Thursday, 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 13th - 15th August 2010

1. The Expendables -  $35M - $35M
2. Eat Pray Love - $23.7M - $23.7M
3. The Other Guys - $18M - $70.5M
4. Inception - $11.4M - $248.6M
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - $10.5M - $10.5M
6. Despicable Me - $6.7M - $221.9M
7. Step Up 3D - $6.6M - $29.5M
8. Salt - $6.3M - $103.5M
9. Dinner for Schmucks - $6.3M - $58.5M
10. Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore - $4M - $35.1M

Something for everyone this weekend, unless you're under ten years old, in which case it's Despicable Me yet again.

The Expendables was an 80s dream made real. Sylvester Stallone teams up with Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren to save a South American town from a terrible dictator, the only way an action star knows how - by killing everyone. A rumoured (and confirmed) scene featuring stalwarts Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarznegger was the icing on the cake. Originally set for release in April, the film was bumped to August to make way for the white hot Kick Ass. The trailer was a long time coming and things only really kicked off post-Cannes. The final potential stumbling block was avoided when the film was award an R-rating.

The Expendables was always set to win the weekend and it does so by a comfortable margin, marking the biggest opening of Stallone's acting career. That's a pretty solid opening given the competition from Scott Pilgrim and The Other guys, not to mention the date night potential of Eat Pray Love. Friday saw the film take the top spot with $13.2M and hold steady for the rest of the weekend. The budget for this one clocks in at around $82M so a good second weekend is essential - especially with Stallone already talking up an even bigger sequel. Expect the international gross on this one to be huge.

Based on a hugely successful memoir, Eat Pray Love stars Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert, a women who travels the world after her divorce and rediscovers life. So popular was the book that Oprah Winfrey dedicated not one, but two episodes of her show to it. With The Expendables covering the male 18-30 market and Scott Pilgrim roping in the teen-20s, the female demographic were more than ready for some counter programming. A good showing on Friday led to a great opening frame - it's worth remembering that Roberts is not the draw she once was - and there's every chance the film will have decent weekday takings/subsequent weekends thanks to the target audience not feeling the need to see the film on its opening weekend (a recent example of this being Julie & Julia). This one should have little trouble recouping its $60M budget.

Taking a knock from all sides in its second frame, The Other Guys was off a sharp 56% on last Friday (down 49% for the weekend as a whole). The Will Ferrel/Mark Wahlberg comedy probably suffered most at the hands of The Expendables but still stands a slim chance of being a late summer $100M flick (incidentally it's production budget). Within six days, The Other Guys had already grossed more than Land of the Lost made in its entire theatrical run. With an Anchorman sequel all but scrapped, word is Ferrel is developing a follow up to 2008's Step Brothers.

Even with all the new competition Inception still managed a double figure weekend take. By combining it's domestic and international take the film became a half a billion dollar concern. While $300M in the US is probably out of its reach now, a $275M finish isn't out of the question.

Our final new release this weekend must have been the most talked about film on the internet since Snakes on a Plane. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was directed by Edgar Wright, famed for his work with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and is based on a series of comic books (which has only just concluded). The titular hero meets and falls in love with a girl - so far, so normal - but hasn't counted on her seven evil exes, all of whom he must defeat in order to truly win her heart. Bathed in pop culture, with a hundred references a second, the film has been the talk of the internet for some time, with hype reaching fever pitch in the last seven to ten days. Wright has been on a whirlwind US tour, promoting the film, along with cast appearances on all on manner of talk shows, a push for the soundtrack and the release of a tie-in videogame.

Sadly, as we saw with Snakes on a Plane, fever pitch on the internet means very little in terms of real world box office. (Though it must be noted that Scott Pilgrim reviewed far better than Snakes, with a current 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Opening up against The Expendables probably didn't do the film that much damage as it was unlikely to have been a breakout hit anyway. The Box Office Prophets put it best - 'A niche within a niche'. Friday saw a $4.5M take which meant the film struggled to a fifth place finish of $10.5M. Word of mouth is exceptionally good, so a decent hold next weekend could be a shoe-in(a sub 30% drop would be needed to make a real difference) . Budget-wise the film cost somewhere between $60-90M, with Universal keen to play up the lower figure as the more accurate one. Pilgrim won't see anything near that domestically but should see it break even when international grosses are factored in. Blu-Ray and DVD are where the film will thrive and see it reach true cult status.

With the family market all to itself yet again, Despicable Me dropped 27% on its last frame as it heads toward $225M. The Nanny Mcphee sequel might offer it some trouble next weekend but Despicable Me is already such a huge success that the studio are unlikely to be bothered at all. After opening as the lowest of the series last weekend, Step Up 3D dropped a sharp 62% on a Friday to Friday basis. The good news is that the film has all but made back its $30M budget. Thrown in another potential $40M+ internationally plus a decent showing on the home market and a fourth film isn't out of the question.

Just before it leaves the top ten, Salt manages to crack $100M. Thanks to its expansion overseas the film should quickly become a $200M+ concern for Sony but is unlikely to match the $340M finish witnessed by Wanted, Jolie's last action flick. Meanwhile, Dinner For Schmucks, still smarting from last weekend's kicking from The Other Guys has to settle for a 39% drop in its third weekend on release. The comedy remake is looking at its last weekend in the top ten (Thanks in part to the five new releases next weekend) and is unlikely to recoup its production budget before leaving theatres.

Rounding us out this weekend is Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Even up against a long in the tooth Despicable Me, the unwanted sequel still couldn't make much headway and was in fact lucky to see a third weekend in the top ten.

One more item of note - this week saw Toy Story 3 become the biggest ever animated release in the history of cinema (obviously excluding adjustment for inflation) smashing Shrek 2's long standing record.

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