EInsiders.com : : : Reviews | DVD | Inside Scoop | Box Office | Interviews | Columns | Obits | Contests

Monday, March 31, 2008

'21' hits a blackjack at the box office, March 28-30, 2008

Moviegoers hit the blackjack tables this weekend as Sony's film adaptation 21 knocked off two-week champ Horton Hears a Who for the top spot at the box office. Budgeted at a modest $35 million, the film shrugged off mostly poor reviews from critics (Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a rotten 32% recommendation rating) in bringing in an estimated $23.7 million over the weekend, averaging a top 10 best $8,950 in 2648 theaters. Adapted from the book "Bringing down the house" by Ben Mezrich, "21" is based on a true story about a group of MIT math wizes who devised a card counting scheme that took Vegas casinos for millions.

Starring Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Kevin Spacey, the film was aided by a strong marketing campaign and an overall weak set of competitors, including MGM's Superhero Movie and Paramount's Stop-Loss. The film was star Kate Bosworth's second-biggest opening ever behind only 2006's Superman Returns with $52.5 million.

The lack of a big new debut plagued the box office for a second straight weekend, as the top 10 films found themselves down 25% from last year's comparable frame when Blades of Glory skated to the top spot with $33 million. It was down an even more discouraging 33% from 2006 when Ice Age: The Meltdown debuted with a record $68 million.

Two week champ Horton Hears a Who slipped just 29% to an estimated $17.4 million in second, bringing its 17 day total to a fantastic $117.3 million. As the first 2008 film to break $100 million, look for the Fox/Blue Sky animated comedy to finish with $160 million domestically.

MGM/Weinstein Company's spoof comedy Superhero Movie debuted softly with an estimated $9.5 million, averaging a weak $3,213 in 2,960 theaters. The poorly reviewed release fell well short of recent spoof comedies openings like January's Meet the Spartans ($18.5m), and 2007's Epic Movie ($18.6m), both Fox releases.

Paramount's teen comedy Drillbit Taylor fell a modest 44% to $5.8 million, bringing its ten-day cume to $20.6 million. Look for the film to finish with $30 million by the end of its run.

The studio's Iraq war drama Stop-Loss debuted in eighth with $4.5 million, averaging $3,505 in 1,291 theaters. Starring Ryan Phillippe as a vet recently returning home from war, the film received generally solid reviews from critics, but followed an existing trend of underperforming the Iraq War-themed films over the past two years.

A viewing outside of the top 10 was Simon Pegg's new comedy Run, Fat Boy Run, which took in a disappointing $2.4 million from just 1133 theaters. That comes out to a $2,109 per theater average for the poorly-reviewed Picturehouse release.

Check back next week for a look at how George Clooney's Leatherheads, Nim's Island and the horror pic The Ruins all fare.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The numbers, March 28-30, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 21 $23,700,000 2,648 $8,950 $23,700,000 -- 1 Sony
2 Horton Hears A Who $17,425,000 3,826 $4,554 $117,274,000 -29.1 3 Fox
3 Superhero Movie $9,510,000 2,960 $3,213 $9,510,000 -- 1 MGM
4 Meet the Browns $7,760,000 2,016 $3,849 $32,828,000 -61.4 2 Lionsgate
5 Drillbit Taylor $5,800,000 3,061 $1,895 $20,574,000 -43.7 2 Paramount
6 Shutter $5,325,000 2,756 $1,932 $19,103,000 -49.0 2 Fox
7 10,000 B.C. $4,875,000 3,055 $1,596 $84,920,000 -45.4 4 Warner Bros.
8 Stop-Loss $4,525,000 1,291 $3,505 $4,525,000 -- 1 Paramount
9 College Road Trip $3,505,000 2,270 $1,544 $38,370,000 -25.4 4 Buena Vista
10 The Bank Job $2,800,000 1,605 $1,745 $24,104,000 -33.2 4 Lionsgate

Monday, March 24, 2008

'Horton' tops a busy Easter weekend with $25.1m

Fox/Blue Sky Studio's animated hit Horton Hears A Who discovered the Easter holiday prize with an estimated $25.1 million, beating three major newcomers for the top spot once again this weekend. In ten days the $85m budgeted film has grossed $86.5 million, keeping it virtually on pace with the sophomore frame of 2002's hit Ice Age. That film went on to gross $176.3 million domestically. Receiving generally good reviews and solid word of mouth (the film fell 44% this weekend), look for the latest Dr. Seuss adaptation to finish with $160-165 million by the end of its run.

Three newcomers followed just behind Horton, but failed to propel the top ten films over their comparable frame a year ago. The box office finished the weekend down 10% from last year's Easter weekend, when Blades of Glory led with $22.5 million.

Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns led all newcomers with an estimated $20 million, averaging an impressive $9,977 in 2,006 theaters. Now a bonafide box office draw, the film continued Perry's perfect streak of four consecutive films opening with at least $20 million. The debut was similar to last year's Why Did I Get Married?, which opened with $21.4 million on its way to $55.2 million domestically. Look for another $50+ million run for Perry's latest.

Fox's poorly-reviewed horror pic Shutter took in an estimated $10.7 million, averaging a lackluster $3,887 in 2,753 theaters. Following closely behind was Owen Wilson's comedy Drillbit Taylor, which debuted with a disappointing $10.2 million in 3,056 theaters for a weak $3,338 average. Released by Paramount, the poorly release should see a quick exit out of the top ten.

Rounding out the top five was Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C., which fell 48% to $8.7 million, pushing its three week cume to $76.1 million. The Warner release carried a hefty $105 million budget.

In limited release the immigration drama Under the Same Moon took in an estimated $2.6 million for tenth place, averaging a top ten second-best $9,782 in 266 theaters. Since its opening on Wednesday, the Spanish-language Sundance darling has grossed $3.3 million.

Despite the four newcomers and a solid sophomore frame from Horton, the top ten films grossed an estimated $94.7 million, down 10% from last year's comparable Easter frame when Blades of Glory led with $22.5 million. It was down an even larger 12% from 2006, when Scary Movie 4 topped with $40.2 million.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The numbers, March 21-23, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Horton Hears A Who $25,100,000 3,961 $6,337 $86,468,000 -44.2 2 Fox
2 Meet the Browns $20,014,000 2,006 $9,977 $20,014,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
3 Shutter $10,700,000 2,753 $3,887 $10,700,000 -- 1 Fox
4 Drillbit Taylor $10,200,000 3,056 $3,338 $10,200,000 -- 1 Paramount
5 10,000 B.C. $8,660,000 3,454 $2,507 $76,100,000 -48.4 3 Warner Bros.
6 Never Back Down $4,861,000 2,729 $1,781 $16,824,000 -43.5 2 Summit
7 College Road Trip $4,630,000 2,575 $1,798 $32,005,000 -40.7 3 Buena Vista
8 The Bank Job $4,095,000 1,613 $2,539 $19,425,000 -19.0 3 Lionsgate
9 Vantage Point $3,800,000 2,124 $1,789 $65,300,000 -30.4 5 Sony
10 Under the Same Moon $2,602,000 266 $9,782 $3,329,000 -- 1 Weinstein Co.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

'Horton' stampedes to $45.1m debut

Horton Hears a Who stampeded to the top spot at the box office with an estimated $45.1 million, giving the sluggish start of 2008 a nice shot in the arm after posting the biggest debut of the year and fourth biggest March opening ever. While the Fox/Blue Sky Animation Studios' release failed to match the levels of their record-breaking Ice Age: The Meltdown back in March of 2006 ($68m), the Dr. Seuss animated pic did come close to matching the original Ice Age, which debuted with $46.3 million back in March of 2002. Those two films grossed $195.3m and $176.3m respectively.
MovieWeb - Movie Photos, Videos & More

Starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, the well-reviewed computer-animated feature averaged a strong $11,406 in 3,954 theaters, posting the fourth biggest March opening ever. Only last year's monstrous 300 ($70.9m), 2006's Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68m) and 2002's Ice Age ($46.3m) have opened larger. It also ranks as the fifth largest opening ever for a G-rated release.

Directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino, Horton is the first feature-length animated adaptation of a Dr. Seuss work (Chuck Jones's 1970 'Horton' adaptation was 26 minutes long, as was his 1966 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'). Two live-action adaptations of Dr. Seuss have been released, 2003's The Cat in the Hat which opened with $38.3m ($101.1m total), and 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas with $55 million ($260m total). Budgeted at a moderate $85 million, look for Horton to post numbers similar to the first Ice Age movie.

Falling 54% in its sophomore frame was last week's champ 10,000 B.C., which took in an estimated $16.4 million in second. In ten days the Roland Emmerich directed prehistoric adventure has grossed $61.2 million. Budgeted at $105 million, the poorly-reviewed Warner release should finish with $80-85 million domestically. Internationally, the film has amassed $73 million, pushing its worldwide take to $134 million.

The cage fight actioner Never Back Down opened in third with $8.6 million, averaging $3,155 in 2,729 theaters. Released by Summit Entertainment, the film carried a $20 million budget which will be hard to recoup theatrically.

Martin Lawrence's College Road Trip fell just 42% in its sophomore frame to $7.9 million, bringing its ten-day take to $24.3 million. Look for the Disney release to finish with $40 million domestically.

Sony's Vantage Point continued to demonstrate strong legs, falling just 27% to an estimated $5.4 million, bringing its cume to an impressive $59.2 million. The film should reach $75 million domestically.

Jason Statham's well-reviewed The Bank Job fell a top ten best (believe it or not) 17% to an estimated $4.9 million, bringing the Lionsgate release's total to $13.1 million in ten days.

Among other debuts, Universal's thriller Doomsday opened to just $4.7 million, averaging an awful $2,450 in 1,936 theaters.

Thanks to Horton, the top ten films virtually matched last year's comparable frame when 300 once again held the top spot with $32.9 million.

The numbers, March 14-16, 2008

Final numbers for the weekend.

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Horton Hears A Who $45,012,998 3,954 $11,384 $45,012,998 -- 1 Fox
2 10,000 B.C. $16,773,312 3,410 $4,919 $61,577,423 -53.2 2 Warner Bros.
3 Never Back Down $8,603,195 2,729 $3,153 $8,603,195 -- 1 Summit
4 College Road Trip $7,810,400 2,706 $2,886 $24,203,543 -42.6 2 Buena Vista
5 Vantage Point $5,462,747 2,761 $1,979 $59,263,128 -25.7 4 Sony
6 The Bank Job $5,054,961 1,613 $3,134 $13,257,949 -14.8 2 Lionsgate
7 Doomsday $4,926,565 1,936 $2,545 $4,926,565 -- 1 Universal
8 Semi-Pro $3,043,162 2,270 $1,341 $29,809,714 -47.4 3 New Line
9 The Other Boleyn Girl $2,882,846 1,212 $2,379 $19,153,729 -28.8 3 Sony
10 The Spiderwick Chronicles $2,335,238 2,407 $970 $65,376,031 -50.5 5 Paramount

Sunday, March 9, 2008

'10,000 B.C'. clubs its way to the top spot with $35.7m, March 7-9, 2008

Well groomed cavepeople clubbed audiences over the head this weekend, as Roland Emmerich's prehistoric epic 10,000 B.C. crushed everyone in its path with an estimated $35.7 million debut. Averaging a hefty $10,478 in 3,410 theaters, the $105 million budgeted Warner Bros. release totaled more than the rest of the top five combined, shrugging off some of the worst reviews of the year (just 8% of critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a recommendation rating). EI's Scott Mantz had this to say about the movie: "The good news for director Roland Emmerich ('Independence Day,' 'The Day After Tomorrow') is that '10,000 B.C.' is the funniest movie of his career. The bad news is that it’s not supposed to be a comedy."

Camilla Belle as sexy cavewoman.
source: MovieWeb - Movie Photos, Videos & More

While the big budget caveman pic opened in the top spot, it was a far cry from the studio's juggernaut of last March, 300, which debuted with an epic $70.9 million on its way to $210 million domestically. Overseas 10,000 B.C. dominated the box office $25.3 million, pushing its worldwide cume to a mammoth $61 million.

Widely ridiculed for its sexy pinup cavewoman (Camilla Belle) and historically inaccurate use of mammals, the prehistoric guy-saves-girl debut fell well short of Emmerich's last big budget foray The Day After Tomorrow. That film debuted in May of 2004 with $68.7 million, on its way to $186.7 million domestically.

Disney's family pic College Road Trip debuted in second with an estimated $14 million, averaging a solid $5,174 from 2,706 theaters. The film stars Martin Lawrence and The Disney Channel's Raven-Symoné.

Sony's action thriller Vantage Point continued to stretch its long legs, falling just 42% to an estimated $7.5 million. In three weeks, the ensemble thriller has grossed an impressive $51.7 million.

Will Ferrell's basketball comedy Semi-Pro fell a disastrous 62% to an estimated $5.8 million in fourth, bringing its ten-day take to a disappointing $24.7 million. Look for the New Line release to end its theatrical run with just $32-35 million, which would make it the worst grossing starring role of Ferrell's career in nearly a decade.

Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate's well-reviewed heist flick The Bank Job, which debuted with $5.7 million. Averaging just $3,562 in 1,603 theaters, the opening was one of the lowest of Jason Statham's quickly dissipating movie career.

Debuting outside of the top ten was Amy Adams's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which took in $2.5 million in 11th place. The Focus Features release averaged $4,749 in 535 theaters.

The numbers, Mar. 7-9, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 10,000 B.C. $35,730,000 3,410 $10,478 $35,730,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 College Road Trip $14,000,000 2,706 $5,174 $14,000,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
3 Vantage Point $7,500,000 3,163 $2,371 $51,681,000 -41.5 3 Sony
4 Semi-Pro $5,750,000 3,121 $1,842 $24,700,000 -61.9 2 New Line
5 The Bank Job $5,710,000 1,603 $3,562 $5,710,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
6 The Spiderwick Chronicles $4,800,000 3,246 $1,479 $61,721,000 -44.8 4 Paramount
7 The Other Boleyn Girl $4,000,000 1,167 $3,428 $14,612,000 -51.2 2 Sony
8 Jumper $3,750,000 2,563 $1,463 $72,534,000 -50.5 4 Fox
9 Step Up 2 The Streets $3,049,000 2,251 $1,355 $53,004,000 -46.9 4 Buena Vista
10 Fool's Gold $2,800,000 2,322 $1,206 $62,820,000 -36.6 5 Warner Bros.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The "Oscar Bounce"

Up until 2005's Crash, every Best Film winner from 1997-2006 had gone over $100 million, in large part due to the boost in ticket sales from the lead up to and post-victory bounce of Oscar night.

It's called the "Oscar Bounce," and according to a 2001 study by Colby College economics professor Randy Nelson, a Best Picture nomination can add nearly $11 million in ticket sales for a film between the day the nominations are announced and the Oscar telecast. Late-year releases up for best picture can bring in more than $30 million after nominations and awards, according to the Colby College study. The study also found that Best Actor and Best Actress nominations could add an estimated $1 million to the box office total.

Just take a look at this list of Best Picture winners. Since 1996 only one Best Film winner, "Crash," failed to break through $100 million at the box office, and that was largely due to the film releasing on DVD well before the Oscars ceremony. 1996's epic-length war drama "The English Patient" grossed $78.6 million.

The Departed (2006) $132.2m
Crash (2005) $54.5m
Million Dollar Baby (2004) $100.5m
Lord of the Rings (2003) $377m
Chicago (2002) $170.6m
A Beautiful Mind (2001) $170.7m
Gladiator (2000) $187.7m
American Beauty (1999) $130m
Shakespeare in Love (1998) $100.3m
Titanic (1997) $600.7m

So where does this leave the current crop of Best Picture nominees, and in particular Best Pic winner No Country For Old Men? Well, given the fact that No Country will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 11th, that doesn't give the film much time in theaters to bring its $70 million domestic cume anywhere close to $100 million, but if you're counting foreign totals, the film has already amassed over $120 million worldwide.

Did the near-cancellation of the Oscars or the lengthy writers' strike mute what would have been huge press for No Country and an easy march towards $100 million? It was already the fifth highest grossing R-rated film released in 2007, but breaking the film into time increments, No Country earned $46 million in its first two months of release, usually the core period for theatrical gross. With quickly diminishing weekend returns, it's quite possible that released in any other time, the film probably would have bowed out at around $50 million. The film has grossed another $24 million in the seven weeks since, and most likely will add another $5-10 million to its domestic run. That means thanks to the Awards season (even with the strike) the Miramax release will have added another 40% to its total from the 8 week mark.

Any way you look at it, No Country got a nice bump during the Awards season, and had it not been for a writer's strike hogging the headlines and a canceled Golden Globes, it's quite conceivable the film could have made a legitimate run at $100 million.

Best Picture nominees, domestic gross:
JUNO, $125.2m

Sunday, March 2, 2008

'Semi-Pro' scores No. 1 debut with $15.3m, Feb. 29-Mar. 2, 2008

Will Ferrell's latest comedy Semi-Pro earned the top spot this weekend with a tepid $15.3 million debut, amid a slew of poorly-reviewed new openings and current releases that has caused the box office to slide 28% below last year's comparable frame. Indicative of the slow business, Semi-Pro became the worst starring comedy opening of Will Ferrell's career since 1998's A Night at the Roxbury debuted with $9.6 million.

Averaging $4,906 in 3,121 theaters, the New Line release fell well short of the actor's more recent blockbuster successes like 2007's Blades of Glory with $33m, 2006's Talladega Nights with $47m, 2005's Kicking and Screaming with $20.1m, and 2004's Anchorman with $28.3m. Though reviews were mostly negative, the biggest problem appears to be the film's R rating, which excluded a huge portion of Ferrell's core demographic (the other films previously listed were all rated PG-13).

Sony's political thriller Vantage Point fell one notch to second, falling a decent 43% to $13 million. In ten days, the $40 million budgeted ensemble pic has grossed $41 million, and should have no trouble breaking $70 million domestically.

Showing even stronger legs was Paramount's children's fantasy adaptation The Spiderwick Chronicles, which fell just 33% to $8.8 million this weekend. Enjoying solid reviews and strong word of mouth, the $90 million budgeted film has now grossed $55 million, and appears on pace to finish with $80-85 million by the end of its run.

Among other debuts Sony's poorly-reviewed period piece The Other Boleyn Girl bowed with an impressive $8.3 million from just 1,166 theaters, averaging a top ten best $7,118. Starring Natlie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, the film skewed heavily to a female audience.

Fox's sci-fi actioner Jumper rounded out the top five, falling just 40% to an estimates $7.6 million. Budgeted at $85 million, the film has grossed a strong $66.8 million in three weeks of release.

Summit Entertainment's ugly-duckling drama Penelope debuted in eighth with $4 million, averaging just $3,349 in 1,196 theaters. Starring Christina Ricci, the PG-rated pic received largely mixed reviews from critics.

Rounding out the top ten were two of Oscar night's big stars, Best Picture Winner No Country for Old Men and the Best Original Screenplay winner Juno. No Country saw nearly a doubling of theaters to its release slate, vaulting the film back into the top ten with $4 million. In 17 weeks of release, the Miramax picture has grossed $69.5 million. Juno slipped 19% to $3.3 million, pushing its 13 week cume to an incredible $135.1 million. Despite Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis' big night, Paramount Vantage's There Will Be Blood lost 154 theaters, falling 40% to $1.6 million. In ten weeks, the $25 million budgeted book adaptation has grossed a solid $37.6 million.

The numbers, Feb. 29-Mar. 2, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Semi-Pro $15,310,000 3,121 $4,905 $,310,000 -- 1 New Line
2 Vantage Point $13,000,000 3,150 $4,127 $41,005,000 -43.2 2 Sony
3 The Spiderwick Chronicles $8,752,000 3,654 $2,395 $55,081,000 -33.2 3 Paramount
4 The Other Boleyn Girl $8,300,000 1,166 $7,118 $8,300,000 -- 1 Sony
5 Jumper $7,600,000 3,128 $2,430 $66,823,000 -40.2 3 Fox
6 Step Up 2 The Streets $5,714,000 2,528 $2,260 $48,593,000 -40.5 3 Buena Vista
7 Fool's Gold $4,690,000 2,845 $1,649 $59,073,000 -28.4 4 Warner Bros.
8 Penelope $4,006,000 1,196 $3,349 $4,006,000 -- 1 Summit
8 No Country For Old Men $4,005,000 2,037 $1,966 $69,570,000 66.6 17 Miramax
10 Juno $3,350,000 1,631 $2,054 $135,135,000 -19.4 13 Fox Searchlight