April 18, 2011

WEEKEND ACTUALS: The Past Week Comes in Higher than Last Year

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Studios exaggerate the gross of Rio and Scre4m (shocking!).  Specialty films The Conspirator and Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 open to average results. The past week is up versus 2010 — the slump is not over but progress was made. 

Compared to the Sunday Studio Estimates (which combine actual numbers for Friday and Saturday with a studio-supplied estimate for Sunday numbers), the actual full weekend numbers were generally lower.  The top three films, for example, were collectively $1.9 million lower than the Studio Estimates (meaning the studios generously forecast what the films would do on Sunday).  Fox had the most to gain by “rounding up” on Sunday, when they claimed Rio would hit the magic $40 million threshold, a number that was widely reported throughout Sunday and again on the morning network news shows Monday morning.  The actual number for Rio, $39.2 million, is impressive but doesn’t quite have the ring to it that $40 million does.  Luckily for Fox, most movie fans will carry the higher number in their head.
The official weekend rankings follow in the table below.

      Weekend of         Thursday     Sunday      Monday
      April 15-17, 2011  Showbuzz     Studio      Weekend
      (millions)         Forecast    Estimate     Actual
   Rio (Fox)          [$46.5]      $40.0       $39.2
   Scre4m (Weins)     [$34  ]      $19.3       $18.7
(Uni)          [$11  ]      $11.2       $10.7
   Soul Surfer (Tri)  [$ 5.5]      $ 7.4       $ 7.3
(Foc)        [$ 6.5]      $ 7.3       $ 7.3
   Arthur (WB)        [$ 6  ]      $ 6.9       $ 6.8
   Insidious (FilmD)  [$ 5.5]      $ 6.8       $ 6.7
   Source Code (Sum)  [$ 5  ]      $ 6.3       $ 6.2

   Your Highness(Uni) [$ 4.5]      $ 3.9       $ 4.0
   Limitless (Rel)    [ n/a ]      $ 3.8       $ 3.7

   The Conspirator    [$ 2  ]      $ 3.9       $ 3.5

   Top 10 Total       $126.5       $113.0      $110.4

Note: The table above displays the ShowbuzzDaily Forecast for each film this past weekend (published Thursday), followed by the weekend Studio Estimate (released Sunday), and the Weekend Actual number (issued today).  For definitions of all terms visit Showbuzz Basics. 

Updated Estimates of Final Grosses
The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Grosses (the estimated North American gross when the film ends its run) are now: Rio ($141 million, 88th percentile of all wide release movies); Scre4m ($51 million, 58th percentile); The Conspirator ($13 million, 14th percentile).  As for the holdovers: Hop ($108 million, 82nd percentile), Source Code ($54 million, 61st percentile); Insidious ($53 million, 60th percentile); Hanna ($44 million, 54th percentile); Soul Surfer ($38 million, 48th percentile); Arthur ($35 million, 45th percentile); Your Highness ($22 million, 27th percentile).
Limited Release Openings


In limited release, Atlas Shrugged: Part I averaged $5,640 at 299 theaters, an okay but not great number for a movie playing in fewer than 500 theaters.  (In comparison, The Conspirator opened at 707 theaters with $4,963 per theater — almost exactly the average for all movies in 500+ theaters.)  Other very limited release films opening this weekend show the range that we often see with films in 1-499 theaters:  Double Hour opened with a very good $15,123 average at 2 theaters, The Princess of Montpensier opened with a decent $7,819 average at 3 theaters, and The Imperialists Are Still Alive! opened with a very poor $2,832 at 1 theater.    In 299 theaters, Atlas Shrugged neither fits our wide-release norms (500+ theaters) or our limited release norms (under 500 theaters but usually closer to the low end of the 1-499 range).  Atlas cannot be characterized a failure, nor can it be called a success.  The final judgment on this grass-roots effort will come in the next few weeks when we see if it has legs. 

 The Past Week
Shifting our view from the weekend top 12 films to the more comprehensive look at the past seven days, all films in wide release playing between April 11 and April 17 grossed $148 million, up 18% from the 2007-10 average for the comparable week and up 5% from the same week in 2010.  Year to date, all films are now down 7% from the comparable four-year average and now down 20% from 2010’s box office numbers (both year-to-date comparison percentages improved one point from last week).   It’s not time to call the slump over, but at least there is some positive news.
All Films April 11-17

(millions)           4yr              vs      vs

             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #15     $141    $126    $148   
+ 5%    +18%

Year to Date $3201   $2750   $2561   -20%    – 7%

The Calender: The Next Four Weeks

                              2011                                                2010
            April 22                                               April 23
            Madea’s Big Happy Family          The Back-Up Plan
            Water for Elephants                       The Losers
            African Cats                                     Just Wright

            April 29                                               April 30
            Fast Five                                           A Nightmare on Elm St.
            Hoodwinked Too!                          Furry Vengeance
            Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

            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
Check back tomorrow for updated international numbers for current movies in release.  Rio‘s international numbers will be stunning. 

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.