Monday 6 June 2011

US Box Office - 18th - 20th September 2009

1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - $30.1M - $30.1M
2. The Informant! - $10.5M - $10.5M
3. I Can Do Bad All By Myself - $10.1M - $37.9M
4. Love Happens - $8.5M - $8.5M
5. Jennifer's Body - $6.8M - $6.8M
6. 9 - $5.4M - $22.7M
7. Inglourious Basterds -  $3.6M - $109.9M
8. All About Steve - $3.4M - $26.6M
9. Sorority Row - $2.4M - $8.8M
10. The Final Destination - $2.3M - $62.3M

Here we go again with another four wide release, each targeting a slightly different market, with varying degrees of success. Finishing way ahead of all the rest is Sony's CGI family comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, based on the children's book by Judi & Ron Barrett and about an inventor, who in an effort to supply his island with something other than sardines to eat, inadvertently creates a device that rains all kinds of food upon the population. Meatballs is Sony Animation third release following Surf's Up and Open Season and easily eclipses the opening weekend takes of both those films. Obviously we're not in Pixar territory here (or even Dreamworks) but we're also not running a similar budget to their films either. While budgetary details were unavailable at the time of writing, it should have been bought in for around $100M. Meatballs reviewed very well (87% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and gets off to a solid if unremarkable start but with little competition for the family market in recent weeks (or for the next fortnight) it's got some time to rack up decent box office.

Next up is Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, starring Matt Damon as a corporate whistle-blower who may well be the worst 'mole' that ever existed. Taking quite a serious (and true) story and playing it up for laughs helped The Informant! break out somewhat as the hype on this one has been relatively low key. Reviewing almost as well as Meatballs could also have enticed more people to take a chance on a film they might not have heard of. Obviously this isn't a Bourne flick so there's little point in comparing its opening weekend with some of Damon's previous successes but like Meatballs, this one shouldn't have cost the earth to produce and once the film begins to expands into the international market it should turn a decent profit for Warner Bros. Damon will be seen next in Iraq war drama The Green Zone, which re-teams him with Bourne director Paul Greengrass.

As expected, I Can Do Bad All By Myself is off 64% on a Friday to Friday basis and is more likely to end up with around $50-60M as opposed to the $90M taken by Madea Goes to Jail. This one cost Lionsgate just $13M to produce so was already in profit by the end of last weekend. Anything else it makes just makes it easier for Perry to get another film or three financed. While they'd probably wish for overseas success for Perry's films, Lionsgate do very well out of them, allowing the studio to fund or buy riskier projects such as Matthew Vaughn's Kick Ass.

With even less hype and about 700 locations than The Informant! is the Jennifer Aniston/Aaron Eckhart romantic drama Love Happens. With Julie & Julia dropping out of the top ten along with shedding its locations count, and All About Steve having little impact, Love Happens has the female demographic pretty much all to itself. Obviously the studio weren't too confident given it's location number and limited push but it should have at least an ok weekend given how many other new (and old) films are vying for attention. This one opens pretty much on track with Eckhart previous venture into the romantic genre, 2007's No Reservations.

In something of a surprise, the massively hyped Megan Fox comedy horror Jennifer's Body opens well below expectations. One imagines going into the weekend the studio knew it wouldn't stand up well against the family orientated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs but stood a good chance of finishing in second place. Jennifer's Body features Fox as a high school cheerleader who ends up being sacrificed by a rock band, only to return from the dead and reek mayhem and murder on her male classmates. Fox has been all over the place during the last few months, first with Transformers 2 and now this, and there's every chance the public have grown a little tired of her. Furthermore, while Juno proved a success for screenwriter Diablo Cody, she too is facing over exposure. While its R-rating might have restricted its audience somewhat, even low budget no-star horror films can easily open to $20M weekends, and certainly above $10M on a busy weekend. Even at this early stage the film is pretty much dead in the water and not even a low production budget can stop the amount of negative publicity this will attract for both 20th Century Fox and Megan Fox herself.

9 comes off 47% from last Friday, a disappointment to match its opening few days. The film struggled to find an audience last weekend - too adult for the family market but not adult enough for the 14-21 year old demographic. Its low budget will ensure it doesn't lose money but it must be a disappointment for the studio who had (obviously) pushed the film more with producer Tim Burton's name than award winning-short director Shane Acker. Inglourious Basterds is now Quentin Tarantino's most successful movie to date, and it's still a way from being done yet. The $70M war epic now has a global total just shy of $200M and stands a good chance of going on to be Tarantino's biggest film on the international market too.

All About Steve has made less in three weekends on general release than The Hangover did during its first three days. With the terrible word of mouth, couples looking for a date movie would have sought out Love Happens this weekend rather than risk this. Expect a final total of around $35M and for All About Steve to be the Sandra Bullock film that isn't talked about at the end of the year. Finishing out the top ten are two horror movies, one a sequel, the other a remake. The sequel, The Final Destination, has performed very well, especially when in comparison to its prequels. The remake, Sorority Row, on the other hand is likely to leave theatres with less than $10M in total ticket sales. Both films are seeing their last weekend in the top ten.

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