Sunday 22 September 2013

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

1. Prisoners - $21.4M - $21.4M
2. Insidious Chapter 2 - $14.5M - $60.8M
3. The Family - $7M - $25.6M
4. Instructions Not Included- $5.7M - $34.2M
5. Battle of the Year - $5M - $5M
6. We're The Millers - $4.7M - $138.1M
7. The Butler - $4.6M -$106.4M
8. Riddick - $3.6M -$37.2M
9. The Wizard of Oz 3D - $2M - $88.3M
10. Planes - $2.8M - $86.5M

Another slightly shorter box office report this weekend. With two releases, only one of which saw a roll out above 3,000 theatres, there was some breathing space for last weekend's releases, Insidious Chapter 2 and The Family. The horror flick got off to a great start and was hoping to avoid the usual second frame curse. Next weekend already looks set to be dominated by the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs sequel, while further ahead we have the release of the long-awaited Gravity.

Prisoners is a crime thriller directed by Incendies helmer, Denis Villeneuve. It stars Hugh Jackman as a father whose daughter, along with her friend, are kidnapped one Thanksgiving. With the investigation, led by Jake Gyllenhaal's Detective Loki seemingly coming to nought, Jackman's Keller Dover decides to take matters into his own hands and attempt to get an admittance of guilt from the only potential suspect of the crime - no matter what the cost. Villeneuve has been making films for a number of years, with his first feature, Un 32 août sur terre, seeing release in 1998. It's arguable that it was the success of the aforementioned Incendies, about twins looking into the life of their mother, that brought him to Hollywood's attention. Working from a script by Aaron Guzikowski, the director filled out the remainder of his cast with Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terence Howard, the two latter actors playing the parents of the other kidnapped child. More of a slow burn dramatic thriller than something like Ransom, the picture received very strong notices, particularly for Jackman and Paul Dano, who plays the chief suspect. Prisoners was made for $46M and would be entering a relatively quiet market, with little in the way of new competition. However, a difficult subject matter and 150 minute+ runtime had the potential to be a stumbling block.

All that said, Prisoners got off to a solid start on Friday, when it made $7M - easily a strong enough figure to secure first place. It's also proof if needed, that an audience will turn out for intelligently made adult drama. The picture managed to keep up the pace over Saturday and into Sunday, making a further $14.4M and bringing its opening total to $21.4M. According to reports, that's actually a little higher than the studio were expecting ($15-18M was bandied about prior to opening). Prisoners is also the type of film that could play well on weekdays. Where it goes from here will be interesting - if word of mouth catches it should hold well next weekend, but will also be facing an expanded Rush, another drama already picking up some great reviews. For now, its $21M is a very strong starting point.

Insidious Chapter 2 opened incredibly well last weekend, making $40M in its first three days. But unlike director James Wan's summer hit, The Conjuring, the word of mouth on this sequel wasn't as strong, and that led to some low weekday takings - the worst day being Thursday when it made $1.2M. However, given the film cost only $5M to make, even a complete collapse in week 2 wouldn't cause too many sleepless nights for studio Film District. A $4.6M Friday haul saw Chapter 2 drop a very high 77% on its opening day. That fall was to be expected given how big that first day was, but it also meant the picture was performing to the second weekend curse that befalls most horror features. By Sunday night its total was $14M (an overall fall of 64%), bringing its ten day figure to $60.8M. While obviously not as strong as the aforementioned Conjuring, Insidious Chapter 2 has already surpassed the entire theatrical tally of the first picture. With that ultra low budget in mind, the film will have also recouped its print and advertising costs, and should now be looking at real profit. $100M certainly isn't going to happen, but an $80-85M finish is well within its grasp.

With an ok start of $14M, The Family kept itself clear of flop territory last weekend, but like the Insidious sequel, struggled to keep up that momentum during the week. By the eve of its second frame, it was sitting on a running total of $18.6M. Its second Friday saw the picture bumped down to third place, making $2M in the process. It would add another $3.1M on Saturday, with $1.7M Sunday, bringing its weekend total to $7M. That means since release The Family has made $25.6M. At this point it is safe to say it'll cover its $30M production costs but won't break out much further from here - though as mentioned last weekend, it could play well overseas. Up next for De Niro is Last Vegas along side Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.

Spanish language comedy-drama, Instructions Not Included saw no further expansion this weekend, but did manage to move up the chart,  and went on to earn $5.7M. That brings its cumulative gross to $34.2M, a figure that may well open the doors for more Spanish language films in the coming months.

Our only other major release this weekend is Battle of the Year, a dance drama directed by Benson Lee. It was actually Lee's 2007 documentary, Planet B-Boy, about break dancing culture and its 'Battle of the Year' competition that served as the basis for this movie. Back in 2009 Screen Gems began to entertain the idea of a movie (perhaps buoyed somewhat by the success of the Step Up movie series) despite break dancing facing a decline in North America. It would be another two years before things began to fall into place, at which point it was announced that Josh Holloway and Chris Brown had signed on to appear. The story follows a duo who are convinced that they can lead any team to victory with the proper coaching. The picture was actually shot almost two years ago and was initially set for release in the final quarter of 2012 (the first trailer for Battle of The Year debuted in July of last year) but was ultimately delayed. Out to just over 2,000 screens, the picture made only $1.5M on Friday - which is some way off the $4.9M made by the most recent Step Up movie on its opening day in July 2012. Over the remainder of the frame it managed to make just  $3.5M, to give it a weak 3-day total of $5M. Battle of the Year might be lucky enough to see another round in the top ten but will be gone shortly after. While it won't recoup its $20M budget domestically, it should perform well on DVD and like the Step Up series, could play well overseas - if it sees a release there.

Comedy We're The Millers crossed $135M this weekend, an exceptional amount of money for a film many were dismissive of prior to its release. Combined with its international take, it has now made over $222M, surpassing the global figure made by summer hit, The Heat.

Lee Daniels' The Butler added another $4.3M this weekend. That gives the Forest Whitaker ensemble drama an overall total of $106.4M. While it won't reach the dizzy heights of The Help, this is a very solid performance. Expect to see The Butler rise again when awards season gets underway.

Vin Diesel's third turn as Riddick has all but made back its $38M production budget domestically. In its third weekend the R-rated action thriller made $3.6M, bringing its 17 day total to $37.1M. It might see one more frame inside the top ten. Overseas Riddick has so far made a similar $36.9M. Whether that combined figure will be enough for a further low-budget sequel remains to be seen.

Managing to crack the top ten from just 318 Imax screens is the re-release of The Wizard of Oz. The all time classic, which was also converted to 3D, managed to earn $3M for a ninth place finish this weekend.

Planes has now made $86.5M in North America, with a further $69M abroad. It'll leave the top ten just in time for the Meatballs sequel to take its place.

In a very limited release, the Ron Howard Formula One drama, Rush, which charts the rivalry shared between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, made $200K on only 5 screens. It will expand nationwide next weekend.

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