Friday 3 June 2011

US Box Office - 7th-9th August 2009

I was on holiday this week so RLLMUK forumite, Charles, wrote the report.
1 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - $56.2M - $56.2M
2 Julie & Julia - $20.1M - $20.1M
3 G-Force - $9.8M - $86.1M
4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $8.8M - $273.8M
5 Funny People - $7.8M - $40.4M
6 The Ugly Truth - $7M - $69M
7 A Perfect Getaway - $5.7M - $5.7M
8 Aliens in the Attic $4M - $16.2M
9 Orphan $3.7M - $34.8M
10 (500) Days of Summer $3.7M - $12.3M
GI Joe did excellently considering expectations, it was widely written off until early favourable reviews started coming in and, although from a different pedigree, seems to be imitating the business that Transformers 1 achieved which was also based on a toy line and an unknown quantity when released. Good numbers and, I think, comfortably beating the expections that Paramount and rival studios had for it.

At the end of the day it's the 2nd biggest August opener for a non sequel and has done good business. But, as you mention, that budget will stand against it. Honestly, $175M is a lot of faith to put in an toy line without an A-list cast or behding the scenes people (Transformers had Bay and Spielberg attached)and whilst it has done good numbers it will need to have a good few more weekends to safeguard it as a hit. Whilst international numbers appear fairly strong this is clearly a film with a strong American vibe as most of the world is unfamiliar with the GI Joe brand it is based upon. Positives are the surprisingly strong reviews and the fact that it is released in the tail end of summer so it has August mostly to itself. But has it been extremely front loaded? The Studio must be worried that it's blown its core business too soon and will see a big drop off next weekend. Personally if this gets to $170M domestically it should be considered a success. As an outside bet I think it may struggle after this weekend but the lack of competition will help. Personal guess - $150M all in.

As a complete contrast to GI Joe, Julia and Julia does remarkable counter business appealing to the female demographic that felt uncatered for by the headlining picture. A cheap budget of $40M is countered by an extensive and expensive advertising budget and a wide number of screens opened for. Using our usual maths we're probably looking at $80M to clear production and advertising budget, perhaps slightly more as it has been widely trailed and released. Still it's first weekend of $20M is a great start and I fully expect this film to have strong legs throughout August appealing to the same audience that propelled The Proposal to its $150M plus total. It is also a good star vehicle for the upcoming Amy Adams who starred in the hit Enchanted and the recent quiet release of Sunshine Cleaning. Obviously a star on the rise, but whether this films success is because of her or because of the advertising campaign remains to be seen. She's had successful films thus far but none which relied purely upon her appeal. Katherine Helgi seems to be a good example of an up and coming star that really is the center of attention of her films, rather than Amy Adams just being involved in successful films.

G-Force is rapidly losing steam although with a bit of luck and a quiet August it'll reach $110-120M before dropping out of the charts which considering the expectations will be considered a success for it and it'll clean up on DVD as well. I also wouldn't be surprised if there is an associated toy line which Disney is cashing in on but I've not seen anything first hand....Harry Potter can only be considered a success at this point and although not likely to take the mantle for most popular Potter film it will end up 2nd biggest film of the year, some way behind Transformers 2. At this stage Warners are not worried, what with a good international take and a further two films which are guaranteed to whip up a frenzy as they conclude the series. Warners main concern now will be finding a series to take over from Potter come 2012.

As Goose mentioned, Funny People sees a very steep drop off from a less than stellar first innings and you've got to wonder what went wrong with this Adam Sandler comedy. The marketing direction seems to be coming in for most of the blame by not effectively telling people why they should see the film. The middling reviews have done the rest. At the end of the day it will do down as a footnote in Sandler's career as something different which didn't quite work out, ala The Island in Michael Bay's case. Expect this one to limp to $60M and then have a short DVD life before becoming a distant memory. Still with a modest production budget it is not quite the dismal failure that it might appear, more just a missed opportunity.

The Ugly Truth will finish up some way behind 27 Dresses and Knocked Up but a few more weekends of moderate numbers will significantly help its cause. I personally think this one will have some legs and might just make it to $100M before bowing out which whilst not setting the world alight will certainly be good enough for the studio, the international take being coupled with a good international take and a modest budget. It's certainly done Helgi no harm at all which considering her latest gaffe regarding ABC's Grey's Anatomy - - is important. You must wonder what her shelf life on GA is considering the constant tension that is picked on upon between herself and the show runners and the network. At the end of the day though ABC will be keen to hang on to who is becoming a very bankable star.

A Perfect Getaway is our final new opener of the top 10 and is a somewhat muted affair however with a production budget of just $14M Relatively Media will not be too concerned but as is becoming a common occurrence it is not going to be the break out hit that the Studio desperately needs at this point. Expect it to achieve its budget and then disappear by the end of the month.

The rest of the top ten are made up of films that a few weeks ago wouldn't have survived this long but as August gets going and we start running out of the summer blockbusters these films are given a chance to stretch their legs. Alien's in the Attack is Fox's summer family friendly film which sadly was rather dismissed by both the critics and the public with a 29% fresh rating and disappointing Box Office receipts. The only thing in its favour is the low production budget and the fact that Fox never had much faith in the movie so it also ships with a low advertising budget. Rounding up the Top Ten is Fox's Searchlight production 500 Days of Summer which adds screens (up to 800 this weekend) to help it start making some real money back. If it can keep up its momentum then it can stick around for the rest of August and then hope its internationals totals come up trumps when it is finally given a worldwide release.

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