MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Stomp, Rattle & Roll…

January 15, 2007
Weekend Estimates
Domestic Market Share

Stomp the Yard led the Martin Luther King holiday frame with an estimated $26.2 million in a crowded marketplace that proved fiercely competitive. With a number of strong holdover titles most freshmen entries wound up underperforming, particularly the horror outing Primeval that grossed $6.9 million and family entry Arthur and the Invisibles at $5.7 million. Alpha Dog that ranked sixth overall had better results with an initial foray of $7.5 million.

While revenues were roughly on par with last year’s holiday business, there are now considerably more titles vying for that consistent audience. Simply put, there are too many options for movie goers and even popular titles aren’t grossing up to their potential.

Stomp the Yard followed on the heels of the likes of Step Up and Save the Last Dance with contemporary hip hop and Terpsichore targeted at young adults. Entering the weekend it was minimally expected to be the best of the incoming titles though not necessarily first in the marketplace. However, when the dust settled it nosed ahead of Night at the Museum which is nearing a $200 million domestic cume.

Dreamgirls doubled its exposure to good but not great results of $10.1 million. The timing was mindful of tonight’s Golden Globe broadcast where it’s expected to finally win a handful of awards and launch is potent Oscar campaign.

Alpha Dog, a true crime saga that earned some solid reviews, stepped out cautiously with 1,289 playdates to respectable results. The acquisition will be a tidy and profitable venture for the filmmakers and studio.

Primeval suffered from a campaign that was indecisive. A mix of terror and adventure that was inspired by a true story its edginess wasn’t reflected in advertising and the core horror crowd largely gave it a pass.

Already a significant success in Europe with close to $60 million banked in Europe in its first month of release, Arthur and the Invisibles failed in its Atlantic crossing. The kid lit books it’s based upon aren’t well known in the U.S. and the decision to re-title the film from Arthur and the Minimoys stripped it of potential intrigue for a family crowd that clearly opted for other alternatives.

Winding up its domestic run, Casino Royale passed $162 million to become the biggest 007 grosser in North America.

Award season triggered a number of expansions that included Letters from Iwo Jima, Notes on a Scandal and Curse of the Golden Flower. The first two films continued to perform well with respective theater averages of $12,920 and $9,600. Still Iwo Jima is facing an up hill climb with most high profile organizations and guilds consigning it to foreign-language status that may consign it to specialized engagements.

There were only a couple of new releases in alternative arenas. Guru on the Bollywood circuit bowed to excellent results with a $10,000 plus average from 70 venues. God Grew Tired of Us, inspired by the true tale of The Lost Boys of Sudan, rang up a sturdy $27,800 from just two engagements.

– Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates – January 12-15, 2007

Title Distributor Gross (avera % change Theater Cume
Stomp the Yard Sony 26.2 (12,780) 2051 26.2
Night at the Museum Fox 21.5 (5,950) -14% 3612 190.2
The Pursuit of Happyness Sony 11.0 (3,480) -19% 3169 138.4
Dreamgirls Par 10.1 (5,310) 10% 852 67
Freedom Writers Par 8.7 (4,010) -12% 2179 20
Alpha Dog Uni 7.5 (5,850) 1289 7.5
Children of Men Uni 7.4 (4,930) -33% 1508 22.4
Primeval BV 6.9 (2,830) 2444 6.9
Arthur and the Invisibles MGM 5.7 (2,550) 2247 5.7
Charlotte’s Web Par 4.9 (1,960) -29% 2513 73.3
The Good Shepherd Uni 4.4 (2,190) -37% 1994 54.7
Happily Never After Lions Gate 4.2 (1,780) -39% 2381 11.8
Rocky Balboa MGM 2.8 (1,530) -56% 1835 65.7
Blood Diamond WB 3.0 (2,660) -28% 1116 48.3
We Are Marshall WB 2.8 (1,570) -43% 1804 39.2
Pan’s Labyrinth Picturehouse 2.6 (13,560) 209% 194 4.8
Happy Feet WB 2.6 (1,780) -39% 1451 188.8
Eragon Fox 2.5 (1,580) -50% 1614 70.7
Curse of the Golden Flower Sony Classics 2.3 (1,840) 498% 1234 4.6
Casino Royale Sony 2.0 (2,480) -37% 819 162.8
Code Name: The Cleaner New Line 2.0 (1,130) -56% 1736 7
Notes on a Scandal Searchlight 1.9 (9,600) 57% 200 4.4
The Holiday Sony 1.8 (1,320) -57% 1337 61.8
The Queen Miramax 1.3 (3,810) 14% 344 31.7
The Painted Veil WIP 1.2 (5,890) 124% 202 2.6
Apocalypto BV 1.0 (2,180) -47% 467 49
Guru Adlabs .71 (10,140) 70 0.71
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $149.00
% Change (Last Year) -1%
% Change (Last Week) 9%
Also debuting/expanding
Letter from Iwo Jima WB .45 (12,920) 411% 35 1
Perfume Par .39 (1,400) -40% 280 1.4
Miss Potter MGM .20 (6,960) 53% 29 0.39
God Grew Tired of Us Newmarket 27,800 (13,900) 2 0.03

Domestic Market Share: Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2006

Distributor (releases)
% Chang
Rank ’05
Sony (33)
Buena Vista (25)
Fox (28)
Warner Bros. (25)
Paramount (18)
Universal (21)
Lions Gate (18)
New Line (13)
Weinstein Co. (14)
Focus (13)
MGM (11)
Fox Searchlight (14)
Sony Classics (23)
FreeStyle (9)
Other * (290)
* DreamWorks ranked seventh; Miramax ninth in 2005
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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon