UNIVERSAL CITY, CA—August 6, 2012—Universal Pictures announced today that the studio has reached the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office, three months earlier than at any time in history. The previous record was set during the weekend of November 7, 2008 with films that included Mamma Mia!, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. This will be the seventh time Universal has reached this milestone. With five films yet to be released in 2012, the studio is on track to have its highest-grossing year ever at the domestic box office, a record also set in 2008. READ MORE »
This is the 11th consecutive year that Sony Pictures has passed this milestone, an achievement matched by only one other studio (Warner Bros). This is the second fastest that the studio has ever hit $1 …
Specialty Box Office:
Shame (Fox Searchlight) NEW [10 Theaters]
Friday $110K, Saturday $139K, Weekend $361K, Per Screen $36,118
The Dirty Picture (FLM) NEW [48 Theaters]
Friday $76K, Saturday $120K, Weekend $268K, Per Screen $5,583, Cume $268K
Pastorela (Lionsgate) NEW [55 Theaters]
Friday $23K, Saturday $24K, Weekend $65K, Per Screen $1,191, Cume $65K
I Am Singh (Reliance Big …
Paramount said today that it is shifting the release dates for two of its prime holiday movies. Now, the Steven Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin and the Tom Cruise-starrer Mission: Impossible – …
MONDAY AM, 8TH UPDATE: As a studio exec exclaimed to me this morning: “I guess there’s been a reason there has never been three $20 mil pics on a September weekend. Football!” Monday numbers show both Moneyball ($19.5M) and Dolphin Tale ($19.1M) missed the mark….
The Weinstein Co is experiencing a brutal 2011 with every movie it releases that’s not The King’s Speech. In quick succession, Scream 4, Spy Kids 4D, Our Idiot Brother, Apollo 18, and last weekend’s I Don’t Know How She Does It didn’t open worth a damn. And that doesn’t even count the rough reception given Madonna’s W.E. at the Venice Film Festival which Harv is releasing during the awards corridor. (Awards? Not unless he can buy her a Golden Globe.) I don’t know how the studio is going to stay on track with its reorganized finances if Dimension films keep bombing or TWC pics get no traction. If only Harvey Weinstein hadn’t bragged during the Tribeca Film Festival that 2011 was “going to be our best year financially” and that his indie studio was on track to outpace even its most profitable years at Miramax. But that was in April, before The Weinstein Co began its losing streak. That $150M it made from The King’s Speech before ancillary revenue streams kick in won’t last long. Weinstein said he has to rebuild “a model that’s beyond Oscar”. The real question now is whether he even knows how.
I Don’t Know How She Does It was based on a well-known book just like The Weinstein Co’s The Nanny Diaries which women rejected just as summarily. Problem is, IDKHSDI is such an awful movie (only 17% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) starring the annoying Sarah Jessica Parker (just go back to television already) in an abominable premise (a working wife under stress). But ask The Weinstein Co why it tanked, and the claim is that the opening weekend of The Lion King 3D took a $6M-$7M bite out of Parker’s pic. Because older women had a choice between seeing Sex And The City‘s Carrie as a clone of themselves or taking themselves and their kids to Lion King 3D – and picked the toon. (Given the choice between IDKHSDI and a kidney transplant, i would have picked the surgery.)
Lionsgate execs today are despondent as they try to figure out what went wrong for Conan The Barbarian to only earn a dismal $10.5M from 3,015 theaters. “It’s one of those weekends that gives me a stomach ache,” one Lionsgate exec told me Friday night. “It’s a headscratcher, but it won’t kill us.” But they also know that with Carl Icahn back breathing down Lionsgate’s mane by buying up company shares, and the annual stockholders meeting scheduled for Sept. 13, this is a really lousy time for this secondary studio to have such a box office bomb. Over the last two weeks, Icahn has acquired 756,840 shares in Lionsgate, growing his ownership to 33.2% from 32.6%, presumably in his so-far-unsuccessful effort to gift his son Brent with a Hollywood studio. Last year, Icahn tried but failed to seize control and, after a brief respite, he’s trying yet again, all the while carping about Lionsgate’s profligate management and moviemaking strategy. Here’s more ammunition for him. First off, being in business with Avi Lerner’s Nu Image/Millennium film company is a dicey proposition at best. Especially when this reboot cost nearly $90M, which makes this weekend’s opening disastrous even if Lionsgate’s exposure was mitigated by the co-production and co-release. Not even spreading the buzz that previous Conan the Barbarian Arnold Schwarzenegger was treated to a private screening and “really liked it” helped box office, which didn’t come near to even Lionsgate’s low-ball expectation of $15M from a wide release.
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 3RD UPDATE: In terms of box office grosses but not necessarily box office quality, Summer 2011 roared in with overperforming hits like Fast Five and Thor and Bridesmaids, then gained steam with Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2. But now it’s leaving with a whimper, not a bang. This was one of those weekends when studio executives didn’t even bother coming up with excuses about why their movies were stillborn. Instead they just held their heads and moaned. Anecdotal reports reaching me from all over showed that moviegoing redefined the terms “soft” and “flat”. As one studio exec told me, “It looks like a ghosttown in theaters.” And yet no less than four wide-release studio films opened Friday. There was some initial confusion over Top 5 order, but the movies sorted themselves out. DreamWorks’ holdover The Help (which needs none) started Friday as the No. 1 movie and ended that way Sunday to distributor Disney’s delight.
But there was widespread disappointing over the failures of Dimension/Weinstein Co’s Spy Kids 4D, Nu Image/Millenium/Lionsgate’s Conan The Barbarian, and DreamWorks/Disney’s Fright Night which wound up all bunched together between a dismal $8M and $11.5M behind another holdover, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Not surprisingly, Conan and Fright Night received only ‘B-’ CinemaScores while Spy Kids managed a ‘B+’. Focus Features tried but couldn’t get its romance One Day to do much but eke out an opening especially with that ‘B-’ CinemaScore. So now two more stars find themselves in trouble at the box office: Anne Hathaway and Colin Farrell. That’s after Ryan Reynolds and Tom Hanks crashed and burned as well. Who’s next?
1. The Help (DreamWorks/Disney) Week 2 1/2 [2,690 Runs]
Friday $5.8M, Saturday $8M, Weekend $20.5M (-21%), Cume $71.8M
Again, the continuing controversy over the black-white issues in The Help has people debating and, most importantly, buying tickets. Nothing like Internet chatter and watercooler talk to keep a small film like this #1. And the Oscar buzz is good for business, too. At least this overperforming pic lessens the sting of Fright Night tanking for DreamWorks. (Well, you can;t win them all…)
2. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Week 3 [3,471 Runs]
Friday $4.6M, Saturday $6.7M, Weekend $16.3, Cume $133.7M
Look for lots of technical awards nominations for Apes as well as a big Fox push behind popular Andy Serkis for Supporting Actor.
3. Spy Kids 4D - 3D (Dimension/Weinstein) NEW [3,295 Runs]
Friday $4M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $12M
I don’t know how The Weinstein Co is going to stay on track with its reorganized finances if Dimension films keep bombing. The whole underpinning of the Weinstein Brothers’ success at Miramax was that Dimension threw off wheelbarrows of box office cash. No more. Here’s yet another unnecessary sequel not helped by its 4D gimmickry, Aroma-Scope schtick, or Robert Rodriguez. (See Robert Rodriguez On His ‘Spy Kids’ Stinker.) The Weinstein Co saw the handwriting on the wall and didn’t bother to brief the media on the film ahead of time. With a ’B+’ Cinemascore and exit polls showing that kids rated the film much higher than parents did (72 excellent and 90 in the top 2 boxes) the film should have done better especially with 3D’s higher ticket prices. But Spy Kids: All The Time In The World had 60/40 with 2D in terms of screens but only 54/46 in terms of business. (To give you some context, The Smurfs was 77/23 with 2D which is more in line with the family film trend). Dimension can keep making this sequel swill but until it comes up with fresh ideas for fresh films, then TWC could tank again.
4. Conan The Barbarian – 3D (Nu Image/Millenium/Lionsgate) NEW [3,015 Runs]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $10.5M
Lionsgate execs today are despondent as they try to figure out what went wrong. “It’s one of those weekends that gives me a stomach ache,” one Lionsgate exec told me Friday night. “It’s a headscratcher but it won’t kill us.” But they also know that with Carl Icahn back breathing down Lionsgate’s mane by buying up company shares, and the annual stockholders meeting scheduled for September 13th, this is a really lousy time for this secondary studio to have such a box office bomb. Over the last two weeks Icahn has acquired 756,840 shares in Lionsgate, growing his ownership to 33.2% from 32.6%, presumably in his so-far-unsuccessful effort to gift his son Brent with a Hollywood studio. Last year, Icahn tried but failed to seize control and, after a brief respite, he’s trying yet again all the while carping about Lionsgate’s profligate management and moviemaking strategy. Here’s more ammunition for him. First off, being in business with Avi Lerner’s Nu Image/Millenium film company is a dicey proposition at best. Especially when this Conan The Barbarian reboot cost nearly $90M, which makes this weekend’s opening disastrous even if Lionsgate’s exposure was mitigated by the co-production and co-release. Not even spreading the buzz that previous Conan The Barbarian Arnold Schwarzenegger was treated to a private screening and “really liked it” helped box office which didn’t come near even Lionsgate’s low-ball expectation of $15M from a wide release.
Sony Pictures Classics announced today that Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris has surpassed $50 million at the domestic box office and earned $50,062,843 to date. As previously announced, this is Allen’s highest-grossing film of all time in North America (not adjusted for inflation and ticket prices).
Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, which recently became the director’s highest-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office, is getting another wide release. Sony Pictures Classics, which has distributed the past four Allen films, will …
SUNDAY UPDATE: suspect all non-Gleeks now can relax since Fox will never make another Glee 3D unless a few execs at 20th and 20th TV undergo lobotomies. The concert film opened in only 6th place Friday with $2.7M, then Saturday plunged -37% for just $1.7M which took the pic out of the Top 10 completely. Its $5.7M weekend from 2,040 theaters would be humiliating and downright disastrous if it hadn’t been made for such a low budget — around $9.5M to $9.7M, according to Ryan Murphy, who emailed me: “That’s compared to the Bieber film which was around $14 million I believe. So the risk [was] very very low. No matter what it will be a money maker for Fox. I am proud of it.” Murphy, who produced but did not direct, was as befuddled as Fox TV and film execs why the pic didn’t do better, especially because it was given an ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences under age 25. “The CinemaScores were excellent. They don’t sync up with the results,” one Fox TV exec emailed me. Fox thought the film would at least reach double-digits, crack the Top 5 for the weekend, and perform respectably like the other concert movies. But the studio wasn’t really sure what to make of the soft tracking despite fan-favorite castmembers like Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, and The Warblers.
Murphy said that, by design, the movie wasn’t just a big-screen version of the TV show: instead it’s about three young people who say that Glee helped them live better lives and overcome struggles with their personal stories cut against 20 positive message songs. When moviegoers didn’t materialize Friday, the filmmakers still thought kids would come out Saturday and Sunday. But these concert films are frontloaded and it’s all downhill from opening day. Immediately Fox TV execs turned against Fox film execs. “I think it was a shitty campaign that did not effectively communicate what the movie was or that the people who had seen it reviewed it positively,” one suit told me. “I think the feature company took a very laid-back approach, feeling their only job was to alert the core fans, and that’s not enough to fill seats.”
Weekend Box Office: ‘Apes’ Still Mighty #1, ‘The Help’ Strong #2, ‘Final Destination’ #3, ’30 Minutes Or Less’ Gets ‘Smurf’ed For #5, Very Feeble ‘Glee 3D’ Drops Out Of Top 10
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 2ND UPDATE: Far be it from Summer 2011 to wind down with a whimper. Instead, these waning weekends are crowded with North American releases. I’m suffering burnout especially with four major studio releases in one weekend. It’s not just me: Hollywood’s distribution departments were calling this the “crowded-nearing-the-end-of-summer-but-thank-goodness-for-Apes-and-Help-kinda-weekend”. So what can we glean overall from these box office grosses close to $150 million, +5% compared to last year’s?
That Twentieth Century Fox’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes stayed #1 for the second straight week because humans empathize with apes no matter if we believe in Darwin or Dr. Spock. That DreamWorks/Disney’s The Help was a close #2 despite a midweek debut because movies based on bestselling books nearly always attract loyal readers and this pic has Oscar buzz. That New Line/Warner Bros’ Final Destination 5 looks like a dying franchise even in 3D because the filmmakers stopped murdering people in interesting or original ways. That Sony’s 30 Minutes Or Less isn’t going to result in action comedies replacing raunchy comedies even if this script started its life as one of Hollywood’s Black List of celebrated unproduced screenplays. (Instead Aziz Ansari needs to keep his day job.) That all non-Gleeks now can relax in the knowledge that Fox will never make another Glee 3D unless a few execs at 20th and 20th TV undergo lobotomies. The concert film opened in only 6th place Friday with $2.7M, then Saturday plunged -39% for just $1.6M which took the pic out of the Top 10 completely. Its $5.5M weekend from 2,040 theaters would be humiliating and downright disastrous if it hadn’t been made for such a low budget – around $9.5M to $9.7M, according to Ryan Murphy who emailed me: “That’s compared to the Bieber film which was around $14 million I believe. So the risk [was] very very low. No matter what it will be a money maker for Fox. I am proud of it.” Murphy, who produced but did not direct, was as befuddled as Fox TV and film execs why the pic didn’t do better, especially because it was given an ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences under age 25. “The CinemaScores were excellent. They don’t sync up with the results,” one Fox TV exec emailed me. The film studio expected the film would at least reach double-digits and crack the Top 5 for the weekend. Nope. (More Glee 3D analysis below)
Here’s the Top 10:
1. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Week 2 [3,691 Theaters]
Friday $8.1M, Saturday $10.8M, Weekend $27M (-49%), Cume $104.4M
Twentieth Century Fox was hoping for a drop of 50% or less on Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and got it. “You do remember that ‘A-’ CinemaScore don’t you?” boasted one studio exec to me. As if this movie wasn’t a prequel to a played-out franchise saved by CGI primates.
2. The Help (DreamWorks/Disney) NEW (Wed opening) [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $7.6M, Saturday $10.1M, Weekend $25.7M, Cume $35.5M
So here’s a big fat TOLDJA! to DreamWorks and Disney execs who whined to me since Wednesday that my five-day projections of $30+M were too aggressive. ”For starters ‘A+’ CinemaScores don’t come along very often and this one will matter as The Help works to help itself into a meaningful crossover film,” as one rival studio exec told me. Interestingly, this dramedy is playing like a Tyler Perry film in the Southeast with significant strength in the Midwest as well. (Not so much in the Rockies and the West. And anemic in Canada.) Now The Blind Side is a comp. Controversy within the African-American community over the racial subject matter didn’t hurt moviegoing and may have increased it because of the media coverage. The DreamWorks pic based on the bestselling book overperformed for its first 5 days with distributor Disney predicting only $25M. The question was exactly how frontloaded The Help would turn out to be and how many more loyal readers flock to theaters after Day One. Then again the book sold 3 million copies and remained on the NYT best-seller list for 103 weeks. According to comps, these so-called appointment films for women based on popular books usually perform in the $20sM. For instance Eat Pray Love did $23M for Friday-Saturday-Sunday the same August weekend last year and its first 5 days was $29M. Julie and Julia also hit $20M.
MONDAY 12 PM: It’s now official. According to today’s actuals, DreamWorks/Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens narrowly beat Sony Pictures’ Smurfs for the weekend win $36,431,290 vs $35,611,637.
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