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Box Office: 'Rio' First 2011 Release To Crack $40 Million Opening Weekend; 'Scream' Goes Quiet

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 17, 2011 6:18 AM
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  • 9 Comments
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: it’s been a dismal year at the box office. Studios have their fingers crossed in regards to a tepid-looking summer schedule, but many were hoping the season could be kick(punch)-started early with a strong April, as two new films were tracking well over $40 million this weekend. And it looks like those hopes are for naught, as the number one movie for this period looks to be Fox and Blue Sky’s animated “Rio,” clocking in juuuust about at $40 million for the three day weekend. Yes, Hollywood, it's taken more than four months to register year's first $40 million opening weekend.

Weekend Box Office: 'Hop' Defeats Four Newcomers; 'Your Highness' Flops Loudly And Rudely

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 10, 2011 4:48 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Earlier in the year, the tepid box office returns were something to be ignored, as 2011 was competing with the previous year, with both “Avatar” and then the anomaly of “Alice In Wonderland” each raking in a cool billion. Well, it’s April, and it’s time for Hollywood to panic. There have been no genuine out-of-the-box hits so far this year and lots of flops, and the two (barely) $100 million grossers considered underperformers (“Rango” and “Just Go With It”). Let’s face it, part of it is a failure of marketing, but the blame must be laid on inadequate product. Even when it comes to the early year doldrums, this has been a banner year for garbage.

Weekend Box Office: Kids Come Out For 'Hop,' 'Sucker' Thoroughly 'Punch'ed

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 3, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While Universal’s animated division remains behind Disney and Dreamworks, “Hop” became their second straight surprisingly big opening this weekend, collecting $39 million. Most called the heavily-promoted film in the high 20’s, low 30’s, but like “Despicable Me” before it, the film definitely connected with family audiences in its first frame. While “Despicable Me” eventually collected $544 million globally with a much bigger opening, “Hop” isn’t expected to bust the doors down. But due to the seasonal and family appeal, expect this thing to have legs, and while they initially weren’t counting on $100 domestic, that should be easily surmountable from here, with $150 million being a solid preliminary target. Fanciful returns for the studio, who have kept the budgets for the partly-animated “Hop” and the fully animated “Despicable Me” well under the industry-standard $100 million.

Weekend Box Office: Zack Snyder & Warners Get 'Sucker Punch' From 'Wimpy Kid'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 27, 2011 5:09 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Demographics matter. You want to say, well, screw the numbers, let’s just make a movie for everyone! But considering the multiple sources of entertainment in our multimedia worlds, whatever doesn’t automatically turn us on will turn us off. Because of this, Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” turned people off. It was an action fantasia, a genre normally attractive to teenage boys, but it featured only girls, an immediate turnoff for that demographic. And it didn’t appeal to women, who noticed the marketing campaign centered around cacophonous violence and mayhem, not usually a drawing point for females. It wasn’t made for kids, but the heavily-CGI’d special effects made it look like a candy-coated kids’ entertainment to adults. Four quadrants, all disinterested.

Weekend Box Office: Liam Neeson 'Unknown' No Longer As Thriller Bests 'I Am Number Four'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 20, 2011 6:17 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Hey, have you heard of “Taken”? Moviegoers (who helped the film gross $145 million domestically even after seeing an expansive worldwide release - take that, piracy!) certainly do. Hence, “Unknown,” the latest in what is becoming the Liam Neeson Action Line, looks poised to do a decent $21 million. The Warner Bros. thriller faced colorful competition, leading one to believe Liam Neeson could generously be considered a solid A-List presence who can get films in his wheelhouse to a $20 million+ opening. Not bad for a 58-year-old Oscar nominee (how has this guy never won?).

Weekend Box Office: Audiences Move In With 'The Roommate'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • February 6, 2011 5:38 AM
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  • 2 Comments
You have to admire the cynically commercial business strategies of cheapo distributor Screen Gems. Maybe the worst major studio subsidiary on the block, their approach has been to consistently crank out broadly-appealing four-quadrant movies working with middling directors and fairly unremarkable material. So it goes for “The Roommate,” which is the company’s second-straight Super Bowl weekend hit at $15 million, a designation granted mostly due to how cheap the film was to produce.

Weekend Box Office: 'Fockers' Shows 'True Grit', Outduels Cowboys (But Not For Long)

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • January 2, 2011 7:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
2010 ended with a whimper with most studio execs facing an uncertain 2011, as the year closed with eight consecutive weekends of box office earning lower than its 2009 counterpart despite five major 3D releases goosing prices. Of course, 3D is a gimmick, but it’s foolish to consider that each of those five films were relative underperformers due to disinterest in the format when even the most ardent fan must admit to subpar product. Of course, the industry is always looking for a scapegoat when the answer is clearly, “terrible movies are being made and should not be,” so the disappearance of 3D (not likely) will happen before a sudden spike in high quality entertainment.

Weekend Box Office: 2010 Ending With A Whimper As 'Narnia' Fades, 'Black Swan' Rises

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 12, 2010 6:07 AM
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  • 6 Comments
The winter box office is proving to be a bummer for the major studios. A year after “Avatar” ran the table, allowing “The Blind Side,” "Sherlock Holmes" and “Alvin And The Chipmunks” to pick up the scraps on the way to $200 million domestic totals each, audiences have been rejecting the winter 2010 fare. What happened to the promising tent pole schedule that usually piques people's interest?

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