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Sunday, October 26, 2008

'High School Musical 3' undercuts 'Saw V' with huge $42m bow, Oct. 24-26, 2008

The box office posted its biggest October weekend in history with a pair of extremely divergent debuts, with Disney's High School Musical 3: Senior Year posting a monster $42 million, stealing the spotlight from Halloween staple Saw V with $30.4 million. Warner's police drama Pride and Glory finished a distant fifth with $6.3 million.

Families flocked to the theaters for the first ever theatrical release of a High School Musical film, as the Disney sequel debuted with a massive $42 million, averaging an incredibly strong $11,598 in 3,623 theaters. Budgeted at just $11 million, the Disney release posted the third biggest October opening ever, behind only 2003's Scary Movie 3 with $48.1m, and 2004's computer-animated Shark Tale with $47.6m. It was also the biggest bow ever for a musical, beating July's Mamma Mia! with $27.8 million. The third installment of the Disney Channel's imminently popular pre-teen TV movies (and subsequently record breaking album releases), Disney's decision to bring one its most lucrative television properties to the big screen once again paid off handsomely. In February its 3D concert spectacle Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour posted the biggest Superbowl weekend in history with its $31.1 million opening.

Putting up a remarkable $16.9 million in sales on Friday, the film fell an understandable 9% to $15.3 million on Saturday. Reviews from critics were mostly positive, with 66% of critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com giving the film a "fresh" recommendation. Internationally, High School Musical 3 did just as well, posting $40 million in 22 markets, giving the film an incredible global opening of $82 million.

For the first time since 2004, a Saw film didn't top the weekend before Halloween, as Lionsgate's Saw V debuted with $30.4 million for second place. Averaging a very strong $9,965 in 3,060 theaters, the R-rated gore-fest opened in the overall range of its last three predecessors. It also bowed much better than the original Saw, which debuted in October 2004 with $18.2 million.

Mark Wahlberg's actioner Max Payne fell a massive 57% to $7.6 million in its sophomore frame, bringing its ten day haul to $29.7 million. Budgeted at $35 million, the Fox release should finish its domestic run with $45 million.

Despite the record opening of the studio's newest big hit, Disney's comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua continued its strong run at the box office, falling just 40% to $6.9 million. In four weeks, the talking animal flick has grossed $78.1 million.

Debuting weakly in fifth was Ed Norton and Colin Farrell's cop drama Pride & Glory, which took in $6.3 million in 2,585 theaters. Averaging just $2,447 per theater, look for the poorly-reviewed $30 million budgeted Warner pic to make a quick exit from the top ten.

Led by High School Musical 3 and Saw V, which combined to gross $72 million alone, the top ten films earned a whopping $116.4 million, up 43% from last year's comparable frame when Saw IV topped with $31.8 million.

The numbers, Oct. 24-26, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year $42,020,000 3,623 $11,598 $42,020,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 Saw V $30,493,000 3,060 $9,965 $30,493,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
3 Max Payne $7,600,000 3,381 $2,248 $29,664,000 -56.9 2 Fox
4 Beverly Hills Chihuahua $6,916,000 3,190 $2,168 $78,142,000 -39.5 4 Buena Vista
5 Pride and Glory $6,325,000 2,585 $2,447 $6,325,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
6 The Secret Life of Bees $5,935,000 1,630 $3,641 $19,208,000 -43.6 2 Fox Searchlight
7 W. $5,336,000 2,050 $2,603 $18,755,000 -49.2 2 Lionsgate
8 Eagle Eye $5,136,000 2,558 $2,008 $87,987,000 -26.9 5 Paramount
9 Body of Lies $4,065,000 2,150 $1,891 $30,890,000 -40.4 3 Warner Bros.
10 Quarantine $2,550,000 2,228 $1,145 $28,770,000 -58.1 3 Sony

Monday, October 20, 2008

'Max Payne' leashes 'Chihuahua' with $18m debut, Oct. 17-19, 2008

It took four new releases to unseat Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua from the top spot at the box office, with the top honor going to Fox's high profile video game adaptation Max Payne, which topped with an impressive $18 million debut. Chihuahua edged out Fox Searchlight's The Secret Life of Bees for second, with Oliver Stone's W. finishing fourth. With the bevy of new releases, the top ten films once again outpaced last year's comparable frame.

Fox's dreadful 2008 was allayed somewhat by the strong opening of its stylish video game adaptation Max Payne, which took the top spot with $18 million. Budgeted at a modest $35 million, the Mark Wahlberg starrer averaged $5,332 in 3,376 theaters, giving the studio its first No. 1 debut in seven months. Adapted from the popular Rockstar Games series, the film received overall negative reviews from critics.

Eeking out a second place finish was Disney's hit comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which has been one of the biggest surprises of the Fall season. Falling just 36% to $11.2 million, the G-rated family comedy has now amassed $69.1 million in 17 days, maintaining its pace to hit $100 million domestic.

If estimates hold, Fox Searchlight's period drama The Secret Life of Bees finished a strong third with an $11.1 million debut. Averaging a top ten best $6,945 in 1,591 theaters, the adaptation from Sue Monk Kidd's popular novel stars Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning. The debut marked the third biggest opening ever for the studio, behind only The Hills Have Eyes ($15.7m) and Street Kings ($12.5m). Reviews for Bees were mixed.

Perhaps the most talked about film of the weekend, Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic W., opened solidly in fourth with $10.6 million, averaging a solid $5,199 in 2,030 theaters. Starring Josh Brolin as the one and only, the $30 million budgeted pic received mixed reviews from critics. The film attracted a largely older crowd, with nearly half its audience over 40 years of age. The debut was significantly lower than Stone's last film, 2006's World Trade Center, which bowed with $18.7 million.

Rounding out the top five was Paramount's action hit Eagle Eye, which slipped just 33% to $7.3 million. In four weeks, the Shia LaBeouf starrer has grossed $81.3 million. Budgeted at $80 million, the film should surpass $100 million domestic.

The weakest debut of the weekend was Summit Entertainment's teen comedy Sex Drive, which opened with just $3.6 million in 2,421 theaters. Averaging a pathetic $1,473, the $19 million budgeted R-rated pic will have to look for action on DVD to break even.

Thanks to four major debuts, the top ten films grossed an estimated $81.5 million, up 12% from last year's comparable frame when 30 Days of Night topped with $16 million.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The numbers, Oct. 17-19, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Max Payne $18,000,000 3,376 $5,332 $18,000,000 -- 1 Fox
2 Beverly Hills Chihuahua $11,207,000 3,239 $3,460 $69,067,000 -36.0 3 Buena Vista
3 The Secret Life of Bees $11,050,000 1,591 $6,945 $11,050,000 -- 1 Fox Searchlight
4 W. $10,554,000 2,030 $5,199 $10,554,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
5 Eagle Eye $7,343,000 3,326 $2,208 $81,335,000 -32.7 4 Paramount
6 Body of Lies $6,880,000 2,714 $2,535 $24,481,000 -46.6 2 Warner Bros.
7 Quarantine $6,300,000 2,463 $2,558 $24,687,000 -55.7 2 Sony
8 Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist $3,900,000 2,241 $1,740 $26,707,000 -39.3 3 Sony
9 Sex Drive $3,566,000 2,421 $1,473 $3,566,000 -- 1 Summit
10 Nights in Rodanthe $2,680,000 2,115 $1,267 $36,892,000 -41.0 4 Warner Bros.

Monday, October 13, 2008

'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' stays top dog with $17.5m, Oct. 10-12, 2008

Disney's little dog with a big bite, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, once again nabbed the top spot at the box office, beating out four major new releases this weekend, including ScreenGems' horror-thriller Quarantine and Leo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe's Body of Lies.

In what was a very impressive sophomore outing, Disney's talking animal comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua surprised in holding onto the top spot, adding another $17.5 million this weekend. Falling a modest 40%, the PG-rated Buena Vista release has grossed now $52.5 million. With little in the way of direct competition in the next couple of weeks, look for the dog pic to make a serious run at $100 million domestic.

In second was Sony's horror thriller Quarantine, which locked down $14.2 million, averaging a strong $5,770 in 2,461 theaters. Reviews for the $12 million film were surprisingly positive, with 64% of critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com giving the film a "fresh" recommendation.

Ridley Scott's thriller Body of Lies disappointed in third with $13.1 million, averaging $4,841 in 2,710 theaters. Starring box office heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, Lies was largely projected to top the box office in its debut weekend. Instead, mixed reviews and a not-so-compelling marketing campaign from Warner Bros. doomed the $70 million budgeted pic.

Fall's big hit Eagle Eye fell 38% to fourth, bringing in $11 million. In three weeks the $80 million budgeted Paramount/DreamWorks release has grossed $70.5 million.

Rounding out the top five was Sony's $10 million budgeted teen romantic comedy Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which brought in another $6.5 million this weekend. In ten days the film has grossed a healthy $20.8 million.

Universal's football biopic The Express debuted with just $4.7 million in sixth. Documenting the life of Heisman-winning running back Earnie Davis, the well-reviewed film generated muted interest from moviegoers.

Rounding out the top ten was Fox's fantasy pic City of Ember, which took in just $3.2 million this weekend. Averaging a dire $1,583 in 2,022 theaters, the film received mixed reviews from critics.

The numbers, October 10-12, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua $17,511,000 3,218 $5,442 $52,541,000 -40.2 2 Buena Vista
2 Quarantine $14,200,000 2,461 $5,770 $14,200,000 -- 1 Sony
3 Body of Lies $13,120,000 2,710 $4,841 $13,120,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
4 Eagle Eye $11,015,000 3,614 $3,048 $70,551,000 -37.8 3 Paramount
5 Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist $6,500,000 2,421 $2,685 $20,810,000 -42.5 2 Sony
6 The Express $4,731,000 2,808 $1,685 $4,731,000 -- 1 Universal
7 Nights in Rodanthe $4,610,000 2,575 $1,790 $32,366,000 -37.4 3 Warner Bros.
8 Appaloosa $3,340,000 1,290 $2,589 $10,866,000 -16.2 4 Warner Bros.
9 The Duchess $3,322,000 1,207 $2,752 $5,620,000 272.8 4 Parmount Vantage
10 City of Ember $3,200,000 2,022 $1,583 $3,200,000 -- 1 Fox

Monday, October 6, 2008

'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' top dog with $29m debut, Oct. 3-5, 2008

If America is in a recession it sure doesn't seem to be affecting the movie industry, as Disney's latest foray into the talking dog genre, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, clawed its way to the top spot this weekend with a sizzling $29 million debut. With seven films making their wide release debuts (three of them outside the top ten), and led by those yapping canines, the box office grossed a whopping $91 million this weekend, surging past last year's comparable frame by 44%.

Disney's talking animal family comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua was the perfect medicine to the continually dire financial news dominating the headlines this past week, as the PG-rated flick took in $29 million in its debut frame, averaging a very impressive $9,020 in 3,215 theaters. It was the biggest opening for a children's film since June's Wall-e (a Disney/Pixar release) opened with an impressive $63.1 million.

Directed by Raja Gosnell (Scooby Doo 1 & 2), Chihuahua ranks as the third biggest opening ever in the "talking animal" genre, behind only 2007's Alvin and the Chipmunks with $44.3m and 1998's Doctor Dolittle with $29.14m. It was also the second biggest family film opening in September or October history, behind only DreamWorks' Shark Tale with $47.6 million back in 2004. With very few family film alternatives before the holiday season starts in November (Disney's own High School Musical 3: Senior Year opens Oct. 24th), look for Beverly Hills Chihuahua to enjoy a few more solid weekends.

Last week's champ Eagle Eye slipped one notch to second, falling just 39% in its sophomore frame to $17.7 million. In ten days, the Shia LeBeouf starrer has grossed an impressive $54.6 million. Budgeted at $80 million, the Paramount/DreamWorks release has an outside shot at breaking $100 million domestic.

Sony's teen romantic comedy Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist debuted in third with an estimated $12 million, averaging a solid $4,957 in 2,421 theaters. Budgeted at a modest $13 million, the Michael Cera (Juno) starrer should turn in a tidy profit for the studio. Reviews were largely positive for the film.

Richard Gere and Diane Lane's romance Nights in Rodanthe fell 45% in its sophomore frame to $7.4 million, bringing its ten day take to $25.1 million. The poorly-reviewed Warner release should finish with $40 million domestic.

Ed Harris second directorial effort Appaloosa (following 2000's critically acclaimed biopic Pollock) expanded from a two-week limited engagement to a semi-wide 1,045 theater national roll-out this weekend, bringing in $5 million in fifth. Averaging $4,794 per theater, the well-reviewed Warner Bros. western has grossed $5.6 million in three weeks.

The low-budget sleeper hit Fireproof took in another strong $4.07 million this weekend, solidifying the Christian-themed drama as one of the nicer stories of the Fall season. Budgeted at just $500,000, the Samuel Goldwyn release has taken in $12.5 million in ten days, and should surpass $20 million by the end of its run.

Vivendi Entertainment's poorly-reviewed comedy An American Carol managed just $3.8 million in ninth, while Bill Maher's documentary Religulous rounded out the top ten with $3.5 million. Averaging a strong $6,972 in 502 theaters, the Lionsgate release received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics.

Three other debuts whimpered into the marketplace, led by Greg Kinnear's biopic Flash of Genius. The Universal pic managed just $2.3 million in 1,098 theaters, averaging $2,120. Reviews were mixed.

Miramax's thriller Blindness flopped in its wide release debut, earning just $2 million in 1,690 theaters, for a stinging $1,185 average. Critics panned the Julianne Moore pic.

Simon Pegg's comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People managed just $1.4 million in 1,750 theaters, for a pathetic $801 average. The MGM release was likewise panned by critics.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The numbers, Oct. 3-5, 2008

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua $29,000,000 3,215 $9,020 $29,000,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 Eagle Eye $17,700,000 3,516 $5,034 $54,605,000 -39.3 2 Paramount
3 Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist $12,000,000 2,421 $4,957 $12,000,000 -- 1 Sony
4 Nights in Rodanthe $7,360,000 2,702 $2,724 $25,080,000 -45.2 2 Warner Bros.
5 Appaloosa $5,010,000 1,045 $4,794 $5,565,000 -- 3 Warner Bros.
6 Lakeview Terrace $4,500,000 2,574 $1,748 $32,140,000 -35.4 3 Sony
7 Burn After Reading $4,083,000 2,397 $1,703 $51,641,000 -34.1 4 Focus
8 Fireproof $4,070,000 852 $4,777 $12,493,000 -40.5 2 Samuel Goldwyn
9 An American Carol $3,810,000 1,639 $2,325 $3,810,000 -- 1 Vivendi
10 Religulous $3,500,000 502 $6,972 $3,519,000 -- 1 Lionsgate