Friday 11 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 29th June - 1st July 2007

1. Ratatouille - $47.2M - $47.2M
2. Live Free or Die Hard - $33.1 - $48.1M
3. Evan Almighty - $15M - $60M
4. 1408 - $10.6M - $40.3M
5. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $9M - $114.8M
6. Knocked Up - $7.4M - $122.4M
7. Ocean's Thirteen - $6M - $102M
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $5.0 - $295M
9. Sicko - $4.5M - $4.6M
10. Evening - $3.5M - $3.5M

Four new release join us this weekend so let's get straight down to business (as the box office report is bordering on 2 hours plus work at the moment!). Ratatouille takes the top spot with a slightly disappointing $47M, which is the lowest taking of a Pixar movie in its first weekend of wide release. Until last summer's Cars, each subsequent Pixar movie took more than the last. Cars was off by nearly $10M (The Incredibles is the highest opening weekend for a Pixar movie with $70M) but that didn't stop it being one of the biggest releases of last summer.

Unlike other movies, Pixar movies tend to dig into the top ten hard and stay there for most of the summer. Ratatouille should be no different and actually received some of the best reviews of any movie this year. There were fears that the title would throw people off the movie or that the hero, being a rat in a French kitchen, wouldn't be as cute as a talking fish and with that lower taking questions will be asked about both those subjects. It won't be number one next weekend but should suffer only a minor drop. Ratatouille won't have to contend with Shrek The Third or any other movie directly marketed at the family for pretty much the rest of the summer. Certainly another hit for Pixar and this one is just getting started.

Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard in the US) opens to a pretty decent $48M but the movie did have a two day head start so it's three day taking isn't as impressive. But this is a solid return for Bruce Willis, giving him his best opening since 1998 Armageddon (save for Over The Hedge, which wasn't really a Bruce Willis vehicle). Performance against other movies in the franchise doesn't really work given that the first movie was 19 years ago and the last one 12 years ago. Die Hard 4 has been on the backburner for a while with all sorts of rumours surfacing over time, including one plot with Britney Spears playing Willis' daughter. Director Len Wiseman stepped up, Willis liked the script and everything moved forward very quickly.

The only blip on the radar, besides the new director, was Willis' vocal disappointment with the studio opting for a PG-13 Die Hard movie. That actually doesn't seemed to have harmed things too much and the movie received some decent reviews. The film will have its work cut out for it (hence the Wednesday release) because direct competition will appear on Tuesday with the release of Transformers (which has been receiving the kind of word of mouth that Willis would have killed for). While Ratatouille will be affected by it, Die Hard 4 will be hit bang on and may suffer a bigger than necessary drop come next weekend. For now, John Mclane is back and doing well.

Evan Almighty, which disappointed last weekend (contrary to what I had thought) loses about 50% of business in its second weekend. Hit from all sides with the new releases the film has done well to hold onto that much box office. It took the movie a full week to cross the $50M mark and questions will now be asked about whether it'll hang around long enough to reach the golden $100M. Targeting the Christian market doesn't appear to have worked as well as hoped and the movie, with its huge $175M budget, will be written off quickly. Maybe Jim Carrey would have turned it around?

1408, which surprised many analysts last weekend by performing far better than expected has another decent weekend, losing less than 50% of its business, even in the face of the new releases. The movie had recouped its production budget by Wednesday and could see as much as $65M before the end of its domestic run. The lack of gore could have actually helped the movie avoid the 60% plus drop in business that generally afflicts horror movies.

FF:2 crossed the $100M line on Tuesday and should recoup its relatively low $130M budget before leaving our screens. The film has a global taking (including the US) of $173M as rumours appeared just this weekend that Fox had greenlit a third movie. No word yet if this will replace the much rumoured Silver Surfer spin off movie.

Knocked Up continues to perform well, week in, week out. Down just 32% from last weekend the film has taken an impressive $122M in 5 weeks and recouped its budget four times over. Meanwhile Ocean's 13 crosses the $100M mark in the US this weekend while simultaneously crossing the $200M mark on the global market and should end up performing better than the heavily slated prequel which ended its domestic run with $125M.

Pirates 3 edges within grasping distance of that $300M mark and should finally see that milestone midweek, providing Transformers doesn't suck up all available business. The film continues to perform well in the world market, crossing the $900M mark this weekend.

Michael Moore's latest documentary Sicko, about the US healthcare industry, made the top ten with $4.5M, an impressive total for the documentary from just 441 locations. The movie had less appeal than Fahrenheit 9/11, which opened wide with a massive $23M back in 2004, still managed one of the best screen/takings average of any movie in the top ten. The movie opened in a limited number of locations last weekend and expanded that total this weekend. Given its take it might see a further expansion in the coming weeks.

Finally rounding out the top ten is multi-star drama, Evening, which struggled to find an audience up against the showier summer fare. Yet again, one must question why a drama aimed at the older female demographic was released bang in the middle of summer blockbuster season - how much better could it have performed in a quieter winter slot? The movie was at just under a thousand locations and won't see another weekend in the top ten.

Next weekend the two wide releases will open on Tuesday, just before the July 4th holiday. Expect to see Transformers have a slightly lower 3-day weekend total due to many people seeing it during the independence day holiday period.

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