Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 11th - 13th February 2011

1. Just Go With It - $31M - $31M
2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never - $30.2M - $31M
3. Gnomeo and Juliet - $25.5M - $25.5M
4. The Eagle - $8.6M - $8.6M
5. The Roommate $8.4M - $26M
6. The King's Speech $7.4M - $93.8M
7. No Strings Attached $5.6M - $59.8M
8. Sanctum $5.1M - $17.5M
9. True Grit $3.7M - $160.3M
10. The Green Hornet $3.6M - $92.23M

Not one or two but four new releases were looking for an audience this weekend. After a few lacklustre weekends, a box office showdown was set - Adam Sandler Vs Justin Bieber. Bringing up the rear were the family comedy Gnomeo & Juliet and Channing Tatum's The Eagle.

Going into the weekend it was thought that Adam Sandler's Just Go With It would take the top spot with Never Say Never taking second place, but once the Friday numbers were issued it looked like Sandler would have to settle for the second spot instead. Things then got more complicated - Never Say Never actually dropped 13% on Saturday compared to its Friday figure and Just Go With It increased by 42% (possibly due to people choosing it as a Valentine date movie). By 4pm on Sunday, Sony and Paramount were still fighting over whose film had taken more money. While Just Go With It ultimately won the weekend, there's every chance it'll slip into second place when actuals are issued on Monday.

Adam Sandler follows up last year's success Grown Ups (the second biggest film of his career) with rom-com Just Go With It. The film sees Sandler as a plastic surgeon who pretends to be in an awful marriage in order get girls to go out with him. When he meets the girl of his dreams he convinces her he's getting a divorce - but when the girl in question wants to meet the soon-to-be-ex, Sandler is forced to rope in his office manager (Jennifer Aniston) to play the role. As per normal, critics by and large disliked the film but that didn't stop it opening with $9.2M on Friday. As the weekend wore on the film continued to spar with Never Say Never and found salvation in the Valentine crowd who helped increase the film's business on Saturday.

Compared to Sandler's previous releases, that $31M opening is slightly on the disappointing side - more in line with Bedtime Stories ($27M start) than last year's Grown Ups ($40M start). Just Go With It now needs a respectable second frame drop because anything above 45% would mean the film would be unlikely to see $100M. Budget details aren't available at this time but a figure of $70M isn't out of the question. [As an aside, the film co-stars Nicole Kidman yet she seems curiously absent from any trailers or posters].

After a meteoric rise through the pop world, it was almost inevitable that music sensation Justin Bieber would turn his attentions to film. Never Say Never (in 3D) is part concert pic, part biopic, cutting in footage from his 2010 tour with photos and footage of his early life. Hype on this, in certain quarters, has been at fever pitch since it was announced last year so a strong opening was expected, especially with the film being in 3D. Reviews were just above average, which isn't bad for this kind of film.

Never Say Never didn't break any records but it did have a solid Friday take of $12.4M, setting it up for a $30.2M three-day finish (Its $31M total includes some sneak peaks on Wedneday night). Unfortunately, such was the demand for the film that the vast majority of fans saw it on Friday, meaning it ended up dropping in ticket sales on the Saturday and Sunday. All said there's a strong chance the film is already in profit - which is a good thing as the second weekend drop off could potentially be huge, especially given that the decline seems to have already started.

With the family market ill-served of late, save for Yogi Bear and the long since gone Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Gnomeo & Juliet had the potential to clean up this weekend. The film began life as Disney Feature Animation production but when John Lassetter took over the reigns he closed the department down, and the project moved to Miramax. They in turn ended up passing the production on to Starz Animation, with Touchstone distributing. The film is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in the world of the red gnomes and blue gnomes. The voice cast features Michael Caine, Emily Blunt and James McAvoy, to name just three. While reviews weren't great (51% at Rotten Tomatoes) the family market were quick to take to the film, giving it an ok $6.1M Friday start. As the weekend wore on the film picked up more business and ended up with a strong $25.5M three day total - not bad for a movie with a lot less hype than most animated features. Even better news is that the film won't face any direct competition until Rango on March 11th.

Our final new release this weekend is The Eagle starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. Tatum plays a Roman soldier who sets off to find the truth about the disappearance of his father's legion, in the north of England twenty years previously. Jamie Bell plays the British slave who accompanies him on the quest. The film was easily the most low profile of the week's releases (and out at the least amount of locations, 2,296). On a quieter weekend the film could have opened slightly stronger than its $8.6M haul. Word of mouth is unlikely to help the film, as reviews weren't kind. Fortunately the budget was only $20M, a figure the Eagle is sure to recoup over its theatrical life span in the US and overseas.

Last week's number one, The Roommate finds itself down 44% in its second frame. That's a much stronger figure than its Friday to Friday drop which was over 60%. Having recouped its production budget on Thursday, this fall will be of little worry to Screen Gems. The studio, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures, has a knack of turning low budget thriller/horror films into decent little hits (The Underworld Trilogy and the Resident Evil series to name two of many).

With all the new release, The King's Speech tumbles a few places in this, its twelve weekend on general release. That said, the film actually took the top spot on Wednesday and Thursday of last week and now faces a real chance of having earned over $100M before next weekend. No Strings Attached took a hit from Just Go With It this weekend. The Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher comedy has now made $59M from a budget of $25M. A $75M finish is still possible at this stage.

After a somewhat disappointing start, Sanctum drops 45%, similar to its release partner The Roommate. The James Cameron produced underwater thriller cost around $30M to produce so like The Eagle, is unlikely to lose anyone any money. True Grit from The Coen Brothers scores a top ten spot for at least one more weekend. The film has performed exceptionally well and may yet get one last hurrah come Oscar night.

Finally, shedding further locations this weekend (to the 3D presentations, Never Say Never and Gnomeo & Juliet, no doubt) is The Green Hornet. The Seth Rogen action comedy is still some way short of $100M (and it's $110M budget) and while it will ultimately make money, it's not likely a to launch a franchise.

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