Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 13th - 15th May 2011

1. Thor -  $34.5M - $119.3M
2. Bridesmaids -  $24.4M - $24.4M
3. Fast Five -  $19.5M - $168.8M
4. Priest -  $14.5M - $14.5M
5. Rio - $8M - $125M
6. Jumping the Broom - $7.3M - $25.9M
7. Something Borrowed -  $7M - $26.6M
8. Water For Elephants -  $4.1M - $48.4M
9. Madea's Big Happy Family - $2.2M - $50.2M
10. Soul Surfer - $1.8M - $39.2M

A somewhat quiet weekend after the box office explosions of Fast Five and Thor in the past fortnight. Hollywood once again go for the two-pronged attack, hoping the audience for one will spill over into the other. Thor's follow up weekend can't be dismissed and neither can Fast Five's third frame. And every release, old and new, is covered by the shadow cast by next weekend's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

After an impressive $65M opening, Thor could have easily collapsed in its second frame. Trailers and reviews might have helped get that first weekend audience through the door but there was the question as to where the film would go then. One of the new releases, Priest, offered direct competition too. Friday saw the film take $9.1M, down 64% on its opening day. That figure is to be expected given Thor's strong opening day figure $25.4M), and the film managed to recover over the rest of the weekend, finishing with a $34.5M haul (that's a 48% drop from last weekend - tying with Iron Man for the second best second weekend of the Marvel superhero flicks, according to Box Office Guru). Thor crossed $100M on its ninth day of release and while it'll take a hit from Pirates 4 next weekend, it's firmly out of one weekend wonder territory. Internationally the film is still going strong, crossing the $200M barrier Sunday. At this point, $200M domestically can't be ruled out either but with the upcoming competition, not just from Pirates 4 but beyond that, it may have to settle for a non-too shoddy $180-185M total.

Our first new release this frame isn't Priest, which was at one point expected to take out the mighty Thor, but the Judd Apatow produced comedy Bridesmaids. The film stars Saturday Night Live stalwart Kristen Wiig, who's asked to be chief bridesmaid by her best friend and tasked with attending and organising everything from the hen party to the wedding dress try-outs. Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne are amongst the motley crew of Bridesmaids, the latter doing her best to prove why she should have been chief bridesmaid at every opportunity. The early reviews drew comparisons with The Hangover, with the R-rating no doubt helping with that. Those who had seen the film at the SXSW festival earlier in the year claimed that the trailers did the film a disservice, and that it was far funnier than portrayed (something that has been echoed since).

As the film's release got closer, the positive reviews continued to roll in. At the time of writing Bridesmaids is a stunning 90% fresh at RottenTomatoes. While the film lost out to Thor on Friday, it still managed to give it a good run for its money, taking $7.8M and putting Priest firmly in its place. As the weekend wore on it became clear that the film had broken out across both the female and male demographics, its $24.2M frame finish being evidence of that. Of the top films, Bridesmaids is the one least likely to be affected by Pirates 4 next frame (though Hangover 2 might be a cause for concern the week after) and if positive word of mouth gets chance to spread, it might well become the first sleeper hit of the summer.

Fast Five added a further $5.9M to its total on Friday, on its way to a $19.5M third frame. Obviously the film is still smarting from Thor's reign but is more than capable of holding its own. The Diesel/Walker heist flick crossed $350M in total global ticket sales sometime during Friday and became the biggest domestic release of the franchise early Saturday. A 39% drop this frame was probably far better than was expected. While $200M isn't out of the question, the film will have its work cut out in the coming weeks. A $500M global finish is on the cards.

Priest started off life as a Korean comic book, taking its first steps towards the big screen in 2005. A director and star (Gerard Butler) were attached in 2006 but they were ultimately replaced by Scott Stewart and Paul Bettany, who had worked together on 2010's Legion. The film is set in a world in which man and vampire have warred for as long as people can remember. Bettany plays a legendary vampire killer, retired and living in one of the church's walled cities. When his niece is taken by vampires, Bettany's Priest vows to hunt them down, venturing out into the vampire infested wasteland. The film was originally set for release in October of 2010, then August 2010, eventually being pushed back to May 2011 so a post-production conversion to 3D could be completed.

Reviews for the film weren't kind, with just an 18% approval rating. Screen Gems decision to release numerous trailers over the films potted release schedule (plus its PG-13 rating) may have ultimately done Priest more harm than good too. Friday saw the film settling for fourth place with $5.6M, on its way to a slightly disappointing $14.5M. Unlike Legion, this one cost somewhere between $60M and $75M to produce and even at this early stage, that's a figure Priest is unlikely to see even two thirds of. The film has already been released in a number of foreign territories to varying results, Russian and Spain being quite strong, the UK, weak.

Still a fortnight from Kung Fu Panda 2, Rio is still the only top ten choice for the young family market. This weekend saw the film cross the $400M mark in total global tickets sales. Domestically it saw $8M this weekend and will finish up with around $150M

With Bridesmaids ably covering the female demographic this weekend, Something Borrowed and Jumping The Broom fell 50% and 52% respectively. The two films had something of a sparring match last weekend, with Broom eventually emerging victorious. Once actuals were issued Monday, the gap wasn't as close, with Something Borrowed having to accept a $13.9M weekend. Jumping the Broom recouped its $7M production budget during its first frame and actually saw a decent increase in ticket sales on the Sunday (Mother's Day in the US). This frame saw the uptown girl meets downtown guy rom-com take a further $7.3M. Expect it to top out at around $37-40M. Not far behind, Something Borrowed added $7M, bringing its running total to $25.6M and it should just about recoup its production budget before the end of its theatrical run.

Like the romantic comedies in the top ten, the romantic drama Water For Elephants can't not have been affected by the release of Bridesmaids. Down 32.5% this frame, the Pattinson/Witherspoon book adaptation has now made $48M from a budget of around $38M. A step in the right direction for Robert Pattison after the misfire of Remember Me.

With just the one release next weekend, Madea Big Happy Family might manage one more frame in the top ten - making it five weeks, which is about par for the course for a Tyler Perry flick. The film just about crossed $50M this frame but it's a long way from Madea Goes To Jail's $90M finish.

Soul Surfer just about hangs on to a top ten spot. The true life drama should see a decent return on the home market too. Soul Surfer was produced for $18M and has so far recouped $39M.

Just outside the top ten (it was actually set for a tenth place finish but lost out at the last minute) is the Will Ferrell comedy-drama Everything Must Go. Based on a short story, it sees Ferrell as an recovering alcoholic who is thrown out by his wife when he relapses. He decides to hold a yard sale, selling almost everything he owns, in an attempt to start over again. The film was well reviewed (71% approval rating at the time of writing) and given its performance, should see further expansion in the coming weeks.

The Jodie Foster directed film The Beaver expanded into 105 locations this weekend for another disappointing return - just $158K. Its two weekend total is $308K.

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