Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 22nd - 24th April 2011

1. Rio $26.8M - $81.2M
2. Madea's Big Happy Family $25.8M - $25.8M
3. Water For Elephants $17.5M - $17.5M
4. Hop $12.5M - $100.5M
5. Scream 4 $7.2M - $31.2M
6. African Cats $6.4M - $6.4M
7. Soul Surfer $5.6M - $28.6M
8. Insidious $5.3M - $44.1M
9. Hanna $5.2M - $31.7M
10. Source Code $5M - $44.7M

Well this is it, the calm before the storm. After this weekend we've got nearly four months of potential blockbusters, with barely a quiet weekend between them. First up will be Fast Five followed closely by Thor. This weekend is hardly a dumping ground, though none of the new releases have mainstream appeal.

Rio battled with Hop last weekend and found Madea to be a bit of handful this one. The 'Angry Birds' film didn't drop an inch on a Friday to Friday basis but dropped a still impressive 31% for the weekend as a whole. It's less likely to be affected by Fast Five than some of the other releases in the top ten but it's hard to say how it'll do up against Hoodwinked Too. By next weekend it should be approaching $95M, with a further $175M from the overseas markets.

Tyler Perry is a one man media machine. Films, TV shows, plays and books, not to mention his own production studio, Perry has his finger in all of them. Not only that, but he manages to write, produce and star in the vast majority of his productions, turning out at least two movies a year for the last few. The average haul of his movies is around $52M, from an average budget of $15.8M. Amongst a core audience, he's incredibly popular but his films tend to reflect the horror genre in performance - one good weekend followed by a quick vanishing act. Furthermore, he has next to no global presence with only a couple of his films being released outside the US. But one imagines neither Perry or Lionsgate are concerned - he has yet to make a film that hasn't made money and his new film, Madea's Big Happy Family is no exception.

Madea is Perry's female alter-ego - a no nonsense elderly lady who says exactly what she's thinking. Of all his films, those top-lined by Madea are often the biggest openers and while this isn't the best opener of the series, it's still a strong showing, especially from less than 2300 locations. And as usual, the film was produced for relative peanuts, costing just $25M, guaranteeing a profit almost out the door. Next weekend it'll fall hard, as is the norm, but it'll be clear of $35M by that point and Perry is already in pre-production on his next movie 'We The Peoples'. Curiously, he'll soon be stepping out of his comfort zone and starring in I, Alex Cross, taking on the role previously played by Morgan Freeman.

Our second new release this weekend is Water For Elephants, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, with support from Christoph Waltz. The story, based on a best selling book, is the tale of Jacob, a man who runs away to join the circus after the death of his parents and finds himself falling in love with Witherspoon's animal tamer. Only problem is, she's already involved with Waltz' evil circus manager. Reviews weren't great for the film but fans of the book turned out in their droves - perhaps combined with a few Twilight/Pattinson fans. Witherspoon saw success in 2008's Four Christmases and Monsters Vs Aliens but also starred in the 2010 flop 'How Do You Know?' while the aforementioned Pattinson has struggled outside of the Twilight universe. Water For Elephants opened to a not bad $7M on its way to a $17.5M weekend, but with the poor reviews and the fans turning out the first weekend it seems, expect it to fall quite hard in the next frame.

Hop is starting to show its age now but still managed a decent Easter frame - an actual increase on last weekend and managed to cross $100M sometime on Sunday. It's still waiting to find its legs abroad, having so far only made $29M. Scream 4 underwhelmed during its opening frame, finishing with around $18.6M. A week later it finds itself down a very nasty 61% as it edges closer to recouping the $40M it cost to produce. Overseas the film is just getting started and has made over $20M. This will ultimately turn into a profitable hit for the Weinstein company but whether a new trilogy can be launched on the back of its performance is another thing altogether.

Our final new film this weekend is another Disney release set to coincide with Earth Day - African cats. The studio have done well the last two years with Earth taking $32M in 2009 and Oceans taking $19M last year. The films are quite costly (the price tag for the first two was around $66M) but unlike Earth, which was made up of some of the sequence from the series Planet Earth, Cats is a brand new documentary and focuses on a lion cub called Mara, a mother Cheetah called Sita and Fang, the leader of a pride defending his family from a banished lion. Shown at around 1200, African Cats had a good three day haul (given that location count) of $6.4M. With overseas figures factored in, both Oceans and Earth turned a profit, expect African Cats to be no different.

Turning into the little film that could, Soul Surfer adds another $5.6M to its coffers this weekend. Dismissed by many as a theatrical release for what should have been a TV movie of the week, the film has played well to middle America, where studio TriStar have been marketing it to Christian groups and the like. The film has now covered its production budget and will likely top out at around $40M. With Scream 4 offering it little competition, Insidious continues to perform well and witness just minor frame to frame drops (20% down on its last frame this weekend). Made for $1.5M, the horror flick has so far made a very impressive $44.1M.

After looking like it was going to break out with the general public, Hanna somehow failed to capitalize on that surprising opening frame. The child assassin flick won't lose Focus Features any money but released at a quieter time of year, it may have had much longer legs. Like Hanna, Source Code is another intelligently made film that deserved to do better. Duncan Jones follow up to Moon had an ok opening frame but got lost in the glut of new releases in the subsequent weeks. Had the film been released in February, it might still be hanging around the higher end of the charts by its fourth weekend on release, instead, it is looking upon its final top ten weekend. From a $32M production budget, Source Code has a running global total of $60M

The biggest release next weekend, Fast Five, has already opened in the UK, Korea, Australia and New Zealand (Totalling 957 locations) taking an impressive $24M.

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