Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 28th - 30th January 2011

1. The Rite - $15M - $15M
2. No Strings Attached - $13.7M - $39.7M
3. The Green Hornet -  $11.5M - $78.8M
4. The Mechanic -  $11.5M - $11.1M
5. The King's Speech - $11.1M - $72.2M
6. True Grit - $7.6M - $148.3M
7. The Dilemma - $5.4M - $40.6M
8. Black Swan - $5.1M - $90.7M
9. The Fighter - $4M - $78.3M
10. Yogi Bear - $3.1M - $92.5M

A film with little pre-release hype manages to take the top spot this weekend, seeing off competition in the guise of The Mechanic and last weekend's chart topper, No Strings Attached.

The Rite stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as a priest who is well versed in performing exorcisms. Into his world comes Michael, a newly ordained priest who has decided to leave the clergy citing a lack of faith. His superior suggests he visits Hopkin's Father Lucas and takes his class on exorcism - if after this class he still has a lack of faith, he is free to leave the clergy for good. After an exorcism on a pregnant woman, Father Lucas begins acting oddly... The story is based on the book 'The Making of a Modern Exorcist' and is directed by Mikael Håfström, who saw success with 1408 (along with directing the as yet unreleased Shanghai).

Reviews were generally poor, with the film scoring just 17% over at Rotten Tomatoes. Pre-release hype consisted of trailers attached to Paranormal Activity 2 and Hereafter, amongst others. Friday The Rite managed $5.3M, giving it the number one spot at that point. As the weekend wore on the film battled more with No Strings Attached than it did with The Mechanic. As numbers stand, The Rite won the weekend but that could change once actuals are issued on Monday.

After winning last weekend, thanks in no small part to the current public interest in Natalie Portman, No Strings Attached fell just 30% on its opening weekend total. Even better news for the film, which co-stars Ashton Kutcher, is that it has already recouped its relatively low production budget of $25M. With no direct competition in this frame the film played well as a date night movie, scoring well with the female demographic too, who have been ill-served of late. A $60M finish isn't out of the question.

Given the lacklustre performance of The Mechanic it's doubtful that that film impacted much on The Green Hornet's potential audience this weekend. While the film managed its third double figure weekend, the jury is still out on whether $100M domestically is still attainable.

Our second new entry this weekend is a remake of a Michael Winner film that starred Charles Bronson. The Mechanic sees Jason Statham take on the title role of a cold blooded & meticulous assassin who, after the murder of the man who supplies him work, finds himself mentoring the man's son in the 'mechanic's' line of work. Ben Foster plays the son while Donald Sutherland comfortably slides into the father role. Reviews for The Mechanic were strictly average, which for the action genre these days is pretty good, and it sits on a critic approval rating of 49%.

Unfortunately the general public preferred The Rite over Statham's assassin. Friday saw the film barely register with just $3.6M (though it has to be said this is a very low grossing weekend) on its way to a slightly recovered $11.1M three day total. Budget details have the film costing around $40M, a figure The Mechanic is unlikely to see much more than half of from the domestic market. Luckily Jason Statham is gaining a sizeable following worldwide so the film will ultimately end up turning a decent profit.

Thanks to its twelve Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, The King's Speech saw some strong weekday totals. This weekend found the film actually increase 42% on its last frame total. Riding on that wave and the potential wins ahead, The King's Speech stands a good chance of reaching $100M - not bad for a film that has yet to see a location count of more than 1,700 (Contrast that with the Green Hornet's 3,500 locations count).

The rest of the top ten is made up of further potential award winners, sharing room with a disappointing comedy and one of only two family friendly films on general release. True Grit made it past $140M on Thursday night and could still hit $165-170M when all is said and done. Similarly, Black Swan is a shoe-in for $100M at this point and a $110M+ finish isn't out of the question. The last of the Oscar potentials, The Fighter, tripled its production budget this weekend. Chances are this is the last weekend in the top ten for the Mark Wahlberg film.

The Dilemma is the disappointing comedy. Having been produced for $70M the film has only been able to muster just over half that figure. Another fortnight and the film will be long gone and looking towards the international market to make up that short fall.

Finally, Yogi Bear inexplicably (given its poor start) hits $90M in this, its seventh weekend on general release. (Interestingly, the only other major family release out there, Tangled, managed to re-enter the top ten on Thursday, pushing Yogi down to eleventh).

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