Monday, 6 June 2011

US Box Office - 27th - 29th November 2009

1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $42.5M - $230.6M
2. The Blind Side - $40.1M - $100M
3. 2012 - $18M - $138.7M
4. Old Dogs - $16.8M - $24M
5. A Christmas Carol - $16M - $105M
6. Ninja Assassin - $13.1M - $21M
7. Planet 51 - $10..2M - $28.4M
8. Precious - $7M - $32.4M
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox - $7M - $10.1M
10. The Men Who Stare At Goats - $1.5M - $30.5M

We'll be seeing higher total box office figures this weekend due to higher than normal takings for Wednesday and Thursday because of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Before we get into the main Friday to Sunday numbers we'll quickly discuss Thanksgiving Day. The Blind Side actually won Thanksgiving but only by $250k while Ninja Assassin bested the John Travolta/Robin Williams flick Old Dogs. A Christmas Carol saw a slight increase over the same period but Planet 51's Thanksgiving take looked a lot like a normal weekday tally.

New Moon retains the top spot and is off an unsurprising 70% for the weekend as a whole (Twilight's second weekend was equally high). Its Friday to Friday drop was, on the surface, a painful 75% but when you consider the film had the biggest opening day of any film then that kind of drop is a little less distressing. A drop this big was predicted by most and the film actually held a lot better than some had expected, especially against a strong return from The Blind Side and at least four new releases. New Moon saw $200M on Friday, making it the third fastest film to that figure behind The Dark Knight and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - again no small achievement. While the film isn't quite as strong on the global market, it's still seeing some impressive figures, having taken north of $150M since its release. Given the low key releases next weekend there's a slim chance that New Moon will once again retain the top spot with a much smaller weekend to weekend drop. But as was stated last weekend, all of this academic when you consider the film had recouped both its production and marketing budget by Saturday evening. What is for certain is that in eight days, New Moon has taken more money than Twilight did throughout its entire box office run.

Perhaps bigger news than New Moon's second frame is that of The Blind Side. After opening to a strong $35M last weekend, some stunning word of mouth has managed to propel the film to even bigger business over the Friday to Sunday period - an instance which almost never happens unless a film has expanded into more locations - something which The Blind Side didn't do. Friday's take was actually up 47% on the previous Friday and the film finished 17% up on last weekend's take. The little hyped true life drama managed to take on and beat New Moon over Thanksgiving and was able to give it a good run for its money as we moved into the standard weekend time frame. The sky is the limit on this one and we could easily be looking at Sandra Bullock's second $150M+ film of 2009. Expect another solid hold next weekend.

After the expected kicking last weekend, 2012 holds much better in its third weekend on general release. Down 60% from weekend one to two, 2012, as the only event movie in the top ten managed a drop of just 31%. It should manage to secure another decent weekend against the upcoming Brothers, Armoured and Everybody's Fine but is unlikely to see $200M on the domestic market. The same doesn't hold true for the rest of the world, who have already added an amazing $350M to the disaster film's total. By the end of this weekend, 2012 will have a total global box office of over half a billion dollars.

Opening on Wednesday didn't initially do Old Dogs too many favours. It lost out to Ninja Assassin on Thursday and had to settle for fourth place on Friday, only a slight improvement. Thanks to the older demographic looking for comedy, Old Dogs ended up doing pretty decent business - especially given how well the top three performed. The film sees John Travolta and Robin Williams as two friends and business colleagues whose lives are turned upside down when they're left to take care of a pair of 7 year olds. Reviews were amongst the worst of the year, giving the film a 7% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The good news for Old Dogs is its relatively low production budget of $35M, a figure the film should have seen by next weekend, but this will hardly be a return to form for either actor.

It may have seen $100M but A Christmas Carol still has a long way to go and the last few days haven't given it quite as a good a boost as was hoped. International numbers, which weren't available at the time of writing, will hopefully shore up the film but this will still end up being a very costly exercise for Disney, who must already be planning next year's re-release of the film.

Ninja Assassin seems to have been a long time coming. Even after a positive screening at Comic-Con it was still a while before a trailer debuted and even then, things went worryingly quiet until recently. James McTeigue directs Korean superstar Rain (whom the producers, The Wachowski Brothers, had worked with on Speed Racer) who ends up taking on his old ninja clan while being pursued by two Interpol agents. After an ok start on Wednesday & Thursday, Ninja Assassin found itself floundering a little going into the weekend. Luckily, the teenage market (and perhaps the horror crowd) on the look out for the kind of blood that New Moon couldn't supply helped push the film to a decent weekend take of $24M. Chances are this won't stay around too long but it should manage to recoup its $40M production budget before the end of theatrical run. Furthermore, if its luck holds then it'll see at least another two weekends in the top ten. Whether this will launch the acting career of Rain in the US remains to be seen.

Planet 51 didn't make much of a splash during its opening weekend and saw the box office it did this weekend thanks to being one of only two family releaseas out there - combined with the fact that it's out at over 3,000 locations. Other than that, this one is pretty much dead in the water and will end up a long way short of its estimated $70M budget. With Lionsgate choosing to not expand Precious any further (at least not this week) the film took a tumble down the charts, but not in takings (the film was down 35% from last weekend). There's evidence here that people are still willing to seek out the flick but with The Blind Side being so easily available, Precious is having to settle for 'second' place in terms of true life dramas. Chances are that if the film isn't expanded any further, it may be looking at its last weekend in the top ten.

The other family film in the top ten is the expanded Fantastic Mr Fox, out to 2033 locations. While well reviewed, this has been something of a tough sell for Fox being that it is neither a conventional story or a CGI extravaganza, relying as it does on a form of stop-motion. The look of the film may well have put people off, even with the combined voice talent of Bill Murray, George Clooney & Meryl Streep to name but three. In order to capitalize on any word of mouth Fox needs to expand the film further and hope people are willing to take a chance on the unconventional (but rewarding) flick. While on the surface this weekend makes the most sense for the expansion, one a little less busy may have made more sense. The Men Who Stare at Goats manages $30M which is probably about on course for what estimates had the film pegged at before its release.

Our final new release, and having one of the best screen to takings averages of the entire top ten, is the long delayed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Having originally been set for release this time last year, the film was delayed while post-production work was completed. According to an interview with star Viggo Mortensen the film was actually finished back in April but Summer was considered the wrong time of the year to release the post-apocalyptic drama. The Weinstein Company appear to have been unsure how to market the film, with initial trailers playing up a near non-existent action element. Having release the film to just 111 locations it appears they may still be unsure of the film's appeal but can't fail to be impressed with it breaking into a very busy top ten. Reviews were strong and Oscar talk has already begun to surface. Does expansion await?

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