By Todd Allen
How tailored to the Beat’s demographic has the summer movie season been? 7 out of the top 10 films are hitting that cartoon/SF/F range. It’s really remarkable. The comedies that were supposed to be “big” are massively under-performing and studio executives aren’t likely to be skipping Comicon this year. Let’s just look at the Top 10 and bask in themes:
1 Brave $ 66.7 M — Cartoon
2Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted $ 20.2 M — Cartoon
3Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter $ 16.5 M — Fantasy
4 Prometheus $ 10.0 M — SF
5 Rock of Ages $ 8.0 M — Under-performing Comedy
6 Snow White and Thor $ 8.0M — Fantasy
7 That’s My Boy $ 7.9 M — Under-performing Comedy
8 The Avengers $ 7.0 M — SF/F
9 Men in Black 3 $ 5.6 M — SF/F
10 Seeking a Friend For the End of the World $ 3.8 M SF-themed scenario
The fact that the two high-profile comedies aren’t doing better is really interesting, and I’ve seen lists where Snow White is ranked above Rock of Ages, so we’ll have to wait for Monday’s actual receipts to see who’s #5 and who’s #6. The two are in a dead heat. It looks like the wide audience has some specific tastes this summer.
As expected, Brave takes the #1 slot by the throat. Madagascar 3 shows some staying power against direct competition and was aided by a so-so opening from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. On the other hand, Mr. Lincoln has opened to better box office than Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy, and on fewer screens than Rock of Ages.
The interesting subplot this week is per screen average and the surprise is The Avengers. This weekend, Avengers had another gentle 21% drop-off and finished above Men in Black 3 for totals. Moreover, it’s $3,157 average would put it at the #5 film, doing better on a theater-by-theater basis than Rock of Ages, Snow White and That’s My Boy. Truth be told, Rock of Age’s $2,305 average is kind of sad for $75M budgeted wide release in its second week.
Avengers has been sucking the wind out of the other films all summer long. MiB3 and Battleship, particularly. Avengers lost another 352 screens this weekend, as it continues to slowly withdraw in its 8th week. This sets the stage for some interesting programming decisions over the next couple weeks. Avengers still has legs. That’s a remarkable per screen average 2 months in. Newer films are falling by the wayside. That’s a reason to keep it around. And that also might create the very interesting question of whether Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man can co-exist in 2 weeks? I don’t know that Avengers will still command 2000+ screens in two weeks (it’s possible), but at this rate it should still be in wide release. Sony can’t be particularly happy about that. Especially not with Dark Knight Rises debuting 2 weeks later. But… did anybody think we’d be talking about whether Avengers would have 2000 screens in week 10 when the summer schedule was drawn up? I don’t think so.
Next week’s release are slightly more “normal,” in terms of genre. We’ll get Stephen Soderbergh’s stripper comedy/drama, Magic Mike, with Channing Tatum; People Like Us, a family-oriented drama; Tyler Perry’s loyal army will probably turn out in good numbers for Medea’s Witness Protection (I’m looking at cast list for this that says Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards and Tom Arnold — now that’s a diverse cast); and this summer being what it is, Ted — a fantasy-themed comedy about a man who’s teddy bear talked… and is a bit of a bastard to judge by the previews.
Two weeks out, Spidey shows up, along with Oliver Stone’s new crime flick in Savages.
Tyler Perry usually brings numbers to box office. I’m curious if the non-genre fare of Magic Mike and People Like Us will make any waves.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.