Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 5th - 7th December 2008

1. Four Christmases - $18.1M - $70.8M
2. Twilight - $13.1M - $138.5M
3. Bolt - $9.6M - $79.2M
4. Australia - $7M - $30.8M
5. Quantum of Solace - $6.6M - $151.4M
6. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - $5.1M - $165.6M
7. The Transporter 3 - $4.5M - $25.3M
8. The Punisher: War Zone - $4M - $4M
9. Cadillac Records - $3.5M - $3.5M
10. Role Models - $2.6M - $61.6M

The weekend after thanksgiving is generally recognised as one of the worst of the year for the box office. This week brings just one wide opening release with another more limited film breaking into a lacklustre top ten. Four Christmases again retains the top spot, down 41% from its opening weekend. The Reese Witherspoon/Vince Vaughn comedy is still the family choice thanks in part to no serious competition. Even next weekend brings only one major release, the sci-fi thriller When The Earth Stood Still. Four Christmases needs that lack of competition too, it cost $80M to produce but should see that figure by the end of next weekend. Chances are the vast chunk of the budget went on the star's salaries as the film runs just 88 minutes with no special effects sequences.

Twilight recovers somewhat after a pretty disastrous Thanksgiving. Again, like Four Christmases, a lack of competition helped the film in its third frame of release but unlike that film, this one is well into profit and has still to see release in a number of foreign markets. It should finish up in the US with around $170M if its lucky, before becoming a huge hit on DVD. The sequel, New Moon, will see a budget increase when it goes into production in the new year (though it should still come in under $50M).

Disney & Bolt had a great thanksgiving, being the number one choice for families with young children. Out of the holiday the film reflects more its opening weekend, when it had to settle for third place. With a third weekend take under $10M, Bolt's going to have to rely on its foreign take in order to exceed $100M. Many analysts had this one running and running and seeing $150M but that seems something of a far off dream now. At the time of writing, budgetary information is unavailable for Bolt.

Australia hardly made a dent in the box office last weekend and things haven't improved in only its second weekend on release. The epic film failed to find much of an audience with the US market, though has performed relatively well in its homeland. The only thing going for the film is the international market, which will need to do some serious shoring up to save the film from being a total flop.

$167M is the figure Quantum of Solace is chasing. That's the box office total of Casino Royale, the biggest film of the James Bond series and Quantum still has Die Another Day to surpass ($160M). But internationally the film continues to rock the box office, with over $350M in ticket sales so far. Quantum is off 65% from its Thanksgiving weekend but easily fended off action upstarts Punisher: Warzone and The Transporter 3.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa should crack a global total of $250M once all the weekend numbers are in. The Dreamworks animated movie has managed to dig its heals into the top ten and even did well over the holiday period. It won't overtake the final tally of the original movie but will be a profitable hit for all concerned.

Faced with competition from Quantum of Solace and new kid Punisher: Warzone, Transporter 3 managed to keep its head above the water. This type of film is never about theatrical releases anyway, it's the DVD market where the film will come into its own. It should recoup its low production budget before too long and its international take should easily surpass its domestic tally. Jason Statham will return to screens in April with the sequel to cult hit Crank.

Ray Stevenson of Rome fame takes up the mantle of Frank Castle in Punisher: Warzone after Thomas Jane was passed over for this semi-sequel. While Warzone doesn't directly follow on from Jane's 2004 movie, it doesn't redo the origin story either. Lexi Alexander takes up the directorial reigns and while early Comic Con footage showed an ultra violent bloodbath, rumours soon circulated that Alexander had been removed from the editing suite and Lionsgate were to recut the film to a pg-13.

Thankfully both rumours proved false but that hasn't stopped the film flopping pretty badly, even on a relatively quiet weekend (Transporter 3 pretty much came and went last weekend and Quantum of Solace is few weeks old now so shouldn't have presented too much trouble). It's evident that only the fans of the comic book turned out to see the film, a $4M weekend shows that not even the promise of ultra violence could rope in any extra box office. It'll see one more weekend in the top ten before a swift exit to DVD. Should it have gone there to begin with?

Our other new release is Cadillac Records, starring Adrien Brody with Beyonce Knowles as Etta James. The film opened at just over 680 locations and tells of the rise of Chess Records and the recording artists on the label which included the aforementioned Etta James along with Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. The film received ok reviews (64% at Rotten Tomatoes) and did manage to break into the top ten from that small location count but where it goes from here will be up to the studio - they could choose to build on the word of mouth and expand the film or they can hope that people will seek it out. The later worked well recently for Changeling but Paramount pushed their luck too far and saw the film tumble quickly when they decided to stop expanding once the film hit 1800 locations. Will Cadillac Records get that far?

Role Models manages a final weekend in the top ten. The R-rated comedy more than doubled its production budget and could go on to see a global total of over $100M.

With the two new releases breaking into the top ten, Milk had to settle for an eleventh place spot but with word of mouth (and talk of awards) building, there's a good chance it'll be back in the top ten before too long.

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