Tyler Perry's Film the #1 Movie This Weekend!?
Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" didn't have any wedding day jitters at the box office as it debuted Friday with an estimated gross of $7.1 million from 2011 locations.
The Lionsgate urban laffer, directed by and starring Perry, is easily expected to win the weekend, beating out new wide entrants "We Own the Night" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."
Coming in No. 2 on Friday was "Own the Night," Sony's crime drama toplining Mark Whalberg and Joaquin Phoenix. Pic grossed an estimated $3.7 million from 2,362 locations. That put it in a close race with George Clooney starrer "Michael Clayton," which grossed an estimated $3.3 million as it expanded strongly from limited runs in New York and Gotham to 2,511 locations nationwide.
Universal-Working Title's sequel "Golden Age," which returns Cate Blanchett to the bigscreen as the famous monarch, was unable to place among the top five films on Friday as it grossed an estimated $2 million from 2,001 runs for the No. 6 spot. It's difficult to compare the sequel's opening to the 2001 "Elizabeth," which was a limited release.
Disney holdover "The Game Plan" continued strong, coming in No. 4 on Friday with an estimated gross of $3 million from 3,128 screens as it entered its third frame and crossed the $50 million mark with a cume of $50.9 million.
In its second frame, DreamWorks-Paramount's Ben Stiller laffer "The Heartbreak Kid" placed No. 5 on Friday with an estimated gross of $2.3 million from 3,229 locations for a cume of $20.9 million. That's a 51% decline from its Friday opening.
Among limited bows, Ryan Gosling starrer "Lars and the Real Girl" posted the strongest per screen average among new players. Opening in seven locations, the MGM-Sidney Kimmel Entertainment pic grossed an estimated $26,000 for a per screen average of $3,643.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Sleuth" grossed an estimated $13,000 from nine locations as it opened Friday for a per screen average of $1,448. Remake was directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Michael Caine and Jude Law.
The strong opening of Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" follows the success he enjoyed when starring in and directing "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which had a Friday opening of $7.4 million in 2005, and "Madea's Family Reunion," which had a Friday opening of $10.5 million in 2006. In February of this year, "Daddy's Little Girl"--which Perry directed but didn't star in--grossed $4.6 million in its Wednesday debut.
Also among wide new entrants this weekend, Yari Film Group's sports spoof "The Final Season" failed to rally much laughter, grossing an estimated $187,000 from 1,011 locations on Friday.
JULIA ROBERTS ACCEPTS AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE AWARD
"Is there a hungry baby in the house? Just come on up!" declared Julia Roberts, gesturing to her breasts after stepping up on the podium to accept the 22nd annual American Cinematheque Award from friend and "Pelican Brief" co-star Denzel Washington.
Roberts, who gave birth to her third child in June, displayed her known disarming frankness and trademark high-wattage smile throughout the evening, which saw friends and co-stars celebrate her acting talent, her beauty and her devotion to family life at the Cinematheque's annual fundraiser Friday night.
"More than anything, I am just the most proud wife and mother of the three most amazing children and that is all I could ever ask for," Roberts said. "And the widening of my life and my hips is really the true gift of my husband Danny (Moder) who I would just be so lonely without."
Saying "I am not a one-woman show by any stretch of the imagination," she thanked her former agent Elane Goldmith Thomas and her current ones, Richard Lovett and Kevin Huvane, and singled out director Garry Marshall, who directed her in "Pretty Woman," the movie that made her a star.
"At least twice a week people come up to me and say and something about 'Pretty Woman,' and I ask for something a little more current but they cling to that. And that suits me fine," she said.
Tom Hanks started off the evening with a detailed description of how knowing Roberts is to be a member of Q.U.A.K.E. Q is for Question, as everyone is always asked what's it like to work with Roberts. U is for being upstaged, as everyone invariably is when in a scene with the actress.
"When you share the screen (with her), you might as well be a waffle iron in a tree," Hanks said. "No one is ever looking at you."
A is for Asterisk, which will forever follow your name for having worked with her, K for Knowledge, knowing that all the above are true, and E is for Everybody. "Everybody loves Julia Roberts. Absolutely everybody," Hanks said.
Actor Bruce Willis continued the lighthearted tone, listing comparisons between his life and Roberts', including their connection to Sharon Stone.
"Julia turned down the Sharon Stone role in 'Basic Instinct,' and I have had to actually turn down Sharon Stone a few times," quipped Willis as laughs roared across the hall. "No, no, no. Like Julia, I never meant any disrespect for the opportunity, I just wasn't comfortable with the nudity."
Director Marshall, who has the elliptical storytelling manner of a genial grandparent, recounted a tale of how he taught a young Roberts an important lesson. Marshall described the time of how he and Roberts were starting to make a movie titled "$3,000." In his excitedness, Marshall made the cast jackets with "$3,000" emblazoned on it but then the studio changed the title during production.
"She learned from me that before you make the jacket, you've got to name the picture. One day, 10 years from now, she will pull out a jacket that says '3000,' and say 'Danny, when did I do this film?' And we'll remember it was 'Pretty Woman.'"
Sally Field and Shirley MacLaine referred to Roberts' early career -- both mentioned the hardships of shooting 1989's "Steel Magnolias" -- with Field comparing acting projects as stones of varying qualities strung together to make a necklace.
"As I look at my necklace, there is one very bright shiny jewel, located somewhere in the late 80s: 'Steel Magnolias,'" Field said, "a time where I, and the all the other women in the cast and eventually the entire country, fell in love with Julia, with her big huge laugh, her beautiful face, her fearless talent."
COMPANIES SPENT $31 BILLION ON WEB ADVERTISING
Companies will spend a record $31 billion this year to advertise everything from toothpaste to home loans on the Internet, supporting countless news sites, social networks, video exchanges and blogs.
But some media veterans worry that expectations for online advertising may be getting out-sized.
Increasingly, they say, too much media depends on advertising as the only source of revenue. With new players from software makers to cable operators also trying to cash in, the dollars simply may not stretch far enough.
"I'm getting to the point where I feel like every answer to every business development pitch is 'We're going to be advertiser supported'," said Beth Comstock, president of Integrated Media at NBC Universal, which this year set up a fund to invest in media and digital companies.
"It's just not going to be possible," she said at a recent advertising conference. "There are not going to be enough advertising dollars in the marketplace. No matter how clever we are, no matter what the format is."
NBC Universal's television networks, cable channels and Web sites compete for advertising dollars with everything from niche blogs to big media peers like Time Warner Inc and Walt Disney Co. In addition fast-growing Internet companies like Google Inc are snatching up advertising budgets.
But new rivals are entering the market. Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable operator, expects at least $1 billion in online advertising in the next five to six years.
Verizon Communications and AT&T are looking at advertising opportunities on their video and wireless services, while startups like social network Facebook are seen as a new frontier for Web marketing.
Even Microsoft Corp. has made a bold move into advertising with its purchase of Web marketing firm aQuantive.
Until recently, the focus was squarely on how much money is moving into online advertising, rather than whether too many companies are making a grab for it.
There is little doubt today that a hefty portion of advertising dollars will shift to the Internet from TV, radio, print and elsewhere in the coming years. ZenithOptimedia forecasts that online ads worldwide will rise 28% in 2007, while the rest of the market grows at 3.7%.
Next year, ZenithOptimedia forecasts it to rise by 21%, and climb another 13% to $43 billion in 2009.
At that point, Web advertising would represent almost 10% of the $495 billion spent on advertising worldwide -- yet would trail spending on newspapers, magazines, and TV.
"There are billion of dollars that can still move," said Craig Lambert, Chief Digital Director of Colangelo, an integrated marketing agency based in Darien, Connecticut.
"Is there enough money flowing to support the businesses out there? I'd guess there is, just because there's so much money that has always been spent on TV and print," he added.
Others also take the position that there should be sufficient advertising money to spread around.
Jeff Brooks, Chief Executive of digital and direct marketing agency Euro RSCG 4D, sees a "huge gap" between the amount of time people spend on digital media and the amount of advertising money it attracts.
"The thrust of ad spending online, while dramatic in its growth quarter over quarter, still represents a disproportionately small percentage of total advertising dollars," he said.
The catch, according to some, is that much of the money flowing toward the Internet is concentrated on a few dozen of the most popular sites. That has left smaller, less well-known sites at a severe disadvantage when it comes to attracting advertising money and surviving.
In the United States, the top 50 Web sites accounted for more than 90% of the revenue from online ads in the first half of 2007, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The top 10 sites accounted for 70% of the revenue.
All the while, the number of Web sites continues to grow, creating more competition for audiences -- and advertisers -- who can also choose among video games, movies, TV, portable music and every other type of media entertainment.
"It's not like the old days, when it was 'if you build it, they will come,'" said Jonathan Sackett, Chief Digital Officer at Arnold Worldwide, a Boston-based advertising agency. "Now if you build it, they probably won't."
One alternative for Web sites would be to bank on subscriptions rather than advertising revenue, but few existing outlets have been successful with that model.
The reason is that unless the site offers extraordinary content, people simply refuse to pay for it, said Mark Miller, president of RMG Connect, an advertising and marketing agency.
"If Warren Buffett wanted to put out his own subscription newsletter online, well, I'm sure he'd get a bucketful of people to subscribe to it," Miller said.