April 9, 2011

Box Office Footnotes and Weekend Review Roundup – 4/8/11

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Written by: Mitch Salem


Hop and Universal should enjoy this weekend while it lasts:  on Friday, the 3D Rio arrives and that’s probably the end of Hop‘s big numbers.
As Mitch Metcalf explained elsewhere on this page, the agents for Russell Brand, Danny McBride and James Franco aren’t having a great day.  Also a little nervous:  Fox, which has Franco starring in their megabudget Rise of the Apes reboot later this year–that picture obviously has a high-concept selling point, but still the studio had to be hoping their star was someone on the rise.

It’ll be very interesting to watch Hanna and Soul Surfer play out over the weekend, because both have core audiences with contradictory moviegoing behavior.  The two films are getting the teen girl audience, which notoriously runs to movies on opening day and then tapers off sharply (the original Twilight made more on its first day than its Saturday-Sunday combined).  But Hanna is also aimed at the upscale art-house audience that knows Joe Wright directed Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, and Soul Surfer is zeroed in on the religious audience; both those groups often don’t go to the movies until later in the weekend. If they turn out in force, both pictures could move past Arthur, which isn’t going to have good word of mouth.

The most remarkable single number of the weekend?  The unbelievably good hold for Insidious, which is looking at a drop of only 30% or so from opening weekend–that just doesn’t happen with low-budget horror movies, which means word of mouth must be sensational.  It also means the happiest studio of the day is the brand-new FilmDistrict, which has both Insidious and a piece of Soul Surfer.

Jane Eyre and Win Win continued their gradual rollouts, each adding around 70-75 theatres and holding steady from last weekend.  This means their per-theatre numbers have fallen to around $5K, which is still decent but suggests they may be one more expansion away from hitting a wall.

In new limited release, Ceremony is heading for around $3K per theatre in 3 (and even that number may be boosted by director Q&As on opening night), Meet Monica Velour around $5K each in 2, Meek’s Cutoff around $10K each in 2, and Henry’s Crime around $4K each in 2 (those last 2 titles are NY only).  None of those numbers suggests a likelihood for wide expansion.

Next week only brings 2 new wide openings:  the aforementioned Rio, which has been getting good early reviews and should be a sure thing, and Scream 4, in which the Weinstein Company will try to raise its seemingly dead horror franchise from the grave, much like the killer himself.
Finally, for those trying to pick a Saturday night movie, here’s a quick round-up of this weekend’s big titles:

Hop -Watch It At Home:  inoffensive, but unless your kids are clamoring, it’s fine to wait for video.

Hanna – Worth A Ticket:  Not completely successful, but distinctive and exciting, with great performances from Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett.
Arthur – Watch It At Home:  Not nearly as charming or funny as it needed to be.
Soul Surfer – Not Even For Free:  Unless you or your child has a weakness for predictably inspirational sports stories, in which case this may be your wave.
Your Highness – Not Even For Free:  In fact, not even if Universal offers to pay for your parking.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."