Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 29th - 31st August 2008

1. Tropic Thunder - $11.7M - $83.8M
2. Babylon A.D - $9.7M - $9.7M
3. The Dark Knight - $8.7M - $502.4M
4. The House Bunny - $8.3M - $27.8M
5. Traitor -  $7.9M - $9.4M
6. Death Race - $6.2M - $23M
7. Disaster Movie - $6.1M - $6.1M
8. Mamma Mia - $4.4M- $131.5M
9. Pineapple Express - $3.3M - $79.7
10. Vicky Cristina Barcelona - $3M - $12.7M

So with August coming to an end, the studios have reached the bottom of their barrel. And we thought last weekend was bad. Tropic Thunder takes the top spot simply because the competition is so awful. While Babylon A.D led as we went into this four day weekend, Tropic Thunder managed to pull ahead on Saturday and remain there for the remainder. The film should recoup its production budget by next weekend and will just about see $100M before leaving the top ten. The film has performed well, especially after a slowish start, but it won't go down as one of the bigger movies of the summer of 2008. Tropic Thunder should equal its domestic tally when it's released around the rest of the world.

A long time coming, the Vin Diesel sci-fi flick Babylon A.D pretty much stumbles off the block, leading Friday with just $3.1M. Trailers didn't impress and the delays and talk of production problems just added to the studio's worries regarding the film. The final nail in the coffin was placed by director Matthieu Kassovitz who derided the film in interviews this past week. Critics hated it, the public pretty much stayed away and Fox will get this one out of theatres as fast as they can. Diesel won't be seen in cinemas again until next summer with the release of Fast & Furious, the fourth film in the successful series.

The Dark Knight actually moves back up the charts this weekend and finally crosses the half a billion dollars mark, a fantastic achievement in this day and age. It makes The Dark Knight only the second film (after Titanic) to see such a huge figure. Meanwhile on the international market the film will surpass $400M this weekend. Will it become only the fourth film to see over one billion dollars in total tickets sales?

After almost securing the top stop last weekend, the Anna Farris movie The House Bunny drops less than 50% as it recoups its production budget of $25M. Pretty good word of mouth has helped in its second frame but by next weekend anyone who wanted to see it will have done so. It should do ok up against just one new release and all told should finish up with around $45M.

A film with next to no hype or publicity manages not only a fifth place spot in the top ten but also surpasses the take of three other new releases in the process. The Don Cheadle/Guy Pearce thriller Traitor opened on Wednesday with little fanfare and just $702K to write home about. Thursday was about the same but by Friday the film jumped up to $2.2M. It appears to have been the choice for the older adult market this weekend who were ill served by anything other than The Dark Knight. It won't stick around for long but has probably already surpassed expectations.

With only the most ardent action fan turning up last weekend, Death Race had nowhere to go in its second frame with the increased competition from Babylon A.D eating into its already small market share. Like the 'Movie' series of films, Paul WS Anderson films generally turn a profit but this could be an exception to the rule, even with its relatively low (for the genre) production budget of $45M.

Are the public tiring of these quick cash in spoofs? Given the relatively poor performance of Superhero Movie and now Disaster Movie (has there ever been a more apt title?) it would seem so. Even with its low production budget, that weekend take is going to sting. It'll manage just one more weekend on the top ten before going quietly into the night. This might be the first of these ultra high concept movies not to see a profit theatrically.

Mamma Mia being a success might not be a surprise but its huge take and staying power certainly is. It crossed the $200M mark on the international market during the week as it approaches a global total of $340M. It was actually up 2.4% from last weekend's takings. The film should go on to be equally huge on DVD in a few months. Pineapple Express should also see strong numbers on DVD and should easily see a global total of over $100M once the film sees release in the international market. The Woody Allen flick Vicky Cristina Barcelona manages to hop back into the charts thanks to some decent word of mouth (about the kiss between Scarlet and Penelope). Apart from Matchpoint, this is Allen's biggest film since 2000's Small Time Crooks.

Two other releases, the gross-out comedy College ($2.1M), and the expanding Hamlet 2 ($1.6M) failed to have any impact on the top ten. For College, its performance is hardly a surprise, but Hamlet 2, which cost a fortune to pick up at Sundance and had scored some good word of mouth, was expected to break into the top ten

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