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

Monday, September 15, 2008

'Burn After Reading' debuts big with $19.4m, Sept. 14-16, 2008

Four strong debuts headlined a very powerful September weekend as the marketplace saw four films debuting with over $10 million each for the first time in history. The Coen brothers' Burn After Reading led all films, followed closely by Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys. Overall, the top ten films grossed 39% more than last year's comparable frame when Jodie Foster's The Brave One topped.

Hot off their Best Film and Best Director Oscars at this year's Academy Awards for No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers's comedy Burn After Reading led all films with an estimated $19.4 million debut. Averaging a strong $7,320 from 2,651 theaters, the Focus Features release was the biggest opening in the company's history, as well as the career best for both Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring an A-list ensemble cast including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton, the $37 million budgeted pic was boosted by a huge marketing campaign, a star-studded cast and generally positive reviews from critics (79% of critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com gave the film a "fresh" recommendation).

The box office's closest thing to the Midas touch is Tyler Perry, and the writer/director/actor/hit-maker continued his incredible run with an $18 million opening from his low-budget comedy The Family That Preys. Averaging a top ten best $8,705 in 2,070 theaters, the Lionsgate release was Perry's third major hit of the past year, following last year's Meet the Browns ($20.1m debut) and Why Did I Get Married? ($21.4m debut). The biggest hit of Perry's brief but highly profitable career was 2006's $6 million budgeted Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, which debuted with $30 million and went on to gross $63.2 million domestic.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino's action-thriller Righteous Kill opened in third with $16.5 million, averaging $5,235 in 3,152 theaters. With both actors having seen significant depreciation in box office prowess over the past few years, the debut was a nice change of pace. It was De Niro's best since 2005's Hide and Seek took in $22 million, and Pacino's best since 2002's Insomnia opened to $20.9 million. The actors previously teamed up in 1995's Heat, which debuted with $8.4 million on its way to $67.4 million domestic. Reviews were mostly negative for the $60 million budgeted Overtures production.

Meg Ryan's remake The Women debuted in fourth with $10.1 million, averaging a lackluster $3,406 in 2,962 theaters. The ensemble pic co-starring Anette Bening, Jada Pinkett, and Eva Mendes, the Picturehouse release was savaged by critics.

Rounding out the top five was Sony's comedy The House Bunny, which fell a top ten best 22% to $4.3 million, bringing its cume to $42.2 million. Tropic Thunder finally broke the $100 million after falling 42% to $4.2 million this weekend, pushing its cume to $103 million.

Thanks to four double-digit debuts the top ten films grossed an estimated $83.1 million, up 39% from last year's comparable frame when The Brave One opened in the top spot with $13.5 million. It was up 47% from 2006 when Gridiron Gang topped with $14.4 million.

No comments: