Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 29th - 31st January 2010

1. Avatar - $30M - $594.5M
2. Edge of Darkness -  $17.1 - $17.1M
3. When in Rome - $12.1 - $12.1M
4. Tooth Fairy - $10M - $26.1M
5. The Book of Eli - $8.8M - $74.4M
6. Legion - $6.8M - $17.5M
7. The Lovely Bones - $4.7M - 38M
8. Sherlock Holmes - $5M - $197.5M
9. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - $3.9M - $209.2M
10. It's Complicated - $3.7M - $104M

Another weekend, another Avatar win. Earlier in the week the film sailed past Titanic to become the biggest international film ever and has just one major achievable record left to smash, that of the biggest domestic hit. That record still stands with Titanic and $600M but by Tuesday, and with a good wind, Avatar should even have that one under its belt. It's smashed the seven weekend record as well (though may struggle with the eighth as Titanic saw a marked increase in its eighth weekend due to Valentine's Day) and even this weekend, up against another major release, it finds itself down just 14% on its last frame. The only question remaining is where the film will end up. Some predict $700M/$2.4B while other analysts put the film well over $750M domestically. And Avatar still has another month before Alice in Wonderland hits its 3D-enabled screen count. Next weekend's releases may still not be enough to usurp Avatar, but fifteen straight weekends at number one (like Titanic) may be one record too many.

Edge of Darkness marks the return of Mel Gibson to major motion pictures, this being his first since Signs back in 2002. Since then he's busied himself directing the global smash Passion of the Christ and the violent action thriller Apocalypto. Martin Campbell takes the reigns (interesting enough he directed the original BBC TV Series) and Gibson finds support in the guise of Ray Winstone who replaced Robert De Niro shortly after filming commenced. Marketing for the film has been widespread and reviews just above average. Going into the weekend no one was quite sure if Gibson had recovered from the backlash that followed his arrest and subsequent fallout a few years ago. The recent separation from his long-term wife probably hasn't helped public opinion either. Friday, Edge of Darkness struggled against Avatar and lost the day by just under a million dollars. That's generally not a good sign as Friday can be a film's strongest day of the weekend thanks to front loading. The rest of the weekend didn't pan out as well as hoped for the film and its total must surely see-saw between disappointing and 'best we could have hoped for'. Next weekend may be more telling for the film as that gives any word of mouth chance to spread. Either way, Gibson is back into acting with at least one film in the can already and another two in various states of pre-production.

When in Rome marks Kristen Bell's first chance at being the headlining star of a major release. Her recent hits have seen her either surrounded by major comedic players (Couples Retreat) or as a supporting character (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). This time around Bell plays a New York journalist who, unlucky in love, steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love and finds herself pursued by a whole string of potential suitors. Reviewing only slightly better than Leap Year a few weeks ago, When in Rome manages a stronger take, perhaps playing better to the female or date night demographic than Avatar, Edge of Darkness or Legion will have done. There's a good chance it cost less than $20M to produce and given its start, should have little trouble recouping it. That said, with Valentine's Day around the corner it'll face competition next weekend from Dear John and Valentine's Day starring Jessica Alba a weekend later.

The Rock's Tooth Fairy manages to rope in some family business and has a decent second weekend hold (down 28%) thanks mainly to being one of only two family films in the top ten (one of which is looking a bit long in the tooth now). This one cost $48M to produce and is going to end its domestic run a few million short. At the moment its international take is on par with its domestic one so this one will turn a profit but the Rock's ability to carry a film is starting to look a little questionable (though it could be argued that it is more about his film choices than his appeal). Edging closer to its $80M production budget, The Book of Eli has just begun to see a return from its international roll-out too. The jury is still out as to whether the film will top $100M but even if that isn't the case, it'll still be a sizeable hit for Denzel Washington and a better performer than The Taking of Pelham 123's $65M return from a $100M production budget. Next up for Washington is a re-teaming with Tony Scott on action thriller Unstoppable.

Last weekend's new release Legion drops a nasty 61% in its second frame, which isn't much better than the demographically similar Daybreakers, though at least Legion managed a second weekend in the top ten. The Paul Bettany film was almost certainly affected by Edge of Darkness but probably more so by the still dangerously hot Avatar. Even with the competition, Legion should recoup its $26M production budget at some point and has its international and lucrative DVD sales yet to come. Expect the film to top out at around $30-35M.

Things are still worrying for Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones. The adaptation has begun to slow right down, only a couple of weekends after its expansion, and it's still some way from recouping its production budget (which is still open to speculation). Budget talk aside, this has not become the award winner than Dreamworks had hoped it would be before its release, something that could have offered the film longevity. Sherlock Holmes steps closer to $200M this weekend while crossing the $400M mark in total global box office takings. Following up from last weekend's news that Downey Jnr exited Cowboys & Aliens to work on a Sherlock sequel comes word that director Guy Ritchie has abandoned his adaptation of Lobo in order to fast track the follow up.

With the kids firmly back in school and The Tooth Fairy covering the family market, Alvin sees what is probably its last weekend in the top ten. It will have to wait just a while longer before passing the total amassed by its sequel and should end up with around $235-240M domestically, and close to another $200M from the international market. It's Complicated saw $100M sometime on Thursday and is pretty much just treading water now. After a better than expected start, the film dug in and offered some strong alternate programming to Avatar and Sherlock Holmes.

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