Friday 11 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 7th - 9th December 2007

The fantastic RLLMUK poster Lord Cookie took over for the first week. LC's knowledge of films is second to none and I wish I had even half of the skill he has in writing about film. A real one-of-a-kind and a huge boost to RLLMUK's Film/TV section.

1. The Golden Compass $26.1M - $26.1M
2. Enchanted $10.7M - $83.8M
3. This Christmas $5M - $42.7M
4. Fred Claus $4.6M - $65.5M
5. Beowulf $4.4M - $75.9M
6. No Country for Old Men $4.2M -$28.8M
7. August Rush $3.5M - $25.1M
8. Hitman $3.4M - $35.8M
9. Awake $3.3M - $10.7M
10. Bee Movie $2.6M - $121M

It was hard to miss the big release of the week unless you have been living under a rock for the past fortnight but even though The Golden Compass has been extensively advertised and had many column inches written about it in the press it has failed to turn that buzz into box office gold. In fact the film has been a disaster.

With a budget somewhere between $180m to $250m this was a film New Line expected to make serious money from but it now looks set to be a costly mistake which could well see chairman Bob Shaye lose his job over. The signs should have been good; it had the box office to itself with no other major film getting released this week and it was opening on the most screens (3,528) yet it still failed to get bums on seats. The Christian backlash has certainly hindered its chances but surely that isn’t the only reason for the films abysmal showing at the box office. Reviews have been lukewarm and the film is unlikely to see an upturn in its fortunes through word of mouth and even if it sees a surge in popularity when the Christmas holidays begin properly it is unlikely to get anywhere near the figures they were expecting, especially when you consider a number of big films are on the horizon such as I am Legend and National Treasure 2.

The $26m opening puts this in the same category as Eragon which was seen as a big flop last year but at least that film only cost $100m to make. This puts a serious dent in the chances of a sequel and even if they do decide to bite the bullet and invest in the rest of the trilogy it is safe to say that Chris Weitz won’t be returning to the director’s chair.

Nicole Kidman continues to be box office poison and, with the exception of Happy Feet, her last six movies have all performed poorly and her last non-animated film to pass $100m was Batman Forever, some twelve years ago. Baz Lurhmann’s Australia is becoming a more and more important film for Kidman as time goes on. But she isn’t the only one having a tough time of it of late. New Line and its chairman Bob Shaye have been coming under much criticism this year having suffered far too many flops. The Golden Compass would have been seen as one of the company’s safer bets but it now appears to be its costliest mistake. Only Hairspray has been New Line’s silver lining in a very bleak year. The success of Lord of the Rings must seem a lifetime ago.

The weak showing of The Golden Compass has been good news for Enchanted which now passes $80m and should comfortably make $100m+ before its run comes to an end. With many films after the summer period having been disappointments at the box office this is certainly the big success story and the Amy Adams band wagon is picking up pace as the Oscar’s get closer.

This Christmas falls 37% from last week but has made a healthy $43m so far. Having only cost $13m to make this has been a good money spinner for Screen Gems. It is unlikely to gain similar success in other markets but I doubt they care too much. Another festive movie is right behind: Fred Claus climbs up the charts this week with another $4.7m. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will make its money back from the US box office though and is still some $45m away from breaking a profit.

With more and more fantasy films entering the charts in coming weeks it looks like Beowulf’s run in the top 10 is going to come to an end very soon. It fell 46% this week and it is still far away from its $150m production budget. Considering the 3D showings have been by far the most popular it will be interesting to see how this does on DVD when the film has no novelty factor to get the public interested. 3D films in the near future are likely to struggle to make their production budgets back but with IMAX announcing that they are opening a further 100 screens in the next three years we are starting to see the cinemas fight back the threat of the home market.

No Country for Old Men is the second climber in the charts jumping a massive four places and only dropping 3% off last weeks takings. Having made $29m already it is well on the way to surpassing the Coen’s $45m record with O Brother Where Art Thou? This week NCfOM received the best film award from the National Board of Review and it is likely to be on the shortlist for every other major award.

August Rush, Hitman and Awake stick around the bottom of the top 10 mainly due to a lack of new releases rather than any decent business. Hitman has seen a 42% drop and has just past the $35m mark, which is only half its production budget. Don’t expect a sequel any time soon. So will we ever get a decent game-to-movie adaptation?

Bee Movie rounds off the top ten and pushes The Mist and American Gangster out of the list but don’t expect to see it again next week. It has now made $121m in the US which is pretty good considering its average critical reception. Katzenberg recently spoke about a sequel but I think it will have to do impressive business around the world for that to become a reality. As it is opening in other regions at a later date it may struggle to get a decent foothold in the charts as it is going up against stronger family movies.

Next weeks big release is I Am Legend. With one of the few big name stars still left this has the potential to be a big hit and could cause even more trouble for the struggling Golden Compass.

Good luck to Charles who is taking over next week.

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