Sunday 11 November 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 9th - 11th November 2012

1. Skyfall - $87.8M - $90M
2. Wreck-It Ralph - $33.1M - $93.6M
3. Flight - $15.1M - $47.7M
4. Argo - $6.7M - $85.7M
5. Taken 2 - $4M - $131.2M
6. Here Comes The Boom - $2.55M - $39M
7. Cloud Atlas - $2.5M - $22.7M
8. Pitch Perfect - $2.5M - $52.6M
9. The Man With The Iron Fists - $2.4M - $12.6M
10. Hotel Transylvania - $2.3M - $140.9M

Only one major release this weekend, but it was expected to be a big one. Having wooed international audiences, Skyfall was set to debut at 3,505 locations. It would be up against the second frame of two pictures that impressed last weekend, Flight and Wreck-It Ralph, both of which would be hoping to keep their falls to a minimum. In limited release we also have Steven Spielberg's long-awaited Lincoln. Ahead to next weekend, there's the final part of the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn part 2, followed by The Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians a week later.

Skyfall is the 23rd James Bond film, and the third to feature Daniel Craig as super spy 007. Craig began his run with the 2006 release Casino Royale, having taken over from Pierce Brosnan. After finishing up work on Die Another Day, Brosnan was unsure if he would return a fifth time as he feared he would begin to be compared to Roger Moore's older turn as Bond, which had proved unpopular with some fans. Despite this, the public were still supportive of him playing the character again and negotiations began early 2004 for Brosnan to reprise the role. But by the middle of that year, amid rumours that MGM/EON had hinted they were looking for a younger actor to play Bond (something they denied at the time), Brosnan announced he wasn't coming back. Rumours continued to persist until February 2005, when the star publicly announced he was finished with the character. The search for a new James Bond was on. While many names were bandied about, including Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom and Clive Owen (who clashed over contract details), it was Daniel Craig who was triumphant. In comparison to others mentioned, Craig was something of an unknown, having made his name on stage, rather than screen, though he had had a number of prominent roles before coming to Bond, including the first Tomb Raider movie, Road to Perdition and Layer Cake, the flick  rumoured to have been an influence on him getting the Bond gig. EON officially announced the actor as the new James Bond in October 2005, and while public support wasn't overwhelming, each of the previous Bond players voiced their approval.

Casino Royale was announced as the new James Bond film. The rights to the picture were secured by EON in 1999, during an exchange made by MGM and Sony - MGM giving up their right to Spider-Man for Sony giving them Casino Royale. Robert Wade and Neal Purvis would script, with contributions from Paul Haggis. The decision was made to reboot the entire franchise, which would see James Bond gaining his 00 status in a pre-credits sequence. Out went many of the gadgets for which the series had become famous, and in came a darker, gritter, more realistic Bond, having more in common with Jason Bourne than Brosnan's effects-heavy Die Another Day. Martin Campbell, who had directed Pierce Brosnan's debut in Goldeneye, was selected to direct another new Bond (Curiously, post-Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino had expressed an interest in directing an adaptation of Casino Royale, and talked about shooting in black & white and setting the picture in the 50s, but he never actually entered into talks with EON). Daniel Craig continued to receive criticism from all sides throughout the production, but silenced many of the naysayers when the first action-packed footage was unveiled. By the time of the film's release in November 2006, the public were more than ready for a new James Bond. Reviews were strong and despite having to settle for a second place debut behind the animated Happy Feet, Casino Royale opened incredibly well, making $40M over its first weekend. It dropped less than 25% in weekend two, securing another $30M. By the end of its 18 week domestic run, it had made more than $167M, along with a staggering $426M from the international market. Bond was back.

Deciding to strike while the iron was hot, Producer Michael G. Wilson announced that the next James Bond film, which would come to be known as Quantum of Solace, had been in pre-production since July 2006, almost four months before Casino Royale had opened. The plot this time around would be an original, rather than an adaptation of one of Fleming's stories, and would pick up moments after Casino Royale had ended (though it was later revealed that that had not been the original plan). Purvis and Wade would again script, with Paul Haggis rewriting a month after the duo had turned in their completed screenplay. Marc Forster seemed an odd choice for director, having never handled action sequences before, not to mention not being a fan of the Bond series until seeing Casino Royale (he stated at the time that had he not seen Royale, he would not have taken the job on at all). Along with Wilson and Haggis, Forster rewrote the script from scratch, barely finishing before the 2007-2008 writer's strike began. This led to problems while filming as any screenplay changes couldn't be done by a writer (Craig mentioned in 2011 that he and Forster had attempted to rewrite some sequences but "a writer I was not"). The script problems would continue to hamper the film and when the strike ended while production was still ongoing, Forster hired Joshua Zetumer, who had turned in a spec script that he liked. Zetumer was set to work incorporating some of his own ideas into the Quantum screenplay but the director remained unhappy, resulting in the dialogue being rewritten on an almost daily basis. While a very haphazard method of shooting, Quantum of Solace was eventually finished and set to debut in late October 2008. While not quite as big of a hit with critics (64% plays Casino's 95%), it opened much stronger than its predecessor, taking $67M over its first weekend. Yet, in spite of that great start, it would end up making barely more than Casino Royale by the end of its theatrical run ($168.3M). Internationally there wasn't a great deal to separate the two films either, with Quantum taking $417M. But given the film's $200M production budget and $586M return (excluding any ancillary business), neither MGM or EON were too concerned, and set to work on the third Daniel Craig James Bond picture.

Shortly after the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008, it was announced that Sam Mendes would direct  the 23rd James Bond film, with work beginning immediately. Peter Morgan, writer of Frost/Nixon and The Queen, came aboard to script, and it was assumed a late 2010 release date would be on the cards. However, production came to a grinding halt only a short time later when MGM hit severe financial difficulties, which resulted in them looking for a buyer. In December 2010 the studio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and quickly set about re-structuring its finances. By December 20th, MGM had emerged from the brink and a day later, Bond 23 was back on track. In the two year interim, Peter Morgan had exited the project and Casino/Quantum writer's Neil Purvis and Robert Wade returned, with assistance from John Logan. Despite reports at the time, Sam Mendes confirmed he was still set to direct the picture, and had been employed in a consulting capacity while the film was on hold. The budget would also be reigned back to $150M, after Quantum's $200M costs (though some claim it ended up being between the two figures). In January 2011, a release date was set for November of the following year, with shooting set to commence on the still-untitled film in late 2011.  A Serbian news article in August mentioned that the picture would be called Carte Blanche, and was actually an adaptation of the recent Jeffery Deaver Bond book of the same name, but this story was quickly shot down by EON. Shortly after, rumours began to circulate that Skyfall was to be the title on account that Sony/MGM had begun registering combinations of the name in website domain purchases, but all concerned remained silent on the issue. At a press conference held in November to mark the commencement of shooting, Barabra Broccoli confirmed that Skyfall was indeed the title. Along with a returning Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, Javier Bardem would take on the role of Raoul Silva, the picture's main villain. Also joining the cast would be Ralph Fiennes, who some speculated would be revealed as the true villain of the piece in the course of the movie. Ben Wishaw and Naomie Harris also signed up, with the former being confirmed as the new 'Q'. To give the picture a distinctive look, Mendes hired legendary Coen Brother's cinematographer, Roger Deakins, with whom he had worked on Revolutionary Road.

The story this time around would not be a continuation of the one which began in Casino Royale (and ran through Quantum of Solace), instead Skyfall would be a stand alone adventure. It would see 007's loyalty to M severely tested when the past returns to haunt her. After MI6 comes under attack, Bond must find and destroy the threat, no matter what that entails or how close to home it takes him. Skyfall, as with all Bond films, would shoot in a number of global locations, beginning with venues in and around London, before moving to Turkey (which replaced an aborted India-based shoot), Shanghai and Glencoe, along with the 007 stage at Pinewood. Mendes also revealed recently that there had been discussion regarding getting Sean Connery to play a small but key role in the film, but that the idea was abandonded before the actor could be contacted due to a fear that seeing the former Bond on screen would prove too distracting for cinema-goers. In all, Skyfall shot for 133 days and entered a tight post-production period around the middle of 2012. The first teaser debuted as shooting was coming to an end, and was made up of one minute and twenty two seconds of tightly edited footage, highlighting not only a number of action sequences but Deakins' sumptuous visuals. A number of video blogs followed, as did a full length trailer and further footage as the release date loomed. Thomas Newman would replace David Arnold on composing duties, due to having worked with Sam Mendes on a number of previous films (Arnold denied he had been replaced because of commitments to the Olympics opening ceremony). To mark 50 Years of James Bond, the official Skyfall theme was released, having been co-written and performed by Adele.

The film premiered in London on 23rd October 2012 and opened officially a few days later, to great acclaim and incredible box office. In the United Kingdom, it had the second biggest weekend ever, and made more money in the first seven days than any other film in British history. In all, over its first weekend in 26 markets, Skyfall made over $80M and was just getting started. By the start of weekend three, it was up to a staggering $321M, which is already more than any of the Brosnan Bond pictures made during their entire international runs. Reviews for the new film have been exceptional, and it began its release in North America with a 93% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Skyfall got off to a great start, scoring $4.6M from Thursday evening previews, made up of $2.2M from Imax and $2.4M from standard midnight screenings (The Imax figures enabled it to take the top spot from Wreck-It Ralph on Thursday). Over its first full day on release, the 23rd Bond flick made a blistering $30.8M (That includes the $2.4M midnight figure) - the single biggest day in the history of the series. In comparison, Casino Royale did $14.7M on its first Friday, while Quantum made $27M. There was some fear that front loading would slow Skyfall down on Saturday (as happened with the previous Craig Bond flick) but this proved largely unfounded as the film powered towards a series best opening weekend figure of $87.8M ($90M including Thursday Imax takings). That total is bigger than many analysts had predicted and goes some way to proving how well all the pieces fell into place prior to and during Skyfall's release (An 'A' Cinemascore did the film no harm either, contributing to its white hot word of mouth). In terms of November releases, only Harry Potter and Twilight films have opened stronger. It will clear $100M before next Friday, and there's no way Sony/MGM can be at all disappointed with that start. While it'll face Breaking Dawn Part 2 next weekend, their shouldn't be that much cross over between the two films. If Skyfall can keep its drop below 45%, there's a chance we could be looking at the first $200M James Bond release in North America. Overseas it continued to dominate, climbing to $428M over the last three days. With domestic and international figures combined, the film is now a $518M concern and still has a long way to go yet.

Wreck-It Ralph got off to a fantastic start last weekend, scoring the biggest opening for a Disney animated release with $49M. With the family market becoming bored with Hotel Transylvania, there was plenty of room for Ralph to swoop in and clean up. It would also dominate through out the week, its best day coming Tuesday, when it made $4.7M. While Skyfall would knock it down to second place on Thursday, it didn't really detract from Ralph, meaning the Disney flick was set for another solid frame. By Thursday night, it was sitting on a seven day total of $60.6M, meaning $100M by Sunday was probably out of the question unless the picture held exceptionally well. On its second Friday on general release, the videogame themed flick added another $7.8M to its total, that's down a drop of 42% on its opening day and probably a fraction higher than what the studio had expected. The real money came over Saturday and Sunday, especially matinee performances, and helped Ralph finish the frame with a solid $33M total - down a much better 33% on last weekend overall. Its ten day total now stands at $93.6M, in comparison the aforementioned Hotel Transylvania was at $76M by this point in its release (it cleared $100M on day 17). Wreck-It Ralph has some great word of mouth and faces no competition for at least one more weekend, by which point it could be north of $120M..
Like Wreck-It Ralph, Robert Zemekis' Flight got off to a terrific start last weekend, taking $24.9M. In fact, that figure could have been even bigger were it not for the 1,900 screen roll out restricting the amount of people able to see it. Flight remained firmly in second place from Monday to Thursday, by which point it had recouped its modest $31M production budget. Paramount opted to not expand the film much wider (It upped its theatre count by 163) perhaps aware that Skyfall would attract a similar audience. On Friday, Flight dropped down to third place, making $4.25M in the process (a dip of 48% on its opening day figure and evidence that Bond was impacting its performance). Over the weekend proper the film recovered a little, to finish up on Sunday with a $15M three day total. That gives Flight a cumulative gross of $47.7M after ten days on release and sets it up to turn a tidy profit for the studio, who are probably still kicking themselves that they didn't open the film wider last weekend. At this point, a $70-80M finish is on the cards. For Washington, Flight marks another hit and once again highlights how dependable a box office draw the actor is. Apart from Out Of Time (and movies which opened in a limited capacity), Washington has opened thirteen films above $20M since the year 2000.

Argo still refuses to go quietly into the night in week five of its release. The Ben Affleck directed drama added another $6.7M over the last three days, seeing a fall of only 34% on what it made last weekend. That brings its grand total to $85.5M - which is ahead of what The Town had made in the same time period. $100M is a shoe-in now, though it might be December before Argo hits that figure - and it may yet receive a further boost once we hit critic's award season. Abroad the picure is just getting started, and has made $13.4M to date.

While Skyfall tore up the box office, Taken 2 hung on to fifth place this weekend, making $4M in the process. That brings its 38 day total to $131.2M, all against a budget of $45M. It looks likely to just about equal the $144M made by the first Taken, but this is still a very strong showing for a film whose reviews and word of mouth were quite average, and could have quickly kneecapped it after opening weekend. Taken 2 should see at least one more frame in the top ten before becoming a smash on the home market. Overseas it continues to climb even with Skyfall on its back, and has made $210M to date.

Despite a lacklustre opening, Here Comes The Boom holds onto a top ten position for a fifth weekend, adding $2.55M, for an overall total of $39M. Boom cost around $42M to bring to screens, a figure the film should just about recoup domestically. Next for star Kevin James is the Adam Sandler sequel, Grown-Ups 2.

Cloud Atlas continues to flounder, and made just $2.5M this weekend. The ambitious project, a collaboration between Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis, has failed to make much headway with the general public despite some great initial word of mouth. Its 17 day total now stands at $22.7M. A domestic finish below $30M looks to be on the cards. Due to its staggered global release pattern, we won't know for some time whether the international market will be Cloud Atlas' saving grace. (Evidence of which is starting to appear, as it opened to a huge $8.7M in Russia this weekend)

In a somewhat surprising turn, Pitch Perfect, which dropped out of the top ten a fortnight ago, found itself thrust back into the limelight this weekend, making it back up to seventh place on Friday. The musical comedy which stars Anna Kendrick made $2.5M in the last three days, bringing its total to $59M.

Given its somewhat limited demographic appeal, The Man With the Iron Fists did well to make $7.9M during its first three days. The RZA-directed martial arts epic, which stars Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and RZA himself, cost $15M to produce and was out to around 1,800 locations. Sadly, by its second Friday it appeared that Iron Fists was acting more like a horror movie than anything else, and dropped a very high 76% on its opening day, making only $739K (It fell to seventh place). Over the remainder of the frame it could manage only $1.6M more, bringing its second weekend total to $2.4M (a still rotten fall of 69% on last weekend as a whole). What this means is that while it will recoup its $15M production budget, it's unlikely to see much more. That said, The Man with the Iron Fists was always  the type of film that would find its place on DVD/Blu-Ray, where it should sell well and is destined to become a cult classic.

With Wreck-It Ralph more than ably covering the family market, Hotel Transylvania dropped another 47% this weekend, making $2.3M in the process (It actually dropped out of the top ten on Friday). The Adam Sandler/Selena Gomez animated feature has played incredibly well and is now comfortably within the top fifteen earners of 2012 having made $140.9M to date. A sequel, set for 2015, was announced a couple of days ago. Overseas it has every chance of being an even bigger hit, having made $115M to date.

Out in a limited capacity this weekend is Steven Spielberg's long-awaited Lincoln biopic, whose origins stem back to the turn of the century. When author Doris Kearns Goodwin was consulting for the director in 1999, she mentioned she was writing a book about Lincoln, to be entitled Team of Rivals. Spielberg moved immediately to secure the rights to produce a film based on it, with Dreamworks completing the deal in 2001. He set Gladiator scribe John Logan to produce a script, which centred around Lincoln's friendship with former slave and one of the leaders of the abolitionist movement, Frederick Douglass. Paul Webb was then hired to rewrite Logan's screenplay with a view to shooting in 2006, but Spielberg was still unhappy with it. However, the director had at least found his Lincoln in the guise of Liam Neeson, with whom he had worked on Schindler's List. Scripting duties now fell to Tony Kushner, who had written Munich and won a Pulitzer prize for Angels in America. Feeling completely daunted by the project, Kushner decided to focus on a four month period in the president's life (Neeson had mentioned that Webb's script covered Lincoln's entire life), but that still ran to a 500 page draft. By 2008 Spielberg was ready to announce Lincoln as his next film, and location scouting commenced in early 2009. But a deal over distribution held up filming - the director had developed the picture with Paramount but wanted Touchstone to distribute as part of a new deal. However, he was at that point unable to pay off Paramount for their help and so Lincoln was put on hold again. In the interim, Spielberg shot The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and Warhorse (such was the extensive post-production period on Tintin that the film opened within a month of Warhorse despite being shot almost two years earlier). The script continued to be a headache for Kushner, and by February 2009, he had narrowed the story down further, to cover the two months when Lincoln was preoccupied with adopting the 13th Amendment. Finally, with other commitments now out the way, Spielberg announced Lincoln would be the next film he directed.

Having been on board since January 2005, and completed extensive research on all aspects of the president's life, Liam Neeson deemed himself now too old to play the role and bowed out mid-2010. He was replaced in November by Oscar winner and method actor extraordinaire, Daniel Day-Lewis, who would completely immerse himself in the role to such a degree that producer Kathleen Kennedy "got chills thinking that Lincoln was sitting in front of her". Alongside Lewis, Spielberg cast Sally Field as First Lady Mary Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as their eldest son, Robert, and Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. Tim-Blake Nelson would also feature, as would James Spader and Hal Holbrook, who had won an Emmy portraying Lincoln in 1976. With cast and budget (said to be around $65M) in place, filming began on October 17th 2011 and shot for just over two months. A release date of November 9th 2012 was also put in place. Apart from a few production stills, little was seen or heard of Lincoln, until September 2012, when the first and only domestic trailer was unveiled during a live Google hangout session held with the director and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As expected, early reviews were very strong, with Day-Lewis' portrayal of the 16th President coming in for particular praise (and early award buzz). By the eve of its release, Lincoln had scored a 93% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Out at just eleven locations, with expansion planned for next weekend, the picture amassed a huge $268K on Friday, heading to an equally impressive three day total of $900K. Next frame should certainly prove an interesting one for the picture.

No comments: