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Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar highlight of the night

If you didn't get a chance to catch the Oscars last night, John Stewart was fantastic, but the highlight of the night came when Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglóva won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Song for "Falling Slowly," in their wonderfully poetic indie musical "Once." Hansard gave a sweet, if not a tad bit lengthy acceptance speech, and before Irglóva could say a word, the ill-timed orchestra music cut her off. Stewart, in a classy move that was probably an Oscar first, brought her back on after the commercial break, and she rewarded him and the billion people watching with one of the most genuine Oscar moments in history. After the jump.

By the way, if you haven't yet seen "Once," do yourself a favor and add it to the top of your Netflix queue, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

'Vantage Point' tops Oscar weekend with $23.8m, Feb. 22-24, 2008

Like Oscar night there were few surprises at the box office, with the weekend's only wide release debut Vantage Point pulling in a strong $23.8 million to lead the way. Averaging $7,558 in 3,149 theaters, the $40 million budgeted Sony thriller struggled to impress critics, earning just a 34% recommendation rating from those polled by Rottentomatoes.com. Given its modest budget though, look for the film to finish out domestically with a profitable $55-60 million.

Last week's champ Jumper slipped 53% to an estimated $12.65 million, barely edging out Paramount's The Spiderwick Chronicles by $500,000 if estimates hold. Budgeted at $85 million, the Fox sci-fi actioner has grossed $56 million in two weeks, and should finish with $80-85 million domestically.

Finishing just behind Jumper in third was Paramount's children's book adaptation The Spiderwick Chronicles, which fell just 33% to $12.6 million. Despite its disappointing debut last week, the $90 million fantasy pic is clearly showing legs at the box office, pulling in $43.6 million in two weeks. Given its early staying power, the film should be on pace to finish with $85 million domestically, putting it right in line with last year's well-reviewed fantasy pic Bridge to Terabithia, which pulled in tidy $82 million for Disney.

Disney's urban dance sequel Step Up 2 the Streets fell 48% to $9.8 million, bringing its two week total to a solid $41.4 million. The film should finish with $55 million by the end of its run.

Among other debuts, Michel Gondry's comedy Be Kind, Rewind took in $4.1 million in seventh, averaging $5,012 in just 808 theaters. Starring Jack Black and Mos Def, the film enjoyed mostly positive reviews from critics.

Although Best Picture nominee Juno came away with only one of four Oscars on Sunday night (Best Original Screenplay by Diablo Cody), it has clearly been the most financially successful of the five Best Pictures, adding another $4.1 million this weekend. In 12 weeks, the teen pregnancy comedy has amassed an astounding $130 million for Fox Searchlight.

Opening outside of the top 10 this weekend was Larry the Cable Guy's Witless Protection, which grossed an estimated $2.1 million in the No. 13 spot. Released by Lionsgate Films, the poorly reviewed comedy averaged just $1,643 in 1,333 theaters.

Despite the strong opening from Vantage Point, the top ten films grossed just $84.9 million, down 11% from last year's comparable frame when Ghost Rider held onto the top spot with $20.1 million.

The numbers, Feb. 22-24, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Vantage Point $23,800,000 3,149 $7,558 $23,800,000 -- 1 Sony
2 Jumper $ 12,650,000 3,430 $3,688 $ 56,200,000 -53.8 2 Fox
3 The Spiderwick Chronicles $12,600,000 3,847 $3,275 $43,600,000 -33.7 2 Paramount
4 Step Up 2 the Streets $9,787,000 2,480 $3,946 $41,400,000 -48.2 2 Buena Vista
5 Fool's Gold $6,270,000 3,075 $2,039 $52,400,000 -51.4 3 Warner Bros.
6 Definitely, Maybe $5,184,000 2,220 $2,335 $21,800,000 -46.9 2 Universal
7 Juno $4,100,000 1,727 $2,374 $130,400,000 -11.1 12 Fox Searchlight
8 Be Kind Rewind $4,050,000 808 $5,012 $ 4,050,000 -- 1 New Line
9 Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins $3,989,000 1,873 $2,130 $35,500,000 -53.1 3 Universal
10 There Will Be Blood $2,560,000 1,402 $1,826 $35,000,000 -15.5 9 Paramount Vantage

Sunday, February 17, 2008

'Jumper' takes off with $27.2m, leap frogging 'Step Up 2' and 'Spiderwick', Feb. 15-17, 2008

Despite suffering from one of the worst beatings from critics this year (eFilmCritic.com's Eric Childress called it "the action film equivalent of Phil Collins' Take Me Home video"), Fox's sci-fi actioner Jumper dominated the three-day portion of President's Day weekend, debuting with an estimated $27.2 million. Since its debut on Thursday, the $85 million budgeted film has grossed $33.9 million. Averaging $7,942 in 3,428 theaters this weekend, the Hayden Christensen-Samuel L. Jackson starrer benefitted from a heavy marketing blitz from Fox, which has shown a remarkable ability to turn very poorly received movies into box office gold (most recently Alvin and the Chipmunks and Meet the Spartans). Despite the impressive opening, expect heavy declines for the film in the coming weeks.

Barely edging out The Spiderwick Chronicles for second place was Buena Vista's dance-themed sequel Step Up 2 the Streets, which pulled in $19.7 million in its opening weekend, despite its decidedly unclever title. Even more impressive was the fact that it opened in nearly 1,400 fewer theaters than the film it beat out by $600,000, The Spiderwick Chronicles (according to estimates). Averaging a top ten best $7,962, the sequel opened very close to its 2006 predecessor Step Up, which debuted with $20.7 million on its way to $65.3 million domestically. It finished below last January's Stomp the Yard with $21.8 million ($61.3m total). Since its debut on Valentine's Day, Step Up 2 has earned $26.3 million.

Paramount-Nickelodeon's big budget children's fantasy pic The Spiderwick Chronicles finished just behind Step Up 2 in third with an estimated $19.1 million, averaging $4,960 in a very wide 3,847 theaters. Carrying a hefty $90 million budget, the effects-heavy film based on the popular children's books has grossed $21.5 million since its Thursday debut, and should add another $3-4 million on President's Day (Monday). Critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a very encouraging 79% recommendation rating, but the lack of a strong marketing campaign seemed to doom the film from the start. The debut was similar to another smaller profile children's book adapatation Bridge to Terabithia. That well-received film opened with $22.6 million on its way to a strong $82.3 million domestically.

Last week's champ Fool's Gold fell just 39% to an estimated $13.1 million, bringing its ten-day take to a solid $42 million. At its current pace, look for the Mathew McConaughey-Kate Hudson romantic comedy to finish with $75 million.

Ryan Reynolds' Definitely, Maybe stirred up $9.7 million in fifth, drawing mostly upon the adult female demographic. Debuting in just 2,204 theaters, the $24 million budgeted film averaged $4,394 for Universal. Despite enjoying mostly solid reviews, the film finished right around the average for a Reynolds vehicle. His romantic comedy Just Friends opened to $9.1 million in 2005, while his comedy Waiting debuted with $6 million. Look for Definitely, Maybe to finish with $25-30 million domestically.

Despite four major new releases, the top ten films grossed just $112.8 million over the three-day President's Day weekend, down a significant 18% from last year's comparable frame when Ghost Rider debuted at No. 1 with a record $45.4 million.

The numbers, Feb. 15-17, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Jumper $27,225,000 3,428 $7,942 $33,850,000 -- 1 Fox
2 Step Up 2 The Streets $19,666,000 2,470 $7,962 $26,267,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
3 The Spiderwick Chronicles $19,080,000 3,847 $4,960 $21,455,000 -- 1 Paramount
4 Fool's Gold $13,080,000 3,125 $4,186 $42,035,000 -39.4 2 Warner Bros.
5 Definitely, Maybe $9,685,000 2,204 $4,394 $12,804,000 -- 1 Universal
6 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins $8,880,000 2,387 $3,720 $29,121,000 -45.2 2 Universal
7 Juno $4,625,000 1,865 $2,480 $124,090,000 -17.4 11 Fox Searchlight
8 The Bucket List $4,105,000 2,307 $1,779 $81,085,000 -22.2 8 Warner Bros.
9 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus $3,289,000 685 $4,801 $58,417,000 -68.1 3 Buena Vista
10 27 Dresses $3,175,000 1,936 $1,640 $69,937,000 -41.3 5 Fox

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weekend Preview: Feb. 15-7, 2008

A mixture of beginning of the year studio unloads and moderately large budget flicks collide this President's Day weekend, led by Paramount's children's fantasy book adaptation The Spiderwick Chronicles in 3,847 theaters, and Fox's action-thriller Jumper in 3,428 theaters. BV's sequel Step Up 2 the Streets comes out Thursday (with Jumper) in 2,470 theaters, while Universal's Definitely, Maybe releases in 2,204 theaters.

Given the huge failure of New Line's mega-budgeted The Golden Compass, it's hard to tell if the modest popularity of the books will help catch moviegoer attention in an otherwise oversaturated children's fantasy genre. Critics have been largely positive for the Mark Waters directed pic, while critics have panned Fox's seemingly critic-proof Jumper. Expect the long weekend to benefit Spiderwick with a $25-30 million four-day weekend tally.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Box Office podcast stream, Feb 8-10, 2008

Jonathan just put up his box office podcast stream. Listen below!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

'Fool's Gold' finds treasure with $22m, Feb. 8-10, 2008

Though it didn't hit How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days kind of money ($23.8m), it was close enough, as the big screen reunion of Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold topped the box office with a strong $22 million opening this weekend. Martin Lawrence's comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins debuted in second with an impressive $17.1 million.

Warner's big budget romantic comedy Fool's Gold delivered on the studio's heavy marketing blitz, finishing the weekend at No. 1 with $22 million, averaging a strong $7,043 in 3,125 theaters. Budgeted at $70 million, the Mathew McConaughey-Kate Hudson starrer proved to be immune from an outright bludgeoning by critics. Critics polled by Rottentomates.com gave the film a "rotten" 10% recommendation rating. The pair's previous collaboration, 2003's popular How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, opened to $23.8 million on its way to an amazing $105.8 million domestically.

Directed by Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch), Fool's Gold will become the second biggest opening of Hudson's career if estimates hold. It would be McConaughey's third biggest film behind 2006's Failure to Launch ($24.4m) and 2003's How to Lose a Guy ($23.8m).

Martin Lawrence's raucous comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins took in an estimated $17.1 million in 2,386 theaters, averaging a top ten second best $7,180. Released by Universal, the PG-13 pic carried a modest budget of $35 million. The opening was almost identical to last month's First Sunday, which starred Ice Cube and took in $17.7 million.

Hannah Montana's second set wasn't as impressive as the first, but it still netted the Disney starlet a third place finish this weekend with $10.5 million. Falling a steep 66% (a great number considering the film was only expected to show for one week), last week's champ still managed to average a sizzling $15,295 per theater, in just 687 theaters across North America. In ten days of release, Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds has amassed $53.4 million. Budgeted at a measly $7 million, the 3D concert/movie should net the mouse house a cool $75 million domestically.

Jessica Alba's horror remake The Eye fell an impressive 47% (for horror pic standards) to $6.6 million, bringing its ten day take to $21.5 million. Released by Lionsgate, the $22 million budgeted film should net the studio a decent $35 million domestically.

Fox Searchlight's Juno slipped just 18% thanks to star Ellen Page hitting virtually every magazine cover on the stands this weekend, finishing with $5.7 million. In ten weeks, the film has grossed an incredible $117.6 million.

In the "that really opened this weekend?" category, Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Tour debuted with just $507,000 in 962 theaters to finish in 24th place.
The R-rated Picturehouse release just beat out Colin Farrell's well-received hitman thriller In Bruges, which debuted in limited release with $471,000 in just 28 theaters.

The numbers, February 8-10, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Fool's Gold $22,010,000 3,125 $7,043 $,010,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins $17,132,000 2,386 $7,180 $17,132,000 -- 1 Universal
3 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus $10,508,000 687 $15,295 $53,390,000 -66.2 2 Buena Vista
4 The Eye $6,630,000 2,470 $2,684 $21,521,000 -46.6 2 Lionsgate
5 Juno $5,725,000 2,321 $2,467 $117,630,000 -18.4 10 Fox Searchlight
5 27 Dresses $5,700,000 2,841 $2,006 $65,369,000 -33.2 4 Fox
7 The Bucket List $5,340,000 2,753 $1,940 $75,058,000 -20.6 7 Warner Bros.
8 Rambo $4,110,000 2,717 $1,513 $36,504,000 -42.3 3 Lionsgate
8 Meet the Spartans $4,075,000 2,446 $1,666 $33,915,000 -44.5 3 Fox
8 There Will Be Blood $4,073,000 1,620 $2,514 $26,782,000 -12.5 7 Par. Vantage

Monday, February 4, 2008

'Hannah Montana' posts biggest Superbowl weekend ever

While the New York Giants accomplished what might have been one of the biggest upsets in Superbowl history, another improbably victory occurred at the box office this weekend.

Disney's juggernaut teen sensation Hannah Montana took her sold out concert act to the big screen in all its 3D glory in Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, and in turn posted by far the biggest Superbowl weekend of all-time. Shattering record books with $31.1 million in just 683 theaters (all carrying digital 3D technology), the Disney release averaged an astronomical $45,560 per theater, the largest per theater average ever for a film debuting in over 500 theaters.

Part of the reason for such a staggeringly high average was the fact that many exhibitors were able to charge much higher ticket prices for the 3D cinema presentation, in many cases as much as $15 per ticket, over 50% higher than average ticket prices. Regardless of that fact, the G-rated 1 hour and 14 minute concert more than doubled its next closest competitor The Eye, despite playing in 1,753 less theaters.

Though largely overlooked by most analysts this weekend (the author of this article included), pent up demand from parents and children unable to afford the inflated ticket prices of her instantly sold-out shows was apparently gigantic. By offering a 3D theatrical experience that could simulate the feel of a concert, at the fraction of the cost of attending a real one, Disney has discovered an untapped theatrical market that will surely be exploited in the future.

Hannah Montana posted the second biggest opening ever for a film featuring the 3D technology, behind only 2003's Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, which put up $33.4 million in its debut weekend. Game Over was released in 3,344 theaters. The debut for Hannah Montana surged past the $21.6 million opening of 2006's horror flick When a Stranger Calls, which debuted over a Superbowl weekend two years ago.

Horror films have replaced romantic comedies as the most successful counter-programming for Superbowl Sunday, so it's no wonder Lionsgate tapped this weekend to launch its poorly-reviewed horror remake The Eye. Starring Jessica Alba, the film debuted with an estimated $13 million, averaging $5,357 in 2,436 theaters. The debut was in-line with most estimates, though below previous years' Superbowl horror entries. 2005's Boogeyman topped with $19m, 2006's When a Stranger Calls broke records with $22m, and last year's The Messengers led with $14.7m.

In third was Fox's romantic comedy 27 Dresses, which took in $8.5 million pushing its cume to $57.2 million. Oscar nominated Ellen Page and her breakout hit Juno added another $7 million to its run, pushing its total to an amazing $109.8 million.

Eva Longoria's Over Her Dead Body debuted with a disappointing $4 million in 1,977 theaters, averaging a weak $2,036. Paramount Classics' outdoor comedy Strange Wilderness managed just $3 million in 1,208 theaters.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The numbers, Feb. 1-3, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus $29,000,000 683 $42,460 $29,000,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 The Eye $13,050,000 2,436 $5,357 $13,050,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
3 27 Dresses $8,400,000 2,976 $2,823 $57,115,000 -37.1 3 Fox
4 Juno $7,450,000 2,475 $3,010 $110,263,000 -26.6 9 Fox Searchlight
5 Meet the Spartans $7,125,000 2,643 $2,696 $28,332,000 -61.5 2 Fox
6 Rambo $7,007,000 2,764 $2,535 $29,805,000 -61.5 2 Lionsgate
7 The Bucket List $6,850,000 2,915 $2,350 $67,671,000 -35.0 6 Warner Bros.
8 Untraceable $5,400,000 2,368 $2,280 $19,451,000 -52.4 2 Sony
9 Cloverfield $4,900,000 3,007 $1,630 $71,974,000 -61.5 3 Paramount
10 There Will Be Blood $4,761,000 1,507 $3,159 $21,146,000 -2.2 6 Par. Vantage

Friday, February 1, 2008

Weekend Preview: Feb. 1-3, 2008

With one of the most intriguing Superbowl matchups in recent history set to begin this Sunday (New England potentially making history as only the second team to ever go undefeated in a season), numbers from the usually slow Superbowl weekend should slump even further this year.

Counter-programming usually works well around this time (read: romantic comedies), but a recent trend has been targeting teens with low profile horror-thrillers, like last year's "The Messengers" and 2006's "When a Stranger Calls." This year's token thriller is Lionsgate's The Eye starring Jessica Alba, focusing in on 2,436 theaters this weekend. Also opening is the romantic comedy Over Her Dead Body in 1,977 theaters, comedy Strange Wilderness in 1,208 theaters, and finally Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour in 3D in 683 houses.

Past Superbowl Weekend Champs:
Boogeyman (2005): $19m
When a Stranger Calls (2006): $22m
The Messengers (2007): $14.7m

Look for The Eye to triumph with $15 million this weekend. And as an added bonus, be on the lookout at the beginning of the third quarter of the Superbowl, as a special new Wall-e trailer from Pixar hits the airwaves.