Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 20th - 22nd August 2010

1. The Expendables -  $16.5M -$64.8M
2. Vampires Suck - $12.2M - $18.5M
3. Eat Pray Love - $12M - $47.1M
4. Lottery Ticket - $11.1M - $11.1M
5. The Other Guys - $10.1M - $88.1M
6. Piranha 3D - $10M - $10M
7. Nanny McPhee Returns - $8.3M - $8.3M
8. The Switch - $8.1M - $8.1M
9. Inception - $7.6M - $261.8M
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World -  $5M - $20.7M

Just a brief box office report this week, as I'm still recovering from Legoland/Chessington. Apologies for the more than usual haphazard nature of it all.

Even with five new releases, the box office was nothing to write home about. The Expendables retains the top spot, possibly only because Vampires Suck opened on Wednesday and was already done and dusted by the weekend. The Stallone actioner should recoup its production budget domestically and go on to be huge on the international market (while the film has opened in a number of foreign locales, numbers are yet to be made available).

Vampires Suck is the fifth film from the team that bought us Epic Movie and Remember The Spartans. Opening to over $4M on Wednesday, the film had collapsed come the weekend but was already well on the way to making back its $20M production budget come Sunday night. A huge fall next weekend is a cert but this will turn a nice profit for Fox - as have most of the aforementioned films.

Eat Pray Love finds itself down 48%, which for most films would be acceptable but for a rom-com with a demographic all to itself, is a little on the high side. Julia Roberts opening power has long since faded and there's little to rope in much of a male audience. That said, the $60M production budget shouldn't be too much of a problem for the film and fans of the book worldwide will ensure this is Roberts first $100M film since 1999's Erin Brockovich (this excludes the Ocean's series, in which Roberts took only a minor role).

Our next new release (the second of five!) is the Ice Cube/Bow Wow comedy, Lottery Ticket. The film concerns a guy who discovers he's holding the winning ticket to a huge lottery win - all he has to do is keep the ticket safe & sound while waiting out the weekend to collect it. Given the little hype the film received, not to mention its relatively low location count (Below 2,000), it did well to finish as high as it did. It won't hang around long but it won't lose anyone any money either. Even with three other comedies in the top ten, The Other Guys holds well, down 42% on last weekend's take. $100M is a cert at this point, though whether the film is still in the top ten when it sees that figure remains to be seen. A sigh of relief for Ferrell, who started to look a little shaky in terms of box office returns.

The boobs & gore extravaganza Piranha 3D opens at a disappointing sixth. Expected to finish second or third, one assumes the target audience gave The Expendables another go. This is Alexandre Aja's third remake in a row after catching Hollywood's eye with High Tension and unfortunately looks like being his lowest grossing film so far. Even the increased cost of 3D tickets couldn't help the film grab a higher finish and like most horror fare, it'll tumble hard in its second frame. But the good news for Dimension is two fold - word of mouth is very strong amongst fans of the genre; and this one only cost $24M to produce so even if the domestic tally fails it, international numbers and the home market will pick up any shortfall. [Update: Dimension have greenlit a sequel on Monday]

The original Nanny McPhee was something of a minor hit in the U.S and performed even better on the international market ($75M). While the sequel opens to less than half of what the original did on opening weekend, it's already another solid hit with the rest of the world. The $35M production has already taken $62M so any further cash the domestic market can add is simply the icing on the cake. The little-hyped Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman comedy, The Switch, reeks of a studio wanting to jettison a film, but still honour a theatrical release clause in the contracts. The setup sees Aniston conceiving a child via artificial insemination, with Bateman as the guy who swaps her chosen donor for one his 'own'. The studio didn't seem interested and neither did the public so an $8.1M opening must have come as something of a quiet surprise. Similar to Bateman's 2009 film Extract, The Switch will have come and gone within a week.

Inception may be seeing its final weekend in the top ten but it's now made over $600M in total global takings, tripling its production budget. Another $50-75M is certainly not of the question. Sadly our final place goes to the much loved but largely ignored Scott Pilgrim. While word of mouth is exceptionally strong, especially online, the film just hasn't had anything approaching a breakout into another demographic. Will it suffer the same fate internationally?

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