Everyone is searching for something - and Stu Preissler, Brad Harris and Kenny Bostick are determined to not only find their "something," but to be the very best at it. Like this intrepid, continent-trotting trio, most of us dream about being at the top - whether it be as the supreme athlete, the best-selling author, or maybe the award-winning artist. It can be anything, but ideally itís something you're passionate about.
For Stu, Brad and Kenny, that means being the world's greatest....birder.
In THE BIG YEAR, an extraordinary race becomes a transformative journey for wealthy industrialist Stu, computer code-writer Brad, and successful contractor Kenny, who race across the continent on a Big Year, a whirlwind competition to see who can spot the most species of birds in North America within one calendar year.
||October 14th, 2011 (Wide) by 20th Century Fox|
||January 31st, 2012 by Fox Home Entertainment|
||PG for language and some sensuality.|
(Rating bulletin 2190, 9/21/2011)
||Relationships Gone Wrong, Relationship Advice, Romance, Dysfunctional Family, Epilogue, Retirement, Intellectual Pursuits, Voiceover/Narration, Ensemble, Road Trip, Mid-Life Crisis, Delayed Adulthood|
|Source:||Based on Factual Book/Article|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||Fox 2000 Pictures, Red Hour Productions, Deuce Three Productions, Sunswept Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Media|
While there were a lot of new releases on this week's DVD sales chart, it was clearly a case of quantity over quality as even the best selling release was merely mediocre. Treasure Buddies was top dog with sales of 381,000 units / $6.47 million during its opening week. This is roughly in line with the previous installment, but below average for the franchise.
New releases dominated the Blu-ray sales chart with as many as four in the top five. (Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a bit of an odd case, but more on that in a second.) Drive led the way with 420,000 units / $8.39 million giving it an opening week Blu-ray share of 57%. This is a great opening compared to the film's theatrical run.
The Big Year bombed and bombed hard. It had the worst opening weekend for a wide release all year (although not the worst total box office). That really all you can say about the film. It can't possibly be as bad as its box office numbers, right?
It's kind of an unusual week on the home market with five first run releases coming out on DVD and Blu-ray. However, all five films missed expectations in one degree or another. Some were outright bombs by anyone's definition, while others were expected to struggle to find a large audience, just not by as much as they did. That is not to say they were all bad movies. In fact one of them, Drive, has done quite well during Awards Season and the Blu-ray Combo Pack is a contender for Pick of the Week. Its main competition is To Kill A Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition, which is also coming out on a Blu-ray Combo Pack. It's a coin toss, but I'm going with the latter over the former.
The industry as a whole has to be breathing a small sigh of relief after the weekend numbers started to come in. Paranormal Activity 3 broke records over the weekend helping the overall box office along the way. It grew 38% compared to last weekend, hitting $121 million. Unfortunately, that was still 6% lower than the same weekend Last year. Year-to-date, 2011 is 4% behind 2010's pace at $8.38 billion to $8.73 million and there's little hope that deficit will go away by the end of the year.
This past weekend was one the industry would love to forget. It was one of the worst weekend of the entire year. The total box office haul was just $88 million, which was 7.5% lower than last weekend and an absolute stunning 33% lower than the same weekend last year. A year-over-year discrepancy like that usually only occurs when there's a misalignment in the calendar. (Summer starting a week later than it did the year before. A major holiday falling a week later than it did the year before. Halloween or Christmas Day landing on the weekend.) It was so bad, that the top five films this year barely made more than Jackass 3D opened with last year. Footloose was the only new release that made any real impact, but it wasn't enough to overtake Real Steel on top of the chart. Meanwhile, 2011 lost more ground to 2010 and it is now down by 4% at $8.23 billion to $8.56 billion. If we are to see a recovery, it will have to happen really fast.
A decent opening for the Footloose remake wasn't quite enough to take top spot at the box office this weekend thanks to a good second weekend for Real Steel. The inspirational robot boxing movie dropped 40% from its debut to $16.3 million, which will most likely be enough to keep Footloose in second place. It is projected to make $16.1 million this weekend. Well behind them is The Thing, which is expected to make just $8.7 million. Thanks to the general weakness of the market, that's going to be enough for third, but it's not going to make much of a dent in the marketing costs for the movie, let alone its production costs.
Firstly, I would like to apologize for the Footloose / Footlose pun in the title. It is unacceptable, even by my standards. Secondly, we are going to lose. This weekend last year Jackass 3D broke the record for biggest October weekend and there's no chance that feat will be replicated this weekend. In fact, there's almost no chance this weekend will match Red's opening last year. Footloose, The Thing, and The Big Year won't earn $50 million over the weekend combined. We really need the win, but all evidence points to a tough loss in the year-over-year comparison.
There is a little bit of good news going into October, as September did help close the year-to-date deficit, even if it was by a small amount. Unfortunately, we really needed a better result to be optimistic about our chances of closing that gap entirely by the end of the year. Even worse, this month represents the last chance 2011 has to catch up to 2010. I know there are two additional months left in the year, but October of 2010 was a soft month with four of the five weekends showing year-over-year declines. If October 2011 is even weaker, the odds of making up the $300 million deficit will be all but gone. It becomes even more troubling that there are no movies opening in October that are guaranteed to be monster hits. So, while October of 2010 was weak compared to October of 2009, it looks like it will be stronger than October of 2011. Hopefully I'm just being pessimistic. There are a couple films that have a shot at $100 million and I will be surprised if none of them at least come close to that milestone, but the slate of films is weaker than I would like.
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