May 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm #34213
Weekend Report: ‘Pirates’ Rides Smaller ‘Tides’
by Brandon Gray
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
May 23, 2011
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides swooped in with the top-grossing weekend of the year so far. The supernatural swashbuckler claimed $90.2 million at 4,155 locations, edging out Fast Five‘s $86.2 million launch. That was also the 12th highest-grossing May opening ever, but, since close to half of On Stranger Tides‘ gross was from 3D presentations at a record 2,747 locations (and due to today’s general ticket prices), its estimated attendance level would rank 27th.
Relative to its predecessors, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sank: At World’s End drew $114.7 million on its first weekend in May 2007 (not including $13.2 million in Thursday night previews), while Dead Man’s Chest raked in a then-record $135.6 million opening weekend back in July 2006. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, those grosses would be the equivalent of $131 million and $163 million, respectively. Since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was the franchise establisher, its early grosses were in a lower league, though still bustling ($70.6 million in its five-day launch, or $92 million adjusted). On Stranger Tides‘s start was also less than that of the last Johnny Depp spectacle Alice in Wonderland (2010), which began with $116.1 million.
On the plus side, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ opening held better relative to its predecessor than Shrek Forever After‘s did on the same weekend last year. On Stranger Tides was always destined to debut lower than At World’s End and Dead Man’s Chest, given the mixed reaction to those movies and how the audience lost interest with At World’s End. Sealing the deal was On Stranger Tides‘ lower key approach: it came off as just another Pirates movie in its marketing and lacked stand-out visual and character moments. Distributor Walt Disney Pictures’ exit polling indicated that 54 percent of On Stranger Tides‘ audience was male and 54 percent was over 25 years old (the age 26-34 group was most represented at 24 percent, followed by 18-25 with 22 percent).
While Pirates was somewhat water-logged, Bridesmaids held its ground. The comedy grabbed $20.9 million, and its 20 percent drop was smaller than any recent comparable comedy at the same point, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover. With a $59.3 million tally in ten days, Bridesmaids has already surpassed the entire run of Bride Wars and has grossed nearly as much as Baby Mama‘s final haul, and, in terms of estimated attendance, it’s on par with 40-Year-Old Virgin through the same point.
Thor took a typical third weekend hit, dropping 55 percent to $15.5 million. Its sum grew to a solid $145.4 million in 17 days. Fast Five was in a similar boat, down 48 percent to $10.6 million and rocking a $186.2 million tally in 24 days.
What little faith was left in Priest evaporated. The action horror movie bled 68 percent to $4.75 million for an anemic $23.8 million total in ten days. Its fall was steeper than Daybreakers‘ and most comparable titles. It barely made more than Rio in its sixth weekend ($4.69 million for a $131.7 million tally in 38 days).
Meanwhile, opening at just six locations, Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris took in $599,003, boasting the top per-location average of the year so far. That more than tripled the debut of Allen’s last movie, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (also at six locations), and marked his most impressive limited launch in decades.May 26, 2011 at 5:56 am #34215
“Hangover” and “Panda” sequels look to big holiday box office
- Men still behaving badly in “Hangover Part II”
Tue, May 24 2011
- Second “Kung Fu Panda” installment worthy successor
Mon, May 23 2011
- “Pirates” sails with overseas box office record
Sun, May 22 2011
- “Pirates” domestic start softer than overseas
Fri, May 20 2011
- AmfAR gala raises $10 million, Cannes parties wind down
Fri, May 20 2011
By Pamela McClintock
Wed May 25, 2011 10:13pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Will Warner Bros.’ R-rated Memorial Day weekend comedy “The Hangover Part II” be the elixir that brings younger moviegoers back to the multiplex?
For months, teenagers and adults under age 25 have been noticeably absent from the domestic box office, contributing to one of the worst slumps in years. But they’re expected to return in droves for Todd Phillips’ raunchy sequel, although teens under age 17 will be restricted because of the R rating.
“There is enormous pent-up demand to see this film, and the 18-to-35 demo is going to come charging through the door,” Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said. “Thursday and Friday will be extremely strong.”
Or, as another executive quipped: “If they don’t come, God save the movie business.”
“Hangover,” opening in midnight runs at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, should be the first film of 2011 to hit $100 million in its (five-day) debut, a lofty accomplishment considering that no R-rated film has opened that high.
Set in Thailand, “Hangover II” returns Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and Justin Bartha in the lead roles.
Following its midnight play, “Hangover” moves into a total of 3,615 theaters on Thursday morning, the largest release ever for an R-rated title.
Rival studios say “Hangover” could gross as much as $110 million to $125 million over the five days, but Warners, trying to manage expectations, cautions that those numbers may too aggressive considering that the first “Hangover” opened to $45 million in June 2009 (the picture went on to become the most successful R-rated comedy of all time, grossing $467.5 million worldwide).
“Hangover” also is making a major push overseas, opening day and date in 40 territories around the globe.
Domestically, the sequel is expected to do big business in roughly 2,600 midnight runs and could rival the $6 million earned by “Paranormal Activity 2,” although theater traffic isn’t as strong midweek (“Paranormal” opened on a Friday).
Box office observers don’t expect the R rating to take a big bite out of “Hangover”‘s business, saying there are plenty of parents who are liberal enough to take their kids to see the comedy.
“Hangover” isn’t the only franchise title looking to capitalize on the Memorial Day weekend. Also bowing Thursday is 3D event toon “Kung Fu Panda 2” from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount.
“Panda 2,” opening in 3,925 theaters, is expected to do sizable business in its five-day debut, grossing in the $65 million to $70 million range. It’s the first toon to open since Fox’s “Rio,” so it’s poised to be a strong lure for families (in terms of general audience moviegoers, “Panda” expects to lose out to “Hangover,” at least this weekend).
“Kung Fu Panda” also opens in 10 territories overseas. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu return to lead the voice cast.
The first “Kung Fu Panda” debuted to $60.2 million in early June 2008 at the domestic box office on its way to racking up $215.4 million. Overseas, “Kung Fu Panda” grossed $416.3 million for a worldwide total of $631.7 million.
“Panda 2” opens just as many kids in the U.S. start their summer break. On Thursday, about 10 percent of elementary and high school students will be out of school, followed by roughly 20% on Friday. By the end of next week, nearly half of all kids will be on break, meaning big weekday business for family films in particular.
Combined, “Hangover II” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” should prove a fortuitous start to the June and July box office, a corridor packed with big studio pics.
Memorial Day box office revenue should be up considerably from last year, when “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “Sex and the City 2” disappointed, grossing $37.8 million and $36.8 million, respectively, for the Friday-to-Monday stretch (“Sex and the City” opened on a Thursday and grossed $51 million for the five days).
On the specialty side, Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner “The Tree of Life,” from Fox Searchlight, opens in New York and Los Angeles. Sony Pictures Classics expands Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” into a total of 58 theaters in top markets after opening the film in New York and Los Angeles last weekend.
Editing by Chris Michaud)May 27, 2011 at 4:02 am #34216
Forecast: ‘Hangover,’ ‘Panda’ to Have Memorable Memorial Weekend
by Brandon Gray
The Hangover Part II
May 26, 2011
Looks like lots of people didn’t mind showing up to work hungover. The Hangover Part II delivered the biggest midnight launch of the year. The ribald comedy raked in an estimated $10.4 million at 2,600 locations, handily topping Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ $4.7 million midnight start. It also achieved the record for largest midnight debut ever for an R-rated movie, surpassing Paranormal Activity 2‘s $6.3 million. Two years ago, the first Hangover grossed $1 million in its midnight start at 760 locations.
Between The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2, this Memorial Day weekend should be a real scorcher, particularly compared to last year’s Sex and the City 2/Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time debacle. With Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides also in the mix, this could very well be the highest-grossing Memorial weekend ever, topping 2007’s $256 million haul (led by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End).
The Hangover Part II hits 3,615 locations, while Kung Fu Panda 2 lands 3,925 locations (including 3D presentations at 2,707 locations). Hangover II improves upon its predecessor’s 3,269 count, while Panda 2 retreats from the last movie’s 4,114 count. Both Hangover II and Panda 2 are sequels to movies that opened the first weekend of June, in 2009 and 2008 respectively, and both moved a week forward.
The first Hangover grossed a genre-busting $277.3 million, but comedy sequels rarely live up to their predecessors, particularly when they repeat the same premise in an artificial way. Sure, some comedy sequels have swelled (Austin Powers 2, American Pie 2), but their predecessors didn’t reach the saturation level of the first Hangover. On the surface, Part II looks like it went the Sex and the City 2 route, and it’s offering the same set-up but different location (Bangkok instead of the more relatable Las Vegas). In the trailer, the characters literally say “It happened again?”
The first Hangover, though, was driven by its mystery storyline, and the sequel continues this angle, which may make Hangover a different beast than other comedy franchises. The Hangover Part II‘s marketing campaign has been strutting with a confident air and with good cause: people just want to go on another debauched adventure with the Wolf Pack, even if it’s redundant or contrived. That’s because the first movie brings an enormous amount of audience good will, though Due Date may have squandered some of that capital with its Hangover 2-like marketing.
Like The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2 is banking on audience good will from its predecessor. DreamWorks Animation went all out with the first Kung Fu Panda, creating a crowd-pleasing family movie that grossed a potent $215.4 million. Though DreamWorks stumbled a bit with Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Panda 2 has been positioned to follow in the footsteps of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Toy Story 2 and, of course, Shrek 2. Given Panda‘s action-adventure orientation, a sequel’s a natural or at least easily justifiable progression.
While Kung Fu Panda 2 should be strutting like The Hangover Part II, its advertising has been a major concern. For a property with such blockbuster potential, Panda 2‘s marketing has been meek, especially early on. It effectively took a “we’re back!” angle as opposed to upping the ante. (Last May, Iron Man 2 suffered from this as well and ended up grossing less than its predecessor, when it should have soared, though the movie itself was problematic.) Worse still, two different messages were sent regarding the plot: the trailer introduced a new villain threatening kung fu, while television ads were about the titular panda searching out his birth origin. DreamWorks Animation, though, usually takes a ubiquitous shotgun approach to its marketing, and they’ve focused and made Panda 2 more exciting as the release date approached.
In Box Office Mojo‘s “when will you see it” reader polling, The Hangover Part II has racked up the highest opening weekend score for a comedy at over 41 percent. The first Hangover nabbed 24 percent at the same point. Kung Fu Panda 2 improved upon its predecessor as well, logging just under 32 percent for “opening weekend” compared to the first Panda‘s 23 percent. Panda 2‘s no animation high, but its result is bigger than Shrek Forever After, Tangled and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (which ranged from 21 to 24 percent) among other titles. Based on these and other pre-weekend indicators and historical antecedents, here’s how the weekend might play out:
The Forecast, May 27-30 (4-day Memorial Weekend)
1. The Hangover Part II – $88 million ($122 million 5-day)
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $85 million ( $100 million 5-day)
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $47 million
4. Bridesmaids – $17 million
5. Thor – $10 million
Bar for Success
The pressure’s on for Kung Fu Panda 2. It needs around $90 million in its five-day launch to ensure it out-grosses its predecessor, because that’s the new norm for animated sequels in its position, especially with the supposed 3D boost. The Hangover Part II can take it easier, because it’s normal for comedy sequels to make less than their predecessors. Still, it needs to demonstrate solid retention, and, to do that, it needs $100 million in five days.May 29, 2011 at 4:16 am #34217
The business behind the show
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Box Office: ‘Hangover 2’ has huge first day, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ doesn’t put up a fight yetA massive opening weekend with well over $100 million in ticket sales is now assured for “The Hangover Part II,” while “Kung Fu Panda 2” has yet to show its chops.
“Hangover Part II,” an even raunchier follow-up to 2009’s surprise comedy hit, took in $31.7 million on its first day in theaters in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, including $10.4 million from late night screenings just after midnight.
That’s the biggest ever opening day for a live-action comedy and the second biggest opening Thursday of all time, not accounting for ticket price inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.
The fantastic start presages strong ticket sales over Memorial Day weekend that could take the Todd Phillips-directed picture to around $125 million by the Monday holiday, according to two studio executives who analyzed the early receipts but requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
In 2008, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” debuted on the Thursday before Memorial Day to $25 million and went on to gross $152 million by Monday. The previous year, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” took in $13.2 million on its opening Thursday and got up to $153 million by Memorial Day.
Of course, the performance of “Hangover Part II” will rest largely on word-of-mouth going forward. In good news for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, which financed the $80 million production together, people who saw the “Hangover” sequel on opening day gave it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
“Kung Fu Panda 2” got an even better CinemaScore of A. But that was the only good news on Thursday for the film, as it opened to a modest $5.8 million. Financier DreamWorks Animation and distributor Paramount Pictures are expecting the animated comedy starring Jack Black to do much better over the weekend when children are out of school.
— Ben FritzMay 27, 2011 | 9:20 amMay 30, 2011 at 8:56 am #34218+ indieWIRE
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From The Playlist:
Weekend Box Office: Despite All Warnings, Everybody Sees ‘The Hangover Part II’
In the future, sequels to all our popular films will not require writers, directors, or even new talent. Sure, they might re-hire some of the people responsible for the first film, but by and large, the leading users of Xerox technology will be Hollywood executives. At least, that’s if the mammoth opening for “The Hangover Part II” is any indication, as the film took advantage of the holiday weekend to score an expected $137 million over this five day period. Critics seemed to do everything short of design spreadsheets to illustrate just how Todd Phillips and company were replicating the exact story of the first film (arguably, the marketing campaign did the same), but audiences, who loved the earlier installment enough to make it a massive word-of-mouth hit, were apparently happy enough to indulge the funnymen (not women, though—sorry, ladies!) behind the picture one more time.
Cinemascore reveals that the crowds for this film graded the picture as an “A-” so clearly there are some indiscriminate viewers out there. Regardless, everyone comes out of this a winner, as the picture wasn’t costly and could even outgross the first film. The massive $10 million plus Wednesday midnight numbers (you guys really had to rush out and see this?) suggests that the film will be massively frontloaded, and it could collapse next weekend. But the ideal Hollywood blockbuster makes its bread in its first few days, with future earnings representing a victory lap, so everything beyond this opening is gravy. On the bright side, this series in in a perfect position to take the next sequel into space.
Todd Phillips has been here before, though not to this extent. The prickly comedic director, who has carved out a solid niche on the directing A-List, followed up “Road Trip” and “Old School” with the almost spitefully low-fi “Starsky And Hutch.” With a certain amount of talent in working with onscreen comedians and a skill with pacing his peers do not possess, Phillips failed upwards with that television adaptation, and he wasted industry goodwill with his next offering, “School For Scoundrels.” With the runaway success of “The Hangover,” his decision, along with Warner Bros. marketing, to make the same film again seems like more of a middle finger to the audience, more of a sign of clear contempt. As performance art, it’s admirable. As a box office hit, it’s pretty telling considering who goes to see these movies. Curious to see where Phillips goes from here.
On the other end of the spectrum was another sequel, “Kung Fu Panda 2.” While DreamWorks was crowing about multiple sequels for the $631 million grossing original, this much less impressive bow suggests Saturday morning cartoons might be the place for this character. Some are built-in brands, and some are just random corporate mascots, and while ‘Panda’ has the critic love that escaped the same company‘s “Shrek” films (only in retrospect—at the time, some smart people were weirdly in the tank for the green ogre), it looks more like the latter. Even with the 3D prices, ‘Panda’ looks like it will need the full five day weekend only to top the first picture’s three-day bow. Disappointing news for the sequel, which is sort of a big deal by virtue of having an Asian-American female director. Pixar, for the record, has yet to release a film with a female helmer.
Falling out of first was the new “Pirates Of The Caribbean,” which opened softer than the previous two films and should have a proportionally-similar second weekend. The holiday and 3D prices offer a slight buffer, but it’s clear that the film is registering on a lower level compared to the other in the series. That is, domestically, of course—the difference has been accounted for by overseas markets, who are supporting the picture with numbers either equaled to or exceeding the last film. ‘Pirates 4’ has already vaulted over $500 million worldwide with ease. To our international brothers and sisters, America asks: why?
Performing like a powerhouse in weekend number three was “Bridesmaids,” which avoided a sizable hit from the ‘Hangover’ crowds, 51% of which were (self-loathing?) women. The film looks like an early candidate for one of the season’s most profitable films, and should cross $100 million by next week. In retrospect, the film’s opening wasn’t blockbuster-sized, but a supernatural second weekend hold and a third frame landing on a holiday has done wonders for the film, giving Universal the two biggest success stories of the summer in the Paul Feig comedy and “Fast Five.”
“Thor” has actually held quite respectably for an effects blockbuster, especially considering Paramount’s dangerous gamble. The franchise-starter received the biggest 3D opening in history, but with “Priest,” ‘Pirates’ and ‘Panda’ arriving shortly after, those 3D engagements were some of the first theaters that Paramount was forced to drop. $180 million domestic is the next target, with more to come depending on how much of that demographic remains after “X-Men” arrives next weekend. The blockbuster glut likely means that “Fast Five” crosses $200 million domestic by next weekend and folds up shop shortly afterwards.
Showing some significant might, “Midnight In Paris” thundered into the top ten despite a limited release. Though there isn’t much going on after that top six, ‘Paris’ still averaged $33k per-screen at only 58 locations. That’s very impressive, even in a weak specialty market, and it bodes well for future expansion. The picture leapfrogged “Jumping The Broom” and “Something Borrowed” (each again essentially deadlocked) while “Rio” took a “Kung Fu Panda” karate chop to its 3D screens on its way out of the top ten.
Aside from “Midnight In Paris,” business was strong for another art house theater release. “Tree Of Life” debuted to stellar numbers at four locations, averaging a titanic $88k per-screen, for a $352k total. The film will expand slowly, with a nationwide release planned for July, but if you are in New York or Los Angeles, what other menial entertainments are you bothering to sponsor with your cash? What are you, a philistine? Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. Excusing Bad Behavior Part II (Warner Bros.) – $86.5 million ($118 mil.)
2. Kung-Fu Panda 2 (Paramount/Dreamworks) – $48 million ($54 mil.)
3. Johnny Depp’s New Yacht (Disney) – $39.3 million ($153 mil.)
4. Bridesmaids (Universal) – $16.4 million ($85 mil.)
5. Thor (Paramount) – $9.4 million ($160 mil.)
6. Fastest, Fivest, My Head Is Like A Shark’s Fin (Universal) – $6.6 million ($196 mil.)
7. Midnight In Paris (Sony) – $1.9 million ($2.8 mil.)
8. The Wedding Movie For Black People (Sony) – $1.9 million ($34 mil.)
9. The Wedding Movie For White People (Warner Bros.) – $1.8 million ($35 mil.)
10. Rio (Fox) – $1.8 million ($135 mil.)May 31, 2011 at 5:09 am #34219
Haha, I love their joke names for the films:
“Excusing Bad Behavior”
“The Wedding Movie for Black People”
“The Wedding Movie for White People”
It is a shame that so many sequels are coming out with less and less effort behind them, and yet they are still guaranteed $$$. That’s why I love films like “Bridesmaids.” It’s not a sequel, or based on a comic book, or something written by Nicholas Sparks. It’s pure and it’s apparently hilarious.May 31, 2011 at 6:02 am #34220May 30 2011 03:38 PM ET
Box office report: ‘The Hangover Part II’ rules record Memorial Day weekend with $105.8 milby John Young
The box office cooked up a feast with an overall four-day gross of nearly $280 million — the largest Memorial Day weekend on record. Furthermore, the box office’s Friday-to-Sunday tally of $221 million was the strongest three-day weekend result since Christmas Weekend in 2009.
Commanding the grill was The Hangover Part II, which collected an estimated $105.8 million over the four-day frame. That’s the fourth-best Memorial Day weekend debut, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and X-Men: The Last Stand. The R-rated comedy sequel, which opened on Thursday, earned $137.4 million its first five days — the second-biggest start for an R-rated movie (falling just short of The Matrix Reloaded) and the best start ever for a live-action comedy. The $80 million movie, produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, attracted an audience that was 54 percent under the age of 25. That’s a relief to Hollywood, which has so far struggled this year with younger moviegoers. And those who saw The Hangover Part II liked it, as the film received an “A-” rating from CinemaScore graders.
Adding charcoal to the flame was DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2, which took in $62.2 million over the holiday weekend. Its Friday-to-Sunday gross of $47.8 million was the year’s top opening for an animated film, beating the trio of Rio, Rango, and Hop. However, the PG-rated Panda 2 is a mild disappointment when compared to its 2008 predecessor, which grossed a stronger $66.6 million its first four days — and without the higher prices that come with 3-D showings. Panda 2‘s three-dimensional screenings accounted for only 45 percent of its revenue, tying Despicable Me for the lowest 3-D percentage for a major release since the beginning of 2009. But the $150 million martial-arts comedy should hold up well the next few weeks, as CinemaScore audiences handed it a superb “A” grade.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides dropped 44 percent for $50.4 million. (Its three-day weekend decline was a more representative 56 percent) With $164 million in the bag so far, the PG-13 sequel is destined to become the franchise’s lowest-grossing title domestically. But foreign moviegoers are eating it up, as On Stranger Tides has already accumulated $485.1 million overseas. In fourth place, Bridesmaids virtually duplicated its gross from last weekend with $21 million. After three weeks, the R-rated comedy has earned $89.6 million. And Thor hammered out $12 million, bringing its cumulative total to $162.4 million.
In limited release, Terrence Malick’s mesmerizing drama The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, grossed $489,000 from four locations, for a splendid per-theater average of $122,250. And Woody Allen’s nostalgic comedy Midnight in Paris expanded to 58 theaters and brought in $2.6 million. Check back next week as X-Men: First Class throws its mutant hat into the ring.
1. The Hangover Part II — $105.8 mil
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 — $62.2 mil
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — $50.4 mil
4. Bridesmaids — $21.0 mil
5. Thor — $12.0 milJune 4, 2011 at 8:18 am #34222
Forecast: ‘X-Men: First Class’ to Pass Muster
by Brandon Gray
X-Men: First Class
June 2, 2011
6/3 Update: In its midnight launch, X-Men: First Class pulled in $3.37 million at 1,783 locations. That edged out Thor‘s $3.25 million midnight opening at 1,800 locations, but it trailed X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s $5 million midnight start at 2,000 locations. So far this year, The Hangover Part II is the top midnight draw at $10.4 million, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ $4.7 million and Fast Five‘s $3.8 million.
6/2 Forecast: After a scorching Memorial Day session, this weekend sees just one new nationwide release, but it’s a mighty one by first-weekend-of-June standards. X-Men: First Class enrolls at 3,641 locations, which is fewer than X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s 4,099, X2: X-Men United‘s 3,741 and X-Men: The Last Stand‘s 3,690 but greater than the first X-Men‘s 3,025.
In its marketing, X-Men: First Class has straddled a murky line between prequel and reinvention. On the one hand, there’s a see-how-it-all-started angle, replete with actual clips of Professor X and Magneto from the previous movies, and it’s only been two years since the last movie, which was a prequel itself. On the other, there’s a new direction, new cast and no Wolverine. It seems like a reboot should only occur when a franchise cycle runs its course and quite a few years have passed, but such a move is not unprecedented (James Bond rebooted with Casino Royale even though there was no lull under the previous regime). Despite hopes of starting over after Wolverine‘s dip from Last Stand, First Class is most likely to be seen as a prequel by the public. A reboot needs to be cleaner than this (like Batman Begins or Star Trek) and should start a new story continuity, otherwise it’s weighted down by franchise baggage.
As it stands, First Class will rely on the legion of X-Men fans to power its grosses. Prequels may be obsessively consumed in the comic book world, but they often amount to fanboy fantasias as far as the mainstream is concerned. If these back stories were so essential, then that’s where the franchises should have started. The story needs to progress, not regress. First Class seems to mine territory that was covered in the previous movies, namely the back stories and conflicting views of Professor X and Magneto. To its credit, First Class is not as redundant as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was one of the most redundant movies of all time given how thoroughly Wolverine’s origin was covered in the previous movies. But due to the ill-advised decision to make the third X-Men movie the final one, despite the franchise’s rising popularity at the time, the franchise was sort of forced into prequel-mode in order to continue.
Though Wolverine was a franchise low in attendance, it still opened to $85.1 million and closed with $179.9 million. The movie’s patronage consisted of many detractors that could hurt First Class, as did X-Men: The Last Stand. Last Stand had a franchise high opening of $102.8 million (around $123 million adjusted for ticket price inflation) and total gross of $234.4 million (over $280 million adjusted). Laying the foundation were the first two movies: X2: X-Men United launched with $85.6 million (nearly $112 million adjusted) in 2003 and ended up with $214.9 million (over $280 million adjusted), while the first X-Men debuted to $54.5 million (over $79 million adjusted) in 2000 and wound up with a $157.3 million total (nearly $230 million adjusted).
Without Wolverine, First Class is in unchartered territory for the franchise. Extreme comic book fans might bristle at the notion, but Wolverine is the star of the show to the mainstream. His character represents coolness and groundedness amidst all the crazy mutant shenanigans. He’s the entry point, and he’s the franchise’s closest thing to a traditional action hero. Without Wolverine, First Class lacks a central figure, and, while many may prefer an ensemble approach, that can be distancing. First Class‘s marketing has tried to elevate Professor X and Magneto, but it’s a question mark as to whether these cerebral characters can compensate.
The X-Men universe still carries intrigue, even without Wolverine, and First Class is likely to be popular in its own right, even if it doesn’t maintain the audience levels of its predecessors. It’s possible, though, that removing Wolverine sheds baggage and opens the franchise to new viewers.
Box Office Mojo‘s “when will you see it” reader polling is most encouraging for First Class‘s cause. With 57.7 percent voting to see it opening weekend (as of this writing), First Class was a shade over Wolverine‘s 57.4 percent and ahead of Thor‘s 53.6 percent. Extrapolating from the key comparable titles suggests an opening weekend range from $53 million on the low end (if the appeal is more akin to Watchmen) to $89 million on the high end. Perhaps in a bid to keep expectations in check, distributor 20th Century Fox has said its hoping to get close to the first X-Men‘s gross.
Among holdovers, The Hangover Part II is likely to be a one-weekend-stand, unlike its predecessor, but falling precipitously from an $85.9 million first weekend still means a big second weekend. Kung Fu Panda 2 will try to save some face, but nothing about its box office pattern suggests it will hold better than Madagascar, Shrek Forever After and others at the same point. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides should sink further to fourth, while Bridesmaids will round out the Top Five with another solid weekend.
Based on pre-weekend indicators and historical antecedents, here’s how the weekend might play out:
The Forecast, June 3-5
1. X-Men: First Class – $69 million
2. The Hangover Part II – $34 million
3. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $25.5 million
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $18.5 million
5. Bridesmaids – $10.5 million
Bar for Success
Given that it’s following up the least successful entry in the series and that it lacks Wolverine and some other popular characters, X-Men: First Class shouldn’t be saddled with blockbuster expectations. That being said, First Class needs to be bigger than most lesser superhero movies and gross at least $60 million this weekend.June 6, 2011 at 1:22 am #34223
Weekend Report: ‘First Class’ Ranks Last Among ‘X-Men’
by Brandon Gray
X-Men: First Class Upgrade to a Premier Pass
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June 5, 2011
X-Men: First Class squeaked by with a passable estimated $56 million on approximately 6,900 screens at 3,641 locations, and it’s looking more like the fanboy fantasia it sounded like when first announced than something that will advance the franchise. Sure, the first X-Men movie opened to $54.5 million, but $56 million in 2011 is far less impressive than $54.5 million in 2000. The first X-Men‘s start was the equivalent of over $79 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. More telling, though, is that First Class marked a sizable step down from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which made $85.1 million in its opening weekend.
Earlier this summer, a Marvel Comics adaptation of a lesser character, Thor, mustered $65.7 million out of the gate (though attendance was about the same as X-Men: First Class after adjusting for 3D), and First Class was merely on par with The Incredible Hulk‘s $55.4 million from June 2008. Some would like to think of Batman Begins as a more appropriate comparison, but even that picture fared relatively better: its first weekend was $48.7 million (after burning off demand with a Wednesday launch) or the equivalent of nearly $60 million adjusted for ticket-price inflation. The debut of another fanboy fantasia, Watchmen, could be a better comparison to First Class: Both were ensemble period pieces and both had exceptionally high results in Box Office Mojo‘s “when will you see it” polling that didn’t translate to correspondingly high grosses.
Distributor 20th Century Fox’s exit polling indicated that 58 percent of X-Men: First Class‘s audience was male and 54 percent was over 25 years old. That means First Class skewed more male than Wolverine (53 percent). The hope now is for First Class to hold well moving forward, but that’s unlikely, given the history of the franchise and the genre. The previous X-Men movies all flamed out after their first weekends, including the supposed good ones (X2 and the first X-Men). If First Class holds as well as the first X-Men and X2, that would give it a final gross range of $141 million to $162 million (Wolverine closed with $179.9 million), but, if its pattern hews closer to The Last Stand and Wolverine, it would wind up with $118 million to $128 million.
X-Men: First Class‘s opening reiterates the danger of rebooting a still prominent franchise without a clean break and the passage of a lot of time (Wolverine was just two years ago). While wanting to restart things after the quality issues of Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand was understandable, First Class was just a Wolverine-less prequel to the public and couldn’t shake the baggage of those last two movies. First Class‘s marketing, which sent mixed messages by including references to the previous movies, didn’t go into the movie’s actual story. It merely focused on seeing what the X-Men were like when they were young and the brewing disagreement between Professor X and Magneto, which was already covered in the previous movies. All things considered, then, First Class‘s $56 million start wasn’t too shabby and certainly displayed the continued popularity of the franchise.
The Hangover Part II tumbled 62 percent to an estimated $32.4 million, which was less than the first <b>Hangover</b>’s $32.8 million second weekend. The percentage drop was worse than Sex and the City 2‘s at the same point last year and, of course, was much steeper than the first Hangover‘s 27 percent fall. Since Wednesday, Hangover Part II has been making less or about the same amount as its predecessor, though its cumulative gross towered over it with $186.9 million in 11 days, ranking as the second-fastest grossing R-rated movie ever behind The Matrix Reloaded.
Kung Fu Panda 2 didn’t take the same beating as Hangover Part II, but it was still battered in its second weekend. Retreating 49 percent, the animated sequel generated an estimated $24.3 million, increasing its sum to $100.4 million in 11 days. The percentage drop was more extreme than Madagascar (41 percent) and any Shrek movie at the same post-Memorial Day point. The first Kung Fu Panda was down 44 percent in its second weekend (which was a week later on the calendar), though it pulled in $33.6 million and had a much higher total. Panda 2‘s 3D share did not improve as the format accounted for 44 percent of business.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides continued its descent: off 55 percent, the supernatural swashbuckler grabbed an estimated $18 million for a $190.3 million tally in 17 days. Bridesmaids, on the other hand, delivered another stellar hold. The comedy again had the smallest decline among nationwide holdovers, easing 27 percent to an estimated $12.1 million and increasing its sum to $107.3 million in 24 days. Meanwhile, its Universal Pictures stable mate, Fast Five, joined the $200 million club on Saturday, its 37th day of release (and it remained the top-grossing movie of 2011 so far).
In limited release, Midnight in Paris expanded to 147 locations (up from 58 last weekend) and scored a solid estimated $2.9 million. With a $6.9 million tally in 17 days, it’s already out-grossed director Woody Allen’s last two movies You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Whatever Works. Midnight‘s major test comes June 10 when it has its nationwide break at between 750 and 1,000 locations. The Tree of Life added 16 locations for a total of 20 and made an estimated $621,000. Its $31,050 per location average was the highest of the weekend, though it was down two-thirds from its average last weekend.
On Monday afternoon, the actual grosses for X-Men: First Class and the rest will be reported here.
• ‘Hangover’ Gets Higher with Sequel, ‘Panda’ Loses Weight
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2010 – ‘Shrek’ Reigns Over Meager Parade Again
• 2009 – ‘Up’ Lifts Pixar to Tenth Smash
• 2009 – ‘Hangover’ Gets High, ‘Up’ Hangs On
• 2008 – ‘Panda,’ ‘Zohan’ Come Out Fighting
• 2007 – ‘Pirates’ Sinks, ‘Knocked Up’ Scores
• 2007 – ‘Thirteen’ Less Than ‘Twelve,’ ‘Eleven’
• 2006 – Exes Exceed ‘X-Men’
• 2006 – Pixar Manufactures Seventh Smash with ‘Cars’
• 2005 – ‘Cinderella Man’ Pulls Punch, ‘Madagascar’ Claims Title
• 2005 – ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ Honeymoons at the Top
• 2004 – Hotter ‘Potter:’ Summer Move Yields Franchise High Start
• 2003 – ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ Revs Up, ‘Nemo’ Strong in Second
• 2002 – ‘Sum of All Fears’ Detonates in First Place
• 2002 – ‘Bad’ Business for Bruckheimer’s LatestJune 7, 2011 at 6:39 am #34224
From: The Hollywood Reporter
‘Super 8’: Paramount Sets Modest Box Office Expectations11:24 PM 6/6/2011 by Pamela McClintockCourtesy of Paramount Pictures
The studio is trying to counter buzz that pre-release tracking is soft for the high-profile movie from director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg.
Trying to debunk buzz in Hollywood that pre-release tracking is soft for J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, Paramount says the $50 million-budgeted movie doesn’t need a big opening weekend because it cost far less than a big studio tentpole.
Paramount has its job cut out for it in managing expectations.
Super 8, opening in theaters Friday, is one of the summer’s more high-profile projects because of Abrams and Steven Spielberg, who produced the sci-fi alien pic, set in the late 1970s in a small Ohio town.
However, the studio has refrained from showing the creature at the center of the film in trailers or its ad campaign, hoping to build interest in the film among those curious to see its secret revealed. A similar strategy worked well with the Abrams-produced Cloverfield in 2008, but some are questioning whether more should have been shown with Super 8.
Studios typically call reporters late in the week to do box office setup, but Paramount responded to THR‘s questions early this week because of industry chatter that the film would not open on par with recent summer releases like X-Men: First Class or Thor and that it is tracking behind Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern, which doesn’t open until June 17.
The chatter is correct: Paramount estimates that Super 8 should gross $25 million to $30 million in its domestic debut. However, Paramount argues that other summer films cost three or four times more to make than Super 8; hence, Super 8 doesn’t need to gross as much to be in the clear financially.
And it’s a misconception to think that Super 8 will play to young moviegoers, at least initially, according to Paramount.
Super 8 — Abrams’ homage to the films of his childhood, a la Spielberg — is tracking best among moviegoers over age 30, the demo that remembers such films as Spielberg’s E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial or Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
As strange as it might seem, the two comps Paramount is using to gauge the film’s success are True Grit and Universal’s Bridesmaids.
Paramount’s True Grit, which was a hit first among older adults, and then broadened out, opened to $24.8 million in December.
More recently, Bridesmaids, which also skewed older in its debut, grossed $26.2 million in its domestic launch (it’s gone on to be a sleeper hit, grossing $107.2 million through Sunday). The R-rated female comedy cost $32 million to produce.
After adults, teen girls are the most interested in Super 8, according to tracking. On Sunday night, Abrams, Spielberg and Super 8 stars Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning plugged the movie during the MTV Movie Awards.
Email: Pamela.McClintock@thr.comJune 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm #34225
IDK if True Grit and Bridesmaids are the best comparisons. True Grit was an awards contender in the winter season where it is mch easier to have strong legs box office wise. I think Bridesmaids had stronger critical buzz at this point. Many were saying it was the funniest movie of the year whereas the reviews for Super 8 so far are saying its good but not great. Nevertheless I really hope Super 8 is able to catch on with the gerneral audience and it is a huge disappointment to learn that it is tracking worse than Green Lantern. IMO the Super 8 trailers have been spectacular (and for once don’t show the big reveal) whereas the Green Lantern trailers have been a clusterfuck of really bad CGI and cheesy lines (I am not saying that this will be a bad film but the trailers haven’t hinted that it will be).June 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm #34226
I too am rooting for Super 8. As someone who didnt find Bridesmaids ‘funny’, it’s especially so.June 10, 2011 at 6:44 am #34227
By Pamela McClintock
Thu Jun 9, 2011 11:46pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The pairing of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg has turned “Super 8” into the box office mystery of the summer.
The period sci-fi pic — directed by Abrams and produced by Spielberg — officially rolls out Friday in 3,379 theaters, following sneak previews at 329 locations Thursday. Amid decidedly muted advance buzz, its performance this weekend is the subject of heated speculation among insiders.
Paramount, which maintains that the $50 million film doesn’t need a big opening weekend, is predicting a debut in the $25 million to $30 million range. It will vie for honors with “X-Men: First Class,” which debuted last weekend to $55.1 million. The superhero sequel enjoyed strong midweek business, with a total of $69.9 million through Wednesday.
Overall awareness for “Super 8” isn’t quite where it should be, although there could be a myriad of reasons why. The film has no big stars and is an original story sandwiched between known franchise titles.
At the same time, “Super 8” is drawing strong reviews, with critics crediting Abrams for going outside of Hollywood’s comfort zone and making a film he calls an homage to the movies he grew up with as a kid, many of them from Spielberg.
Set in 1979, “Super 8” tells the story of a group of kids who are filming a home movie when there’s a violent train crash. When unexplained events start to threaten their town, they begin to suspect something inhuman escaped from the train. The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ryan Lee, Riley Griffiths, Gabriel Basso and Zach Mills.
Still, Paramount has been doing everything it can to ratchet up interest. It teamed with Twitter to host Thursday’s paid previews and on Wednesday night held free sneaks in 11 cities in partnership with key websites.
One other new film enters the market this weekend, “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer,” based on the bestselling book series and targeting girls ages 6-10. Coincidentally, the $20 million film is expected to open to between $6 million and $10 million. The film comes from the producers behind “Precious.”
Among specialty films, Woody Allen’s box office pleaser “Midnight in Paris” expands nationwide to a total of 944 theaters — one of the widest plays ever for an Allen film. “Midnight in Paris” has grossed $7.8 million through Wednesday.June 11, 2011 at 9:07 am #34228
Where are the 3-D masterpieces? Just wait
Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Jun. 10, 2011 5:30PM EDT
Remember the heady days of 2009, when James Cameron’s 3-D movie Avatar hit the jackpot to become the highest-grossing film of all time? Along with Coraline and Up, the film convinced the industry that 3-D was the next big thing, whether for feature films or home television.
But a credibility gap has emerged about 3-D’s potential to be the ultimate box-office draw.
Doubters see a wake-up call for Hollywood in the relatively soft demand among North America audiences to pay extra to see the 3-D version of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. And then there’s the lighthearted backlash: Amazon.com now sells 2-D glasses, which intentionally eliminate the 3-D effect for those “tired of paying for 3-D movies and getting nothing but a headache.”
So is the shine really off 3-D? Catherine Owens directed 2008’s U2 3D, which sought to convey the grandness of a U2 concert on film and was billed as the first live-action digital 3-D film. She has since become one of the few directors known internationally as a 3-D specialist. (“Once you’ve worked in 3-D, it’s very hard to let go,” she says.) She will be among the guest speakers, along with German director Wim Wenders, himself a fan of 3-D filmmaking, at the International Stereoscopic 3D Conference being held at Toronto’s York University from Saturday to Tuesday.
“There are the people who want the instant, perfect result, and they live in the naysayer camp. If it doesn’t come out perfectly, they think it’s never going to work,” Owens says. “And then there are the technical people who are developing this unbelievable future for image makers, and I’m siding with the technical people.”
Owens has a slightly different perspective on 3-D cinema, having come from a fine-art painting and installation background, rather than filmmaking. The Irish artist worked for many years as a stage designer with U2, adding visuals to the band’s stage presentation, including the elaborately decorated and lit Trabant cars for the band’s Zoo TV tour
“Where 3-D has fallen down is that there has been a kind of rush to make content,” Owens notes. Too many in the business, Owens says, still see 3-D as merely an extension of ordinary filmmaking: “But the truth is that when you’re making film in 3-D, you’re capturing data in extraordinary ways, in as many ways as the director wants. So, it’s a very different set of rules.”
She uses the example of the rise of interactive media, which of course created an entirely new template to manipulate a story, and says that there needs to be the same degree of immersion of filmmakers in 3-D in order for it to work.
The vast potential of 3-D has attracted auteurs one would never associate with the kind of gimmicky corniness 3-D once provided to movies such as Creature from the Black Lagoon or Jaws 3-D. Wenders, who directed the 3-D documentary Pina about German choreographer Pina Bausch, has said the format “will open up a big window for documentary filmmakers.” Werner Herzog recently explored the paintings of cavemen in southern France with his 3-D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and Ang Lee has been hired to direct the much-delayed 3-D film adaptation of Canadian Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi.
“It could very well be that 3-D started on the wrong leg, because it only appeared … in the form of animation and big spectaculars,” Wenders told Agence France-Presse in an interview. “A lot of people think that’s [all] it can do. But I think in the future, it’ll be the ideal tool for documentary filmmakers … maybe in the same way that 10 or 15 years ago digital technology helped to reanimate the documentary genre.”
So, what’s happening, Owens notes, is a very fast shift from 3-D being solely a tool for blockbuster filmmaking, to something available to lower-budget and documentary filmmakers.
Inevitably, this is being led by the rush among electronics companies for the professional and the “prosumer” 3-D market. The National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas earlier this year, Owens notes, was heavily dominated by companies introducing new 3-D equipment. “3-D is coming across every medium over the next five to 10 years. You’ll be looking at your iPhone and iPad and any other kind of gear that you have, you will be looking at that in 3-D,” she says.
Owens has not abandoned grand spectacles in 3-D, however. She’s currently in post-production for a film on the massive Kumbh Mela festival in India, which attracts tens of millions of devout Hindus each year. Then again, likely on a much smaller scale, she also plans to adapt an Oscar Wilde short story in 3-D.
“People who are going to be making groundbreaking, extraordinary 3-D are going to be people who are thinking how an artist would think. And that is, how do you create the poem?” Owens says. The inspiration, she adds, doesn’t reside in box-office figures.
- Men still behaving badly in “Hangover Part II”
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