Tuesday, 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 24th - 26th October 2008

1. High School Musical 3: Senior Year - $42M - $42M
2. Saw V - $30.5.1M - $30.5M
3. Max Payne - $7.6M - $29.6M
4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua - $6.9M - $78.1M
5. Pride and Glory - $6.3M - $6.3M
6. The Secret Life of Bees - $5.9M - $19.2M
7. W. - $5.3M - $18.7M
8. Eagle Eye - $5.1M - $87.9M
9. Body of Lies - $4M - $30.8M
10. Quarantine - $2.5M - $28.7M

Something of a first this weekend - a film that started as a TV movie/straight to DVD success finds it's second sequel getting a proper theatrical release. Usually this happens the other way around, something at which Disney are the masters. But after High School Musical 2 received the highest viewing figures ever for a basic cable TV Movie (Box Office Prophets report that had everyone who watched HSM2 being buying a ticket instead, the film would have opened with $100M), Disney wondered if they could get some of those viewers into a paying theatre. With that huge opening the answer one assumes is a resounding yes.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year is apparently the final film in the short lived (the first film was released in Jan 2006) but hugely successful series. Not only has this theatrical release scored big at the box office but the massive merchandising machine that goes with it will have performed equally well, if not even better. Thank to a cast of relative unknowns (to anyone over 11 years old), the film's budget was a tiny $11M, a figure the film achieved by late Friday afternoon.On the global market the film has already taken $40M. This will be another massive cash cow for Disney and the only downside is that they won't be able to get it on DVD for christmas. Two new releases will face off against it next weekend but its doubtful either Kevin Smith's Zack & Miri or horror The Haunting of Molly Hartley will give it any cause for concern.

While the franchise has been in slow decline ever since the release of the second movie, the Saw franchise shows no sign of stopping and Saw V is already well into profit from just its first weekend. Jigsaw may or may not return for this sequel but more than enough people were interested in 'guessing how it ended'. Saw V was produced for $10.5M, the most expensive of the series but still small change when compared to others in the top ten (the marketing budget for Beverly Hills Chihuahua was probably triple what it cost to make Saw V) and these films have a long and fruitful life on DVD. While Saw V has the smallest opening weekend of the series so far (save for the first movie, which was at the time an unknown quantity) and will probably end up with the lowest final total, the budget and return outweighs any calls that the series is getting long in the tooth. With each film relying on knowledge of at least the previous one (if not further back into the series) there's always going to be a smaller and smaller audience for the series but given the initial weekend total (and going up against the huge High School Musical 3) there's every chance Saw VI will be announced before the week is out.

Even though it's off a pretty rough 56% Max Payne only cost $35M to produce so shouldn't cause too many sleepless nights for studio execs over at Fox. The videogame adaptation got off to a half decent start last weekend but as we've seen it in the past, this type of movie is a one weekend wonder, made cheaply and recouping the majority of production budget back on that first weekend. A profitable life on DVD is always a cert too. Payne was probably hit hardest by Saw V this weekend and the film does show similar release/percentage drop patterns of a horror film so there's every chance a good portion of fans who put Max Payne in the top spot last weekend turned out to help try and make Saw V do the same this one.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua still isn't going down without a fight. Off just 34% last weekend (it's third one on release) the film falters a little but is still just off 39% and crosses the $70M boundary. There's still a chance that the live action/CGI family film could top $100M before the end of its run but even if it doesn't, a sequel is already assured. Budget details are still unavailable but the film could easily have doubled its production budget by now. The Secret Life of Bees got off to a very strong start given its limited location count and has dropped 43% in the second frame. The Dakota Fanning drama was made for just $11M, a figure it surpassed last Monday and given there are just two new releases next weekend, The Secret Life of Bees could easily see $25M in a fairly short space of time.

Police corruption dramas can be ten a penny some years. Pride and Glory was actually due to be released back in March 2008 but for some reason was pushed to the other end of the year, never a good sign. It stars Ed Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight as part of a generation of police officers. Norton works for internal affairs and when it seems possible that Farrell is on the take, lines are drawn and hard choices have to be made. This probably got a release now as alternate programming - while the kids go and see High School Musical 3 and the teenagers go with Saw V, it was hoped that the parents would need more sophisticated fare. Given those opening figures, it's hard to say if this strategy paid off. Reviews weren't kind for Pride & Glory so unless it scores some spectacular word of mouth, don't expect it to hang around long.

Having been something of a curio last weekend, W, the George W Bush biopic directed by Oliver Stone fails to have much of a second frame. As was mentioned last weekend, the US public are being bombarded 24/7 with news of the upcoming election - when looking for a bit of escapism the last thing they want is a film about the current president and his failings. It might last another weekend in the top ten but will be just a footnote on the films of 2008. Eagle Eye continues to best Body of Lies, which finished ahead of the older film just once, on the weekend of its release. These past few days has seen Eagle Eye recoup its production budget and begin to stretch it's release pattern further into the international market, having taking north of $45M there so far.

Meanwhile the aforementioned Body of Lies is unlikely to have made back even half of its $70M budget before leaving the top ten, something it will inevitably do next weekend. Where did it go wrong? Hard to say, some point to its politics or its poor marketing while others still blame Russell Crowe and the stigma attached to him after the 'phone throwing' incident. Quarantine has already made a tidy profit for Screen Gems and while it'll be out the charts as quick as Body of Lies, it's already doubled its production budget and has yet to open in any foreign markets.

Expanding next weekend, Changeling, at just 15 locations, managed to score $500K.

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