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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.


Timothy Saenz said...

Hi, Stephen!

I run a local movie and sports blog and link to yours so my readers can get in depth box office information. I am on tubmlr but may switch to Wordpress.

I have a question.

Would you explain what "limited release" means? Does it mean a film will NEVER go to wide release or that it might?

Thanks for your help.

Timothy Saenz
Sebring, Fla.

Stephen Wong said...

Thanks for the link up and question Timothy! "Limited release" simply implies that the film is playing in a limited number of theaters compared to other releases. Though the number varies, people usually refer to films playing in less than 1,000 theaters as limited release.

The reason a studio/distributor does this is to limit the financial risk in releasing a film in theaters. Since making and distributing film prints to theaters across the country is an expensive ordeal (upwards of $50-75K per print, of which 4,000 or more can be made for a wide release), it can be very expensive for certain movies to open on a much wider scale. Studios releasing smaller films that don't have mass market appeal will hedge their bets by opening the film in less theaters, hoping word of mouth will catch on and allow them to add more theaters later in its release date. You see this a lot with indie films and some Oscar nominated releases.

Hope that helps!