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Worst 2011 Weekend: ‘New Year’s Eve’ #1 But Underperforming; So Is ‘The Sitter’ #2; ‘Tinker Tailor’ Strong $75K Screen Average

By | Sunday December 11, 2011 @ 10:05am PST

SUNDAY AM: I sound like a broken record because it’s another disappointing domestic box office with numbers coming in -20% to even -30% lower than projected. And this weekend qualified as 2011′s lowest total movie grosses — only $76M. It’s also down a whopping 17% from last year. Is this North American slump going to continue through Christmas and affect Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows, which is currently tracking like the holiday’s biggest hit. Stay tuned!

Warner Bros expected this date movie would be a no-brainer box office hit in more ways than once. An exec characterized the publicity as a “massive assault” in the competitive December window with an unprecedented 11 magazine covers and no less than 27 appearances on national TV shows. So no surprise in the Top 10 that Warner Bros’ New Year’s Eve unseated Summit’s Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 which spent three straight weeks at No. 1. But what is alarming is that the latest in this holiday-themed franchise came in at $13.7M, way less than the $20M which the studio predicted. The Garry Marshall-directed New Year’s Eve hit a brick wall on the West Coast late shows both Friday and Saturday nights. ”Not much champagne for that opening,” one rival exec snarked to me. Especially disturbing with all those name actors and actresses cast in the season’s only romantic comedy, though Sarah Jessica Parker and Hilary Swank and Ashton Kutcher are box office poison these days. Now it’s not only young males but also young females abandoning indiscriminate moviegoing. Showing yet again that in 2011 stars and derivative storytelling don’t mean a thing. Audiences gave it a ‘B+’ CinemaScore.

Fox’s The Sitter came in second. But it’s worse than even the lowered expectations going into this North American weekend. Audiences gave it only a ‘C+’ CinemaScore. Good thing this R-rated Jonah Hill pic cost next to nothing – low $20sM according to Fox sources. Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), this “world’s worst babysitter” has been done to death. Fox did have a hugely successful voicemail outdoor campaign: it put up posters urging people to leave voicemails for Jonah, which were then recorded and posted on the movie’s Facebook page. Nearly 400K people called the line. And Hill babysat Fox Sunday night animation characters Stewie, Maggie Simpson, etc on December 4th.

Deadline Hollywood is still holding its movie awards season ‘The Contenders’ event Sunday after a hugely successful Saturday:

1. New Years Eve (Warner Bros) NEW [3,505 Theaters]
Friday $5M, Saturday $5.3M, Weekend $13.7M

2. The Sitter (Fox) NEW [2,750 Theaters]
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $10M

3. Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) Week 4 [3,605 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $7.9M, Cume $259.4M

4. The Muppets (Disney) Week 3 [3,328 Theaters]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $7M, Cume $65.8M

5. Arthur Christmas 3D (Sony) Week 3 [3,272 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $6.6M, Cume $33.4M

6. Hugo 3D (Paramount) Week 3 [2,608 Theaters]
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.1M, Cume $33.4M

7. The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [876 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $4.3M, Cume $23.9M

8. Happy Feet Two 3D (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,840 Theaters]
Friday $840K, Saturday $1.7M, Estimated Weekend $3.7M, Cume $56.8M

8. Jack and Jill (Sony) Week 5 [2,787 Theaters]
Friday $870K, Saturday $1.4M, Weekend $3.2M, Cume $68.6M

10. Immortals 3D (Relativity) Week 5 [2,299 Theaters]
Friday $730K, Saturday $1M, Weekend $2.4M, Cume $79.8m

Specialty Openings: After a solid $22.6M European opening, Focus Features’ Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy began its North American run in 4 theaters (2 in NYC, 2 in LA) with an impressive per screen average of $75+K. Every location again experienced sell out or close to sell out conditions from late matinee through the 9PM shows. The weekend results make Tinker Tailor the #3 largest opening average of all specialty films in 2011, behind #1 Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and #2 Terence Malick’s Tree Of Life and #3rd film opening on 4 screens on record. Paramount’s Young Adult platformed in 8 theaters with $40K per screen averages. Paramount points out that it out-grossed the expansions of both The Artist and Shame on half the screens. Paramount has The Adventures Of Tintin for domestic, and Sony for overseas. The Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson collaboration is having a great start in North America’s Quebec Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Jonah Hill’s ‘The Sitter’

This new trailer for 20th Century Fox’s raunchy R-rated comedy The Sitter starring Jonah Hill as the world’s most irresponsible babysitter is attached to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes in theaters this weekend. Release date is December 9th. Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) and produced by Mike De Luca, it was written by Brian Gatewood & Alessandro Tanaka:

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Fox Moves ‘Apes’ Prequel To August 5

By | Tuesday March 22, 2011 @ 6:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

20th Century Fox, which had moved the James Franco starrer Rise of the Apes from a June slot to the fall, has moved the Planet of the Apes prequel to Aug. 5. The studio also moved the Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter to Dec. 9.

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FOXY 2011 MOVES: ‘Rise Of The Apes’ Takes Thanksgiving Slot; ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ Set For Start Of Summer

Twentieth Century Fox execs today muscled their 2011 release schedule. First and foremost the studio’s big tentpole Rise Of The Apes moves from June 24th to November 23rd because there’s a Thanksgiving family film overload. This Planet Of The Apes origins story about genetic engineering is considered big enough to be informally nicknamed “Apetar

The studio has enough faith in Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins to move this family film featuring Jim Carrey (back doing what his fans want him to do) from August 12th to the start of the summer on June 17th.

The Big Year, about the Bird-Watching Men Of North America (inspired by the book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession” by Mark Obmascik) and starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson gets scheduled for October 14th.

The Jonah Hill “R”-rated comedy The Sitter moves from the heart of the summer on July 15th to August 5th.

Monte Carlo, the Selena Gomez/Leighton Meester starrer moves from July 1st to August 12th.

The Anna Faris “R”-rated comedy What’s Your Number? from New Regency changes release dates from April 29th to September 30th.

And, finally, the New Regency high-concept sci-fi fantasy about time as currency, titled Now and starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, moves from September 30th to October 28th.

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CASTING: ‘M:I4′, ‘Wanderlust’, ‘The Sitter’

Mike Fleming

Now that Jeremy Renner snagged the big male lead opposite Tom Cruise in the next Mission: Impossible, the focus of Paramount Pictures, director Brad Bird and producers Cruise and JJ Abrams are intent on filling the role of a young female operative. I’m told that Lauren German and Paula Patton are testing for the job. UPDATE: I’m told that Kristen Kreuk will also test for the role…. Superbad‘s Joe Lo Truglio is replacing Fred Armisen in the role of nudist Wayne Dunbar in Wanderlust, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy for Universal which David Wain is directing from the script he wrote with Ken Marino. Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux star in the comedy about a couple that detours from a mundane life to a commune. Generate-repped Lo Truglio just completed the Universal comedy Paul… Ari Graynor has landed the female lead opposite Jonah Hill in The Sitter, the David Gordon Green-directed Fox comedy. She’ll next be seen opposite Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell in Conviction, and stars opposite Anna Faris in What’s Your Number next spring. UTA and Principal Entertainment rep her… Using Twitter (the new publicist) John Cusack informed the world today that he’ll play Edgar Allen Poe in The Raven. This isn’t going to be great news to Sylvester Stallone, whose dream is to play Poe.

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