April 9, 2011

FRIDAY APR 8 NUMBERS: Other Than Hop, Ouch

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Based on Friday’s numbers, Hop will continue to be the #1 movie playing, while none of the openers this weekend will make much of an impact.  Hop’s expected decline of 44% is good but not as solid as forecast.  The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate has consequently been downgraded slightly to $114 million.  And then there are the new films this weekend.  Arthur will struggle to make $13 million this weekend, a very lame number and even lower than a weak $15 million ShowbuzzDaily Forecast.  The Russell-Brand-Is-Best-In-Small-Doses theory has been given weight.  Playing in 3,276 theaters (the widest openers), the per location average is on track for a bad $3,900 this weekend.  

Hanna‘s weekend projection is very close to Arthur‘s — only half a million dollars.  With solid reviews and probably great word of mouth, it is conceivable that we could see Hanna emerge as the #1 new film this weekend (when Saturday actuals come in tomorrow and the weekend projections are tweaked).  Playing at a relatively modest 2,535 theaters, Hanna should average about $4,900 per location.  To put that number in perspective, it is exactly at the norm ($4,901) for all movies the last four years.  But Focus (Universal’s quality label) should be relatively pleased.  At Universal itself, however, unhappy faces all around when thinking about Your Highness, which will struggle to make $10 million this weekend.  A $3,800 average at 2,769 theaters.  Danny McBride has just received his membership card in the Best-In-Small-Doses Club, James Franco gave his critics more ammo after his turgid Oscar hosting gig, and Natalie Portman will go on to better things we hope.  Both Arthur and Your Highness both suffered somewhat by going head to head, but the small paying audiences probabaly suffered more by seeing them. 

April 8-10, 2011        Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
                        Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual  Ultimate*
Hop (Uni)                [$23.5]    $21.0   $ 5.5     $114
Arthur (WB)              [$15  ]    $12.7   $ 4.7     $ 33
Hanna (Foc)              [$ 8.5]    $12.2   $ 4.2     $ 41
Soul Surfer (Tri)        [$10  ]    $11.3   $ 3.9     $ 33
Your Highness (Uni)      [$13.5]    $10.5   $ 3.7     $ 28

Insidious (FilmDis)      [$ 7  ]    $10.0   $ 3.2     $ 54 ++
Source Code (Sum)        [$ 9  ]    $ 9.3   $ 2.7     $ 57
Limitless (Rel)          [$ 6  ]    $ 5.7   $ 1.6     $ 82
Diary Wimpy Kid 2 (Fox)  [$ 5.5]    $ 5.1   $ 1.3     $ 56
Lincoln Lawyer (LG)      [$ 4.5]    $ 4.5   $ 1.2     $ 60

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. 

The final new entry in the demolition derby that was this weekend is Soul Surfer.  A tick better than forecast, the $11 million weekend number is pretty soft.  Playing in the fewest theaters (2,214), it can claim the highest per theater average for this weekend’s openers.  But $5,100 is nothing to get excited about.  It’s best we all just put this weekend behind us and be encouraged that Hop (or any movie) managed to do over $20 million from Friday-Sunday. 

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $109 million total.  About the same as “an average” comparable weekend the last four years, but remember the average is composed of two very low weekends in 2007 and 2008 ($99 and $81 million, respectively) and two relatively strong weekends in 2009 and 2010 ($126 and $119 million, respectively).  Versus this weekend last year, this weekend is down 9%.  The way things have been going this winter and spring, a 9% decline is looking pretty damn good. 

Top 12 Films: Second Weekend in April

2011  $109  (+3% vs 2007-10 average; -9% vs 2010) 

Avg   $106  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $119  Date Night $25
2009  $126  Hannah Montana $32, Observe & Report $11, Dragonball

             Evolution $5
2008  $ 81  Prom Night $21, Street Kings $12, Smart People $4
2007  $ 99  Disturbia $22, Perfect Stranger $11, Pathfinder $5

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."