Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 10th - 12th December 2010

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - $24.5M - $24.5M
2. The Tourist - $17M - $17M
3. Tangled - $14.6M - $115.6M
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - $8.5M - $257.7M
5. Unstoppable - $3.8M - $74.3M
6. Black Swan - $3.3M - $3.3M
7. Burlesque - $3.2M - $32.5M
8. Love and Other Drugs - $3M - $27.6M
9. Due Date - $2.5M - $94.8M
10. Megamind - $2.5M - $140.2M

Approaching Christmas, films not only have to deal with competition from each other but the holiday season itself, but starting this weekend and running until Christmas Day, the studios start playing their big hitters. First up is the third film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, alongside the dream-teaming of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe opened on roughly this weekend in 2005 and did some outstanding business ($291M US - $453 Worldwide), ultimately out grossing King Kong, a film which many expected to be the biggest of the year. Three years later and the studio took a chance on releasing Prince Caspian at the end of May and watched it struggle to $141M domestically ($278M worldwide). While it wasn't a flop, it put serious doubts on a third film making it to the big screen. Eventually Buena Vista opted out of a third film, handing distribution over to Fox (Walden Media still funded/part funded the film). Reports suggest that while there are four further Narnia books in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be the final one brought to screens.

A number of the cast members returned for the third film, including Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan and Georgina Helen Henley as Lucy. Production was kept fairly low key and a decision was taken early on for a winter release. Reviews for this third film were strictly average, with it sitting on a 51% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. Friday saw the film take $8.2M, easily the lowest opening day haul of the series. As the weekend wore on thing didn't improve for the Dawn Treader and it ended its first three days on general release with just $24M. While that figure might sound decent enough, it pales when compared to the original film and even Prince Caspian. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe took $65M during that same time frame (Its first day total of $23M is almost more than Dawn Treader's entire weekend). Similarly, Prince Caspian managed a $55M opening frame, which included a $19M Friday.

Obviously Tangled & Harry Potter offered some competition but given that they're three and four weeks old respectively, they shouldn't have had that big of an impact. Expect further analysis in the coming days about where it went wrong, while Walden Media and Fox will hope for strong international numbers to cover production costs north of $145M. Next weekend it'll face off against Tron Legacy and Yogi Bear. Perhaps Buena Vista will have the last laugh on this one?

Eventually settling on Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, The Tourist went through a number of potential leads and directors. Originally Tom Cruise was attached but stepped out to make the similar Knight & Day. He was replaced by Sam Worthington who, along with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (himself replacing Lasse Hallström & Bharat Nalluri) then left the project over creative differences when Angelina Jolie became attached. At one point Jolie's role was set to be played Charlize Theron. In the end, Johnny Depp took the male lead, Jolie stayed on as the female lead and Donnersmarck returned to direct when a number of others passed on the project.

The film sees Jolie's Elisa cross paths with Depp's Frank. Unbeknownst to Frank, Elisa is being tailed by the mob and a whole host of secret service agencies, who have been waiting two years for her to make contact with her boyfriend, who just so happens to have stolen $2 billion dollars of mob money. Given the talent involved, trailers disappointed and the reviews matched that sentiment, with the film sitting on just a 21% fresh rating (worse, not a single top critic enjoyed the film). On its opening day the film managed $6.1M, and again, while competition came from the new and the old, none of the films should have directly affected The Tourist - meaning the public just weren't that interested in the film. The rest of the weekend continued along that same path, giving the film a three day total of $17M. Not a bad opening figure generally but given the hype and talent, Sony are going to have put a brave face on things and hope the stars appeal abroad can work some magic - especially given the film's $100M price tag.

Tangled has a much better hold in its third weekend than it did in its second. The film crossed the $100M mark on its sixteenth day and is doing some sterling international business, with a running total of $45M. With a decent Christmas haul possible, Tangled could be looking at covering its huge $260M production budget as we enter January. Such a shame about that production cost because with a more modest figure, the film would already have been hailed a major success.

The seventh film in the Harry Potter series sees a single figure weekend, its fourth on general release, but at the same time crosses the quarter of a million dollars barrier in the domestic market. Elsewhere the film is fast approaching $500M and could end up the third or even second most successful of the series.

Thanks to a good showing at home and abroad, the Denzel Washington thriller Unstoppable is looking upon a global total of over $125M. In the US the film hit $70M on Thursday and should top out at around $90M making it Tony Scott's best performing film since 1998's Enemy of the State.

Narrowly missing out on a top ten position in the last frame, Darren Aronsky's Black Swan expands to just 90 locations and blasts a way into the top ten. The highly acclaimed film stars Natalie Portman and Milas Kunis as ballet dancers. When the company for which Portman dances proposes to put on a performance of Swan Lake, she becomes obsessed with taking the role of the black swan, with potentially dire consequences. Last weekend the film had a ridiculously strong locations/takings average and this weekend is no different - per location Black Swan made $37k. Wide expansion is set to take place just before Christmas.

Burlesque crawls to $32M in its third weekend on general release. The $55M Cher/Christina Aguilera musical looks destined to become a midnight movie/cult classic, but will need to rely on any international appeal to put the film into profit. R-rated romantic comedy drama, Love & Other Drugs, should turn a profit some time over the Christmas period. Although it had a poor opening frame, the film has seen half decent weekend to weekend drops and that should keep it in good stead going into the holiday period.

Due Date has begun to shed its location count in large numbers now. With a fair wind and a bit of luck, it still has a shot at $100M in domestic takings. Its international tally is proving equally strong, with a $82M running total.

With Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Tangled and Harry Potter all covering the family market, Megamind has nowhere else to go. It will have lost more of its 3D edge to Dawn Treader this weekend. The film has now covered its production budget but will go down as one of the lower grossing of amongst Dreamworks recent animation output.

In limited release, the Mark Wahlberg/Christian Bale drama, The Fighter, took a stunning $320k from a location count of just four.

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