Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 17th - 19th October 2008

1. Max Payne - $18M - $18M
2. Beverly Hills Chihuahua - $11.2M - $69M
3. The Secret Life of Bees - $11M - $11M
4. W. - $10.5M - $10.5M
5. Eagle Eye - $7.3M - $81.3M
6. Body of Lies - $6.8M - $24.4M
7. Quarantine - $6.3M - $24.6M
8. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - $3.9M - $26.7M
9. Sex Drive - $3.5M - $3.5M
10. Nights in Rodanthe - $2.6M - $36.8M

Video game adaptation Max Payne blasts into the top spot. The Mark Wahlberg action-revenger has been in various stages of production since the release of the first game back in 2001 but everything fell into place earlier this year and the film was fast-tracked for an October release. With the game being something of a memory in the eyes of fans (and a relative unknown amongst the general public) the film had its work cut out for it. Early stills and trailer showed some promise but its PG-13 rating and a subsequent fantastical trailer may have harmed its appeal to the hardcore crowd while confusing the public. Opening well ahead of everything else on Friday the film continued to dominate over the weekend, but saw something of a dip in takings on Sunday.

How it'll hold up to Saw 5 next weekend remains to be seen. In terms of videogame adaptations, it opens some way behind the first Tomb Raider movie, slotting in between Silent Hill and the third Resident Evil movie. Videogame adaptations act very similar to horror movies, big openings followed by a crippling second frame, but like Tomb Raider, Max Payne has a bigger then average name attached in the guise of Wahlberg. Will his presence be enough to see off Jigsaw's return?

After seeing off some big names over the last couple of weekends, the chihuahuas have finally met their match in Max Payne. The Disney family movie still faces no direct competition (Secret Life of Bees seemed aimed at the 11-14 year old market) which is why it saw just a 34% drop on its third Friday of release. It's doubtful that the film will see $100M on the domestic market but should easily match or surpass that tally when released onto the international market. The re-release of Nightmare Before Christmas might take some of the family market away from the film but not enough to cause the Chihuahua's any major problems. Budget details still don't appear to be available but the film must surely be bordering on a cinematic sequel release as opposed to a direct to DVD one.

Dakota Fanning's Secret Life of Bees opens strongly in third position, strong given that it's at just 1500 locations (Max Payne is at 3,376). Based on the bestselling book of the same name, The Secret Life of Bees also stars Queen Latifah and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as friend and carer respectively, of Fannings' charater Lily Owen, who has run away from her abusive father, played by Paul Bettany. The film appeared to be the choice of the week for fans of the book and some families, skewering towards the female demographic.

W. appears to be the most talked about film of the last seven days but not the one that people actually want to go and see. That's evident in its chart position and total. Oliver Stone directs Josh Brolin as George W Bush in what many thought would be a highly controversial adaptation of the president's life. Reviews tell a different story with Stone playing the story fairly straight. After similar treatment with the 9/11 movie World Trade Center, has Oliver Stone lost his edge? Like Max Payne, the film came together quickly and was obviously released to coincide with the presidential race heating up and that could have been its downfall. As we've seen with the recent spate of Iraq movies, the public don't want to pay for something they're living with on a day to day basis. Perhaps in twelve months time the film might have performed better but would anyone have cared any more or less?

Eagle Eye has recouped its production budget and managed to outperform the 10 day old Body of Lies. The Shia LeBeouf hi-tech action thriller has just begun to see release in some foreign territories and should have a global box office take (factoring in its US tally so far) of over $100M by Sunday night. Body of Lies does little to recover in only its second weekend of release. The Ridley Scott directed movie was expected to top the charts last weekend but had to settle for third, in behind Chihuahua and Quarantine. The $70M movie had competition from the thriller Eagle Eye but really fell foul of the family market, the horror crowd and the public's apathy to the subject matter. It'll need to rely heavily on foreign grosses in order to get within grasping distance of that production budget.

After a surprisingly strong start in its first frame, Quarantine suffers the same fate as other horror movies. Off a severe (but expected) 64% from last Friday, the film takes a tumble down the charts. Made for just $12M, Quarantine was already in profit by midday last Sunday. From there on out it was a win-win situation for Screen Gems. It'll be a distance memory in a month's time but will find plenty of custom on DVD and the international market.

Our final new release this week is bawdy comedy Sex Drive, which was receiving some strong word of mouth across a few websites and being billed somewhere between Road Trip and last year's sleeper Superbad. Sadly it has repeated the success of neither film and won't be around long enough to prove anything different.

Nick & Norah and Nights in Rodanthe see their final weekend in the charts and while not huge smash hits, they've managed to recoup their productions budgets, which given the glut of films we've seen lately, is no easy task.

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