Friday 3 June 2011

US Box Office - July 31st - August 2nd 2009

1. Funny People $23.4M - $23.4M
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $17.7M - $255.4M
3. G-Force $17M - $66.4M
4. The Ugly Truth $13M - $54.4M
5. Aliens in the Attic $7.8M - $7.8M
6. Orphan $7.2M - $26.7M
7. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $5.3M - $181.8M
8. The Hangover $5M - $255.7M
9. The Proposal $4.8M - $148.8M
10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $4.6M - $388.1M

While Judd Apatow has been writing and producing all manner of movies, Funny People is his first directorial effort since 2007's Knocked Up. This time around he's not only roped in Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, but comedy heavyweight Adam Sandler, along with Eric Bana and Jason Schwartzman. Sandler pretty much plays himself, a successful stand up comic and Hollywood movie star who ends up befriending Seth Rogen, an up and coming stand up comedian. Things become complicated when Sandler's character finds out he has cancer and decides to look up the one that got away. In terms of his previous work, this one opened only slightly better than The 40 Year Old Virgin and behind Knocked Up. Generally that wouldn't be too bad but with Rogen involved and Sandler especially, this one wouldn't have come cheap and should have been looking at least $30M by this point.

Its weekend take of $23M must surely be on the disappointing side of the studio's estimates, especially with Apatow's track record and the talent involved (it's worth noting that in the week up to the film's release the studio was keen to tell anyone who would listen that they'd be more than happy with a $25M weekend...). What hasn't helped the project is its epic runtime of over 2 hours and 30 minutes, limiting the amount of showings a theatre can hold each day. Add into the mix the lacklustre (and spoiler-filled) trailer, disappointing reviews and the R-rating (which, while not hindering his previous work, can't be ruled out as a contributing factor) and we begin to see why Funny People is struggling. We also can't rule out the cross-over audience who went for The Ugly Truth instead this weekend. Both Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin reviewed well and had positive word of mouth that bought cinema-goers back week in, week out, for well over six weeks. Funny People needs some of the word of mouth magic now, otherwise it'll be unlikely to recoup its $70M budget.

Harry Potter's fall this weekend isn't as sharp as that second weekend drop, crossing the $250M mark some time on Saturday, and that's thanks in part to the film pushing into IMAX screens this past week. In a smart move by Paramount, the IMAX screens had been locked up by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen for the previous six weeks, cutting off a revenue stream for the boy wizard. The extra push this weekend allowed Harry Potter to stay put rather than falling behind G-Force again. Internationally the film is working up a storm, having already taken over $400M.

G-Force, the surprise winner last weekend sees a 50% drop on a Friday to Friday basis (46% for the weekend) which isn't too bad given the new family film competition in the guise of Aliens in the Attic along with Harry Potter (and to a lesser degree Ice Age 3). The guinea pig secret agent movie should be well on its way to profit by next weekend, if it’s not already there. It's too early to say whether the film can see $100M but should give last year's Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94M finish) a run for its money.

The Ugly Truth is no 'Proposal' in its second weekend on release. Having made a decent start, the R-rated rom-com was off a nasty 59% on a Friday to Friday basis, partly due to the increased competition provided by Funny People and partly due to the inevitable poor word of mouth. All of that is irrespective though as the film has already recouped its production budget. While it won't end up as successful as The Proposal, it should turn a tidy profit for Sony/Columbia.

In at five is a film that practically no one had heard of until last weekend, even Fox, the studio who are distributing the film, seemed reluctant to let the public know about it. Consequently, with little fanfare and next to no marketing push (which makes little sense given its costly $45M budget), Aliens in the Attic failed to make much of an impact even with the help of Ashley Tisdale, star of High School Musical . This one won't be around for long and ready for DVD come the end of October. Horror movie, Orphan, was meant to face off against The Collector this weekend but given that film is in only 1300 locations it didn't provide much in the way of competition. Orphan actually performs a lot better than most horror movies, enduring a weekend to weekend drop of around 43%.

Ice Age 3, stinging more from G-Force than Aliens in the Attic has now doubled its $90M production budget. It won't see $200M from its domestic run but that's unlikely to the trouble the studio who are no doubt still celebrating its huge $510M international tally. Ice Age 3 is now at number 32 in the All Time Global top 100. There's little left to be said about The Hangover and The Proposal that hasn't already been said. The former has now made more than $250M domestically while the latter sits ready to cross $150M. Both films have made an immense amount of money for their respective studios, having cost a combined total of $65M to produce.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is looking upon its last weekend in the top ten. This weekend saw it amass a global total of over $800M and jump ahead of Revenge of the Sith in the all time domestic money makers top ten. The Michael Bay film proved many critics and analysts wrong by opening large and maintaining decent weekend to weekend drops during its chart time (this weeks being 43%).

Sitting just outside the top ten is The Collector, a horror movie in the same vein as the Saw series, with a take of $3.6M. Freestyle Releasing's hope that it would become a similar franchise appears to have been misplaced. Increasing their screen count again this weekend are [500] Days of Summer and The Hurt Locker, sitting on respective grosses of $6.8M and $6.7M.

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