MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

Chop Chop

June 13, 2010

Industry trackers were virtually unanimous that The A-Team would be top dog among weekend movie goers with the re-imagined The Karate Kid a competitive but distinct runner up. However, whether it was a poor sampler or respondents were too embarrassed to divulge their honest sentiments, ticket sales provided a radically different conclusion.

The Karate Kid 2010 replicated its underdog persona with an estimated $56.2 million while The A-Team underperformed in the place position with $25.9 million. Debuting niche fare was relatively buoyant including the non-fiction profile Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work that generated $153,500 from seven venues. Comparably potent was the independent drama Winter’s Bone with an $81,300 box office from three screens and the Danish import Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky generating a $46,600 gross at another trio in its U.S. launch. There were also good returns of $89,700 for Les Amours Imaginaires in Quebec.

Ultimately the current session’s pluses and minuses tilted positive with revenues expanding 19% from last weekend. It was also 10% improved from 2009 when the second weekend of The Hangover prevailed on a $32.8 million tally and the top newcomer The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ranked third with a $23.4 million gross.

The considerably better than anticipated result for The Karate Kid is undeniable. Pundits generally translated advance data into a $25 million to $30 million outcome. Studio exit polls provide some clues even if information appears to be contradictory. Exits show a slight tilt toward female ticket buyers with a 53%/47% gender split as opposed to a perceived dominant male appeal for the picture.

It was also reported that 56% of the audience was under the age of 25 and that presumably means 44% of the audience was 25 years old and above. But further data noted that 45% of the crowd was parents accompanying children. Presumably the latter detail was supposed to mean 45% of ticket buyers were comprised of parents and children and taking it one step further that mothers out-numbered fathers as chaperons.

Meanwhile back at The A-Team screens, the male dominated viewers were expected to generate between $30 million and $35 million in ticket sales. It likely didn’t help business that critical and twitter response was close to universally downbeat. The 1980s television refugees (unlike The Karate Kid) stepped out in a few international territories where World Cup fever was perceived as less competitive by dint of either the lack of a team or a favorable time delay broadcast. Regardless its $2.8 million box office in Australia, $500,000 in Mexico and $400 in Brazil were not chart toppers.

One can readily see the impact of World Cup telecasts on movie going in Europe with Saturday’s U.K.-U.S. match taking a big bite out of business in Great Britain for instance. Not surprisingly the preponderance of debuting titles on that continent swings decidedly toward female viewers and Monday reporting will have data crunchers furiously comparing current stats with the 2006 edition held in Germany (coincidentally in the same time zone as present host South Africa).

-by Leonard Klady

Weekend Estimates: June 11-13, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Karate Kid Sony 56.2(15,334) 3663 56.2
The A-Team Fox 25.9 (7,320) 3535 25.9
Shrek Forever After Par 15.9 (4,100) -38% 3868 210.1
Get Him to the Greek Uni 10.1 (3,720) -37% 2702 36.5
Killers Lions Gate 8.1 (2,840) -49% 2859 30.3
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time BV 6.6 (2,110) -53% 3108 72.3
Marmaduke Fox 6.1 (1,890) -48% 3213 22.4
Sex and the City 2 WB 5.4 (1,980) -56% 2750 84.7
Iron Man II Par 4.6 (1,980) -42% 2305 299.3
Splice WB/E1 2.8 (1,160) -61% 2450 13.1
Robin Hood Uni 2.7 (1,430) -49% 1895 99.5
Letters to Juliet Summit 1.7 (1,250) -45% 1331 46.3
Date Night Fox .55 (1,280) -29% 430 96.2
Solitary Man Anchor Bay .35 (6,680) 103% 53 0.85
Just Wright Fox .33 (1,180) -57% 279 20.8
The Secret in Their Eyes Sony Classics .32 (1,940) -19% 166 4.3
Clash of the Titans WB .32 (960) 160% 333 161.9
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Music Box/Alliance .31 (1,760) -9% 177 8.7
How to Train Your Dragon Par .31 (1,110) -36% 281 214.4
Bounty Hunter Sony .31 (1,470) 54% 211 66.3
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $146.65
% Change (Last Year) 10%
% Change (Last Week) 19%
Also debuting/expanding
Please Give Sony Classics .27 (2,600) 3% 105 2
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work IFC .15 (21,930) 7 0.15
Micmacs Sony Classics/E1 .11 (2,460) -24% 44 0.32
Harry Brown IDP/E1 .11 (1,800) 29% 63 1.3
Les Amours Imaginaire Alliance 89,700 (4,080) 22 0.09
Winter’s Bone Roadside 81,300 (27,100) 3 0.08
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky Sony Classics 46,600 (15,530) 3 0.05
The Lottery Variance 14,400 (14,400) 1 0.01
Gangster’s Paradise Anchor Bay 4,400 (1,100) 4 0.01

Domestic Market Share: January 1 – June 10, 2010

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Paramount (8) 957.2 21.00%
Fox (9) 911.2 20.00%
Warner Bros. (16) 819.5 17.90%
Buena Vista (9) 545.9 12.00%
Universal (10) 342.5 7.50%
Sony (13) 243.1 5.30%
Lions Gate (8) 218.2 4.80%
Summit (7) 112.6 2.50%
Overture (4) 67.4 1.50%
Fox Searchlight (3) 63.2 1.40%
MGM (1) 50.3 1.10%
CBS (2) 49.3 1.10%
Weinstein Co. (4) 34.7 0.70%
Sony Classics (11) 34 0.70%
Other * (161) 115.9 2.50%
* none greater than 0.4% 4565 100.00%
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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