Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 1st - 3rd May 2009

1. Star Trek - $76.5M - $76.5M
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $27M - $129.6M
3. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - $10.4M - $30.2M
4. Obsessed - $6.6M - $56.2M
5. 17 Again - $4.4M - $54.2M
6. Next Day Air - $4M - $4M
7. The Soloist - $3.6M - $23.5M
8. Monsters vs. Aliens - $3.3M - $186.9M
9. Earth - $2.4M - $26.1M
10. Hannah Montana The Movie - $2.4M - $74.1M

JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot got off to a fantastic start on Thursday night ($7M in sales) and carried on along that path through out the weekend. A risky proposition, not only a new Star Trek film but one that goes right back to the origins of the characters, but Abrams and Paramount played it perfectly, managing to attract the stalwart fans along with enough people curious to see what all the fuss was about.

Reviews were staggeringly good, with it currently sitting on a 96% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, (to put that into perspective - Slumdog Millionaire & The Dark Knight scored 94%) something else that would have roped in the non-fans and the curious. What needs to be noted is that while the film didn't pull in as much as Wolverine did last weekend, in terms of expectations it has far exceeded it. Paramount, perhaps wanting to err on the side of caution, stated they'd be more than happy with $50M while most box office pundits had it anywhere between $60M and $85M.

After the franchise begin to show signs of trouble (Star Trek: Nemesis finished with just $43M in 2002) a new Star Trek film wasn't an easy sell. One that started right back before Starfleet Academy an even harder one, especially amongst Star Trek's more obsessive fans. Hiring Abrams, who has made only his second feature film with Star Trek, and casting relative unknowns or smaller players in the key roles while ramping up the effects all worked to the advantage of the film, the positive reviews just making the relaunch even sweeter for all involved. It should cope ok against Angels & Demons next weekend but might be one of the films to take a harder than normal knock up against Terminator Salvation the weekend after. Star Trek should easily go on to become the biggest film of the entire series, a plaudit that currently resides with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home with $109M (not adjusted for inflation).

After last weekend's success, Wolverine dropped a sharp 76% from Friday to Friday, not quite as high as X3's drop in the same period but still pretty vicious. For the weekend overall it dropped 68% but this isn't really a big surprise for such a front loaded film. It saw $100M by Thursday and should comfortably make over $200M by Sunday night in total global ticket sales. It would have been interesting to see what the film could have done had it been up against a different film in its second frame of release - there's no denying there'd be a large amount of crossover fans with Star Trek which probably did Wolverine more damage than something like Land of the Lost or Year One would have done. What it needs now is a smaller, safer drop next weekend up against Angels & Demons.

Do we think the leaked workprint affected the film? To be honest, word of mouth may have done it more damage in the long run, though Fox continue to claim that the film should have done $100M last weekend but didn't because of that security breach. After what could have been a bit of a disaster, Wolverine should emerge from the summer having covered its production costs and looking forward to a sequel (which is already said to have been greenlit, along witha Deadpool spin off).

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past actually has a better weekend to weekend drop thanks to it being the only major release aimed directly at the female demographic (especially the 25-40 year old one). Though it opened much lower than Matthew McConaughey's previous romantic comedies, it still performed ok. Facing no direct competition this weekend saw it drop just 32% and we may see another acceptable drop next weekend up against Angels & Demons (again, not aimed squarely at the female demographic). The main issue for the film is its budget, $60M is pretty costly for a romantic comedy and while the film should see that amount, it seriously cuts down on the amount of profit for the studio.

Obsessed crossed the $50M mark on Friday and still has the rest of the world's markets awaiting release. Even with advertising and print costs the film is still in profit, having been produced for just $20M. The Beyonce picture should also manage at least another couple of weekends in the top ten, which will do it no harm at all. 17 Again, like Obsessed, crossed the $50M mark this weekend but it's pretty much run its course now. As a launching pad for Zac Efron's non-musical career its performed quite well, but on the lower end of the studio's expectations one imagines. Internationally it's taken over $30M but with no major markets awaiting the film's release, it's unlikely to see a global total of $100M. While Efron has been linked to almost every role going in Hollywood at the moment, he only has Johnny Quest on his list of future projects.

Apart from Star Trek, our only new release is the comedy Next Day Air, at 1100+ locations this weekend. After two amateur criminals accidently end up with a package of cocaine, their scheme to get rich quick doesn't go entirely to plan. This may have been a tough sell, a comedy about drug dealing that's punctuated with some pretty graphic violence and it's lack of box office reflects that on some level. Reviews were fairly bad, but a number of critics did find the film funny, though spoilt somewhat by its uneven tone. It's the kind of film, like low budget horror, that should perform much better on DVD.

The Soloist manages to reach $20M this weekend but it's unlikely to see much more box office. The Robert Downey Jnr/Jamie Foxx drama cost the same as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and was a much harder sell than the summer rom-com. It's still a little puzzling why an intimate drama was released at the near edge of blockbuster season.

Monsters Vs Alien is now stuck in something of a rut. It's still making money each weekend, sometimes more than newer releases, but it's been on release for so long now that most families will have seen the film at least once already and are now waiting for Pixar's Up. This week M Vs A overtook the final box office tally of Madagascar 2 ($180M) and should eclipse the final take of the first Madagascar movie ($193M) by the end of its run.

Earth will turn in a tidy profit for Disney, having been produced for just $15M, and shot alongside the original Planet Earth series in 2006. It could have seen further success had it not been for it being released into a busy market. Seeing its last weekend in the top ten is Hannah Montana The Movie, which to all intents and purposes did well to last as long as it did, given how front loaded it was. One can expect it's merchandising sales alone surpassed its quite substantial box office so this is win-win all the way.

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