Thursday 16 June 2011

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

1. Saw 3D - $24.2M - $24.2M
2. Paranormal Activity 2 - $16.5M - $65.7M
3. Red - $10.8M - $58.9M
4. Jackass 3D - $8.4M - $101.6M
5. Hereafter - $6.3M - $22.2M
6. Secretariat - $5M - $44.7M
7. The Social Network - $4.7M - $79.7M
8. Life As We Know It - $4M - $43.4M
9. The Town - $1.9M - $87.6M
10. Conviction - $1.8M - $2.3M

Hard as it is to believe, the Saw franchise is seven years old this year. The first Saw film hit like a whirlwind thanks to some smart viral marketing, scenes of genuine graphic horror and a couple of bigger than expected stars in the guise of Danny Glover and Cary Elwes. That first film launched a hell of a franchise which spawned another six film, at least two video games and even a theme park ride. Thanks to its ultra low budgets, the series has always made money even as its appeal has waned. The best performing of the series was part two, which amassed $88M domestically from a budget of just $4M. While the takings have diminished since, it took Saw VI's $27M finish to highlight just how far the series had fallen (All that said, it still made a global total of $67M from a budget of $11M so....), not to mention the new kid on the block, Paranormal Activity, offering some serious competition.

If rumour was to be believed, part seven was always going to be the last in the series but one could argue that the series was becoming a bit too long in the tooth. The main villain and even his prodigy had long since died and the fad for so called 'torture porn' was all but over. With this in mind Lionsgate decided to call it a day and shoot the final film in 3D - hoping to go out with a bang and a decent box office haul. The new film is based around the idea of a group of Jigsaw's survivors getting together for therapy sessions. The only problem is someone seems intent on keeping the killer's legacy alive.

Saw 3D opened one week after the strong showing from Paranormal Activity 2. With Halloween falling on a Sunday, the studio were hoping for a good Friday, knowing that Saturday evening's taking would suffer due to people favouring that day for their Halloween parties. Friday saw the film open to $10.7M, a stronger figure than Saw VI's $6.9M haul but not all that great when you consider the higher price of 3D tickets. As the weekend wore on, Friday proved to be the film's strongest day, with the film just about making another $14M over the two remaining days (Sunday's total is estimated at just $5.6M). Saw VII is the most expensive film of the series but still only weighed in at $17M, a figure the film has already recouped. Next weekend will decide better how far the film is set to go. A huge drop off will signal a sub-$40M finish but as with all entries into the series, this one should turn Lionsgate a tidy profit. While the series ended this weekend, no one has ruled out a Saw reboot next year...

Proof (if it were needed) that Paranormal Activity 2 was heavily front-loaded last weekend, arrived on Friday when the film's takings dropped by 69% when compared to its opening day. With competition from Saw VII and the weekend festivities, PA2 probably fell a little harder than it would have on a normal follow up frame. Given that its second Friday was still more than double its $3M production costs, Paramount are unlikely to be worried. In fact, the only surprise of the last week has been the lack of an announcement for a third film in the series. After just ten days the film has a running global total of over $80M.

After losing to Jackass 3D in the two previous frames, Red managed to stay ahead of the MTV comedy this week, dropping another respectable 28% from its last frame. It's looking likely that the film will top out at around $75M, comfortably covering its production budget in the process. While its out to just a few global locations so far, Red should have just as strong a showing when it ramps up its expansion.

Jackass 3D becomes the first film of the series to see $100M in total ticket sales. While a chunk of that business came from 3D showings, $100M in three weekends can't be sniffed at - especially for a front-loaded R-rated film. Chances are the film will finish up with around $125M in takings. Internationally the series has never really performed, with Jackass and Jackass II ending up with $15M and $11M respectively. At this point it's hard to say whether the inclusion of 3D will help change the third film's international prospects.

Come Saturday evening of last weekend, the writing was already on the wall for Clint Eastwood's Hereafter. By Thursday night the film had taken just $15M, a figure the film was expected to surpass during its opening three days. A $6.3M finish for its second weekend has all but ensured a sub-$35M finish. Domestically this is Matt Damon's third disappointment in a row, after Invitus and Green Zone. Next up for Eastwood is his J.Edgar Hoover biopic while Damon stars opposite Jeff Bridges in the Cohen Brother's adaptation of True Grit.

Still seeing remarkable weekend drops, The Social Network heads towards $80M. Foreign grosses are just starting to trickle in now too, with the film currently sitting on $32M. More than half of the world are still awaiting the film's release so expect that figure to rise rapidly.

Secretariat sees another decent hold and has now recouped its production budget. The film is playing well to the older demographic who are rarely catered for. Word of mouth also appears to be much stronger than reviews would have led one to believe. With its best weeks behind it, Life as We Know It looks towards the international market, where its take is already above $20M. An equal or stronger take than its domestic tally is almost assured and an $80M total global finish should be on the cards. After six weeks in the top ten, The Town is looking upon it's final hurrah. The Ben Affleck/Jon Hamm thriller has so far earned $120M from a production budget of $37M.

Rounding us out is a film that's been in limited release for a few weeks. Conviction stars Hilary Swank as a young mother who puts herself through law school in order to defend her brother, who has been convicted of murder. Only its expansion to 565 locations enabled the film to crack the top ten. Further expansion doesn't seem likely at this stage.

Next weekend should be an interesting one. We've got the sure-to-be huge Due Date, a comedy featuring Robert Downey Jnr and Zach Galifianakis, directed by The Hangover's Todd Philips. On the other end of the spectrum is the CGI family comedy Megamind, featuring the voices of Will Ferrel, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey. Finally we've got the latest from Tyler Perry, whose film For Coloured Girls, will not feature his hit creation Madea and will, for the first time in his career, carry an R-rating.

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