Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 14th - 16th March 2008

1. Horton Hears a Who - $45.1M - $45.1M
2. 10,000 B.C. - $16.4M - $61.2M
3. Never Back Down - $8.6M - $8.6M
4. College Road Trip - $7.8M - $24.2M
5. Vantage Point - $5.4M - $59.2M
6. The Bank Job - $4.9M - $4.9M
7. Doomsday - $4.7M - $4.7M
8. Semi-Pro - $2.9M - $29.7M
9. The Other Boleyn Girl - $2.9M - $19.1M
10. The Spiderwick Chronicles - $2.3M - $65.4M

With the family market being pretty much restricted to Spiderwicke or Hannah Montana in the past few months, they've turned out in their droves to see Horton Hears A Who. Furthermore, with Horton being targetted at the younger crowd, it's managed to rope in more business. Previous Dr Seuss adaptations have been a mixed bag - The Grinch did some impressive business back in 2000 (a total of $260M) but the Cat in the Hat struggled to $100M (yet curiously, according to Box Office Prophets, if you factor in inflation, Horton opened to the same amount as The Cat in the Hat).

This time out the studio has gone for big name voices and 100% computer generated imagery and it's paid off handsomely. Given how far off recent weekend estimates have been, Fox were very careful with their predictions for Horton, downplaying any high box office numbers with an anticipated $35M weekend. On the one hand they can now use that to promote just how much better the film did. On the other hand a number of box office tracking sites had the film taking as much as $55M (based on similar movies, interest etc) - so on the surface the film did well in Fox's eyes but is quite a bit short in realistic estimating terms. False promotion? Perhaps, but there's no arguing with that number and with limited family friendly releases to come, Horton could quickly see $100M. Steve Carrell is still stinging from Evan Almighty while Jim Carrey hasn't seen much of a hit since Dick & Jane, so Horton's decent opening should heal a few wounds.

Last weekend's winner, 10,000BC was off a dangerous 60% on Friday, but managed to pick up a bit more business as the weekend wore on. Warners were quick to promote its global take last weekend - mainly because its domestic take was little to write home about. Expect the same this week as the film edges towards a global total of over $100M. The production budget has already been recouped so while it won't become the blockbuster Warners had hoped for, it won't cause anyone to be shown the door either.

Never Back Down, billed as a martial arts version of films such as Step Up and Stomp The Yard failed to have a similar kind of impact. With practically no marketable stars to hang the movie off and almost universally bad reviews, Never Back Down had its work cut out for it. While those aforementioned facts have never harmed Step Up-style movies, the martial arts aspect may have turned off the female market which make up a big percentage of the audience. Consequently, the toned down martial arts in the movie might have turned away the 15-25 male demographic as well. It's only saving grace will be its low budget. Never Back Down will head to DVD quickly where it may perform much stronger.

College Road Trip took a 42% hit in its second frame of release. Martin Lawrence had seen recent success with Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and with co-star Raven Symone along for the road, College Road Trip was probably expected to hold its ground a little better. Unfortunately, the family market who went to College Road Trip last weekend decided to head out to see Horton Hears A Who this week - and bought their friends with them. Again, like Never Back Down, this will won't have been a budget busting movie and will have a long life on DVD, where the Raven Symone angle may be played up much more strongly - while Lawrence is a star on the big screen (hence his central presence in the trailers), Raven is a bigger pull on the small one. Vantage Point has slowed but its weekend percentage drop was a respectable 27%. The film has so far made $59M from a budget of just $40M. On the international market the film has seen a take over $30M so far.

While its opening take wasn't great The Bank Job loses just 17% in its second weekend. Word of mouth could have played a big role here as the film was very well reviewed but its 1600 location count might have harmed the film's chances. It is doubtful that it will expand further but certainly looks better on Jason Statham's CV than In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Story.

Our final new release is the new movie from British horror director Neil Marshall. With a bigger budget and cast, along with a slight change of direction (trailers pointed to less horror, more a tribute to Mad Max 2 and Escape from New York) Doomsday failed to make much impact from its 1936 location count. The film wasn't screened for critics, which in some cases is par for the course, but disappointing trailers probably didn't help either. Unlike Marshall's previous releases, Doomsday has opened in America first, meaning it had no built-in word of mouth like Descent and to a lesser degree, Dog Soldiers, had prior to their US release. The film will make another weekend on the charts but be quickly forgotten by cinema goers, while cultdom on DVD is almost a given.

Semi-Pro may is going down faster than estimated - who could have predicted that a month ago? It looks like leaving general release without even reaching $40M, a total scored by Talledega Nights in its first weekend of release. Finally, the Other Boleyn Girl closes in on the $20M mark while Jumper hits $75M. Spiderwicke and Jumper may fight it out for the tenth position as their weekend estimates where within $200K of each other. Jumper's international take is now over $20M higher than its domestic one - in total its made $173M. Spiderwicke would have been hit even harder by Horton were it not already a month old and is certainly seeing its last weekend on the charts (provided it has taken more than Jumper when final numbers are released on Monday).

In a limited release the Funny Games remake took $522,000.

Before we get to next weekend's releases it's worth considering that we're just seven weeks away from the start of Blockbuster season (Iron Man kicks us off on May 2nd) but there's still some potential heavy hitters even before then. George Clooney's comedy Leatherheads and Forgetting Sarah Marshall are both expected to perform well. The Harold & Kumar sequel could see decent business and sadly Superhero Movie might do the same. We also have a dark horse in the guise of Deception (aka The List), a long delayed Hugh Jackman/Ewan McGregor thriller which has seen next to no promotion at all (one Russian trailer is the sum total of hype). Horror movie The Ruins could rise above the normal crowd while family entertainment may be supplied by Nim's Island. We even have the wide release of the Martin Scorcese Rolling Stones doc, Shine A Light to look forward to in the next six weeks.

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