Along with the numbers not being issued, this was a quickly thrown together box office report as my daughter had been born just a few days earlier.
1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $112.5M - $126.4M
2 Shrek the Third - $51M - $201.3M
3 Spider-Man 3 - $13.7M - $303.3M
4 Bug - $3.2M - $3.2M
This'll be just a quick box office report due to it being Memorial weekend and some studios not submitting numbers until later on in the day or even tomorrow (hence the half empty chart).
What did we miss then? Well Shrek The Third opened well last weekend but didn't approach the record set by Spiderman 3 a couple of weeks earlier despite it being a major family film and having a much shorter run time. Shrek The Third opened with $122M and dropped about 58% of business this weekend to just cross the $200M mark. The second movie opened with $108M and the first with $42M (Remember the franchise wasn't established at this point). In its second weekend Shrek has acted similar to Spiderman 3, which took a huge second weekend hit. In the case of Spiderman 3, the film crosses the $300M mark in its fourth weekend taking just $13M, which is $2M less than Spiderman 2 took in the same time frame.
The movie has now taken $787M in total global sales and yet some factions are still calling it a disappointment (?!). I think it's a case of a movie not living up to its finacial expectations ('Yes, it's taken $787M but couldn't it have taken $850M by now?'). What'll be interesting is to see if the movie can overtake the $373 total of Spiderman 2. I doubt it'll take another $100M and worry Spiderman's original US taking of $403M.
So, to POTC3 and the confusion that's taking place with the numbers. The problem is that POTC3 opened on Thursday night, which normally wouldn't be a problem as 10pm screenings on a Thursday are quite normal and factored - except POTC3 started showing in a number of locales at 8pm and most places aren't counting this as part of the weekend total. So the movie takes $112M for its three day total and $126M if you include those extra screenings. Either way, it's much lower than the take of POTC2 last year, which opened with $135M. Word of mouth on this one isn't all that brilliant but that shouldn't have harmed the weekend totals - neither should lack of screen locations (one of the few records its takes from Spiderman 3 is location count at 4,362) which leads us to believe that running time is the killer again. POTC3 runs for 2 hours and 48 mins and that's excluding the 30 minutes + of adverts and trailers. Factor all that in and you can see why the movie had to get onto as many screens as possible (a friend in San Francisco reported that the film was showing on 11 screens at her local multiplex and she still couldn't get a ticket).
But what works for POTC3 is the Monday holiday, which should rope in a much higher taking than a normal Monday would. Some might see the low box office as a disappointment but with a global weekend total of $332M, it won't cause many sleepless nights. Next weekend shouldn't present too many problems for the movie, the comedy Knocked Up is getting some fantastic word of mouth, but it'll probably be hampered a bit by its R rating to cause too much trouble. But Shrek The Third and Spiderman 3 will both suffer in someway, especially in screen counts.
The weekend after that sees a couple of heavy hitters in the shape of Penguin CGI comedy Surfs Up and Ocean's Thirteen (not to mention Hostel 2). POTC3 might not fare as well that weekend and will face a barrage of competition in the following weekends. Looking at it like that the studio might have been happier with close to $145M opening weekend.
The only other new release was horror/thriller Bug, directed by William Friedkin and starring Ashley Judd. The movie took just $3.2M and will only see another weekend in the chart thanks to the lack of new releases. Opening in a limited capacity is the drama Waitress, which expands this weekend onto just 510 screens but still managed to take more money than Bug did on Friday. When final numbers are released it could end up doing better than Bug for the entire weekend. Waitress was picked up for $5M at Sundance, sadly the director of the film was murdered during post-production so never got to see how successful her movie would become.
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