Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 19th - 21st November 2010

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - $125.1M - $125.1M
2. Megamind -$16.1M - $109.4M
3. Unstoppable - $13.1M - $41.9M
4. Due Date - $9.1M - $72.6M
5. The Next Three Days - $6.7M - 6.7M
6. Morning Glory - $5.2M - $19.8M
7. Skyline - $3.4M - $17.6M
8. Red - $2.46M - $83.6M
9. For Colored Girls - $2.4M - $34.5M
10. Fair Game -$1.4M - $3.7M

After six films spread over nine years, the end is nearing for Harry Potter. With that thought in mind, Warner Bros. chose to split the final book, The Deathly Hallows, into two films, one released this weekend, one to follow in July 2011. The franchise has made over $1.7B just in North America, and that excludes the home/rental market and any other related merchandise, not to mention the equally impressive international take for the series. The studio wisely kept the gap between Deathly Hallows and the previous film, The Half Blood Prince, as short as possible (avoiding the fan outrage witnessed on The Order of the Phoenix when it was delayed by six months).

As recent as two months ago, Warner Bros. announced that The Deathly Hallows would not be screened in 3D as the post-production conversion work couldn't be completed in time. This choice might well have cost the film a shot at the all time opening weekend record (still safely held by The Dark Knight). Initial trailers showed a much darker, more mature Harry Potter film. Reviews were pretty much in line with the rest of the series, with the film currently sitting on a 78% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes (Matching Chamber of Secrets & Order of the Phoenix. The highest scoring film is Prisoner of Azkaban with a 90% fresh rating). Box office comparisons with anything but the more recent of the series are by and large redundant - the box office as recent as 2001 is still quite a different landscape to today's.

That said, the most successful of the series remains the first film, The Philosopher's Stone. Less then $50M behind are the last two films (Global finishes of $938M & $933M), with The Prisoner of Azkaban being the least grossing film of the series (a $795M global finish). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows opened very late on Thursday night but missed out on taking the midnight record of $30M from Twilight: Eclipse. In terms of the Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows bested Half-Blood Prince by $2M. Twenty four hours later and the film was sitting on a $61.2M opening day total, giving it the fifth biggest single day of all time (Behind Twilight Eclipse, New Moon, The Dark Knight and Transformers 2).

The three day total is easily the best of the series and while it may trail the aforementioned films for the weekend record, it's a spectacular start for the boy wizard. It's only when you look a little closer that you see how heavy the front loading was - almost half of its three day total came from that first day, meaning the film had begun to trail off come Sunday - expected but a minor worry for longevity going ahead. International grosses were even stronger, leaving the film with a total global opening figure of over $330M. With next weekend being Thanksgiving, a better than normal hold should take place and push the film well over the $200M mark. There's a strong chance that the three day global total for Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt.1 has already covered the production budget on both films.

With Harry Potter not requiring 3D screens, Megamind was able to maintain its location count with only the minimum of reduction. The Dreamworks comedy featuring the voices of Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell has now crossed the $100M mark and should recoup its $130M production budget some time over thanksgiving. Its third frame drop was a little higher but that's to be expected given the competition. Megamind will end up being a decent hit for Paramount/Dreamworks but won't score anywhere near the $215M+ seen by Shrek Forever After and How To Train Your Dragon earlier in the year.

Similar to last weekend, Unstoppable was actually ahead of Megamind on Friday, but lost ground as Saturday progressed. The costly Tony Scott thriller was down 50% on its opening day total of just under $8M. That's a little too high for Fox, especially with that $100M price tag (in comparison, the second weekend drop of action thriller Red was just 30% while Unstoppable ended up down 42% overall). Things won't get better either as Faster, a thriller starring The Rock, opens next weekend and will be aiming for that same demographic. Expect Fox to rely heavily on the international market to cover production costs on this one.

Due Date drops 41% in its third weekend and while it's now recouped its production budget (along with scoring $47M from the overseas market) it's unlikely to see $100M before the end of its box office run. While it's a disappointment compared to The Hangover, Due Date will return a decent profit for the studio.

Hard to believe but there is another wide opening release this weekend. Paul Haggis follows up In The Valley of Elah with The Next Three Days, a remake of the French film Pour Elle. Russell Crowe stars as a husband and father whose wife, played by Elizabeth Banks, is accused of murder. Believing her innocent of the crime, Crowe seeks the advice of Liam Neeson and begins to plan on breaking her out of jail.

Reviews were below average for the thriller and it struggled straight out the gate, taking just $2.2M on Friday. With Unstoppable offering fierce competition The Next Three Days could only manage another $4.7M for a three day total of $6.7M. Budget details aren't as yet available but there's little to say this isn't anything but a flop. Don't write the film off just yet as Crowe's international following were able to push Robin Hood to over $200M when it struggled in the US.

Faltering before it even got started, Morning Glory drops a place in its second frame. While its weekend to weekend drop is quite acceptable when compared to Skyline's, its $19M take from a $40M production budget (combined with the film's days already looking numbered) is quite a disappointment. With four new releases next weekend, Morning Glory might not even see a third weekend in the top ten.

The aforementioned Skyline crashed horrifically on Friday, down nearly 78% on its opening day. Fortunately the film's low production budget has already been covered and there's no reason why it can't become a decent hit on DVD as well. One way or another, The Brothers Strause plan on making a sequel. Looking upon its last weekend in the top ten is Red. The big-name cast action/comedy started out just below expectation but saw some fantastic weekend to weekend drops, enabling it to hang out around the charts much longer than expected. From being a $60M finisher, Red looks like ending its theatrical run with around $90M.

For Coloured Girls loses half of its location count this weekend and looks set to finish amongst the lower of Tyler Perry's films. Like Skyline, the film cost so little to produce that it would be difficult for it not to turn a profit (same as all other Perry films).

Managing to break into the top ten from a location count of just 386 is the political thriller Fair Game, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and directed by Doug Liman. The film is based upon on a true story and deals with the attempts by the White House to discredit the author of an article who claimed the Bush administration had manipulated data about WMDs. It's unknown as yet if further expansion will be forthcoming - with those four new openers in the next frame there's a strong chance the film would get overshadowed.

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