Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 20th - 22th March 2009

1. Knowing - $24.8M - $24.8M
2. I Love You, Man - $18M - $18M
3. Duplicity - $14.4M - $14.4
4. Race to Witch Mountain - $13.0M - $44.7M
5. Watchmen - $6.7M - $98M
6. Last House on the Left - $5.9M - $24M
7. Taken - $4.1M - $133.1M
8. Slumdog Millionaire - $2.7M - $137.2M
9. Madea Goes to Jail - $2.5M - $87.2M
10. Coraline - $2.1M - $72.8M

All of this weekend's openers performed well, with Nic Cage's end of the world flick 'Knowing' coming out on top. Going into the weekend it was expected that Knowing would win but the word of mouth for I Love You, Man might have caused a last minute upset. As it happens, the public just about preferred seeing planes, trains and possibly the planet blowing up instead.

Knowing features the aforementioned Nicholas Cage as an astrophysics professor who uncovers a link between a group of numbers and the world's worst disasters. Cage movies can go either way, Knowing has actually taken more during its opening three days than Next did during its entire theatrical run. Last September saw Bangkok Dangerous debut at no.1 and fall out of the top ten just three weeks later. Trailers for Knowing were suitably apocalyptic (as were reviews) but the budget for this one is just $50M, which it should have no problem covering within a few weekends (it needs to as well as the pre-summer movie rush is about to kick off) so while it won't be a spectacular hit, it should turn a tidy profit.

Judd Apatow's name should be all over I Love You, Man, but like Role Models back in November, it's actually nowhere to be seen. Like Role Models, this one stars Paul Rudd as a recently engaged man who lacks male friends so begins a quest to find a best man for this wedding. He finds one in the guise of Forgetting Sarah Marshall's Jason Segal. This one was a very easy sell, with two likeable stars, enjoyable trailers and some excellent reviews (currently 82% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes). Rudd is coming off the successful Role Models ($67M take in the US) while Segal took Sarah Marshall to $63M last April. Both films performed well on the global market too so expect I Love You, Man to see similar success. Furthermore, there's every chance that I Love You, Man will endure lower weekend to weekend drops than Knowing. Next weekend it will face three new movies, none of which will be in direct competition and word of mouth should hold it in the top five.

A few years ago and a Julia Roberts comedy caper would have destroyed the box office competition. In 2009 she's struggling a bit with Duplicity having to settle for a third place opening position. The corporate espionage rom-com co-stars Clive Owen (who recently saw The International vanish from the top ten within two weekends of release) Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson with Tony Gilroy on writing and directing duties. It's a shame it had to face off against a disaster flick and a broader comedy as on any other week the film would have cleaned up - again we're left feeling a little baffled as to why the studio chose this weekend to release the flick when it could have easily chosen a date a month earlier and had the weekend pretty much to itself. Unless the film can build up some word of mouth it'll vanish quickly, lost amongst the flashier new releases.

Race To Witch Mountain had an ok second frame even with tumbling three positions. Down 46% from last weekend, the Rock starring family film has so far made $44M from a rumoured budget of $80M. It won't see that total before the end of its theatrical run but should cover costs thanks to The Rock's appeal on the global market. Watchmen meanwhile, is perched close to the $100M mark, a figure it should see during the coming week. It's doubtful the film will see much more than $115M domestically and it's global total isn't looking any rosier, having made just $50M in the same release time frame. It's apparent now that while the film managed to entice fans of the graphic novel along with the curious, it couldn't cross over into the mainstream with any lasting success. Watchmen is still in over 3,500 locations, a figure which will almost certainly get slashed from next weekend, leaving the film with a lot on the shoulders of its DVD/BD release.

The Last House remake is down an expected 66% from last Friday (58% for the weekend overall) and will see just one more weekend in the top ten. It'll clean up on DVD as these films tend to, their theatrical release serving as a huge advertisement for their sale/rental release. Unlike Paul Blart, Taken manages another weekend in the top ten as it plows onward toward $150M. Expect one more top ten position next weekend and for it to feature in a number of discussions come the end of the year - not many films, no matter how big, manage so many weekend in the top five with such minimal weekend to weekend drops.

Slumdog Millionaire is just cruising now, having exhausted it's good word of mouth and Academy Award winning status. This one has been a huge success on so many fronts for Fox Searchlight and it could go as high as $300M in total global ticket sales. Madea Goes To Jail is Tyler Perry's most successful film of his career and yet he still shows no signs of slowing down. Expect another film from him in September. Coraline should end up being a bigger film than A Nightmare Before Christmas by the end of its theatrical run. It's already more than doubled its production budget and should prove lucrative on DVD also.

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