Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 24th - 26th April 2009

1. Obsessed - $28.5M - $28.5M
2. 17 Again - $11.6M - $39.9M
3. Fighting - $11.4M - $11.4M
4. The Soloist - $9.7M - $9.7M
5. Earth - $8.5M - $14.2M
6. Monsters vs. Aliens - $8.5M - $174.8M
7. State of Play - $6.8M - $25.1M
8. Hannah Montana: The Movie - $6.3M - $65.5M
9. Fast and Furious - $6M - $145.2M
10. Crank: High Voltage - $2.4M - $11.5M

The last weekend of release in April is generally one of the worst of the year. Studios have their blockbusters hammering down the door and it's their last attempt to ditch any ill-fitting, little heard of flicks that it would otherwise have had to wait until late August to dump. This April isn't any different though Beyonce's Obsessed appears to have had some break out success (and scored the highest ever total for the last weekend in April). The remaining releases were left to fight it out amongst themselves and some of the older films hanging around the top ten.

Obsessed is Fatal Attraction for the nougties, with Beyonce playing the devoted wife of The Wire's Idris Elba, who ends up having an affair with Ali Larter, who may be unstable...the film played well to the slightly older market (especially couples one imagines) but fans of Beyonce also turned up for this one (unlike Cadillac Records), and Larter being a face on Heroes probably didn't harm the film either. It'll get just one short week to make some cash before Wolverine arrives but seeing how this only cost $20M to produce the studio will be more than happy with this weekend's take.

17 Again drops a better than expected (though still high) 50% in its second frame on release. Zac Efron could have probably done with a better hold for his first major, non-musical release but it could have been a lot worse (Hello Jonas Brothers). This was always going to be the case, 17 Again isn't the type of movie to generate strong word of mouth and the vast majority of fans would have wanted to see the film on the first day, if not the first showing of that day. The only advantage the film has over something like Obsessed is being family friendly - something it might be able to capitilze on even up against the bigger films due to hit from next week. The one positive we can take is that it means Efron's desire to remake Back To The Future has hopefully taken a step backwards.

Fighting is a mixed martial arts film starring Channing Tatum (to be seen next in G.I Joe) and opens a look way back from Obsessed. Mixed Martial Arts movies might seem to be flavour of the month but that's not translating into success at the box office. This really will be a one-week wonder and in a fortnight's time it's doubtful anyone will remember it. It's only saving grace might be the limited new releases in the next few weeks affording it some extra time in the top ten, but will people really be choosing Fighting when they have Wolverine and Star Trek in theatres?

Pushed back to 2009 and out of Oscar contention in the process, The Soloist seems to have been dumped into the schedule just so Paramount don't have to run the risk of blockbuster season (or waiting until September) to release the film. Based on a true story, The Soloist stars Robert Downey Jnr and Jamie Foxx as a journalist looking for a story and a homeless classical violinist respectably. Being pushed back probably didn't help the film initially and a difficult story probably isn't what people were looking for this weekend, something reflected in it's relatively low opening weekend. For The Soloist, this weekend was its big shot as it'll be buried in the coming weeks, expect a finish around $20-25M, if word of mouth gets chance to build.

Earth is a documentary from Disney that got off to a great start on Wednesday (Earth Day) with $4M from 1800 locations. It's actually not a new product as such, having been created for theatrical release by editing footage from the Planet Earth TV show, focusing on the story of four animal families. The tie in with Earth Day helped a great deal and this is the type of movie that could have some break out potential, similar to March of the Penguins back in 2005. This is the first in a series of documentaries that Disney plan to release on Earth Day in the coming years.

Monsters Vs Aliens has just about recouped its pricey production budget from its domestic tally, while its total global figure sits at over $300M. It won't best last year's Kung Fu Panda ($215M) but stands every chance of out grossing the Madgascar sequel ($180M). However it finishes, it's another success for Dreamworks Animation, who must be glad to not have to keep relying on the long in the tooth Shrek series. Budgeted at $35M, Hannah Montana the Movie has comfortably recouped its costs and still has a lucrative global market awaiting the release of the film. It's hard to gauge how successful the film has been - profit aside, one can't help but wonder whether Buena Vista would have been happier if the film had been closer to $100M by this point of its release - especially considering this could be the last theatrical release for a Hannah Montana project.

Getting off to a pretty good start, State of Play drops 51% this weekend, its second on general release. The Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck flick, based on the successful British TV series drops a few places and like others, may now be lost in the whirlwind of big releases about to hit. Budget details aren't currently available for the film but a good estimate is $45M+, a figure the film should see, given enough time.

Fast & Furious this weekend becomes the most successful film of the entire series, no thanks in part to the return of Vin Diesel (and to a lesser degree, Paul Walker). Internationally the film is doing just as well and by the end of the weekend the total global ticket sales will be over $300M! Meanwhile, Crank: High Voltage opened disappointedly last weekend (just under $7M) and in only its second frame just about manages to scrape another top ten place (it had a Friday to Friday drop of 70%). Elsewhere the film is doing roughly the same but has pretty much already recouped its production budget of $20M and should clean up well on DVD.

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