Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 3rd - 5th October 2010

1. The Social Network - $23M - $23M
2. Legend of the Guardians - $10.9M - $30M
3. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - $10.1M - $35.9M
4. The Town - $10M - $64.3M
5. Easy A - $7M - $42.2M
6. You Again -$5.5M - $16.4M
7. Let Me In - $5.3M - $5.3M
8. Case 39 - $5.3M - $5.3M
9. Devil - $3.6M - $27.3M
10. Alpha & Omega - $3M - $19M

With over 500 million registered users, Facebook is a true global phenomenon. How a website could translate to a movie is a tough call, even for Hollywood. Luckily for all concerned, the story of how Facebook came to exist is full of intrigue and backstabbing, the likes of which studios have been turning out since celluloid was invented. Based on the best selling book "The Accidental Billionaires ", the Aaron Sorkin-scripted 'The Social Network' was directed by David Fincher and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook creator Marc Zuckerberg. The only other big name in the cast is Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, Napster creator and a guy who played a major role in getting Facebook out there. (Rooney Mara also co-stars, but it's arguable that her next role, as Lisbeth Salander in the English language remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is the one that'll put her on the map).

Early word from advance screenings was very good and the mainstream press reviews surpassed them. The only blip came from studio Sony, who lowered their weekend estimates during the earlier part of the week. Easily the strongest release of the week (even without the help of Facebook), The Social Network opened to a good $8M on Friday, and grew stronger over Saturday and in to Sunday. That's a solid opening figure given the competition from Wall St 2 and The Town (Let Me In poses little threat). Looking to next weekend, it'll face off against three new releases, by which time it should have cleared its sub-$40M budget.

Being the only other family friendly film in the top ten isn't quite giving Legend of the Guardian the same break it gave to Despicable Me, but it has allowed it to move up the chart rather than down in its second frame. Unfortunately, that still might not be enough to save it from financial disappointment - while it's down 32% on that first weekend, it's also still $50M+ short of its production budget. Unless something major happens, next weekend it'll already be in single figure takings. At this point Guardians will end its theatrical run with less than $45M. Could salvation come from overseas?

Having opened at the top spot last weekend, Gordon Gecko and Wall Street 2 should still be happy with a third place finish a week later. The sequel that nobody was sure they wanted dropped 53% on a Friday to Friday basis (46% overall) as it pushes towards its $70M production budget. The film has just begun to expand overseas and has a current running total of just over $10M, which will no doubt rise.

With competition from the two dramas, The Town still manages a decent hold. Last Monday saw the film cross the $50M threshold and has now begun to expand overseas, where a similar figure is not out of the question. Made for just $37M, this will become a nice little earner for Warner Bros. and gives Affleck's reputation a much needed boost. There's every chance The Town and Wall Street 2 will swop places once actual weekend figures are issued on Monday.

Even with all the new (and old) competition, Easy A managed a $7M weekend (down just 33% on last weekend's strong hold). The Scarlet Letter re-imagining has now quadrupled its production budget. A $55M+ finish isn't out of the question. Comedy You Again didn't really make much of a splash last weekend but has a decent second frame hold of 34%. With the help of that lower than expected fall the film is now a shoe-in for covering its $20M production costs. It should see at least one more weekend in the top ten.

Our second release of the week is the controversial remake of the Swedish film 'Let The Right One In'. Seen by many as a modern masterpiece, the film was a critical success throughout the world. With the US studios still seemingly terrified of subtitled films when mixed with the general public, an English language remake was quickly put into production, with Cloverfield's Matt Reeves taking the helm. He snagged a pre-Kick Ass Chloe Moretz as the female lead and set about shooting what appeared to be a near shot for shot remake.

Removing a film's subtitles can't take it from the art house and in to the mainstream. While reviews for Let Me In were almost as strong as The Social Network, the general public appears to have had its fill of vampires - at least those that don't feature Edward & Bella. The trailers may have confused those not familiar with the source material, leaving those that did know the original to wonder why Reeves bothered in the first place. Opening at just $2M on Friday, it faced some competition from Case 39 (which was actually set to finish ahead at one point, and may still do so once actuals are issued), and limped to a weekend total of just $5.3M. Word of mouth may give it a stronger hold than 39, but that won't be enough.

Renee Zellweger plays Emily Jenkins in Case 39, a film about a social worker who takes in a disturbed child when her parents attempt to kill her. After a short time under her care, strange things begin to occur and it's soon revealed that the child is not all she seems. If Case 39 seems a little familiar, it may be because Europe saw the film's release in August of 2009. What's more of a concern is that the film was finished and ready for release a full year earlier than that, in August 2008.

Having sat on the shelf for this long, it appears that Paramount may be releasing it now to comply with a theatrical release clause in the filmaker's contract (not to mention that the relatively unknown-at-the-time Bradley Cooper co-stars). Given the opening weekend take the studio may be thinking it would have been cheaper to pay out on the contracts than market and release the film. Only an influx of new releases will keep this within the top ten for any length of time and like the general public one assumes, everyone involved has already forgotten about it.

Competition from Case 39 probably did little damage to Devil this weekend. The M. Night Shyamalan production is looking upon its last weekend in the charts and has a global total of over $33M. Rounding us out is the cheaply produced CGI film Alpha & Omega. The story of fighting wolves who must team up in order to get back home to their homes has just about recouped it production budget.

Outside the top ten is the horror curio Hatchet 2, which managed to get a release into 63 locations (thanks to theatre chain AMC) despite being unrated by the MPAA. Box office figures for the film have yet to be issued.

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