Sunday 1 April 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 30th March - 1st April 2012

1. The Hunger Games - $61.1M - $251M
2. Wrath of the Titans - $34.2M - $34.2M
3. Mirror Mirror - $19M- $19M
4. 21 Jump Street - $15M - $93M
5. The Lorax - $8M - $189.5M
6. John Carter - $2M - $66.2M
7. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - $1.2M - $3.1M
8. Act of Valor - $1M - $67.7M
9. A Thousand Words - $0.9M - $16.5M
10. Journey 2 - $0.8M - $98.4M

After its stunning debut, to the tune of $152M, The Hunger Games would be up against the newcomers, Wrath of the Titans and Mirror Mirror. All three films would impact each other, and while Wrath was arguably the bigger competition for the top spot, the family angle of Mirror Mirror couldn't be ignored. Next frame sees the return of the former biggest film of all time, Titanic, in 3D for its re-release and American Reunion, the official fourth American Pie movie.

With records well and truly shattered (too many to list, but including the biggest opening for a non-sequel in history), the Hunger Games got off to an unprecedented start last frame. The futuristic novel adaptation finished up with $152M when actual figures were issued last Monday and continued to play incredibly strong during the week - looking at one point like it might make it to $200M in six days (it actually made it in eight, the fourth fastest film to do so). As it entered the fray on Friday, the flick was up to $189.9M, but with such a huge opening weekend, were we also to see a record breaking fall, especially with Wrath of the Titans and Mirror Mirror both vying for business? First signs that The Hunger Games would make it two for two were once again from online vendor Fandango, who reported that ticket sales for the film made up 62% of all its sales - compared to 15% for Wrath and just 8% for Mirror Mirror.

Its second Friday figure weighed in at $18.8M - a high but expected drop of 72% on its opening day, and that's with the $19M midnight sneaks factored in - take those out and the drop is 66% (comparable to The Dark Knight's second Friday drop). Even by that point, there was no doubt the film would retain the top spot. Likewise, Saturday was also strong and by Sunday evening the flick had made $61.1M for the weekend, down 60% on its entire first weekend figure. That $61M is yet another amazing figure for a film whose performance has already been full of surprises and it picks up another trophy this frame - fastest non-sequel to $250M, beating Avatar. Once again, when one compares this 'first' Hunger Games film to the fourth Twilight picture, it comes out on top - After ten days Breaking Dawn Part 1 had made $220M, against Hunger's $251M (Deathly Hallows Pt 2 was up to $273M at this point). At present rate the picture will surpass Breaking Dawn's $281M finish well before it leaves the top ten. Overseas The Hunger Games is up to $114M so far, but should comfortably clear $150M within the next couple of weeks as the flick continues to expand.

Having opened just two years ago, Clash of the Titans is still relatively fresh in cinema-goer's minds, and while it was poorly received, with its post-production conversion to 3D being a particular sticking point, it would go on to make $163M domestically, with a staggering $330M on the international market. A sequel was greenlit while the first film was still in theatres, and while Sam Worthington would return as lead, his female co-star (played by Gemma Arterton) would pass, instead to be replaced by a new character, Andromeda, portrayed by Rosamund Pike. There was change in the director's chair too, as Louis Leterrier opted to executive produce this time around, with Battle: Los Angeles helmer Jonathan Liebesman taking the reigns. While there was initial talk of shooting in 3D, this was ultimately dismissed, with the studio once again opting to convert to 3D in post-production (though Liebesman's was keen to point out that lessons had been learnt on the first film, and that they would avoid the same issues this time around). As mentioned, Worthington would return as Perseus, in a story set a decade after the first film. Now a single father, Perseus finds himself before Zeus (a returning Liam Neeson) who informs him that people are losing faith in their gods, and thus, the gods are losing their power - and he fears this will lead to Kronos and the titans escaping their underworld prison. When Zeus finds himself double crossed by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and being used to resurrect Kronos, Perseus must once again take up his sword and save not only the gods, but the world itself.

While the 3D may have improved, the reviews did not, and for a short time Wrath of the Titans found itself with a 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. By the time of its release the flick had managed to score a number of positive notices but this still left it with a 24% approval figure, 5% less than what the original managed. With The Hunger Games opening so strong last weekend, some had speculated that almost everyone who wanted to see it, would have done so, leaving the way somewhat clear for Wrath to take the top spot. However, that seemed almost out of the question before the film had even had its first full day on general release. After scoring only $1M from midnight sneaks, Wrath found itself in second place with a full Friday haul of $12M, less than half of what the first film made on its opening day. The news didn't improve over the remainder of the weekend, with the film taking a kicking not only from The Hunger Games but Mirror Mirror as well. Wrath of the Titans finished up Sunday with $34.2M, again, a figure that's only around half of what the original picture made in the same time frame. While this isn't a total disaster, it isn't far off either as word of mouth won't help it next frame. It's certainly not the start the studio would have been hoping for and they'll already be looking to those international figures to help the film out. This marks another disappointment for Sam Worthington, who saw Man on a Ledge limp to only $18M a few weeks ago (with two other films, Last Night and Texas Killing Fields barely receiving a release, making less than $150K between them).

Mirror Mirror is the first of two new takes on the Snow White fairy tale that will grace theatres this year (the second being the action orientated Snow White and The Huntsman with Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth). The picture follows a similar plot to the Grimm fairy tale (and consequently the Disney feature) and sees an evil witch plot and scheme to take the throne from its rightful heir - the orphaned Snow White. When the prince, upon whom the now queen has designs, falls for Snow White, she is banished to the forest. All alone, Snow White is saved from a man-eating beast by a group of seven dwarves (who this time around are highway men), and with their help becomes determined to take back her realm. Director Tarsem, who began work on the film while his previous release, Immortals, was still in post-production, cast Julie Roberts in the role of the evil queen, with the Social Network's Armie Hammer as the prince and Lily Collins (daughter of singer, Phil) as Snow White. The director described the film as sickeningly kiddie, and while the first trailer was well up to the helmer's visual standard, its actual content left a lot to be desired. This wasn't helped when the trailer for Snow White and The Huntsman appeared and showed a much darker, more action packed side to the story.

Reviews were stronger than Wrath of the Titans but still left the film as 'rotten', with 50% of critics finding something to like about it. With the trailers keen to play up the childishness of the film, distributor Relativity Media hoped to steal some of The Lorax's market while playing as the alternative choice to teen-25 year old centric Hunger Games and Wrath - especially with an $85M budget attached. Out the gate on Friday the film managed a third place finish with a very subdued $5.9M - only a million or so better than the three-week old 21 Jump Street. Fortunately, thanks to that family angle, the movie gained some ground on Saturday and into Sunday, leaving it with a slightly more respectable three day total of $19M. While this still isn't great, it may see a better hold next frame than Wrath, especially if word of mouth picks up. It will also continue to benefit from limited competition for the family market. Mirror Mirror opened earlier on the international market and has so far made $11M.

With competition from Mirror Mirror, not to mention time itself (the film is now in its fourth frame), The Lorax dipped 39% this weekend, adding $8M in the process. Made for only $70M, the Dr.Seuss adaptation should top out around $215M domestically, with an equally strong overseas figure likely, once expansion gets underway (it currently has a $21M total from a handful of locations).

Having ridden The Hunger Games wave well last weekend, 21 Jump Street found itself down just 27%, in this, its third frame on general release. The Hill/Tatum comedy re-imagining is working on some great word of mouth (plus a badge of honour R-rating) and that helped it add another $15M this weekend, to give it a running total of $93M. While American Reunion will take the wind out of its sales next weekend, 21 Jump Street should be north of $100M by that point.

With Wrath hijacking a number of its remaining 3D locations (and its demographic), John Carter could muster just $2M this frame. While its domestic performance is all but done at this point, the flick continues to play well overseas and that has helped it cross the $250M barrier in total global ticket sales (which is incidentally what Disney claimed the film cost to produce - though costs to profit technically don't break down that way). Carter has so far made $66M in North America, with a further $188M abroad.

A surprise entry into the top ten, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a romantic comedy drama starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt and is based on the successful novel by Paul Torday. It sees McGregor as Fred Jones, a fisheries expert, who is asked by Blunt's Harriet Chetwode-Talbot as whether it would be possible to fish for salmon in the Yemen. Thinking the idea ridiculous, Jones ends up on a good will mission in an attempt to make it a reality (albeit a potentially disastrous one), ultimately finding love (and conflict) with Harriet and her life. The film was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and was actually released in a limited capacity four weeks ago. Up until Friday, it had made $1.8M but an expansion into a still limited 483 locations helped the film secure a top ten spot (the advantage one assumes, of being an above average film in a somewhat tired chart - see also October Baby and Casa de Mi Padre). Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has a total so far of $3.1M. With further expansion in a quiet market, the film may yet see another top ten placing.

Again, the rest of the top ten is made up of hanger-ons. Act Of Valor is now its sixth frame of release and has managed to surprise more than a few analysts who wrote it off after its first weekend. With its screen count now slashed to just above a thousand, the film made $1M this frame, but given it was in profit after its first weekend, its unlikely anyone will be too concerned. With just two new entries next frame, it may yet see one more weekend in the top ten.

Thanks to the lack of new releases, A Thousand Words also gets another shot in the top ten, but Paramount have already begun the film's exit from theatres, perhaps hoping to make a few more dollars from a quick home release. Made for $40M, A Thousand Words has a running total of $16.5M.

Journey 2 snatches a last minute top ten placing, adding $835K this frame. The family action flick sits just a million and half dollars shy of $100M.

In a limited release of five locations, the controversial documentary Bully managed $115K. After losing an appeal with the MPAA, despite a 300,000 signature petition to reduce the rating from an R to a PG-13 (and thus allow more teenagers to see it and enable the film to be screened in schools) the Weinstein company opted to release the film without a rating. Despite this, theatre chain Regal claimed they would show the film without a rating, but treat it as an R rated picture (Generally unrated films are refused screenings from the main theatre chains). In Canada, which has a separate ratings board, the doc received a PG certificate.

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