Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 15th - 17th August 2008

1. Tropic Thunder - $26M - $37M
2. The Dark Knight - $16.7M - $471.1M
3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - $15.5M - $15.5M
4. Mirrors - $11.1M - $11.1M
5. Pineapple Express - $10M - $62.9M
6. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $8.6M - $86.6M
7. Mamma Mia! - $6.4M - $116.4M
8. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 - $5.9M - $32.1M
9. Step Brothers - $5M - $90.8M
10. Vicky Christina Barcelona - $3.7M - $3.7M

After four weeks in the top spot, The Dark Knight drops down a place but still manages to see off two wide opening new releases in the guise of Mirrors and The Clone Wars (more later). Our number one movie this weekend is the Ben Stiller directed comedy Tropic Thunder, about a group of highly strung actors who have to use their boot camp training when they find themselves in a real war zone. Robert Downey Jnr. adds another set of good reviews to the ones he scored with Iron Man earlier in the year and the film generally impressed critics.

Thunder, like Pineapple Express last week, opened on a Wednesday, perhaps to avoid the five other releases debuting this weekend. It's Wednesday take was well below the par of Pineapple Express too but unlike that film, had a higher Friday than its day of release. Going into the weekend the film scored $8.3M and combined with its Wednesday & Thursday total has done pretty well, but perhaps on the lower end of expectations.

Tropic Thunder wasn't cheap to produce, with a rumoured budget of between $100-150M, so it needs subsequent strong weekends to keep it shored up. It should easily become Ben Stiller's biggest grossing film as a director, with only The Cable Guy ($60M life time gross) offering any competition in that area, but won't trouble some of his bigger films as an actor. Where does it go from here? It'll face off against four wide opening releases next weekend so it needs a weekend-weekend drop of less than 50%, something it might not achieve if its as heavily front loaded as it seems, so Stiller will be relying on some good word of mouth to help out. I can't imagine the recent controversy over the 'Simple Jack - Full Retard' topic has damaged the film in any serious way, though Stiller's critics may disagree.

The Dark Knight might have dropped a place but is still performing ridiculously well in its fifth weekend of release. It's officially the 2nd biggest grossing movie of all time in North America, having overtaken Star Wars some time on Saturday. (Though it's worth noting that that Star Wars gross includes ALL releases of the film, including its 1982 reissue and the retooled version in 1997) It's widely admitted that the film won't best Titanic now but should go on to see $500M by the end of its run. Internationally the film is sitting on over $275M and still has a large number of foreign locales awaiting the release of the film. Expect a global total of over $1 billion.

Speaking of Star Wars, the animated The Clone Wars is our second new release this weekend but isn't seeing the kind of numbers usually associated with the franchise. In fact, given it's the only animated family movie in the top ten, that relatively low gross might have been inflated further by parents just looking for a film for the kids to see. The Clone Wars is said to sit in the same time frame as the 2003 series with the same name - somewhere between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It's also being seen as a lead in for the (new) TV series set to debut later this year. It marks the first time that Fox haven't distributed a Star Wars related films, this one being handled by Warner Bros. Critics savaged the film (something it shares with the Star Wars Prequels) and given its low start and the four new films released next weekend, it won't be hanging around long. The film should perform well on DVD, but it'll be interesting to see how successful the TV show ends up being. George Lucas won't worry though, he's said to be prepping Star Wars 3D.

Mirrors is Alexandre Aja remake of the Korean film Into the Mirror and features Kiefer Sutherland as a security guard patrolling a department store, recently ravaged by fire, that used to be a psychiatric hospital involved in schizophrenia experiments. From that description you can kind of see it won't be a pseudo-sequel to Night at the Museum. We've not seen much horror in recent weeks (save for The Love Guru) so fans of the genre have turned out in their droves, and having Kiefer Sutherland star hasn't harmed the film either. Less bloody than Aja's The Hills Have Eyes remake or Haute Tension, it's still pretty grisly and served as perfect alternate programming to Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express. It should finish up around $35M (recouping its budget) and do well as an unrated DVD release.

Pineapple Express, faced with the Wednesday release of Tropic Thunder, is off 57% in its second frame of release. Having lost out on the top spot last weekend thanks to its Wednesday release hampering its overall weekend total, the film has been crushed somewhat by Thunder and the other new releases (not to mention The Dark Knight). All that said, the film has already almost doubled its production budget so no one is worrying to much about the quick dropoff of this release.

The Mummy 3's international take is more than making up for its poor perfomance domestically. It should just about make $100M in the US before the end of its theatical run but on the international stage the film is already sitting on over $145M. It should overtake Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which has dropped from the top ten and shed around a 1000 locations this weekend. Sisterhood 2 comes off a bit better than its release counterpart, Pineapple Express, but like that film, it's already in profit. A second straight to dvd sequel is not out of the question.

This week should see Mamma Mia! cross the $300M mark in total global sales, over $110M of that in North America. It'll surpass Hairspray's $118M within the next ten days. The Abba themed movie has been in profit from some time and will no doubt clean up on DVD at Christmas. Step Brothers won't see $100M before leaving the top ten but it shouldn't take many more weeks to reach that level, making it Ferrell's fourth $100M+ movie of his career (while he was in Wedding Crashers, it was only in cameo role so has not been included in his $100M movies).

Woody Allen, whose last top ten entry was 2000s Small Time Crooks, just about sneaks in with Vicky Christina Barcelona, the success of which appears to be based solely on a same-sex kissing scene between Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson (Allen's current muse who has featured in three of his last four films). Expect a number one for Allen if his next film is called Scarlett Does Penelope.

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