Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 18th - 20th March 2011

1. Limitless - $19M - $19M
2. Rango - $15.3M - $92.6M
3. Battle: Los Angeles - $14.6M - $60.6M
4. The Lincoln Lawyer - $13.2M - $13.2M
5. Paul - $13.4M - $13.4M
6. Red Riding Hood - $7.2M - $25.9M
7. The Adjustment Bureau - $5.9M - $48.7M
8. Mars Needs Moms - $5.3M - $15.4M
9. Beastly - $3.2M - $22.2M
10. Hall Pass - $2.6M - $39.5M

After the mild disappointment (box office-wise) of The A-Team last year, Bradley Cooper returns to screens this weekend in Limitless. It's the story of a slacker who takes an experimental pill which enables him to use 100% of his brain power - helping him to score big on the stock exchange, have endless energy and charm women, amongst other things. When his supply of the pill is threatened, in steps Robert De Niro, who sees an opportunity to use Cooper's new abilities for his own personal gain. This one surprised a few people when it scored a costly Superbowl trailer spot - and the hype built from there. Reviews were above average but with no direct draw for the film (neither Cooper or De Niro would guarantee a must-see crowd) it had its work cut out for it up against Battle:LA, The Lincoln Lawyer and Paul, all of which appeal to a similar demographic.

Friday saw an opening tally of $6.6M, putting it a good $2M above the aforementioned films and it would continue to hold on to that lead for the remainder of the weekend, securing a $19M finish by Sunday. Next weekend it'll face Sucker Punch but given Limitless' budget is just $27M, it should prove to be a decent hit for Relativity Media whatever happens.

While Rango didn't see any direct competition this frame, the three new films all factored in its $15M finish. With Mars Needs Moms offering zero competition last week (and even less this weekend), Rango was able to move closer to the $100M marker. It's still got some way to go before recouping that $140M production budget but it's well on track (though Rio may take its legs from under it shortly). Internationally the film doesn't seem to having quite the same appeal, with a running total of just over $50M so far - but it is still early days and family films tend to run and run.

After an solid start last frame, the Black Hawk Down with aliens flick, Battle: LA found itself pushed to a third spot finish. Friday saw it end just slightly ahead of Paul and the Lincoln Lawyer and it narrowly kept that lead through Saturday and Sunday. Word of mouth has been very poor for the film so its second frame drop of 58%, while high, isn't as bad as it could have been. A $70M production budget should pose no problems for the film, seeing how it has already cleared that figure when we factor in its international take.

The next new entry this weekend sees Matthew McConaughey returning to the court room/legal drama that helped launch his mainstream career in 1996 (With A Time To Kill). He plays Mick Haller, a lawyer who conducts his career from the back of a Lincoln car. Working for all manner of clients, he finds himself embroiled in a murder case, the suspect being a high-profile playboy whose mother will pay anything to clear his name - the only problem being that the playboy in question (Played by Ryan Phillipe) appears to be anything but innocent.

While trailers weren't anything special, the film reviewed very well indeed and currently sits on an 80% fresh rating. The Lincoln Lawyer opened in fifth place on Friday with $4.1M. On a quieter weekend the film may even have managed a top spot finish but it had to make do with four place come Sunday evening. Like Paul, this one cost $40M to produce so a decent second frame could help push the film well on its way to that figure. With such a close finish there's a slim chance the film will move up or down the chart once actuals are issued.

Paul is the new comedy starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg with direction not from Edgar Wright but Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland). It stars the pair as sci-fi geeks who take a road trip to sites of extra terrestrial importance in the hope of seeing an alien - and actually find one in the guise of the foul-mouthed Paul - voiced by Seth Rogen. Taking him in, the pair find themselves pursued by shadowy agents, including Jason Bateman. The studio have been pushing this film hard and it's already seen success in the UK and other overseas locations. Reviews were well above average, though not the strongest of the three main openers this week.

On the opening day, Paul was left to fight it out with Battle: LA and The Lincoln Lawyer (Limitless having already stepped away from the other releases) and come Sunday night it could have easily swapped places with either film. This is a pretty good start for a film which, while a comedy, may have a slightly limit appeal. With neither of the Pegg/Frost previous collaborations getting the kind of exposure Paul had, the film easily became the biggest opening for the pair. Next weekend will decide if the film will break out or be destined for cultdom, but given the film has already made $25M overseas, recouping its $40M production budget shouldn't be a problem.

Red Riding Hood drops 48% in its second frame, which was a solid if unimpressive start for the Amanda Seyfried film. Made for around $42M, the fairy tale retelling may have benefited from a couple of quieter frames release-wise. It should top out at around $35-37M. With the added competition, The Adjustment Bureau also dropped 48% this frame. The romantic thriller has now made just under $50M domestically with a further $25M overseas. Expect the film to top out at around $60-65M. Damon will be seen next in Contagion while Emily Blunt will star in The Muppets movie, out in November.

One can only assume Mars Needs Moms retains a top ten spot thanks to being the only family alternative to Rango. Made for an immense $150M, the film is unlikely to make even a sixth of that figure back. This costly flop may have also put an end to Robert Zemekis' Yellow Submarine remake, which was cancelled this past week (though Disney claim it was actually shelved before Mars Needs Moms flopped).

With competition from Red Riding Hood last week, Beastly tumbled. A week later and things haven't improved for the Alex Pettyfer take on Beauty & The Beast. Fortunately it only cost CBS Films $17M to produce so with DVD/Home sales it should turn a small profit. Shedding a further 650 locations is Hall Pass, the Owen Wilson comedy in which his wife awards him a "Hall Pass" allowing him to do whatever he wants for one week, with no consequences or comebacks. This week sees the film recoup its relatively low production budget.

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