Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 7th - 9th January 2011

1. True Grit - $15M - $110.4M
2. Little Fockers - $13.7M - $124M
3. Season of the Witch - $10.7M - $10.7M
4. Tron: Legacy -  $9.8M - 147.9M
5. Black Swan - $8.3M - $61.5M
6. Country Strong -  $7.3M - $7.4M
7. The Fighter -  $7M - $57.8M
8. The King's Speech - $6.8M - $33.2M
9. Yogi Bear -  $6.8M - $75.6M
10. Tangled - $5.2M - $175.8M

Happy New Year! The holiday season is well out the way so the weekend figures should start to settle down. Each film received a decent boost over the last two frames, facing no new releases until this weekend. True Grit and Little Fockers performed best, but Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear both saw decent returns too. The second weekend of 2011 brings two releases, one a high profile (but long delayed) Nic Cage flick and the other a country and western themed drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

True Grit became the Coen Brothers most successful release last weekend, out-grossing their previous best, No Country for Old Men ($74M finish). It was a close run over Christmas and the new year, with the remake looking likely to win both weekends, only for Little Fockers to receive a Saturday night boost and take the frames. The third weekend on general release and the superb word of mouth has finally pushed True Grit into the no.1 position, crossing the $100M barrier in the process. The sky is the limit on the movie as awards talk and that aforementioned word of mouth will continue to work its magic. Limited competition in the coming weeks should also keep the film in the top five.

Crossing the $100M barrier last weekend, Little Fockers has begun to slow down a more quickly than True Grit and finds itself down 46% on its last frame. This wasn't a cheap film for Universal to put together (the official budget is $100M but re-shoots could have pushed the film's costs much higher) but the risks have paid off, not just domestically but also on the international market, where the film has made almost as much money as it has in North America. Word of mouth on this one is quite poor in comparison to True Grit but along with Yogi Bear, it's doing good family business.

Our first new release this weekend is Season of the Witch, a medieval thriller starring Nicholas Cage and directed by Dominic Sena (Swordfish, Gone in 60 Seconds). The plot concerns a group of knights who are tasked with transporting an apparent witch across a plague ravaged land to a monastery, where her fate will be decided. The film was actually scheduled for release in March 2010 by Lionsgate, who were handling distribution at the time. However, during 2010, Relativity Media (who funded the production) set up their own marketing and distribution arm and pushed the film back to January 7th 2011.

Reviews were amongst some of the most scathing ever to grace a film and it currently sits on a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 1%. Box office wise the film managed a Friday haul of $3.7M on its way to $10.7M weekend - which is actually higher than a number of places had it pegged at! Fortunately the film only cost $40M to produce and Cage does have something of a following around the rest of the world so it's unlikely to lose money. This is the latest film that has underperformed for Nicholas Cage, with last year's Sorcerer's Apprentice being a costly flop in North America. His last major hit was the 2007 National Treasure sequel. He'll return in a few weeks with Drive Angry 3D.

With no new films to rob Tron: Legacy of its 3D locations, the film has been able to build on its decent, if unimpressive opening frames. The holiday boost helped make the film a bona fide hit and with this weekend's total added in, Tron: Legacy crossed the quarter of a million dollar global milestone. The Green Hornet (in 3D) will offer some direct competition in the next frame so it'll be interesting to see if the film has a steady decline or quick collapse. One thing is for certain, it's broken out of the fan boy arena.

The Fighter and Black Swan both continue to build on their great word of mouth and like True Grit, are hoping for a boost over the next weeks as the major award ceremonies take place or issue their nominations. Both films have comfortably recouped their production budgets and are awaiting release in all major overseas territories.

Another potential award winner, The King's Speech broke into the top ten last weekend thanks to expansion bringing it out of its very limited location count. This week saw the film expand further, bringing its location count to a still limited 758, and move further up the charts as more and more people discover the film. Considering its release pattern the film has done exceptionally well to reach $33M in seven weeks (four of those weeks saw the film at less than 45 locations). A higher chart position (with further expansion) can't be ruled out either.

Our second and final new release is Country Strong, starring Gwyneth Paltrow as a fallen Country singer who teams up with a rising music star in hopes of resurrecting her career. Out at less than 1600 locations with little fanfare, the film did well to see $7.3M, especially given the well below average reviews. It should see another frame in the top ten and it'll recoup its $15M production budget but will have been forgotten before January is out.

Yogi Bear managed to turn things around over the Christmas period after its lacklustre start. A big part of this was it being the only 'young' family friendly film in the top ten. After a $16M start the film dropped to $7M over the Christmas weekend but bumped back up to $12M over the new year period. The $80M production has a running total of $75M. Tangled is witnessing its last weekend in the top ten. It has now become the most successful Disney animated film since The Lion King in 1994, according to some sources.

Sitting just outside the top ten, Voyage of the Dawn Treader didn't see quite the same boost as Yogi managed but it at least passed The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe's opening frame take (something that was haunting the film, according to some box office report writers). It's still a long way short of its $155M production budget domestically. Fox are distributing the film in a number of overseas locations so the lions share of the $213M the film has made there should channel back to the studio to help ease the disappointment somewhat.

Further outside the top ten, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows sits on $287M, a stone's throw from The Goblet of Fire's $292M finish. Holiday flop Gulliver's Travels has so far made $34M but is doing decent business abroad. The Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp thriller The Tourist manages to recoup just over half its $100M production budget, sitting on a $61M total. The star-studded How Do You Know has made just $28M while the MPAA NC-17 challenger, Blue Valentine, has made $1.1M from just 40 locations.

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