April 30, 2011

FRIDAY APR 29 BOX OFFICE NUMBERS: Fast Five Roars to the Top

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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>Fast Five delivered for Universal with a $77 million opening and is on track for a final domestic tally of $169 million.  This strong opening will push the weekend up around 50% versus the same weekend last year.  The other openers, however, were ignominious flops.

Fast Five should open with $77 million this weekend and is on a pace to finish with $169 million in North America when it crosses the finish line.  This should be the best opening and the best domestic total of the five Fast and Furious franchise.  Rio will move to second place with $15.5 million and is still headed for $151 domestically. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family should drop 59% to $10.3 million this weekend.  The film is headed for $63 million total.  Water for Elephants dropped a better 44% to $9.5 million and has been upgraded to $57 million domestic total.  African Cats should drop 47% (a little worse than expected) to $3.2 million this weekend and a $22 million North American final.  

And then there’s the rest of the openers.  Prom from Disney embattled Rich Ross regime utterly flopped with a $5.3 opening and will be lucky to total $13 million in North America.  Ouch.  Hoodwinked Too! from Weinstein, with its weirdly cheap animated look, belly flopped with a $4.5 million opening and might finish with $7 million domestically.  More King’s Speech and fewer lame animation attempts, please. 

On a per theater basis, Fast Five will average an excellent $21,100 at 3,644 theaters.  Prom should average a pitiful $1,900 at 2,730 theaters, and Hoodwinked Too! should average an even softer $1,800 average at 2,505 theaters.  Dylan Dog: Dead of Night averaged a ghost town-like $313 per theater average Friday, which puts its weekend per theater average around $800.  An average like that makes Prom and Hoodwinked Too! look like runaway hits.

April 29-May 1, 2011    Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*
Fast Five (Uni)          [$74.5]    $77.0   $33.2     $169
Rio (Fox)                [$16.5]    $15.5   $ 3.6     $151
Madea’s Big Happy Family [$11.5]    $10.3   $ 3.1     $ 63
Water for Elephants (Fox)[$10  ]    $ 9.5   $ 2.9     $ 57 ++

Prom (Dis)               [$ 9.5]    $ 5.3   $ 1.8     $ 13
Hoodwinked Too (Weins)   [$ 9  ]    $ 4.5   $ 1.1     $  7 
African Cats (Dis)       [$ 4  ]    $ 3.2   $ 1.0     $ 22 
Hop (Uni)                [$ 6  ]    $ 3.1   $ 0.7     $114
Dylan Dog (Free)         [$ 2.5]    $ 0.7   $ 0.3     $  2

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is reminder of each film’s ShowbuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

Fast and Furious Track

Fast and Furious Films                              (millions)
                         Critics  Release  Opening   Domestic
                         Positive   Date   Weekend    Total

Fast and Furious           27%    4.03.09    $71       $155 
Fast Furious: Tokyo Drift  35%    6.16.06    $24       $ 62
2 Fast 2 Furious           36%    6.06.03    $50       $127
The Fast and the Furious   52%    6.22.01    $40       $144

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $140 million total.  This is a huge increase from the same weekend last year but somewhat lower than 2009 and before.  (This weekend has traditionally had a very stronger anchor such as Iron Man or X-Men Origins: Wolverine but last year stumbled slightly with Nightmare on Elm Street 3.)  

Top 12 Films: First Weekend of May/ Late April
2011  $140  (-2% vs 2007-10 average; +53% vs 2010) 

Avg   $144  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $ 92  Nightmare on Elm Street 3 $33, Furry Vengeance $6

2009  $150  X-Men Wolverine $85, Ghosts Girlfriends Past $15
2008  $151  Iron Man $99, Made of Honor $15
2007  $181  Spider-Man 3 $151, Lucky You $3

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Thor from Paramount, romantic comedy Something Borrowed from Warner Bros, and African-American comedy Jumping the Broom from TriStar.  Thor will clearly dominate the weekend but not at the same level as Iron Man 2, which opened with $128 million the same weekend last year.  (The documentary Babies also opened, whimpering with a little more than $2 million this weekend last year.) 

Look for updates of the weekend box office on Sunday, based on the Saturday actual numbers. 

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."