Tuesday 15 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 7th - 9th November 2008

1. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - $63.5M - $63.5M
2. Role Models - $19.2M - $19.2M
3. High School Musical 3 - $9.2M - $75.7M
4. Changeling - $7.2M - $20.5M
5. Zack and Miri Make a Porno - $6.5M - $20.9M
6. Soul Men - $5.6M - $5.6M
7. Saw V - $4.1M - $52.3M
8. The Haunting of Molly Hartley - $3.4M - $10.2M
9. The Secret Life of Bees - $3.1M - $29.9M
10. Eagle Eye - $2.5M - $96.4M

After the pre-teens made HSM 3 a resounding success it was the turn of the preschoolers this weekend with the release of Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa. The sequel to the 2005 hit sees the same voice cast returning as the animal heroes find themselves in Africa. With little competition, especially for the family market, Madagascar 2 could clean up with ease and while it'll face some competition from Quantum of Solace next weekend, it's already well on track to be a $100M+ movie.

While not in the range of the mammoth Shrek Franchise, Madagascar and now the sequel still score big for Dreamworks. The first film ended up just shy of $200M ($532M global total) and there's every chance this will see similar numbers. This has been a good year for Dreamworks Animation thanks to Kung Fu Panda back in the summer and now this successful sequel. Expect a third Madagascar movie to be greenlit for 2011, alongside the already announced Kung Fu Panda sequel.

A bit of a way behind but still an impressive debut, Role Models teams Seann William Scott with Paul Rudd, as two guys given a choice - jail time or community service helping out two troubled kids. Given that plot it needed an R-rating to cut down on the potential saccharine level. The comedy seems to have an air of Apatow about it (especially with Rudd's involvement) but for once he's nowhere to be seen. Rudd co-scripted the movie and it actually reviewed better than most of the release in the past few weeks (Changeling included) so some good word of mouth could keep it from dropping too quickly. Helped by just one major release next weekend, Role Models could see a decent return on its relatively low budget.

Having spent two weekends in the top spot High School Musical 3 drops a couple of spots as it quickly slows down. After a disastrous Halloween Friday the film recovered somewhat over the rest of the weekend but was still down over 60% from opening weekend (to be expected to some degree, given how incredibly front loaded the movie was). This weekend, while its drop is nowhere near as rough, the writing is on the wall for the film after just three weekends on release. But does Disney really care? The film cost just $11M and has a worldwide gross of $161M. That's just the film itself, that doesn't factor in the huge amount of merchandising that will have gone with the release of the film that stands every chance of having already eclipsed the motion picture grosses.

Changeling did well to debut so high in the top ten last weekend given its 1800 strong location count. The strong word of mouth helped, built up from its debut in a much more limited capacity a week earlier. Faced with three new releases the film still manages a decent weekend with a drop of just 22%. Changeling might have fared better in December but given Eastwood has another film set for release then, things might have gotten a little confusing.

Our final new release is the Samuel L Jackson/Bernie Mac comedy drama Soul Men. The deaths of Bernie Mac and co-star Isaac Hayes gave the film some sad notoriety but that hasn't translated into box office. Both men have films still awaiting release which will hopefully be more fitting tributes. Soul Men features Jackson and Mac as two feuding band mates who agree to a reunion to celebrate the life of their recently deceased band leader.

After the slightly inflated total last weekend Zack & Miri is off just 35% in its second frame. More impressive is the fact that the film's Friday to Friday percentage drop is zero. Either good word of mouth is working its magic or Smith fans were out trick or treating last Friday and made up the numbers this weekend. Smith has a fervent fan base and his film's DVD sales often far outstrip their cinematic grosses. Add into the equation the low budget (Clerks 2 cost just $5M and Zack & Miri $25M) and we begin to see why Smith is a very profitable film-maker for The Weinstein Company. Zack & Miri stands every chance of being his biggest release to date and with only Quantum of Solace out next weekend, it should manage at least another couple of weeks in the top ten.

Saw V has recouped its budget and then some and is happy to drop quicker than its release partner High School Musical 3. Saw V looks like it'll end up somewhere between Saw III & IV in terms of box office grosses. Meanwhile The Haunting of Molly Hartley, which has already recouped its $5M production budget and is just treading water waiting for its DVD release. No one is quite sure how this managed to score a cinematic release when there's a wealth of straight to DVD horror which never does. A quick Halloween profit for producers Freestyle Releasing.

Rounding us out are The Secret Life of Bees, the Dakota Fanning drama and Shia LeBeouf's thrille Eagle Eye. Both films are in profit but at least one of them is seeing its last weekend on the top ten.

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