SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Here’s the latest news about the start of the Summer Box Office with its first official weekend totalling $145 million, +52% from last year. The 2011 box office slump is now officially history. North America’s #1 movie is Universal’s Fast Five whose weekend of $83.6M blew away the $71M opening weekend of fourquel Fast & Furious. Now, this 5th installment in the street racing franchise breaks the studio’s non-toon losing streak in recent years with a global cume of $165M in just 10 days of release internationally. But two other pics debuting this weekend — Disney’s Prom and The Weinstein Co’s Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil 3D — failed to connect with audiences. Here’s the Top 10:
1. Fast Five (Universal) NEW [3,644 Theaters]
Friday $34.4M, Saturday $30.2M, Weekend $83.6M
Even with a -13% drop on Saturday, which would be normal because its Friday’s grosses expanded by midnight showings, that’s still a bigger North American weekend cume for Fast Five than the top 2 openings this year combined (Rio $39M/Rango $38M). The film received an “A” CinemaScore and an “A+” from moviegoers under age 18. In terms of records, Universal is claiming: the biggest opening in Universal history (besting Lost World: Jurassic Park‘s $72.1M), the biggest opening of 2011 (besting Rio‘s $39.2M), the biggest Universal opening for 2011 (besting Hop‘s $37.5M), the highest opening for an April Release (besting Fast & Furious‘ $71M), the highest opening for the last weekend in April (besting A Nightmare On Elm Street‘s $39M), the highest opening for stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and producer Neil Moritz, and director Justin Lin. A lot of Uni execs are breathing easier today now that they’ve delivered a nice fat hit to their new Comcast overlords who must have been wondering if they’d bought a bomb factory instead of a movie studio. Fast Five opened first overseas 10 days ago and this weekend grossed a huge $45.3M at 3,211 dates in just 14 territories. That raised its early international tally to $81.4M. So now the worldwide total stands at a whopping $165M. The pic opened No. 1 in each of the 10 new markets. The openings are bigger than all the previous Fast franchise films. (Paramount opened Marvel/Disney’s Thor head-to-head against Fast Five in more than a dozen markets but not in the U.S. and Canada until next Friday. Of course, sequels do better overseas than in this country.) But even rival studios say Fast Five is on track for a $300M foreign and $500M worldwide finish. “Here’s what I’m most proud of: there is nothing obvious about what happened. No one can say of course every single decision how it was going to be made, how it was going to be cast, when it was going to be dated, how it was going to be sold, was very startegically thought out. There is no reason for the 5th movie in a franchise to have pulled off what this pulled off,” Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson told me this morning.
2. Rio (Blue Sky/Fox) Week 3 [3,708 Theaters]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $14.4M, Cume $103.6M
3. Madea’s Big Happy Family (Tyler Perry/Lionsgate) Week 2 [2,288 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $10M (-60%), Cume $41M
4. Water For Elephants (Fox 2000/Fox) Week 2 [2,820 Theaters]
Friday $2.9M, Saturday $4M, Weekend $9.1M (-45%), Estimated Cume $32.1M
5. Prom (Disney) NEW [2,730 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $5M
Usually, studios large and small boast about releasing $9 million budget movies because the upside can be huge even if majors spend at least $30M to market any film. But when it’s the first greenlit movie from Rich Ross as chief of Walt Disney Pictures, then the Prom bomb has the potential to humiliate. Disney expected a weekend opening of around $8M-$9M, and Hollywood about $10M. Nope. It was half that. Prom is one of four movies that was greenlit around the same time last year along with Pirates Of The Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, The Muppets reboot, and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. Only Prom didn’t have a box office pedigree, and I was bewildered why Ross wouldn’t make this little movie into a clone of the wildly successful High School Musical which Ross did at Disney Channel — complete with singing and dancing. (The sequel could have been Homecoming…) Nope. The Prom soundtrack featuring new and original songs by in-house Hollywood Records’ Allstar Weekend, Travie McCoy, and Neon Trees didn’t attract moviegoers. Nor did a young up-and-coming multicultural cast including Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights) and Thomas McDonell who’s cast in the upcoming Dark Shadows but couldn’t match Zac Efron as a draw. Naturally, Prom‘s target audience was young female tweens/teens and its late April release was timed to U.S. prom-planning season. The Disney marketing machine leveraged third-party promotional support. But the pic, directed by Joe Nussbaum and written by Katie Welch, left the kids cold. “We are going after a very specific market, and, if we can get that market and get films like this right, the upside represents an incredible opportunity,” a Disney exec told me before the movie opened. “When you have big budget tentpoles like Pirates, Oz, all the Marvel films, we need to have other types of films in the portfolio that have potential to make money with less risk attached.” Unfortunately for them, the “Promb” puts more stress on the slate coming together now from Ross and his president of production Sean Bailey.
6. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil 3D (Weinstein Co) NEW [2,505 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $4.1M
Of the locations where this fractured fairy tale toon based on Red Riding Hood is playing, 75% are 3D. But even those higher ticket prices couldn’t help The Weinstein Co save this sequel. The indie studio was expecting mid- to high single digits for the weekend, and it’s underperforming. As a source in film financing emailed me, “A huge turkey.” P&A was estimated at $36M, but Weinstein Conow tells me now that since Hoodwinked Too was a service deal for Kanbar just like it did on the first one, “we did not put up one dime of P&A on the movie”. How embarrassing for The Weinstein Co that this piece of crap is what it’s playing at the Tribeca Film Festival. Then again, it’s appropriate since that fest is crap, too — merely an excuse for Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal to phony up a film fest and sucker American Express. (more…)