Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice


Rather than throwing every single film into a market they think will guarantee a return, Hollywood studios need to start reevaluating what kinds of films they release in China. This Tuesday's opener Pixels is a prime example of the thinking that pervades executive offices in Hollywood when it comes to the Chinese market. The fact is that the nostalgia Sony was banking on to carry Pixels, namely the love of 8-bit video games from the 80s, simply doesn't exist in the demographic that drives China's box office success - the post-90s generation in lower tier cities (those outside of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen). This year's blockbusters Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, as well as smaller successes such as San Andreas all captured the attention of this demographic. There weren't any elements to age them out of the films' large scale action scenes; it was all highly accessible, good old popcorn fun. However, can you imagine a group of 20 year-old kids from the middle of China going to their local cinema to watch a bunch of schlubby middle-aged American males they've never heard of take on old video game characters they've never heard of?


In emails leaked by hackers, Sony executives decided to amend a scene from Pixels' original script where aliens shot a hole through the Great Wall to avoid offending Chinese regulators and secure a China release. We think Sony should have shot a hole right through their "Pixels in China" strategy trapper keeper and stayed out of the country altogether to avoid offending moviegoers. Despite the fact it has the highest levels of awareness, intent to purchase, and word of mouth of this week's new releases according to EntGroup's EFMT Index, this one is destined for the garbage dump next to another ill-advised release, Disney's Tomorrowland, and will end up with less than $20 million.


UPDATE: As of this posting, Pixels earned a disappointing $2.1 million on its opening Tuesday.


Two other imported films enter Chinese cinemas this week: Assassination, the highest-grossing South Korean film this year with $84.8 million worldwide and Sean Penn's The Gunman which grossed just $10.6 million stateside in March. Neither film will gain much more from Chinese audiences.


Holdovers Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Minions will hold on to the top two spots again this weekend despite performing below pre-release expectations.

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See the newest James Bond movie every day

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, today announces the first of its kind Regal Ultimate Ticket for Spectre, the newest James Bond movie. This limited edition, black, anodized steel Spectre ticket is only available to the first 1,000 customers awaiting the opening of the movie. Regal guests with the Ultimate Ticket can see Spectre every day while the movie is in theatres. Spectre, from Albert R. Broccoli's EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, will be released in the U.S. on November 6.

"Regal is thrilled to introduce the Regal Ultimate Ticket for the 24th film of the 007 franchise," said Ken Foreman, vice president of film marketing at Regal Entertainment Group. "We know Regal guests are eager to view the adventures of James Bond (Daniel Craig) trying to bring down the shadowy criminal syndicate Spectre, and we are committed to providing a first-class theatre experience for our guests who are fervent 007 fans."

Because Bond fans can't get enough of the superspy's secret service tales, guests can purchase a shadowy, etched, collectible card with the iconic Spectre symbol for $100 starting on Monday, September 14 until the Regal Ultimate Ticket for Spectre is sold out. The Regal Ultimate Ticket will only be available for sale online. The Ultimate Ticket is only available on Regal's website. To purchase this limited edition ticket or to learn more, please visit REGmovies.com/spectreticket.

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By Daniel Garris

It turned out to be a very close race for first place this weekend between Sony's The Perfect Guy and Universal's The Visit. Heading into the weekend it had been widely expected that it would be a close race between the two PG-13 rated newcomers, but both films ultimately exceeded pre-release expectations by nearly $10 million each. The Perfect Guy ultimately claimed first place this weekend, with The Visit trailing it by just $0.46 million for the frame.

The Perfect Guy debuted with $25.89 million over the weekend. The low-budget thriller starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut significantly exceeded expectations as mentioned and performed very well with its low cost in mind. With The Perfect Guy, Sony closely followed the template of last year's No Good Deed and the opening weekend results were even stronger for The Perfect Guy as it opened 7 percent ahead of the $24.25 million debut of No Good Deed. After having a tough go of it throughout much of 2015, Sony has rebounded nicely over the past few weeks thanks to War Room and now The Perfect Guy. Films with predominantly African American casts have been especially strong performers over the past month, as Straight Outta Compton, War Room and The Perfect Guy have all exceeded expectations.

The Perfect Guy took in $9.91 million on Friday (unlike The Visit and most recent wide releases in general, the film didn't have pre-midnight shows on Thursday night), increased a slim 4 percent on Saturday to gross $10.40 million and declined 46 percent on Sunday to gross $5.57 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.61 to 1. It should be noted that Sunday's percentage declines in general were sharper this weekend than during recent months as a result of the start of the NFL season (as well as the end of the summer season). The audience breakdown for The Perfect Guy skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (69 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (58 percent). The Perfect Guy received a strong A- rating on CinemaScore, though the film could still very well be quite front-loaded towards opening weekend given how front-loaded No Good Deed was last fall.

The Visit opened in a very close second with $25.43 million. When taking into account its relatively modest pre-release expectations and its small price tag, the M. Night Shyamalan directed horror thriller from Blumhouse Productions arguably represents Shyamalan's strongest debut since the $50.75 million start of 2004's The Village. The Visit opened 41 percent stronger than the $18.04 million start of 2006's Lady in the Water and 17 percent below the $30.52 million debut of 2008's The Happening (both of which carried significantly larger price tags). The Visit represents another strong performer for Universal in what has already been a record-breaking year for the studio.

The Visit started out with $9.21 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.02 million from Thursday night shows), increased a promising 15 percent on Saturday to gross $10.62 million and decreased 47 percent on Sunday to gross $5.60 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.76 to 1. That is a strong ratio for a horror film and is a good early sign for the film going forward. The film's B- rating on CinemaScore isn't quite as glowing in comparison, but it also suggests that the film is going over better with moviegoers than many of Shyamalan's more recent efforts have. The audience breakdown for The Visit skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers 21 years and older (52 percent).

Sony's War Room continued to hold up very well this weekend with a third place take of $7.77 million. The break-out Kendrick Brothers produced faith based film from TriStar and AFFIRM Films was down a slim 18 percent from last weekend's three-day take. This weekend's percentage hold is made even more impressive given that Labor Day weekend helped inflate last weekend's performance. War Room continues to exceed expectations greatly with a 17-day take of $39.56 million. The film is currently running 86 percent ahead of the $21.28 million 17-day gross of 2011's Courageous and 21.5 percent ahead of the $32.56 million 17-day total of last year's God's Not Dead.

A Walk in the Woods followed in fourth with $4.74 million. The Robert Redford led comedy from Broad Green Pictures was down a solid 42.5 percent from last weekend's three-day debut. A Walk in the Woods has grossed a stronger than expected $20.00 million through twelve days of release. That places the film 11 percent ahead of the $17.98 million twelve-day take of last year's The November Man and 9 percent behind the $21.87 million twelve-day gross of 2011's The Debt.

Late summer blockbusters Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Straight Outta Compton claimed fifth and sixth place this weekend with respective takes of $4.10 million and $3.92 million. Paramount's Rogue Nation was down 43 percent from last weekend, while Universal's Straight Outta Compton fell 55 percent. Respective total grosses stand at $188.12 million for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation through 45 days and at $155.55 million for Straight Outta Compton through 31 days.

Meanwhile, 90 Minutes in Heaven debuted in ninth place this weekend with $2.04 million. The faith based drama from Samuel Goldwyn earned a modest per-location average of $2,321 from 877 locations. Potential for 90 Minutes in Heaven appears to have been limited a bit from the break-out performance of fellow faith based film War Room.

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Christie Brings Digital Projection Technology to Screens Across the Festival

TORONTO - (September 14, 2015) - Christie® is proud to be the official projection partner to the 40th Toronto International Film Festival®*. Taking place from September 10-20, 2015, the Toronto International Film Festival hosts over 1,300 screenings from 71 countries and attracts a galaxy of stars and worldwide attention. Celebrating 15 consecutive years as a Festival sponsor, Christie brings films to life with industry-leading digital cinema solutions, screening 99 percent of Festival selections digitally, and a growing number in 4K.

"As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we reflect positively on our wonderful 15 year partnership with Christie and we feel truly privileged to have their continued support year after year," said Diane Cappelletto, TIFF's director of technical production services. "From our first HD screening, to Digital Cinema, to 4K, Christie has been with us every step of the way. As a Festival, we continue to be entrusted with World Premiere screenings because there is the confidence that the projected image is nothing short of being World Class."

Andrei Gravelle, TIFF's senior technical manager noted, "As an organization that is committed to the preservation of our film heritage, the colour accuracy of Christie projectors are a natural fit to be true to the axiom of ‘presenting films as they were meant to be seen'. Christie 4K projectors faithfully reproduce the colour palette of digital restorations of cinema classics like Vertigo."

Christie projectors will power Festival venues, including Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the VISA Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre, and the Ryerson Theatre, all illuminated by Christie® Solaria® Series CP4230 projectors, which are 4K resolution and provide 34,000 lumens of brightness. Christie projectors will also illuminate the Winter Garden Theatre, Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario and TIFF Bell Lightbox, giving audiences at the Festival the best possible movie-going experience. Additionally, Christie is co-sponsoring the Filmmakers Lounge, a meeting space where industry delegates relax, work and network.

Highlights at this year's Festival include a gala screening of the worldwide premiere of The Martian, starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott. An epic film about an astronaut stranded on Mars, the story unfolds in some of the most spectacular 3D imagery to have graced the cinema. Showing in brilliant 4K digital resolution will be a special presentation of Sicario, a drug-war thriller directed by Quebec's Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt. Additionally, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo will be shown in a special event celebrating TIFF's 40th anniversary. Screening with a live accompaniment from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, this free event promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Christie is proud to celebrate 15 years as the official projection partner to the Toronto International Film Festival," said Kathryn Cress, vice president, global and corporate marketing, Christie. "Christie offers the best in digital projection technology, allowing filmmakers to bring their creative vision to life on the screen."

Known as an audience-friendly film festival, moviegoers vote to determine the winner of the major prize at the Festival, the Grolsch People's Choice Award. New for 2015, the Festival is offering two new programs including Primetime, a focus on storytelling in television; and Platform, a programme focused on directors cinema, that features a juried award of $25,000.

"The Festival offers an opportunity for artists and audiences to connect that's unlike any other film festival," noted John Hallman, Christie's director of Canadian sales. "Christie puts the brightest and sharpest images in the industry onto screens, offering an unparalleled movie-going experience for audiences."

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By Alex Edghill

Monday Morning Update: After The Visit took charge last week, this week another horror led all Facebook like increases in Krampus. The horror-comedy rose a sharp 113k new likes over the past week, almost a 300% increase. The film was largely unknown until its teaser dropped last week and many horror faithfuls clearly ate it up quickly. Its still very low in overall tweets (150,858), but with 10 weeks till release it is well poised to develop a social media following to bolster its receipts. The film is based on the folklore of many European cultures which feature a horned, hooved demon who is essentially the anti-Santa. Most North Americans not of European descent will be unaware of the character but the spooky trailer promises that it will be a pretty unique offering during this year's holiday season which could see it be a surprise success.

Director Michael Dougherty is best known for his work as a writer and collaborator with Bryan Singer on large scale comic-book films such as X2, Superman Returns and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse but his sole past feature film directorial credits are in the horror genre with the cult hit Trick r' Treat. Though the film never saw a theatrical release it gained many fans in critics and horror faithful on its DVD release and has been given a place in more than one prominent best of horror movie lists. Needless to say Krampus is highly anticipated with horror faithfuls and critics alike.

The rest of the top 5 movers are made up with high anticipated September releases with the lone exception of Deadpool since he it still very much the talk of the town for many movie enthusiasts. The biggest surprise of the rest of the list would have to be The Intern making it into the fray. With an appeal to an older crowd I had not expected it to make any appearances near the top of either of our social media lists but yet here it is. Anne Hathaway no doubt can help bridge the gap between younger and older audiences and perhaps Nancy Meyers' first film in 6 years (the longest gap in her career) has people excited. Whatever the reason I'm amping up my expectations for its potential accordingly.

Facebook Top 5 Movies by Like Increase for the last week Ending Sunday September 13th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 12/04/15 Krampus 150,858 37,966 112,892 297.35%
2 09/18/15 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 2,981,659 2,897,027 84,632 2.92%
3 09/25/15 Hotel Transylvania 2 9,246,076 9,176,020 70,056 0.76%
4 02/12/16 Deadpool 1,292,969 1,236,125 56,844 4.60%
5 09/25/15 The Intern 193,753 138,788 54,965 39.60%

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