Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 23th - 25th January 2009

1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop - $21.5M - $64.8M
2. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - $20.7M - $20.7M
3. Gran Torino - $15.9M - $97.5M
4. Hotel for Dogs - $12.3M - $36.9M
5. Slumdog Millionaire - $10.5M - $55.9M
6. My Bloody Valentine 3-D - $10M - $37.7M
7. Inkheart - $7.7M - $7.7M
8. Bride Wars - $7M - $48.7M
9. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - $6M - $111M
10. Notorious - $5.7M - $31.7M

Paul Blart was a surprise success last weekend, becoming the second biggest opening for a January release. Blart was down an alright 43% from last Friday (but an amazing 32% for the weekend as a whole) and is still the no.1 choice for a family cinema visit. Better still, this one cost just $26M, a figure its doubled in less than 10 days on general release. Going into the weekend, Underworld 3 was in the top spot but by Saturday most of its audience had already seen the film allowing Blart to push ahead over Saturday afternoon and into Sunday. Paul Blart: Mall Cop should see at least one more decent weekend before the new releases start to push it down the chart.

With no Kate Beckinsale, the producers of the Underworld series decided to make the third film of the series a prequel and replace Beckinsale's female lead with Rhona Mitra. While the film has done ok, it's with the lowest take of the series (especially adjusting for inflation). The first film was a decent hit while the second went on to be even more successful (though certainly not a better film). The prequel idea meant they had no reason to explain Beckinsale's absence but allowed the mythology of the series to be built upon. Underworld 3 won't be around for long and may signal the death knell for the series, in terms of theatrical release at the very least (an idea for an Underworld TV show has been bandied around this last week) but it should recoup its production budget via its worldwide release and DVD sales, where this kind of film excels.

Gran Torino also has a strong weekend (about the sixth in row) and is down just 27% from last weekend. The film is now getting within throwing distance of being Eastwood's biggest ever directorial release (it'll certainly be one of his most profitable, costing just $33M to produce). Word of mouth is making this film the success its been so far as a number of critic's awards have given the film a cold shoulder. Th Academy was no different this weekend, ignoring the film out right, meaning it won't receive the Oscar boost scored by Slumdog and Benjamin Button but given Gran Torino's success so far, it hardly needs it.

The costly Hotel For Dogs might have survived an ok drop from the last frame but that budget is doing the film no favours. A film like this should have recouped its budget last weekend (a $17M take) but given the film cost around $75M (!) that opening take could only be seen as something of a failure. It held well this week, surviving better than two of last weekends other releases, but it'll be done and dusted before it hits $50M.

Having seen awards success right, left and centre, Slumdog Millionaire went into the weekend with 11 Oscar nominations to boot. With that boost and further expansion the film manages its highest chart position so far and could get even higher if the film is expanded further (and picking up a few statuettes wouldn't hurt either) in the coming weeks. Danny Boyle's film had already made $55M (from a budget of around $12-15M) so even at this point in the film's theatrical run everyone is more than happy with its performance. Slumdog is one of the true underdog success stories of the last 12 months

My Bloody Valentine 3D is off a slightly lower amount than a typical front-loaded horror movie and should just make $50M. While no budgetary information is available for the film, it's doubtful not to already be in profit. Like Hotel For Dogs, My Bloody Valentine will clean up on DVD, it's theatrical release serving as little more than a huge advertisement for its eventual home release (though at least the film had the 3D gimmick to get people to see the film in theatres - how successful that's been is another question...).

Inkheart, our only other major release is pretty much an out and out flop. The Brendan Fraser family movie failed to make anything other than a tiny dent in the top ten and probably won't even manage another week on the charts. Fraser plays a guy who can bring story book characters to life, and needs the help of them all when an escaped storybook villain attempts to destroy the world. Released with little fanfare (it's already come and gone in the UK), probably a little too close to the similar themed Bedtime Stories, you can bet Inkheart won't be Fraser's third $100M movie in six months.

Bride Wars hangs on in there thanks in part to the large female demographic seeing the film as alternative to other films in the top ten (not to mention the lucrative girl's night out market). The film has just begun to expand onto the international market and should end its global run with over $100M in the bank.

Like Slumdog, Benjamin Button jumps back up the charts thanks to its numerous Oscar nominations piquing interest further. As mentioned in the thread for last weekend's box office, Button needs to clear an estimated $300M before it begins to turn a profit. So far the film has a global total of $120M but is awaiting release in the majority of foreign markets. Again, Oscar success could see its US tally boosted further.

Notorious tumbles from one end of the chart to the other, down a horrific 79% on a Friday to Friday basis and 72% for the weekend as a whole. It now appears the film's cross over appeal was near non-existent and only the fans of the Notorious B.I.G and the curious turned up on opening weekend, leaving the film decimated in its second frame.

In limited release, the expansion of The Wrestler adds $3.7M to its total. Frost/Nixon adds $3M and The Reader $1.4M.

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