April 3, 2011

WEEKEND STUDIO ESTIMATES APR 1-3: Hop Shines But Weekend Sags

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Based on actual box office numbers Friday and Saturday (and studio projections for Sunday), Hop is now looking like a $38 million weekend, far exceeding the ShowbuzzDaily forecast.  Source Code now exactly matches the forecast, while ultra-low-cost Insidious will beat its forecast by $3 million.  Last July, Despicable Me grossed $251 million domestically, $289 million overseas and $126 million on DVD (for a devilishly good $666 million total).  If Hop has a similar after-market profile, the bunny movie is looking at turning the $129 million Showbuzz Domestic Ultimate into a $350 worldwide and home video take.  Now that’s real money.  A movie like Source Code, with a very average $46 million estimated domestic take, looks like a $100 million total if we factor in an estimated $40 million overseas and $15 million DVD.  On Tuesday look for an update of international figures for all movies in release because just keeping an eye on domestic box office does not tell the whole story. 

April 1-3, 2011                            vs    Showbuzz
                       Showbuzz   Studio  Last   Domestic
                       Forecast   Prjectn Wknd   Ultimate
Hop (Uni)                $24.5     $38.2           $129
Source Code (Sum)        $15       $15.1           $46
Insidious (FilmDis)      $10.5     $13.5           $33

Diary Wimpy Kid 2 (Fox)  $11.5     $10.2  -57%     $59
Limitless (Rel)          $10       $ 9.4  -38%     $84
Lincoln Lawyer (LG)      $ 8       $ 7.1  -34%     $62
Sucker Punch (WB)        $ 7.5     $ 6.1  -68%     $38

Rango (Par)              n/a       $ 4.6  -53%     $129
Paul (Uni)               n/a       $ 4.3  -45%     $45
Battle: LA (Sony)        n/a       $ 3.5  -54%     $85
Adjustment Bureau (Uni)  n/a       $ 2.2  -49%     $66
Red Riding Hood (WB)     n/a       $ 1.8  -58%     $38

Opening in very limited release, In a Better World turns in a so-so $8,845 weekend average at four theaters.  Similarly, Queen to Play averaged a soft $5,445 at six locations.  [CORRECTION: These averages have been corrected from an earlier version of the post.]  At the extreme end of the indie spectrum, Trust averaged a paltry $2,144 at 28 theaters.   

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like they will total $116 million — down 9% from the four-year average for this comparable weekend and down fully 31% from a stellar weekend last year (juiced up by Clash of the Titans and Tyler Perry).  This weekend was looking a little stronger yesterday, but the films at the lower end of the Top 12 did not have strong Saturdays, bringing down the entire slate despite some strength at the top. 
Top 12 Films: First Weekend in April

2011  $116  (-9% vs 2007-10 average; -31% vs 2010) 

Avg   $127  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $169  Clash Titans $61, Why Married Too $29, Last Song $16
2009  $149  Fast & Furious $71, Adventureland $6 
2008  $ 80  Nim’s Island $13, Leatherheads $13, The Ruins $8
2007  $110  Are We Done Yet? $14, Grindhouse $12, The Reaping $10

Looking ahead to next weekend, four new movies open, including a rare same-genre showdown featuring two comedies: 

  Arthur (Warner Bros) — Remake starring acquired taste Russell Brand.  Can he open a film?
  Your Highness (Universal) — Can James Franco bounce back from Oscars in this comedy?
  Soul Surfer (TriStar) — AnnaSophia Robb plays armless surfer Bethany Hamilton.
  Hanna (Focus) — Spy Cate Blanchett tracks a teenager raised to be an assassin.

The movies above will be compared against a relatively soft weekend historically.  The second weekend in April has averaged $106 million the last four years and was $119 million last year when Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey (the sole opener) bowed with $25 million.  Maybe we will see some plus-signs in the year-to-year comparisons?

Reminder: on Tuesday we will update the international numbers for current films and take a look at the home video market. 

–Mitch Metcalf

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."