variety-thechildrenscharity.pngVariety of Wisconsin reports:

We are thrilled to welcome Bob Menefee to our Variety staff!

Bob recently retired as the Vice President of Marcus Theatres and has now joined Variety of Wisconsin as the Development Director. Bob has been involved with Variety since 1986 and most recently served as the President of Variety's Board of Directors. He is enthusiastic about raising awareness about Variety's good work and creating a development program which will sustain future growth of the organization.

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By Alex Edghill

Ouija led the Facebook pack over the last week with a strong increase of 144,245 likes, or a 21.82% rise from its number a couple weeks ago. With Annabelle opening to a very strong $37 million this past weekend it would appear as though this October is going to be very strong for the screamers as both Dracula Untold and Ouija have also been tearing up the social media charts. By comparison, Annabelle was at just over 1.1 million like at the same distance before release. This might not be as big of a smash but with these numbers its throwing up teens to twenty-something millions could very well be possible.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was first runner up on the week in terms of total like gains as it came in with a 93k increase. The page already is one of the most popular ever on Facebook for a movie franchise at over 20 million likes. All signs point to go here as the franchise simply keeps improving.

The Bollywood import Happy New Year has been rocketing up the Facebook charts and this past week it ended with 3.23 million likes, one of the most liked Bollywood films ever according to our tracking. Way ahead of other successes such as Ek Tha Tiger (<1 million likes) and Dhoom 3 (<2 million likes). This is going to do very well when released on Diwali this year given these early signs.

Dracula Untold rose another 65k to 2.45 million likes overall, cementing its place as one of the most anticipated films of the month. Speaking of which, outside of Dracula and Ouija October hasn't been that green a pasture for upcoming wide releases which is somewhat disturbing. Curiously slow films include Nightcrawler, and The Book Of Life which have not come close to 100k likes yet. By no means a kiss of death but I find it hard to believe breakouts happening here with so few people looking forward to them. 

Facebook Top 15 Movies by Like Increase for the Week Ending Sunday October 5th

Rank Release Movie Likes Preview Change % Change
1 10/24/14 Ouija 805,371 661,126 144,245 21.82%
2 11/21/14 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 20,365,887 20,272,616 93,271 0.46%
3 06/26/15 Ted 2 20,300,444 20,212,524 87,920 0.43%
4 10/24/14 Happy New Year (2014) 3,228,802 3,156,850 71,952 2.28%
5 10/10/14 Dracula Untold 2,448,553 2,382,997 65,556 2.75%
7 05/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 12,078,349 12,045,083 33,266 0.28%
8 04/03/15 Fast & Furious 7 51,411,554 51,379,085 32,469 0.06%
9 10/10/14 Addicted 286,881 259,574 27,307 10.52%
10 03/25/16 Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 3,441,639 3,414,380 27,259 0.80%
11 03/20/15 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 3,570,800 3,546,717 24,083 0.68%
12 02/06/15 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 170,235 146,309 23,926 16.35%
13 02/13/15 Fifty Shades of Grey 5,057,595 5,034,735 22,860 0.45%
14 10/17/14 The Best of Me 392,420 375,358 17,062 4.55%
15 12/18/15 Star Wars: Episode VII 12,774,153 12,758,039 16,114 0.13%


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By Daniel Garris

It was an impressive weekend at the box office, as both Fox's Gone Girl and Warner's Annabelle over-performed in what turned out to be a very tight race for first place between the two new releases. Gone Girl ultimately took first place with $37.51 million, while Annabelle placed in an extremely close second with $37.13 million. The two films were separated by only $378,854 for the frame.

With $37.51 million, Gone Girl exceeded pre-release expectations, which had increased as the film's release neared thanks in part to strong reviews and strong pre-sales. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck delivered the tenth largest opening weekend performance of all time for the month of October (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). Gone Girl represented the largest debut ever for Fincher (his previous best being the $30.06 million debut of 2002's Panic Room) and the third largest start ever for Affleck (behind only 2001's Pearl Harbor and 2003's Daredevil). The film opened an impressive 67 percent stronger than the $22.45 million launch of 2010's The Social Network.

Gone Girl opened with $13.18 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.3 million from late night Thursday shows), increased 15 percent on Saturday to gross $15.18 million and declined 40 percent on Sunday to gross $9.63 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.85 to 1. Gone Girl received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, but the film's strong critical reviews strongly suggest that the film will hold up well going forward.

With $37.13 million, Annabelle exceeded expectations in a big way. Given its lesser expectations and significantly lower price tag than Gone Girl, Annabelle had the more impressive start this weekend. However, it is also highly likely that the low-budget spin-off to The Conjuring won't hold up as well as Gone Girl will going forward. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Annabelle registered the eleventh largest opening weekend ever for the month of October. Annabelle clearly benefited in a big way from the audience goodwill generated by The Conjuring. The film opened just below the respective $41.86 million and $40.27 million starts of The Conjuring and Insidious Chapter 2.

Annabelle started out in first place on Friday with $15.45 million (which included an estimated $2.1 million from late night shows on Thursday), decreased a very reasonable 9.5 percent on Saturday to take in $13.98 million and declined 45 percent on Sunday to gross $7.70 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.40 to 1, which is encouraging for a horror film. The film's B rating on CinemaScore is also a solid early sign given the film's genre. Annabelle had clear four-quadrant appeal as the audience breakdown for the film was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent female, 49 percent male) and skewed towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (54 percent).

On the heels of last weekend's strong start, Sony's The Equalizer was down two spots and 45 percent this weekend to place in third with $18.75 million. The Denzel Washington led action thriller had a solid second weekend hold, especially when taking into account the strong debuts of Gone Girl and Annabelle. The Equalizer continues to perform towards the higher end of its lofty expectations with a ten-day take of $64.24 million. That places the film 6 percent ahead of the $60.74 million ten-day gross of 2010's The Book of Eli, which fell 52 percent in its second weekend to gross $15.73 million.

The Boxtrolls held up very nicely in its second weekend with a fourth place take of $11.98 million. The latest stop motion animated film from Focus and Laika was down a slim 31 percent from last weekend. 2009's Coraline and 2012's ParaNorman both displayed terrific holding power and The Boxtrolls is now on course to do the same after this weekend's strong hold. The Boxtrolls has grossed a stronger than expected $32.09 million in ten days, which places the film 14 percent ahead of the $28.26 million ten-day take of ParaNorman (which fell 39 percent in its second weekend to gross $8.64 million).

Fox's The Maze Runner also held up nicely this weekend with a fifth place gross of $11.63 million. The successful young adult adaptation was down just 33 percent from last weekend. The Maze Runner continues to display strong holding power for a young adult adaptation and has grossed a stronger than expected $73.56 million through 17 days of release. Both The Maze Runner and The Boxtrolls appear to have received an added boost this weekend from the Yom Kippur holiday.

Freestyle's Left Behind debuted in sixth place with $6.30 million. The faith based thriller remake starring Nicolas Cage opened towards the lower end of its modest expectations. Left Behind opened 32 percent below the $9.22 million launch of Freestyle's God's Not Dead earlier this year and will be hard pressed to hold up anywhere near as well as God's Not Dead did. Left Behind opened with $2.39 million on Friday, increased a slim 1 percent on Saturday to take in $2.43 million and declined 39 percent on Sunday to gross $1.47 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.63 to 1. Left Behind received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore.

In limited release, Warner's The Good Lie was off to a slow start this weekend with $0.841 million from 461 locations. That gave the Reese Witherspoon led drama a soft per-location average of $1,825 for the frame. The Good Lie certainly wasn't helped out by the break-out performances of Gone Girl and Annabelle this weekend.

On the platform front, Paramount's Men, Women & Children was off to an even more lackluster start with $47,553 from 17 locations. That gave the Jason Reitman directed film featuring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner a per-location average of just $2,797. Men, Women & Children has grossed $60,843 since debuting on Wednesday and after this weekend's disappointing start, will have a tough time going forward as it expands into more locations.

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gone-girl02.jpgGone Girl was the weekend’s big winner at the global box office this weekend, taking the #1 spot in North America and the overseas box office at large. A $24.6 million bow from 39 markets launched the film’s $62.6 million global debut. The UK was the top overseas earner with a $6.9 million haul from 950 screens. Gone Girl expands to 15 additional markets next weekend, including France, Spain, Belgium and Taiwan.

Bollywood flick Bang Bang enjoyed a $25.4 million worldwide haul in its opening weekend, including a fantastic $19.3 million bow from 4,200 screens in India. The film screened in 271 screens in North America, where it grossed $1.35 million.

Dracula Untold saw the light of day in an initial roll-out across 25 territories this weekend. The film finished its first frame overseas with a $21 million cume ahead of its North American release next weekend. Mexico was the only significant territory where the film finished in first place, claiming $5 million from a 4-day weekend across 640 dates and taking 44% of the market share. Russia and South Korea will open the film next weekend along with North America.

Annabelle added $20 million from 24 markets over the weekend to reach a $23 million cume outside of North America. The film’s strong North American debut puts the film’s global haul at $54 million.

The Maze Runner ran away with $16.5 million from 61 markets to take its overseas cume up to $119.1 million. The film has grossed $193 million worldwide with top markets UK and Italy on tap for next weekend. France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Venezuela and China are on the schedule for later this month.

The Equalizer enjoyed a #3 debut in France, where it grossed $2 million from 376 screens to take over the #3 spot in the market. The film finished the weekend with $13 million from 70 territories. The Equalizer has grossed $39.6 million overseas and $104 million worldwide.

The Boxtrolls added $6 million from 22 territories to reach a $26 million overseas cume. The animated film has grossed $58.5 million with 35 territories left on the agenda.

Lucy added $5.2 million from 60 territories to reach a $280.5 million overseas cume. The film has grossed $406.3 million worldwide.

Spanish comedy Torrente 5 captured the top spot in its home market with a $4.8 million debut. The latest installment in the Spanish comedy franchise opened 36% ahead this year’s Spanish box office megahit Ocho Apellidos Vascos and registered the biggest opening weekend of the year in Spain.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took the #1 spot in its Venezuelan debut with a $1 million haul from 68 locations en route to a $3.5 million frame overseas from 37 territories. The film has now grossed a total of $160.8 million outside of North America and $349.1 million worldwide with key markets Belgium, Germany, Spain, China, and Japan left on its schedule.

Sex Tape added $3 million from 38 markets to reach an $82.7 million overseas cume. The raunchy comedy has grossed $121.2 million globally.

A $2.4 million weekend from 33 territories helped Guardians of the Galaxy reach a $330.4 million overseas cume. The film has now surpassed the overseas cumes of Iron Man 2 ($312M), The Wolverine ($282M), Thor ($268M), Iron Man ($267M), and Captain America: The First Avenger ($194M). The latest Marvel release has grossed $653.8 million worldwide, edging out the global haul of last year’s Thor: The Dark World ($644M). Top markets include the UK ($46.9M), Russia ($37.5M), and Australia ($24.2M) with a release coming in China and Italy later this month.

As Above, So Below earned $1.8 million from 42 territories to reach a $17.3 million overseas total. The film’s global cume stands at $38.5 million.

Deliver us from Evil took $1.4 million from 27 territories to reach a $54.7 million cume overseas. The horror flick has grossed $85.2 million globally.

Hercules added $1.2 million from 20 territories to reach a $153.3 million overseas cume. The film has grossed $225.8 million worldwide with a release in China and Japan scheduled for late October.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes added $1.2million from 6 markets to reach a $491.4 million overseas cume. The film has grossed a total of $699 million worldwide.

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