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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Screaming Rio Klady

The top 3 openings of 2011 are animated films. Why? Because that’s what the studios have offered so far.

Sony has had the best non-animated showing, owning opening slots #4 – #6 with Battle: LA, which they did a nice job opening with little box office star power in front of or behind the camera (and which won’t do 3x opening), the resurrected Green Hornet (which may even break even… and could spawn a cheaper sequel, now that they know the formula for a $200m+ worldwide), and Sandler.

After that, only WB has really shown any big ambitions for the pre-summer season, even if failing to launch Sucker Punch, Arthur, or the virtual Taken sequel, Unknown. (Don’t feel too bad on that last one. Pierre Morel”s actual next film after Taken, From Paris With Love, opened even worse, even with Travolta as a wild baddie.)

Disney’s only non-animated release was the first DreamWorks release via Disney, I Am Number Four, which may have wanted to be a Shia LeBeouff movie, but didn’t have any remotely familiar movie name to help it get out there.

Universal has taken fiver shots, aside from their animated Hop. The Dilemma felt like it leaked out, defeated spiritually by the “so gay” controversy. The Adjustment Bureau did okay, considering how hard they had to work to not make it look like what it was… a long Twilight Zone episode. Paul is a mixed bag. It’s easily the best opening and best gross from the Pegg/Frost pairing. But it was also the most expensive. Mostly, however, it was not the launching pad to big things that the core of fans keeps anticipating. Sanctum was a throwaway. Your Highness, like Paul, seems to be an effort to turn a small niche into a mainstream comedy base. It seems we have gone from The Apatow Comedy School making $100m movies to $60m movies and the spin-offs doing half of that or less.

Paramount kept a somewhat low profile. The threw that Bieber concoction into the marketplace and did well, considering. But not a muscular effort for the studio. They released the spawn of Up In The Air, the Montecito film, No Strings Attached, which did a decent, if not thrilling number. And there is the #2 animated opening of the year, Rango. But only Rango was really shooting for the stars.

Fox threw two sequels into the market. Wimpy Kid 2 did almost exactly what it was expected to do on paper. And Big Mommas didn’t revive the franchise. (Should have paid for that Tyler Perry cameo as Madea.) Their only really ambitious push out was, again, the animated film, Rio.

Looks to me like Q1 has been the grand old dumping ground that it always was. (Did the studios meet and agree to tank the quarter to make the excuse for “having” to launch Premium VOD? Hmmm…) Kudos to WB for at least trying to steal the market, in terms of anyone over 12.

Scream 4 is a tricky argument. You can’t say it’s a happy number, as it is well off of both sequels. On the other hand, like Big Momma 3, is there really any nostalgia out there for this group of actors or the series at this point? If they reinvented the idea, great… but that’s not what was sold to the public. Really, not a lot was sold to the public, as TWC didn’t spend a ton on marketing. I feel like the return of Scream kinda needed a return of horror/slasher films to prominence for at least a moment before satire on the genre was needed. All that is left right now is a 15 year old franchise that beat us to death with the first 2 sequels and a lonely ghostface, who has no slashed pals in the market. Had they somehow converted it all into a commentary on horror porn, maybe it would have worked better. But that’s played out as a genre too.

Right now, 2011 is a milder extension of December 2010… the only thing to really cheer about is the strength of the middle class… though right now, that means “$40m – $60m domestic,” in December it meant closer to $100m domestic, and what is missing now as it was then are the couple of blockbusters that make the numbers go up each year. Forget just comparing this year to the Avatar/Alice year… just a single $200m grosser would make everyone clam down a lot.

Note: How many $100 million domestic grossers were there before summer two years ago? Answer: Three. Watchmen, Fast & Furious, Monsters Vs. Aliens.
The year before that? Answer: One. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
Before that? Three. Ghost Rider, Wild Hogs, 300.
This year? Two so far. Hop, Rio and Fast Five likely to come. I believe that will be the best ever in that category.

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33 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Screaming Rio Klady”

  1. IOv3 says:

    Yeah, FOX left money on the table with Rio. They really really did.

  2. JKill says:

    I know everyone keeps saying that the SCREAM 4 opening is a let-down but scanning through Mojo isn’t this one of the better openings Dimension has had by themselves, sans MGM or any other partner?

    Also I like how a bunch of quality movies are hanging in there with small drops…(HANNA, INSIDIOUS, SOURCE CODE, LIMITLESS, LINCOLN LAWYER). It’s a nice change of pace.

    THE CONSPIRATOR had a solid opening for a small(er) movie, and looks like it should be Roadside’s highest grossing release if it has legs.

    And again, why is Focus being so meek with their JANE EYRE expansion?

  3. EthanG says:

    Agree with DP on the glut of family films. DIARY and HOP have gone from major to minor success stories because of it. DIARY looks to finish 10 million behind the original despite opening stronger….and HOP, which opened on par with RANGO now looks to finish at least 20 million behind it domestically, and is getting clobbered by RIO overseas. Poor Universal just can’t catch a break…

    Yeah the JANE EYRE rollout sucks.

    Big tip of the hat to “Of Gods and Men” for passing 3 million this weekend. Most unlikely film to hit that level in awhile and it deserves it.

  4. Proman says:

    The Dillemma didn’t underperform because of any controversay. It just looked like absolute crap.

  5. SamLowry says:

    Universal contacted GLAAD about the “gay” line even before the trailer was released? So they knew they were going to do something wrong but went ahead anyway.

    Real nice seeing Ron Howard going for the “artistic freedom” defense while scuttling several years’ worth of anti-discrimination efforts.

  6. Geoff says:

    Ok, seriously – I know that I cannot speak for the gays, but was there even ONE gay person who truly paid attention to that line or was even offended by it????

    Switch on Fox News on any given hour and you’ll find more overtly homophobic content than a throw-away line by Vince Vaughn…..

  7. bulldog68 says:

    Hey Geoff, you cant speak for “the gays”, and Donald Trump has always been friends with “the blacks.” Sweet deal.

    Don’t worry, I’m just bustin your chops on your use of words, nothing serious meant.

  8. IOv3 says:

    Geoff, I am always pissed off when anyone uses the word GAY as a synonym for LAME. That shit is fucking lame but you know how some people are.

  9. sdp says:

    “The Dillemma didn’t underperform because of any controversay. It just looked like absolute crap.”

    This. I don’t think the “gay” controversy hurt it at all. It didn’t seem like they were courting an audience that would really give a shit about a pejorative use of the word “gay” anyway.

  10. Pat says:

    I get pissed at people who use the word LAME as a synonym for ANNOYING. That there is some serious demeaning insult to the disabled community. If you don’t like pejorative terms, don’t use them yourself.

  11. indiemarketer says:

    The Weinstein Company has marketing?

  12. truth says:

    Actually,2009 holds the record of 100 million dollar grossing movies before summer with five. You forget Paul Blart and Taken. As for the panic of winter/spring 2011 box office,you have to remember that 2010’s 1st quarter was the highest grossing ever. The top three movies(alice,how to train dragon and clash) grossed a combine 700 million and then add Avatar which made most of its money in january and febuary. So what the hell did you expect? Did you really think 2011 was going to matched that? And by the end of April,with hop,rio and fast five added with just go with it and rango, 2011 will match 2009’s record. Slump my ass! It’s about the fucking movies!!!

  13. IOv3 says:

    Yeah no one has used LAME that way in years. Good lord, it’s not post WWII America and nice of you to get huffy about it.

  14. Jimmy T. says:

    Gee IO, the way you got ‘huffy’ about Pat’s complaint of the use of lame seems kinda gay.

  15. NickF says:

    Fox left money on the table? only because that 3D bump is no longer there. It’s not an attraction or enticement anymore. What’s the incentive to pay to see that or Thor or Pirates in that manner?

    The revolution is over in it’s current form, especially with the movies in the pipeline.

  16. anghus says:

    i caught Scream 4. Far from perfect but an excellent ending.

  17. IOv3 says:

    Fuck you Jimmy. Fuck you right in your ear 😛 !

  18. Geoff says:

    I think it should go without saying that I used the term, “the gays” in jest Speaking of the Don, does any one really think he has a shot?

  19. Krillian says:

    Conspirator and Atlas Shrugged can’t be too unhappy with their per-screen average, but shouldn’t a film by Robert Redford feel more like an event? I guess Lions for Lambs killed that notion.

    Taking my kids to Rio on Saturday. Already beat all 60 levels of Angry Birds Rio.

  20. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    While opening weekends might be less-than-impressive this year, along with a lack of $100 million movies, I’ve been impressed with the staying power and overall box office of certain movies. Limitless has held up extremely well and will pass $70 million today. I never expected that. The Lincoln Lawyer is now over $50 million and has also been holding up very well. Insidious and Source Code dropped less than 30% from last weekend and both crossed $35 million. Soul Surfer held up well. Maybe none of the above is a home run, but they’re all solid doubles or triples. People seem to really like them and that’s certainly reflected in the strong holds from week to week.

  21. Great Scott says:

    Bob Weinstein’s dilemma is whether or not to go ahead with plans for a Scream 5 and 6. As someone else pointed out, if they can greenlight a sequel to friggin’ Piranha 3-D, then anything’s possible.

  22. jesse says:

    Great Scott, that’s a good point. I feel like all of this year-over-year obsession discounts (and I’m sure David has said stuff like this before) COSTS of movies, among other variables. There haven’t been that many expensive misfires this year. Mars Needs Moms and Sucker Punch, yes. But look at the 40 or so movies that have grossed over $5 million. A few big bombs: Drive Angry, Take Me Home Tonight, but neither of those could have been crazy expensive. Some more underperformers: Season of the Witch, Beastly, Arthur, Red Riding Hood, Your Highness, maybe The Mechanic? But again, how much did any of those cost? Is Your Highness the highest? At $50 million? Obviously no one is happy with a $50 million movie grossing $25 million, but it’s not exactly a studio-breaker.

    Obviously there have been some more underperformers: The Dilemma, Big Momma 3, I Am Number Four. But some of those might actually turn a profit once they hit DVD, yes? Or at least limit the losses.

    And then you have a bunch of late-nineties-early-aughts style hits that opened in the $20 million range and will top out in the $50-80 million range: The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless, No Strings Attached, The Lincoln Lawyer, Unknown, Source Code… hey, you know what those are? Movies by and large aimed at adults! (Well, OK, No Strings probably had a fair amount of teen appeal, but regardless, it’s a bit more adult in sensibility than a lot of romcoms.) Hanna will fall a little lower on that spectrum, but similar principle.

    Even the animated movies not doing over $150 million… in a crowded marketplace, four animated-or-mostly-animated movies are going to get to $100 million in four months!

    In fact, Scream 4 is the really surprising miss to me, because I figured twentyandthirtysomethings would come and the younger horror fans would at least get excited the way they did for those Platinum Dunes things (e.g., if only for a single weekend). But look at that: it’s the movies with higher teenager/young-adult appeal (Scream, Highness, Red Riding Hood, Beastly) that haven’t performed. That’s a pretty spectacular run of movies about adults/for adults (and, of course, the cartoons) — extended even from late 2010, when suddenly True Grit, Black Swan, The Fighter, and The King’s Speech became grown-up hits.

    I suppose exhibitors might be more concerned about year-over-year, but then again, aren’t they getting bigger cuts as movies play longer? And there have been a bunch of relatively long-playing movies this year.

    It does strike me, as I’m sure it’s struck others, that Searchlight and Focus misread the market a little by not going a little wider with Cedar Rapids and Jane Eyre — two more adult-oriented (but not exactly super-artsy/challenging) movies that might’ve done even better in this climate. Their runs aren’t quite over but they look unlikely to crack $20 million combined, when they should’ve been able to do that each, at least.

    Obviously I’m wary of calling it a trend, but it’s nice to see some turnaround from the more typically crappy likes of Life As We Know It outgrossing Morning Glory or Love and Other Drugs (not even movies I liked very much! But seemed to me that they should’ve been more commercial).

  23. yancyskancy says:

    I’m never sure how much, if any, stock to put in CinemaScore, but I just read in EW that HANNA has an interesting split — an A from the under-18s and a D+ from the over-50s. And SOUL SURFER is the first film to score an A+ average since TANGLED.

  24. IOv3 says:

    Yeah I can see how the old folks might have a problem with Hanna but you know, that’s the old folks for ya! “DAMN IT DAVID! THAT HANNA IS TOO GOD DAMN LOUD!”

  25. Joe Straatmann says:

    I’m sure the Chemical Brothers score isn’t really up their alley, either.

  26. FreeLex says:


  27. IOv3 says:


  28. JKill says:

    I’m confused on how creatively they go forward on SCREAM 5 and 6 but financially it would seem sound. Not only did they apparently greenlight another PIRANHA (which I’m totally pumped about BTW), they were going to do another HALLOWEEN even though the second Zombie entry made less than half of the first. Dimension is pretty smart about keeping costs low, from what I can gather, so that they continue to be profitable with their franchises even with diminshing monetary returns, which is evident in the SCARY MOVIE and SPY KIDS (of which another is on the way) entries too.

    And I will admit to being curious to what Lex thought of SCREAM 4. I bet he liked it too…

  29. IOv3 says:

    I will never ever get horror fans but a Scream 5 and 6 can be their own thing. If they chose to go that way.

  30. yancyskancy says:

    I will channel Lex and say SCREAM 4? More like SQUACK 4!

  31. LexG says:

    Testing to see if I’m unbanned.

    Come on, Poland, be awesome.

  32. anghus says:

    You know, maybe Dave should bring Lex back under a condition. See how long Lex can go without doing the following

    1. talking about hot teenage ass
    2. drunkenly whining about his life

    If you think about it, you could just repost all lex’s old posts and it would be the same as having him back. since the guy is so fucking unoriginal at this point. he’s about as original as those bots that post spam about sneakers.

    and every time lex is banned someone says “it’s just an act”. I could care less if it was an act or the desperate cries of a sad fucker.

    it’s boring.

    so the challenge to lex would be not come back and actually take part in discussions without reverting to form, whether that form is real or some kind of shtick. i don’t think he’s capable.

  33. LexG says:

    Just wanted to point out, the above post really wasn’t very nice. I barely care, but honestly, do you feel better about yourself after penning something so mean-spirited?

    What a dick.

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4