Wednesday 9 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 10th - 12th November 2006

1. Borat: - $29M - $67.8M
2. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause - $16.9M - $41.1M
3. Flushed Away - $16.7M - $39.9M
4. Stranger Than Fiction - $14.1M - $14.1M
5. Saw III - $6.6M - $69.9M
6. Babel - $5.65M - $7.49M
7. The Departed - $5.24M - $110M
8. The Return - $4.78M - $4.78M
9. The Prestige - $4.63M - $46M
10. A Good Year - $3.77M - $3.77M

Borat has just as good a weekend as it did last time around. Obviously the movie is a roaring success, easily covering all its costs and prints & advertising budget, and that's just from its US takings, so all this is really academic. Last week when the movie was on 837 it took $28M and this week its screen number has increased to 2,566 and the movie took $29M. Could the movie have done better last weekend opening on 2,500 screens? Perhaps, but would it have seen a bigger taking this weekend as a result?

By opening on fewer screens the studio were assured pretty much sell-out screenings, many people wanting to see the movie on opening weekend rather than waiting to this weekend. A risky gamble - if the movie hadn't have struck big then they'd have wasted that first weekend. But like I said, all this is academic - the movie struck big and its second weekend has gone down just as well. The movie is now on course to cross the $100M mark before the end of its domestic run.

  Benefitingfrom Veterans Day being on Friday in the US meaning many school children get the day off, both Santa Clause 3 & Flushed Away saw some strong business. While their initial takings weren't as high as expected, having such a strong second weekend will surely go some way to appeasing their respective studios. Clause 3 may not perform as well as Part 2 did but if it can get another couple of weekends of $10M+ then it'll certainly not be a slouch. Meanwhile Flushed Away may well go on to become Aardman's biggest US hit.

Our first new entry this weekend is the Will Ferrell Dramedy Stranger Than Fiction. The film has been scoring some impressive reviews for Ferrell, with many comparing this role to Jim Carrey's in The Truman Show. Co-star Emma Thompson plays a writer who appears to be writing Ferrell's life - he hears her words in his head, she influences his actions - without knowing. The movie was a tough sell especially after the broad comedy (and huge success) of Talledga Nights in the late summer. Attempts to pitch the movie as a straight Will Ferrell comedy might have thrown off a percentage of the market, not to mention risk alienating fans who'd find it was anything but. You can begin to see the parallels with The Truman Show and the marketing enigma that became. A good opening weekend combined with some strong word of mouth should see the movie sit pretty for a few weeks.

Saw III should cross the $70M mark in the next couple of days. The franchise is showing no signs of slowing down, this third movie looking to be the most successful yet. Saw 4 hasn't been officially announced but you can safely mark out a spot next October for it.

Adding over 1200 screens this week has propelled the Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett drama Babel into the top ten. The movie has received some of the best reviews of any movie this year and the limited release has allowed it to build up some good word-of-mouth but it might have benefited from a couple more weeks of low screen count before opening on a quieter weekend. Like smaller movies Little Miss Sunshine & The Illusionist, Babel may be in for the long haul.

The Departed drops another couple of places in its sixth weekend yet still manages to perform better than two new releases, with all three films being on around the same number of screens. Worldwide the film has taken $159M.

One of those disappointing new releases is The Return, a PG-13 rated scare-flick starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The studio will be disappointed with the total, perhaps hoping for a repeat of the business the first Grudge movie did. This will be gone by next weekend. The Prestige drops a few spots and may also see its final weekend on the top ten. The movie should end its domestic run with around $55-60M.

Our final big release this weekend is the Ridley Scott directed Russel Crowe flick A Good Year. Having none of the action of Gladiator, the studio haven't been able to rely on the re-teaming of that Director/Star to stir up some business. A lacklustre trailer along with what some are saying is a very slow burn story may have hampered the film's chances for a bigger release. The hook of a man going to France to rediscover his life might well have been a tough sell compared to Gladiator or Cinderella Man.

Elsewhere the Christian Bale thriller Harsh Times opened just outside the top ten and took just under $2M from 956 screens.

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