Sunday 1 July 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 29th June - 1st July 2012

1. Ted - $54.1M - $54.1M
2. Magic Mike - $39.1M - $39.1M
3. Brave - $34M - $131.6M
4. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection - $26.4M - $26.4M
5. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - $11.8M - $180M
6. Abramham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - $6M - $29M
7. Prometheus - $4.92M - $118.2M
8. Moonrise Kingdom - $4.8M - $18.4M
9. Snow White and the Huntsman - $4.4M - $145.5M
10. People Like Us - $4.3M - $4.3M

After comfortably sliding into the top spot last frame, Brave will planning on staying there, at least for a few more days. It finds itself in mixed company this weekend in the guise of the R-rated Magic Mike and Ted. Joining those is the drama People Like Us and a return for Tyler Perry's Madea, in Madea's Witness Protection. Both old and new releases know they've only got until Tuesday to make as much money as possible before Sony unleash The Amazing Spider-Man, which will impact everything in the top ten, until the release of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th. But back to this week, with Brave hoping to make it two for two...

Ted is the feature directing debut for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, the story begins with the wish of an eight year old boy to have his teddy bear come to life. When this wish comes true, John (Mitch Haggins portraying the young Wahlberg) finds himself with a friend forever. As they enter adulthood, Ted is still John's best friend, only now the bear has become a vulgar, drink and drug taking pal who looks to be a major hindrance for the burgeoning relationship between John and his girlfriend Lori.  Is it time for John and Ted to finally go their separate ways? Having found immense success with animation (Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show)  it was widely believed that when MacFarlane made the jump to features, it would be with animation. However, while appearing on Conan O'Brien's chat show, he announced that Ted would be his live action feature debut, with Mark Wahlberg acting opposite a computer generated bear (which MacFarlane would voice, and also take on writing and producing duties too). Production began in March of 2011 and a release date of mid-July 2012 was set. When G.I Joe: Retaliation vacated the June 29th slot, Universal quickly moved Ted's release into its place. The first trailer, obviously Red band, debuted in April, and it's been subsequently supported by further trailers and footage. While Magic Mike would share the same R-rating, the films would attract differing demographics, with last frame's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter being the more direct competition (at least on paper) - that is until the release of The Amazing Spider-Man on Tuesday.

Ted is by far the most expensive of this weekend's releases, at $50M, and despite positive buzz around the trailers, no one was quite sure how it would review. First notices were quite negative but as more and more critics weighed in, its rating rose as high as 77%, before settling down to a still-ok 67%. Like Magic Mike (see below), the film proved successful during midnight sneaks, making a similar $2M. But by Friday evening, Ted had pulled ahead with a very impressive $20.2M (that includes the midnight figures too), securing the top spot. In fact, that single day take is more than Adam Sandler's That's My Boy made during its first seven days. With the other R-rated new release making only $600K less, a battle for the weekend was on. But it was to be a short lived fight as Ted quickly pulled ahead on Saturday, while Magic Mike struggled somewhat after that big start. Ultimately, it was the cross demographic appeal of the MacFarlane flick (combined with some good word of mouth) that helped it pull so far ahead, making almost double what analysts had predicted, with a stunning $54.1M 3-day haul. This is a fantastic start for Seth MacFarlane's theatrical debut and means the film has already recouped its production budget before the start of the holiday. It's also the biggest debut for an original R-rated picture, surpassing the original Hangover. As for Wahlberg, Ted marks the second best debut of his career, after the $68M opener, Planet of the Apes. The question on many lips at this point is whether we have found 2012's Hangover/Bridesmaids equivalent - the early positive word of mouth and A- cinemascore could certainly point in that direction and next weekend's take should be able to provide the answer.

Magic Mike seems an unlikely subject for Steven Soderbergh to tackle, being the story of a male stripper training a protege while looking to get out of the game. The idea came to light when the director was working with Channing Tatum on Haywire, the actor regaling him with tales of his time working as a male stripper, a job he took after dropping out of college. Seeing the possibility of a story, the two set about bringing what was to become Magic Mike, to the big screen. Working with a screenplay written by Reid Carolin (a partner in Tatum's production company), the actor and director opted to fund the project themselves (They take a producing credit, alongside Carolin). The picture was officially announced in April 2011 and shot from early September through October, with the rights to distribute being secured by Warner Bros at the tail end of the shoot. The film follows the titular Magic Mike as he goes about his day (or rather evening) job at the Xquisite club, run by the former stripper Dallas, played by Matthew McConaughey. Into this situation comes Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a young guy down on his luck and being supported by his sister Paige. Seeing something of himself in Adam, Mike introduces him to the world of stripping, and also finds himself falling for Paige, who could provide him a life outside of the club. The first trailer came a year after the film's announcement and was followed up by the now de rigeur Red band one.

Channing Tatum is having a hell of year, starting off with a minor role in Haywire, he scored his first $100M film of 2012 with February's The Vow, opposite Rachel McAdams. A month later saw the release of 21 Jump Street, which finished its theatrical run with $138M. Even more interesting is that this weekend was meant to see the release of the G.I Joe sequel, in which the actor had what appeared to be an extended cameo. However, with just over a month to the film's release, Paramount opted to delay by almost a year - with more than one rumour putting the decision down to them wanting to elevate Tatum's role into a full co-star position (the official line is to convert the picture to 3D). The actor is also working with Soderbergh again in The Bitterest Pill, due early 2013. Reviews for Magic Mike started off very well indeed and by Friday, the film was rated Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with a positive score of 79%. Furthermore, on Wednesday, online vendor Fandango reported that the film accounted for 53% of all tickets sold so far that week. With a production budget of only $5-7M, even a half decent start would help the picture to quickly turn a profit. From midnight sneak peaks at around a 1,000 locations, Magic Mike made just over $2M - better than recent big-budget films such as Men in Black 3. For its first full day on release, the flick made $19.4M, putting it, as we've already seen, biting at Ted's ankles. What put the picture at a disadvantage was its narrower demographic appeal, and that led to a weaker Saturday (down 41% on opening day according to BoxofficeGuru), though it's worth noting that the film was already way ahead of expectations after just one day.  By the end of the weekend, Magic Mike had to accept the sweetest of defeats, a second place finish and an astonishing $39.1M haul. That puts it as the third biggest opening weekend for a Channing Tatum film, behind the original G.I Joe movie and The Vow. We're potentially looking at his third $100M release this year too. With its ultra-low budget, there's a chance the film is approaching, or even seeing,  real profit (covering its promotional and prints budget, as well as production) from just its first three days. It should also play well during the week, to the ladies' night/Sex in the City type of audience.

With a solid enough opening last frame, Brave had been hoping to make it two in a row this weekend. While some were quick to class its $66M debut as being on the disappointing side (Despite it being the fifth biggest weekend for a Pixar release), audiences were more than taken with the adventures of Merida and her family. Furthermore, that opening number  quelled pre-release fears that only mothers and daughters would show up. Comparisons are the name of the game in its second frame. During the week the picture continued to play strong, seeing $8.9M on Monday and Tuesday (better figures than Cars 2, which managed $6.9M and $7M over the same time frame), finishing up Thursday with $97.6M (Up had made $93M by day 7, while aforementioned Cars sequel was at $90M). None of the new releases directly affected Brave but all could potentially draw cinemagoers away - as will The Amazing Spider-man on Tuesday despite attracting an older demographic. On its second Friday the Pixar release made $10.3M and crossed the $100M threshold in the process. That Friday figure means the picture was off a higher than hoped 58% against its release day - but in comparison again, a better hold than Cars 2, a weaker one than Up. While little separated Brave from Madea's Witness Protection on Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinees proved key for it to pull well ahead, and it finished its second frame on release with $34M - down 49% on last weekend overall. The film is still within sight of what the more recent releases have made (Toy Story 3 aside) and needs to hope for further decent weekday figures, with a better hold next week too, to ensure it finishes ahead of Cars 2's $191M domestic total. Brave has now made $131.6M, after ten days on general release.

Madea's Witness Protection is Tyler Perry's seventh film to feature the formidable character of Madea. Perry himself portray's the titular matriarch (a loud-mouth, overweight African-American woman in her late 70s), who this time around finds herself taking in Eugene Levy's George Needleman, a man marked for death when a mob-based money laundering scheme he is in charge of, falls apart. Needleman and has family (which includes Denise Richards as his trophy wife) are forced to enter the witness protection scheme and find  themselves in the most unlikely of locations - Madea's house. As usual, as well as playing Madea and other related characters, Perry also wrote, directed and produced the flick, though this marks the fourth film not to be based on one of his stage plays. As has been covered a number of times in these columns, Perry is a one-man media empire, covering work in print, stage, TV and Film, not to mention his own studio complex in Atlanta. While he has seen little success abroad, his low-budget productions continue to play well in North America, with many stating his success helped build Lionsgate Studios. Even when his film aren't all that  big, their cheap production costs ensure no one loses money (his most recent flick, this one aside, was Good Deeds, which made $35M from a $14M production budget). His films tend to open well, before quickly vanishing a week or so later. His best opening weekend and final tally belong to the same film, 2009's Madea Goes To Jail, making $41M and $90M respectively. Furthermore, the location count for the releases has stay fairly consistent, around 2,100, give or take.

He has a fairly dependable fanbase (again, especially for films which feature Madea) meaning reviews are generally discarded (Witness Protection is currently 'Rotten' with a rare 0% rating) and next to bulletproof in the competition stakes. And given the speed Perry works, if one film doesn't quite hit the mark, he'll already have the next in post-production (The Marriage Counsellor is due March 2013). The fan base were there Friday, when Witness Protection made a decent $10.3M, in line with two recent Madea pictures (Reunion, Big Happy Family) but a few million short of ...Goes to Jail. For the weekend as a whole, the picture made $26.4M, which is a solid enough figure but proof again that Perry can't open a film much beyond his core audience (another reason his movies barely receive a release outside of North America). That $26M puts it slightly stronger than I Can Do Bad All By Myself ($23.4M opening) and Big Happy Family ($25M). With a $20M budget attached, this won't lose Lionsgate any money, but they know, as does Perry, that Madea's days are starting to look numbered. It will see a sharp fall next frame, as is the norm for a Perry flick, and be gone within three weeks.

Proving that the market is indeed big enough to support two family-orientated flicks, the Madgascar sequel held its ground up against Brave in its third week on release, dropping 42% in business from its second frame. A week on the film found itself pushed down to fifth, but still maintained a decent 3-day haul, which began Friday with $3.5M. By Sunday evening, it had added a further $8.3M, bringing its 24 day total to $180M. At the same point in their release, the previous flicks had made $146M and $159M respectively, putting Europe's Most Wanted on track to become the biggest of the series by next weekend. The next direct competition to both animated releases is Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, which opens on July 13th but is already going down a storm on the international markets. Overseas Madagascar 3 is still a force to be reckoned with, crossing $200M sometime in the last few days.

Despite a somewhat original selling point, that of a president who also kills bloodsuckers, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter failed to impress audiences during its first three days, managing $16.3M. A week on, and with the poor word of mouth starting to bite, the Tim Burton produced action horror fell a nasty 70% on Friday to Friday basis (taking just $1.8M), with only a slightly better drop for the weekend overall (62%). Lincoln added a total of $6M over the last 3 days, to give it a cumulative gross so far of $29M. This poor second frame all but dooms the picture to a $45-50M domestic finish. Abroad the film is just getting started, having made $7.8M so far.

Ridley Scott's Prometheus falls to seventh this weekend, adding $4.9M. It made a great splash three weeks ago with a $50M opening but suffered a near catastrophic drop in takings a week later. In its third frame, the fall was little better but its takings did allow it to pass the $100M mark. Yet, with a $130M domestic finish on the cards (allegedly what the picture cost to make, minus prints and promotion), it's being hailed as success, more so when backed up by its $153M international take. Whether these are the kind of figures Fox were hoping to see, remains a mystery for now and while Scott has talked about plans for a sequel, until the greenlight is given, Prometheus will continue to be something of a box office enigma.

Moonrise Kingdom finally received something of a major rollout, expanding into 854 locations this frame. That expansion allowed the Wes Anderson flick to move further up the top ten, with $1.3M coming on Friday. By Sunday its weekend total stood at $4.9M, for a 38 day figure of $18.4M. Further expansion may yet come, but it almost feels like Focus Features may have left it just that bit too long to bring the picture to more theatres.

Edging closer to $150M this weekend is Snow White and The Huntsman, the Chris Hemsworth/Kristen Stewart fairy tale re-imagining. Made for $170M, the picture opened well back in May but couldn't keep up momentum in subsequent weeks, something blamed mainly on its poor word of mouth. That said, its $145M total so far isn't to be laughed at, more so considering its rival, Mirror Mirror, crashed out to just $64M in North America. This frame the Universal release added $4.4M. With Spider-Man thrown into the mix from Tuesday, the Katy Perry concert movie due next Thursday and Oliver Stone's Savages on Friday, this may turn out to be The Huntsman final showing in the top ten.

People Like Us, like Madea's Witness Protection, is out to around 2,000 locations. The drama stars Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks as siblings who don't know the other exists until after their father dies. As part of his late father's will, Pine's character Sam finds he has been tasked with delivering $150K to his estranged sister (Frankie) and her difficult son, discovering that like himself, her life is not without its problems. Unsure of how to proceed with the task he has to do, Sam decides to not tell Frankie who he is, and instead sets out to get to know the sister he never knew he had. The film is of note to some for being the directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman, the co-writer and/or producer of such films as Transformers, The Proposal and JJ Abrams Star Trek (and its upcoming sequel). As we saw last weekend with Seeking a Friend For the End of the World, a drama can easily become lost amongst bigger pictures, and requires all the help it can get, especially when operating on a reduced screen count. Unfortunately for People Like Us, reviews were only slightly stronger than the aforementioned Steve Carell flick, with 55% of critics finding something to enjoy. With three other releases vying for business, the picture was going to have a fight on its hands, regardless of critical opinion. Pine's last film, This Means War, limped to a $54M domestic finish, while Banks saw success with The Hunger Games back in March, but disappointment with May's What To Expect When You're Expecting. Sadly it seems, like Seeking A Friend, this is a small film in too busy a market. Friday saw it struggle to $1.6M, only good enough for seventh place. With little to entice people away from the bigger flicks, People Like Us added just $2.7M over the remainder of the frame, to bring its 3-day total to $4.3M. With three releases next frame, there's little chance the picture will see another top ten finish (it barely made one this weekend). Again, one must question the studio's strategy behind releasing such a film at this time of the year, on this already busy weekend. [As a side note, Seeking  a Friend made just $1.1M this frame, for a $6.6M total]

It's only been a short while since The Avenger's made box office news but it was back in the headlines again this week due to it passing the $600M mark in domestic tickets sales sometime on Tuesday (day 54 of its release) . Only two other films have achieved this feat, Avatar and Titanic. As was touched on briefly in last weekend's report, if one were to remove the money Titanic made during its recent 3D re-release, The Avengers has actually surpassed its $600.6M. This frame saw the Marvel epic add $4.2M (narrowly missing another top ten placing) giving it a running total of $606.6M ($1.44B global total)

Sundance (and Cannes Camera d'Or) winner Beast of the Southern Wild opened at four locations on Wednesday and made $27K. Over the weekend, the very well reviewed fantasy drama made a strong $169K (giving it the best screen to dollars taken average of any film in the top ten). Its total so far comes in at $220K. It is assumed the film will expand further in the coming weeks, especially on the strength of this debut.

Also still in limited release is Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, which made $725K this frame, giving it $1.2M so far. Overseas the film has made just under $10M.

Finally, The Amazing Spider-Man opened in thirteen overseas territories and saw a return of $50.2M, while the Ice Age sequel made $78M from 34 markets.

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