SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: This May weekend is a rare respite from this summer’s weekend-after-weekend tentpole. So overall domestic gross adds up to a -3% down weekend of $135M compared to last year (when Week 2 of Iron Man 2 led the way with $52M). Here are Top 10 North American movies with numbers refined in the AM:
1. Thor 3D (Marvel/Disney/Paramount) Week 2 [3,963 Theaters]
Friday $9.2M, Saturday $15.3M, Weekend $34.5M (-48%), Cume $119.2M
International $225M, Worldwide Cume $344.2M
Paramount expected Thor would be down only 1/2 for its 2nd weekend, which would be a much better hold than Fast Five’s a weekend ago. PThe studio said the key reason for Thor’s hold this weekend was the big family turnout during daytime Saturday. The Norse god cruised past the $200 million mark internationally with a weekend gross of $27.5M from 11,861 locations across 60 territories. After only three sessions of widespread release, the movie’s international cume stands at $225M. The biggest contribution looked set to come from China, where the film is expected to gross $4.1M from 4,900 positions in its first full weekend, or a local cume of $11.5M. Elsewhere, business was buoyed by a number of excellent holds in major markets.
2. Bridesmaids (Universal) NEW [2,918 Theaters]
Friday $7.8M, Saturday $10.7M, Weekend $24.4M
CinemaScore was a “B+” with moviegoers 67% female vs. 33% male, and 63% of the audience age 30 and older vs. 37% under age 30. Universal crowed: “Bridesmaids has broken new ground in presenting an R-rated comedy designed for female audiences that also plays with male moviegoers – as opposed to traditional films in the R–rated comedy genre being targeted primarily for men. The film’s bigger than expected opening puts it in the category with other sleeper R-rated comedy openings such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4m / $109.4m).”
I was so convinced that this rare R-rated event comedy featuring women burping and farting for our female amusement wouldn’t make over $13M, even $15M tops, that I promised Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson that I would leave Hollywood reporting forever if Bridesmaids did the $20+ million he thought it would. Well, I’ve called the moving vans because I clearly have no idea what works at the domestic box office anymore. (So you won’t have Nikki to kick around in the comments section. Say goodbye now…) I couldn’t believe that this is why generations of women fought the feminist revolution: to ensure we had the same opportunities to watch our sex make the same raunchy movie stuff as men. I wasn’t alone. Tipsters told me that the studios weren’t touching any new film comedies that featured women until they saw how Bridesmaids did. “And they’re hoping it tanks or at least does business they can put a negative spin on,” one source emailed. “Talk to Natalie Portman about the double-talk she’s enduring over Best Buds, a female stoner comedy she’s trying to set up. When Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen tank, there are no ramifications. It’s ugly out there.” But Universal had faith in this net $32.5M-budget pic from the start, mostly pinned to the pedigree of mogul Judd Apatow’s banner behind it. Weeks of decent tracking popped dramatically going into this weekend, especially in the ‘unaided awareness’ category. It went into this weekend with great reviews from the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet I found the first trailer laugh-challenged along with the TV ads in heavy rotation, and the movie lacked big name stars (Saturday Night Live regular Kristen Wiig leads an ensemble cast of mostly TV actresses), and its release was middling but by no means giant. Whch is why I had such low expectations and now I’m packing up.
The pic was seen as a chance for Paul Feig, Apatow’s one-time partner on the short-lived but funny TV series Freaks & Geeks, to demonstrate his talents as a major comedy director. Annie Mumolo co-stars in Bridesmaids and co-wrote it with Kristen Wiig. (Mumolo and Melissa McCarthy both come from the Groundlings comedy troupe.) Starting with a well-received midnight screening at SXSW in mid-March attended by Wiig and Feig, the film has been sneaked aggressively with nearly 350 showings of Bridesmaids by its release in 75 U.S. and Canadian markets. No way men were going to attend a movie with this title, all the marketing was skewed heavily toward women. Useful historical comps were few and far between for an R-rated female laffer except for the underperforming The Sweetest Thing. Certainly not Sex And The City which came to the big screen after 7 giant years of brand equity. So Universal took pains to strategize marketing that conveyed this wasn’t a typical “chick flick”, “wedding movie”, or “rom-com” but instead “the Hangover for women”. There was even a red band t railer released in April to showcase some of the film’s raunchiest content. Wiig and her co-stars embarked on a 5-city publicity tour to reach regional outlets and attend special screenings in multiple markets. And Universal executed multiple themed stunts like Yahoo! Shine’s “Girls Night Out” event screening in New York in early May attended by the full cast as well as contests for the worst bridesmaid or bridezilla or wedding stories. Finally, the studio conducted a LivingSocial and Groupon Promotion offering “Dinner and Movie” in top markets. So now I’m outta here.
3. Fast Five (Universal) Week 3 [3,793 Theaters]
Friday $5.9M, Saturday $8.9M, Weekend $19.5M, Cume $168.8M
International $271.1M, Worldwide Cume $440.5M
This street racing turned heist film is the No 1 film in the world for the 3rd week in a row. The film dominated the international box office this weekend with an estimated $58M at 8,800 dates in 61 territories for an international total of $271.1M. The combined domestic and international weekend estimate is $77.5M. The worldwide total including the domestic gross of $168.8 million is $440.5M. Fast Five is the highest grossing film in the Fast franchise, domestically, internationally and worldwide. The film also opened as #1 this weekend in China with an estimated $8.5M at 1,500 dates for Universal’s 2nd biggest opening weekend ever there.
4. Priest 3D (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [2,864 Theaters]
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $5.6M, Weekend $14.5M
Opening weekend audience skewed slightly male and older with 57% males and 57% over 25. Sony expected this young male-targeted Screen Gems post-apocalyptic horror pic to do only between $10M-$12M even with its Friday The 13th release date into 2,864 locations, of which 2006 are widescreen 3D bookings. Based on TokyoPop’s popular graphic novel series written by Min-Woo Hyung, Priest is directed by Scott Stewart, co-founder of the well-known visual effects studio The Orphanage (Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Sin City). The screenplay is by Cory Goodman. Producers are Michael De Luca, Joshua Donen, and Mitchell Peck. This vampire movie elevated by the casting of Paul Bettany as the battle-hardened rogue warrior was all about the fangs in its marketing strategy. ”These are not your teenage heartthrob vampires,” a Sony exec told me. “The film plays host to some very scary creatures. So we did a lot of outreach to sci-fi, horror and fantasy genre bloggers, including visits to the editing room to watch a bit of the 3D conversion and do interviews with the director and our 3D tech team. Many of the bloggers thought this was the best 3D conversion they had seen so far.” Natch, they had a strong presence at all the big Comic Book and Sci-Fi Conventions around the country, including screening footage with coordinated cast panels at both ComicCon in San Diego and WonderCon in San Francisco. Fangoria also hosted a special 3D footage screening attended by Paul Bettany and Scott Stewart in New York. Sony also tied in with National Free Comic Book Day on Saturday May 7th and worked with local comic book stores across the country to help promote the film. In addition to North America, Priest opens in a number of key territories this weekend including Mexico, Brazil, Hong Kong, France and Germany, among others. “While the film should perform decently here, we believe the real upside for us is overseas,” a Sony exec admitted. .
5. Rio (Blue Sky Studio/Fox) Week 5 [2,929 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8M, Cume $124.9M
6. Jump The Broom (TriStar/Sony) Week 2 [2,035 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $7.3M (-52%), Cume $25.9M
7. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros) Week 2 [2,904 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $7M (-50%), Cume $25.6M
8. Water For Elephants (Fox 2000/Fox) Week 4 [2,425 Theaters
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.1M, Cume $48.4M
9. Madea's Big Happy Family (Tyler Perry/Lionsgate) Week 4 [1,449 Theaters]
Friday $598K, Saturday $1M, Weekend $2.2M, Cume $50.2M
10. Soul Surfer (FilmDistrict/Sony) Week 6 [1,449 Theaters]
Friday $475K, Saturday $825K, Weekend $1.8M, Cume $39.2M
PREVIOUS 4 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Early projections based on pre-sales and strong matinees place Universal’s Judd Apatow-bannered comedy Bridesmaids big at the box office this weekend. One of the few R-rated female-targeted laffers (underperforming The Sweetest Thing was another), it’s looking to open to a $20+ million weekend and a Friday gross of $8+M. Of course, these are still very preliminary numbers. But they follow weeks of decent tracking that popped dramatically going into this weekend, especially in the ‘unaided awareness’ category. The expected gross is especially impressive because the movie lacks big name stars (Saturday Night Live regular Kristen Wiig leads a cast of TV actresses), had a trailer that was redone when it was deemed not funny enough, and is releasing into a middling but by no means giant number of North American theaters (2,918). Also opening today is Screen Gems/Sony’s horror movie Priest taking advantage of the Friday The 13th timing into 2,006 theaters for $6M putting the weekend around $17M with the higher 3D ticket prices. Still coming on strong will be Marvel/Disney holdover Thor, which should stay at No. 1 with a $25M+ weekend because of Paramount’s huge release into 3,963 theaters in the U.S. and Canada.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.