Sunday 9 September 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 7th - 9th September 2012

1. The Possession - $9.5M - $33.3M
2. Lawless - $6M - $23.5M
3. The Words - $5M - $5M
4. The Expendables 2 - $4.7M - $75.4M
5. The Bourne Legacy - $4M - $103.6M
6. ParaNorman - $3.8M - $45M
7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $3.6M - $43M
8. The Campaign - $3.5M - $79.4M
9. The Dark Knight Rises - $3.2M - $437.8M
10. 2016: Obama's America - $3.2M - $26M
(13. The Cold Light of Day - $1.8M - $1.8M)

A relatively quiet weekend with just two major releases, only one of which is out to a substantial number of screens. Hollywood is still stuck in the doldrums, though hopes are high box office-wise for next weekend's releases, the fifth Resident Evil film and the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo. But back to this week, and the very real chance that no single film would make $10M, something that hadn't happened since 2008 when Nic Cage's Bangkok Dangerous debuted at no.1 with just $7.7M.

The Possession was the comfortable victor last weekend, making $17.7M and recouping its production budget ($14M) by the end of its first three days. Thanks to Monday being  Labour Day, takings were slightly up on what they would normally be with the Sam Raimi production adding a further $3.3M. But with poor word of mouth spreading, the decent run couldn't last and by Wednesday the horror flick struggled to just $781K. As it entered its second frame its seven day gross stood at $23.8M. Lionsgate would have been expecting a large second frame drop but with only lacklustre competition, knew the picture stood a real chance of being at the top for another weekend. On its second Friday on general release The Possession added a further $2.8M, that's down 53% on its opening day. Things improved slightly over the remainder of the weekend,  and the picture finished up on Sunday with $9.5M, down a very impressive (given its genre) 46% on last frame. At this point, day 10, the picture's cumulative gross stands at $33.3M putting it on track to finish its theatrical run with around $50-55M. With that $14M budget attached, The Possession should return Lionsgate a tidy profit when all is said and done but will be quickly forgotten by most within the month.

Despite strong reviews and a B+ Cinemascore, Lawless found itself settling for second place last weekend. In part, that was due to a Wednesday debut knocking a few million off its potential weekend take. Weekday figures weren't any better either and like The Possession, saw its weakest day on Wednesday, making $685K. Come Thursday night, the violent prohibition thriller had made $17.5M. Friday saw Lawless score $1.7M, putting the film down a not-bad 36% on the same day last week (and keeping new film, The Words at bay). That kind of drop was to be expected given that its first day of release was Wednesday and not the traditional Friday. Over the rest of the frame the Shia LaBeouf/Tom Hardy picture added a further $4.3M, giving it a weekend total of $6M ($23.5M overall). While budget details weren't available at the time of writing, this has to be a disappointment for the Weinstein Company - more so given the talent involved. With at least six new releases over the next two weekends, Lawless won't get any breathing space and may end up not even breaking $40M domestically.

The Words was written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal and follows a young author (Rory) desperately trying to come up with a story. When his latest effort is rejected he happens across a manuscript found in a old briefcase his wife had bought him while they were in France. Finding himself incredibly moved by how good the story is, he sets to work re-typing it. When his wife discovers the story she too is impressed, and thinks Rory has finally produced his great novel. Not wanting to correct her, he decides to let her think he did write it and pushes to get it published. Thanks to 'his' new book, Rory finds himself the toast of the publishing world and reaps all the rewards that come with it. But when a man connected with the original manuscript comes into his life, the author soon discovers the high price he will have to pay for stealing another's story. The Words marks the directorial debut of Klugman and Sternthal, who received advice on the script from the Sundance Writer's Lab. With funding in place they set to work on casting, with Bradley Cooper taking the lead role of Rory, Zoe Saldana as his wife Dora and Jeremy Irons as the stranger with the potential to expose Rory's deceit. Other members of the cast included J.K Simmons, Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde, the last two acting as a framing device for the picture - Wilde interviewing Quaid's character who has himself written a book relating to the events that unfold as the main body of the film.

Shooting took place during the summer of 2011 with Montreal doubling for both Paris and New York. The completed picture screened at Sundance in January 2012 and was witness to a furious bidding war, with CBS Films emerging victorious thanks in part to their promise to the directors that The Words would see a theatrical release. Reviews emerging from the festival were positive, with the distributor scheduling a September 2012 release date. The first trailer for the film debuted in May, with a second appearing in late July. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Bradley Cooper is on the up and up, and a dramatic turn here could further cement his growing popularity. While Zoe Saldana has been acting since 1999, she rose to prominence thanks to her motion captured performance in 2009's Avatar, as well as roles in J.J Abrams' Star Trek, The Losers and Columbiana. While the Sundance crowd may have enjoyed it, conventional reviewers weren't so impressed, with the film scoring only 17% approval at Rotten Tomatoes. As the weekend loomed, there was every chance The Possession would hang on to the top spot. Be it the average trailers, poor reviews or both, The Words got off to a very soft Friday start of just $1.6M, not even good enough for second place and barely better than August's Hit & Run, in which Cooper had a co-starring role. Over Saturday and into Sunday, the picture continued to be given a wide berth, finishing up with a disappointing $5M weekend total. Word of mouth is unlikely to provide the flick with a weekday boost, and despite no direct competition next frame, The Words will almost certainly see a drop of above 50%. The only saving grace is the film's low production budget, rumoured to be around $6M, which it will recoup in the next few days.

Now in its fourth weekend, The Expendables 2 managed a $1.3M Friday haul, with a further $3.4M over Saturday and Sunday. Its 24 day total now stands at $75.4M, meaning it should clear $85M in North America but see little more. As expected, better news came from the overseas market where the Stallone-led ensemble cleared $100M as of last Wednesday. The original picture made $171M abroad and there's little reason to think this new film won't make at least that figure, with $200M not entirely out of the question.

The Bourne Legacy is starting to look a little long in the tooth now, but did at least cross the $100M mark on Friday. With an additional $4M this weekend, the Bourne-less spin off now has a five week total of $103.6M, with a further $61M from its foreign release (as of Thursday). At this point, Universal has still not committed itself to a further Jeremy Renner led picture, and may wait to see how the film's home release goes before making a decision.

Sadly ParaNorman doesn't appear to have the staying power of Coraline, despite its current chart position. This weekend the supernatural themed family flick made $3.8M, to bring its four week total to $45M. Next frame the Finding Nemo 3D re-release will almost certainly finish it off.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green recouped its $40M production budget on Friday. This frame, its fourth on general release saw the Disney fantasy picture add $3.6M, bringing its overall total to $43M.

The Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis political comedy, The Campaign, notched up another $3.5M this weekend to bring its running total to $79.4M. It won't finish up near Step Brothers $100M but should surpass Anchorman ($85M back in 2004).

Last weekend The Dark Knight Rises crossed $1 billion in total global ticket sales - only twelve other films have achieved such a feat. Furthermore, it has now cleared $100M just in Imax ticket sales, the only other picture to do that was Avatar. Curiously, while The Dark Knight was stronger in North America than overseas ($533M against $469M), its sequel is reversed ($437M against $577M). The stronger overseas figure means TDKR actually sits higher than The Dark Knight on the all-time worldwide chart. This frame, Christopher Nolan's final Batman film made $3.2M, bringing its total to $437M.

While the political documentary 2016: Obama's America climbed up to third during the week, it was once again back at the lower end of the chart by the weekend. With $3.2M over the last three days, 2016 has now made $26M in its 59 days on release.

The only other wide new release this frame is action thriller, The Cold Light of Day, starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver. Cavill plays Will Shaw, a man who finds his family kidnapped by intelligence agents while holidaying in Spain. He quickly discovers the ransom for their safety is a mysterious suitcase about which he knows nothing. Suspected of murder and forced to go on the run, Will has to get to the bottom of the situation before it's too late for him and his family. Mabrouk El Mechri helms the picture, his first feature credit since the Jean Claude Van Damme mockumentary, JCVD. Willis joined the project back in August 2010 with shooting taking place prior to Cavill signing on as Zack Snyder's Superman. Like The Possession last frame the picture has sat finished for some time. The first trailer arrived in January of this year with the film receiving a slow but steady international roll out, starting with Spain in early April. In fact, North America and Japan are amongst the last territories to receive The Cold Light Of Day. It did seem that Summit themselves were unsure with what to do with it, originally scheduling a limited domestic release, before opting to put the feature into 1,500 or so locations (the mostly negative international reviews not helping matters one assumes). Both Willis and Weaver are big names, but neither are the huge draws they once were (Die Hard franchise aside in Willis' case) and with Summit's lack of marketing hype, it appears they just wanted their commitment fulfilled as quickly as possible (Or rather, Lionsgate wanted their commitment to the Summit release fulfilled quickly). The Cold Light of Day struggled to $637K on Friday, not even cracking the top ten and by the end of the weekend it had made just $1.8M. Chances are the film will be pulled from the vast majority of its locations by next Friday and be just a footnote on the star's respective CVs.

Out to 47 locations, the raunchy comedy Bacherlorette, which stars Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst, made a respectable $191K this weekend. The film actually had a successful VOD debut back in August, beating out The Dictator, Battleship and 21 Jump Street during its first 24 hours. Meanwhile, Branded (aka The Mad Cow), an American-Russian co-production about a future world run by corporations and one man's mission to unlock the global conspiracy, opened on 307 screens, taking $225K.

Finally, one further film of note. The one week Imax release of Raiders of the Lost Ark made $438K on Friday, heading to a weekend finish of $1.72M. A very strong showing from only 267 locations.

Overall a very poor weekend, and according ERC Box Office, the lowest overall top ten total for a decade.

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