Thursday 16 June 2011

U.S Box Office Report - 8th - 10th January 2010

1. Avatar - $48.5M - $429M
2. Sherlock Holmes - $16.6M - $165.2M
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - $16.3M - $178.2M
4. Daybreakers - $15M - $15M
5. It's Complicated - $11M - $76.3M
6. Leap Year - $9.2M - $9.2M
7. The Blind Side - $7.7M - $219M
8. Up in the Air - $7.1M - $54.7M
9. Youth in Revolt - $7M - $7M
10. Princess and the Frog - $4.7M - $92.6M

This is the first non-holiday weekend Avatar has faced and while it's down higher than on previous weekends, its fourth weekend total is still the biggest ever fourth weekend haul. It took the record from Titanic which scored $36M on its fourth weekend on general release. Non-holiday weekend aside, the film dropped just 29% from the last frame, which is a stunning figure on any weekend, let alone a film's fourth. Avatar crossed the $400M mark on Saturday and became the biggest film released in 2009 in just over 21 days. Even the increased competition barely registered, word of mouth is still white hot and 3D screenings continue to be sold out. Furthermore the film has been smashing Imax records left, right and centre.

This week saw Avatar become the second highest grossing film ever produced, having amassed $1.1B dollars in less than twenty days on release. Domestically the film moved into seventh place, unseating Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Spiderman and the Transformers sequel. Where does the film go from here? To become the biggest film ever released in the U.S it'll need to amass more than $600M and overtake Titanic. At this stage that isn't impossible, but will become harder as the weeks wear on. Below Titanic sits The Dark Knight, with $533M, a figure that Avatar has a good chance of besting - it took The Dark Knight the same amount of time to reach $400M that Avatar has taken - four weekends - and The Dark Knight wasn't in cinemas for as long as Avatar is expected to be. Next weekend it'll face The Book of Eli, which will offer fresh (and big name) competition.

It's a bit of shame for Sherlock Holmes. The film has performed very well, crossed $150M and well on the way to another $100M internationally, but thanks to Avatar's performance, the Guy Ritchie movie has been largely overlooked. The film has almost doubled its production budget and with all parties keen to return, a sequel may well be Ritchie's next film (if only to save the world from a PG-13 Lobo movie). The film had an acceptable drop last weekend but with the increased competition from Daybreakers, saw a sharper drop, 53% in this frame. There's still a good chance that the film will see over $200M by the end of its theatrical run. Internationally the film isn't yet in many markets and has so far seen a return bordering on $100M.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 saw $150M last Saturday but has been hampered by the kids returning to school this past week, leaving it down a major 74% from last Friday. Compare that to last weekend when the film saw a 28% drop (from its opening frame). Even with the big drop this frame, Alvin, and not the Princess & The Frog has been the family film of choice these past weeks. It's possible that the Chipmunks sequel will see $200M, with similar figures from overseas, by next weekend. Alvin faces slight, though not direct competition from next weekend's The Spy Next Door and the weekend later in the guise of The Rock's Tooth Fairy. It goes without saying that a sequel must already been in the opening stages of development.

Our first new entry is the return of the Spierig Brothers, a German special effects duo (based in Australia) turned directors. Their first major film, Undead, was released in 2003, so like the Hughes Brothers and the forthcoming Book of Eli, the Spierig's have taken their time choosing a new project. That project is the vampire movie with a twist, Daybreakers. Set in a world in which vampires have already become the dominate species, the film features Ethan Hawke as a vampire-scientist attempting to find an alternative to human blood, supplies of which are dwindling. He's backed up by vampire hunter Willem Dafoe and shady multi-national CEO Sam Neill. Daybreakers faced competition from the still strong Avatar and Sherlock Holmes but still managed a decent opening frame considering its horror roots and the general apathy that's setting in for the vampire genre. The film got off to a strong start, finishing second on Friday. Through the rest of the weekend Daybreakers weakened while Sherlock and especially Alvin picked up business. Reviews for the film were surprisingly strong, scoring 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. The even better news for Daybreakers is that it cost just $21M to produce, a figure the film should comfortably see by next weekend and it'll need to as well as it will face direct competition from the aforementioned Book of Eli. Next up for the Spierig Brothers is an outer space set adaptation of Captain Blood.

Still pulling in the older market, It's Complicated continues its impressive box office run. Unfortunately the stumbling block for the film could be its very high budget of $85M. While the film contains three major stars, only Meryl Streep has had a major hit in the last few years (Truth be told she's on a hell of a streak, with The Devil's Wears Prada, Mamma Mia, Julie & Julia and Doubt all performing well financially, critically or both) but that high production figure means the film will have to use its domestic tally to cover costs, and hopefully its high international take for prints, advertising and profits.

As a bit of alternate programming to Avatar, Holmes and Daybreakers, while hoping to rope in some of the younger 'date' market, Leap Year hasn't been entirely successful. Amy Adams stars as a girl who, tired of waiting for her boyfriend to propose, decides to invoke the 29th February legend and ask him to marry her instead. Setting of for Dublin to find him, she ends up in Cardiff thanks to bad weather but once across the channel she ropes in a surly (but ruggedly handsome) innkeeper to get her to Dublin....With little hype and some truly terrible reviews Leap Year was lucky to perform as well as it has but it won't hang around long. It lost some of its younger audience to Youth in Revolt and the older to It's Complicated. Surely an end of February release or perhaps around Valentine's Day might have made more sense. Either way, the film will be out of the charts quickly and forgotten by the public even quicker. A slight blip on Adams' recent successful run.

This weekend The Blind Side saw its biggest drop in four weekends, 34%. Even that isn't too shocking a figure and for a film seeing its eighth weekend on general release, it's pretty staggering. The Sandra Bullock drama managed an eighth place on the 2009 biggest hits chart and means that within two films, she's accumulated a worldwide box office total over half a billion dollars. Up In the Air has now doubled its production budget and is still basking in its many nominations for film/actor of the year. The Jason Reitman drama continues to slowly expand into more locations, adding another 323 to its still somewhat limited 1,720. Expect a further box office boost when the Oscar nominations are announced.

Michael Cera returns to screens this week in the comedy drama Youth In Revolt. Playing a high school-er struggling to get the girl, Cera's character invents a daring, seemingly real, alternate persona which helps land him not only the girl but a whole load of trouble too. Cera can play this role in his sleep (which may become his undoing) and this one opened just below the opening weekend take of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. It's also been on the shelf for a while, which is not always a good omen. Like Daybreakers, this one didn't cost the earth to produce but it may still struggle to recoup back that $18M. While reviews were well above average, unless word of mouth spreads quickly it'll find itself outside the top ten in seven days.

Alvin's still riding high - sadly the same doesn't apply to the floundering Princess and the Frog, which has began to shed its location count. The Disney produced traditionally animated movie has so far made $92M from a budget of $105M. It also looks to be facing its last weekend on the top ten.

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