MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady

The Weekend Report: Abandon Hope

A couple of new releases hardly made a ripple in weekend movie going that sunk to a level not seen in decades. The Words, a convoluted yarn of authorship, bowed to an estimated $4.8 million that ranked fourth on the leader board while the thriller The Cold Light of Day – a leftover from Summit films_bowed with $1.8 million. The latter film has already opened overseas where it grossed a disappointing $12.5 million.

In the niches, 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark was reissued exclusively on Imax screens and grossed a respectable $1.6 million. However, there was negligible product placement for the futuristic parable Branded that debuted to $250,000 at 307 venues and new Indian imports Hindi Raaz 3 and Telegu Shirdi Sai Baba received tepid response.

Exclusive newcomers were generally dull with only the gay relationship Keep the Lights On; the offbeat rom-com Hello I Must Be Going; and a single screen bow for the non-fiction Detropia displaying the slightest bit of encouraging commercial signs.

Overall weekend box office added up to a smidgen more than $65 million and a 38% plunge from the 3-day portion of last weekend’s holiday session. It was also 18% down from 2011 when the $22.4 million debut of Contagion top the charts.

It was the lowest weekend box office of the past decade and adjusted for admissions one would have to embark on an Indian Jones expedition to find a worse attended session historically. One can only hope that it’s the combination of disinterest for recent product combined with spent interest in holdover fare that’s contributed to such a stark result. Pray that it’s an anomaly.

About the only titles that appear to be maintaining some continued appeal are alternative and adult such as Robot & Frank, Samsara and Sleepwalk with Me. So unless one lives in one of the 25 major metropolitan areas, keep an eye out for pay-per-view opportunities.


Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Possession Lions Gate 9.6 (3,380) -46% 2834 33.4
Lawless Weinstein Co. 5.9 (1,880) -41% 3138 23.4
The Expendables Lions Gate 4.8 (1,470) -47% 3260 75.5
The Words CBS 4.8 (1,730) NEW 2801 4.8
ParaNorman Focus 4.1 (1,440) -35% 2856 45.4
The Bourne Legacy Uni 4.0 (1,450) -45% 2766 103.7
The Odd Life of Timothy Green BV 3.7 (1,370) -41% 2717 43.1
The Campaign WB 3.5 (1,370) -39% 2542 79.4
2016 Obama’s America Rocky Mountain 3.3 (1,630) -41% 2017 26.1
The Dark Knight Rises WB 3.2 (1,630) -47% 1987 437.8
Hope Springs Sony 2.8 (1,160) -40% 2437 57.6
Premium Rush Sony 2.2 (1,030) -44% 2182 16.7
The Cold Light of Day Lions Gate 1.8 (,210) NEW 1511 1.8
Raiders of the Lost Ark (reissue) Par 1.6 (6,100) NEW 267 1.6
Hit and Run Open Road 1.1 (600) -48% 1810 12.5
Ice Age: Continental Drift Fox .83 (1,090) -36% 763 157.2
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Fox .81 (870) -43% 931 46.7
Sparkle Sony .79 (900) -56% 873 23.4
The Avengers BV .77 (640) -60% 1209 621.4
Brave BV .70 (730) -51% 959 233.4
Ted Uni .55 (1,070) -32% 515 216.9
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony .53 (1,220) -43% 435 260.5
Robot and Frank IDP .52 (2,570) -25% 202 2
Total Recall Sony .44 (850) -49% 517 57.6
Celeste and Jesse Forever Sony Classics .39 (890) -45% 441 2.6
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Par .38 (1,110) -43% 345 215.2
Beasts of the Southern Wild Searchlight/eOne .36 (1,350) -31% 269 10.3
Sleepwalk with Me IFC .33 (4,520) 2% 73 0.87
Intouchables Alliance/Weinstein .31 (1,580) -19% 194 11.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $61.90
% Change (Last Year) -18%
% Change (Last Week) -38%
Also debuting/expanding
Branded Barboss .25 (820) 307 0.25
For a Good Time, Call … Focus .22 (3,890) 51% 56 0.45
Samsara Oscilloscope .19 (7,560) 76% 25 0.48
Bachlorette Weinstein Co. .18 (3,850) 47 0.18
Shirdi Sai Baba Sree Lakshmi .16 (3,080) 53 0.16
Searching for Sugar Man Sony Classics .13 (3,880) -9% 33 0.91
Killer Joe LD .12 (1,810) -50% 68 1.6
Raaz 3 Fox Intl .10 (3,610) 28 0.1
Keep the Lights On Music Box 53,300 (10,060) 5 0.05
Un Bonheur n’arrive jamais seul Remstar 38,800 (3,880) 10 0.03
The Inbetweeners Wrekin Hill 31,900 (3,190) 10 0.03
The Eye of the Storm Sycamore 26,600 (3,800) 7 0.03
Hello I Must Be Going Oscilloscope 25,700 (12,850) 2 0.03
Ajj de Ranjhe Big Pictures 21,900 (1,680) 13 0.02
Detropia Loki 16,500 (16,500) 1 0.02
Toys in the Attic Hannover House 14,200 (570) 25 0.01
Adieu Berthe Metropole 13,800 (4,450) 3 0.01
Beauty is Embarrassing Tremolo 13,500 (4,500) 3 0.01
Beat Down Equinoxe 9,700 (1,210) 8 0.01
For Ellen TriBeCa 5,900 (5,900) 1 0.01
Girl Model First Run 4,800 (4,800) 1 0.01
Pickin’ & Grinnin’ House Lights 3,700 (1,850) 2 0.01
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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