Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 16th - 18th April 2010

1. How to Train Your Dragon - $20M - $158.6M
2. Kick-Ass - $19.7M - $19.7M
3. Date Night - $17.3M - $49.2M
4. Death at a Funeral - $17M - $17M
5. Clash of the Titans - $15.7M - $132.9M
6. The Last Song - $5.8M - $50M
7. Why Did I Get Married Too? - $4.1M - $54.8M
8. Hot Tub Time Machine - $3.55M - $42.5M
9. Alice in Wonderland - $3.5M - $324M
10. The Bounty Hunter - $3.2M - $60.3M

Two new releases this weekend and one major upset.
Being the only family friendly film in the top ten gives How to Train Your Dragon an advantage over the rest of the movies in circulation. Being in 3D didn't cause it any harm either. After a small drop in the face of Date Night last weekend, the film saw another strong weekend, and after a boost on Saturday and Sunday managed the amazing - returning to the top spot in its fourth weekend on release. After a disappointing start a few short weeks ago the film has continued to hold remarkably well and is fast approaching its production budget. $200M isn't a certainty but it's looking a lot more likely than it did at the end of March. If nothing else, it'll make the headlines this weekend for seeing off what was sure to be the number one film, Kick Ass. There's still a chance that Kick Ass will take the top spot come Monday evening when actuals are issued, but the damage is already done.

Based on a Mark Millar graphic novel, Kick Ass took an unconventional route to screens. Privately financed by director Matthew Vaughn and a consortium of producers, including Millar and Brad Pitt, the film was produced off the radar for around $28M. Word of mouth started before last year's Comic-Con and after an outstanding show at the aforementioned convention, a fierce bidding war began. A few weeks later Lionsgate emerged triumphant and a release date was set for April 2010. Screenings before then, including at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numbathon only built up hype for the film.

Unfortunately, the world outside of the internet knew little of the film until these last few weeks when Lionsgate launched an advertising blitz to rival studios twice their size. Going into the weekend the film reviewed very well (save for, in particular, Roger Ebert's one-star review, which probably did the film more good than bad) but there was a nagging doubt that we could be looking at another Snakes on the Plane - huge word on the internet translated to distinctly lacklustre box office. Did Kick Ass escape that stigma?

The Jury is still out. Friday saw a worrying $7.5M opening take, which for the amount of hype thrown its way, was disappointing. Furthermore, if the $7.5M take factored in front-loading, the film was in real trouble. Saturday things improved and with Sunday's take factored in the film ended up with $19.7M, which, while a much stronger figure than Snake's opening weekend, has to be on the low side of what Lionsgate had hoped for. Given the film's target audience it does seem the R-rating is affecting attendance in some way - more than a few people on Box Office Mojo have reported buying a ticket for Date Night and sneaking into Kick Ass. How much this affected both film's box office is negligible. Word of mouth amongst the general public needs to build now if the film is to become anything other than a minor hit. Let's not forget that production budget, which will ensure the film won't lose money, but Kick Ass, at the moment, doesn't appear to be the breakout hit that many had predicted.

Date Night ended up losing out to Clash of the Titans once actual numbers for last weekend were released. In its second frame the film ended down just 31%, which is a solid hold up against the two new releases. Date Night cost around $55M to produce and that's a figure the film should easily accomplish by next weekend - how much further it'll go is still reliant on a number of factors, including next weekend's release The Back-Up Plan. Fey & Carell are already in discussion on another project, Male-Order Groom.

Our second new release this week is another odd fellow - a remake of Frank Oz's 2007 minor hit Death At A Funeral, directed this time by Neil Labute and uprooted from a quaint English setting to an urban US one. Starring Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Danny Glover, Death at a Funeral is about the mishaps and confusion that take place during a funeral, and the secrets and rivalries that show themselves. After a $5.6M start on Friday that put it ahead of Date Night, the film faltered on Saturday, leaving it with some ground to make up. Budget details weren't available at the time of writing but chances are it cost between $30-40M. Both Kick Ass and Death at a Funeral face similar competition next weekend with the release of The Losers and The Back-Up Plan.

Having won last weekend, Clash finds itself taking a kicking from all and sundry but those 3D tickets keep on giving. Having recouped its production budget it's of little consequence to the studio and the film should top out around $155M. Internationally the film is pretty much neck and neck with the domestic take, meaning Clash is already a $250M movie after just a month on release.

While The Last Song is unlikely to go down as the film that launched the serious acting career of Miley Cyrus, it won't go down as a flop either. Having doubled its production budget the film will now be looking for a decent splash on DVD in a few short months. The usual free-fall associated with a Tyler Perry flick has already taken place with Why Did I Get Married Too. Not that he or Lionsgate will be concerned - made for just $20M the film has crossed the $50M mark on Friday, two weeks after its release. This looks like being Perry's second biggest release after Madea Goes To Jail.

Hot Tub Time Machine is pretty much done and dusted. The film should end its theatrical run with around $50M, pretty much in line with John Cusack movies produced from 2003-2005 (Runaway Jury $49M, Identity $52M, Must Love Dogs $43M). Shedding locations at quite a rate now (another 500 this weekend), Alice In Wonderland is simply coasting until it slips out of the top ten. With its DVD release just six weeks away, Alice will probably still be at a number of 3D locations as people head out to buy it. The Bounty Hunter is seeing its last weekend in the top ten. The $40M film has so far made $58M.

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