Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

March 22, 2011

Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

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David Mumpower: I feel that the topic does touch upon several issues at once. I think that Avatar stopped working as an excuse at the start of March. That's when the movie was down to single digits on the weekends and was around $1.5 million on weekdays. Those numbers don't skew anything. If you want to argue that $5 million weekdays in mid-January skew the picture, I'm right there with you on the point, but we're past that now. Avatar was just another movie in the top 10 for most of March of 2010.

With that factored out, Shalimar introduces an excellent point in saying that there are no 2011 equivalents of Avatar thus far. If we substitute Alice in Wonderland in Avatar's place, this creates the skew for the past couple of weeks. By March 22nd last year, Alice in Wonderland had already earned $268 million domestically. Shutter Island was also at $116 million and I mention it for a specific reason. The number three performer of 2010 (counting Avatar's isolated box office in calendar 2010) had earned more by this point last year would be the top performer of 2011. Just Go with It, Gnomeo and Juliet and Rango are all in the $90 million range trying to break $100 million. Rango should get there this week and Just Go with It probably will as well, but those totals are still $15 million down from Shutter Island and all of them have to be combined to get to Alice in Wonderland's total. So, there is a still a skew at work since Alice in Wonderland was such a historic performer in the first quarter of 2010.


Josh's point is the one that interests me, though. I started thinking about this when I tallied my Big Board for 2010. Out of the 145 or so wide releases I've seen from last year, I only watched about 30 in theaters. This is a record low for me in the 2000s and I'm nowhere near that pace in 2011. Rango is the only release from this year that I have watched thus far although I will be watching Paul soon. Had it not been scheduled against the NCAA Tournament, I would have seen it on opening day, but that's only two Must Watch titles I have graded thus far. The way that I utilize Redbox, Netflix and Amazon Streaming, going to the movie theater feels like an inconvenience rather than a fun source of entertainment these days and I do believe that a lot of consumers are starting to agree with me on the point. We are the people Shalimar mentioned before. If we represent expanding consumer behavior, I expect that the theatrical window is poised to shrink even further over the next couple of years. That's got to be a terrifying thought for exhibitors, which is what I presume is the explanation for Regal's announced intention to create their own movies.

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