Friday 11 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 27th - 29th July 2007

1. The Simpsons Movie -  $71.8M - $71.8M
2. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry -  $19M - $71.6M
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $17M - $241.7M
4. Hairspray - $15.5M - $59.3M
5. No Reservations - $11.7M - $11.7M
6. Transformers - $11.5M - $284.5M
7.Ratatouille - $7.2M - $179.6M
8. Live Free or Die Hard - $5.3M - $125.1M
9. I Know Who Killed Me - $3.4M - $3.4M
10. Who's Your Caddy - $2.9M - $2.9M

Any thoughts in the previous weeks about whether the world wanted a Simpsons movie were quoshed on Saturday once the Friday estimates were in. The Simpsons took a huge $29M on the way to almost recouping its relatively low production budget of $75M in its opening weekend. The movie reviewed pretty well but there were still questions as to whether the public would pay to see something they could technically see at home for free. In recent years The Simpsons has struggled against edgier shows such as The Family Guy, South Park, the Adult Swim collection and to a lesser degree, The Simpsons sister show Futurama. Matt Groenig had said for some time that a movie would happen at some point but that time was a big factor.

Such was the surprise last summer when the teaser trailer appeared that it was quickly shot down as a fake. Only an official announcement from Fox convinced people otherwise. The plot was kept pretty much underwraps until quite late in the film's production and the slow drip feed of stills and short trailers helped to keep the hype under control. Fox can't fail to be impressed with those numbers (in fact, most studios would be pleased with a $29M Friday) and the rumour that Groenig could cut another movie from the parts that weren't used in this one must have them wondering about the possibility of a quick straight to video sequel (or even a theatrical release). The movie was heavily front loaded so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up in its second weekend. For now, The Simpsons has had a great opening and should easily see $100M by next weekend.

There were other releases this weekend, none of which really made much of an impact. Chuck and Larry is off roughly 44% from last weekend as it edges closer to recouping its production budget. Chuck and Larry probably saw a good portion of its potential audience defect to The Simpsons this weekend but that drop off isn't too much of a worry. The film should go on to pass the $100M mark, becoming the eighth Adam Sandler movie to cross that barrier.

Harry Potter & the Order of Phoenix survives well on a drop of 47% this weekend. The film took a bit of a dent last Saturday and Sunday with the release of the final book in the series, leading some to speculate that Potter's biggest enemy was himself. The movie is edging close to $600M on the global market (which includes the US take) ans should surpass the final domestic take of Prisoner of Azkaban by next weekend.

After a surprisingly good start last weekend (Not to mention some stellar reviews) Hairspray drops just 43% in its second weekend of release. Not since Chicago back in 2002 has a straight musical performed so well and even that couldn't compete with the reviews that has Hairspray has garnered. The film played very strongly to the female demographic, who have found themselves in need a female-orientated film for most of the summer. Hairspray could go onto become another summer 2007 movie to cross the $100M mark before the end of its run. The musical can be the most fickle of movies - since Chicago's success both Rent & The Producers have failed miserably. Only pseudo musical Dreamgirls saw any decent success.

Our second new entry goes to the rom-com No Reservations. Starring Catherine Zeta Jones as a head chef and foster mother to her recently departed sister's kids, the film struggled to make much of an impact from its 2425 location count. No Reservations was Zeta-Jones first film since 2005's disappointing Zorro sequel. This could be a case of the wrong movie at the wrong time and it might have faired better in a quieter release slot. Expect it to vanish pretty quickly.

Transformers pushes on closer to $300M in its fourth weekend on general release. It approaches the half a billion dollar mark on the global scale, with a number of foreign markets still waiting for release. With the vast majority of the big summer movies already released, Transformers stands a real chance of taking the 2007 record from Spiderman 3. Worth noting that Transformers & No Reservations are very close in terms of weekend box office and may actually swap places once final numbers are issued on Monday.

Ratatouille has surpassed the final domestic takings of A Bug's Life and should best Toy Story as well before the end of its domestic run, but sadly that isn't as impressive as it sounds. Toy Story is now 12 years old while A Bug's Life will see its 10 year anniversary in 2008. Ratatouille, while fantastically reviewed, won't approach the box office totals of some of Pixar's more recent hits. The film now faces the very real chance that it won't reach $200M before the end of its domestic run. Meanwhile, Live Free or Die Hard crosses $120M in its fifth weekend of release. The film has now taken over $300M in the global market.

Finally rounding out the top ten are two new but limited releases. The Lindsay Lohan thriller I Know Who Killed Me probably didn't benefit from the arrest of its star this week. With the limited screen count it appears that Sony wanted to get this off its hands as fast as it could. It won't be in the top ten by next weekend and will lucky to see a return of $10M. Who's Your Caddy, something of a hip-hop remake of Caddyshack, opens in tenth place from a location count of just 1019. It'll vanish quickly but should see a decent return on DVD.

As July draws to a close we enter the murky releases of August. Only The Bourne Ultimatum next weekend and Stardust & Rush Hour 3 the weekend after could be classed as major summer releases. The majority of August's releases are films that the studio has deemed not big enough for a big June or July release. August is also when a studio will dump troublesome releases, happy with any return it can score (The Invasion is a good example of this - a movie that was shot over 18 months ago, then practically reshot and recut with a new director). But that's not to say we won't see some decent movies - both Hot Rod and Superbad are receiving some excellent early word.

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