May 2, 2011

FULL WEEK BOX OFFICE ACTUALS: Improvement in Year-to-Date Picture Continues

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>The past week is up an amazing 57% from last year, and the year-to-date tally is now down 15% from last year (improving from down 17% last week).  This is very positive news for the industry, and especially Universal with its successful launch of Fast Five.

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume
All films in wide release playing between April 25 and May 1 grossed $191 million, up an incredible 57% from the same week in 2010.  Year to date, all films are now down 3% from the comparable four-year average and now down 15% from 2010’s box office numbers (both year-to-date comparison percentages improved from last week).  The positive momentum continues.
All Films April 25-May 1
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #17     $121    $171    $191   
+57%    +12%

Year to Date $3437   $3035   $2930   -15%    – 3%

Updated Estimates of Final Grosses
The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Grosses (the estimated North American gross when the film ends its run) are now: Fast Five ($188 million, 93rd percentile of all wide release movies the past two years), Rio ($150 million, 90th percentile of all wide release movies), and Hop ($113 million, 83rd percentile).  The other new releases this weekend look like:  Prom ($12 million, 12th percentile) and Hoodwinked Too! ($6 million, 4th percentile), an absolute disaster for Weinstein.  

The complete list of Total Domestic estimates can be found below.

Weekend Actuals vs Yesterday’s Studio Projections

Universal actually underestimated the Sunday performance of Fast Five (a rare event for a studio) — the actual weekend performance came in almost $3 million higher.  This is a very good sign for the film, as word of mouth seems to be building even more than its own studio was estimating. 

The official weekend rankings follow in the table below.

      Weekend of                   Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      April 29-May 1, 2011         Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                  Estimate   Actual    Total
  Fast Five            (Uni)     $83.6     $86.2     $188
                 (Fox)     $14.4     $14.8     $150

  Madea’s Big Happy Fam.
(LG)     $10.1     $ 9.9     $ 61
  Water for Elephants 
(Fox)     $ 9.1     $ 9.3     $ 57
  Prom                 (Dis)     $ 5.0     $ 4.7     $ 12
  Hoodwinked Too!
    (Weins)     $ 4.1     $ 4.1     $  6

  Hop                  (Uni)     $ 2.6     $ 2.7     $113
  African Cats        
(Dis)     $ 2.3     $ 2.4     $ 19

Note: The table above displays the weekend Studio Estimate (released Sunday), the Weekend Actual number (issued today), and the updated ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total estimate.  For definitions of all terms visit Showbuzz Basics. 

Limited Release Openings

In limited release, Cave of Forgotten Dreams opened at five theaters with a very good $25,400 per location, while 13 Assassins  opened at three theaters with $15,285 per theater. The other limited release openers had quiet debuts.  Sympathy for Delicious had an average opening ($4,724) at two theaters.  Lebanon, PA opened at two theaters with a soft $3,338 average per theater, while Exporting Raymond opened at 13 theaters with a similar $2,769 per theater average. 

The Calender: The Next Four Weeks

                              2011                                                2010
            May 6                                                  May 7
            Thor                                                   Iron Man 2
            Something Borrowed                       Babies
            Jumping the Broom
            May 13                                                May 14
            Bridesmaids                                       Robin Hood
            Priest                                                 Letters to Juliet
                                                                       Just Wright

            May 20                                               May 21
            Pirates of the Caribbean:                 Shrek Forever After
               On Stranger Tides                          MacGruber

            May 27                                               May 28
            Kung Fu Panda 2                              Sex and the City 2

            The Hangover Part II                         Prince of Persia

The chart below shows how the May 2010 releases fared worldwide.  At the high end, May films can deliver $800 million to $1 billion in worldwide gross.  The second tier grosses around $300-400 million, and the bottom tier (almost half the releases) take in $100 million or less. 

Check back tomorrow for updated international numbers for current movies in release, including a new graphic display of the domestic, international and home video revenues.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.