Sunday 26 February 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 24th - 26th February 2012

1. Act of Valor - $24.7M - $24.7M
2. Good Deeds - $16M - $16M
3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - $13.4M - $76.7M
4. Safe House - $11.3M - $98M
5. The Vow - $10M - $103M
6. Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance - $8.8M - $37.8M
7. This Means War - $8.5M - $33.5M
8. Wanderlust - $6.6M - $6.6M
9. Gone - $5M - $5M
10. The Secret World of Arrietty - $4.5M - $14.6M

Despite there being four new releases this frame, only one of them, Act of Valor, is out at more than 2,200 locations. Joining that film is a new comedy from the director of Role Models, a thriller starring Amanda Seyfried and the return of Tyler Perry. These new releases take their place along side last weekend's disappointing new movies and the still dangerous Safe House and The Vow, the former performing that rare act last frame of moving up into the top spot.

Back in 2007, directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh created a video for the Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, which led to the U.S military allowing them access to active Navy SEALs. Having worked with the SEALs over a number of years the directors came up with the idea for a modern action film based around the covert force. With the military on board as creative consultants, it wasn't long before McCoy and Waugh realised that only actual SEAL team soldiers would be able to do the material justice. While the film would contains a smattering of traditional actors, the majority of the cast were made up of active soldiers who received permission from the navy to take part (indeed, the navy see the film as a recruitment tool and required the SEALs to participate). The movie sees a covert team in a number of real world situations, including the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative. The budget for the picture weighed in at around $15M, which is said to be the highest figure ever committed for a film with an unknown cast. Reviews were well below average but many were quick to compliment the visceral action sequences (with equally as many ready to criticise the player's lack of acting skills). The film would face little competition from the new releases but would need to face off against Safe House, The Vow and the Ghost Rider sequel.

Out the gate, Act of Valor secured itself as the film to beat this weekend, with its Friday take weighing in at $9.5M, a clear $4M above Good Deeds. As Friday moved into Saturday the flick held steady, and there's little doubt it benefited from the public's support of the U.S military. By the end of the frame, Act of Valor had made $24.7M, comfortably recouping its production budget within its first weekend. Next week there's no direct competition as such, so there's a good chance the film will have covered a good portion of its prints and advertising budget too. Given the anticipated return and potential recruitment factor the flick carries with it, Act of Valor is unlikely to be the last military/film-maker collaboration we'll see.

Tyler Perry returns again this weekend with Good Deeds, a film in which he not only stars, but also wrote, directed and produced. The difference this time around is that Perry isn't hiding behind his alter ego, Madea, and instead plays Wesley Deeds, a successful business man who wakes up from his auto-piloted life when he meets a destitute cleaning lady and her daughter (the former being portrayed by Thandie Newton). Perry is a one-man media empire, working in not only film but theatre and TV, alongside film production via his own studio. Good Deeds marks his tenth directorial effort (and the eleventh film he's written), with a further two films due for release later this year, along with a stand alone role in I, Alex Cross. While his films barely have an audience (or see a release) outside of the US, he's been a known quantity in his homeland since 2005's Diary of Mad Black Woman, with every one of his film opening well (often in the top spot) and quickly turning a profit. Reviews therefore, are largely irrelevant, but it must be noted that Good Deeds is one of his lowest scorers with critics. Chances are the production cost less than $20M to bring to screens so all the picture would need is one decent weekend to cover.

Those low scoring reviews matched Good Deeds opening day take of $5.5M. In terms of previous Perry films, only Daddy's Little Girl had a poorer opening day - and that was a Wednesday opener. It appeared that while the audiences generally love Perry, it is only when he plays his alter ego, the monstrous Madea. By Sunday the film was up to $16M, which again, is Perry's second poorest opening frame (First goes once again to Daddy's Little Girl). With his films tending to have one decent weekend in them, things don't look great for Good Deeds - it has little word of mouth to work with and can't rely on overseas markets to shore up a low domestic haul. What it does have on its side is that low production budget - which if it has not already covered, will have done so by next weekend. Perry returns with Madea in Madea's Witness Protection, which is shooting now for a September 2012 release.

In something of a reversal on recent weeks, Journey 2 managed to jump above The Vow on Friday - helped no end by being the only family friendly film in the top ten in wide release (Arrietty is out to just over 1,500 locations). The Dwayne Johnson adventure flick adds another $13.4M this frame to bring its total to $76.7M. By this point (Day 17), the original film had made $60M on it way to a $101M domestic finish - that's a figure this sequel could surpass but a lot depends on how much damage Dr Suess' The Lorax does next frame. Overseas, Journey 2 has grossed an astounding $128M and counting.

Having managed to usurp The Vow in its second frame, the action thriller Safe House managed a third Friday figure of $3.1M, on its way to a $11.3M weekend. The $85M production recouped its budget on Thursday and had continued to dominate throughout the week. Act of Valor was the only direct competition this frame and while it initially finished below Journey 2 and The Vow on Friday, only $100K actually separated them. Chances of its becoming Washington's biggest release are slim - it would need to surpass the $130M earnt by American Gangster - but a $100M is shoe-in by Tuesday, with plenty more to come overseas.

The Vow hit $100M sometime on Saturday, its 16th day on general release. The Tatum/McAdams romantic drama has now covered its budget three times over and could possibly go as high as $130M. For Tatum, The Vow marks only the second $100M picture on his C.V (The other being G.I Joe) and has the 21 Jump St remake up for release within the month. McAdams on the other hand, sees the film become her fourth $100M release after both Sherlock films and 2005's Wedding Crashers (though this marks her first $100M as a main lead). This frame The Vow added $10M to bring its running total to $103M. Overseas the picture is just getting started but has already made $22M.

Disappointing last frame with its $22M debut, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance crashed on a Friday to Friday basis, down a worrying 66%. The bad word of mouth surrounding the Nic Cage sequel can't be avoided and had threatened to derail the film before it even hit screens. During the week, the film was pushed further down the chart by Journey 2 and This Means War. This frame it adds a further $8.8MM, giving a total of 37M. The good news is that Columbia have issued budget details, which peg the film as costing $57M, down from the initial $75M figure, but while Spirit of Vengeance is unlikely to lose money, chances of a third flick are slim, to say the least.

This Means War, the latest McG film, starring Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, opened in fifth place last weekend, with a total which must surely have been on the very low end of expectations. A week on and the film did at least have a better Friday that Spirit of Vengeance but that was barely anything to shout about. Wanderlust might have offered it competition this weekend but any effect would have been negligible. The film may manage one more frame in the top ten but will be gone soon after. In a quieter market This Means War may have performed better as audience approval and word of mouth is said to be strong. Sadly, as mentioned in last weekend's report, the film just hasn't got the time or the breathing room to wait for an audience.

Role Models was a $67M grossing comedy back in November of 2008. Four years on and director David Wain decided to re-team with 'Models' star Paul Rudd on Wanderlust (with Judd Apatow again co-producing). Rudd is joined this time around by his Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston and the flick sees the two as a couple who end up having to downsize from New York, and decide to move in with family in Georgia. However, Rudd's family job doesn't start smoothly and the couple decide to head off for time on their own. While travelling, they find themselves sidetracked by a hippy commune, which they initially mistake for a bed & breakfast. Could the Elysium retreat be just what they need as the antedote to their old fast-paced lives? Reviews for the $35M film were just above average, but its 2,002 location role out (the lowest of the new releases) leads one to believe the studio may have lacked confidence in it. Perhaps sensing that lack of belief in the picture, the public gave Wanderlust a wide berth with a $2M Friday take. While not as poor a showing as Gone, this was still a disappointment - further cemented by its $6.6M weekend total. With two new releases next frame, there's a slim chance the film will get a second shot at top ten placing, but the damage is already done and Wanderlust will count itself luck indeed if it sees double figures.

Gone is a psychological thriller that stars Amanda Seyfried as Jill Parrish, a young woman who returns home one night to find her sister has vanished. Having escaped the clutches of a serial killer a year earlier, Jill suspects her sister has been taken by the same man. With the killer leaving no trace, she can't convince the police to take her seriously and must set about finding her sister before sunrise. With very little hype surrounding the project, it almost appears as if Summit decided to throw the film out on a quiet weekend and be happy with whatever the public gave them. Gone was made for $28M and given its initial lack of RottenTomatoes rating, seems to have gone unscreened for critics (the film's post-release rating stands at 15%). Seyfried is coming off the back of Red Riding Hood and In Time, two films which performed ok domestically, but shone overseas (especially the later, which made $111M). Sadly the film was 'gone' before it even got started, having debuted Friday with the lowest take of all the new releases - just $1.8M, barely securing a top ten spot. By Sunday evening the movie was up to just $5M, putting it well into flop territory and making it the lowest debut for a wide opening 2012 release thus far. Summit will be quick to get this out of theatres when it drops out of the top ten (which will almost certainly be by next frame) and once again, the studio will be thanking its lucky stars that it has one more Twilight movie up its sleeve (and that it is now under the Lionsgate banner).

The Secret World of Arrietty has the best frame to frame drop of any film in the top ten - just 30%. The Studio Ghibli release managed to add a further $4.5M this frame thanks to some excellent word of mouth, but will be kicked out the top ten by The Lorax next frame.

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