Thursday, 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 26th - 28th February 2010

1. Shutter Island $22.2M - $75.1M
2. Cop Out $18.5M - $18.5M
3. The Crazies $16.5M - $16.5M
4. Avatar $14M - $706.9M
5. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief $9.8M - $71.2M
6. Valentine's Day $9.8M - $71.2M
7. Dear John $5M - $72.6M
8. The Wolfman $4.1M - $57.2M
9. Tooth Fairy $3.4M - $53.8M
10. Crazy Heart $2.5M - $25M

A week before the Academy awards and the studios have pitted two R-rated movies against Shutter Island, but Martin Scorcese's latest pictures remains in the top spot, down 51% on a Friday to Friday time frame and 45% for the weekend overall. Reviews were above average for the film but solid word of mouth has helped it see off both Cop Out and The Crazies. At this stage in the film's release it's too early to guess were it'll end up finishing but another solid hold next weekend should at least guarantee a finish north of $100M. Made for $80M, Shutter Island was ruled out of Oscar contention after Paramount chose to move the film from an October release to February, the reasoning for this was a need to cut advertising costs in the fourth quarter of 2009. This delay doesn't appear to have harmed the film in any great way.

For the first time in his career, Kevin Smith has directed a film he didn't write. Formerly knowns as A Couple Of Dicks, Warners Bros. decided to change the name to Cop Out, hopefully avoiding the same network advertising issues witnessed by Smith's Zack & Miri Make a Porno. The action-comedy stars Bruce Willis and 30 Rock's Tracey Morgan as a couple of old school cops who, amongst other tasks, need to recover a valuable baseball card in order to help pay for Willis' daughter's wedding. Reviews were anything but favourable, with Cop Out becoming the worst reviewed movie of Smith's career (even the critically maligned Mallrats scored 50% on RottenTomatoes, while the despised Jersey Girl did 41%) but thanks to his sizeable fan base the film made a decent start on Friday. The $18.5M take for the weekend comfortably marks Smith's biggest ever opening. With a budget of $37M, Cop Out is unlikely to lose money and should become Smith's biggest film. How big, will rely more on its second weekend take than its performance in this frame.

Next up is a horror remake - no, wait a second - The Crazies is a remake of a 1973 George A Romero film of the same name and features Timothy Olyphantastic as a small town sheriff who finds the town's residents turning psychotic when a deadly toxin is introduced to the local water supply. In something of a change for both a horror film and a remake, The Crazies has reviewed incredibly well and currently sits on 71% at RottenTomatoes. Friday the film was narrowly beaten by Cop Out and the gap widened as the weekend wore on. With the budget an estimated $12M, The Crazies has already achieved what it set out to do and all in the space of three days. If word of mouth catches up with the film it could defy the usual horror film second weekend of a 60%+ drop in takings.

Unlikely as it seems, Avatar set another record this weekend (who knew there were landmarks left for the film to achieve?) - that of being the first film to ever gross more than $700M on the domestic market. Even with a win at next weekend's Academy awards, it looks like this could by Avatar's last hurrah thanks to Alice In Wonderland's release in 3D and Imax screens on Friday. How much this will put a dent in the film's takings is open to speculation (not every 3D screen will be given up to Alice) but one imagines that Fox stopped worrying about Avatar's performance a long, long time ago.

Still one of only two family friendly releases in the top ten, Percy Jackson is still something of an enigma. This, its third weekend on general release sees the film already slipping to single figure box office and internationally the film is fairing on roughly the same level, taking $67M so far. What's confusing is that Jackson is being billed as the next big franchise, even with what could described as lacklustre box office - compare it to The Golden Compass which finished domestically with $70M, yet would clear $300M internationally. That franchise was classed as dead in the water almost before the first weekend was over (admittedly, Compass did open poorly in the US). Expect Percy Jackson to take a kicking from Alice in Wonderland next weekend as it struggles towards its $95M production budget.

After the horrific fall last weekend, Valentine's Day recovers somewhat in its third frame. The film just about cleared $100M on Sunday but internationally it isn't fairing as well, even with the vast majority of region's seeing the film on or around the Valentine's Day weekend. Dear John, the other romantic offering in the top ten has also pretty much run its course now. After a shocking opening, knocking Avatar off the top spot, the film endured a couple of high drops but comfortably recouped its budget early on in its box office run. News comes this week of yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation in the guise of The Lucky Ones. Like Valentine's Day, The Wolfman also saw a major drop in takings in its second weekend - thanks in a big part, one assumes, to the poor word of mouth. The Wolfman should manage at least one more weekend in the top ten before quickly heading to DVD. An alternate or director's cut isn't out of the question at this point, and Universal will be keen to do anything that'll help the film recoup its re-shoot costs.

Tooth Fairy has taken its sweet time to cross $50M considering its been in the top ten for six weekends. Were it not almost certainly leaving the top ten next weekend, Alice in Wonderland would have wiped it out completely. Rounding us out is Crazy Heart, which adds another 59 locations to its count this weekend. Any further major expansion depends on next Sunday night but the film is already a critical and financial success. An Academy award would be the icing on the cake.

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