Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 2nd - 4th May 2008

1. Iron Man -  $104M - $104M
2. Made of Honor - $15.6M - $15.5M
3. Baby Mama - $10.3M - $32.3M
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - $6.1M - $44.8M
5. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay -  $6M - $25.2M
6. Forbidden Kingdom - $4.2M - $45.1M
7. Nim's Island - $2.7M - $42.5M
8. Prom Night - $2.5M - $41.4M
9. 21 - $2.1M - $79M
10. 88 Minutes - $1.6M - $15.4M

Iron Man smashes into the top of the charts with an estimated $104M total for three days and a few hours of Thursday night ($3.5M roughly) and Summer has truly and finally arrived. Early estimates veered from $85M for the weekend all the way up to $110M. It had the trailers and the word of mouth but didn't have the cachet of something like a Spiderman. All that hype has obviously paid off handsomely both in the US and the rest of the world, where it's already racked up another $95M. Iron Man's global total since Thursday night stands at huge $201M from a budget of $140M. The film was a further success with critics scoring an impressive 96% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. A solid opening, ranking 10th in all time openings and 8th for a May release, not to mention Robert Downey Jnr's biggest ever movie by far.

Where does Iron Man go from here? Next weekend brings the unknown quantity of Speed Racer which is well down in the awareness stakes, and could see Iron Man retain the top spot for a second weekend. Obviously Iron Man was heavily front loaded, with trailers, pictures and related media being thrown at the public pretty solidly for the last month to six weeks but it could weather 2007-itus (where most summer films opened huge only to collapse the next weekend) thanks to its impressive reviews and very strong word of mouth. Iron Man is the first blockbuster of Summer 2008.

With Iron Man taking up most of the box office cash, what's left for anyone else? The only other new release this week is of the strict alternate programming variety in the guise of Made Of Honour. It stars Patrick Dempsey (last seen in smash Enchanted) as a womaniser who realises he loves his best friend when she announces she's getting married and in Scotland to boot. Cue lots of hilarious scenes of him wearing a kilt and caber tossing. That $15.5M isn't too bad to be honest and shows that a good percentage of women took the family to Iron Man and then went to see Made of Honour themselves. It might have scored a little higher were it not for Baby Mama taking a bit of a chunk out of its potential market but it's a good place to start and should pick up a bit of repeat business next weekend. Given how well alternate programming can work it's strange to see that Made of Honour is pretty much the only movie of the summer that gives it a go. We'll see further how it's paid off after a few weeks against some more huge movies.

Baby Mama is off around 40% in its second frame and may well already be into a profit. The surrogate mother comedy had a strong start last weekend and managed to take the top spot even when it had been predicted to be Harold & Kumar's weekend. In a curious state of affairs we have four comedies in the top ten all taking a chunk out of each other. Forgetting Sarah Marshall has had to contend with one for almost every week of its release and has just about hung in there. It's saving grace is its relatively low budget which the film has already recouped. A Judd Apatow project will next be seen in the guise of Don't Mess With The Zohan in a few weeks. Harold & Kumar has probably come off the worst of all the comedies release lately but stands to be the biggest hit on DVD, like its predecessor. This one cost just $12M, which it recouped its first weekend out so it's smiles all round really. Expect a final take of around $35-40M for the stoner comedy.

Falling a little faster than its release compatriot Sarah Marshall, The Forbidden Kingdom is struggling somewhat to find an audience beyond its first couple of weekends. Fortunately its foreign box office is already more than half of its US take and it still has a wide number of locations in which to open. Furthermore its budget was $55M, a figure it will see in the US before the end of theatrical run. When all is said and done, Forbidden Kingdom should turn a tidy profit though perhaps won't be the epic smash some had hoped a Li/Chan team up would yield.

Nim's Island should manage another weekend in the top ten after this one but its days are numbered. Again, like our previous two films, Nim was made quite cheaply and has already recouped its $37M budget. So sadly has Prom Night, which has now more than doubled its production budget and sent studio execs running to the 80s horror section of Blockbuster to find another film they can buy the remake rights to, before clinically removing all the blood, horror & gore and giving it a nice shiny PG-13 label. 21 and Horton Hears a Who have both been successful in their own right, though while every expected Horton to perform well no one could have seen 21 sitting on over $100M in global ticket sales. Horton sits just outside the top ten and could replace the dire 88 Minutes for tenth position once final numbers are issued on Monday. The Al Pacino thriller has somehow limped to $15M. Any of the last four film could be witnessing their final stay in the top ten this week - just depends on who hangs in there against next weekend's big releases.

So summer has officially started with a bang, there's little respite in the next four months with a major film (or two) being released practically every weekend from now until the end of August. Speed Racer leads onto Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones, Sex & The City, Kung Fu Panda, Zohan, The Incredible Hulk, The Happening, The Love Guru, Get Smart, Wall-E and Wanted, and that's just May & June!

It'll be interesting to see how Speed Racer faces off against Iron Man next weekend. Will Iron Man prove to be heavily front loaded and take a huge hit next weekend? Will Speed Racer, which is tracking poorly, have to rely on the trailer for another movie (Twilight) to get more tickets sold? Join us next Sunday and find out!

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