MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: April 17, 2011

Flying Up To Rio

The box office continued to be animated with the aviary stereoscopic Rio high aloft from the film flock with an estimated $39.9 million. Session bridesmaid was another freshman, the long delayed squeamquel Scream 4 that grossed $18.9 million.

Also newly incoming was the limited wide bow of the historic pageant The Conspirator that landed just outside the top 10 with $3.4 million. The first installment of the oft (and until now stalled) ventured adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged arrived with a $1.7 million tally at 299 depots.

Of note was the boffo bow of Telegu-lingo Teen Maar that rang up an impressive $11,180 theatre average from just 32 venues and is setting box office records in India. In Quebec local entry Les Frissons des collines was off to a fair start with $178,000 while French import Les Petits mouchoirs disappointed with $64,200. Another Gallic newbie, the historic Princess of Montpensier, showed initial interest with $23,100 from seven exposures. The remainder of the frame’s limited and exclusive debuts ranged from dull to disaster.

But overall the business expanded a healthy 10% from the prior weekend and registered only the second instance of a 2010 improvement this calendar. Revenues were 14% better than last year when the launch of Kick-Ass led with $19.8 million; just a foot ahead of the $19.6 million fourth weekend of How to Train Your Dragon.

While critical response to Rio was tepid, families embraced the feathered nonsense. The film was originally set to open last weekend but wiser heads decided to put more space between it and Hop’s bunnies. But last week’s date was maintained internationally where the film generated a hefty $72 million for the full seven days.

Rio fell slightly shy of tracking estimates that generally ranged between $40 million and $44 million but Scream 4 according to pundits had a low bar of $25 million and a high end in the low $30 millions. Absence clearly failed to make the heart or box office grow fonder (Scream 3 bowed in 2000) and exit polls that pegged the audience 52% female once again prompting one to ask what the fan boys are doing. It was also 54% under 25s – 10 year-olds when the franchise bowed in 1996.

The Conspirator, centering on the trial of Mary Surratt for the Lincoln assassination, received respectful but hardly enthusiastic response. Americans have traditionally found movies on their history anathema to their viewing choices. Period works much better here when the intent appears to be purely entertaining. They’d much prefer to see bygone tales from Europe or Asia; most recently The King’s Speech.

It seems just yesterday that Angelina Jolie was set to star as Dagny Taggart in a five-hour mini-series adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. It might have been last season’s Mildred Pierce but like so many past efforts to bring Rand’s magnum opus to screen, script issues undid it once again. The right’s holders decided to forge ahead with private financing, independent distribution, a trimmed budget and a non-marquee cast. Critical response was decidedly cool but devotees of the 1957 novel showed up at least for the opening weekend and one suspects it will have a decent ancillary afterlife. 


Weekend (estimates)
April 15 – 17, 2011
Title Distributor Gross (avg) % chng Thtrs Cume
Rio Fox 39.9 (10,420) NEW 3826 39.9
Scream 4 Weinstein Co. 18.9 (5,720) NEW 3305 18.9
Hop Uni 11.1 (3,070) -48% 3608 82.5
Soul Surfer Sony 7.4 (3,350) -30% 2214 20
Hanna Focus 7.2 (2,820) -42% 2545 23.2
Arthur WB 6.9 (2,100) -44% 3276 22.3
Insidious Film District 6.8 (3,054) -27% 2233 35.9
Source Code Summit 6.1 (2,390) -29% 2557 36.8
Your Highness Uni 3.9 (1,400) -58% 2772 16
Limitless Relativity 3.7 (1,390) -33% 2642 69.6
The Conspirator Roadside 3.4 (4,840) NEW 707 3.4
The Lincoln Lawyer Lions Gate 2.9 (1,730) -31% 1702 50.5
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! Fox 2.1 (1,150) -56% 1849 48.2
Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 Rocky Mountain 1.7 (5,780) NEW 299 1.7
Win Win Fox Searchligh 1.3 (3,310) 10% 384 5
Jane Eyre Focus 1.0 (3,610) -15% 274 6.6
Rango Par .73 (750) -68% 976 118.8
Born to Be Wild WB .63 (3,040) -26% 207 1.8
Sucker Punch WB .61 (1,100) -71% 555 36.2
Battle: Los Angeles Sony .52 (940) -66% 554 82.2
Paul Uni .50 (930) -71% 536 36.1
Teenmaar Supreme .36 (11,180) NEW 32 0.36
The Adjustment Bureau Uni .35 (1,010) -60% 348 60.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $127.30      
% Change (Last Year)   10%      
% Change (Last Week)   14%      
Also debuting/expanding          
Frissons des collines Seville .18 (3,120)   57 0.18
In a Better World Sony Classics 75,800 (2,530) 69% 30 0.19
Les Petits mouchoirs Equinoxe 64,200 (2,210)   29 0.06
Miral Weinstein Co. 32,900 (1,270) -40% 26 0.3
The Double Hour IDP 29,300 (1,460)   2 0.03
The Princess of Montpensier IFC 23,100 (7,700)   3 0.02
Daydream Nation eOne 8,200 (2,730)   3 0.01
The First Beautiful Thing Palisades 6,300 (6,300)   1 0.01
Fly Away New Video 4,900 (1,220)   4 0.01
Armadillo Lorber 4,100 (4,100)   1 0.01
Danny Greene: Rise and Fall of Irishman Anchor Bay 1,800 (300)   6 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – April 14, 2011)        
Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share      
Paramount (9) 416.8 17.20%      
Sony (11) 385.9 15.90%      
Universal (9) 316.6 13.10%      
Warner Bros. (16) 295.5 12.20%      
Buena Vista (6) 256.1 10.60%      
Weinstein Co. (4) 134.3 5.60%      
Fox (6) 133.3 5.50%      
Relativity (4) 97.8 4.00%      
Fox Searcchlight (4) 84.6 3.50%      
CBS (3) 56.9 2.40%      
Lions Gate (7) 54.1 2.20%      
Summit (4) 43.1 1.80%      
Focus (4) 42.1 1.70%      
FilmDistrict (1) 29.1 1.20%      
eOne/Seville (7) 14.7 0.60%      
Sony Classics (6) 12.8 0.50%      
Other * (104) 46.7 2.00%      
  2420.4 100.00%      
* none greater than 0.4%          
Top Limited Releases * (Jan. 1 – April 14, 2011)        
Title Distributor Gross      
Blue Valentine * Weinstein Co. 9,556,300      
Barney’s Version * eOne/Sony Classics 6,867,955      
Cedar Rapids Fox Searchlight 6,693,481      
Jane Eyre Focus 5,611,803      
Biutiful Roadside Attractions 4,989,997      
The Company Men Weinstein Co. 4,368,792      
Win Win Fox Searchlight 3,757,371      
Hubble 3D * WB 3,663,738      
Another Year * Sony Classics 3,099,448      
From Prada to Nada Lions Gate 3,061,474      
The Way Back Newmarket/Alliance 2,849,642      
Of Gods and Men Metropole/Sony Class 2,735,649      
The Grace Card IDP 2,419,825      
The Illusionist * Sony Classics 2,109,637      
Rabbit Hole * Lions Gate 1,905,626      
Incendies * Seville/eOne 1,799,684      
Somewhere * Focus 1,611,133      
Under the Sea 3D * WB 1,360,956      
2011 Oscar Shorts Magnolia 1,352,152      
Sea Rex 3D * 3D Entertainment 1,339,685      
* does not include 2010 box office
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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