Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 13th - 15th March 2009

1. Race to Witch Mountain - $25M - $25M
2. Watchmen - $18M - $86M
3. The Last House on the Left - $14.6M - $14.6M
4. Taken - $6.6M - $126.8M
5. Madea Goes to Jail - $5.1M - $83.2M
6. Slumdog Millionaire - $5M - $132.6M
7. Paul Blart: Mall Cop - $3.1M - $137.7M
8. He's Just Not That Into You - $2.9M - $89M
9. Coraline - $2.6M - $69.1M
10. Miss March - $2.3M - $2.3M

Another week, another remake (or two). Race to Witch Mountain is semi-remake/reinvention of the beloved 1975 family film Escape to Witch Mountain. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes up the reigns and hopes to repeat some of the success he saw with The Game Plan. That film opened to $22M back in September 2007 and while this opened better, it'll be on the lower end of expectations after the wave of hype that preceded the film (including a costly Superbowl spot).

Furthermore, with Paul Blart having been seen by most families in North America and Coraline not having that same kind of wide appeal, Race to Witch Mountain should have really cleaned up on the family front. But, as we saw with the Game Plan, Witch Mountain could simply hang around the top end of the charts for a few weeks and build up some box office. Three new films open wide next weekend but none are family friendly fare, giving the film some breathing room.

After opening in the top spot last weekend with a good/bad/excellent/disappointing amount of box office (I think in the past week I've seen more discussion on what $55M means in box office terms for Watchmen than I have discussion about the movie!) the film proves to have been pretty heavily front loaded with most fans turning out that first weekend and leaving it in the dust in its second frame. The film was down an horrific 78% on a Friday to Friday basis, which is almost as high as The Jonas Brother movie the week before but managed to recover somewhat as the weekend wore on, ending a still painful 67% down from last weekend. If the film suffers another severe drop next weekend then it will be unlikely to make little more than $100M, which would be a major disappointment for Warner Bros who are having to split the profits three ways.

On the global market the film didn't perform too well over the opening weekend, taking just $26M from a number of major territories but held better in the second frame in Australia and the UK.. Another two weeks and Watchmen will almost certainly be done & dusted and will have to rely heavily on its DVD release, though even that might confuse, with numerous versions being planned for release over the next 12 months. In fact, the discussion over the film and its release strategy will probably be being discussed long after it's out of the top ten.

Our second remake is on the other end of the spectrum. Wes Craven's Last House on the Left gained notoriety upon its release back in 1972, with its unflinching depiction of rape and revenge. With that much distance between the original film, it was ripe for a remake (especially after the success of The Hills Have Eyes remake). Last House is the tale of two young girls who bump into some very nasty people on the way back from a concert. After assaulting the girls and leaving them for dead, they inadvertently end up seeking refuge at the house of one of the assaulted girls, whose parents soon realise just who they are and what they've done...This is one remake that's actually garnering some half decent reviews, something of a rarity for a horror movie in this day and age (it reviewed better than Race to Witch Mountain). Whether it will perform like a horror movie and drop sharp next weekend remains to be seen but it should have recouped its budget by next Friday anyway, if it hasn't already done so.

Taken may well be in the charts come the summer at the rate its going. Released way back on January 30th, the film has yet to leave the top five, crossing the $100M mark a while ago along with $200M on the global market. This week came the first news of a sequel being put into development. Madea Goes To Jail is also enjoying an extended stay (for a Tyler Perry movie anyway) and even has a slim chance of being Perry's first $100M movie. Slumdog Millionaire is still riding the wave of Academy Award success and stunning word of mouth. The $15M film crosses the $130M mark this weekend, with a global total just under $250M.

Paul Blart, like Taken, just continues to astonish. Even with three new releases this weekend the film has managed to hang tight and will probably manage a top ten place next weekend against another three new releases. Thanks to a lack of new releases over the past month, He's Just Not That Into You is also still in the top ten. The romantic comedy might even end up troubling $100M, though would have to wait until it is out of the top ten to potentially see that figure. Coraline hasn't held as well as it did initially but has doubled its production budget. Chances are its advertising and print costs have also been covered by now and the film has yet to see a release in any major overseas territories.

Miss March is a comedy about a guy who awakes from a four year coma to find his dream girl is now a Playboy centrefold. Deciding to try and win her back, he and a friend embark on a road trip in order to crash a Playboy mansion party. You can hear the pitch now - 'It's While You Were Sleeping crossed with Superbad and Road Trip!'. Suffice to say, this one won't be around more than this week and you won't even remember hearing about it until you catch it by accident on a Sky channel in a few months.

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