Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 4th - 6th March 2011

1. Rango - $38.M - $38.M
2. The Adjustment Bureau - $20.9M - $20.9M
3. Beastly - $10.1M - $10.1M
4. Hall Pass - $9M - $27M
5. Gnomeo and Juliet $6.9M - $83.7M
6. Unknown - $6.6M - $53.1M
7. The King's Speech - $6.5M - $123.8M
8. Just Go With It - $6.5M - $88.2M
9. I Am Number Four - $5.7M - $46.4M
10. Never Say Never - $4.3M - $68.8M

Many thanks again to Lord Cookie for taking over the box office report last week. It was much appreciated and made for a very interesting read.

This week we've got four major releases hitting screens - a bit of something for everyone. As usual, we've got our winners and our losers, along with the second frames for Hall Pass and Drive Angry 3D.

Our winner this weekend is a new animated flick from Paramount. Rango stars the voice talent of Johnny Depp and Isla Fisher, playing a Chameleon and an iguana respectively. Displaced from his terrarium, Rango finds himself in the wild west town of Dirt, populated by all manner of critters, and gets himself deputised as sheriff. Directed by Gore Verbinksi, Rango marks the feature length film debut for special effects house Industrial Light & Magic. Reviews have been strong, with the film sitting on an 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and Paramount have been hyping this hard in recent weeks. Rango's only competition was the four week old Gnomeo & Juliet which had managed to move up into the top spot over last weekend (but would lose it to Hall Pass once actuals were released on Monday).

Friday saw a solid take of $9.5M for Rango, guaranteeing the film the top spot for the weekend (a slightly lower opening day than Paramount had hoped for one assumes). However things improved Saturday and Sunday giving the film a much needed push. This wasn't a cheap film to produce with the budget rumoured to be around $135M. The $38M opening frame is a good start (in line with How To Train Your Dragon) for a non-franchised PG rated movie. While advertising has been everywhere, the film lacks the cute look/easy sell of a Pixar/Dreamworks flick and that might have stopped it breaking out further. It's also worth noting the film wasn't in 3D, which probably cost it a $45M+ finish. Next weekend it'll face competition from Mars Needs Moms and with the aforementioned budget, Rango needs to dig in deep for the long haul.

Matt Damon has had a few missteps of late. While he won some good notices with True Grit, that was really Jeff Bridges' film. Hereafter, Green Zone and Invictus failed to produce any box office gold (Green Zone especially, was a costly flop) but this weekend he returns with The Adjustment Bureau, a romantic thriller. The film, based on a Philip K Dick story, follows a man and a women (Damon and Emily Blunt) who find themselves attracted to one another but end up separated by the mysterious Adjustment Bureau, who are there to ensure everyone's life follows the path they have set out for them....Delayed from last summer the film found itself pushed to a somewhat crowded March.

Reviews for the film were strong (70% at Rotten Tomatoes) but it wasn't the easiest to market, especially with some Inception-like ideas and visuals and the tricky romantic thriller genre. The public were keen though and helped the film score a good $6.7M on Friday, on its way to a $20.9M three day total. The Adjustment Bureau will face indirect competition next weekend from Battle: Los Angeles but if the romantic angle flies, the film could see a decent second frame hold.

Beastly is a modern day retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. Based on the 2007 book of the same name, it follows the same basic plot but moves the story to New York City. Alex Pettyfer stars as Kyle, rich, handsome and popular, who finds himself transformed into the beast (a.k.a Hunter) after spurning a classmate, who just happens to be a witch. Trailers revealed that the studio were hoping to rope in some of the lucrative Twilight market. Friday's tally was good enough for a third place and the film just about managed to maintain that hold throughout the remainder of the weekend. With an opening take of $10.1M, Beastly hasn't done too badly but will almost certainly go the way of other Twilight-wannabes and be a distant memory in a few short weeks. Fortunately for CBS Films (whose releases have nearly all under performed), this one only cost $17M to produce, a figure the film will recoup domestically.

Having won last weekend once 'actuals' were issued, Hall Pass drops a not-bad 33% in the face of the competition. The Owen Wilson comedy cost $35M to produce, a figure the film should surpass within the next week or so. All that said, while this won't go down as the lowest grossing Farrelly Brothers movie (That's Osmosis Jones' $13.5M finish), it'll end up a long way from the dizzy heights of Dumb & Dumber ($127M) and There's Something About Mary ($176M).

With Rango now front and centre, Gnomeo & Juliet faced some serious big budget/big name competition. Fortunately the film had been going great guns (especially given its lack of pre-release hype) and has now crossed the $80M mark. At this point $100M is still a possibility and while budget details aren't available at the time of writing, there's every chance that Gnomeo and Juliet has covered its production costs. While Unknown isn't looking likely to repeat Taken's amazing performance, the $30M film will still provide a decent return for studio Warner Bros. In fact, Unknown had moved back up to second place on Thursday, before the new releases hit. Expect around a $70M finish and an equally solid performance overseas.

With great success at the Oscars last weekend, The King's Speech finds itself down just 11% on its last frame. Having now cleared its production budget by over $100M and won those Oscars (along with a slew of other awards) it must feel like the good old days to Harvey Weinstein & Co. The King's Speech marks the most successful release for the company thus far, overtaking Inglourious Basterds $120M finish.

Just Go With It probably saw competition again from Hall Pass in this frame and perhaps a little from The Adjustment Bureau. The Adam Sandler comedy has now recouped its production budget and looks likely to be the twelfth film of his career to gross more than $100M at the domestic box office. Alex Pettyfer's other top ten film, I Am Number Four continues to disappoint. With competition for a similar demographic coming from Beastly, the film had to settle for a $5.7M finish this weekend. A franchise launch is looking increasingly unlikely. The Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never, drops another 54% in its fourth weekend on release. The director's cut generated some interest but didn't affect the box office too much and the film is looking upon its final weekend in the top ten. It's unlikely Paramount will be too annoyed by its inevitable departure - they paid just $13M to produce the film, which has a running total of over $68M.

Which brings us to our final new release of the week - and it's a bit of an oddity - not in terms of the film itself, a fairly standard rom-com, but in the timing of the film's release. Take Me Home Tonight is an R-rated John Hughes clone set in 1988 and starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris and Dan Fogler who are all trying to figure out what to do with their lives, with a Labour day party providing some of the backdrop to their actions.

The film was actually shot way back in 2007 but languished on the shelves until Relativity Media's Rogue subsidiary picked it up for release this month. There's no official line on the delay, save for the idea that it was difficult to advertise the R-rated flick to a teenage market (especially the use of cocaine in the film). It's arguable that the three stars would have been much bigger draws in 2008 too. Out at 2,000 locations, the film struggled straight out the gate (a tenth place finish on Friday) and ended up in eleventh place with a tally of just $3.5M. While its budget was quite low ($19M), Take Me Home Tonight might have to wait until its home release to turn a profit.

Elsewhere, Drive Angry 3D made just $2.1M this weekend, for a running total of $9M.

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