RIO-078 Blu (left) and Jewel are unsure about Rafael the toucan's plans to travel hrough Rio. Photo: Courtesy of Blue Sky Studios TM & © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication.
Idris Elba as Heimdall in “Thor”
Stars of “The Hangover Part II,” Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in “Friends with Benefits”
Easter excitement: Things are rarely as they seem in Hollywood and that certainly was true at the Easter boxoffice.
On the one hand, it was the kind of weekend Hollywood’s been hoping for all year because ticket sales were up about 40 percent from the same weekend a year earlier.
The only problem is that Easter fell much earlier last April — the weekend of Apr. 2–4, 2010 — so comparing this Easter Weekend’s grosses to an ordinary weekend a year ago really isn’t the best comparison. That’s because a holiday weekend’s moviegoing will always have a big advantage over a non-holiday weekend since going to the movies while celebrating a holiday weekend has become part of American culture. As a result, distributors have for years made a point of opening their biggest films on holiday weekends when moviegoing expands.
Unfortunately, when you compare this Easter to the 2010 Easter Weekend what you find is that ticket sales were actually down about 23 percent.
This Easter’s top grossing title was Fox’s 3D animated adventure “Rio” with nearly $27 million in its second weekend. While that’s a lot more than the $15.4 million that DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s 3D animated adventure “How to Train Your Dragon” did the same weekend last year, it doesn’t even come close to the $61.2 million that Warner Bros.’ much criticized 3D conversion epic “Clash of the Titans” grossed over Easter Weekend 2010.
All told, Easter Weekend 2010’s key films — those grossing $500,000 or more — took in $172.2 million. This time around the Easter bouquet of key films should do about $134 million.
So despite all the media excitement over the Easter boxoffice, it’s really not the upturn Hollywood’s been looking for. That’s still on the horizon as we move into the pre-summer month of May.
Here’s a look at some of May’s high profile titles that could generate a turnaround — with comparisons to the same weekends last year that they’ll have to deal with.
Bottom line: The pre-summer weeks of May could give Hollywood the boxoffice lift it badly needs and help catapult the studios into a summer with an interesting mix of franchise episodes (“Cars 2,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part II”) and originals (“Super 8,” “Bad Teacher,” “Green Lantern,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Larry Crowne,” “Friends With Benefits,” “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”)