Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Tron: Legacy 3D' Opens #1 For Disney; 'How Do You Know' Expensive Flop For Sony

SATURDAY PM?UPDATE: If everybody like me is getting on or off a plane, then who's at the movies this weekend? This is why, between shopping and travelling, the last full weekend before Christmas is traditionally a lousy time for North American grosses. "They're not rushing out to see movies. What you tend to forget, going into this weekend, is that the pool of people who are available, and don’t have a lot of commitments on their time in terms of parties and presents and vacations, is small," a studio mogul explains to me.
Here's the Top 10:

1. Tron: Legacy 3D (Disney) NEW [3,451 Theaters]
Friday $18M, Saturday $15.5M, Estimated Weekend $47M

This is exactly the sort of movie to benefit during the pre-Christmas rush because of the obvious fanboy interest, helped by the fact that every young male is out of school and can indulge his cultural need to see films like this first. So Hollywood and even Disney had been expecting a weekend of at least $50M. "Depends how good it is," one rival studio exec snarked. Remember that Friday's number included $3.6M from midnight screenings, so Saturday's take didn't increase -- not a good sign.?With a budget estimated as $150M, and a global marketing push estimated at another $120M, Tron: Legacy 3D?had a ton of pre-sales domestically but will have to depend on international overperforming.?Globally, Tron 2 is opening in 26 international markets (Australia, Brazil, Japan, Scandinavia, Spain, UK, etc.) representing about 50% of the marketplace. Remember that Friday's number opened to $3.6M from midnight screenings, including over $1 million from 228 IMAX theaters. (I'm told that's by far the biggest percentage -- 25+% -- done of any movie's midnight box office, and more than the percentage of midnight take by IMAX for Iron Man 2, Inception, Avatar. But note that's not the highest IMAX gross.)

Disney arranged for “Tron Night” at 520 theaters in 40 countries, with premiere events in Tokyo, London, Los Angeles and Berlin (in January 2011). Not only did Tron 2 open the Tokyo International Film Festival, but key buildings in Osaka, Nagoya, and Yokohama were covered in blue Tron lights, while in Toronto the CN Tower was similarly lit up. Disney's consumer products division came onboard. The studio even used its newly purchased Marvel to push the pic: a 2-issue comic book limited series, "Tron: Betrayal" grqaphic novel was sold under the Tron name. Meanwhile, the film's soundtrack from Walt Disney Records produced by the Grammy Award-winning French duo Daft Punk hit #1 on Amazon, became iTunes single of the week, and debuted at #10 on the Billboard Top 200 -- the first score soundtrack to debut in the Top 10 in five years.

2. Yogi Bear 3D (Warner Bros) NEW [3,515 Theaters]
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $7M, Estimated Weekend $16.5M

Not much to say?when Hollywood thought the bear could muster domestic grosses between $20M and $25M. Nope. The?kiddie matinee bump for?Yogi Bear was +52% on Saturday. Let's see how it does over the holiday. But I pity the poor parent who has to sit through this Jellystone Park mind-dumber, even with the nostalgia factor. Especially considering the higher 3D ticket prices.

3.?Narnia/Dawn Treader 3D (Walden/Fox) Week 2 [3,555 Theaters]
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $5.2M,?Weekend $12.6M (-47%), Estimated Cume $43M

4. The Fighter (Relativity/Paramount) Week 2 [2,503 Theaters]
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $4.9M, Estimated Weekend $12.1M

5. Tangled (Disney) Week 4 [3,201 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3.8M, Estimated Weekend $8.8M, Estimated Cume $129.7M

6. How Do You Know (Sony) NEW [2,483 Theaters]
Friday $2.9M, Estimated Weekend $8.7M

Warning: this pic could fall even lower once Sunday morning's order is determined. Sony Pictures all week had been warning me about how little Jim Brooks' movies make. The problem is that none of his films have been this expensive. Brooks' highest grossing opening as a director was $12.6 million for As Good As It Gets, in part because Jack Nicholson was the lead. "We should come close to that, maybe a little less, and we expect a solid multiple," a sony exec tells me. "We are in a season where these films leg out." But in How Do You Know, Nicholson appears to be in a different movie than everyone else. Indeed, Brooks wrote this pic for and around Witherspoon, with Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd upping the comedic quotient. But tracking had been awful, and stayed awful right up until the movie opened Friday well behind Black Swan which was expanding into almost 1,000 screens this weekend and scoring twice How Do You Know's first-choice numbers for women. As for mutiples, they're dependent on good word of mouth. Without that, anything less than $15M this weekend was a giant headache for Sony given what I'm told is How Do You Know's $120 million budget -- no kidding, and for a comedy -- while under $10M represented a $50 million writeoff for Sony. That's because Brooks kept to his usual long, long schedule, shooting a ton of footage, all while Nicholson and Wilson and Rudd and Witherspoon were getting paid full freight. Worse, Brooks indulged in uber-expensive reshoots as the studio and the writer/director tried to make Reese's unlikeable character more appealing. (They succeeded.) But Black Swan, in the words of one studio rival, was "a better alternative" at the box office for women. Ouch!

7. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [959 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Estimated Weekend $9M

8. The Tourist (GK Films/Sony) Week 2 [2,756 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M (-56%), Estimated Weekend $8.5M, Estimated Cume $30.6M

9. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,860 Theaters]
Friday $1.5M, Estimated weekend $5.3M, Estimated Cume $266M

10. Unstoppable (Fox) Week 6 [1,876 Theaters]
Friday $675K, Estimated Weekend $2M, Estimated Cume $77.6M

FRIDAY AM: Disney now says Tron Legacy 3D opened to $3.6 million from midnight screenings. It also did over $1 million from 228 IMAX theaters. I'm told that's by far the biggest percentage -- 25+% -- done of any movie's midnight box office, and more than the percentage of midnight take by IMAX for Iron Man 2, Inception, Avatar. But note that's not the highest IMAX gross.

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