Friday 3 June 2011

US Box Office Report - June 26th - 28th 2009

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen -  $112M - $201.2M
2. The Proposal - $18.4M - $69M
3. The Hangover - $17.2M - $183.2M
4. Up - $13M - $250M
5. My Sister's Keeper - $12M - $12M
6. Year One - $5.8M - $32.2M
7. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 - $5.4M - $53.4M
8. Star Trek - $3.6M - $246.2M
9. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - $3.5M - $163.2M
10. Away We Go - $1.6M - $4M

Crazy as it sounds, we're running out of potential summer blockbusters. Of the sure fire hitters, only Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince remains. For certain, there will be other major releases and successes but so far in the summer of 2009 we've only had Up and Star Trek that have lived up to their blockbuster status. (The Hangover, while hugely successful, was not earmarked as blockbuster material prior to release). Time to bring in the sure-fire, heavy hitters and they don't come much bigger than Michael Bay and the Transformers franchise. A hasty follow up to the third biggest movie of 2007, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen does exactly the same, except much, much bigger. Going in to the summer it looked like being a battle of the robots with Terminator Salvation also playing the robot card. Even at this point, with Transformers having been on general release for just five days, it has out grossed the entire box office run of McG's reboot (currently sitting on just $120M).

Transformers 2 held midnight screenings on Tuesday night, scoring the film $16M right off the bat. Wednesday it add another $44M to its tally and set the record for the biggest Wednesday take in box office history. Thursday the film dipped (which was to be expected due to such heavy front loading) to $28M but recovered as we entered Friday and the rest of the weekend. While that total falls just short of The Dark Knight's $203M five day total, it's still nothing short of impressive. By the end of Sunday night the film will have become the third biggest release of 2009 after just five days.

Next weekend will be the one to watch now - with such a huge opening Transformers should be ready to face a high second frame drop, and with Public Enemies and Ice Age 3 biting at it heals (the latter with that large & lucrative family market), it'll have its work cut out for it somewhat, though it won't face Harry Potter for another fortnight. Word of mouth on this one isn't great and reviews are right there with that poor word, but neither thing should stop the film from being up $250M by this time next weekend. Internationally the film is performing equally well, having already cleared $90M. [I'll update the report with the records T2 has broken along with a better idea of its record breaking international opening when that information becomes available.]

The Proposal's second frame is a fairly strong one, even with the added competition from My Sister's Keeper. It was down roughly 50% on a Friday to Friday basis (45% for the weekend overall) and though Transformers took a bite out of every film's potential this weekend, it has still held up well. The Sandra Bullock rom-com crossed the $50M mark on Thursday, and by the end of the weekend will already be amongst her top five earning movies (the top spot belongs to Speed with $121M). Next weekend's releases won't affect the movie directly but will still make an impact due to their own demographic - a family movie and a smart adult drama with Johnny Depp. At this point, the Proposal stands a fair to good chance of making $100M from its $40M budget.

Giving The Proposal a run for its money on Friday is the month old The Hangover, now bordering on $185M. Only one R-rated comedy has made more money and that's The Wedding Crashers with $236M. The Hangover bested second placed There's Something About Mary's total of $176M some time on Sunday. There's little chance the film won't make $200M and end up within the top ten biggest films of the year - so far this year only five movies have made more money. Obviously affected on some level by Transformers and its cross over market, The Hangover ended the weekend down just 37%.

Only three Pixar movies have made more than Up - Monsters Inc, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. There's every chance it'll surpass Monsters Inc within the fortnight but Up faces its first serious competition next weekend in the guise of Ice Age 3. This'll be the first summer release for an Ice Age film so it'll be interesting to see how if fairs against the big boys of summer (which doesn't always work out too well - see Prince Caspian and to a lesser degree, Night at the Museum 2). Up has also begun its international roll out and by the end of the year (thanks to Pixar's staggered release schedule) should have easily equalled if not surpassed its domestic take. At this present time, Up is currently the biggest domestic film of 2009.

While The Proposal's appeal was skewed toward the female market, its opening numbers proved that it worked for couples as well. It's that appeal that My Sister's Keeper lacks, being aimed squarely at the older female demographic. The Cameron Diaz weepy based on a Jodi Picoult novel opened slightly stronger than expected but this weekend probably wasn't the best one to open such a movie, with its specific appeal. As we've seen time and time again, a smaller movie can have a much larger impact at a quieter time of the year - and with the exception of the Harry Potter sequel in a few weeks, weekends don't get much bigger than this one. But with that said, $12M for such a limited appeal film and on such a busy weekend proves there was something for everyone.

Year One's start last weekend was quite good, and on another weekend would have been enough to take the top spot. Sadly it ended up fourth, behind two other comedies and the news this weekend is just as bad, if not worse. The costly comedy (budget $60M) is down another two places and off a huge 76% on a Friday to Friday basis. Year One finds itself in an odd place - the couples are seeing The Proposal while the guys stuck with The Hangover (or Transformers), leaving the film with no one to appeal to. Like Land of the Lost, another comedy with nowhere to go, Year One will be unlikely to make back its budget and end up as one of the bigger disappointments (given its pedigree) of 2009.

While The Taking of Pelham 123 crossed $50M this weekend it has pretty much run its course. The costly thriller never really got a firm foothold during its previous weekends and now finds itself out gunned on all fronts. It'll likely recoup its production budget when its final international take is counted but won't be something many will remember in three months time. Star Trek on the other hand has everything to be pleased about - stunning reviews and some fantastic box office to match. It's still a short way from $250M but stands a strong chance of finishing in the top five of 2009. Night at the Museum 2 took a battering from Up, and anything it had left in it will get knocked out by Ice Age 3 next Friday. With $355M in the bank ($164M US and $194M international), it's doubtful Fox will be too concerned.

Rounding us off, and in just 453 locations, is Sam Mendes' Away We Go. Starring The Office's John Krasinski, Away We Go is the story of a couple expecting their first child who travel the country visiting old friends and looking for the best place to raise a family. The limited released comedy drama managed to see off Terminator Salvation for this position and may see further expansion based on this week's success.

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