Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 27th - 29th May 2011

1. The Hangover Part II - $85.6M - $118.1M
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 - $48M - $53.8M
3. Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides - $39.3M - $152.9M
4. Bridesmaids - $16.3M - $85M
5. Thor - $9.3M - $159.7M
6. Fast Five - $6.6M - $196M
7. Midnight in Paris - $1.9M - 2.8M
8. Jumping The Broom - $1.9M - $34.1M
9. Something Borrowed - $1.8M - $34.7M
10. Rio -  $1.7M - $134.8M

It's Memorial Day weekend in the US, meaning potentially stronger Sunday and Monday hauls. It's also double sequel weekend, with both new releases aimed squarely at opposite ends of the market.

The Hangover, along with The Blind Side, was one of the sleeper hits of 2009. It followed the tale of three guys who wake up after a bachelor party with no knowledge of the previous night. All they know is the groom is missing, there's a tiger and a baby in their hotel room, and one of them is missing a tooth. And that's before they begin to retrace their steps. Early buzz built up around the film after a footage was screened during the Showest Festival to some acclaim. Warner Bros. then moved the film up to early June, against the expected to be huge Land of the Lost. After a stunning $44.9M opening frame, the $35M budgeted comedy went on to make nearly half a billion dollars worldwide, $277M of which was earned domestically. Prior to the release of the first film, it was rumoured that a sequel was being fast tracked but writer/director Todd Phillips began work on Due Date instead.

With Due Date out of the way, production began quickly on The Hangover Part 2, with all the principle cast returning. Ken Jeong's Mr Chow was upgraded from a cameo to a supporting character and Heather Graham was jettisoned, allowing Stu to be the benefactor of the bachelor party (Or bachelor brunch) this time around. The action was also transplanted from Vegas to Thailand. Apart from that, the sequel followed a similar path to the first film, a person goes missing (this time Stu's brother-in-law) and the gang awake having no idea what's happened to him or themselves. That similarity may have cost the film some points in reviewer's eyes - the first Hangover film managed a 79% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes while the sequel could only muster 35%.

Reviews aside, the public were more than ready for the return of the wolfpack. The Hangover Part 2 opened on Thursday, with some 'midnight' screenings taking place late on Wednesday, and scored an amazing $31.6M. That opening day gave the film the second highest opening for an R-rated film (after The Matrix Reloaded) and set it up for a big weekend. Friday saw the film drop just 5% on the previous day, managing a $30M haul. Things dipped slightly over the rest of the frame, inevitable given that start, but still left the film with a stunning four day total of $118M. Given that the sequel cost $80M to produce, Warner Bros. must be rubbing their hands with glee. Next frame it'll face off against X-Men: First Class, which will offer some competition, but perhaps not impact the film as much as say, a conventional comedy would. A big drop is to be expected too, but with a fair wind, The Hangover Part 2 will likely have surpassed $170M by this time next week.

Our second new release couldn't be more removed from the Hangover sequel. Kung Fu Panda 2 (The Kaboom of Boom subtitle having been removed sometime during production) is the sequel to the 2008 hit film and once again reunites the voice talent of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and Jackie Chan, amongst others. The plot sees Po and the furious five's peaceful life threatened by a new villain who plans to use a secret weapon to conquer China and destroy Kung Fu. Po ends up looking into his past to find the courage and the key to facing this awesome new enemy. The first film reviewed very well (88% fresh) and the sequel performed almost as strongly, with a current rating of 79%.

Opening up against Don't Mess With The Zohan, the original film managed a very strong $60.2M. It would stay in the top ten for seven weeks and end its theatrical run with over $215M (a further $415M coming from overseas). Like the original, Kung Fu Panda 2 had no direct competition, save for the long-in-the-tooth Rio, which is now in its seventh frame. Similar to The Hangover Part 2, the film opened Thursday to a slightly subdued $5.8M (obviously a lower take due to the fan base being at school) but got a little more into gear on Friday, taking $13.8M. Saturday was better, and come Sunday night Kung Fu Panda 2 was sitting on $54M. It is still early days for the film, and generally CGI family films have good legs, but Dreamworks can't not be somewhat disappointed with that figure given the three day take of the first film, especially when backed up by a $150M budget. Fortunately the film will have a little breathing room as Cars 2 isn't due until the end of June.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had one of those odd starts. On paper it did $90M over its opening frame, the biggest opening frame of the year, not to mention the biggest Friday of 2011. But, because this was well down on what the 'weak' At World's End opened to, On Stranger Tides $90M was deemed a disappointment by some. Given the increase in ticket prices (especially 3D ones) and the growing apathy to the series, many saw the opening frame as a success. Thankfully, a lot of this discussion was eclipsed by the film's international performance - over $260M in three or so days. A week later and On Stranger Tides dropped a harsh 68% on a Friday to Friday basis (56% overall). It finished the frame with $39M and might actually find $200M to be something of a challenge. The film hit $100M on Tuesday and $150M Sunday. In comparison - after one week the previous two entries had made $258M and $217M - so there is evidence to support the series' faltering appeal. Once again the international figures offer the film some better news with On Stranger Tides adding over $200M to bring its total to $471M. Going forward, with competition next frame from X-Men, the waters for Depp and his crew are still choppy, at least domestically.

Bridesmaids dropped just 21% in its third frame. The $32M comedy hit $70M on Friday and with its $16M take this weekend, $100M is now all but a certainty. What's interesting is that film fell only 1% on last week even with the near-direct competition of The Hangover Part 2. The word of mouth continues to bring strong and offers further proof that the film is breaking out of its demographic. Bridesmaids has barely opened internationally and with that good word of mouth coming out of the US, there's a strong chance it'll see another $100M.

Thor hit $150M this weekend domestically, and $250M internationally. The Kenneth Branagh comic book flick has recouped its production budget but it's look increasingly likely to see little more than a $170M finish domestically. That's still a great figure, especially given that it was quite an unknown quantity, but makes a sequel that little bit harder to greenlight, more so if Paramount only retain a small portion of that international figure.

Hitting its fifth weekend on general release, Fast Five edges ever closer to that elusive $200M mark. A few more days and it should have it covered. With its huge $350M+ international figure, Fast Five has now taken over half a billion dollars.

A surprise entry into the top ten is the Woody Allen flick, Midnight in Paris. The film stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams as a couple travelling to France on business, discovering that a life different from the one they lead would ultimately be better for them. Midnight in Paris expanded from its four location release last weekend (narrowly missing out on a top ten placing), on to a still very limited fifty eight in this frame, adding a further $1.9M to its tally. With this kind of success expansion is almost guaranteed

With the big films out of the way, the rest of the top ten looks something of a ghost town.

Losing a number of locations this weekend, Jumping the Broom sees another $1.9M. The $7M production has become a decent little money maker for Sony and should see at least one more weekend in the top ten. Something Borrowed, the latest Kate Hudson romantic comedy, is half a million dollars from recouping its production budget and might manage a $40M finish if it stays in theatres for a few more weeks after leaving the top ten. For Hudson, this is more in line with Raising Helen ($37M finish) than Fools Gold ($70M finish) or even Bride Wars ($58M).

Rio was obviously decimated by Kung Fu Panda 2, but to be fair to the Universal/Blue Sky release, it has had its day. While its domestic figure is fine, it really soared internationally, thanks in part to no major competition.

Opening at just four locations was the Terence Malick flick, Tree of Life. The Brad Pitt/Sean Penn starrer racked up a solid $352k. Expect expansion to follow in the coming weeks.

When totalled up, the top ten films made $213M, setting a Memorial Day weekend record. Amazingly, that figure is up 49% on the 2010 Memorial Day haul.

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