Opening a film in August—a month often referred to as a "dumping ground"—is enough of a challenge without having to deal with a hurricane. Yet that's exactly what Sony, FilmDistrict and The Weinstein Company were faced with this weekend as they rolled out Colombiana, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Our Idiot Brother, respectively.
"All things considered, not a bad Saturday and ultimately the weekend total was good despite the hurricane," says Bob Berney, FilmDistrict's President, Theatrical Distribution. "Our key large urban East Coast markets were really killed and many theatres closed or were dead even if they remained open. For example, I went to Ridge Hill in Westchester County, NY for the 7:30 shows and even though it was open, there were only about 25 brave people in the entire complex. The E-Walk on 42nd St in Manhattan gross was $20,800 on Friday and $0 on Saturday."
"Given the devastating weather system on the East Coast, [Colombiana] performed better than expected and is off to a solid start and should hold well for the coming holiday weekend and into the Fall," says Steve Elzer, a spokesman for Sony.
"We played best in New York—that's where the exit polls were the highest. We got hammered. Our best area disappeared on us on Saturday," says Erik Lomis, President of Theatrical Distribution for The Weinstein Company.