Sunday 23 December 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 21st - 23rd December 2012

1. The Hobbit - $36.7M - $149.85M
2. Jack Reacher - $15.6M - $15.6M
3. This Is Forty - $12M - $12M
4. Rise of the Guardians - $5.9M - $79.6M
5. Lincoln - $5.6M - $116.7M
6. The Guilt Trip - $5.3M - $7.4M
7. Monsters Inc 3D - $5M - $6.5M
8. Skyfall - $4.7M - $279.7M
9. Life of Pi -$3.8M - $76.1M
10. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 - $2.6M - $281.6M

Welcome to the first mini box office report. It's been a busy few days, we've already had two major releases on Wednesday (The Guilt Trip, Monsters Inc 3D) which were joined by three more on Friday in the guise of Jack Reacher, This is Forty and Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away. The well-reviewed Zero Dark Thirty also made its debut at five theatres while The Impossible opened at fifteen. Being so close to the holidays, all the new and existing releases had to contend with not only each other but festive shopping and travelling this weekend, though the coming week should be lucrative for all.

As expected, our number one film this weekend is The Hobbit. It had opened well last frame, making $84.6M, but signs of heavy front-loading and disappointing word of mouth began to surface as early as its first Saturday. The Peter Jackson directed flick hit $100M on Tuesday, day five of its release - which was quicker than both Fellowship and Two Towers, but slower than Return of the King. As of Thursday night, the prequel had made $113M and remained largely unaffected by new Wednesday releases The Guilt Trip and Monters Inc 3D. By day 7, the final Lords movie was sitting on a $150M total, though its worth noting that that film did open on a Wednesday and not a Friday. Furthermore, some are saying that The Hobbit should be taken as the first part in a new trilogy and hence comparisons with the final part in a well established franchise aren't quite fair (Similar to The Amazing Spider-Man back in the summer). Taken as a new film, The Hobbit is performing ahead of Fellowship of the Rings, which had made $94M in its first seven days (without the aid of 3D ticket prices). On its second Friday, The Hobbit plunged 73% on its opening day figure, making $10M in the process. That fall is much higher than the film needed at this early stage but there was increased competition in the guise of Jack Reacher and This is Forty, along with the aforementioned (and inevitable) front-loading effect. Things improved as the weekend began proper, with a much stronger Saturday figure. From their Wednesday debuts to the same day the following week, the original trilogy fell 33%, 52%, 78% (though Return of the King's eighth day fell on Christmas Eve, which partly explains that huge fall). Their actual weekend to weekend falls were much more acceptable - something that The Hobbit can't claim as it made $36.7M in total this frame, an overall fall of 56%. After ten days, that brings the film's running total to $149.85M, leaving it with some work to do over the holiday week if it wants to push toward $275M domestically. Yet even with that overall fall, The Hobbit is far from a disappointment - especially considering it had a global total of more than $250M before the weekend even began. There's also the holiday period to come, which should see the film make a lot more money than it would during a conventional week.

Our first new release this weekend is Jack Reacher, the Tom Cruise thriller based on the Lee Child book, One Shot. Cruise plays the titular character, an ex-military police officer who now lives off the radar. When five people are killed by a sniper, the man arrested for the crime pleads his innocence and requests to talk to Reacher. However, he's already on his way to investigate, knowing something about the shooting doesn't add up. Cruise was seen as an odd (and controversial) choice to play Child's character, given that he is described by the author as being 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighing between 210-250lbs. The film marks director Christopher McQuarrie second time behind the camera, his first being the 2000 action thriller The Way of the Gun. Joining Cruise would be Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins and famed director Werner Herzog. Reviews were initially very positive but begin to dip as more critics weighed in with their opinion (It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 61%). On Friday, the picture opened to $5.1M, the best of the new releases but no doubt affected by the time of the year and the competition (The Hobbit and This is Forty specifically). By the end of the weekend it had added a further $10.5M, to give it a three day total of $15.6M. That's an ok figure but likely on the lower end of expectations. The $60M budgeted picture needs to build on that start over the coming holiday week if it is to avoid disappointment, especially with Django Unchained waiting in the wings for a Christmas day release.

This is Forty is a spin-off movie featuring characters who appeared in Knocked Up, Judd Apatow's 2007 comedy hit. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles of husband and wife duo, Pete and Debbie, with Apatow once again in the director's chair - the first time since 2009's disappointing Funny People. The film catches up with the characters as they approach forty and decide to make some changes in their lifestyle and relationship, discovering that it isn't always for the better. Joining Rudd and Mann are Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Jason Segal (Also reprising his Knocked Up role), along with Apatow and Mann's real-life daughters, Maude and Iris. Reviews were cut straight down the middle, with roughly half of critics enjoying the film. This is Forty didn't have the comedy market all to itself this weekend as The Guilt Trip (starring Apatow alumni Seth Rogen) opened on Wednesday, though its negligible how much competition it actually provided.  During its first day on release, Forty made $3.7M, slotting into third place and putting it on track to be the director's lowest opener (thought admittedly, this is his first non-summer release). All told this weekend, the comedy made a slightly disappointing $12M - less than half of what Knocked Up made during its first frame. It should find itself boosted over the Christmas period, which will help cover its $35M production budget, but may leave it struggling to surpass Funny People's $51M finish.

Rise of the Guardians managed to keep ahead of Monsters Inc. 3D and The Guilt Trip, but all told, there was less than $200K separating them on Friday. The Dreamworks animated release has managed to pick up some festive business (and should continue to now that school is out) but it will be unlikely to save it from relative failure in North America. This weekend it managed to make $5.9M, bringing its overall total to $79.6M. Overseas it is fairing slightly better, having made $120M as of last Thursday.

Lincoln, now in its seventh weekend on general release, continues to impress. It managed a $1.4M Friday total on its way to a three day figure of $5.6M (a 20% fall on its last frame). That gives the Daniel Day-Lewis picture a cumulative gross of $116.7M and puts it within grasping distance of Hook, Spielberg's 14th most successful film.

Our second comedy release this week is The Guilt Trip, starring Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen. When Inventor Andrew Brewster stops by his mother's house before embarking on an epic road trip, he finds himself inviting her along for the ride - and on a mission to not only sell his new invention but to potentially reunite his mother with her lost love. Ann Fletcher, who cut her teeth on Step Up, 27 Dresses and The Proposal directed The Guilt Trip and it marks Streisand's first lead role since 1996's The Mirror Has Two Faces. Hype had been kept fairly low key on this one, at least initially, while reviews weren't anything to write home about (36% at Rotten Tomatoes). Opening on Wednesday, the film barely bested the near-seven week old Lincoln, making $1M. Thursday was no different and by Friday, with This Is Forty added to the mix, The Guilt Trip saw just $1.4M. By Sunday night, it had made just $3.9M more, for a three day total of $5.3M ($7.4M since release). There really isn't any way to write this up other than as a failure - even with a modest budget of $40M attached. It may pick up business over the coming week, but it will also face more comedy competition on Christmas Day thanks to the Billy Crystal/Better Middler flick, Parental Guidance.

Like The Guilt Trip, Monsters Inc. 3D opened on Wednesday. The Pixar film, which made $255M during its initial release back in 2001, is the latest in a line of planned 3D re-releases which has so far included Finding Nemo and Toy Story 1 & 2. Out to 2,618 locations, the film struggled on opening day, making $778K (partly due to schools still being in session). With competition from Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph, the Pixar flick managed only $1.3M on Friday, as it headed toward a poor weekend total of $5M ($6.5M since Wednesday). Finding Nemo 3D did fair better back in September but the performance of Monsters Inc. 3D once again shows a growing public apathy to these kind of re-releases (which generally serve as an advert for the film's inevitable 3D debut on Blu-Ray). Add in the 3D ticket surcharge, and the fact that Monster Inc. has long been available in the home (albeit not in 3D) and one begins to see why the public favour a new family film over a re-release, even when said film is something of a modern classic. Like Rise of the Guardians, Monsters Inc will pick up business in the coming week, but is unlikely to make more than $25M-30M during its run.

Faced with competition from Jack Reacher, Skyfall dropped down to eighth place this weekend, making $4.7M in the process. The most successful James Bond film in history now has a staggering 45 day gross of $279M. A domestic finish of around $295M looks to be on the cards, with another $700M+ overseas (Skyfall is yet to open in the increasingly lucrative Chinese market).

Life of Pi looks to be heading for a $85-90M domestic finish and continues to play well abroad too, especially in China and India. Made for around $120M, the Ang Lee adaptation of Yann Martel's novel has a worldwide figure approaching $220M

Breaking Dawn Part 2 made $2.6M this weekend, bringing its overall domestic total to $281.6M. That means it has pushed ahead of its 2011 predecessor to become the third most successful film in the series. Only New Moon ($296M) and Eclipse ($300M) now stand in its way, but it may ultimately find their totals just out of reach. In terms of worldwide figures, Breaking Dawn Part 2 has now made $794M.

Failing to crack the top ten is the 3D concert movie, Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away. The picture is made up of sequences from several Cirque Du Soleil shows, sewn into a plot involving a girl visiting a circus. Out to 840 theatres, the picture failed to gain much public attention (not helped by its erratic screening schedule which saw some theatres exhibiting the film just twice a day), making $802K on Friday as it headed toward a $2.1M weekend finish.

The award-winning (and controversial) Zero Dark Thirty debuted at 5 locations on Wednesday and has since made a stunning $639K. The film, chronicling the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, expands wide in early January.

Finally, The Impossible, a true-life drama starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor set during the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami, made $138K from its fifteen locations. The film has already seen release in a number of overseas locations, including Spain, where it set a new opening weekend record.

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