Friday 3 June 2011

US Box Office Report - Juy 17th - 19th 2009

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $79.5M - $159.7M
2. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - $17.7M - $152M
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - $13.7M - $363.9M
4. Bruno - $8.3M - $49.6M
5. The Hangover - $8.3M - $235.9M
6. The Proposal - $8.2M - $128.1M
7. Public Enemies - $7.5M - $79.5M
8. Up - $3.1M - $279.6M
9. My Sister's Keeper - $2.8M - $41.5M
10. I Love You, Beth Cooper - $2.6M - $10.3M

A risky move last year appears to have paid off handsomely for Warner Brothers. With the world of Harry Potter fans ready for the release of the sixth movie Warner Bros took the decision to push the film back from November 2008 to July 2009, angering that fan base in the process. The official word was that the writer's strike had left the WB without a summer tent pole release (Terminator Salvation was aimed at a different market and was funded by the Halycon Company) but the word on the street was that the film had tested badly and WB was planning on doing some reworking. Review-wise this sixth film slots somewhere in between them all, sitting as it does on 84% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. If nothing else, the critics were appeased.

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince was release on Wednesday and slotted in a close second to Transformers 2 for the Wednesday record but managed to have the biggest worldwide one day take with $104M (made up of the US tally of $58M and the international tally of $46M). To show how heavy the front loading for the film was, it set a record for midnight shows, bigger even than The Dark Knight. A sharp but not unexpected drop followed on the Thursday, inevitable given the huge fan demand to see the film as soon as was physically possible. Friday's take of $26.8M, while on the surface a little disappointing, is actually higher than Order of the Phoenix, which opened on a Wednesday two years ago. By the end of play on Friday the film was already over $105M and still had two lucrative weekend days to come.

With its Saturday and Sunday takes factored in, the film opened slightly ahead of Order of the Phoenix and easily the biggest five day total of any film in series. Had WB chosen to release the film on Friday and not Wednesday we might have been looking at a potential threat to the opening weekend of The Dark Knight. As it stands it's unlikely that the studio will be disappointed with that opening weekend, knowing full well that the vast majority of major summer movies are already out the door, giving the film plenty of leg stretching space. None of the releases next weekend should cause Harry Potter any trouble for the top spot and the film should comfortably have crossed $200M by then and be somewhere equivalent on the international market. Any fears that Harry Potter was reaching stagnation point or that the series was losing its appeal now there were no more books to come, seems to have been misplaced.

Ice Age 3 continues to hold steady in its third weekend on general release, though it has begun to slow a little and won't have the legs of Up. That said, it'll face only minor competition for the family market next weekend in the guise of G-Force so while it will see a position drop, it should do so with an acceptable drop in takings. Internationally the film is ripping up a storm, having taken over $365M; when you factor in its domestic take as well Ice Age 3 has take over half a billion dollars in just 19 days. Even Pixar would be impressed by that.

And unlike many predictions, Transformers 2 didn't completely collapse after its first huge weekend. Now in its fourth weekend the Michael Bay actioner is down 43% from last weekend as it moves into thirteenth place on the all time domestic box office chart. Like Ice Age 3, Transformers 2 is performing even more impressively overseas, closing in on $400M. While Harry Potter got off to a good start, he'll have his work cut out for him to be the number one film of 2009. Though the chances are slim, Transformers 2 might yet break $400M domestically.

After an underwhelming start last weekend Bruno suffers an horrific collapse in its second frame, down a shocking 80% on a Friday to Friday basis and 72% for the weekend as a whole. What this adds up to is the fact that Bruno had just one day of heavy front loading and that word of mouth is actually turning people away from the film, not enticing them to see it. At this point the only thing working for it is Bruno's relatively low budget (sub $50M one imagines), which it has already covered with its domestic take. Even at this stage its unlikely the film will see even $70M - and its international take isn't fairing much better with a number of major markets reporting a total of just $24M. To put it bluntly even Eddie Murphy family films don't drop 80% from one Friday to the next.

The Proposal and The Hangover appear to be box office dynamite. The latter looks almost assured of making $250M before leaving the top ten (and ending up in the top five biggest of 2009 come the end of the year) while the latter is now Sandra Bullock's most successful film of her entire career. And The Proposal hasn't even been launched internationally. From next weekend's releases The Proposal will probably be hit the hardest by the Gerard Butler/Katherine Heigl comedy The Ugly Truth but at this point the studio has probably stopped caring. The Hangover might well be the most successful sleeper movie in the history of cinema.

Public Enemies is vying for attention amongst the comedies and the giant effects movies - even though it carries a budget worthy of a blockbuster ($100M). As one of only two dramas in the top ten, Public Enemies has almost crossed the $80M mark this weekend but looks unlikely to see $100M while in the top ten. Only a handful of international locations have yet seen the film's release so Universal will be hoping the Johnny Depp angle plays up well and pushes the film into the black. Up is down to 1700 locations now as begins its exit from the top ten. The Pixar release has been one of their best, both critically and financially and will almost certainly end up scoring Pixar another Best Animated Film Oscar come March 2010.

Hayden Panettiere's lead debut in I Love You, Beth Cooper fell flat out the door last weekend and this weekend isn't anything to write home about either. Whilst its drop is passable, that's only because its opening take was so low. This'll be on DVD before September is out. Also done and dusted is the Cameron Diaz weepy My Sister's Keeper, which might have seen $60M had it been released at a quieter time of year. Unlike Beth Cooper, this one is already in profit.

Sitting just outside the top ten - a feat it achieved from just 27 locations, is the romantic comedy [500] Days of Summer. Its screen to take average was an astounding $31,000 per location. The reviews and word of mouth on this one have been stunning so expect an expansion, and perhaps a top ten place, in the coming weeks.

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