screen are the expansion on Dior & I and the premiere of Oscilloscope’s Felix & Meira.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Furious 7 had already passed $1 billion worldwide thanks to nearly 3-to-1 overseas box office to domestic. That isn’t to say it’s not doing great at home. It seems sure to join the still ultra-elite $800m international club and has a shot at the $900 million+ club, which includes only the final Potter and the two mega-Cameron films. What is most remarkable is how we feel the cultural impact of this film as felt in… well, nothing. Paul (rhymes with) Blart: Mall Cop 2 is about a third off the start of the original. But given the family nature of the film, $20m+ is still likely for the weekend and it could actually surpass F7. It could also come close to playing like the also-eviscerated-by-critics first film. So somewhere, Kevin James is saying “Blart you,” even if the opening is overshadowed by Furious 7‘s third weekend. And the Jason Blum special, Unfriended, will not break any records with this opening, but again is inexpensive enough to make this a relatively successful launch. Not so much Monkey Kingdom, which is another case of the mighty Disney brand not flexing its muscles as you would expect with a quality family film.

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The DVD Wrapup: Babadook, Big Eyes, Happy Valley, Tale of Winter, Odd Man Out, The Missing and more

Despite the warm welcome accorded The Babadook by festival audiences and critics of both the mainstream and genre persuasion, this nifty Australian export about things that go bump in the night received an unfairly puny release upon its arrival here. I can’t explain why that might be so, except to point out that someone in the distribution game really missed the boat.

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Wilmington on Movies: Ex Machina

We’re in something of a golden age for movie science fiction—or at least a gold-plated one at least—and Ex Machina is a good example how that genre can be worked and reworked by a bright filmmaker who knows the form and how to play with it.

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Delivelution: April 2015 – Pt 2, Meet The New Bundle. Same As The Old Bundle

Gosh darn, the media luvs change. Any kind of change (aside from losing their particular jobs). Gotta have it. Reporting “nothing has changed” or ” there has been incremental change” isn’t very exciting. Almost four-and-a-half years ago, ESPN started streaming its networks live. For an even longer time, the sports programming leader has made programming that didn’t make it onto the networks available for streaming and PPV. Another Disney television network, ABC, has been streaming their programming for almost two full years. So why don’t these leaders in emerging media technology seem to ever get mentioned in stories about the future? Because they aren’t cord-cutting tools.

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The Weekend Report

Without a lot of competition Furious 7 held on to top spot among movie goers with an estimated $60.5 million. The sole incoming national bow was the Nicholas Sparks’ weepie The Longest Ride with an OK $13.3 million that ranked third overall. The temporary lull in the release schedule provided a rare opportunity for alternative fare to get a toe-hold prior to the onslaught of summer blockbusters. Woman in Gold, Danny Collins and While We’re Young all seized the opportunity to add a significant number of playdates with the last title boasting the greatest stamina of the trio.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

We are in the middle-time of April, when if you have a big movie, you want to wait for summer, but there is clear opportunity for modest success. Still, only Fox took a shot at an opening slot this weekend, with The Longest Ride, which tries to mix the romantic weepy thing the country southern thing. And though it won’t compete with Furious 7 for the top spot on the chart and will be well behind Home by the end of the weekend, it’s s decent opening for a movie without a name star. (Why didn’t Fox hold it until after Tomorrowland and use it as summer counterprogramming?) Another strong film from A24, Ex Machina, opens on four screens to what will be over $50k per screen… almost exactly the opening number of A24′s While We’re Young. Like It Follows, this is likely to be a “cult hit” for decades to come… and remembered as an underachiever at the box office.

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Delivelution: April 2015 – Pt 1, Unscrambling Eggs

Those libraries, thousands of titles deep, can’t just sit there gathering dust. They cry out for exploitation. A few years into streaming, a lot of the eggs have been unscrambled. Studios are much closer to being prepared to exploit those libraries in the new streaming/DVR-driven universe.

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The DVD Wrapup: A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, The Immigrant and more

Extremely well-crafted and emotionally taxing, The Immigrant depicts one Polish immigrant’s introduction to the dark side of the American Dream, circa 1921. Ironically, if it suffers at all, it’s from the familiarity we have with all of the movies and documentaries that were informed by the same photographs and newsreel footage. Practically every scene harkens to images already etched into our collective consciousness. It couldn’t help but distract me, even momentarily, from the personal drama of Ewa Cybulska.

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The Weekend Report

Huge opening. Nothing but happiness for this number should exist at Universal. Will hit profitability at $400m easily (including other revenue streams). The only question comes from what is now clearly a huge Friday front-load on this domestic opening. None of the films opening to above this number have grossed less than $336 million domestically. Will Furious 7 rev up to that challenge?

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Friday Box Office Estimates

It’s the 13th best opening day of all time and the second best opening day outside of the summer/holiday windows. But no matter how over-hyped this opening for Furious 7 gets, it will still be remarkable. If the 3-day trajectory is the same as the previous film in the franchise, it would be a $167m weekend. We’ll know tonight whether the opening day was reflective of an expanded audience or an enormous front-loading on opening day. It Follows adds 437 screens, but drops 35% on Friday.

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The DVD Wrapup: Imitation Game, The Circle, Roommates, Putin, MST3K and more

What separates Morten Tyldum’s take on the story from the others is the magnetic presence of Benedict Cumberbatch, as the almost madly single-minded computer scientist, Alan Turing, and the level of tension sustained throughout The Imitation Game’s 114-minute length. The less-told story describes how British authorities later would go so far out of their way to tarnish the legacy of the brilliant cryptanalyst and mathematician, who, according to Winston Churchill, made the single greatest contribution in England’s war effort. Despite having played an essential role in the Allies’ victory over fascism, police used his homosexuality as an excuse to harass, humiliate and prosecute Turing.

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The Gronvall Report: Simon Curtis On WOMAN IN GOLD

When he segued into film after notable work for the stage and in television, director Simon Curtis may not have set out to revive that staple of the Golden Age of movies, the “woman’s picture,” but so far he’s two for two.

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The Weekend Report

Estimates for DreamWorks Animation’s Home make it the best opening for the studio since moving to Fox for distribution, topping even last summer’s Oscar-winning Dragon sequel. Get Hard is the #3 opening of Will Ferrell’s live-action career, very similar to Blades of Glory. Radius/Weinstein throws It Follows into theatrical release without the threat of immediate VOD and it will become their #1 theatrical grosser ever, in just a few more days.

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MCN Originals

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
The Age of Adaline Lionsgate 4.9 2991 NEW
Furious 7 Uni 4.8 3808 -42%
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Sony 3.8 3633 -48%
Unfriended Uni 2 2775 -71%
Home Fox 1.8 3311 -25%
Ex Machina A24 1.7 1255 501%
The Longest Ride Fox 1.4 3140 -43%
Little Boy Open Road 1.2 1045 NEW
Monkey Kingdom BV 1.1 2012 -31%
Get Hard WB 1 2276 -29%
Also Debuting
The Water Diviner WB 0.37 320
Brotherly Love FreeStyle 79,500 200
Auriele Laflamme Telefiction 71,600 66
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck HBO 53,700 3
Dohchay CineGalaxy 45,950 89
Kid Kulafu ABS 29,000 25
Adult Beginners Weinstein Co. 16,300 10
Blackbird Image Ent. 13,800 11
Kung Fu Killer Well Go 13,700 22
La French Seville 11,900 18
Don't Think I've Forgotten Argot 4,950 2
Just Before I Go FreeStyle 2,900 2
24 Days Menemsha 2,400 14
Road to Juarez Mouse Trap 2,300 8
Emptying the Skies Music Box 1,600 1
Misery Loves Comedy TriBeCa 1,250 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
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