For three and one half months, the Box-Office had been hibernating. Mostly, each weekend of 2011 had been down 20 to 30 percent from last year. It's been a very sad story; a difficult year for writing a box-office column, devoid of really good news, or spectacular grosses, to report to Match-Flickers.
RIO is flying high as year's Number 1 movie.
Then came the Weekend of April 15-17. For the first time since last November, Box-Office receipts clearly bettered the same weekend the previous year. For this we thank RIO. An international hit before its U.S. opening on Friday, April 15, RIO had Match-Flickers flocking to the box-office to the tune of $40 million. That tune was truly music to exhibitors' ears. 3D screenings contributed nearly 60% to RIO's huge haul, as it perched head, shoulders and wings above its
competitors. With the lion's share of RIO's grosses coming from 3D, the flick proved that movie-goers haven't over-dosed on the over-used process.
SCREAM 4 didn't scare-up big grosses.
Regrettably, the SCREAM franchise isn't what it once was. While RIO stormed the box-office Bastille over the April 15-17 Weekend, SCREAM 4 scared up a disappointing $19.3 million on almost 4400 screens. Don't look for a SCREAM 5 anytime soon.
Things got even better over Easter Weekend. RIO again flew above the crowd to narrowly win the hliday weekend box-office crown, banking an additional $26.8 million, domestically. Right on RIO's tail-feathers was TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, coining $25.8 million. That was more than Perry's 2008 Easter release, MEET THE BROWN'S, but less than his last Easter's offering WHY DID I
GET MARRIED TOO. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS placed third over the Holiday Weekend, hauling in a big, not truncated, $17.5 million - and that's not hay, or tap water!
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is best movie date.
Holdover HOP hopped into Box-Office History, becoming the third flick to join the domestic 2011 $100 Million Club, over the Easter Weekend. It joined the year's two previous inductees, RANGO, and JUST GO WITH IT. Overall, last weekend was up a massive 38 percent over the same time, last year, a non-holiday frame in 2010.
As of this publication, RIO has exceeded $300 million, globally, making it the Number One Box-Office Attraction of the Year.
I officially declare the 2011 Box-Office Debacle, ended. Yes, I'm on record, here and now. At least through August, there will be no further Box-Office Weekends that are
20 percent or more down from the same weekend, last year. We're in for Golden Box-Office months that will see the industry make up for the losses of the year's first fourteen weeks.
MADEA still big after all these years!
I write this with complete confidence, knowing what flicks are headed our way.
Late April's upward Box-Office trend will continue this weekend with FAST FIVE, HOODWINKED TOO! and PROM.
Just for openers, May's first weekend brings THOR, JUMPING THE BROOM, SOMETHING BORROWED and LAST NIGHT. Subsequent weekends just get better and better. Expect May's Box-Office to go through the multiplex roof on the Weekend of May 20, with the long-awaited release of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES. This one will have exhibitors, not to mention Disney, dancing in the streets, singing Shiver Me Timbers.
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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