Monday 6 June 2011

US Box Office - 30th Oct - 1st Nov 2009

1. This Is It - $21.5M - $32.5M
2. Paranormal Activity - $16.5M - $84.8M
3. Law Abiding Citizen -  $7.3M - $51.4M
4. Couples Retreat - $6.1M - $86.7M
5. Saw VI - $5.6M - $22.8M
6. Where the Wild Things Are - $5M - $61.8M
7. The Stepfather - $3.4M - $24.7M
8. Astroboy - $3M - $10.8M
9. Amelia - $3M - $8.3M
10. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - $2.8M - $10.5M

Just one new release this weekend (it actually opened Wednesday) gives the other releases some breathing room but then along comes Halloween to take it away - at least on Saturday evening. Michael Jackson's This Is It, a movie assembled from the O2 rehearsal footage of the star, opened to a solid $7M, dropping a not unexpected 50% on the Thursday. But going into the weekend This Is It began to disappoint, with a Friday take looking eerily like its opening day tally (Fridays tend to be bigger than mid-week opening days). As we continued through the rest of the weekend the film has kept pretty much on that same path, ending up with, one assumes, a slightly disappointing $21.5M. The Wednesday and Thursday numbers buoyed the film and you can bet Sony will be shouting more about its five day total than its three day one.

This Is It is a hard film to track, a near one of kind movie given the circumstances of its release - not mention its short release schedule (which has just been expanded to keep the film in theatres through Thanksgiving). Rumour is that Sony paid $60M for the rehearsal footage and probably spent the same again on marketing and printing the film so they'd have been looking for much more given how heavily front-loaded the film is expected to be. The film opened in 15 major territories and helped bring the film's global total to $101M, which should make up for any potential shortcomings in the US numbers.

For the first weekend since release, Paranormal Activity hasn't added any new locations to its count. As expected, last weekend was the pinnacle of the film's success but this weekend has been far from a no-show for one of the most profitable films ever produced, finishing up as it did, down just 22% from the last frame. Perfect Halloween fodder, Paranormal Activity added another $16.5M to its stunning total and while it'll take some heat next weekend, Paramount have long since given up worrying about it. The only question that remains now is when the film will reach $100M. It's certainly achievable by next weekend but given the film's protracted release schedule we may well have seen saturation point come and go, making that figure just that little bit tougher to reach. If the film performs just as well on the international market, and there's no reason it shouldn't, Paramount will have spent the best $350,000 in the company's history.

Holding much better than expected again this weekend is Law Abiding Citizen, the Gerard Butler revenge thriller. This must be music to Overture's ears as the film looked to be dead in the water just a month ago yet this weekend sees the film recoup its production budget and it has yet to see any kind of international release. This could easily end up a $150M picture come the end of its global theatrical run. Was Frank Darabont still right to walk away from this project?

As the only comedy in the top ten Couples Retreat is now enjoying some decent weekend to weekend drops after a shaky second frame. The PG-13 rated star studded picture recouped its production budget last weekend and has also begun to expand overseas. All good stuff but given the awful summer Universal had, they must be wondering how much more money they could have made had Couples Retreat seen a July opening instead of an October one. This one should be a shoe-in for $100M and will probably end its theatrical run with about $110-115M.

Saw VI losing out to Paranormal Activity was the big news last weekend and just a week later Saw barely gets a look in at all, off a sharp 60% from an already disappointing opening. There's now a real fear that Saw VI will actually end up taking less in its entire theatrical run than Saw III did during its opening weekend ($33M). But don't shed a tear for Lionsgate because the film has already doubled its production budget. While its not grabbing the headlines (or the right ones) this Halloween, it'll still be a profitable release.

News isn't so good for Where The Wild Things Are either. The Spike Jonze film was down a shocking 62%, and this is after a high tumble last weekend. Next week it'll lose more of its potential audience to A Christmas Carol and sadly might even be out of the top ten in a fortnight's time, still some way short of its $100M production budget. Hard to say why the film isn't finding a bigger audience - the marketing was strong, reviews above average and the storybook timeless.

Having recouped its production budget during the week The Stepfather could relax going into the weekend. For a film that could have easily ended up going straight to DVD, The Stepfather should turn a small profit Screen Gems and have decent legs on the home market. At ninth place is the expanded Amelia, managing to break into the top ten from just over a 1000 locations. While star Hilary Swank is already gaining some Oscar talk, it's unlikely the general public will have seen or even remember her performance come February, when nominations are announced.

Sitting either side of Amelia, both Cirque Du Freak and Astroboy failed to make $1M on Friday and that poor performance carried on through the weekend. Neither film will be around this time next weekend and it's safe to say that Cirque Du Freak has already finished off any potential franchise chances.

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