Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 22nd - 24th August 2008

1. Tropic Thunder - $16.1M - $65.7M
2. The House Bunny - $15.1M - $15.1M
3. Death Race - $12.2M - $12.2M
4. The Dark Knight - $10M - $489.2M
5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - $5.6M - $25M
6. Pineapple Express - $5.6M - $73.9M
7. Mirrors - $4.8M - $20.1M
8. The Longshots - $4.3M - $4.3M
9. Mamma Mia! - $4.3M - $124.5M
10. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - $4M - $93.7M

We are now truly in the doldrums of the August release schedule. The studios have run out of blockbusters and are happy to get off their hands all the trash they've been unsure what to do with for the past six months. Anything that should have gone straight to DVD but had a theatrical release clause written into its contract will see an airing this week and next. If you don't believe that August is a dumping ground remember that there's a Paul WS Anderson film released this week.

After a decent, if unimpressive start last weekend, Tropic Thunder has built upon the good word of mouth surrounding the project. It's down less than 40% from last weekend's taking and it needed to be, given the amount of new releases vying for business and it's $92M budget. It'll face five more movies next weekend (four new, one expanding), three of which are comedies. Many are blaming the slightly disappointing first weekend ticket sales on its poor release date while others have blamed increased competition (the film did open against five other movies and at least two strong older releases). Tropic will get hit again next weekend but needs to keep its drop below 50% if its to have any kind of chance of seeing $100M. On its side, the film has yet to open in a vast number of foreign locations.

It was Anderson's Death Race that was expected to take the top spot but couldn't even manage a number two position, that goes to Anna Faris' Playboy Bunny turned sorority sister movie, The House Bunny. This is Faris' first major lead that doesn't have the word Scary in the title. On paper it shouldn't have worked at all but the same could probably be said for Legally Blonde, a film which The House Bunny has much in common. Faris plays a Playboy Bunny who is kicked out of the mansion for being too old and ends up in a college sorority house full of geeks and losers, which simply won't do. I think you can figure out the rest. Trailers weren't enticing and while its been pretty much trashed by critics, Faris has been singled out for some good notices. The public obviously favoured laughs over ultra violence this weekend and it did well against fellow comedy Tropic Thunder (it was actually leading as we went into the weekend). There's every chance the film cost less than $20M to make so come next weekend it'll already be into a nice tidy profit and the studio will begin prepping a straight to DVD sequel.

The scourge of the internet fanboy returns this weekend with another disaster of a movie in the guise of Death Race, a retooled remake of the 1975 cult classic. Paul WS Anderson manages to rope in a bit of talent this time around, with Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson and well respected thesps Joan Allen and Ian McShane . It didn't work. The film took a kicking from every side - the action fans still seemed to largely favour the six week old Dark Knight while everyone else wanted a few laughs. No budget details where available at the time of writing but one hopes for the sake of the film it was in the low thirties as it won't have a chance to recoup much of anything (EDIT: Box Office Prophets report that it cost $45M). With the exception of Soldier, Anderson's films generally turn a decent profit (which must be why Hollywood keeps employing him because it's not for the quality of his work) but he'll need some good international grosses and strong DVD sales to help this one out.

After becoming the second biggest film of all time last weekend, The Dark Knight has now set its sights on the $500M prize. It's still in double figure takings in its sixth weekend of release, which is nothing short of amazing given the sheer amount of new films it's come up against. Internationally things have really started to kick off with its gross now bordering on $330M, with plenty more locales yet to see a release. Expect a final domestic tally of around $530M. The question now - will Warner's attempt a re-release closer to Christmas in a hope of pushing it closer to Titanic's epic total?

Having not made much of an impact last weekend, The Clone Wars drops hard this weekend, off a nasty 61%. Seen largely as an extended advert for the upcoming animated series, The Clone Wars will be lucky to see another weekend of more than $3M. Even the Star Wars fanboys stayed away from this. The Pineapple Express, faced with yet another comedy, takes a hit (no pun intended) but manages to cross the $70M mark this weekend as it moves towards tripling its production costs. It fell perhaps a little quicker than the studio had hoped but it was always going to get a tough ride from Tropic Thunder, especially with that film's release being just five days later. Expect the film to finish up around the $85M mark, and clean up on DVD. Meanwhile Mirrors, which had an ok start last weekend sees its horror audience switching loyalties to Death Race in its second frame of release. The film will now have to rely on foreign ticket sales in order to recoup its $35M budget.

Our final new release just about scrapes a place in the top ten. The Fred 'Limp Bizkit' Durst family comedy, based on real life events, features Ice Cube as the former coach of a high school football team who gains notoriety when he hires the first female quarterback to enter in the Pop Warner Football Tournament. Reviews havn't been kind to the film and the public gave it a wide berth. Being one of the few family friendly releases at the moment was about the only thing that got it that place in the charts. Mamma Mia! moves into third place on the all time biggest musical chart, with only Chicago and Grease being more successful. Internationally the film crossed $200M this week and stands every chance of seeing a total global gross (factoring in its US take) of over $400M.

Rounding us out is The Mummy 3, which might just manage $100M before the end of its theatrical run. Thank god for its international take of nearly $200M you can hear the studio execs shout. Elsewhere, the Rainn Wilson comedy The Rocker failed to break into the top ten even though it was in more location than at least half of the chart. Hamlet 2 saw a limited release (and some strong reviews) this weekend and scored just under half a million dollars from 103 locations. It'll expand into 1500 locations next weekend. Finally Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona might have dropped out of the top ten but was off just 20% from last weekend, giving it a box office total of $8.5M.

No comments: