'Hologram' Premiere Disappoints Distribs, Hanks

By Robert Marich
   April 25, 2016-The weak opening of Tom Hanks comedy A Hologram for a King spotlights movies that are joint ventures with independents and further illustrates a trend of declining star power.
  The R-rated Hologram premiered over the April 22-24 weekend to a mediocre $1.2 million domestic box office gross from

401 screens for Roadside Attractions. It ranked 11th for the weekend and was the third-ranked new film (the others were holdover movies). 
   The movie averaged a meager $2,839 per screen for the three-day weekend. The #2 new release The Huntsman Winter’s War averaged $5,129, despite stretching over a wider release to 3,791 screens. The more screens, the more it is expected that per-screen box office gets diluted. Hologram wasn’t the lowest per-screen grosser for the weekend---longer-running The Boss and Batman v. Superman came in with less but on more screens and thus higher total box office. On the other hand, blockbuster The Jungle Book averaged $15,278 per screen on 4,028 screens (for a towering $61.5 million weekend gross) to rank #1 for the weekend.
   “For three-day weekend figures that often are cited in newspaper reports, films that don’t average at least $2,000 per screen usually are considered commercial disappointments, no matter how wide their release patterns,” says the third edition of Marketing To Moviegoers. “Looked at another way, a $3,000 per-screen average for a weekend with three thousand screens can be fine but would be a disaster if the film had just 30 screens.”
   Startup theatrical distributor Saban Films acquired Hologram at a private film-sales screening a year ago, according to a Deadline article by Brian Brooks. Saban has physical distribution done by Roadside Attractions, which is a unit of giant indie Lionsgate. Roadside Attraction has the staff and ongoing business of distributing films to theaters. That frees Saban—owned by media tycoon Haim Saban—to buy films without shouldering costs of a distribution arm that would only be a full-capacity occasionally.
   The premiere weekend is underwhelming, showing even the star wattage of Tom Hanks couldn’t overcome a not-particularly-riveting movie premise. Hanks stars as a sad-sack American businessman fumbling through the Middle East. For several years, it’s noticeable that audiences don’t support Hollywood stars at the box office like in the past. Reasons aren’t clear but audiences have shown a preference for high-concept films like comic book adaptations, where glitz, action and intrigue star on the silver screen.
For full text, click links below; this website’s text is searchable via searchbox on upper right of web pages: