Sunday 29 September 2013

U.S Box Office Report - 20th - 22nd Sept 2013

1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2  - $35M - $35M
2. Prisoners - $11.2M - $38.9M
3. Rush - $10.3M - $10.5M
4. Baggage Claim - $9.3M -$9.3M
5. Don Jon - $9M -$9M
6. Insidious Chapter 2 - $6.7M - $69.5M
7. The Family - $3.6M - $31.6M
8. Instructions Not Included- $3.3M - $38.5M
9. We're The Millers - $2.8M - $142.4M
10. Lee Miller' The Butler - $2.4M - $110.2M

After a few quieter weeks, it's business as usual at the box office, with four major releases joining the fray. The Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs sequel looked to take on Baggage Claim, Don Jon and an expanding Rush. Prisoners was hoping to build on its impressive start but with the increased competition, it would need to rely on the strong word of mouth it had been accumulating. Next weekend brings the Justin Timberlake/Ben Affleck drama, Runner Runner, plus the long awaited release of Gravity.

The adaptation of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was based on the book of the same name by author Judi Barrett. The critically acclaimed film saw a wide release just over four years ago, and while not a major hit (it earnt $124M against a budget of $100M), it certainly had its fans and enjoyed a successful run on DVD. In something of a rarity, especially in light of recent animated releases, the picture actually made less money overseas than it did domestically ($118M versus the aforementioned $124M). News of a sequel first emerged in April of 2010 when it was revealed that directors Phill Lord and Chris Miller would not be returning to helm the sequel (the duo would take on 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie instead). In their place would be Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, both of whom who had worked on the original picture as story board artist and head of story respectively. As work got underway, it was revealed that new film would not be based on Barrett's follow up book, Pickles in Pittsburgh, but would be an original story instead. The majority of the principle cast would return for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, including Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan and Neil Patrick Harris. This time around, Flint joins The Live Corp Company and finds himself tasked with cleaning up the island which was over run by food in the first picture. However, upon his return, he discovers his machine has continued to operate and has begun to create food beasts, including Tacodiles and Shrimpanzees. With a December 2013 release date announced, Sony chose to retitle the picture to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (ensuring there was no confusion as to what the film was). Its release was then pushed back to February 2014, before finally settling on a late September debut. With a reduced budget of $78M, and decent, though not spectacular reviews (it is currently 58% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), Meatballs 2 would face almost no direct competition, save for the long-in-the tooth Planes. That meant there was every chance it would take the September record that was currently held by the $42M opener, Hotel Transylvania. However, it soon became apparent that that wasn't to be the case.

Out to over 4,000 locations, Meatballs 2 got off to a solid, if slightly unspectacular start on Friday, taking $9.3M during its first 24 hours. In comparison, the original picture earnt $8.1M in the same time period, so while the sequel was slightly ahead, it hadn't actually broken out much further. With matinee showings in play, the film had a stronger Saturday, making $15.1M, with another $10.5M coming on Sunday. That meant that after three days on general release, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 had earnt $35M, and while the September record remained with Hotel Transylvania, this was still a good showing, and stronger than the $30M made during the original picture's first three days. The movie will face no direct competition for the entirety of October so has the potential to run and run, much like Planes has over the last few weeks. In fact, Meatballs 2 won't face another family feature until Free Birds on November 1st, at which point it should already be north of $100M.

Prisoners, which stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, opened to a solid $20M last weekend despite an extended runtime and difficult subject matter. Faced with four new releases, including direct competition for the older adult market in the guise of Rush, Prisoners dropped 52% on its second Friday, taking $3.3M in the process. It would continued to spar with the Ron Howard picture through Saturday, finishing up in second place on Sunday night with $11.2M (a not-bad drop of 45% on last weekend). All up, that gives Prisoners a ten day total of $38.9M, and puts it on track to recover it $46M production cost by the end of next weekend.

Having opening in a limited capacity last weekend, Rush expanded into just under 2,300 locations this frame. The film is a biographical work depicting the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, during the 1976 world championship. Directed by Ron Howard, and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, Rush has seen some of the best reviews of Howard's career, and has already gone down a storm in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, where Formula One is a much larger draw. During its limited opening it earnt $187K over its first three days. With expansion on Friday, Rush performed the best of all the other new releases, slotting into second place with $3.7M. Strong word of mouth kept it buoyant over the main body of the weekend, enabling it to add a further $6.6M and bring its total to $10.3M - though it did ultimately lose out to Prisoners. How it'll fair next weekend up against Gravity will depend on whether the picture and its subject matter can break out further into the mainstream. Overseas Rush has so far made $13M, a figure that should grow with further territory expansion.

Baggage Claim is a romantic comedy directed by David E. Talbert, and is based on his book of the same name. Montana Moore wants to ensure she isn't oldest, still unmarried member of her family, and thanks to connections at an airline, she sets off on a 30 day - 30,000 mile odyssey to find a potential suitor - even if it ends up being an ex-boyfriend. Like Don Jon, Baggage Claim was produced relatively cheaply, clocking in at around $8.5M. While reviews were generally poor, there was a chance the film would break out as had happened with the 2012 hit, Think Like A Man. That picture came out of nowhere and made a staggering $33M during its first three days on release, ending up with a North American finish of $91M. If the feature could do just a fraction of that business, it would turn out to be a very profitable release for Fox Searchlight. Opening at the least number of locations of all of this week's new releases (2,027), Baggage Claim clashed with Don Jon on Friday, when it made $3.27M, settling for fifth place. It would make $5.6M more over the remainder of the frame, giving it an ok three-day total of $9.3M. On a quieter weekend, the feature may have broken out much further and cleared $12M. However, with its costs covered during its opening days, Baggage Claim will turn a profit for the studio, even if it doesn't stick around for long.

Don Jon is a new romantic-comedy drama, written by, directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as its titular character. It follows the life of Jon Martello, a single guy addicted to pornography, and Barbara Sugarman (played by Scarlet Johansson), a girl who has a thing for romance flicks. Jon's week consists of watching pornography, weight training, one night stands and attending church to confess his sins, but all that looks to change when he meets Barbara in a bar and is unable to pick her up. Opting to change tact, he finds himself in unfamiliar territory when he begins to pursue her, but the pair soon begin to realise their respective fantasy versions of sex and romance may not live up to the reality. Levitt began work on Don Jon in 2008, and received feedback from both Rian Johnson and Christopher Nolan, the later advising him against directing and acting in the picture for fear of overwhelming himself. In addition to Johansson, Levitt also cast Julianne Moore, Brie Larson and Tony Danza, who would play Jon Martello Snr.

With production getting underway in May 2012, Don Jon made its assured debut at the Sundance film festival in January 2013, receiving high praise for Levitt's work both in front of, and behind the camera. That early word transformed into some great mainstream reviews, and the film sat on an impressive 82% approval rating prior to its release. While the film's unconventional subject matter made it a slight harder sell than a run of the mill romantic comedy (such as this week's Baggage Claim), the strong word combined with its $6M budget meant Don Jon would need only a half decent debut to cover all its costs. A $3.29M Friday put it just $15K ahead of Baggage Claim, and helped it slot into fourth place. It would make $3.4M on Saturday, and another $2.2M on Sunday, bringing its overall opening figure to $9M. Given its screen count and competition (both direct and indirect), this is a decent enough start, and with those strong reviews, singles Levitt out as a writing/directing talent to watch.

Unlike the well-received Conjuring (James Wan's other release of 2013) Insidious Chapter 2 failed to avoid the usual second weekend horror film collapse, making $13M (a fall of 65%). A week on, with more new releases thrown into the mix, the Insidious sequel earnt $6.7M. That brought its cumulative gross to just under $70M. Against a budget of just $5M, this is a very impressive turn, even with its quick collapse. It should top out at around $85-90M in North America, with at least half of that again possible overseas. Next up for director James Wan is a change of pace, as he takes on the Summer 2014 release, Fast and Furious 7.

The Robert De Niro/Michelle Pfeffier comedy, The Family, dropped down to seventh place this weekend, making $3.6M. It has now made $31.6M in North America, against a production budget of $30M. It could see at least one more frame in the top ten and finish up with around $40-45M.

Spanish language comedy-drama, Instructions Not Included is now the fourth most successful foreign language film in North America. To date it has made $38.5M, having added another $3.3M over the last few days.

The Jason Sudekis/Jennifer Aniston flick, We're The Millers, is now in its eighth weekend in the top ten. It has earnt more than $140M domestically, with another $95M overseas. In terms of 2013 comedy releases and the international market, only The Hangover Part III have made more money.

Lee Daniels' The Butler made $2.4M this weekend, bringing its overall total to $110.2M, against a budget of $30M. The ensemble drama has had a very good run over the past month or so, and should end its run with around $120M.

Managing to crash into thirteenth place from just 308 locations is Metallica: Through the Never, an Imax thriller-cum-concert movie. Spliced with footage from their recent tour is a sub-plot which sees Dane DeHaan as a roadie on a surreal mission for the band. Through The Never made $1.6M over its opening three days, and expands nationwide next week.

Looking back to a few older releases, animation-wise Despicable Me 2 now has a global total of $854M, while Turbo has managed to get up to $173M. Pixar's Monsters University is now the studio's fourth most successful picture in North American, having made $265M. It's global total clocks in at $736M. August's Smurfs sequel could only manage $69M domestically, but has so far cleared $238M overseas.

While The Wolverine was the lowest grossing X-Men film in North American, globally it has made $370M, against its $120M production budget. The Wahlberg-Washington buddy cop actioner, 2 Guns, has made $74M and is just getting started overseas, where it has so far made $21M. Having seemingly struggled domestically, Pacific Rim still managed to clear $101M, with an impressive $305M overseas. World War Z is just shy of $540M globally, Man of Steel sits at $662M. Summer sleeper Now You See Me has made a staggering $305M, while The Heat scored $158M in North America and $64M abroad. Elyisum, which is still in general release, now has an overall total of $248M (against $120M costs). In terms of successes, The Conjuring must rate as one of 2013's biggest - from a budget of $20M, it has a current global figure of $297M.

In terms of disappointments, The Lone Ranger has managed to rack up a $245M global total, against its $215M cost. Red 2 is at $126M (including $52M domestically), which wouldn't be too bad had it not cost $84M to produce. Kick Ass 2 recouped its $28M costs, and made a further $31M overseas, but RIPD is still a long way short of its $130M costs, having so far made $70M (split $33M/$37M). Finally, City of Bones stalled at only $30M in the US, and talk of an already-greenlit sequel quickly vanished.

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