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AHC 2016 Interview: Dan Borschke, Executive Vice President, National Association of Concessionaires on January 19, 2016

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By Daniel Loria

What are some of the main points that art-house and independent exhibitors can take away from your presentation at Art House Convergence?

This is the first time NAC is involved with Art House Convergence, and we'll be talking about the value and benefits of concessions at art-house theaters. Interestingly, the average independent art-house theater only gets around 15 percent of its total revenue from concessions, whereas the typical circuit or chain theater gets around 35 to 40 percent of its revenue from concessions. We see an opportunity for the smaller independent theaters to improve their bottom line while also providing people with what they like on a trip to the movies. We always operate under the same philosophy: why should you allow people to leave your theater without eating if they plan to do so, whether it's before or after? It'd be wonderful to keep that money under one roof. In this case, hopefully with some creativity and real marketing savvy, we'll be able to find a way for art-house theaters to keep that money. I'm going to be doing a 75- to 90-minute presentation showing the benefits and trends in food, not just in concessions but also through many hospitality venues. We'll be going through product after product in the presentation; I'll have around 30 samples of everything, including bottled water, corn chips, and candy. It's a wonderful opportunity to engage with what can and what cannot work, examples that range from alcohol and dine-in to standards like popcorn and candy.

What sort of potential do art-house audiences represent in terms of concessions sales?

The average art-house moviegoer can go to the cinema almost twice as much as they go to any other theater. We're talking about going to the movies ten times a year instead of four. That speaks to the loyalty of those moviegoers. These are moviegoers that are usually more upscale, and that presents a wonderful opportunity. It's a different audience, so you need to be aware of trends like non-GMO to gluten-free and types of items that can appeal to that audience.

One of my favorite cinemas here in New York City draws an older crowd --let's just say they sell a lot of senior-discount tickets-- and it's interesting to see how that is reflected in their concessions strategy: they offer a variety of cakes and muffins that they display just as prominently as their popcorn and candy. How do demographics play into the equation?

Like any owner of a retail establishment, you need to know the demographics of your customers. What works in Manhattan, New York, doesn't necessarily work in Manhattan, Kansas. You need to know your audience, key questions like knowing if they have dollars to spend. If they don't, then you can always down charge some of the more popular items. In many ways you need to know your demographics in order to make your concessions business more profitable.

Hot food has been an important trend in exhibition as of late, but I can understand why more budget-conscious exhibitors might shy away from tapping into it. Are there any alternatives for smaller exhibitors who might want to try an extended concessions menu without having to take the financial risk it entails?

Some theater chains are hiring third parties so they don't incur the hassle or expense of opening up a kitchen. I know of locations that have opened up doughnut stands and bars that have been contracted out to third parties, receiving a percentage of their take. There are ways of getting around the overhead and liability issues involved in hot food.

What role does in-theater dining play in today's art-house cinema?

One of the largest members of Art House Convergence is Alamo Drafthouse. In my book they're an art house, but they're certainly a circuit as well if you see how they're growing and franchising throughout the country. They're doing very, very well. They've found a great way to make money through food and beverage. Companies like Alamo are just as good restaurants and bars as they are cinemas. We have members that focus just as much on their food and beverage as what they have on screen, because that's where they make more money.

How can NAC help art-house cinemas in their concessions strategies?

We pride ourselves on our work with smaller companies and entrepreneurial exhibitors and suppliers, and we've had a lot of success. We are obviously very excited to have great members like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal as part of our organization because they bring a lot to our company. But frankly, the ones who need our services most are the smaller companies that don't have the excess cash to do the research on their own. We can help them. We have the education and certification programs for them. In that sense, it's an opportunity to use the membership to extend their value.

 

AHC 2016 Interview: Emily Best, Founder and CEO, Seed&Spark on January 19, 2016

By Daniel Loria

A filmmaker, both in practice and at heart, Emily Best developed Seed&Spark after finding current independent production and distribution models out of touch with today's culture and technology. Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding and distribution platform that gives filmmakers the tools they need to take full control of their career. BoxOffice spoke with Best ahead of her closing keynote address at Art House Convergence.

Seed&Spark originated from an independent-film production; can you tell us more about that experience?

I made a movie with some friends in 2011 called Like the Water. This is before women and media hit the zeitgeist; we wanted to make a movie that we felt reflected women we recognized as opposed to the ones we were told we were. We wanted women who had strong friendships and complicated, interesting journeys as opposed to ones who had problems that only a man could solve. My friend Caitlin Fitzgerald was making Newlyweds with Ed Burns at the time; he was one of the first filmmakers to really embrace the digital revolution and released a movie theatrically that he made for $9,000. This was really the ushering in of a totally new era, and that's really when I got into filmmaking. I didn't enter with any of the traditional industry rules and regulations; I came into it knowing the ways things were changing and the opportunities that created. 

Is that where the crowdsourcing component of Seed&Spark comes from?

When we tried to fund this movie about women we recognized, we were constantly told there probably wasn't an audience for the film. Kickstarter and Indiegogo had been around for a little while, but we didn't want to ask for a pile of money. We wanted to get our community involved in a way that would help them understand what it would take to get the movie made and what the journey would look like. I don't know, maybe you don't need to get a group of women in a room for that long to get to the idea of a wedding registry: a list of things and their associated costs. We made a wish list and listed everything we needed: $20,000 in 30 days. We raised $23,000 cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and loans of locations, goods, and services. We listed bug spray and sunscreen because we were going to shoot in Maine over the summer, and my cousin-who didn't have a ton of money at the time-was working in a sports- supply warehouse in California and shipped us a case of each. He was a legend for it. A local car dealership loaned us a couple of cars for six weeks. A local coffee shop gave us 60 pounds of coffee and kept us caffeinated for our 22-day shoot. It's a way of filmmaking that respects what filmmakers are really trying to do; it captures a community in one way or another, it not only tells us a story. When we finished the film and started taking it around the festival circuit, people who contributed to our campaign would begin bringing friends to our screenings. Even when we were in Poland and Oaxaca, Mexico-places where we didn't know we knew people.

Beyond funding, Seed&Spark can also be seen as a disruptive platform for the current independent-film distribution model.

I was meeting all these gatekeepers: sales agents, financiers, and distributors. They kept telling me there wasn't an audience for the movie. I would keep on going to festivals, however, and we'd see how positively people reacted. Clearly, the gatekeepers seemed incredibly out of touch, but, more critically, they didn't seem to know how to reach a community of interest in a way beyond what they'd been doing for years.

Seed&Spark was born out of our desire to help filmmakers connect with the communities that would support their careers-not just for one film but for their entire career. We also wanted to distribute those films in a responsible way that could also reap financial returns for the filmmakers. A lot of people have said they're there to help filmmakers make money, but very few have meant it. We are a for-filmmaker, by-filmmaker company, and we're aiming to transform the industry into a place where we think we have a sustainable future making films. 

Last year we went on the road to teach this class called Crowdfunding to Build Independence, which is really about using crowdfunding to build a lasting, sustainable, direct relationship with audiences that can be monetized to build distribution for many films-not just one. We're building increasing numbers of features into our product, which allows filmmakers to leverage the data they gather about their audience from crowdfunding to build strategic and sustainable distribution plans. Not every [independent] film can be released theatrically, but the ones that do often aren't doing it based on anything other than their desire to release theatrically. We want every single person that touches a crowdfunding venture to receive a survey asking where they watch films. It would be a very different thing to start building a distribution plan if you had 500 guaranteed audience members who indicate they like to watch content at art-house theaters across three states. Then we can work directly with theater owners in each state. 

Speaking about distribution, can you tell us more about your partnership with Tugg, the communal film-booking platform?

Our partnership really centers around the educational efforts, teaching filmmakers that all the tools are available for them to control every aspect of their careers. Filmmakers will never have to talk to another gatekeeper again to create, generate, and capitalize on the demand for their own films. I fundamentally believe that while there will always be the business of the gatekeepers, if you're not telling the stories they're used to making money on, they're just not going to pick you. That is not going to happen. So you can either try and change the things that matter to you and write, produce, and direct films that look more like the ones they're making, or you can tell your own stories and connect directly with the audiences who are being massively underserved by the Hollywood model. It's a different way of coming to work; you need to take more entrepreneurial control of your career. That's really where Tugg and Seed&Spark have found our greatest overlap-in our desire to give filmmakers all the tools they need to build the sustainable careers they want.

There's a curatorial aspect to film programming, but the root of it all really does come down to what sort of films are being acquired by distributors. How does crowdfunding alter that model?

As we align more around our interests, taste becomes a very tricky way to judge things, because taste is heavily biased. We just saw Project Greenlight, and while Matt Damon is talking about meritocracy, we need to realize that a meritocracy to Matt Damon is stuff that looks like him. He's the success story, and therefore stuff that looks like him has merit. Inside our notions of merit and taste are built deep, entrenched biases: racial, gender, regional. We need to start thinking that part of diversity is getting people outside of New York and Los Angeles. Crowdfunding brings things to the forefront that might not be for me but that have huge audiences that feel they're well represented by these stories. The only kind of gatekeeping there should be is one where the audience says yes or no.

Ultimately taste doesn't sell tickets, demand does. With Seed&Spark you're identifying that demand on a community-by-community basis.

Our hope is that we can seed films directly into the communities that are demanding them. We can identify projects that might not think of themselves as art-house worthy, projects that have strong connections to communities. This is what the Internet promised it could always do, and we're doing it.

 

NORTH AMERICA: 4-Day Weekend Estimates: 'Ride Along 2' Leads with $41.6M Start; 'The Revenant' Second with Strong $39.0M Hold; 'The Force Awakens' Third with $32.6M; '13 Hours' Debuts in Fourth with $19.7M on January 17, 2016

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Monday Update: Universal's Ride Along 2 debuted in first place over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend with an estimated $41.55 million. The PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart debuted towards the lower end of expectations and 15 percent below the $48.63 million four-day start of 2014's Ride Along. The film had been widely expected to debut a bit below Ride Along due in part to less pre-release excitement and the potential for sequel fatigue. With that said, Ride Along 2 still registered the fourth largest four-day Martin Luther King weekend debut of all-time and the eighth largest thee-day January opening ever. Universal's revised three-day estimate for Ride Along 2 is $35.32 million. Ride Along 2 received a B+ rating on CinemaScore. While that's a solid score, it's also significantly softer than the A rating Ride Along received on CinemaScore and suggests that the film will be more front-loaded than its predecessor was.

Thanks in part to healthy word of mouth and its 12 Academy Award nominations; Fox's The Revenant continued to exceed expectations with an estimated second place take of $39.0 million over the four-day frame. The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed western starring Leonardo DiCaprio held up significantly stronger on Sunday than Fox had been expecting yesterday. The Revenant was down a very slim 2 percent from last weekend's already stronger than expected debut. The Revenant has grossed an impressive $97.17 million after eleven days of wide release (and an additional two weeks of platform release). That places the film 26 percent ahead of the $77.32 million eleven-day take of 2010's Shutter Island. The Revenant represents another strong performer for DiCaprio and should continue to hold up well going forward. Fox's revised three-day estimate for The Revenant is $31.8 million.

After leading the weekend box office for each of the past four frames, Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens fell to third place this weekend with an estimated four-day take of $32.57 million. The seventh chapter of the Star Wars franchise was down a solid 23 percent from last weekend. The Force Awakens passed the $850 million mark this weekend and continues to pad its total as the highest grossing film of all-time domestically with $858.50 million through 32 days of release. The film is currently running 70 percent ahead of the $504.87 million 32-day take of 2009's Avatar and 45 percent ahead of the $592.84 million 32-day gross of last year's Jurassic World. Disney's revised three-day estimate for The Force Awakens is $26.38 million. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Force Awakens claimed the fourth largest three-day fifth weekend gross of all-time (behind only Avatar, 1997's Titanic and 2013's Frozen).

Paramount's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi debuted in fourth place with an estimated four-day start of $19.65 million. The Michael Bay action thriller debuted a bit below expectations. While it wasn't expected to do so, 13 Hours was unable to deliver the type of break-out performance that other war themed thrillers such as American Sniper, Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty have delivered in recent years during the month of January. Potential for 13 Hours appears to have been weakened by the politics that have surrounded the 2012 Benghazi attack, as well as the break-out performance of The Revenant. 13 Hours is running 26 percent behind the $26.42 million four-day start of 2012's Act of Valor. Paramount's revised three-day estimate for 13 Hours is $16.22 million. 13 Hours did receive a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film will hold up well going forward.

Fellow Paramount release Daddy's Home rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated four-day take of $12.0 million. The PG-13 rated comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg was down a very solid 20 percent. Daddy's Home continues to impress with a stronger than expected 25-day gross of $131.96 million. That places the film 32 percent ahead of the $99.65 million 25-day take of 2010's The Other Guys. Paramount's revised three-day estimate for Daddy's Home is $9.54 million.

Meanwhile, Norm of the North was off to a lackluster sixth place start this weekend with an estimated four-day take of $9.33 million. The modestly budgeted computer animated film from Lionsgate opened in line with its already low expectations. Martin Luther King weekend is typically a strong weekend for family films, but Norm of the North was unable to take advantage of the holiday frame. Norm of the North opened a very underwhelming 64 percent below the $25.70 million four-day start of 2014's The Nut Job. Lionsgate's revised three-day estimate for Norm of the North is $6.84 million. Norm of the North received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which isn't a good sign going forward. On top of that, the film will be facing added competition for family audiences from Fox's Kung Fu Panda 3 beginning on January 29.

The Forest landed in seventh place with an estimated $7.02 million. The PG-13 horror film from Focus and Gramercy starring Natalie Dormer was down a respectable 45 percent from last weekend's debut. The Forest has grossed a stronger than expected $22.35 million in eleven days. That places the film essentially on par with the $22.40 million eleven-day gross of last year's The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death. Focus' revised three-day estimate for The Forest is $6.02 million.

Thanks in part to the five Academy Award nominations it received; Paramount's The Big Short was up 4 percent to take in an estimated eighth place four-day gross of $6.45 million. This weekend's hold was especially impressive given that The Big Short is playing in 764 fewer locations than it was last week. The Adam McKay directed comedy drama passed the $50 million mark this weekend and has grossed $51.77 million in 39 days. Paramount's revised three-day estimate for The Big Short is $5.30 million.

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Sunday Update: Universal's Ride Along 2 debuted in first place over the three-day portion of the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with an estimated $34.04 million. The PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart debuted on the low end of expectations and 18 percent below the $41.52 million three-day start of 2014's Ride Along. The film had been widely expected to debut a bit below Ride Along due in part to less pre-release excitement and the potential for sequel fatigue. With that said, Ride Along 2 still registered the fourth largest three-day Martin Luther King weekend debut of all-time and the eighth largest January opening ever. Universal's current four-day estimate for Ride Along 2 is $39.51 million.

Ride Along 2 opened with $12.0 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.26 million from Thursday night shows), increased 13 percent on Saturday to claim $13.61 million and is estimated to decrease 38 percent on Sunday to gross $8.43 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.84 to 1. The audience breakdown for Ride Along 2 skewed slightly towards female moviegoers (52 percent) and towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (55 percent). Ride Along 2 received a B+ rating on CinemaScore. While that's a solid score, it's also significantly softer than the A rating Ride Along received on CinemaScore and suggests that the film will be more front-loaded than its predecessor was.

Thanks in part to healthy word of mouth and its 12 Academy Award nominations; Fox's The Revenant continued to exceed expectations with a close estimated second place take of $29.5 million over the three-day frame. The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed western starring Leonardo DiCaprio was down a slim 26 percent from last weekend's already stronger than expected debut. The Revenant has grossed an impressive $87.67 million after ten days of wide release (and an additional two weeks of platform release). That places the film 16 percent ahead of the $75.54 million ten-day start of 2010's Shutter Island (which fell 45 percent in its second weekend to gross $22.67 million). The Revenant represents another strong performer for DiCaprio and should continue to hold up well going forward. BoxOffice currently projects a four-day take of $35.0 million for The Revenant.

After leading the weekend box office for each of the past four frames, Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens fell to third place this weekend with an estimated three-day take of $25.12 million. The seventh chapter of the Star Wars franchise was down a solid 41 percent from last weekend. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Force Awakens claimed the fourth largest fifth weekend gross of all-time (behind only 2009's Avatar, 1997's Titanic and 2013's Frozen). The Force Awakens passed the $850 million mark this weekend and continues to pad its total as the highest grossing film of all-time domestically with $851.05 million through 31 days of release. The film is currently running 72.5 percent ahead of the $493.25 million 31-day take of Avatar and 44 percent ahead of the $590.69 million 31-day gross of last year's Jurassic World. Disney's four-day estimate for Star Wars: The Force Awakens stands at $31.0 million.

Paramount's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi debuted in fourth place with an estimated three-day start of $16.0 million. The Michael Bay action thriller debuted a bit below expectations. While it wasn't expected to do so, 13 Hours was unable to deliver the type of break-out performance that other war themed thrillers such as American Sniper, Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty have delivered in recent years during the month of January. Potential for 13 Hours appears to have been weakened by the politics that have surrounded the 2012 Benghazi attack. 13 Hours opened 35 percent below the $24.48 million three-day launch of 2012's Act of Valor. Paramount's current four-day estimate for 13 Hours is $19.0 million.

13 Hours started with $5.93 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.90 million from Thursday night shows), decreased 2 percent on Saturday to take in $5.79 million and is estimated to decline 26 percent on Sunday to gross $4.29 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.70 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (55 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (79 percent). 13 Hours received a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film will hold up well going forward. 13 Hours will also be receiving an expansion into Canada next weekend (the film only opened in 7 locations in Canada this weekend).

Fellow Paramount release Daddy's Home rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated three-day take of $9.30 million. The PG-13 rated comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg was down a solid 38 percent. Daddy's Home continues to impress with a stronger than expected 24-day gross of $129.26 million. That places the film 30.5 percent ahead of the $99.02 million 24-day take of 2010's The Other Guys. Paramount's current four-day estimate for Daddy's Home stands at $11.35 million.

Meanwhile, Norm of the North was off to a soft sixth place start this weekend with an estimated three-day take of $6.68 million. The modestly budgeted computer animated film from Lionsgate opened on the lower end of its already low expectations. Martin Luther King weekend is typically a strong weekend for family films, but Norm of the North was unable to take advantage of the holiday frame. Norm of the North opened a very underwhelming 66 percent below the $19.42 million three-day start of 2014's The Nut Job.

Norm of the North took in $1.58 million on Friday, increased 90 percent on Saturday to gross $3.00 million and is estimated to fall 30 percent on Sunday to take in $2.10 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 4.22 to 1. Norm of the North received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which isn't a good sign going forward. Lionsgate is currently estimating a four-day take of $8.80 million for Norm of the North.

Thanks in part to the five Academy Award nominations it received; Paramount's The Big Short was down just 16 percent to claim an estimated eighth place three-day take of $5.20 million. The Adam McKay directed comedy drama passed the $50 million mark this weekend and has grossed $50.52 million in 38 days. Paramount's current four-day estimate for The Big Short is $6.25 million.

Four-Day Estimates

1. Ride Along 2 -- $39.51 m*
2. The Revenant -- $35.0 m**
3. The Force Awakens -- $31.01 m*
4. 13 Hours -- $19.0 m*
5. Daddy's Home -- $11.35 m*
6. Norm of the North -- $8.80m*
7. The Forest -- $6.75 m**
8. The Big Short -- $6.25 m*
9. Sisters -- $5.07 m*
10. The Hateful Eight -- $4.10 m**
11. The Road Chip -- $4.00m**
12. Joy -- $3.20m**
-- Brooklyn -- $2.00m**
-- Spotlight -- $1.90m*
-- Carol -- $1.65 m**

* Indicates an official studio estimate
** Indicates a BoxOffice.com estimate

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Saturday Update: Universal reports that Ride Along 2 posted a solid $12 million opening day in first place on Friday, including Thursday night's $1.26 million opening show earnings. As expected, the sequel proved more front-loaded than its predecessor after those early shows, resulting in the overall opening day coming in 17 percent lower than the first film's $14.4 million Friday two years ago. Early word of mouth isn't quite as strong as the first film either, although still fair for its genre with a 68 percent Flixster score. BoxOffice projects a close race for first place over the three- and four-day MLK weekend, with Ride Along 2 coming out slightly ahead for the former period with $33 million and possibly in second place for the extended period with $38 million.

Claiming second place yesterday was The Revenant as it eased 35 percent from last Friday to $9.3 million. The 12-time Oscar nominee continues riding a fantastic wave of buzz thanks to its 12 Oscar nominations and last weekend's major Golden Globe wins. The film has earned a total of $67.5 million so far and counting. BoxOffice projects a $32.5 million three-day weekend with a chance at taking first place for the four-day frame with around $38.2 million.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens added another $6.3 million on Friday, bringing its all-time record domestic haul up to $832.2 million through 29 days of release. The holiday weekend should be a strong one for the film as some families return to theaters for the first time since New Year's. BoxOffice projects Force will score a $26.5 million 3-day frame and $33 million for the four-day weekend.

Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi opened to $5.925 million on Friday, including Thursday's $900k pre-show sales. While not as strong as the opening of other military-focused releases around this time of year, that's a decent start for the film thanks to what seems to be positive word of mouth among the target audience. The film boasts an 84 percent Flixster score so far, and Paramount reports it earned an "A" CinemaScore. They also report nearly 41 percent of Friday business was earned in southern states (Florida and surrounding states) and the central south (Texas and surrounding states) compared to around 33 percent by other films in the same regions. BoxOffice is projecting a $16.5 million 3-day weekend and $19.0 million for the four-day.

Filling out the top five, Daddy's Home added $2.5 million yesterday as it brought its domestic total up to $122.5 million. BoxOffice projects $9.5 million for the three-day and $12.2 million for the four-day.

Meanwhile, Norm of the North debuted even more weakly than expected, unfortunately. The animated film took in just $1.58 million yesterday and looks headed for $6.4 million over the three-day and $8.5 million for the four-day weekend.

Below are 3-day and 4-day projections (ranked by four-day grosses) for the top ten and other notable films.

1. The Revenant ($32.5 million three-day / $38.2 million four-day)
2. Ride Along 2 ($33 million / $38 million)
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($26.5 million / $33 million)
4. 13 Hours ($16.5 million / $19 million)
5. Daddy's Home ($9.5 million / $12.2 million)
6. Norm of the North ($6.4 million / $8.5 million)
7. The Forest ($6.0 million / $7.0 million)
8. The Big Short ($5.4 million / $6.5 million)
9. Sisters ($4.5 million / $5.2 million)
10. The Hateful Eight ($3.5 million / $4.2 million)
11. Joy ($3.0 million / $3.6 million)
12. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($2.6 million / $3.5 million)
-. Brooklyn ($1.7 million / $2.0 million)
-. Spotlight ($1.6 million / $1.96 million)
-. Carol ($1.5 million / $1.8 million)

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Friday Update: Sources report that Ride Along 2 earned an estimated $1.26 million from Thursday night's first shows, topping the $1.06 million earned by the first film two years ago. The original also opened over MLK weekend with $41.5 million for its three-day and $48.6 million for its four-day. Although last night's earnings topped that first flick, sequels tend to be more front-loaded and the gap between their Thursday night earnings is relatively modest. Rough projections put Ride Along 2 around $35-40 million for the three-day weekend.

Meanwhile, 13 Hours landed a solid $900,000 from last night's early shows. That tops of the $750k of Michael Bay's previous non-Transformers flick (2013's Pain and Gain). With a strong marketing push toward military communities around the country, the film should net a healthy debut in the $20-25 million range for the three-day weekend.

Also opening this weekend is Norm of the North, although it's not expected to make much of a dent at the box office with strong competition for family audiences already playing.

Holdovers The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will likely battle it out for second place behind Ride Along 2, although Revenant's Oscar buzz could propel it after a surge of sales were reported by Fandango on Thursday. This will be an interesting weekend to watch...

Official Friday estimates and early weekend projections will be reported here at BoxOffice on Saturday morning.

 

NORTH AMERICA: Platform Watch: 'Brooklyn' ($1.66M), 'Spotlight' ($1.55M) & 'Room' ($0.70M) All Receive Oscar Bumps from Their Best Picture Nominations on January 17, 2016

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By Daniel Garris

Academy Award nominations for Best Picture provided significant Oscar bumps for Fox Searchlight's Brooklyn, Open Road's Spotlight and A24's Room this weekend.

Upon adding 393 locations, Brooklyn took in an estimated $1.66 million for the three-day frame. The John Crowley directed film starring Saoirse Ronan was up 57 percent from last weekend and registered a per-location average of $2,416 for the frame (from 687 locations). Brooklyn has grossed $24.61 million through 73 days of release. BoxOffice estimates that Brooklyn will take in $2.00 million over the four-day weekend.

Spotlight grossed an estimated $1.55 million over the three-day weekend. Upon expanding into an additional 617 locations, The Tom McCarthy directed film starring Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo was up 67 percent over last weekend. However, Spotlight had a modest per-location average of $1,574 (from 985 locations) for the frame. The 73-day total for Spotlight stands at $30.52 million. Open Road's current four-day estimate for Spotlight is $1.90 million.

Room took in an estimated three-day gross of $700,000 from 293 locations (for a per-location average of $2,389). The Lenny Abrahamson directed film starring Brie Larson was up a very strong 504 percent over last weekend (when the film was playing in 205 fewer locations). Room has grossed $5.97 million in 94 days and will look to continue to build momentum going forward thanks in part to its four Academy Award nominations. A24's current four-day estimate for Room is $893,357.

While it didn't receive a Best Picture nomination among its six Academy Award nominations, The Weinstein Company's Carol still held up reasonably well with an estimated three-day take of $1.38 million. The Todd Haynes directed romantic drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara was down 7 percent from last weekend upon expanding into an additional 265 locations this weekend. Carol has grossed $9.08 million in 59 days. BoxOffice estimates that Carol will take in $1.65 million for the four-day weekend.

Paramount's Anomalisa took in an estimated $290,000 from 37 locations. That gave the stop motion animated film directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson a per-location average of $7,838 and represented a 34 percent increase over last weekend (when the film was playing in 17 locations). The Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature has grossed $864,990 through 19 days of platform release. Paramount's four-day estimate for Anomalisa is $345,000.

Estimated three-day weekend grosses for other films that received at least one major Academy Award nomination included $649,000 for Focus' The Danish Girl from 479 locations and $100,029 for IFC Films' 45 Years from just 14 locations. Respective total grosses stand at $8.69 million for The Danish Girl in 52 days and at $474,810 for 45 Years in 26 days.

Sony Pictures Classics' The Lady in the Van registered an estimated three-day take of $72,264 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles. That gave the Nicholas Hytner directed film starring Maggie Smith a very solid per-location average of $18,066. With the addition of a one-week Oscar qualifying run back in early December, The Lady in the Van has grossed $119,936 to date. The Lady in the Van currently boasts a strong 93 percent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tribute: Alan Rickman (1946 - 2016) on January 14, 2016

alanrickman.pngIt is with great sadness that the BoxOffice team offers our condolences to the family and friends of Alan Rickman, who passed away this morning at the age of 69 following a battle with cancer.

Mr. Rickman was best known for his roles as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series and Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard. Fans also recollect his memorable performances in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Galaxy Quest, DogmaLove Actually, and many other films and stage plays throughout his esteemed career.

The world has truly lost a great talent.


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