Sunday 15 July 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 13th - 15th July 2012

1. Ice Age: Continental Drift - $46M - $46M
2. The Amazing Spider-Man - $35M - $200.8M
3. Ted - $22.1M - $158.9M
4. Brave - $10.7M - $195
5. Magic Mike - $9M - $91.8M
6. Savages - $8.7M - $31.4M
7. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection - $5.6M -$55.6M
8. Katy Perry: Part of Me - $3.7M - $18.5M
9. Moonrise Kingdom - $3.6M - $32.4M
10. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - $3.5M - $203.7M

Just the one new release this frame, in the guise of family film Ice Age: Continental Drift. While the sequel is expected to perform well, most eyes will be on The Amazing Spider-Man and how well it handles its second frame. Its opening few days were the source of much debate last week as to whether $137M was a great, or simply good start. Time is limited as we're now just four short days away from what is sure to be one of the biggest films of 2012, and certainly the most eagerly awaited - The Dark Knight Rises. Beyond that, we only have a few weeks of major releases before we hit the studio dumping ground of Mid-August.

The Ice Age series of films started life back in 2002. The computer generated comedy followed a group of animals, which included a mammoth (Manny, voiced by Ray Romano), a sabre-toothed tiger (Denis Leary as Diego) and a sloth (Sid, played by John Leguizamo.) The first picture would see Manny and Sid attempting to return a lost baby to its family, and having to deal with the advances of Sid, who also lays claim to the child, but for quite different reasons. A parallel story featured Scrat, a sabre-toothed squirrel on a quest for acorns (the character would prove popular enough to receive his own short spin-offs and feature heavily in the marketing of all subsequent films in the series). Ice Age came out of nowhere and opened, at the time, as the third biggest CGI film in history, behind Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. Having got off to $46.3M start, it would go on to make almost $176M in North America, firmly establishing franchise potential in the process (and all from a budget of just $59M). It was no slouch overseas either, taking $200M. Ice Age was also nominated for an Oscar in the best animated feature category (it lost to Spirited Away). Fox and the animation company Blue Sky quickly got to work on a sequel and 2006 saw the release of Ice Age: The Meltdown, which reunited the cast of the first film, while adding Queen Latifah's Ellie into the mix. This new movie would follow the animal crew as they headed across a large valley in hope of escaping an impending flood. On the way Manny discovers he's not the last mammoth left on earth.  While all this is taking place, Scrat continues his perilous quest for acorns. Like its predecessor, Meltdown was released in March and made a staggering $68M during its first weekend. When it left theatres more than 160 days later, the $80M budgeted picture had grossed $195M, with an astonishing $460M coming from abroad. Fox couldn't greenlight a second sequel fast enough. And so it was, work began on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, set for a 2009 release. This second sequel would see the returning characters moving on with their lives - Manny and Ellie are expecting a baby while Diego considers the notion that he has become somewhat domesticated. Problems arise when Sid, envious of Manny's situation, decides he wants a family of his own and steals some dinosaur eggs, ultimately leading the remaining crew on a rescue mission. Fox opted to dip their toes into summer for Dawn of the Dinosaurs, releasing it on 1st July (a Wednesday), which led to a $66M five-day total come the end of that first Sunday. Despite previous success, the studio managed to keep the budget under control, making this third picture for $90M. It would go on to narrowly beat The Meltdown at the domestic box office ($196M) and make more internationally than the combined overseas gross of the previous two films with $690M.

In between Ice Age flicks, Blue Sky Studios had continued to go from strength to strength. In 2008, they released Horton Hears A Who, while 2011 saw Rio hit screens - both films achieving great success. The fourth Ice Age movie was announced back in January 2010, with Fox confirming in March of that year that all the principle cast would return for the July 2012 film, Ice Age: Continental Drift. With cast and crew reunited, work began and the studio were quick off the mark in terms of promotion, releasing two 3-minute shorts (Scrat's Continental Crack Up parts 1 & 2) attached to Gulliver's Travels in December 2010 and with Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked in November 2011. The first traditional trailer made its debut in March 2012. Newcomers this time around included Jennifer Lopez, who was set to play Shira, a female sabre-tooth tiger, and Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage, as Captain Gutt, a prehistoric ape. Trouble starts for the herd when Scrat inadvertently starts the break up of the Pangaea continents, leaving Manny, Sid and Diego (along with Sid's grandmother, voiced by Wanda Sykes) separated from family and friends. Finding themselves adrift, they end up in the hands of pirates, headed by the aforementioned Captain Gutt, who takes offence when they refuse to join his crew. Can the gang escape Gutt's clutches and reunite with their loved ones? While all this is going on, Scrat may have just discovered Atlantis... Fox set the film's release for July 13th in North America, but like The Avengers and Battleship, opted to open sooner on the international market (Ice Age: Continental Drift premièred on June 27th at a handful of territories, expanding into more a week later). That helped the feature get off to a blistering start overseas, amassing over $250M to date - even with competition from the Madagascar sequel. How it would fair in North America was open to debate - it would face not one but two family friendly films - Brave and Madagascar 3 - and while one of them was looking a little long in the tooth (Europe's Most Wanted, now in its sixth weekend) they could still pose a threat.

Critically the Ice Age series has never been of much note - the original being the best reviewed with 77% at Rotten Tomatoes. Dawn of the Dinosaurs came off much worse (45%) while Meltdown managed 57%. This new film came in as the poorest of the bunch, scoring a below average 42% at the time of writing. With competition and poor critical status, not to mention the second frame of The Amazing Spider-Man to contend with, this looked set to be one of the tougher openings for the Ice Age series. Ice Age 4 got off to a good, if not great start on Friday, making $16.5M, that's only $3M better than what the original got off to on its opening day back in 2002 (and is some way short of the $21.5M made by The Meltdown). As expected, Saturday and Sunday matinees helped bolster the film, but not by that much, leaving it with a weekend haul of $46M. That puts it in line with what the original movie made over its first three days - which would equate to $58M in 2012 dollars. Competition might be responsible in some part, as to why the picture hasn't opened bigger (Ice Age saw a quieter March release than a busy summer one too) and there's a chance reviews could play a role too, especially given the cost of a family cinema ticket these days (more so when you factor in 3D prices). Fox will be a little disappointed one imagines, and would have liked to have seen the flick clear $50M this frame. The damage by the upcoming films will be limited given their target audience and with no direct competition until mid-August, Continental Drift should do fine. The picture also continues to play incredibly well overseas.

The opening frame of The Amazing Spider-Man split opinion down the middle. With a six day total of $137M, the film looked to have more than justified the money spent rebooting it. However, when one dug a little deeper, it hadn't cleared what Spider-Man 3 made over its opening weekend back in 2007 - even with the help of the 3D surcharge. Sony were quick (and keen) to push the fact that this was a reboot and it had performed better than Batman Begins and X-Men: First Class. Furthermore, it carried decent reviews, an A- cinemascore and the word of mouth was generally positive. Overseas the webslinger had played even better, making $201M, and giving the film a global total of over $340M at that point. From a $220M budget, there was little denying it was off to a great start, regardless of the performance of other flicks in the series. But with its first weekend out the way, all eyes looked towards its second frame, to see just how much front-loading had been involved over those first six days and whether it would have much in the way of legs going forward. This would be Spider-Man's only weekend with little in the way of competition - next week it would face the Dark Knight Rises, a week later, The Watch, then Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy. It had seen decent weekday figures, but curiously, was not as strong as Ted during the days following its first big weekend (though it must be noted for clarity that by its first Monday, Amazing Spider-Man had been out seven days as opposed to Ted's four). As it approached Friday, the Sony picture was sitting on $165M, and one could bet the studio was hoping to hit $200M by Sunday night. Again, comparisons are inevitable - and the best one is Transformers rather than Spider-Man 3. The reason for this is that the Michael Bay picture opened on Monday, meaning it will have seen a similar takings pattern, where as by day 10, Spider-Man 3 had seen two full weekends on release. At this point, Transformers was at $186M while Spider-Man had the aforementioned $165M, highlighting again how the new film is seemingly under-performing (let us not forget, Bay's epic didn't have a 3D ticket surcharge nor does that $186M factor in inflation).

On its second Friday, The Amazing Spider-Man dropped to second place and made $10.3M. That's down 50% on the same time last week but it is worth stressing that last Friday wasn't the film's first day on release, but its fourth (in reality that means the picture avoided the headline grabbing 70%+ Friday to Friday dip that the third Spider-Man witnessed). The studio would have been hoping for a better hold given what's coming next Friday but know this is the best they could have expected. By Sunday night, the webslinger had made a second frame total of $35M, which is down an impressive 44% on last weekend overall. That's a better hold than the third film, but weaker than the original flick, which dipped just 38% in its second frame. Transformers dropped 48% over weekend 2, but closed with over $224M in the bank. The Amazing Spider-Man' managed to hit $200M on Sunday (Day13) but the studio know that The Dark Knight Rises is going to suck the life out of rest of the top ten next frame, Spider-Man being affected more than most. But the film isn't a failure - it just isn't performing as well as the original series, simple as that. Taken on its own, the picture is looking healthy even if $300M domestic is now off the cards. In terms of recent reboots, by day 13, X-Men: First Class was at $106M while Batman Begins had only just crossed the $125M mark. Sony are still pushing ahead with a second film, which is due Summer 2014, and perhaps with the origin story now well out the way, they can concentrate on giving fans something they've not seen before. Overseas the picture remains strong, crossing $320M in the last few days.

Ted had another great frame last weekend, finding itself with a $32.2M 3-day haul, down only 40% on its first huge opening ($54M). The Seth MacFarlane comedy once again played quite well during the week, adding another $4.4M on Monday, $4M on Wednesday, giving it $136M in total as it entered its third weekend on release (that figure is higher than most people had predicated for Ted's entire box office run). In comparison, by day 14, The original Hangover was at $126M, while Bridesmaids had $68.6M in its coffers. (The Hangover sequel was way ahead, with $195M). On Friday, Ted scored another $6.9M, dropping one place to make room for Ice Age 4. Again, the Mark Wahlberg flick played well as the weekend began proper, ending up on Sunday with a great $22.1M, that's down just 31%% on last frame - allowing the film to cross $150M. At this point $200M is looking likely, especially given the very strong word of mouth surrounding the film. It will no doubt take a hit from The Dark Knight Rises next weekend (as will everything), but Ted is already a resounding success for Fox and MacFarlane and it's barely scratched the surface overseas, where it could easily see another $100M+.

With direct competition from Ice Age 4, Brave managed $3.2M on its fourth Friday on general release. While matinee ticket sales couldn't shield it as much this week, it still managed a double figure take of $10.7M, down 45% on its last frame (its cumulative gross stands at $195.5M). The film hasn't been the easiest of sells for Pixar, but it's already proving to be a much worthier and bigger hit than Cars 2 (though it's unlikely to generate anywhere near the same money in merchandise). In terms of Pixar's output, the feature is now their tenth most successful, and Ratatouille is firmly in its sights ($206M finish). Brave needs to hold on in there now, and wait to hit $200M, which should come sometime within the next week. With the Ice Age sequel now out there, the flick won't face any further direct competition until mid-August's Paranorman. In fact, its only problem will be the glut of releases post-Dark Knight Rises that will edge it out of theatres. As mentioned before, due to Pixar's release pattern, the film has yet to open in the vast majority of overseas locations, but has made $36M to date.

Magic Mike's second frame fall was sharper than Madea's Witness Protection, but the Channing Tatum drama did get off to a much stronger start. Major front loading and the film's somewhat limited appeal have both played a factor in its quick drop from that $19M opening day. This frame, Magic Mike got off to a $3.4M Friday - pushing ahead of Brave and highlighting again that it is a Friday night player. By the end of the frame it had added $5.6M more, to leave it with a third weekend figure of $9M. Despite initial signs that the film had burnt out quickly, it'll now become Tatum's third $100M of the year - a feat not many (if any) other actor could lay claim to. At this point the picture is looking at $120M in North America. In reality, all criticism of the film's decline is largely academic given it cost just $7M to produce and may end up clearing $200M in total global ticket sales.

Given its violent content, average reviews and R-rating, Oliver Stone's Savages managed to get off to a solid start last weekend, making $16.5M. A week on and while the news isn't quite so good, it managed a $2.7M Friday (down 53% on the same day last week). The remainder of the weekend proved steady, and that left Taylor Kitsch's third release of 2012 with an $8.7M tally (off 45% in total) and $31.4M overall. Universal will no doubt be wondering whether things could have been better had it stuck with its original release date of September, but this is a solid enough second frame. Savages will see at least one more frame in the top ten, possibly two, ending up sitting somewhere between Natural Born Killers and Wall St in terms of what Stone's previous pictures have made (not factoring inflation into their grosses).

Madea's Witness Protection saw the usual Tyler Perry second frame decline, down almost 60% on its opening weekend figure. This week saw the comedy take $1.7M on Friday, on its way to a $5.6M weekend. Its 17 day total stands at $55.6M, putting it third on the list of films in which Madea is the main star, just above Big Happy Family. From a budget of $20M, the flick should end up with around $60-65M by the end of its theatrical run.

Part of Me, the Katy Perry concert movie dropped an ok 51% on its second Friday on release, adding $1.3M. While it may have now recouped its production budget, a second weekend haul of $3.7M has all but finished the film off, despite a sub 50% drop overall. At this point it should best the Jonas Brothers flick ($19.1M finish) but won't even get close to what the Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds concert movie made within its first three days ($31.1M).

Hanging on in there for at least another week is Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. Made for $16M, the film has more than doubled that figure after being on release for eight weeks, the first four of which saw it at less than 180 locations. Word of mouth has been incredibly strong and while bigger pictures have come and gone, Moonrise Kingdom, like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, has managed to exist almost within its own bubble. This frame saw the picture add $3.6M (down 18% on last weekend) to bring its running total to $32.4M

With fresh competition, Madagascar 3 managed $3.5M this frame. By last Sunday it had become the most successful film in the series and managed to cross the $200M point on Thursday - only the fourth movie of 2012 to achieve such a feat. It should see one more weekends in the top ten. Overseas the picture is still strong, though has taken a hit from the Ice Age sequel. Madagascar: Europe's Most Wanted now has a worldwide gross of over $460M. Dreamworks are obviously happy with its performance as late last week they announced plans to push forward with a fourth film, along with a third Kung Fu Panda movie.

Woody Allen's To Rome With Love may be out of the top ten but it's still attracting an audience. The picture saw a decline of just 18% on last frame, for a weekend finish of $2.5M ($8.6M overall). Continuing to play well in a very limited location count is Sundance winner Beasts of the Southern Wild. The drama added a further $775K this weekend for a $1.6M cumulative gross.

Be sure and check back next Sunday for the 'History of Batman on the Screen' box office report special.

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