Thursday 16 June 2011

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

1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - $50.3M - $220.4M
2. Tangled - $49.1M - $69M
3. Megamind - $12.9M - $130.5M
4. Burlesque - $11.8M - $17.2M
5. Unstoppable - $11.7M - $60.7M
6. Love & Other Drugs - $9.8M - $14M
7. Faster - $8.7M - $12.2M
8. Due Date - $7.3M - $85M
9. The Next Three Days - $4.8M - $14.5M
10. Morning Glory - $4M - $26.4M

The Thanksgiving holiday generally gives films a few extra 'weekend' days - a weekday when a film will generally perform more like a Friday or a Saturday. This allows the old releases to build on their previous weekends and gives the new releases a head start by opening on Wednesday. This Thanksgiving the studios decided to provide a little something for everyone, while hoping Harry Potter's second weekend wouldn't impact them too much. Furthermore, they know they've essentially got a free pass next weekend thanks to just one new release (and that's only out to 1500 locations).
While Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows retains the top spot, with a decent second weekend hold (given its front-loading) it was a hard fought battle against a film that few saw as serious competition. The Deathly Hallows crossed the $200M mark some time on its second Saturday on general release. Internationally the film is even stronger and once final numbers are accounted for on Monday, it could have cleared half a billion dollars in just ten days. $300M domestically isn't out of the question either and if the film has a decent third weekend, we could see it in with a chance of becoming the biggest grossing of the series so far, a record that currently sits with the first film.

The film that nearly ended Harry Potter's reign is the Disney CGI film Tangled, a re-imagining of the Rapunzel fairy story (To avoid the 'fairytale' movie tag the studio chose to retitle the film a few months prior to release). In this version of the story, Rapunzel has stayed all her life in the tower but must venture outside when she falls for a dashing bandit. Interestingly, Disney opted for only minor stars for the vocals - Mandy Moore voices the heroine of the tale while the bandit, Flynn Ryder is voiced by Zachary Levi. The film's production wasn't without its problems, with the directors being replaced by the team that brought Bolt to the screen in 2008. Furthermore, the film has been in various states of production for nearly six years, racking up an estimated production budget of $260M. That makes it, one assumes, the most expensive animated feature every produced. A strong start was essential, especially after the lacklustre performance of last year's The Princess and The Frog.

Reviews were strong, with the film currently sitting on a 87% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Disney opted to open the film on Wednesday and were rewarded with an impressive $11.8M. This was followed by the expected dip on Thursday, bringing takings down to $8.1M. Things came to a head on Friday, when the film was narrowly beaten by Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows (just under a million dollars separated the two). Ultimately the film ended up with a very strong five day total of $69M. The big question is where the film goes from here - in the past, animated work released around now usually hangs around until the new year, something that should work to Tangled's advantage.

Megamind didn't see any major increase or decrease over the holiday period. The Will Ferrell/Tina Fey flick about a mad, bad genius who finds himself without a nemesis crossed the $100M last weekend but obviously took a kicking from Harry Potter in the last frame and Tangled in this one. Expect this one to finish around $160-170M, roughly the final placing of 2004's Shark Tale.

Removing Tangled from the equation, none of the other new releases had much fight in them but thanks to those 'extra' two days, their five day totals don't look too bad, especially when their budgets are taken into account. (At least in the case of Love & Other Drugs and Faster).

Our second new release this week is the Christina Aguilera/Cher musical, Burlesque. The film's story is the age old tale of a girl from a small town following her dreams to the big city. Reviews weren't kind, though 'newcomer' Aguilera received a number of positive notices. Another Wednesday release, Burlesque could muster just $2.8M, with less than double that figure on Friday. It's five day total isn't too shoddy to be honest, especially after that start, but unless word of mouth can work some magic, the film won't be around long. Perhaps an R-Rating would have seen the film gain more business?

With Faster stepping into the action fray this weekend, Unstoppable could have had a problem on its hands. As it turns out, the public still favoured Denzel Washington's three week old flick to the brand new one from The Rock. Working on that great word of mouth, the film saw its weekend take down just 10% on the last frame. Unstoppable has now covered more than half its budget and should finish with around $80M in domestic takings. Internationally the film has already taken $31M.

Love & Other Drugs is the new romantic comedy drama from director Ed Zwick, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. The later plays an ace salesmen whose charms appear to have failed on Hathaway's Maggie Murdock - until she suggests a no-strings attached relationship. Reviews were decidedly average, with its R-rating probably costing it a few millions in takings. (People like their rom-coms PG-13 and their risqué musicals an 'R'). Luckily the film only cost $30M to produce, which should be covered come the end of its domestic run. Expect Love & Other Drugs to come and go quickly. But even this isn't the poorest performing of the new releases.

After a few family friendly flicks, The Rock returns to the action genre. Faster sees him released from prison after a ten year stretch, and eager to avenge his brother's death. Hot on his tale are a days-from-retirement FBI agent, played by Billy Bob Thornton, and a hotshot assassin. Even with competition from Unstoppable, Faster struggled to have any impact with the public. Wednesday saw a disastrous $1.5M, followed by $1.9M and just $3.5M for Friday. The only saving grace is that the film cost $24M to produce - meaning it shouldn't have much trouble turning a profit for CBS Films (who saw recent failure with Extraordinary Measures). But one assumes they were looking for something closer to $20M for the five day tally. Do the public now favour a family-friendly Rock?

Due Date may have lost a little business to Love & Other Drugs but the Robert Downey Jnr comedy is pretty much done and dusted at this stage anyway. Expect around a $95M finish domestically, with a similar figure from the foreign market, where it has currently amassed $62M.

With an opening take of just $6.5M, The Next Three Days was a flop by its first Friday night on release. A week later and it's lucky to have retained a top ten position, having managed just $4.8M over the last three days. Lionsgate sold off the foreign distribution rights to a third party but this is still a disappointment for all concerned. Morning Glory just about hangs in there. The $40M budgeted Harrison Ford/Amy Adams comedy has so far made $26.4M. Hopefully Harrison Ford will see success with Cowboys & Aliens in July.

In limited release, the acclaimed Colin Firth film, The King's Speech, made $350k from just four locations while Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, out to just 185 locations made $1.7M ($4.4M running total). Further expansion (not to mention award nominations) is sure to be forthcoming for both films.

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