Thursday 16 June 2011

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

1. Resident Evil: Afterlife - $27.7M - $27.7M
2. Takers - $6.1M - $48.1M
3. The American - $5.9M - $28.3M
4. Machete - $4.2M - $20.8M
5. Going the Distance - $3.8M - $14M
6. The Other Guys - $3.6M - $112.6M
7. The Last Exorcism - $3.4M - $38.1M
8. The Expendables - $3.2M - $98.4M
9. Inception - $3M - $282.4M
10. Eat Pray Love - $2.9M - $74.6M

A rarity in today's world - just a single new release. Paul W.S Anderson returns to the Resident Evil franchise to direct the fourth film of the series (in 3D). He directed the first film in the series but only took on producing duties on the second and third ones. Milla Jovovich returns as Alice along with Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield. The plot sees Alice attempting to contact survivors and find a safe refuge in a world long over run with the undead. The film wasn't screened for critics, which is par for the course for this kind of film anyway, but internet based reviewers were far from kind. Anderson and Screen Gems have been selling the film heavily on the fact that it was filmed using the same camera system as Avatar.

With a $27M opening frame it appears to have paid off on some level. The first film opened to $17M, with subsequent sequels both opening to $23M. If we were to take out the 3D costs chances are this would be a lower debut than the sequels. It's a minor worry but one all the same and the film is unlikely to have much in terms of subsequent weekend box office - the fans turned up on Friday but by Sunday the film was already faltering. All that said, while next weekend it'll see a probable 60%+ fall, the film will already have recouped two thirds of its estimated $60M production budget.

Takers managed to catch a few box office reporters off-guard with its decent second frame (not to mention its opening one). The crime ensemble has so far made $48M from a budget of $32M and could potentially see as much as $65M before the end of its theatrical run.

After an ok opening frame The American finds itself down 53% from Friday to Friday (54% for the weekend overall). With a challenge from Machete last weekend, the George Clooney thriller only faltered on the Friday, overtaking and increasing its lead as the weekend continued. Word of mouth is said to be solid, with only those expecting an action-fest coming out disappointed. Given the 'European' styling many are keen to point out in their reviews, there's a strong chance the film will perform better overseas than in the US. The film has now recouped its low production budget of $20M and will be looking towards the international market, not to mention the upcoming awards season, to keep that momentum going.

Having ended up losing to Takers last weekend, Machete saw the expected 'horror' film style drop on its second Friday (Down nearly 64%). Like Grindhouse and Piranha 3D, Machete's target audience showed up on opening day/weekend, leaving the film pretty much done for by the second frame, if not that first Sunday. Thankfully Machete was made for the same price as The American and can expect a much stronger showing on DVD. While a sequel (Die Machete Die!) has been talked about this past week, it's unknown how much the first film will need to make before its given the go-ahead. While Machete is anything but another 'Scott Pilgrim', it does again highlight the gap between online fervour for a film, and the general public's reaction.

The best thing about a single new release is that it gives the under-achievers another shot at some box office and Going The Distance needed it all the help it could get. After a disappointing start the Drew Barrymore/Justin Long rom-com is down 44% on that first frame but sadly that number is only ok because of those opening frame figures. Word of mouth is doing little to help and It'll manage one, maybe two more weekends in the top ten before leaving well short of its relatively low production budget.

The Other Guys is treading water now, making a few million each weekend and waiting to be pushed outside the top ten. Overseas expansion has just begun to take place and another $50M isn't out of the question thanks to its multi-appeal cast, though Ferrell tends to score bigger in the US than elsewhere (his last four 'big' films barely broke $30M in overseas takings). With M.Night Shyamalan's Devil opening next weekend, The Last Exorcism is giving it one final go. Made for just $1.8M, Exorcism seems to be one of Lionsgate's smartest purchases in recent memory.The hugely profitable horror film is expected to perform just as well on the international market.

The Expendables treads closer to $100M, a figure that's already come and gone on the international market. News came Saturday that the sequel is being fast-tracked and may shoot early 2011 for a late 2011/April 2012 release.

Inception looks upon its final weekend in the top ten. After nine weeks on general release the Leonardo Di Caprio thriller crossed the $700M mark sometime on Saturday. While Julia Roberts' name is no longer a guarantee of a $100M finish, the success of Eat Pray Love proves that she still has a major fan base. By combining her star appeal with a hugely successful book, Sony will see a strong return when both domestic and international receipts are counted.

According to Box Office Guru, this weekend's combined top ten total is the lowest in two years.

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