Friday 11 February 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 8th - 10th June 2007

1. Ocean's Thirteen - $37M - $37M
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $21.3M - $253M
3. Knocked Up - $20.2M - $66M
4. Surf's Up - $18M - $18M
5. Shrek the Third - $15.7M - $281M
6. Hostel: Part II - $8.7M - $8.7M
7. Mr. Brooks - $5M - $18.6M
8. Spider-Man 3 - $4.4M - $325M
9. Waitress - $1.6M - $12M
10. Disturbia - $0.5M - $77.7M

Although we have a clear winner this weekend, the fight for second and third could change around once final numbers are issued on Monday. The fourth 'threequel' in just over a month scored the best reviews so far (though that's not saying a lot) with many commenting it was just a simple enjoyable two hours, nothing more or less. Ocean's 13 opens with the lowest take of the series, though not by much (11 opened with $38M and 12 opened with $39) but it must be noted that both of those films opened on a near competition free December date. Ocean's 13 faced not only two new releases but also a strong second weekend for Knocked Up, and Pirates 3 which is still able to swallow up a sizeable amount of ticket sales. Put all that together and you'll find that Ocean's 13 had a pretty decent first outing. With only one major release to threaten it next weekend it should see a lower than average drop off. It's comfortably in first place this weekend though and should go on to surpass the tally of Ocean's 12 ($129M) in the coming weeks.

Pirates 3 on the other hand, appears to be in a bit of a freefall. In its third weekend on the charts, Pirates 2 took $35M, so while Pirates 3 total of $21M isn't bad, it's still a bit of concern for the studio because it means it won't be in the charts for as long as its prequel (which means its location count will be reduced quicker). The reasons for this fall have been mentioned before - Long run time, lacklustre reviews, increased competition and lack of return viewers, and they all add up to make Pirates 3's quest for $300M in the US still a bit of a way off. Like Spiderman 3, the international takings are a godsend for the studio and have propelled Pirates 3's box office total to nearly three quarters of a billion dollars. While it won't repeat the success of Pirates 2, At World's End isn't going to cause any redundancies either.

Knocked Up has had a really good week, losing just 34% of business from last weekend. As previously mentioned, while Pirates 3 won last weekend (though with a huge takings drop) Knocked Up out performed it from Monday to Friday. Strong word of mouth has really helped the movie and being the first R-rated comedy for some time hasn't done any harm either. While The 40 Year Old Virgin had a smaller drop in its second weekend, it also took $9M less in its opening weekend than Knocked Up managed. The low budget movie has now doubled its production budget in just 9 days.

Our second new entry this weekend is Sony's CGI Penguin movie, Surf's Up. The film faced direct competition from Shrek The Third which could explain its lower than expected takings. With the success of March of the Penguins and last year's Happy Feet, Penguins are the cgi creature of choice at the moment but the increased competition from Shrek, Pirates 3 and to a lesser degree Spiderman 3 have all cut into the box office potential. The good news for Surf's Up is that Pixar's Ratatouille is still 3 weeks away so it should still see a respectable return and percentage drop in the coming weekends. The only question remaining is whether the movie will beat last September's Open Season, which was Sony's first foray into the CGI cartoon market and ended up with $84M.

Meanwhile Shrek The Third continues to carve out some decent box office for itself. The film has now crossed the $270M mark in the US and unlike Pirates 3, is pretty much guaranteed to cross the $300M mark before the end of its domestic run. It won't be worrying Shrek 2 but its huge production budget of $160M has meant Shrek The Third has had to work that much harder.

Our final new entry this weekend is torture sequel Hostel 2. The first Hostel was a surprise hit when it was released in January 2006, with the sequel being greenlit on the Monday following that first weekend. Releasing the sequel slap bang in the middle of the summer blockbuster season might not have been the best move, even as alternate programming. Hostel 2 takes less than half of the total taken by the first movie in its first weekend - those summer blockbuster could be in part to blame, along with a general lowering of returns for this genre (both 28 Days Later and Hills Have Eyes 2 performed worse than their respective prequels) not to mention a workprint version of the movie being leaked onto the internet two weeks ago.

A movie like Hostel 2 isn't generally affected by reviews (unlike most horror movies, Hostel 2 was screened for some critics) but it appears even the die-hard fans weren't that fussed about seeing the movie. Did the workprint leak damage the release? At one point the IMDb moderators were removing torrent links for the movie as fast as they were posted. Even one man hype machine Eli Roth's talk of a different ending and the workprint being quite unfinished didn't sway people. (Note: The finished film contains no new footage or a new ending, only effects work, soundtrack and colour brightening in the darker scenes separate the finished product from the workprint).

Mr Brooks drops three places and will only see another weekend on the charts thanks to the lack of new releases. The film should recoup its low production budget during the coming week but none of the stars will want to highlight it on their CVs (Could you imagine getting Kevin Costner, Demi Moore & William Hurt in a $20M movie ten or twelve years ago?)

Spiderman 3, in its sixth weekend of release, is still the biggest release of the year so far and may go on to be the biggest box office hit of 2007. Had the movie maintained its impressive opening then it would have been looking at closer to $400M at this point. With a global total of $850M+ the franchise as we know it has certainly gone out with a bang.

Rounding out the top ten are indie drama The Waitress (again, finding a place in the top ten more because of a lack of new releases than punters vying to see it) and Disturbia, which is now in its eighth weekend on the chart and will be amongst the few movies to have spent so long in the top ten yet not broken through the $100M barrier. Disturbia, I'm almost certain, sees its last weekend on the charts.

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