Adam Sandler Beating Justin Bieber For #1





SATURDAY PM UPDATE: Sources tell me that the studios are having difficulty getting their nightly Rentrak numbers. But initial intel is that this back-and-forth North American box office battle for #1 isn’t over yet and may continue until Sunday night. Sony Pictures’ Just Go With It, starring the sometimes funny Adam Sandler and the always annoying Jennifer Aniston had a big Saturday jump (+41%) from Friday with $13.4M in grosses. If that holds, then this latest Valentines Day-timed rom-com could come in at $31.2M for the weekend. As for Paramount’s PG-rated Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D, “Bieber fever hasn’t broken but at least he’s sweating,” a rival studio exec said tonight. Even with higher 3D ticket prices but about 450 less theaters, the punk kid held strongly from Friday to Saturday with only a -13% drop for $10.7M which would put the kid at $30.2M for the weekend. As for other openers, Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet 3D opened with a soft $6M Friday but that was doubled Saturday by the matinee kiddie bump for a $25.4M weekend. And Focus Feature’s PG-13 The Eagle had decent numbers in both major cities and suburbs.

Here’s the Top 10:

1. Just Go With It (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,548 Theaters]
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $13.4M, Weekend $31.2M

If the rom-com holds at No. 1, then like him or not, Adam Sandler’s track record as one of the most consistent top performers in the business continues. This latest is based on the old Cactus Flower play/movie (which itself was based on a French play) by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company and directed by Dennis Dugan. But by now who hasn’t seen this dumbass premise of a single man who pretends to be married all over The Hallmark Channel? Yet it received an “A-” CinemaScore overall and an “A” from females despite lousy reviews. Just Go With It, should also be the main Date Night movie choice on Valentine’s Day so expect to see a substantial spike on a typical non-holiday Monday. Last weekend, Adam did a lot of press during the Superbowl as well as MTV Networks (including VH-1, Spike, and Comedy Central) where special interstitials were created with footage from the film. Additionally, there was a TNT and NBA promo tied to the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, while Sony worked with ESPN for a special “Just Go With It Moment” promo which was cut using footage from last year’s Game 7 final match-up, and a clip from the film.

2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,105 Theaters]
Friday $12.5M, Saturday $10.7M, Weekend $30.2M

In terms of Disney comps, this is less than the $31M opening weekend of Disney’s 2008 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour pic but massacres 2009′s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience opening weekend of $12.5M. Considering Bieber’s pic had a budget of only $13M, the punk did fine. (But if he’s “living his dream” at soon-to-be age 17, then mine is to send him packing from Hollywood until his testicles descend.) Born out of production boss Adam Goodman’s Paramount Insurge initiative overseen by Amy Powell to find talent from the Internet, this is the first offering. Goodman came up with the idea of pursuing a Bieber pic, so he, Powell, Megan Colligan, and Rob Moore traipsed to the Target Center in Minneapolis to watch the kid’s concert first-hand at the end of June. Negotiated with LA Reid of Island Def Jam records and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, the idea was to follow Bieber’s journey to a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Justin’s Internet army of fans were enlisted to submit photos and videos that would be incorporated into the film and the initial one-sheet. At the end of November, the decision was made to let fans pay $30 to sneak the film complete with souvenir purple glasses and wrist bands. About 60,000 fans saw the film Wednesday so they could spend Thursday and Friday spreading the word at schools. Paramount only included the value of the ticket in its box office reporting, though. The premiere featured a stunt with Ellen DeGeneres (who early on identified Justin as a star) after his Tuesday appearance on her show: Usher showed up with a fleet of vans and brought Ellen’s entire audience of over 300 people to the premiere. The promotion included sister company MTV’s Jersey Shore and The Situation to let teens know this film was not just for tweens. Meanwhile, Bieber’s mom went on Christian Radio to make inroads with faith-based audiences.

3. Gnomeo and Juliet (Disney) NEW [2,994 Theaters]
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $11.5M, Weekend $25.4M

The project was at Miramax and, as part of the recent sale, Disney kept the film which was distributed by Touchstone. Executive Produced by Elton John and his Rocket Pictures, Gnomeo & Juliet is the only animated film in the marketplace right now. The soundtrack released February 8th from Buena Vista Records  features 9 songs from the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Sir Elton. (There’s a remake of Elton’s 1973 hit, “Crocodile Rock” sung with Nellie Furtado.) The voice cast included James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton, and Hulk Hogan. Shrek 2‘s Kelly Asbury directed what was billed as  “the greatest love story ever told” starring… garden gnomes with plastic pink flamingoes and lawnmower races in the mix.

4. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8.5M (-43%), Cume $26.1M

5. Eagle (Focus Features) NEW [2,296 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.5M

Focus will hit projected numbers if the film makes $8 million for the weekend. Tracking best with men both over and under 25 (strongest with men over 25), the film had a budget of mid-$20sM and strong international pre-sales. Reviews were only mixed (35% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, 55% on Metacritic). The film drew a mostly male, ethnically diverse audience: 64% Male, 47% Under 30, 62% Under 35, 38% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 21% African American, 13% Asian. Read More »

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Not-So-Super Box Office: ‘Roommate’ #1, Cameron-Produced ‘Sanctum 3D’ Weak #2

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Yes, I went AWOL from Friday night’s North American box office. But can you blame me? With these two pics opening this Super Bowl weekend?

UPDATE: So Sony Pictures spinmeisters respond: “Clint Culpepper is one of the most successful executives in this industry. The film over performed. He makes genre movies and he makes them well. Easy A was one of the best films of the year. What was mysoginistic about that, or Burlesque or Country Strong or Dear John. And if strong women characters at the center of two very popular franchises (Resident Evil and Underworld) is somehow demeaning to women, I would love to understand why.”

Increasingly, Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems has become the Odd Lots of movie divisions: you never know what you’re going to find there, but you know it’s cheap crap. Worse, Clint Culpepper is one misogynist dude when it comes to picking plots: it’s always woman getting victimized in horror movies or most recently women fighting woman, ad nauseum. Obsessed, Burlesque, and now The Roommate, the blatant rip-off of Single White Female and every uber-bad Lifetime movie about deranged college girls starring  Tori Spelling or Shannon Dougherty. Seriously, Clint, this is how you counter-program Super Bowl weekend? SERIOUSLY? Worse, this pic doesn’t even feature two legitimate stars: instead, it’s B-level TV actors Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl). Even the parent company is embarrassed by this drek: the execs can’t even bring themselves to give me pre-release briefings on Screen Gems stuff anymore. All they would tell me is, “We counter programmed Super Bowl weekend  with a title appealing to teen girls/young women as we have done so successfully in the past with Screen Gems titles during the Super Bowl frame.” They claim the movie overperformed and was only supposed to make between $10M and $12M this weekend. Oh, and they say it cost $16M which means the pic nearly grossed its negative cost during the first three days of release and became the 8th film since 2001 that Sony has opened to #1 during Super Bowl Weekend. The film played stronger to females and overall the film skewed younger, with 65% of the opening weekend audience female and 61% under age 21.

Relativity and Universal did what they could to market James Cameron’s connection to Sanctum 3D and the fact that he exec produced it. But the public didn’t buy it: they want him directing before they turn out in droves. Good thing Universal and Relativity claim they paid only around $12 million for the flick, which Uni also opened day and date in the UK and Australia and earned $3.1M, and debuting in New Zealand on February 17, and Japan on April 22nd. I really thought this film could connect because it used the same 3D techniques which Cameron used in Avatar, only this time the film and the technology took audiences into the furthest reaches of the subterranean world. But the story for this so-called action thriller was weak, as evidenced by only a “C+” CinemaScore. According to exit polling, moviegoers were 47% male vs. 53% female, and 35% under age 30 years vs. 65%  over age 30. Of the theater count, 178 ran the film in Digital 3D Imax which accounted for 17% of the gross.

1. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $15.6M

2. Sanctum 3D (Relativity/Universal) NEW [2,787]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $9.2M Read More »

Comments 93

‘The Rite’ #1, ‘The Mechanic’ #4; Best Picture Nominees Begin Oscar Bumps

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: The big news this weekend wasn’t just seeing whether domestic grosses were depressed on the post-blizzard East Coast (they weren’t), but also which movies received Oscar bumps given that the Academy Award nominations were announced this past Tuesday (all … Read More »

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‘No Strings Attached’ Reverses Recent Row Of Rom-Com Flop Openers: Possible $20.3M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Rentrak is having system issues so box office will be a bit late today. But Paramount was so worried about its No Strings Attached being a stinker that the studio didn’t even bother to give me a pre-release briefing. I don’t necessarily blame them: any movie starring Ashton Kutcher is probably a bomb since his last one — PG-13 Killers with Katherine Heigl — opened to only $15.8M for Lionsgate. And rom-coms, especially sexy R-rated ones (Ed Zwick’s Love And Other Drugs which opened to only $9.7M for Fox with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal) have been stillborn at the North American box office with this caliber of star. But No Strings Attached surprised at the box office, not only coming in No. 1 but with a decent $20.3M. Exit polls showed 70% of the audience was female, meaning it should be the least affected by football on Sunday. As for CinemaScore,  40% of those aged under 25 gave the film an “A-” while 60% over 25 scored it a “B”. 

This $25 million-cost movie started out as a Black List script titled Fuckbuddies and written by Elizabeth Merriwether. Natalie Portman came on board as a producer and star for Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock’s The Montecito Picture Company, which co-financed in partnership with Coldspring and Paramount’s usual partner Spyglass Entertainment.

Natalie is hot after her Oscar-worthy transformative performance in Black Swan and now finds herself with 2 movies in this weekend’s Top 6. And perhaps risking overexposure because of her new pics opening in January, February, April, and May. Anyway, the pic took advantage of being the only wide opening this weekend and may hang on for $20M. (Remember, it took Ron Howard’s Dilemma starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James 4 days to even make that over the MLK long holiday.) The film had been tracking strong with 20-year-old females whom Paramount pursued aggresively not with traditional newspaper ads but instead with a big Facebook push of a sexy Red Band trailer. Meanwhile, Sony’s The Green Hornet 3D and Universal’s aforementioned Dilemma look to drop more than -35% each this weekend. Here’s the Top 10:

1. No Strings Attached (Paramount) NEW [3,018 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $20.3M

2. The Green Hornet 3D (Sony) Week 2 [3,584 Theaters]
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $8.7M, Weekend $18.1M (-31%), Cume $63.4M

3. The Dilemma (Universal) Week 2 [2,943 Theaters]
Friday $3M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $9.9M (-33%), Cume $33.5M

4. The King’s Speech (Weinstein Co) Week 9 [1,680 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $58.6M
Read More »

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Hot Red Band Trailer: ‘No Strings Attached’

Mike Fleming

Here’s a red band trailer for No Strings Attached, the Ashton Kutcher-Natalie Portman comedy which Paramount Pictures releases January 21.

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Hot Trailer: ‘No Strings Attached’

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