Thursday 2 June 2011

US Box Office Report - June 19th - 21st 2009

1. The Proposal - $34.1M - $34.1M
2. The Hangover - $26.8M - $152.9M
3. Up - $21.3M - $224.1M
4. Year One - $20.2M - $20.2M
5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 - $11.3M - $43.3M
6. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - $7.3M - $156M
7. Star Trek - $4.7M - $239.4M
8. Land of the Lost - $3.9M - $43.7M
9. Imagine That - $3.1M - $11.4M
10. Terminator Salvation - $3.1M - $119.5M

Out of the two comedies released this weekend, the one that takes the higher position is not the one people expected. It's The Hangover versus Land of the Lost all over again.

Sandra Bullock returns to the genre that put her on the map this weekend. She's been absent from screens since 2007's Premonition and her last romantic comedy was 2002's Two Weeks Notice. The Proposal, co-starring Ryan Reynolds is the tale of a pushy boss who bullies her assistant into marrying her to avoid losing her US Visa status. The rest writes itself we can imagine. In a crowded market and up against at least three comedies, Bullock holds her own thanks to the female demographic making up a large portion of that opening weekend take. Not only that but the $34M made by The Proposal represents Bullock's biggest ever opening weekend (previous was Premonition's $17M) and unlike Ghost's of Girlfriends Past, this one probably didn't cost $60M. Next weekend its biggest competition won't come in the guise of transforming robots but rather a Cameron Diaz weepy, My Sister's Keeper - leaving both films fighting for that alternative programming market.

The Hangover continues to surprise with its endurance - even up against two wide opening new releases it copes just fine. On a Friday to Friday basis (its 2nd and 3rd Friday on general release) it was down an astonishing 18% (and 18% for the weekend as a whole). With budget data finally available we see just how successful the film is - a $35M cost has already returned over $155M, just from the US and its (for now) limited foreign release. The sky's the limit on this one and for Warner Bros, it'll take the sting out of the disappointing return scored by Watchmen back in March.

Up is down a little sharper than The Hangover but nothing for Pixar to worry about, with the film having crossed the $200M barrier on Thursday - just one day more than it took Finding Nemo to achieve the same amount. It's already bested Wall-E's $223M with Cars' $244 now firmly in its sights. At this point it's extremely unlikely that Up will surpass Nemo's final total of $339M but it stands a strong chance of surpassing the total of the film at number two on Pixar's list of successes - The Incredibles sitting at $261M. Its only stumbling block is Ice Age 3 waiting just around the corner, and while not expected to review as well as Up did, the family market will be ready to flock to it as something new.

Our other newly opened comedy should have had enough pedigree to casually stroll into the top spot. Instead it has to settle for a disappointing fourth place spot, behind, it has to be pointed out, the three-week old R-rated The Hangover. Year One was produced by Judd Apatow, directed by Harold Ramis and stars Jack Black, Michael Cera and more than a few familiar faces from Apatows troupe of regulars. A pricey Super bowl spot should have put the film on the map but lacklustre follow-up trailers failed to make much impact, especially once the public caught sight of the aforementioned Hangover. Reviews for this weren't kind either, with just a 20% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes (Comparisons - Land of the Lost scored 28%, Imagine That 43% and Terminator Salvation 33%). This may turn out to be a costly choice for all involved and is unlikely to survive on word of mouth or up against Transformers next weekend, which will share a similar audience demographic. Hard to imagine a $20M opening being seen as a disappointment of sorts.

Taking of Pelham 123 was down a painful 61% from last Friday, a figure made all the worse by its average take for the opening weekend. This one will likely top out somewhere around $60M, which is a long way from its $100M production budget, leaving Pelham to rely heavily on the international market. Night at the Museum 2 finally crosses $150M but by this point is unlikely to see much more. Its foreign take has raced ahead, giving the film a global total of over $330M. Meanwhile Star Trek is edging closer to $250M though may have to wait until it leaves the top ten to achieve that figure. A huge success for Paramount who will be anxious to return to the story as soon as possible - with them already hinting at a 2011 release for any follow up.

Somehow Land of the Lost has managed to see $43M in spite of poor reviews and an uninterested public. It's still at over 2,900 location but likely to give up a number of those before next weekend. Land of the Lost will manage just one more weekend in the top ten and still be short of $50M. While it'll surpass the abysmal total made by Meet Dave, Imagine That won't see a great deal more. Along with Shrek Forever After next summer, Murphy will also be seen in A Thousand Words, a story about a guy who finds out he only has a thousand words to say before he'll die. Having dropped below a location count of 2,000, Terminator Salvation is almost certainly seeing its last weekend in the top ten. The only question that remains is whether Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's five day opening take will surpass Terminator Salvation's entire box office run.

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