Tuesday, 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 12th - 14th September 2008

1. Burn After Reading -  $19.4M - $19.4M
2. The Family That Preys - $18M - $18M
3. Righteous Kill - $16.5M - $16.5M
4. The Women - $10M - $10M
5. The House Bunny -  $4.3M - $42.1M
6. Tropic Thunder - $4.1M - $102.9M
7. The Dark Knight - $4M - $517.6M
8. Bangkok Dangerous - $2.4M - $12.5M
9. Traitor - $2.1M - $20.7M
10. Death Race - $2M - $33.1M

After the critical and financial success of the dark and violent No Country for Old Men last year the Coen Brothers drop down a gear for Burn After Reading, a black comedy bordering on slapstick. A big name cast of Coen Brother's regulars along with some new faces including Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich star in the story of a missing disc containing a CIA agent's memoirs which falls into the hands of a couple of gym trainers (Pitt and Frances McDormand), whose not too bright thinking see it as a way to make some money. Except its just not that simple or easy....

Burn marks the biggest ever opening weekend for a Coen Brothers film, who are still riding high on the success of No Country. With the all star cast and some good reviews backing this up, Burn After Reading should see only a moderate drop off next weekend. The film was also made for just $37M, a miracle given that cast, so should be approaching a profit by next weekend. No Country finished up with $75M domestically, can Burn After Reading pose a threat to that?

Widely expected to take the top spot, the latest Tyler Perry film has to settle for second place for a change, but not by much. The Family That Preys is his second release this year and as before, fans have lapped it up. The only problems for Perry is that his films are heavily front loaded, fans of his work usually turn up on the first weekend leaving not a great deal for the second frame (his last release, Meet The Browns, made half its box office total during its first weekend). That said, his films always turn a profit because they're produced so cheaply and so quickly. The Family That Preys is no different and should be in or nearing profit by Sunday evening. Could this be the film to break Perry into the international market? His films have generally stayed close to home regarding release, with only Meet The Browns seeing any kind of non-domestic outing. He'll return with another new film in February, featuring his grandmother creation Madea, in Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail.

Ten years ago a De Niro/Pacino cop partners movie would have blown the box office apart. People wouldn't even have needed to know what it was about, just that two of the greatest actors to have lived would be on screen together for a prolonged period of time. Jump forward those 10 years and people are more likely to say "So what?". Having both made their fair share of duds these past years, a De Niro Film, a Pacino Film, are no longer signs of quality. Reviews have been anything but kind for this serial killer drama, but its opening weekend total isn't too bad - certainly not in flop territory. But how much of that was down to the curiosity factor? The makers have been keen to play up the on screen partnering but one suspects anyone who wanted to see it would have done so this weekend. Produced on a budget of $60M, the film may need to rely on its international grosses to see a return on that figure.

The Women is no Sex & The City. It's not even Mamma Mia and the public know it. Featuring an all female cast (There are no male speaking roles in the entire film) it hoped to replicate some of the huge success seen by the aforementioned films. The Women has some pretty big female players (Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Annette Benning, Debra Messing and Jada Pinkett Smith) and did manage to rope in some of the female demographic who didn't fancy the Clooney/Pitt vehicle Burn After Reading. The fact that the film contains no romantic sub-plot, rather the effects of a marriage breakup by one of them on her group of friends, has been mentioned as something of a stumbling block but given the success of the top three movies, the film did well to see the total it did. The Women's jewel in the crown is its budget - just $16M - a figure it should see by next week. Quickly into profit for certain, but with four new releases next weekend, it won't see a whole lot more.

Which brings us to our holdovers, The House Bunny, which crossed the $40M mark this weekend, should double its production budget before leaving the top ten. It's had some impressive weekend to weekend percentage drops and may do equally well in the international market. Tropic Thunder finally crossed the $100M barrier on Friday. It's an anomaly to see a big budget movie with slow burn success. Thunder has been helped by a lack of decent competition in the recent weeks but still took its time to make that $100M. The film is just now starting to see some returns on its staggered international release.

The Dark Knight is still firmly dug into the top ten, even after 8 weeks on general release. News appeared this past week regarding an Imax re-release at Christmas, possibly to qualify for Oscar contention. Globally the film is on over $950M, possibly seeing $1B some time in the next week. It might have been number one last weekend but Bangkok Dangerous drops from end of the chart nearly all the way to the other, potentially the biggest position drop of any movie in box office history. It won't even be in the top ten next weekend - a number one film out of the top ten in three weeks?

Traitor did about the best of some of the recent releases and should be in profit by mid week. If only Death Race could say the same - it's still at least $15M shy of its production budget. Luckily for the producers, Jason Statham has a growing fan base abroad which should easily cover any discrepancies on the domestic front.

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