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Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 07-02-12


 
Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch in “Savages”

Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch in “Savages”

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — Stars of “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — Stars of “The Amazing Spider-Man”

“Katy Perry: Part of Me” — In theaters July 5th

“Katy Perry: Part of Me” — In theaters July 5th

Fourth fireworks: July Fourth is Hollywood’s midsummer’s night dream come true – a holiday that doesn’t fail to ignite boxoffice fireworks!

That wasn’t always the case. For many years Hollywood viewed July Fourth as being a not particularly attractive release date because people typically did so many other things to celebrate Independence Day. There were all sorts of competing outdoors activities – like picnics, parades, barbecues, beach visits, boating, swimming and watching fireworks — or setting them off!

With so many special activities geared to the Fourth, Hollywood used to think moviegoing would suffer – unless the weatherman put a damper on all those outdoorsy things. On a rainy July Fourth, spending a few hours at the movies is a great alternative to staying home and trying to find something to keep the kids from killing each other. But, unfortunately, no studio could know if it would rain.

Mostly, July Fourth weather is sunny and hot across the U.S. although late afternoon thunderstorms are not unusual. Unlike Memorial Day when the late May East Coast weather can be cool and rainy, July Fourth is dead-center in the summer and generally a great time to hit the beach.

Nonetheless, over the years moviegoing’s become a big part of the July Fourth holiday period. You can trace it back to Universal’s July 3, 1985 launch of “Back to the Future.” That time travel fantasy adventure opened to a then huge $11.2 million in what was then a very wide release at 1,420 theatres. “Future” took in $210.6 million domestically, making it 1985’s top grossing film.

Of course, times have changed and today’s boxoffice numbers and release patterns are substantially bigger. “Future’s” cume is only a bit more than the $207.4 million that Disney and Marvel’s “The Avengers” just opened to May 4.

Columbia and Marvel would love to see something approaching this kind of super success from their “Spider-Man” franchise reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man,” opening Tue., July 3 at over 4,000 theatres. “Spider-Man 3,” kicked off May 4, 2007 to $151.1 million at 4,252 theatres and ended up doing $336.5 million domestically.

Directed by Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), the PG-13 rated 3D fantasy action adventure stars Andrew Garfield as Spidey/Peter Parker, Rhys Ifans and Emma Stone.

Spidey’s been tracking as a first choice in mid-double digits. It’s doing best and scoring almost as well with men under and over 25 and it’s also resonating nicely with under-25 females.

Because July Fourth can fall on any day of the week depending on the year’s calendar, there are various ways in which Hollywood can release films targeted to the holiday. This time around the Fourth is on a Wednesday, which is great for theatre owners because it doesn’t take away from the regular weekend the way it does if the Fourth happens to be on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Having the holiday on a Wednesday creates a quasi-five day weekend that can accommodate multiple releases, which is exactly what Hollywood is doing this week.

“Spider-Man” will dominate the extended July Fourth holiday, but it won’t have the multiplexes entirely to itself.

Paramount and Insurge Pictures’ PG rated 3D pop star documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me” will arrive Thursday, July 5, two days after Spidey hits theatres. Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, who produced Paramount’s documentary “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” it stars Katy Perry, Shannon Woodward and Lucas Kerr.

“Katy’s” tracking best with under-25 females and, in fact, is scoring nearly as well with that key demo as “Spider-Man” is.

Also on deck for the Fourth is Universal and Relativity Media’s R rated drug cartel crime thriller “Savages.” Directed by Oliver Stone (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”), it stars Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively.

“Savages” will roll into multiplexes Friday, July 6, three days after “Spider-Man” arrives, but just in time for the regular three day weekend. “Savages” is tracking best and equally well at this point with 25-plus men and women.

Both “Katy” and “Savages” are counterprogramming to the more mainstream “Spider-Man,” but with moviegoing expanding for the July Fourth period they both have a shot at doing more business than they would if they chose to open on a non-holiday weekend.

Over the years, the July Fourth boxoffice pie has grown considerably larger. Here’s a quick look at what’s been setting off Fourth fireworks going back 22 years:

  • 1990: Paramount’s opening of “Days of Thunder” starring Tom Cruise topped the chart with $15.5 million at 2,307 theatres and a five day cume of $21.5 million. The Fourth was on a Wednesday just as it is in 2012.
  • 1991: Tri-Star’s opening of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was number one with $31.8 million at 2,274 theatres and a six day cume of $52.3 million. The Fourth was on a Thursday.
  • 1992: Warner Bros.’ “Batman Returns” starring Michael Keaton was first with $13.8 million at 2,644 theatres and a cume of $123.1 million after 18 days of release. The Fourth was on a Saturday.
  • 1993: Paramount’s opening of “The Firm” starring Tom Cruise was the chart-topper with $32.5 million at 2,393 theatres and a six day cume of $45.6 million. The Fourth was on a Sunday.
  • 1994: Disney’s animated feature “The Lion King” was number one with $34.2 million at 2,560 theatres and a 20 day cume of $104.5 million. The Fourth was on a Monday.
  • 1995: Universal’s opening of “Apollo 13” starring Tom Hanks finished first with $25.4 million for three days. The Fourth was on a Tuesday.
  • 1996: Fox’s opening of “Independence Day” starring Will Smith topped the boxoffice with $50.2 million at 2,882 theatres and a six day cume of $96.1 million. The Fourth was on a Thursday (not a Wednesday because '96 was a leap year).
  • 1997: Columbia’s opening of “Men in Black” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones took first place with $51.1 million at 3,020 theatres and a six day cume of $84.1 million. The Fourth was on a Friday.
  • 1998: Disney’s opening of “Armageddon” starring Bruce Willis came in first with $36.1 million at 3,127 theatres and a five day cume of $54.2 million. The Fourth was on a Saturday.
  • 1999: Warner Bros.’ opening of “Wild Wild West” starring Will Smith topped the chart with $36.4 million at 3,342 theatres and a six day cume of $49.7 million. The Fourth was on a Sunday.
  • 2000: Warner Bros.’ opening of “The Perfect Storm” starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg finished first with $41.3 million at 3,407 theatres for the three day weekend. The Fourth was on a Tuesday.
  • 2001: Warner Bros.’ opening of “Cats & Dogs” starring Jeff Goldblum was number one with $21.7 million at 3,040 theatres and a six day cume of $35.8 million. The Fourth was on a Wednesday.
  • 2002: Columbia’s opening of “Men in Black II” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones took top honors with $52.1 million at 3,557 theatres and a five day cume of $87.2 million. The Fourth was on a Thursday.
  • 2003: Warner Bros.’ opening of “T3: Rise of the Machines” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger came in first with $44.0 million at 3,504 theatres and a five day cume of $72.4 million. The Fourth was on a Friday.
  • 2004: Columbia’s opening of “Spider-Man 2” starring Tobey Maguire was the chart topper with $115.8 million at 4,152 theatres and a six day cume of $180.1 million. The Fourth was on a Sunday (with 2004 being a leap year).
  • 2005: Paramount’s opening of “War of the Worlds” starring Tom Cruise led the boxoffice with $77.1 million at 3,906 theatres and a six day cume of $112.7 million. The Fourth was on a Monday.
  • 2006: Warner Bros.’ opening of “Superman Returns” starring Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey took first place with $52.5 million at 4,065 theatres and a five day cume of $84.6 million. The Fourth was on a Tuesday.
  • 2007: Paramount’s opening of “Transformers” starring Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox came in first with $70.5 million at 4,011 theatres and a seven day cume of $155.4 million. The Fourth was on a Wednesday.
  • 2008: Columbia’s opening of “Hancock” starring Will Smith placed first with $62.6 million at 3,965 theatres and a five day cume of $103.9 million. The Fourth was on a Friday.
  • 2009: Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” starring Shia LaBeouf was number one in its second weekend with $42.3 million at 4,234 theatres and a 10 day cume of $293.4 million. The Fourth was on a Saturday.
  • 2010: Summit Entertainment’s opening of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” took first place with $83.6 million at 4,468 theatres and a six day cume of $176.4 million. The Fourth was on a Sunday.
  • 2011: Paramount’s opening of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” starring Shia LaBeouf finished first with $115.9 million at 4,088 theatres and a four day cume of $180.7 million. The Fourth was on a Monday.

Bottom line: Look for “Spider-Man” to sparkle in the July Fourth boxoffice skies!