Sunday, May 8, 2011

Box Office Bulletin: "Thor" Hammers Its Way To The Top...

Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, Deadline, and other sources:

Read Robert Hamer's Weekend Openings Column for the May 6-8 weekend...

To the surprise of no one, Paramount and Marvel Comics' "Thor" had an impressive debut in the official liftoff to the summer box office season. Muted somewhat by the exceptional debut of "Fast Five" last weekend, "Thor" nonetheless came in exceeding expectations with an estimated $66 million domestically. That $66 million, coupled with $176 million already hauled in overseas, brings "Thor"'s worldwide gross to a robust $242 million. The movie was destined to draw, but exceedingly positive reviews and a wider attendance of families and younger moviegoers helped the estimated figures climb. Although opening to nearly half that of last year's "Iron Man 2", "Thor"'s opening was the 9th best for a Marvel Comics adaptation and 3rd best for films which will link together for the May 2012 "Avengers" epic.

Last week's #1 film, "Fast Five" dropped approximately 62% in its second weekend. However, the film still banked $32.5 million with that drop and roared to nearly $140 million domestic in 10 days. "Fast Five" is now, albeit temporarily, the highest grossing film of 2011. The film is a couple of days away from making back its budget ($150 million) in North American box office returns and worldwide, the film has grossed nearly $325 million.


Arriving at #3 to the surprise of many is the TriStar/Sony/Columbia romantic dramedy, "Jumping The Broom". "...Broom", an African-American made film co-produced by Pastor T.D. Jakes, doubled its production budget ($6.6 million), opening at $13.7 million and drawing strong audience response. Reviews were split nearly 50/50 in the critical realm, but TriStar cross-promoted the film effectively with presence on TLC, BET, and creative and integrative marketing in and around the recent Royal Wedding. All in all, kudos should be raised on getting the movie seen, exceeding expectations, and doubling its investment in 3 days time.

Suffering at the apparent success of "Jumping The Broom" is the more traditional romantic-comedy, "Something Borrowed". Warner Bros. had high hopes with this adaptation of Emily Giffin's best-seller and likely were not anticipating poor to vitriolic critical reaction to the film. Opening a romantic comedy on Mother's Day is not a bad counterprogramming idea per se, but certainly "Jumping The Broom" drew more interest than Warner Bros. anticipated. "Something Borrowed" opened with an estimated $13.2 million on a reported $35 million budget.

"...Borrowed" also delivered a very subpar opening for lead actress Kate Hudson's big studio fare, earning the actress her lightest opening weekend since 2004's "Raising Helen" (not including ensemble films "Nine" or "Killer Inside Me" which achieved small platform releases).

Mel Gibson's returns in "The Beaver" and an expensive religious epic fails to find an audience, as well as other notables after the cut!


Opening at 22 locations, with a widespread expansion scheduled for May 20, Mel Gibson's ambitious return to the big screen landed with mediocre results, as the Jodie Foster-directed "The Beaver" started with $104k. Summit Entertainment were hoping for sellouts in strategically marketed locations and were reportedly disappointed in audience response to the film. Despite some Oscar-buzz swirling around Mel Gibson's performance, critics were mixed although our own Joey Magidson gave the script an excellent review recently on this site. Summit is reportedly still committed to a wide expansion and the film will be screening at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. Hopes remain that the film will turn into a nice success, hopefully recouping its $21 million budget.

Budgeted at $36 million and directed by Roland Joffe, "There Be Dragons" failed to draw much of a response, landing with a thud at 269 locations and an estimated haul of $689k. The film, marketed to Christian audiences as a religious-themed look at events during the Spanish Civil War, was perhaps an ill-advised film to release on Mother's Day weekend. The film ranks as yet another disappointment for the Samuel Goldwyn Company who have only had one film, 2008's Christian-themed "Fireproof", earn more than $10 million in a box office run since 1996.

In a quick summary of films on the Oscar radar, the turtle-slow rollout of "Meek's Cutoff" continued as Oscilloscope expanded the film to 19 locations and the film picked up another $54k, rolling its total take to $210k.

Werner Herzog's critically-acclaimed documentary, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams", moved from 5 screens to 50 locations and gained an impressive 152%, banking approximately $350k to earn $575k in 10 days of platform release. IFC have talked about broadening the film's reach week by week as the buzz surrounding the film is growing seemingly each and every day.

Other documentaries of note from the first part of 2011, "I Am" and "Bill Cunningham New York" continued their strong showings, climbing closer to reaching $1 million in receipts. "I Am" earned $132k to bring its total haul to $932k. "...Cunningham..." dipped slightly as it left certain cities and debuted in others, but the Zeitgeist release has banked $889k thus far.

The much talked about "Hobo With A Shotgun" did not have its estimates reported by Magnolia Pictures at press time.

Overall, the weekend box office earned an estimated $152 million grossed by the Top 12 films, a gain of an additional 4.9% from the previous weekend. The Top 12 from the same weekend in 2010 amassed a massive $171 million weekend, aided by the $128 million opening weekend for "Iron Man 2".

THE TOP 10 (Estimates, with Actuals reported on Monday)

1. "Thor" (Paramount), $66.0 million, NEW
2. "Fast Five" (Universal), $32.5 million, $139.9 million, 2 wks
3. "Jumping The Broom" (TriStar/Sony/Columbia), $13.7 million, NEW
4. "Something Borrowed" (Warner Bros.), $13.2 million, NEW
5. "Rio" (20th Century Fox), $8.2 million, $114.9 million, 4 wks
6. "Water For Elephants" (20th Century Fox), $5.6 million, $41.6 million, 3 wks
7. "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" (Lionsgate), $3.9 million, $46.8 million, 3 wks
8. "Prom" (Buena Vista), $2.4 million, $7.8 million, 2 wks
9. "Soul Surfer" (TriStar/FilmDistrict), $2.1 million, $36.7 million, 5 wks
10. "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil" (Weinstein Company), $1.9 million, $6.7 million, 2 wks


  1. I'm not sure why Summit thought that The Beaver would be a huge success. Even if you take Mel Gibson (who probably will be hastily cited as the main reason for its failure) out of the picture and you still have a hard-to-classify dramedy about a guy with mental problems and a puppet.

  2. Not exactly an easy sell, you know?

  3. So much to chew on regarding the disappointing start for "The Beaver". The Gibson factor, Summit Entertainment's hopeless track record in successfully working edgy and challenging fare, and the storyline, despite what I thought to be a pretty effective trailer, still leaves a lot of people cocking their heads and thinking, "huh?"

    Perhaps there's still some life in this as we near May 20 and the Cannes Film Festival, but it is going to take some rebranding and revisiting the marketing I think to make this profitable. I have no idea where to peg the final numbers on this. They've got 2 weeks to salvage this I think...