MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

Live Hard or Eat French …

July 1, 2007
Weekend Estimates
Domestic Market Share

Ratatouille savored an estimated $46.9 million to lead weekend movie going. There was also good news for the bow of Die Hard 4.0 (aka Live Free or Die Hard) that grossed $32.9 million in its opening weekend and $47.9 since its Wednesday launch. Add to that a healthy report for Sicko of $4.2 million from 441 observations and a boffo $650,000 from 63 in Quebec for local fave Nitro.

However, the session was also characterized by steep drops for holdover titles that overall translated to the slightest upward tremor from 2006’s box office.

Industry expectations were high for both Ratatouille and Die Hard and both debuted reasonably close to the bars that had been set. While Ratatouille‘s opening business was dominated by family audiences there were strong signs of crossover appeal that have largely eluded summer season’s high profile entries. Pictures that bring in the four quadrants have been one of the hallmarks of Pixar animation and its newest offering has all the elements to continue the trend. The film also dipped a toe into a handful of foreign markets including Russia and the Ukraine where it topped the market with a $3.5 million debut.

As with Rocky, the question hovered over Die Hard about just how long Bruce Willis could return to the franchise and perform the physical demands credibly. For the moment the verdict is two thumbs up with a grudging nod from the critical community. It also got the OK in limited international exposure including a first place $6 million finish in Germany.

Weekend ticket sales clocked in at roughly $157 million for a 19% rise from the immediate prior frame. It was just 1% improved from 2006 when debuts of Superman Returns and The Devil Wears Prada were the top choices with respective grosses of $40 million and $23.3 million. While the summer season continues to noticeably trail last year’s pace industry pundits minimally expect the gap to close with upcoming releases of Transformers and new editions of Harry Potter, Rush Hour and Bourne again.

Despite the potent box office of Fahrenheit 911, there was entrenched skepticism about the commercial prospects of Michael Moore‘s health care report card Sicko. The patient is doing fine with theater averages of close to $10,000 that suggests it’s primarily preaching to the choir. However, with no sign of a lull in the debate, it has the makings of a long distance runner.

The multi-generational drama Evening enjoyed fair response of $3.5 million but one suspects the limited wide release may not have been the best counter-programming. A similar strategy was accorded A Mighty Heart last weekend and its box office sank 60% in the sophomore round. Evan Almighty saw its initial salvo shrink by half and hopes of it taking hold as a family film have largely evaporated. The similar diminution of 1408 is being viewed as a sign of buoyancy with the Stephen King adaptation easily exceeding what was perceived as its grossing potential.

The frame also had good tidings for the Quebec actioner Nitro that posted theater averages in line with last year’s record breaking Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Bollywood entry Apne continued the string of recent disappointing returns for the Hindi circuit and the weekend’s exclusive runs were generally fair including a reissue of the 1962 French gangster classic Le Doulos of close to $9,000 from a single in Manhattan.

– Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates – June 29 – July 1, 2007

Title
Distributor
Gross (average
% change
Theaters
Cume
Ratatouille
BV
46.9 (11,500)
4080
46.9
Live Free or Die Hard
Fox
32.9 (9,640)
3408
47.9
Evan Almighty
Uni
15.2 (4,170)
-51%
3636
60.7
1408
MGM
10.7 (3,920)
-48%
2733
40.5
Fantastic Four: Rise of Silver Surfer
Fox
8.9 (2,590)
-56%
3424
114.7
Knocked Up
Uni
7.4 (2,740)
-33%
2686
122.4
Ocean’s Thirteen
WB
6.1 (2,090)
-47%
2903
102.1
Pirates of Caribbean: At World’s End
BV
4.9 (2,270)
-32%
2162
295.6
Sicko
Lions Gate
4.2 (9,590)
441
4.3
Evening
Focus
3.5 (3,550)
978
3.5
Shrek the Third
Par
2.5 (1,220)
-55%
2066
313.6
Surf’s Up
Sony
2.4 (970)
-63%
2503
53.7
Nancy Drew
WB
1.9 (1,000)
-56%
1932
21.3
A Mighty Heart
Par Vantage
1.6 (1,160)
-60%
1350
7
Nitro
Aliance
.65 (10,320)
63
0.65
Spider-Man 2
Sony
.63 (1,030)
-49%
609
333.7
La Vie en Rose
TVA/Pictureho
.61 (4,210)
-21%
145
4.5
Mr. Brooks
MGM
.51 (850)
-69%
602
27.8
Waitress
Searchlight
.50 (1,590)
-47%
314
16.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)
$152.00
% Change (Last Year)
1%
% Change (Last Week)
19%
Also debuting/expanding
Once
Fox Searchlig
.39 (3,050)
-18%
128
3.8
You Kill Me
IFC
.15 (3,680)
-35%
41
0.49
Apne
Sharma
93,100 (2,170)
43
0.09
Le Doulos (reissue)
Rialto
8,900 (8,900)
1
0.01
Ghosts of Cite Soleil
Thinkfilm
7,100 (7,100)
1
0.01
In Between Days
Kino
5,250 (5,250)
1
0.01
Vitus
Sony Classics
3,320 (1,660)
2
0.01

Domestic Grossers: To June 28, 2007

Title
Distrubutor
Gross
Spider-Man 3
Sony
333,091,273
Shrek the Third
Par
311,065,826
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World
BV
290,742,707
300
WB
210,447,211
Wild Hogs
BV
166,659,593
Night at the Museum *
Fox
125,041,114
Blades of Glory
Par
117,702,519
Ghost Rider
Sony
117,257,346
Knocked Up
Uni
114,989,430
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surf
Fox
105,800,808
Meet the Robinsons
BV
96,438,208
Ocean’s Thirteen
WB
96,034,578
Norbit
Par
95,908,391
Bridge to Terabithia
BV
82,272,442
Disturbia
Par
78,601,385
Dreamgirls *
Par
66,370,036
The Pursuit of Happyness *
Sony
65,771,807
Stomp the Yard
Sony
61,591,536
TMNT
WB
54,149,098
Surf’s Up
Sony
51,313,901
* does not include 2006 box office

Domestic Market Share: To June 21, 2007

Distributor (Releases)
Gross
Market Share
Sony (17) 871.7 19.30%
Paramount (13) 840.4 18.60%
Buena Vista (13) 681.5 15.10%
Warner Bros. (19) 580.8 12.90%
Fox (15) 401.4 8.90%
Universal (11) 381.9 8.50%
MGM (13) 139.1 3.10%
New Line (6) 108.8 2.40%
Lions Gate (12) 102.1 2.30%
Fox Searchlight (9) 78.2 1.70%
Miramax (6) 43.8 1.00%
Picturehouse (3) 42.2 0.90%
Focus (2) 39.7 0.90%
Sony Classics (10) 32.1 0.70%
Par Vantage (4) 30.8 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (6) 26.9 0.60%
Other * (132) 109.6 2.40%
* none greater than 0.5% 4511 100.00%

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Klady