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by Jonathan Papish and EntGroup Consulting

China's current obsession with a time-traveling Japanese robotic cat is too strong that even its infatuation with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plus large scale cinematic destruction won't win out this weekend. Disaster flicks seem tailor made for Chinese audiences who embraced last year's Godzilla with $78.02 million and 2012 with $68.25 million all the way back in '09 before the box office took off. However, Doraemon Stand By Me looks to repeat as the Chinese box office champion for a second straight weekend as it appears the tsunami San Andreas triggered last weekend at the global box office has weakened upon impact with the Chinese mainland.

Despite garnering the highest intent to purchase, awareness, and word of mouth of the five new releases this week according to EntGroupSan Andreas had presales for its Tuesday opening day only on par with last week's Tomorrowland debut based on data from from Chinese online ticketing site Gewara. That could spell trouble for Johnson and his film in China since Tomorrowland grossed a measly $15.5 million in its first week of release. While forecasts by Chinese box office pundits are predicting a weak $40-50 million by the end of San Andreas' run, we are a little more optimistic considering the film's estimated opening day tally came in around $5 million as well as China's insatiable appetite for disaster films - we predict $65 million. EntGroup reported San Andreas playing on about 33% of China's ~27,000 screens and Doraemon on 25% this Tuesday, but things could shift in "Blue Fatty's" favor over the weekend when families flock to the animated pic that's receiving great word of mouth. Chris Pratt and Jurassic World stomp into China next Wednesday which will further weaken San Andreas' aftershocks.

Also hitting cinemas this weekend: Rush, Ron Howard's Golden Globe nominated sports drama from 2013 which unfortunately has received almost zero coverage from the Chinese press, and 3 local pics - comedy Free Ride (顺风车), horror flick Monsters (异种), and Mongolian sports drama Lost in Wrestling (搏击迷城).

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PRESS RELEASE:

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June 2, 2015, New York, NY - Michael Sakin, President, Spotlight Cinema Networks, today announced the promotion of Ronnie Ycong to Senior Vice President, Exhibitor Relations and Operations. Ycong previously held the position of Vice President, Exhibitor Relations.

In his new role, Ycong will not only continue to manage and grow the Company's exhibitor network, but he will also assume responsibility for ad fulfillment, trafficking, production, quality control and scheduling. Since joining Spotlight Cinema Networks four years ago with the launch of its Exhibitor Relations Department, Ycong has helped almost double the number of screens in the Spotlight network to more than 800. More specifically, under Ycong's supervision since 2011, the number of screens in the top ten DMA's increased 108% and the number of screens in the top 25 DMA's surged 174%.

"Ronnie is one of the most accomplished exhibitor relations executives in the U.S.," said Sakin. "His new expanded role reflects his many accomplishments at Spotlight including growing the exhibitor network, contributing to the development of our new digital system, and collaborating with the senior Spotlight team for our successful Preshow redesign. We're counting on Ronnie to provide leadership and strategic direction for the Company as well help us continue to deliver the highest level of customer service in the industry."

Prior to joining Spotlight Cinema Networks in 2011, Ycong was Director of Exhibitor Relations at Screenvision where he was instrumental in maintaining and growing its United States network of exhibitors. He has more than two decades of experience in the theatrical film exhibition business, which includes positions at Fandango, National Cinema Network and Mann Theatres.

Ycong works out of Spotlight Cinema Networks' Los Angeles office.

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PRESS RELEASE:

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Gold Medal Products Co. is pleased to announce it has appointed Greg Miller to assume the role as company president, effective May 18, 2015.

After serving 24 years as the current president, Dan Kroeger will retire from the position. However, as the company transitions, Kroeger will continue in his leadership with Gold Medal as CEO and chairman through 2016.

Miller comes to Gold Medal after serving as president of SVP Worldwide, an international leader in the sewing machine industry and parent company of the Singer sewing brand. His prior experience also includes progressively advancing roles of increasing responsibility with the Whirlpool Corporation. His last position held with Whirlpool was Vice President/General Manager of the North American Refrigeration Business Unit. With an extensive background in manufacturing, sales, marketing, product development and general management, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the future of Gold Medal.

Miller respectfully pays tribute to Gold Medal's success stating, "Dan's leadership and the strength of the entire team have positioned Gold Medal as the global leader in this industry. It is an honor to join the team where we will not only build for the future but also continue the strong 84-year heritage established by the founders, the Evans' family."

Kroeger relates, "I am confident that Greg is the right person to lead the next chapter in Gold Medal's success story. We welcome the fresh vision and enthusiasm that he brings. It's an exciting time with lots of opportunities on the horizon and Greg is poised to maximize the company's potential."

This will mark the fourth president in the company's 84-year history.

 

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By Daniel Garris

Warner's San Andreas demolished expectations in a big way this weekend with a first place start of $54.59 million. The Dwayne Johnson led disaster film proved to be critic proof this weekend and no doubt received an added boost from Johnson's growing fanbase after the recent break-out success of Furious 7. The opening weekend performance of San Andreas was especially impressive when considering the relatively low levels of online buzz the film displayed in the weeks leading up to its release. In addition to outpacing expectations in a big way, San Andreas opened 83 percent stronger than the $29.80 million start of last year's Hercules and just 18 percent below the $66.41 million opening of 2013's World War Z.

San Andreas opened with $18.15 million on Friday (which included an estimated $3.1 million from Thursday evening shows), increased a surprisingly strong 13 percent on Saturday to take in $20.51 million and declined just 22 percent on Sunday to gross $15.93 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.01 to 1. That is a very encouraging early sign going forward, as is the film's A- rating on CinemaScore (which suggests that the film is going over much better with moviegoers than with critics). However, competition will be especially fierce throughout the month of June, especially from Universal's Jurassic World.

The audience breakdown for San Andreas was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent female, 49 percent male) and skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (70 percent).

Pitch Perfect 2 placed in a distant second this weekend with $14.82 million. Universal's successful musical comedy sequel starring Anna Kendrick was down a sharp 52 percent from last weekend's three-day frame. While Pitch Perfect 2 continues to be quite front-loaded, the film is still outpacing expectations in a big way with a 17-day take of $147.52 million. That places the film 30 percent ahead of the $113.70 million 17-day take of last year's Neighbors. Pitch Perfect 2 could experience another sizable decline next weekend with both Fox's Spy and Focus's Insidious: Chapter 3 entering the marketplace.

On the heels of last weekend's already lackluster start, Disney's Tomorrowland was down two spots and a troubling 57 percent this weekend to place in third with $14.30 million. Mixed word of mouth and the break-out performance of San Andreas both clearly took a toll on Tomorrowland this weekend. The pricy Brad Bird directed sci-fi film starring George Clooney has grossed $63.69 million in ten days of release. Tomorrowland is currently running 13 percent behind the $73.10 million ten-day start of 2011's Super 8 and will need to stabilize very soon if it is to eventually reach the $100 million domestic mark.

Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road followed closely behind in fourth with $14.18 million. The critically acclaimed action film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron was down 42 percent, which represented a solid hold given the added presence of San Andreas this weekend. Mad Max: Fury Road continues to perform on the high end of expectations with a 17-day take of $116.47 million. That places the film 7 percent ahead of the $108.45 million 17-day gross of 2012's Prometheus.

Avengers: Age of Ultron rounded out the weekend's top five with $11.40 million. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel fell 47 percent from last weekend. Avengers: Age of Ultron has grossed $427.55 million through 31 days of release. The film surpassed the $424.67 million final gross of 2013's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire this weekend to move into tenth place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart.

Meanwhile, Sony's Aloha was off to a very soft start this weekend with a sixth place take of just $9.67 million. The Cameron Crowe directed film starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams opened below its already scaled back expectations. Unlike San Andreas, which was able to use Johnson's recent success with Furious 7 to its advantage, Aloha was unable to see any type of boost from Cooper's recent success with American Sniper. The one saving grace for Aloha is that the film carried a modest reported production budget of $37 million. Aloha opened 14 percent below the $11.24 million three-day start of 2009's All About Steve.

Aloha started out with $3.49 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.50 million from Thursday evening shows), increased 6 percent on Saturday to take in $3.69 million and declined 32.5 percent on Sunday to gross $2.49 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.77 to 1. While a number of Crowe's previous efforts have been able to display very strong holding power, Aloha will have an uphill battle ahead of it given a soft B- rating on CinemaScore, poor critical reviews and the amount of competition it will face throughout June. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards female moviegoers (64 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 30 (57 percent).

Fox's Poltergeist placed in seventh this weekend with $8.06 million. The PG-13 horror remake was down a very sharp 64 percent from last weekend. Poltergeist has grossed $38.53 million in ten days. That is towards the lower end of pre-release expectations and places the film 7 percent behind the $41.53 million ten-day take of 2013's Evil Dead.

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Sunday Update: Warner's San Andreas demolished expectations in a big way this weekend with an estimated first place start of $53.22 million. The Dwayne Johnson led disaster film proved to be critic proof this weekend and no doubt received an added boost from Johnson's growing fanbase after the recent break-out success of Furious 7. The opening weekend performance of San Andreas was especially impressive when considering the relatively low levels of online buzz the film displayed in the weeks leading up to its release. In addition to outpacing expectations in a big way, San Andreas opened 79 percent stronger than the $29.80 million start of last year's Hercules and just 20 percent below the $66.41 million opening of 2013's World War Z.

San Andreas opened with $18.23 million on Friday (which included an estimated $3.1 million from Thursday evening shows), increased a surprisingly strong 13 percent on Saturday to take in $20.58 million and is estimated to decline 30 percent on Sunday to gross $14.41 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.92 to 1. That is a very encouraging early sign going forward, as is the film's A- rating on CinemaScore (which suggests that the film is going over much better with moviegoers than with critics). However, competition will be especially fierce throughout the month of June, especially from Universal's Jurassic World.

The audience breakdown for San Andreas was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent female, 49 percent male) and skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (70 percent). 3D grosses represented 44 percent of this weekend's overall gross.

Pitch Perfect 2 placed in a distant second this weekend with an estimated $14.8 million. Universal's successful musical comedy sequel starring Anna Kendrick was down a sharp 52 percent from last weekend's three-day frame. While Pitch Perfect 2 continues to be quite front-loaded, the film is still outpacing expectations in a big way with a 17-day take of $147.54 million. That places the film 30 percent ahead of the $113.70 million 17-day take of last year's Neighbors. Pitch Perfect 2 could experience another sizable decline next weekend with both Fox's Spy and Focus's Insidious: Chapter 3 entering the marketplace.

On the heels of last weekend's already lackluster start, Disney's Tomorrowland was down two spots and a troubling 58 percent this weekend to place in third with an estimated $13.8 million. Mixed word of mouth and the break-out performance of San Andreas both clearly took a toll on Tomorrowland this weekend. The pricy Brad Bird directed sci-fi film starring George Clooney has grossed $63.19 million in ten days of release. Tomorrowland is currently running 14 percent behind the $73.10 million ten-day start of 2011's Super 8 and will need to stabilize very soon if it is to eventually reach the $100 million domestic mark.

Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road followed closely behind in fourth with an estimated $13.63 million. The critically acclaimed action film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron was down 45 percent, which represented a respectable decline given the added presence of San Andreas this weekend. Mad Max: Fury Road continues to perform on the high end of expectations with a 17-day take of $115.91 million. That places the film 7 percent ahead of the $108.45 million 17-day gross of 2012's Prometheus.

Avengers: Age of Ultron rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $10.92 million. The blockbuster superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel fell 50 percent from last weekend. Avengers: Age of Ultron has grossed $427.07 million through 31 days of release. The film surpassed the $424.67 million final gross of 2013's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire this weekend to move into tenth place on the all-time unadjusted domestic chart.

Meanwhile, Sony's Aloha was off to a soft start this weekend with an estimated sixth place take of $10.0 million. The Cameron Crowe directed film starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams opened below its already scaled back expectations. Unlike San Andreas, which was able to use Johnson's recent success with Furious 7 to its advantage, Aloha was unable to see any type of boost from Cooper's recent success with American Sniper. The one saving grace for Aloha is that the film carried a modest reported production budget of $37 million. Aloha opened 11 percent below the $11.24 million three-day start of 2009's All About Steve.

Aloha started out with $3.50 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.50 million from Thursday evening shows), increased 6 percent on Saturday to take in $3.73 million and is estimated to decline 25.5 percent on Sunday to gross $2.78 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.86 to 1. While many of Crowe's previous efforts have been able to display tremendous holding power, Aloha will have an uphill battle ahead of it given a soft B- rating on CinemaScore, poor critical reviews and the amount of competition it will face throughout June. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards female moviegoers (64 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 30 (57 percent).

Fox's Poltergeist placed in seventh this weekend with an estimated $7.8 million. The PG-13 horror remake was down a very sharp 66 percent from last weekend. Poltergeist has grossed $38.27 million in ten days. That is towards the lower end of pre-release expectations and places the film 8 percent behind the $41.53 million ten-day take of 2013's Evil Dead.

Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports San Andreas bowed to an impressive $18.215 million on Friday, including Thursday's pre-shows. That figure easily makes it Dwayne Johnson's career best opening day for a film in which he's the primary lead actor (topping The Scorpion King's $12.55 million), while also blowing past the $11.06 million first day of his Hercules last summer. For added perspective in the disaster genre, San Andreas earned more in its first day than Into the Storm pulled ($17.35 million) over its three-day weekend last August. Johnson's star power is certainly to thank here following his popular presence in the Fast & Furious franchise, as well as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island -- all franchises for which he's credited for helping revive at some point. Word of mouth for San Andreas doesn't look strong with a 63 percent audience score and 49 percent critics' score, but either way, the film is poised to become a financial success with this kind of debut. In its favor, the studio reports the pic earned an "A-" CinemaScore. BoxOffice is projecting a $49 million opening weekend.

In second place Friday, Pitch Perfect 2 was off 52.5 percent from last Friday to add $4.6 million to its haul. The comedy sequel continues to play well as we head into June, having now reached $137.3 million domestically. Universal is projecting a $14.2 million weekend.

Mad Max: Fury Road posted another $3.865 million yesterday, down just 42 percent from last Friday. George Miller's post-apocalyptic franchise revival has amassed $106.16 million in North America thus far, and should bring in around $12.7 million for its third frame as it continues to benefit from enthusiastic audience and critical reception.

Disney's Tomorrowland claimed fourth place on Friday with $3.78 million, down 61 percent from opening day last week. Unfortunately, the original sci-fi adventure from Brad Bird hasn't caught fire with audiences as it now stands at $53.2 million domestically after eight days in release. BoxOffice projects a $12.3 million sophomore frame.

Cameron Crowe's Aloha opened unceremoniously on Friday despite its star-studded cast. The rom-com pulled $3.6 million in fifth place yesterday. Sony notes the pic received a "B+" CinemaScore from adults 25-54, but critics have mostly panned the film (18 percent) while early audience reception is heading in a sour direction (44 percent). Although the film's production budget was a modest $37 million, its projected $10.5 million opening this weekend unfortunately won't be enough to save it in the long run.

Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron added $2.86 million yesterday for a 46.5 percent week-to-week drop. The Marvel blockbuster sequel has totaled $419 million domestically now, and could finish ahead of Aloha for the weekend with a projected $10.7 million.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that San Andreas is headed for an opening slightly above $40 million during its debut frame. Aloha should end up with around $14 million.

Check back tomorrow for official studio numbers and updated projections.

Friday Update #1: Warner Bros. reports that San Andreas got off to a strong start on Thursday night with an estimated $3.1 million. That figure handily tops fellow Dwayne Johnson starrer Hercules, which pulled $2.1 million from Thursday shows in mid-July last year. San Andreas also wasn't too far behind the $3.7 million Thursday bow of Mad Max: Fury Road. It's pretty clear that Johnson's star power is the driving force behind the disaster pic's potential this weekend.

Meanwhile, Aloha also debuts in theaters today, although no Thursday figures were available at the time of publishing.

Check back for more updates throughout the day and weekend.

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