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By Daniel Garris

Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road took in $2.21 million on Thursday to remain in first place at the daily box office. The critically acclaimed action film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron was down 5 percent from Wednesday and down a solid 40.5 percent from last Thursday. Mad Max: Fury Road placed in third for the week with $38.86 million. That represented a 39 percent decline from the film's opening weekend performance and brings the film's two-week total to $102.29 million. Mad Max: Fury Road will obviously fall out of first place today with the debut of fellow Warner Bros. release San Andreas.

Pitch Perfect 2 held steady in second place with $2.03 million. Universal's successful musical comedy sequel starring Anna Kendrick was down a slim 2 percent from Wednesday and down percent 48 from last Thursday. Pitch Perfect 2 placed in second for the week with $45.12 million. The film was down a significant, but reasonable, 48 percent from its opening week performance and has grossed a stronger than expected $132.699 million through two weeks of release.

Disney's Tomorrowland continued to claim third place with $1.83 million. The Brad Bird directed sci-fi film starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson was down a concerning 7 percent from Wednesday. Tomorrowland led the weekly box office with a seven-day start of $49.39 million. While that was on the lower end of expectations, it also represented an underwhelming start with the film's large price tag in mind. Tomorrowland is running 4 percent behind the $51.35 million seven-day start of 2011's Super 8.

Avengers: Age of Ultron remained in fourth place with $1.40 million. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel was down 2 percent from Wednesday and down 40 percent from last Thursday. Avengers: Age of Ultron finished in fourth for the week with $32.98 million. The film was down a very solid 34 percent from the previous frame and has grossed a massive $416.15 million through four weeks.

Poltergeist rounded out its first week of release with a fifth place take of $1.11 million. The PG-13 rated horror remake from Fox and MGM fell a sharp 11 percent from Wednesday. Poltergeist placed in fifth for the week with a seven-day start of $30.47 million. That was in line with the film's wide ranging expectations and was 5 percent below the $32.04 million seven-day launch of 2013's Evil Dead.

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By Alex Edghill

Friday Morning Update: Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a close battle this past week on Twitter, with the former pulling out a narrow victory. Only a few weeks from release now Jurassic World is really stepping up its game and looks poised to at least best the $50 million opening weekend take of the last Jurassic Park film. The record in the franchise is held by The Lost World which had $72 million on opening back in 1997, at the time breaking the opening weekend record. Much has changed since then, with 69 films grossing more than that on opening weekend to date. World might be a shoe in to take the unadjusted franchise opening record but it will fall far short of the opening weekend record this time. Still, with its massive global appeal it should be able to secure $1 billion globally, more than enough to justify future sequels.

For the second weekend in a row Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a close second. I have been waiting for it to wane and fall out of the top 10 like virtually all others films do after a trailer this far from release but its simply not happening. Case in point is Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which fell to fourth after leading last week as its trailer buzz waned. Chances are it will be outside of the top 10 in the next two weeks where it will stay until a second trailer surfaces. Star Wars is now on its seventh straight week inside the top 5 after its second trailer. The power is strong with the fanboys.

That brings me to Point Break, popping up for the first time inside the top five after its first trailer. The film is 'inspired by' the cult classic of the same name from 1991 starring Keanu Reeves, the late Patrick Swayze and directed by future Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. The trailer is action-packed and has many hat-tips to the original film even if the story has changed dramatically. But with a cast of unknowns for the most part the film wasn't able to generate more than 22k tweets despite having a great clean search string of simply "point break". Somewhat mediocre to underwhelming considering how popular the first film was to 20, 30 and 40 something pop culture fans. The first film opened to $8.5 million, fourth on the weekend despite its strong cast and director, and while the years have helped to build a brand a following these numbers don't suggest a massive resurgence for its namesake. Perhaps what was even more of a red flag than the overall tweets was the sentiment of those tweets which hovered between 2 positive to 1 negative down to as low as 1 positive per negative. Clearly Twitter users weren't that happy with what they saw.

Twitter Top 10 Movies for the week of May 22nd to May 28th

Date Movie Tweets Rank Change
6/12/15 Jurassic World 110,002 1 (+2) 22.39%
12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 106,053 2 (-) 7.45%
6/05/15 Insidious: Chapter 3 61,898 3 (+1) 35.78%
9/18/15 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 58,988 4 (-3) -69.91%
12/25/15 Point Break (2015) 48,222 5 (+38) 2822.55%

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Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

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Interview by Daniel Loria 

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Steve Marcus

Chief Executive Officer, The Marcus Corporation, 1988-2009

Chairman of the Board, The Marcus Corporation

 

You basically grew up at a movie theater; do you have any early memories of your childhood at the cinema?

I always had a lot of friends! I remember being about five years old and having the ability of getting into the movies free-and my friends could come with me. We could have all the popcorn and candy that we wanted; it was like being the first kid on the block with a driver's license and access to a car. At that age I didn't care about girls, but all the boys could go see Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies with me. I always brought a big crowd on Saturday mornings.

Which areas of the business are the most important to keep an eye on when managing a circuit?

Perhaps the most important thing I learned is the interrelationship and collaboration between distribution and exhibition. You have to be thinking about win-win every time; it's a relationship that needs to maintain balance.

As home entertainment technology improves, what must theaters do to keep up?

One of the things that we have always tried to do, as perhaps every business tries to do, is to create an experience that people can't get at home. It has to be something special. Digital cinema makes the picture much better; you always have something that looks like a pristine print on the screen instead of something that has been through the sprockets a hundred times. At Marcus, we've introduced our DreamLounger seats that are way beyond what people can get at home. You also have to look at 40-, 50-, and even 70-foot-wide screens.

You've been through the rise of home video, the introduction of the multiplex, and the transition to digital cinema. What do you believe has been the most influential shift in our industry?

You just put your finger on them. Digital cinema has been an enormous change. It has really enabled us to do programming of a much greater variety than what we were able to do previously. We used to have to move pictures from one auditorium to another in order to match demand for a film to the specific capacity of an auditorium. Today we can accomplish that at the touch of a button. Now, instead of having to put up a picture on a screen and having it play there all day long seven days a week, we are able to have one picture play at a particular screen during the daytime hours and a different picture play on the same screen in the evening. For example, oftentimes a Disney picture will perform very well during the day but not very well at night. We never had the ability to move that picture off that screen at night so we could do more adult-focused programming during those hours. Today we can do that. That's a subtle but a very important change. The profitability of an enterprise always occurs around the edges, not necessarily down the middle.

You were instrumental in helping Marcus diversify its business by entering the hotel and restaurant industries. Movie theaters today, however, are incorporating more and more lessons from hotels and restaurants in how they approach consumers. Do you think this part of the exhibition business can grow?

They certainly increase the breadth of the experience that people find when they go to a movie theater today. Previously, in order to have a drink or enjoy a pizza they would have to go elsewhere before coming to the theater. That meant making two stops, and took time and extra effort. Now they get the whole experience in one place. It doesn't work everywhere, but in many locations it adds to the overall moviegoing experience.

In our research, we found that Marcus Theatres ranks among the top exhibitors in the world. Despite being a global leader, Marcus very much maintains a sense of community. How important is it to cultivate that sense of community in growing a business beyond its hometown roots?

It needs to be cultivated because you always need to have management at the theater level who understand it. It's not only a manager that makes it happen; the staff is involved as well, so good leadership and planning skills are required to make sure people are engaged with their community. We need to play pictures that the community will like at the hours they want to see them. You need to be part of your community; you can't just operate without regard to what your customers' regards happen to be.

What would you say is the state of the exhibition business today?

I've always thought we were dancing on the head of a pin, because it seems like there have been threats out there forever. People have been predicting the demise of the movie theater since the television came around back in the early '50s. I always eye our operations with a certain level of nervousness about what's going to happen. History has proven, however, that as long as we can keep our experience of viewing movies ahead of everyone else's, our industry will be fine. It's very important to those who make movies, to the studios, and those who distribute movies, that there be a vibrant exhibition industry at the front end. Theaters not only provide an enormous amount of revenue but also bring a great marketing value for studios and distributors when that film moves on to the next channel. They reach new platforms with a tremendous amount of marketing and public relations behind them. That's why we feel we need a reasonable window between the time we open up a movie in a theater and when it comes out on the next platforms. That's what helps develop the marketing for the next channels.

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by John Fithian, President & CEO, NATO

Few families have had a greater impact on the world of motion picture exhibition than the Marcus family. Ben Marcus based his company on brains, savvy, integrity, compassion, and grit. His son, Steve Marcus, took over for his father and expanded the reach and reputation of The Marcus Corporation. Given Steve's remarkable career in exhibition, and his generous philanthropic spirit, BoxOffice Pro could not have selected a more appropriate candidate for its inaugural Hall of Fame.

In more than 50 years with the company, Steve worked his way up the ranks to serve as president beginning in 1980 and then CEO beginning in 1998. I have had the pleasure of working with Steve since 1992 and, like many others, have learned so much from him. Steve is a brilliant businessman who never needs to raise his voice to have an impact. He cares deeply about the people who work for him and the moviegoers (and hotel guests) who frequent his businesses. He has also consistently supported many charities, including Variety the Children's Charity. It is wonderful to see that Variety International will honor Steve this May.

Steve's tireless commitment extends beyond his own company and the charities he loves to the industry at large. I can't think of any other member of the National Association of Theatre Owners who has worked harder for his fellow exhibitors, or effectively held more voluntary positions within the organization. Steve has served as NATO's board chairman, vice-chairman, and treasurer; as the association's Finance Committee chair; as the head of our Strategic Planning Committee; and in many other capacities. Similarly, Steve has long held a leading role in the very successful local unit, NATO of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Steve has simply had a leading hand in growing NATO to the modern and effective association it is today. And Steve never forgets about the "little guy," as he has remained a fierce advocate of independent cinema operators even as The Marcus Corporation has grown into the fifth largest company in the country.

On behalf of the NATO staff and our 630 members who operate in every state and 81 countries around the world, all hats are off for a true industry icon-Steve Marcus.

 

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may22wknd.pngWarner Bros. reports Mad Max: Fury Road held the top spot again on Wednesday with $2.32 million, off just 41 percent from the same day last week. In the process, the strongly received action flick crossed the $100 million domestic barrier as it now sits at $100.08 million, which is nearly 4 percent ahead of where Prometheus stood at the same point in its release cycle.

In the runner-up spot, Pitch Perfect 2 added $2.06 million yesterday for a 47 percent week-to-week drop. The hit comedy sequel has tallied $130.7 million domestically through 13 days of release, 34 percent ahead of Neighbors.

Disney's Tomorrowland claimed third place on Wednesday with $1.97 million. The Brad Bird-helmed adventure film has earned $47.56 million through its first six days, which is essentially on par with the $48.05 million six-day take of J.J. Abrams' Super 8 in 2011.

Avengers: Age of Ultron landed in fourth place yesterday, off 39 percent from last Wednesday. Its domestic take is now $414.75 million.

Filling out the top five, Poltergeist grossed $1.25 million yesterday. The horror remake's six-day tally is $29.36 million, about 4 percent less than 2013's Evil Dead remake through the same point.

 

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