Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 19th - 21st December 2008

1. Yes Man - $18.1M - $18.1M
2. Seven Pounds - $16M - $16M
3. The Tale of Despereaux - $10.5M - $10.5M
4. The Day The Earth Stood Still - $10.1M - $48.6M
5. Four Christmases - $7.7M - $100.1M
6. Twilight - $5.2M - $158.4M
7. Bolt - $4.2M - $95M
8. Slumdog Millionaire -  $3.1M - $12.1M
9. Australia -  $2.3M - $41.9M
10. Quantum of Solace - $2.1M - $161.3M

It's been a while since a live action Jim Carrey movie was at the top of the charts. More impressive still is that he's managed to see off arguably the world's biggest star and his new movie, leaving Will Smith to settle for second place. Yes Man is the new Jim Carrey comedy, his first live action comedy since Fun with Dick & Jane in 2005, which went on to take a good (though disappointing for the star) $110M.

Yes Man follows up the lacklustre Number 23, which sank without much of a trace, and tells the story of a man who decides to say Yes to any and every experience that comes his way, for better and worse. Based on the book by Danny Wallace and also starring Zooey Deschanel, the film got off to a decent start, slightly higher than the opening take of Dick & Jane, but had to contend with 7 Pounds, the last shopping days before christmas and a terrible storm hitting huge chunks of North America. With five major releases next weekend it won't stay in the top spot for long but it's put Jim Carrey back on top.

Will Smith has seen success at the two previous Christmases with I Am Legend in 2007 and The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006, not to mention summer box office with Hancock. He tries his luck again with the drama Seven Pounds, about a tax adjuster who sets out to help seven people who he sees as less fortunate than himself. Critics weren't friendly to the film, with it scoring just 27% fresh as RottenTomatoes (Yes Man scored 45%). It marks one of the lowest openings of Smith's career, rivalling Ali back in 2001 (even Happyness opened to $26M) and it'll face some dramatic competition in the form of Valkyrie and Benjamin Button from Christmas Day. What went wrong with Seven Pounds? At this early stage, its hard to say but it appears that Sony kept the hype on this one fairly low key. Trailers weren't inspiring either and there's more than enough dramatic films doing the limited release rounds to cover all bases. The coming weekends will be interesting for Seven Pounds but rest assured, the Will Smith bubble hasn't burst yet.

Sitting a bit of a way behind is another CGI movie in the guise of The Tale of Despereaux which obviously won the family vote this weekend but little else. Facing minor competition from Bolt, the aforementioned films and christmas itself, Despereaux is the tale of a mouse who wants to rise above his station and a bumbling serving mouse, whose fates are intertwined. Some big names filled out the voice cast including Kevin Kline, Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick and Sigourney Weaver but Despereaux looks like it'll have one weekend of success before vanishing pretty quickly. It may pick up some business over the actual holidays (like most films) but Pixar this ain't. (Some would also say - Dreamworks this ain't).

After a lower than hoped for start, The Day The Earth Stood Still collapses in the second frame, off a nasty 75% on a Friday to Friday basis. The sci-fi remake is doing about as well on the international market but should clear $100M in total global ticket sales by the end of the weekend. Expect a final US tally of around $65-70M. Meanwhile the Thanksgiving success Four Christmases just manages to crosses the $100M mark, the 21st film this year to do so. Twilight saw $150M last Sunday and saw a global total of over $200M in the same time frame. This week Summit Pictures, the distributor for Twilight, have announced they plan to release year on year sequels of the teen vampire series.

If Bolt wants to see $100M while still in the top ten then it'll have to work quickly as some of next week's releases will begin screening on Christmas Day. The Disney film has managed to hang in there as long as Twilight but outside of Thanksgiving has struggled to make decent weekend to weekend totals. Thankfully Bolt is the type of movie that cleans up on DVD so all is far from lost.

Having been performing exceptionally well in a limited release, Slumdog Millionaire expands into 589 locations this week and breaks into the top ten. The Danny Boyle drama, about a boy who is a arrested for cheating while on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, reviewed very well upon release but has seen its market hampered by its R-rating (which many viewers claim the film does not deserve). It's success this weekend could yet see it expand further as we move deeper into awards season.

Australia is the epic that never was. Costing an estimated $130M, the film has only just cleared $40M in North America and will be long gone by next Friday. It's foreign total stands at just $15M but it is yet to see a release in a number of major territories. Quantum of Solace overtakes the last but one Bond film standing between it and being the biggest film of the franchise. Die Another Day amassed $160M, with Casino Royale sitting not far behind on $167M. Solace should see that figure before too long, perhaps even as early as next weekend if the film receives a Christmas boost.

Of note in limited release is the Mickey Rourke comeback vehicle The Wrestler, which scored $209k from just four locations, giving it the second best take per location of the year, after Frost/Nixon.

All that remains is for me to wish all readers of the Box Office Report a very merry Christmas and thanks for taking the time each week to read this thread.

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