SBD/September 26, 2011/Media

"Moneyball" Has Best Opening Weekend For Any Baseball Film

Sony’s “‘Moneyball’ boasted the top opening of all time for a baseball pic, not accounting for inflation,” according to Pamela McClintock of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "The Lion King," however, “trumped" the baseball drama, finishing the weekend first at the box office with $22.1M. "Moneyball" grossed an “estimated $20.6 million” and ended its opening weekend in a "close race with 3D family offering 'Dolphin Tale'” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 9/25). Analysts “projected the movie would do $16 million to $23 million” (USA TODAY, 9/26). DAILY VARIETY’s Andrew Stewart noted, “Appealing to adult auds, ‘Moneyball’ started the weekend with a slight edge on Friday.” Sony President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer said that “‘Moneyball’ played mostly to over-25 auds (64%), but added that the film likely will broaden to younger moviegoers in the coming weeks.” Bruer: “A film like ‘Moneyball' during opening weekend attracts mostly an older audience. So there’s not that call to action like there is with films that attract younger audiences” (VARIETY.com, 9/25). The AP’s David Germain wrote, “It was a solid start for a film that looked dead in the water after Sony benched a previous version of 'Moneyball' just days before shooting was to start in 2009” (AP, 9/25).

TWO THUMBS UP: ROTTENTOMATOES.com found that 91% of audience members "liked" the movie. Its average audience rating on the site is 4.2 out of five stars (THE DAILY). In L.A., Amy Kaufman writes Brad Pitt’s “performance is already being buzzed about by awards pundits,” and based on findings from Las Vegas-based market research firm CinemaScore, “those who saw the film also seemed to like it, giving the movie an average grade of A.” Execs at Sony “are hopeful the strong score means the film will gross four to five times what it made this weekend by the end of its run in theaters” (L.A. TIMES, 9/26). But despite a successful opening, the film "will be hard pressed to challenge" the all-time top grossing baseball movie, "A League of Their Own," at $107.5M. Rounding out the top five highest-grossing baseball movies are "The Rookie" ($75.6M), "Field Of Dreams" ($64.4M), "The Benchwarmers" ($59.8M) and "Rookie of the Year" ($53.6M) (NEWSDAY.com, 9/23).

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS: Former A's manager Art Howe spoke to SiriusXM Radio's Chris Russo about his portrayal in the film. Howe: "It's disappointing. I spent my whole career trying to build a good reputation and I think I did that but this movie certainly doesn't help it. And it is definitely unfair and untrue. If you ask any player that ever played for me they would say that they never saw this side of me." Howe is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film (NEWSDAY.com, 9/24).
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