Tuesday, 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 15th - 17th May 2009

1. Angels & Demons - $48M - $48M
2. Star Trek - $43M - $147.6M
3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $14.8M - $151.1M
4.Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - $6.8M - $40.1M
5.Obsessed - $4.5M - $62.6M
6. 17 Again - $3.4M - $58.4M
7. Monsters Vs. Aliens - $3M - $190.6M
8. The Soloist - $2.4M - $27.5M
9. Next Day Air - $2.2M - $7.6M
10. Earth - $1.6M - $29.1M

Tom Hanks' follow up to the hugely successful Da Vinci Code got off to a pretty rough start on Friday and things didn't exactly improve too much from there over the rest of the weekend. Making just over half of the what the Da Vinci Code made on its opening day ($28M), Angels & Demons must have fallen way short of Sony's expectations (To make matters worse, The Da Vinci Code made more money on Friday and Saturday than Angel & Demons did for the entire weekend).

Facing strong competition from Star Trek probably didn't help the situation but memories of the Da Vinci Code probably did the film no favours either and while it has still been controversial in religious circles, it lacked the wide spread condemnation (and free hype) that its prequel was granted. Even with a 50% drop next weekend Angels & Demons performance would still disappoint and up against two major releases, that 50% drop is nothing but a pipe dream.

Reviews for Angels & Demons weren't much better either and with the prequel costing $125M it's a safe bet to assume this one came in at a slightly higher cost meaning the studio will now have to rely heavily on its international success and home rental market to make things right. And that international market could be its saving grace, the first film took in a huge $540M worldwide compared to its US tally of $217M. With the coming competition and its relatively low opening, will the film make $100M? Expect Angels & Demons to possibly end up behind Star Trek next weekend.

Speaking of which, Star Trek had a strong follow up weekend after its stunning $79M opening. It crossed the $100M mark on Thursday, same time frame as Wolverine, but it's second weekend score of $43M far exceeds that of the X-men spin off. At one point, as Angels & Demons began to falter it looked as though Star Trek might win a second weekend in the top spot. As it is it must settle for second but a very close second indeed, off a total percentage of 42%. What this means is that the great reviews and word of mouth are starting to rope in more and more non-fans, something that was a potential worry before the film's release. Of all the films in the top ten, Star Trek stands to get hit the hardest by next weekend's Terminator Salvation but as we have seen this weekend, word of mouth and repeat business will still hold it in good stead.

Wolverine, in its third weekend of release takes less of a hit, off 44%. In terms of performance, it's tracking similar to X3, but unfortunately for Wolverine, X3 had a much better start out of the gate. On the global market the film has similarly slowed down as Star Trek and Angels & Demons begin to push the film out of a number of locations. Next weekend won't be any better up against Terminator Salvation but Wolverine & Fox can take heart in the fact that the film has a global total of over $275M. Working on a simple theory of the total production, including advertising and prints, costing double the actual reported production budget (in this case $150), Wolverine should be approaching actual profit within the next weekend or so. It'll now start to look towards its DVD release strategy. Failing any major flops in the coming weeks, it should also be the first summer movie out on home release.

Ghost of Girlfriends Past had an impressive hold last weekend, down just 32% from its opening three day take and this week's drop is just as good, still working well as alternative programming to the blockbuster releases. As mentioned previously on the box office report, its large (for the genre) production budget of $60M is what's causing Ghosts of Girlfriend's past a headache - had this been budgeted at a more modest $35-40M, WB would have a little less to worry about.

The rest of the top ten is made up of older releases, with the exception of Next Day Air, with the vast majority just hanging around thanks to the lack of new releases. Obsessed has now tripled its production budget and has been an all round success for Screen Gems. This could easily be a $100M earner once the global market gets hold of the film - so far the film has opened in just three small markets outside of the North America. 17 Again has taken small amounts of box office for the last few weeks and has certainly seen better days. It'll manage another week or so in the top ten and will top out at around $70M.

Monsters Vs Aliens dropped just 8% from last weekend's total. A last hurrah perhaps just as a brand new family movie comes in to play (not before time the family market scream). Another success for Dreamworks animation, performing well both in the US and overseas ($143M). Next up for the animation division is How To Train Your Dragon in March 2010, followed by the sure to be huge Shrek Goes Fourth a few months later.

The Soloist is simiarly floundering against the early big guns of the Summer season. There's every chance that had this been release in January or February it would have entered the charts much higher with a stronger box office total three weeks later. As it is, it'll simply become the film Robert Downey Jnr made between Tropic Thunder and Sherlock Holmes. Next Day Air drops 44% and is thankful for just the one new release this weekend. If it's lucky it'll score one more weekend in the top ten but is unlikely to see much more than $12M come the end of its theatrical run. Earth has begun to shed it's location count but thanks to its massive international gross ($85) it's already well over $100M in total ticket sales.

Note: What do people think of the Total production costs method mentioned above? That the actual budget including making the film, advertising and printing the film is roughly equal to double of what the film physically cost to make? I noticed Box Office Prophets mentioned last week that they use this rough guide to measure how successful (and near or far from actual profit) a film is.

What's your call for next weekend's box office champion? Terminator Salvation opens on Thursday, giving it a slight head start but a potentially lower three day weekend total.

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