MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Shutter … the Thought

February 22, 2010

Paranoia reached new heights of popularity as Shutter Island topped weekend charts with an estimated $40.3 million. It was the sole new national release but reflecting the twisty thriller’s appeal was the exclusive bow of The Ghost Writer that rang up an impressive $43,200 from four reveals.

Other niche and limited debuts include OK results for the Oscar nominated shorts package of $212,000 from 65 venues and the French import Le Petit Nicolas that grossed $90,500 from 39 screens in Quebec. But several American indies such as Blood Done Sign My Name and Happy Tears opened to listless response.

Overall revenues experienced downturns from both last weekend’s holiday session as well as grosses from 2009.

Much has been written about Shutter Island’s delay from a late year 2009 release to early February and one can appreciate that regardless of its merits, it’s not what would be termed an “Oscar picture.” The film exceeded initial expectations but exit polling wasn’t positive and that suggests a steep second weekend drop.

Conversely The Ghost Writer rang in as an audience pleaser and one can only hope it rolls out quickly to capitalize on its obvious heat.

Weekend sales chimed in with roughly $135 million in torn tickets. That translated into a 36% drop from the three-day portion of last weekend’s President’s holiday frame. There was also a 6% erosion from a year ago when the debut of Medea Goes to Jail prevailed with a $41 million launch and Coraline’s third weekend took the place position with $11.4 million.

Holdover titles generally experienced drop offs of between 50% and 60% with family and award’s titles proving more resilient. Still, the latter group represents a slim field with vestigial income for all but Avatar, Crazy Heart and some foreign-language nominees.

Also bowing was the concert film Celine: Through the Eyes of the World but distributor Sony has decided not to report grosses despite sizeable returns from 300 plus engagements. The release of the Celine Dion concert film — in the style of live opera broadcasts — is generally receiving single showings rather than full daily compliments. Pre-weekend dates on Wednesday and Thursday generated an estimated $450,000 based on anecdotal reports.

-by Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates: February 19-21, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Shutter Island Par 40.3 (13,460) New 2991 40.3
Valentine’s Day WB 17.3 (4,730) -69% 3665 87.6
Avatar Fox 16.2 (6,280) -31% 2581 687.9
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 15.2 (4,480) -51% 3396 58.7
The Wolfman Uni 9.8 (3,040) -69% 3223 50.3
Dear John Sony 7.4 (2,420) -54% 3062 66.1
The Tooth Fairy Fox 4.5 (1,770) -26% 2523 49.8
Crazy Heart Fox Searchlight 2.9 (2,680) -32% 1089 21.5
From Paris with Love Lionsgate 2.5 (1,080) -55% 2311 21.2
Edge of Darkness WB 2.2 (1,050) -54% 2118 40.3
Book of Eli WB 1.9 (1,310) -47% 1455 90.8
When in Rome BV 1.8 (1,090) -52% 1627 29.4
The Blind Side WB 1.5 (1,390) -35% 1060 247.1
Up in the Air Par 1.1 (1,460) -40% 727 80.9
Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox .91 (1,080) -29% 841 215.6
Sherlock Holmes WB .89 (1,250) -44% 713 205.6
My Name is Khan Fox .71 (5,680) -63% 125 3.3
It’s Complicated Uni .69 (1,150) -43% 598 110.7
Legion Sony .62 (790) -66% 786 39.2
The Last Station Sony Classics .57 (5,230) 11% 109 2.2
The Princess and the Frog BV .51 (1,260) -16% 405 102.6
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $129.50
% Change (Last Year) -6%
% Change (Last Week) -36%
Also debuting/expanding
An Education Sony Classics .35 (1,460) -25% 242 11.1
A Single Man Weinstein Co. .33 (1,290) -31% 255 7.5
2010 Oscar Shorts Magnolia .21 (3,260) New 54 0.21
The Hurt Locker Summit .18 (1,470) -3% 120 13.8
The Ghost Writer Summit .17 (42,300) New 4 0.17
The White Ribbon Sony Classics .17 (2,310) 0% 72 1.3
Le Petit Nicolas E1 90,500 (2,320) New 39 0.09
Blood Done Sign My Name Paladin 83,600 (880) New 95 0.08
The Good Guy Roadside 31,200 (3,470) New 9 0.03
Ajami Kino 46,400 (5,800) 21% 8 0.16
Defendor Alliance 13,100 (4,370) New 3 0.01
Happy Tears Roadside 12,700 (850) New 15 0.01
Phyllis and Harold Rainbow 5,100 (5,100) New 1 0.01

Domestic Market Share: January 1 – February 18, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Fox (5) 572.6 37.30%
Warner Bros. (9) 361.7 23.60%
Universal (5) 137.1 8.90%
Sony (10) 110.1 7.20%
Paramount (3) 89.1 5.80%
Lionsgate (5) 79.4 5.20%
Buena Vista (4) 56.6 3.70%
Weinstein Co. (4) 32.3 2.10%
Fox Searchlight (1) 20.6 1.30%
Sony Classics (6) 14.3 0.90%
CBS Films (1) 12.2 0.80%
Summit (3) 11.6 0.80%
Other * (61) 37.5 2.40%
1535.1 100.00%
Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


Quote Unquotesee all »

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