Sunday 8 January 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 6th - 8th January 2012

1. The Devil Inside - $34.5M - $34.5M
2. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - $20.5M - $170.2M
3. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $14.1M - $157.4M
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - $11.4M - $76.8M
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - $9.5M -$111.6M
6. War Horse - $8.6M - $56.8M
7. We Bought a Zoo - $8.4M - $56.4M
8. The Adventures of Tintin - $6.6M - $61.8M
9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - $5.3M - $9.9M
10. New Year's Eve $3.2M - $52M

While everyone recovers from Christmas and New Year, Hollywood keeps things low key, at least for one more week. But rest assured, this is just a temporary measure as January has ten major releases lined up, with Contraband, Beauty & The Beast 3D and Joyful Noise all due next Friday. But this week we've only one new release, The Devil Inside, while the well received Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy expands into 800+ locations. Still a force to be reckoned with is the fourth Mission: Impossible film and the second Sherlock film, A Game of Shadows.

The Devil Inside is another film made up of supposed 'Found Footage'. The genre is having something of a resurgence of late, spurred on by the incredible success of the Paranormal Activity series (Half a billion dollars in revenue for the whole series thus far, with a fourth film announced in the last week). Made cheaply, the film's generally only need a single decent weekend to see a profitable return - while the recent Apollo 18 crashed out to only $17M during its theatrical run, its $5M production budget meant that everyone ended up happy. This weekend it's Paramount's turn with The Devil Inside. The story follows Isabella, a woman whose mother, Maria, murdered three people in 1989 during an exorcism. The Catholic church quickly became involved and institutionalized her. Twenty years later, Isabella assembles a film crew and attempts to get to the bottom of what happened, hoping to free her mother from her apparent possession. Working outside of the church, the crew (which includes two students Isabella meets while researching exorcism) attempt to perform a series of unauthorized exorcisms, but as expected, things don't go according to plan. The studio used a number of viral methods to promote the film and the first proper trailer debuted back in October. While they may have been behind the film in principle, Paramount opted to not screen the film for critics, though the response from those who manage to see the film has been exceptionally negative. But, with a budget of just $1M, the studio barely needed a decent frame to see a production profit.

As it turns out, the studio could have closed the film after its midnight sneak peaks and probably still made money. The Devil Inside made $2.2M from Thursday sneak peaks, setting it up for an astounding Friday haul of $16.9M - more than recent horror film The Thing made during its entire theatrical run. By Sunday the film had added a further $17.6M to its total, giving it the third best January debut of all time. It really makes no odds to where the film goes from here, though the usual horror film second frame fall off is inevitable - in fact, there are more than a few signs that the film is already collapsing, especially with such terrible word of mouth coming from those who have seen the film. It may end up being a one-weekend wonder, but it'll be a pretty profitable one.

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol continue to impress. Having surpassed the total made by the third film sometime over last Sunday/Monday, the Brad Bird directed actioner is now setting its sights firmly on the $180M made by the first film (the second film looks safe with its $218M domestic finish - for now). For Tom Cruise, we need to go back to 2005's War of the World to find a film that has performed better (WotW is also Cruise's career best with a $234M finish). This weekend the film added a further $20M, to bring its domestic total to $170M. Overseas and the news is even better, with the picture crossing the $250M mark some time on Thursday (which pushes the film to over $400M in total global ticket sales). It'll face some competition from Contraband next frame but with a steady decline, we could be looking at $200M+ domestic finish.

After a bumpy start and Christmas recovery, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows recouped its $140M production budget on Wednesday, its 20th day on general release. Without MI:GP, the film would almost certainly be higher but one imagines WB will be more than pleased with how its done, especially with a further $100M coming from overseas (where it's still awaiting release in a number of foreign locales). A $170M finish is on the cards, but word on a second sequel has yet to appear - chances are Guy Ritchie won't return if WB want the film for 2013 as the director is set to start work on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Down just 23% this frame is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The David Fincher adaptation of the Stieg Larsson book has so far made $76M, against a budget of $90M. Competition and the film's R Rating might have hampered it to begin with, but with that low drop this frame, it's certainly found its feet. The flick should recoup its production budget domestically and $100M isn't out of the picture. Abroad the film's staggered release schedule means its only made $12M so far, but expect that to change in the coming weeks/months.

Of the two films in the top then that were directed by Steven Spielberg, War Horse looks to have the better staying power. While Tintin has currently made more money, the North American public just don't appear to be getting on as well with the film as their European counterparts. War Horse hit $50M sometime late Friday and has gained some solid word of mouth. It should recoup its production budget domestically ($66M) and may yet pick up a few awards. Tintin on the other hand, has made $61M so far but seems all but done at this point. In fact, War Horse has continued to outgross the film on and off during the past week. Overseas, Tintin has made a killing and is rapidly approaching $275M.

A few weeks ago and it seemed that the Chipmunks were done for. The third film, Chipwrecked, opened well down on the previous entries in the series, but thanks to appealing to the younger family market, it's managed to cross the $100M barrier. Next weekend will bring it serious competition in the guise of Beauty & the Beast 3D but given the Chipmunk's recovery after such a poor start, the studio (Fox) will be happy with the $100M+ it's managed to make.

The latest Cameron Crowe feature, We Bought A Zoo, sits at number seven and managed to cross the $50M threshold this weekend. Based on a true story, the film marks the third biggest hit of Crowe's career so far, after Vanilla Sky and Jerry Maguire. It should manage one more weekend in the top ten and top out domestically at around $70M.

Having opened in the UK last September, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy debuted in the US at the start of December at just four locations (and made a strong $310K). Focus kept the film in limited release over the holiday period, deciding to expand into 809 locations this weekend. The great reviews and limited release helped the film gain interest and with the expansion, push into the top ten with $5.3M (an increase of 388% on last frame). With three new releases due next frame, the film will need some help to retain a top ten spot for a second weekend. After five weeks on general release, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has made $9.9M.

New Year's Eve looks likely to make back its $56M production costs, though it may need to wait a couple more weeks before it gets there. Thanks to the holiday, the film managed to recover from its disastrous start but amazingly, still hasn't made as much money as its prequel, Valentine's Day, made during its first three days.

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