Monday 6 June 2011

US Box Office - 25th - 27th September 2009

1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - $24.6M - $60M
2. Surrogates - $15M - $15M
3. Fame - $10M - $10M
4. The Informant! - $6.9M - $20.9M
5. I Can Do Bad All By Myself - $4.7M - $44.5M
6. Pandorum - $4.4M - $4.4M
7. Love Happens - $4.3M - $14.7M
8. Jennifer's Body - $3.5M - $12.3M
9. 9 - $2.8M - $27.1M
10. Inglourious Basterds - $2.7M - $114.4M

With no new family releases until next weekend, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs enjoys its second weekend at the top. In spite of some major competition (including the expected to finish top Surrogates) Meatballs managed to hold off the new releases comfortably and ended the weekend down a fantastic (and unheard of) 19% from its opening one. The film reviewed well and while we've not seen Pixar style numbers, that could be down to the time of year and to a lesser degree its PG rating putting off the younger family market. Marketing might also be to blame but it does appear that word of mouth is more than making up for it. Next weekend Meatballs will lose its 3D enabled screens (and higher ticket prices) to the re-release of Toy Story 1 & 2, which will also cut into it's non-3D market as well. So far its made $60M from a production budget of $100M.

Surrogates, based on the comic book, is the latest Bruce Willis movie, set in a near future in which no one leaves their home, instead they hook themselves up to machines and send a life-like robot Surrogate out into the world. When the first ever surrogate murder takes place, Willis has to leave his home for the first time in years in order to get to the bottom of things. Jonathan Mostow takes the reigns of the film that has more than a passing resemblance to I, Robot and you can bet Surrogates was expected to take the top spot with closer to $25-30M. Outside of the Die Hard franchise, Willis hasn't seen major box office success since Sin City, and even that was an ensemble effort, so for anything above $75M we have to travel back to 2000's Unbreakable. Surrogates has been heavily hyped in recent weeks and with a production budget north of $80M the studio looks to have to rely heavily on Willis' appeal in the international marketplace to see anywhere near that figure. As it stands, this has been a disappointing opening for Willis, Mostow and Touchstone Pictures and finishes the weekend just about out of 'flop' territory. Bruce Willis will be seen next in Kevin Smith's A Couple of Dicks.

After the recent success of the High School Musical series and TV's Camp Rock, the teen musical is ripe for rebirth (and merchandising). Seeing Disney's success, MGM decided to raid its back catalogue and remake the seminal 80s musical Fame. All seemed well until Zac Ephron, who was only rumoured to be involved in the project, distanced himself. Since then the film's production has been kept very low-key, with almost no publicity until quite recently, when marketing stepped into high gear in certain quarters. With no major names to hang the production off, Fame struggled somewhat during its opening weekend, taking just $3.5M on Friday. Throughout the rest of the weekend the film performed on the same level but thankfully only cost MGM $25M to produce meaning it'll end up making a profit, if only a slight one. It's fair to say a successful TV show isn't going to be spun from this one.

Matt Damon's The Informant! was a bit of a surprise hit last weekend, taking just over $10M from little pre-release hype. This weekend, while taking a bit of a knock, The Informant! managed an impressive drop of 33% and should have recouped its $22M budget by this time next weekend. The Informant! marks Steven Soderbergh's third release this year, after Che and The Girlfriend Experience. Tyler Perry's I Can Do All By Myself holds better than its 64% drop last weekend and should finish its theatrical run with around $60M, making it the third most successful film of his career.

Our final new entry is the sci-fi horror movie Pandorum about a crew awakened during a deep space mission with fractured memories of who they are and what they're doing there. The film stars Dennis Quaid (in his third release of 2009 after Horsemen & GI Joe) and probably fell foul of Surrogates this weekend more than any existing or new release, though had Paranormal Activity been at more than 12 locations it would have given Pandorum a serious run for its money. The film actually reviewed better than most horror movies and currently sits at 45% fresh on RottenTomatoes. Sadly it's unlikely to see much more business and given the five new releases next weekend, including horror comedy Zombieland, it's doubtful if it'll see more than a fortnight in the top ten.

Also something of a surprise last weekend was Love Happens beating Jennifer's Body by few million dollars. As the only traditional date movie in the top ten, Love Happens hasn't really had breathing space to capitalise on its advantage but like The Informant!, this one was produced cheaply for around $18M and will turn a profit before heading out to the international market.

Jennifer's Body may only be down 49% this weekend but that's because its opening weekend take was so dismal. Declared a flop by late Friday night, the Megan Fox flick couldn't even beat some of the top ten's older releases let alone the new ones. It's almost certainly seeing its last weekend in the top ten and eyes are now on whether another studio will take a chance on Fox and allow her to carry a film on her own.

Getting ready to leave the top ten short of recouping its $30M, Shane Acker's 9 takes $2.8M in its third weekend on release. The futuristic CGI film will shortly begin its international roll out, which should help the film turn a profit before almost certainly finding cultdom on the home market. Inlgorious Basterds also faces its last weekend on the top ten having earnt $114M from a production budget of $70M. Internationally the film has made over $116M.

Currently in a very limited release, Paranormal Activity has so far taken $80K. Expect a more substantial expansion to hopefully be on the cards.

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