Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 12th - 14th February 2010

1. Valentine's Day - $52.4M - $52.4M
2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief -  $31.1M - $31.1M
3. The Wolfman - $30.6M - $30.6M
4. Avatar - $22M - $659.6M
5. Dear John - $15.3M - $53.2M
6. The Tooth Fairy - $5.6M - $41.5M
7. From Paris With Love - $4.7M - $15.8M
8. Edge of Darkness - $4.5M - $36M
9. Crazy Heart - $4M - $16.5M
10. The Book Of Eli - $3.2M - $87.2M

A big weekend, with Valentine's Day falling on Sunday and President's Day falling on Monday meaning that day's take will be more like a Saturday than a normal weekday. Three vastly different films fight for attention this weekend, along side the returning Dear John and a still dangerous Avatar. The huge ensemble comedy Valentine's Day takes the top spot with a stunning $52M three day opening. 'Day' stars a wealth of big name talent (Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba and many, many more) in a sort of Love Actually knock off, set over the course of the titular day.

Reviews were little short of horrific but it appears to have been the perfect date movie for the weekend, with a star for everyone. Budget details weren't available at the time of writing but this kind of ensemble pic is generally moderately budgeted thanks to no single person sharing more than ten minutes of screen time. A strong Monday should push the film further up the takings ladder and could see Valentine's Day set the President's Day record. Confidence in the picture was so high that Marshall has already announced a sequel entitled New Year's eve.

Having passed on directing any of the remaining Harry Potter films, Christopher Columbus misfired with his big screen version of Rent but returns to the fantasy-book adaptation genre this weekend with Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Based on the first book in the successful series (at least in the US, less so elsewhere it appears) and set in a contemporary New York, Percy Jackson discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon and finds himself caught up in a centuries old battle between the remaining gods. The film reviewed below average and initial trailers were lacklustre to say the least. Released to tie in with half-term holidays, Jackson got off to a solid start on Friday but didn't really break out over the rest of the weekend.

With the Tooth Fairy pretty much done and dusted, Jackson represented the only other family friendly film in the top ten and it will need to quickly build on this start if there's any hope of a franchise (or recouping its budget). At this point it's safe to say the film avoided the same fate that befell The Seeker, another best-selling fantasy novel that sank without a trace a couple of years ago, but this weekend's figure will surely be on the lower side of expectations. Budget rumours peg the film at a round $125M leaving Percy Jackson with a potential rough ride ahead. The next few weekends will be telling.

Our final new entry this weekend is the troubled production that is The Wolfman. The film was first announced, with Benicio Del Toro attached, four years ago. After Mark Romanek dropped out of the director's chair just a few weeks before shooting was set commence (in Jan 2008), it was left to Jurassic Park 3 director Joe Johnston to pick up the pieces and fast. The film continued to be a headache throughout its production with the release date shifted a number of times, the special effects bouncing from CGI to practical make-up and back again and the composer of the film's score being replaced, then re-written by a new composer, before Universal reverted back to the original score created by Danny Elfman. Even as the film was on the home straight, a crack editing team had to be bought in to quickly assemble it into a finished product.

The public can't not have noticed at least some of the film's production problems and that decent opening take could well be made up of more than a few people expecting something of a disaster. Trailers were strong and while reviews were below average that opening take at least gets the film clear of flop territory and has to be something of a relief for Universal who could have easily just dumped the film straight on to DVD. Friday it actually bested Percy Jackson and may yet finish ahead once final numbers are issued. While it'll almost certainly fall hard next weekend, it's got a better than expected start on its $85M budget.

In its ninth weekend on general release Avatar is still going strong even with the wealth of new and old releases vying for attention, ending the weekend down just 4% on the same frame last weekend. The Wolfman may have offered the most direct of that competition but chances are Avatar will still be in the top ten long after the troubled Universal picture has come and gone. Avatar stopped having anything to prove (or any major records left to break) almost two weeks ago and is now waiting to see what the Academy will deliver. After all the talk of the film losing its 3D screens to Alice in Wonderland, news has emerged this week of a number of cinema chains potentially boycotting the Tim Burton flick thanks to Disney enforcing a much shorter theatrical window. Avatar now has a worldwide total of over $2.2B.

After defying belief last weekend by not only opening huge but also ending Avatar's number one streak, Dear John has to settle with being the second most popular date movie this weekend. It's off an expected (given the competition this week) 50% but the film has already recouped its production budget at least twice over so losing the top spot to Valentine's Day will be of little consequence to the Nicholas Sparks' adaptation. With only one major release next weekend and two the weekend after, Dear John should continue to see a decent return from its $25M budget.

From Paris With Love failed to have much of an impact last weekend, and very little of that can be the fault of the Superbowl given that the film barely made any money on the Friday and Saturday. If it's lucky, From Paris With Love will manage one more weekend in the top ten and have to rely heavily on the films international release to cover its estimated $55M budget. Tooth Fairy loses the majority of its family market to Percy Jackson this weekend but manages yet another solid weekend to weekend hold. The film will certainly end up in profit, and combined with its international tally, may end up being a $100M release. Meanwhile Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness is looking increasingly likely to leave the top ten with less than $45M in takings. Even more than From Paris With Love, will Edge of Darkness need to rely on the international market to shore up its domestic figure. While the film has been released in a number of international markets, figures are yet to be issued.

The Jeff Bridges film Crazy Heart add another 186 locations to its tally, bringing its screen count to just over a thousand. The well reviewed film may have dropped a spot in the top ten but its box office is actually up on this time last weekend. Crazy Heart may still expand further, especially if Bridges wins the Oscar in a few weeks time. Rounding us out is The Book of Eli, a film which has now recouped its production budget and is seeing its last weekend in the top ten. Initially When In Rome had been looking to take tenth place this weekend but Book of Eli saw a last minute boost.

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