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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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San Andreas is shaking things up overseas. The disaster flick claimed $13.5 million from 14,444 screens in 60 markets, taking first place across all key markets to reach an overseas cume of $21.4 million. 

Mexico enjoyed a $2.5 million debut on Friday from 2,701 screens, giving it the best Friday opening of all time for a disaster movie. UK opened on Friday to $1.9 million from 840 screens. Russia made $1.1 million from 2,256 screens in it second day of release, bringing the market total to $2.2 million. Australia took in $540k from 448 screens and is now up to a $885k total. Brazil made $517k from 926 screens, giving it a two-day cume of $872k. France grossed $506k from 496 screens, raising its cume to $1.3 million. Germany made $483k from 640 screens, with 96% of the box office coming from 3D screens to bring the cume to $835k. Italy added $181k from 394 screens on Friday to bring its total to $318k.

San Andreas expands to China, Korea, Hong Kong and 5 smaller markets next weekend with Spain slated for June 26.

 

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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%

Subscribe to BoxOffice for more social media insights/coverage.

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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