Bad Grandpa tops box office with strong 32 million debut, The Counselor flops; Chris Meledandri warns studio companies there will be too many animated films to face off against live action films; SpongeBob balloon to get a makeover for 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

 

Big stunts return with a vengeance! I’m Realistic Fish Head. The JA team is back with more stunts as ever as Bad Grandpa opened strong since Friday with 32 million stumping Gravity after a 3 week stay at the top spot. With Paramount’s biggest and strongest win since JA 3D and #2 Gene, will this continue for the rest of the week?

 

 Gene:

 

Paramount’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa led the way this weekend with an estimated $32.0 million. The modestly budgeted Jackass spin-off starring Johnny Knoxville exceeded pre-release expectations and ended the thee-week first place run of Warner’s Gravity in the process. Bad Grandpa opened 10 percent stronger than the $29.00 million debut of 2006’s Jackass: Number Two and 36 percent below the $50.35 million start of 2010’s Jackass 3D. It should be noted that Bad Grandpa wasn’t expected to perform anywhere near as strong as Jackass 3D due in part to its spin-off nature and lack of higher priced 3D admissions. Bad Grandpa registered the third largest unadjusted Halloween weekend debut of all-time (behind only 2011’s Puss in Boots and 2006’s Saw III).

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa opened with $12.62 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.4 million from late night Thursday shows), fell 9 percent to gross $11.54 million on Saturday and is estimated to fall 32 percent on Sunday to take in $7.84 million. With an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.54 to 1, Bad Grandpa appears that it will be less front-loaded that Jackass 3D was and possibly less front-loaded that Jackass: Number Two as well. The film received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore.

Although Gravity fell to second place this weekend, the blockbuster 3D sci-fi drama still took in a very strong estimated $20.3 million in its fourth weekend of release. Gravity is now on the brink of reaching the $200 million domestic milestone with a 24-day take of $199.81 million. The film is set to reach the milestone on Monday, and could still possibly reach the milestone today if it were to exceed Sunday’s estimate. Gravity is currently running 12 percent behind the $227.64 million 24-day take of 2010’s Inception (which fell 33 percent in its fourth weekend to gross $18.51 million). With Gravity falling a healthy 32 percent this weekend, the film should continue to hold up well going forward. The total gross to opening weekend ratio for Gravity already stands at an impressive 3.58 to 1.

Gravity grossed $4.88 million from IMAX locations this weekend. That brings the film’s IMAX total to $45.16 million, which accounts for 22.6 percent of the film’s overall domestic gross.

Sony’s Captain Phillips also held up very well this weekend. The Paul Greengrass directed awards season hopeful starring Tom Hanks was down just 28 percent to claim third with an estimated $11.8 million. Captain Phillips is projected to pass the $70 million mark today and has grossed $70.07 million through 17 days. Captain Phillips continues to outpace expectations and is currently running 9 percent behind the $76.94 million 17-day take of 2006’s The Departed (which fell 29 percent in its third weekend to gross $13.46 million). The total gross to opening weekend ratio for Captain Phillips is currently 2.72 to 1.

The Counselor debuted in fourth place with a very lackluster estimated $8.0 million. The modestly budgeted Ridley Scott directed ensemble crime thriller debuted below already scaled back expectations. Despite a strong cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt, moviegoers simply weren’t interested. The Counselor was clearly hurt by poor critical reviews and from arriving on the scene at the end of the logjam of dramas and thrillers aimed at adult moviegoers throughout September and October. Ridley Scott also has a hit and miss history at the box office, with The Counselor clearly joining the list of misses. The opening weekend performance of The Counselor was very similar to the $7.71 million start of Fox’s recent Runner Runner. With a soft estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.50 to 1 (the film grossed $3.20 million on Friday) and a terrible D rating on CinemaScore, The Counselor is very likely to fade away from theatres quickly.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $6.1 million. In the process, Sony’s 3D computer animated sequel will surpass the $100 million domestic milestone today (the film’s 31st day of release). The 31-day total for the film stands at $100.61 million. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has benefited from having had the family marketplace mostly to itself over the past month, but will face new competition beginning this coming Friday with the release of Relativity’s Free Birds.

Sony’s Carrie and Lionsgate’s Escape Plan both stumbled in their respective second weekends of release. Carrie didn’t receive a Halloween weekend bump after all as it was down a sharp 63 percent from last weekend to land in sixth with an estimated $5.9 million. Escape Plan held up slightly better, falling 56 percent to place in seventh with an estimated $4.34 million. Respective ten-day starts stand at a modest $26.02 million for Carrie and at a soft $17.42 million for Escape Plan.

On the limited front, Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave had a solid, but not spectacular expansion this weekend. The Steve McQueen directed awards season hopeful grossed an estimated $2.15 million from 123 locations to place in eighth among all films. 12 Years a Slave increased 133 percent over last weekend and earned a per-location average of $17,480 for the frame. In comparison, 2007’s No Country For Old Men increased 151 percent in its second weekend to gross $3.08 million from 148 locations. With a ten-day start of $3.41 million, 12 Years a Slave is running 30.5 percent behind the $4.91 million ten-day take of No Country For Old Men. While it is still very early, given its performance thus far, 12 Years a Slave may need additional help from year end critics groups if it is to break out at the box office. 12 Years a Slave is scheduled to expand into nationwide release on Friday.

In other platform news, IFC Films’ Blue is the Warmest Color was off to a noteworthy start with an estimated $101,116 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles. The highly hyped NC-17 rated lesbian romantic drama and winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes earned a promising per-location average of $25,279 for the weekend. Meanwhile, Roadside’s All Is Lost grossed an estimated $517,700 from 81 locations for a per-location average of $6,391. The drama starring Robert Redford has grossed $655,887 through ten days of platform release.

 

To recap, Bad Grandpa opens the stunt door again 1st, Gravity’s still floating in 2nd, Captain Phillips goes hard to port in 3rd, The Counselor drops 4th, and Cloudy 2 saves the food in 5th as they face off this week against the turkeys.

 

And speaking of face offs, Chris Meledandri founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, doesn’t want any of them to happen in the future. Ever since Titan A.E. flopped Jim, what will happen if the box office suffers another crisis curse like last year if it isn’t stopped?

 

Jim Fish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Chris Meledandri felt terrible after losing $100 million making 2000’s underperforming sci-fi animated title Titan A.E.

That failure was the price of admission for the rest of my career,” admits the founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind one of the year’s biggest successes, Despicable Me 2, which is poised to clear $900 million worldwide.

“Looking back, I don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse that I didn’t get fired,” he said, speaking Saturday at the Visual Effects Society’s annual summit at the W Hollywood. “It was very painful and very lonely. [Colleagues] think failure is contagious. On the flip side, I had lived terrified of failure. So for me, the fact that I was still standing was very freeing. My faith in my filmmaking changed on the heels of Titan. It allowed me to pursue things that I previously would have questioned.”

Addressing the volatile state of the industry, he warned that the animation community “releases too many films and there’s not enough room. They are going to cannibalize each other; we are already seeing that. We are also competing against the big live action films.”

Another concern is the impact of new platforms. “What I worry about the most is the competition for young eyeballs. We have so many other competing forms of media. I don’t take any audience members for granted,” he said.

To face these challenges Meledandri asserted that “quality storytelling is our only safety net.”

“It starts with characters, and audiences leaving the theater feeling a bond with the characters,” he said. “We start with strong characters and build the movie from there. That not to say we don’t struggle with story — that’s the most challenging part.”

“For the kind of films we make, comedy is an important part of character,” he added. “Why do they appeal to wide audiences? I think they are dimensional, and the comedy is written by adults for adults, but not in a way that it’s inappropriate for kids.”

The theme of the story is also highly important to Meledandri. “Critical questions are ‘why are we telling this story?’ What is it that it is worthy enough for the work of over 1000 people and asking for the attention of so many people to spend money to see it,'” he said.

He commented that the theme he returns to in his projects is family, noting that in Ice Age (which he exec produced), the characters “don’t look like your traditional perception of family, but they are a family. … Despicable Me in a more obvious sense redefines what we think of family.”

Lastly, he added that marketability also needs to be kept in mind to achieve box office success. “I have to understand how we are going to market the movie,” he said. “We view marketing as an extension of content creation. … Every time a consumer sees our movie, in whatever form, our obligation is to entertain the audience.”

The Sponge balloon is getting a holiday makeover for this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade. With the parade within a month and 4 weeks away, how will it look like once it’s in midair Dan?

 

Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Making his way from Bikini Bottom to New York City, the high-flying SpongeBob SquarePants balloon will debut a new look for the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on Thursday, Nov. 28. Donning a holiday-themed ensemble for this year’s celebration, millions of fans will watch as SpongeBob takes to the sky for his ninth consecutive procession down the streets of Manhattan.

The SpongeBob balloon design was re-imagined by Nickelodeon and the Macy’s Parade organizers to give it a fresh, more vivid look. The balloon structure was also fine-tuned as organizers accomplished an engineering feat, incorporating 800 tie lines in the single chamber sphere that intricately pull together SpongeBob’s trademark square shape.

“It’s not very often that the term ‘square’ and ‘balloon’ are used together, but for nearly a decade the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon has been one of the many highlights of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Amy Kule, Executive Producer of the holiday spectacle. “With his animated persona and super-sized Santa hat, this second iteration of this irascible character will float down the Parade route to the continued delight of the millions of fans lining the streets of New York and the many millions more watching on television across the country. This Thanksgiving, SpongeBob once again takes his rightful position squarely in the sky.”

“Nickelodeon has a long history of successful collaborations with Macy’s and we are very excited to unveil this new SpongeBob balloon at the Parade this year,” said Pam Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products, Nickelodeon. “Watching the Parade is a time-honored, Thanksgiving Day tradition and we hope this balloon brings a sense of SpongeBob’s eternal optimism to the millions of families watching at home and the millions more experiencing the Parade in New York City.”

In 2004, the first-ever SpongeBob SquarePants Balloon made its inaugural appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the delight of kids and adults alike. Based on the most-watched animated kids’ show on TV, this year’s newest SpongeBob balloon will stand at 44-feet tall, 41-feet long and 34-feet wide as it struts down New York’s most famous parade route.

 

Checking the Penguins tally, 2,487 fans sign in as Team Skipper continues Sunday morning sweeps as well as some changes taking place for Nicktoons this week.

 

Before we get through Nick’s Happy Hallo-weekend, the super live-action series The Thunderman’s lands on the network next weekend. This is Realistic Fish Head reminding you to fall back next weekend as we set course for a gobbling month in November!

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