Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 16th - 18th May 2008

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - $56.5M - $56.5M
2. Iron Man - $31.2M - $222M
3. What Happens In Vegas - $13.8M - $40.3M
4. Speed Racer - $7.6M - $24.3M
5. Baby Mama - $4.59M - $47.2M
6. Made of Honor - $4.5M - $33.7M
7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - $2.5M - $55M
8. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay - $1.8M - $33.9M
9. Forbidden Kingdom - $1.0M - $50M
10. The Visitor - $0.6M - $3.4M

Prince Caspian is our number one movie and is already being called a disastrous release in some quarters. How does that logic work? The first movie opened to $65M in December 2005 and would go on to make $291M by the end of it domestic run. Prince Caspian has opened quite a bit behind that and unlike the first movie, this one faces an insane amount of competition in the coming weeks.

In fact, Prince Caspian will have until Thursday before it faces arguably the biggest release of 2008. Indiana Jones might not be as family friendly as Prince Caspian but it'll cut deep into its potential repeat box office. Going into the weekend some analysts had Prince Caspian earning as much as $100M in the first three day but even with some solid reviews the film failed to gain anywhere near that amount. Furthermore, unlike The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Caspian hasn't been able to rely heavily on the Christian market, especially with most review pointing out how much more violent this movie is in comparison.

What helped The Lion score big was the repeat business and a lack of serious competition. Only King Kong gave it any kind of run for its money and even that only managed to earn $2M more than The Lion in its second weekend of release. In fact, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe made even more money during the Christmas period than it did in the previous weekends of release. As mentioned above, Prince Caspian won't have anything like that chance with a major release due every single weekend from now until August, not to mention the current releases also giving it a run for its money.

The film needs to dig in now for the long haul, hope enough families will favour it over Iron Man and Indiana Jones. While there are big releases to come, they're also limited to one or two a week so the film could stay in the charts (and at a large number of locations) for a good few weeks. Whether people will continue to see it in face of newer movies, is another question. Prince Caspian may need the help of its international take to ensure The Voyage of Dawn Treader still goes into production. Moving the film from its original December release may have cost it dearly, but pushing it back to December 2008 appeared to be out of the question too.

Meanwhile Iron Man just keeps on going. On its 15th day of release it has crossed the $200M mark and scored an equally impressive $165M on the international market. It's Friday take was down 39% from the same time last week but its already survived the second weekend dip so its take this weekend is nothing at all to worry about. It'll be hit hard by Indiana Jones (but then what won't?) but Iron Man is an all round success and the first genuine blockbuster of the summer. Now we just need everyone to sign up for the sequel...

When final numbers were issued last weekend 'What Happens in Vegas' had actually taken more than Speed Racer by a couple of million at least. In its second frame Vegas is off just 31%, which is pretty impressive given the competition from Iron Man, Caspian and the other four comedies in the top ten. Look for this to end up with around $80M when it ends its domestic run. What Happens In Vegas has already recouped its production budget so its plain sailing from here out.

Warner Bros ran into more than a bit of trouble last weekend with Speed Racer. First, it flopped on massive scale with next to no chance of recovery or salvation from any quarter. On top of that Warner's were accused of inflating its weekend numbers to ensure it made more than $20M and finished in second place. Obviously when final numbers were issued it painted a different picture. It's normal for studios to be half a million dollars out with their estimates but $2M is pretty rare. With all studios having an unwritten understanding to be as honest as possible with its weekend numbers, this left egg on Warner's faces. But did they care? Doubtful given how much Speed Racer has cost them. It's unlikely the film will even make $50M, a distance way short of its $180M production budget. It's only saving grace, and it's minor one, is the lack of new releases in the coming weekends meaning it'll stay in the charts (though not necessarily in many theatres) longer than it would expect to.

Most of the rest of the top ten is made up of hangers on waiting to be shunted out of the way by big summer movies. Of them all, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is doing the best, having crossed $50M in the past week. The Judd Apatow produced comedy had a slow start but did ok box office in its subsequent weekends. It'll finish up with around $70M. The Forbidden Kingdom had a better start but a quicker drop off, seeing $50M this weekend. The martial arts epic has crossed the $100M mark when we factor in its international box office take. Baby Mama meanwhile should see $50M by next weekend. Made of Honour, faced with competition on all sides crosses the $30M mark this weekend and while it took more than most of the back end of the chart, it'll still struggle to see the level of box office accumulated by the others. Elsewhere, Harold & Kumar isn't as bothered by its lack of huge numbers, it's already taken far more than its predecessor and nearly tripled its production budget.

Finally, just breaking into the top ten from a location count of 217 is the comedy drama The Visitor. Thomas McCarthy, who previously directed The Station Agent, returns with the tale of a professor who travels to New York for a conference only to find a couple living in his apartment. The acclaimed film has been seeing some decent numbers from a tiny location count (it opened at just 4 locations and has expanded into 217 over the space of five weeks) and word of mouth has propelled it into the top ten this weekend.

And so, Dr Jones returns next weekend. Are we going to see Spiderman style record breaking?

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