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Weekend Box-Office Analysis (Apr 13-15, 2012)

Despite three new wide releases, the decline of the box-office continued for yet another weekend as the Top 12 cume dropped another 7.6% to $107.7 million. It was also down 8% from the same frame last year when newcomer Rio captured the top spot with $39.2 million. Is just the second time this year that the box-office has fallen behind 2011, a terrific track record so far. However, the upcoming two weeks will be tough to beat for 2012 as the fourth weekend of last April saw two movies making over $25 million and the last April weekend had Fast Five breaking out with a $86.2 million opening. However, a latest when The Avengers will hit on the first weekend of May, 2012 will regain its supremacy over the preceding year and should maintain it for most of the summer which is looking significantly stronger than last.


The Hunger Games became first movie since Avatar to spend four weeks at the top of the box-office as it still remained without much competition, easily winning the box-office battle on each day of the weekend. The adaptation of the young adult dystopian novel which marks the beginning of a new trilogy collected another $21.5 million (down 35.1%) over the three-day period for a total of $337.1 million. It is an incredibly huge number for this $78 million feature. The positive word-of-mouth is truly kicking in now as the film delivered the 12th-biggest fourth weekend of all-time, beating the likes of Toy Story 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The movie is also catching up on several huge blockbusters now. It is tracking just around $6 million behind last year’s top film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, having already surpassed every single other Harry Potter film unadjusted. Considering it is coming off a much bigger fourth weekend than Deathly Hallows Part 2, overtaking that film is just a matter of time. It is unbelievably impressive considering that that film was the final and immensely hyped movie of a huge franchise. It is even moreso impressive considering that Harry Potter had the 3D premium and the summer weekdays boosting its grosses. This speaks lengths of The Hunger Games’ performance – without a doubt one of the most impressive ever.

Right now, The Hunger Games occupies the 22nd spot on the unadjusted all-time domestic chart and should enter the Top 20 during the upcoming couple of days. Moreover, it is already the 10th-biggest non-Sequel/prequel ever. Even though Spider-Man 3 had an almost identical opening weekend to The Hunger Games, the latter has already overtaken the former’s total domestic gross and that without any benefit from the summer weekdays that Spider-Man 3 had later in its run. The jury is still out on whether or not it has enough gas left in the tank to reach $400 million. There is no doubt left that it will pass $380 million and, therefore, the likes of Revenge of the Sith ($380.3 million) and the last Harry Potter film ($381 million), but in order to get to $400 million it will need to stay on enough screens even when The Avengers will be released and will hit every single holdover hard. Next week, The Lucky One will take away a large chunk of The Hunger Games’ young female demographics, but being a huge must-see film that is still enjoying a great deal of media attention will help it to remain in the focus of the audiences over the next two weeks. It will be its legs throughout May that will be the true test. I believe that as long as it gets past $395 million, Lionsgate Films will do anything to have a $400 million hit on their hands and will somehow push it beyond. However, even getting there is not a given at the moment. I see it finishing with $385-395 million right now, but a total barely beyond $400 million would not surprise me.


The Farrelly Brothers have made a name for themselves in the comedy genre having landed such huge hits as Dumb and Dumber ($127.2 million), There is Something About Mary ($176.5 million) and Me, Myself & Irene ($90.6 million). However, they haven’t been able to land a formidable hit ever since Shallow Hal ($70.8 million) in 2001. None of their movies since then has opened above $15 million or made more than $50 million domestically. Now their long-mooted adaptation of The Three Stooges looks to finally end the spell for them. The PG-rated comedy placed second and took in $17.1 million over the weekend, averaging $4,918 from 3,477 venues. While far from a great opening, it assures that this $30 million film will end up as a hit for Fox. The comedy was received with mixed reviews an a “B-“ CinemaScore, but the audiences under 18 gave it a CinemaScore of  an “A”, whereas those above 25 graded it a “C”. Given its PG rating, it looks like it has scored just fine with its target audiences. With little direct competition ahead, it will likely end up having at least decent legs and will finish with $48-53 million, making it the Farrellys’ biggest hit in over ten years.


The long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods finally hit the theatres this weekend. The critically praised deconstruction of the horror genre took the third spot this weekend with $14.9 million from 2,811 theatres (PTA of $5,283). It was certainly helped by well-done advertisement and the fact that it is the first horror movie to hit the theatres since Silent House. However, as it often happens to clever movies that are not exactly part of the mainstream, The Cabin in the Woods scored a mediocre “C” CinemaScore, faring even worse with the females which awarded it a “D+” on average. A similar fate struck last year’s Drive which was appreciated by critics and film aficionados alike, got a “C” CinemaScore. Nevertheless, it must be noted that Drive still went on to reach an opening-to-total multiplier of 3. That shows that the CinemaScore is not the sole indicator of WoM and legs. Now being a horror movie of course hurts The Cabin in the Woods’ chances as they are usually frontloaded anyway. On the other hand, the fact that the movie actually managed a small increase on Saturday despite its CinemaScore is still remarkable. A lack of horror movies until the end of April when The Chernobyl Diaries hits the screens might further help its longevity. The $30 million production will end up as a success either way. I see it grossing $35-40 million in North America before hitting the home video market. There it should find a great following and become a big hit.


Delivering the 2nd-best hold in the Top 10 this weekend, the 3D re-release of Titanic dropped a spot to #4. The Paramount megablockbuster added $11.6 million to its total (down 32.7%) and now stands at $44.4 million after 12 days. Its domestic lifetime total is at $645.2 million. After a somewhat mild opening last weekend, Titanic did what it could always do best – it held very well. Usually the trademark of re-releases is that they suffer terrible legs and disappear from theatres very quickly. Earlier this year, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D dropped 64.5% in its sophomore weekend despite having the Presidents Day boost. In fact, Titanic 3Dhas already passed the total cume of the Star Wars re-issue this year. However, as solid as its numbers may be Stateside, the movie is just a monster overseas, particularly in China where it is heading for a $120+ million total. Thanks to its overperformance in China, Titanic has just become the second movie ever (after Avatar) to pass $2 billion worldwide. Domestically it will be hit hard by The Lucky One next week which will target its young female demographics. Nonetheless, with no new IMAX releases until The Avengers in three weeks, it should be able to maintain solid legs into May.  I see it ending up with around $65-70 million, a respectable number for a movie that everyone and their mother has seen during its initial run.


Last weekend’s disappointing #2 opener American Reunion lost 50.3% of its audiences as it slid down to #5 of the box-office. The movie made $10.7 million over the weekend for a running total of $39.9 million after ten days on release. That is a number that some initially expected the film to make during the first three days in theatres and it is still over $5 million less than what American Pie 2 opened to. On the upside its 2nd-weekend hold is better than that of the other two American Pie sequels and it has already passed Scream 4’s total gross at least. Obviously, it is not a huge financial letdown for Universal as Scream 4 was for the Weinsteins. It is still a far cry from the series’ glorious days as well as from the cast reunion that paid off so amazingly for Universal’s own Fast and Furious. With little direct competition over the next weeks except for Universal’s The Five-Year Engagement, there is still a good chance that the movie will develop solid legs akin to the previous three American Pie movies. Word-of-mouth is, at the very least, decent and the audiences are on the older side, so that should help it as well. I see it ending up in the $60-65 million. That makes it a financial success for the studio (once overseas grosses are added), but overall a disappointment given the series’ former popularity (all three predecessors grossed over $100 million in North American theatres).


Relativity’s Mirror Mirror continued its good performance with another $7 million (down 36.9%) added to its total this weekend. The movie dropped one spot to #6 and has so far amassed $49.5 million at the domestic box-office. While the $85 million Julia Roberts starrer still has a long way to go to become a hit, overseas returns will definitely make it possible. The domestic performance itself isn’t bad either, given the goofy nature of the film and the marketing that only appealed to families. The film is on track to end up with a good multiplier and a total gross of $67 million.


The Warner Bros. sequel Wrath of the Titans dropped to #7 in its third weekend as it decreased another 53.1% to $6.9 million bringing its total gross to $71.3 million after 17 days. It’s not a complete disaster like John Carter, but its domestic run is nothing to write home about either. It will finish with $84 million, but what will truly prevent it from being a flop is its tremendous overseas performance which will probably put its worldwide gross above $350 million when all is said and done.


The long-burner 21 Jump Street dropped two slots to the 8th spot of the weekend, but it still delivered another terrific hold. Its 32% drop is the best in the Top 10 this weekend. A $6.8 million three-day cume put its current total beyond $120 million as it reached $120.6 million by the end of the weekend. Now it has a lead of over $9 million on Superbad as it stands less than $1 million away from passing Superbad’s total cume. On top of that, it is trailing Knocked Up by less than $2million. The Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill comedy blockbuster is a real winner as it is already the 10th-biggest ever adaptation of a TV series. If The Five-Year Long Engagement fails to take off, 21 Jump Street could remain a big player for quite some time now and play well throughout May until The Dictator hits its demographics. It is not very likely, but chances are that it will approach a $150 million total. Currently I project it to make $139 million domestically, however given how the film managed to surpass all expectations so far and surprise each weekend, this is a fairly conservative estimate.


FilmDistrict’s first release of 2012, Lockout, didn’t exactly set the box-office on fire. The Escape from New York rip-off, starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace, opened to $6.3 million from 2,308 theatres, giving it a PTA of $2,708. This a rather low opening by the standards of the usual English-language Luc Besson-produced action films (like Colombiana or Taken). With the film’s $20 million budget no one will be severely hurt here, but with bad reviews and a “B-“ CinemaScore, its legs won’t be any good either. FilmDistrict started off really well with last year-s Insidious ($54 million), but the only other hit they could land since then was Drive ($35.1 million) and even that wasn’t anything extraordinary. Lockout will go on to finish with $14-15 million.


Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax rounded off the Top 10. The animated hit dropped 40% to $3 million and put its total gross at $204.5 million. It is currently the 20th-biggest animated film ever in North America and one of the only 21 animated movies to cross $200 million domestically. It is true that The Lorax’ legs were nothing short of disappointing. Despite little family oriented-competition and good WoM, it has been dropping 40.8% on average each weekend since its release. Apparently it was just quite a bit frontloaded and will barely pass an opening-to-total multiplier of 3. In two weeks, Pirates! Band of Misfits will deliver it a blow, drawing away a large chunk of its audiences and soon it will leave most theatres altogether. It will leave the theatres with $212 million in its pockets.


As Sony Classics expanded the Indonesian actioner The Raid: Redemption from 176 to 881 theatres, the film increased by 90.6% and made a jump into the Top 12, landing at #11 this weekend. The film grossed $1 million over the weekend and has now collected $2.6 million ever since its release four weeks ago. However, the sub-$1,500 per-theatre-average doesn’t look any good and it will drop off quickly over the next weeks. I see it finishing with around $5 million when all is said and done.


At last, Lasse Hallström’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen had a formidable hold this weekend, dropping just 8.2% to $0.9 million and the 12th spot of the box-office. The movie’s total gross stands at $6.1 million now which is decent for a movie that never went wider than 524 theatres. It looks like it is enjoying very good WoM and should hang in there outside of the Top 12 for a while. I see it making it to $9 million eventually.


In other news, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island finally passed $100 million this weekend as it (miraculously) increased by 26.1% this weekend to $0.7 million. Its running total stands at $100.4 million, just $1.3 million away from its predecessor’s final gross. It may actually surpass the first film now. It is obvious that Warner Bros. helped out here a little, though it wasn’t necessary as Journey 2 would have made it beyond the mark on its own. It should now finish close to $102 million. The follow-up-in-title to Woman, Thou Art Loosed, Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day made $0.7 million from 102 theatres this weekend for a $6,373 average. The first movie made almost $6.9 million back in 2004, making it Magnolia’s biggest film (which it still is until today). The “sequel” should make it to $2 million.

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