Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 22nd - 24th October 2010

1. Paranormal Activity 2 - $41.5M - $41.5M
2. Jackass 3D - $21.6M - $87.1M
3. Red - $15M - $43.5M
4. Hereafter - $12M - $12M
5. The Social Network - $7.3M - $72.9M
6. Secretariat -  $6.9M - $37.3M
7. Life As We Know It - $6.1M - $37.6M
8. Legend of the Guardians - $3.1M - $50.1M
9. The Town - $2.7M - $84.6M
10. Easy A - $1.7M - $54.7M

The original Paranormal Activity was a lesson in astute marketing and the power of word of mouth. In the film's third weekend, at just 160 locations, it made almost $8M. A week later, thanks to the film's "Demand it in your local theatre" promotional campaign, it expanded to 760 locations and made an amazing $19.6M. The film would go on to stay in theatres until mid-January, finishing with a box office tally of over $107M. Similar success took place worldwide. It came as no surprise when Paramount announced a sequel to be released a year later.

Based on a similar idea to the first film, that of captured video footage/CCTV footage, Paranormal Activity 2 takes place partly within the same time frame of the first film. While the budget has jumped up from the first film ($15,000), its rumoured $3M production costs would barely suffice as the catering budget on most big films. Choosing to forgo the trickle release of the first film, Paramount opted to put the film into over 3,200 locations off the bat. Reviews were almost as strong as the first film, but would lightning strike twice?

It would certainly seem so. Straight out the gate, the film took over $6.3M in midnight sneak peeks on Thursday night, giving it the record for an R-rated midnight showing. Friday itself would be equally strong, leaving the film up almost $20M by Saturday morning. If Paramount had chosen to close the film at that point, they'd have still had an incredibly successful film. By the end of the weekend Paranormal Activity 2 had earned a stunning $41.5M, the biggest October opening for a horror film. Word of mouth is very strong with a number of people preferring the second film to the first. Next weekend it'll face off against the final (lol) Saw movie but even if Paranormal Activity 2 is the most front-loaded movie in history and completely collapses in the next frame, not a single person associated with the film will mind. See you same time next year?

The aforementioned Jackass 3D opened exceptionally well last weekend and continued to perform well throughout the week. By Thursday night it had taken $65M (all from that low budget of $20M) meaning that the third film had out-grossed the final box office total of the first film in just six days (by Friday night it was the most successful film of the series). As for the weekend, it took a hit from PA2, ending its second frame down 56%, a higher drop than the second frames of the first two films. $100M is almost a dead cert at this point and could make all involved reconsider their much rumoured retirement.

Red didn't perform quite as well as Jackass 3D last weekend but the Bruce Willis starrer was no slouch either, managing a three day total of $21.7M. With competition from PA2 (not to mention Johnny Knoxville & Co) Red ended it's second Friday down a respectable 38% when compared to its opening day. The remainder of the weekend gave it time to rally further and left the film with $15M (down a very impressive total of 30% on last weekend). At this point it looks likely that Red will recoup its production budget domestically and could potentially score another $100M from foreign ticket sales.

Our second new entry is the latest effort from non-stop director Clint Eastwood. Hereafter sees the director re-team with his Invictus star Matt Damon and is the story of three people who are all touched by death in some way. A British boy whose brother is a killed in a road accident, a French Journalist caught in a tsunami and Damon, as a retired medium who can communicate with the dead. Early word billed the film as Eastwood's first foray into horror but this appeared to be quite wrong when the first trailers revealed it to be closer in tone to The Sixth Sense. The film opened in a limited capacity last weekend and expanded into over 2,000 location on Friday.

Reviews were distinctly average with the film currently sitting on a 51% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. With strong opener Paranormal Activity 2, and the still dangerous Jackass 3D & Red, Hereafter had its work cut out for it. Scoring $4.1M on Friday, the film picked up a bit more business on Saturday (the day on which Eastwood's films generally perform best) but just couldn't sustain it, ending the weekend with a slightly disappointing $12M. Where it goes from here though, is anyone's guess - if word of mouth picks up for the film it could see a solid hold in its next frame. If it doesn't, there's a flood of new releases due in the next few weeks that'll quickly see it off. With a price tag of $50M, expect Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. to be banking on the former.

Even with the new competition The Social Network finds itself down just 29% on last weekend. Impressively, the film's weekend drops have yet to rise above 32% (it's second and third frame drops were 31% & 32% respectively). The film may yet get another boost as the critics awards season is just around the corner, followed closely by the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. The David Fincher film has already taken a further $17M from the international market, and one assumes it's just getting started there.

Having had a good second frame, Secretariat finds itself down 28% in its third weekend on general release. Even with the older adult market opting for Hereafter (or PA2) this weekend, its fall was only slightly higher. While the film has pretty much recouped its production budget at this point, those infamous advertising costs still loom large. Similarly, Life As We Know It is within a stone's throw of recouping its production budget. As the only romantic comedy/traditional date movie in the top ten it's had something of a demographic all to itself. This one should top out at around $50M, which is line with Katherine Heigl's last film, the summer release Killers.

Legend of the Guardians is pretty much done and dusted at this point. Next weekend it'll lose more of its 3D location to the new Saw film. Made for $80M, the film has a running global total of $90M, thanks in part to a strong showing abroad. The Town has begun to shed its location count, down 450 this weekend, as it looks towards a $95M finish. Affleck is already eyeing his next directorial effort, with period piece 'Tales From The Gangster Squad' said to be amongst the front runners.

The Emma Stone starrer Easy A manages one more weekend in the top ten. While the film is looking towards its final few weekends on general release, internationally it's just getting started and could easily see another $50M.

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