Thursday 2 June 2011

US Box Office Report - June 12th - 14th 2009

1. The Hangover - $33.4M - $105.3M
2. Up - $30M - $187.2M
3. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 - $25M - $25M
4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - $9.6M - $143.4M
5. Land of the Lost -$9.1M - $35M
6. Imagine That - $5.7M - $5.7M
7. Star Trek - $5.6M - $232M
8. Terminator Salvation - $4.7M - $113.8M
9. Angels & Demons - $4.2M - $123.3M
10. Drag Me to Hell - $3.8M - $35.1M

Up may have started last weekend in the top spot but once final numbers were issued on Monday, The Hangover just pipped it at the post, by around $800k. In the second frame there's no such confusion as the Vegas Stag Do Gone Wrong movie becomes the first summer release to take the top spot two weekends in a row crossing the $100M mark sometime Saturday. Off a very respectable 38% from last Friday (and down just 25% for the weekend as a whole!), The Hangover has built on some solid word of mouth and not only seen off Pixar's Up but two new wide opening releases in the guise of Pelham 123 and Imagine That. It's going to take a knock next weekend with the release of comedy Year One but by that time The Hangover will have well over $120M in its coffers and any competition will be of little or no concern to the studio. Expect this one to keep on giving.

And in second place, Up is no slouch either. Having crossed the $150M barrier on Wednesday, Up found itself down just 32% on a Friday to Friday basis. In terms of its counterparts, Up has already made more money than A Bug's Life did in its entire theatrical run ($162M) and it has Toy Story's $191M total firmly in its sights (Note: neither figure has inflation factored in). What was seen as a risky proposition a month or so ago could turn out to be Pixar's biggest movie since Monsters Inc's take of $255M. And as with other Pixar releases, Up will see a staggered release around the globe so should continue to take money in one location or another for the next six months.

Our first new release is a remake of the classic Robert Shaw thriller The Taking of Pelham 123, with John Travolta taking the Shaw role and Denzel Washington filling in for Walter Matthau. Tony Scott helms the project that many would argue didn't need remaking in the first place. Reviews were distinctly average for the film and the combined might of The Hangover and Up covered most bases for cinemagoers leaving Pelham to accept anything it could grab. As openings go, in a busy market, it's performed quite well and at any other time of the year could expect a nice few weekends in the top five. Unfortunately for Pelham, it's got next to no breathing room and will need to rely on a good hold next weekend to see it claw back its budget. In terms of Tony Scott's past glories, only Beverly Hills Cop 2 opened better, while for Washington that honour goes to American Gangster and Inside Man with $43M and $28M openings respectively, Travolta's best comes in the form of Wild Hogs' $43M opening weekend in 2007. Where the film goes next will really determine whether it'll sink or swim - with two major stars this one can't have been cheap so Pelham needs to dig in now and hope for the best.

Night at the Museum 2 has just begun to shed its location count this weekend as it sits still some distance from $150M. Internationally the film is doing slightly better, seeing that $150M sometime during Friday night/Saturday afternoon. The family market is suddenly looking quite crowded, with three existing releases joined this weekend by a fourth, leaving all but Up fighting for attention. Expect NatM2 to top out around $170M, a modest hit but a far cry from the $250M made by its predecessor. Land of the Lost was the real loser last weekend and things haven't improved in its second frame of release, down 60% from last Friday. It's quite possible that the Will Ferrell action comedy won't even make $50M - a costly misstep for all involved.

Perhaps not as costly but still as big a flop is the latest Eddie Murphy family vehicle, Imagine That. Reviewing with the same kind of success that Land of the Lost shared (around 44%); Imagine That sees Murphy as a busy advertising exec with no time for his daughter. When things begin to unravel for the high-flyer he finds solace in his daughter's world of make-believe. This opened slightly better than the abysmal Meet Dave did roughly the same time last year but that's really not saying anything given the outright failure of that film (just $11M in total ticket sales for the entire run of the film). Imagine That might finish slightly higher but it's still yet another nail in Murphy's coffin. After an award winning turn in Dreamgirls people began to wonder if we were seeing the true return of one of the biggest cinematic draws of the 80s. Sadly it seems not - Murphy's only saving grace is the Shrek franchise, which continues to make exceptional amounts of money.

Star Trek might have had to make way for some of the bigger releases over the past few weeks but it's got nothing left to prove to anyone. It should make more than $250M by the end of it theatrical run and even at this point, looks likely to only be surpassed by Transformers 2 and Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince. Terminator Salvation on the other hand, while hitting rock bottom in the US, continues to flourish on the international market, with over $100M already in the bank. It's unlikely to save the franchise but should lighten the blow for production company Halcyon.

Angels & Demons crossed $120M this weekend and should top out at around $135M. Internationally the film is still performing strong and could push to a global total of half a billion dollars. Drag Me To Hell manages one more weekend in the top ten but is all but done and dusted. Perhaps cultdom awaits?

And now something I learnt today - The Proposal had some sneak peak previews this weekend (a single screening at 815 locations) but because they were played on screens that Up should have been playing on, The Proposal's take is actually added on to the gross of Up, and doesn't count towards The Proposal's box office take this weekend. Apparently this practice has been going on years but I've never come across it before. Anyone else?

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