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Sunday, February 22, 2009

'Madea Goes to Jail' whoops box office with $41.1m, Feb. 20-22, 2009

On a night that saw Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire sweep the Oscars with eight awards including Best Film and Best Director, it was Tyler Perry who swept the box office, as his latest Madea saga Madea Goes to Jail posted the fifth biggest February opening of all-time with a whopping $41.1 million.

The staggering ticket sales were more than the next four competitors combined, including Slumdog Millionaire in fifth, as the Lionsgate release averaged a jaw-dropping $20,236 in just 2,032 theaters, giving Madea the third biggest opening ever for a film showing in under 2,500 theaters. 2002's 8 Mile took in $51.2 million in 2,470 theaters, while 1993's Jurassic Park bowed with $47 million in 2,404 theaters.

The debut of Madea Goes to Jail was by far the biggest of actor/writer/director Tyler Perry's short but hugely successful career, surpassing Madea's Family Reunion which bowed with $30 million in 2006. Even more striking is the fact that Jail pulled in more this weekend than the entire run of Perry's The Family That Preys, which finished with $37.1 million last year.

Holdovers dominated the rest of the top ten with Liam Neeson's thriller Taken continuing its strong run with $11.4 million. In just four weeks the sleeper hit has brought in $95.1 million, and should break the century mark by next weekend.

Focus Features' family film Coraline slipped just 25% to third with $11 million, bringing the stop-motion pic's three week cume to $53.4 million. In fourth was the romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, which fell 56% from Valentine's Day weekend to $8.5 million. In three weeks the film has grossed an impressive $70.1 million.

In fifth and sure to see an even bigger spike in sales in the coming week was Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, which rode the huge Oscar buzz to a 10% increase in sales to $8 million. The Best Film winner has now amassed $98 million domestic and should see a major boost in theaters and sales in the upcoming week.

Opening poorly in ninth was the comedy Fired Up!, which took in $6 million.

Other Best Picture nominees that fared well this weekend were The Reader with $2.8 million, hot off Kate Winslet's Best Actress win, Milk with a 25% increase in sales to $1.1 million, thanks to Best Actor winner Sean Penn, and Frost/Nixon, which rose 31% to $678,000. The last Best Film nominee The Case of Benjamin Button hasn't gotten the Oscar boost Paramount was hoping for, earning $1.2 million bringing its cume to $124.2 million.

The numbers, Feb. 20-22, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Madea Goes to Jail $41,120,000 2,032 $20,236 $41,120,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
2 Taken $11,400,000 3,102 $3,675 $95,135,000 -40.0 4 Fox
3 Coraline $11,030,000 2,155 $5,118 $53,393,000 -25.4 3 Focus
4 He's Just Not That Into You $8,540,000 3,050 $2,800 $70,083,000 -56.2 3 Warner Bros.
5 Slumdog Millionaire $8,050,000 2,244 $3,587 $98,020,000 10.5 15 Fox Searchlight
6 Friday the 13th $7,830,000 3,105 $2,522 $55,002,000 -80.7 2 Warner Bros.
7 Confessions of a Shopaholic $7,020,000 2,507 $2,800 $27,654,000 -53.4 2 Buena Vista
8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $7,000,000 2,835 $2,469 $121,380,000 -36.3 6 Sony
9 Fired Up! $6,000,000 1,810 $3,315 $6,000,000 -- 1 Sony
10 The International $4,450,000 2,364 $1,882 $17,017,000 -52.3 2 Sony

Sunday, February 15, 2009

'Friday the 13th' remake slashes up Valentine's Day weekend with record $42.2m, Feb. 13-15, 2009

Jason Voorhees made his solo comeback a big one over Valentine's Day and President's Day weekend as the Newline/Warner Bros. remake Friday the 13th posted the biggest debut in history for a horror film with a massive $42.2 million.

Budgeted at a mere $19 million, the remake of the 1980 horror film that started the franchise blew past the debuts of all eleven previous Jason pics, including the $36.4 million bow of 2003's Freddy Vs. Jason. Produced by Michael Bay, the New Line-Paramount co-production (released by Warner) has already become the second highest grossing film in the franchise, surpassing the original Friday the 13th's $39.7 million total gross, and behind only Freddy vs. Jason's $82.6 million domestic haul. Bay already has a Nightmare on Elmstreet reboot in the works.

Averaging an incredible $13,605 in 3,105 theaters, Friday the 13th also posted the best R-rated opening since last summer's Wanted with $50.9 million, as well as the 15th biggest R-rated debut ever.

The massive debut helped the marketplace bring in over $185 million over the Friday-Sunday frame, making it the biggest President's Day weekend in history.

Last week's champ He's Just Not That Into You fell 29% over the Valentine's Day weekend finishing with a strong $19.6 million. In ten days, the romantic comedy has grossed $55.1 million. Look for the film to break $90 million domestic.

Debuting in fourth was Buena Vista's comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic, which beat estimates with a strong $15.4 million bow. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the Isla Fisher starrer averaged $6,145 from 2,507 theaters despite garnering by far the worst reviews of the weekend. With nearly three-quarters of its attendance being female, look for severe drops in the coming weeks.

Holding strong in fifth was the acclaimed stop-motion pic Coraline, which fell just 9% to $15.3 million over the three-day frame. The Focus Features release has amassed $35.6 million in both traditional and 3D theaters, and should have no trouble breaking $75 million domestic.

Poor marketing, a bad premise and lukewarm reviews condemned Sony's banking thriller The International to seventh with $10 million. Starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, the $50 million budgeted pic averaged $4,230 in 2,364 theaters. Look for a quick exit out of the top ten for German director Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) film.

The numbers, Feb. 13-15, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Friday the 13th $42,250,000 3,105 $13,607 $42,250,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 He's Just Not That Into You $19,610,000 3,175 $6,176 $55,078,000 -29.4 2 Warner Bros.
3 Taken $19,250,000 3,109 $6,192 $77,925,000 -6.3 3 Fox
4 Confessions of a Shopaholic $15,406,000 2,507 $6,145 $15,406,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
5 Coraline $15,323,000 2,320 $6,605 $35,585,000 -9.1 2 Focus
6 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $11,700,000 2,965 $3,946 $110,515,000 7.5 5 Sony
7 The International $10,000,000 2,364 $4,230 $10,000,000 -- 1 Sony
8 The Pink Panther 2 $9,000,000 3,245 $2,773 $22,321,000 -22.3 2 Sony
9 Slumdog Millionaire $7,150,000 1,634 $4,376 $86,546,000 -0.4 14 Fox Searchlight
10 Push $6,900,000 2,313 $2,983 $19,294,000 -31.5 2 Summit

Sunday, February 8, 2009

'He's Just Not That Into You' dominates weekend with $27.5m debut, Feb. 6-8, 2009

Thanks to a strong headline opening from the romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, three more $10+ million debuts, as well as very small drops from the rest of the top ten, the marketplace posted a huge 41% increase in ticket sales over last year's comparable frame. Overall, the top 20 releases took in nearly $150 million in North America, giving the box office a huge confidence boost in the new year.

Leading the charge this weekend was Warner Bros.'s romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You, which debuted at No. 1 with a powerful $27.5 million. Averaging a strong $8,650 in 3,175 theaters, the Jennifer Aniston-Ben Affleck starrer posted the third biggest opening of 2009 thus far, nehind only Paul Blart: Mall Cop's $31.8m and Gran Torino's $29.5m.

Produced by the now defunct New Line (which folded back into parent company Warner Bros. following a horrendous couple of years), the film was heavily marketed just in time for Valentine's weekend festivities. Featuring a heavyweight ensemble cast including Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore, the PG-13 release shrugged off mixed-to-poor reviews while appealing to both women and date crowds. Look for continued success heading into Valentine's Day weekend.

Last week's surprise champ Taken slipped just 18% in its sophomore frame to $20.3 million, giving Fox and Liam Neeson the first sleeper hit of the new year. In just ten days the PG-13 action thriller has grossed $53.4 million, and if word of mouth continues to remain strong the film has an outside shot at breaking $100 million domestic, a remarkable achievement for a film many thought sounded like your run-of-the-mill February studio dump.

Laika Studio's acclaimed stop-motion film Coraline debuted in third with an estimated $16.3 million, averaging an encouraging $7,105 in 2,299 theaters. The Henry Selick (A Nightmare Before Christmas) film, released by Focus Features, played in both 3D and non-3D capable theaters, with over 60% of receipts coming from high margin 3D venues. Critics largely heralded the stop-motion pic, which opened nearly twice as strong as 1993's A Nightmare Before Christmas ($8m, $74.6m total including re-release). Tim Burton's Corpse Bride opened stronger with a $19.1 million wide release debut, but finished with just $53.3 million domestic.

Steve Martin's The Pink Panther 2 debuted in fourth with $12 million, falling well short of the $20.1 million debut of its 2006 predecessor. The poorly-reviewed Sony comedy averaged just $3,700 in 3,243 theaters, and will likely finish far behind the first film's $80.2 million domestic and $159 million worldwide haul.

Rounding out the top five was Kevin James' hit comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which inched closer to $100 million with another strong $11 million weekend. Falling just 21%, the $26 million budgeted Sony has shown some of the strongest legs for a comedy in quite some time, amassing $97 million in just four weeks.

Hot off their sensational vampire romance hit Twilight, Summit Entertainment went towards the sci-fi genre with its thriller Push, which debuted modestly in sixth with $10.2 million. The poorly-reviewed release starring Dakota Fanning averaged just $4,410 from 2,313 theaters.

Fox Searchlight's Oscar-nominated sensation Slumdog Millionaire continued its remarkable run falling just 3% to $7.4 million. In 13 weeks the film has amassed $77.4 million, surpassing Sideways's $71.5 million gross to become the studio's second biggest release in history. Only last year's Juno has grossed more with $143.5 million domestic.

The numbers, Feb. 6-8, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 He's Just Not That Into You $27,460,000 3,175 $8,649 $27,460,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 Taken $20,300,000 3,184 $6,376 $53,364,000 -17.9 2 Fox
3 Coraline $16,335,000 2,299 $7,105 $16,335,000 -- 1 Focus
4 The Pink Panther 2 $12,000,000 3,243 $3,700 $12,000,000 -- 1 Sony
5 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $11,000,000 3,169 $3,471 $97,002,000 -20.7 4 Sony
6 Push $10,200,000 2,313 $4,410 $10,200,000 -- 1 Summit
7 Slumdog Millionaire $7,400,000 1,724 $4,292 $77,426,000 -3.0 13 Fox Searchlight
8 Gran Torino $7,240,000 2,705 $2,677 $120,280,000 -12.1 9 Warner Bros.
9 The Uninvited $6,400,000 2,344 $2,730 $18,379,000 -38.0 2 Paramount
10 Hotel for Dogs $5,820,000 2,734 $2,129 $55,234,000 -32.6 4 Paramount

Sunday, February 1, 2009

'Taken' bows with $24.6m, second biggest Superbowl weekend ever, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2009

For years studios have largely shied away from releasing action films over Superbowl weekend, thinking only targeted genres like horror pics or counter-programming romantic comedies could withstand the dramatic sales drop over Superbowl Sunday. But it was Liam Neeson showcasing his "particular set of skills" that rocked the box office, surging past expectations to top the weekend. In fact, the film's $24.6 million bow became the second highest Superbowl weekend take in history, behind only last year's 3D entry Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds ($31.1m).

Liam Neeson posted the fourth biggest debut of his career as his kidnapping/revenge thriller Taken surged past industry estimates with a powerful $24.6 million. Released by Fox, the PG-13 pic averaged a strong $7,736 in 3,183 theaters, showing strong Friday and Saturday numbers despite mixed reviews. Produced by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element), the film benefited from a hefty marketing blitz by Fox, which focused heavily on the film's raw, violent nature, delivered by the methodical Neeson. Taken earned $9.4 million on Friday and $11.6 million on Saturday for a 24% increase in ticket sales. Sunday estimates have the film dropping an understandable 69% to $3.6 million.

Sony's hit comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop continued its strong January, falling just 35% to $14 million, bringing its three week cume to an amazing $83.4 million. The Kevin James comedy is on pace to surge past $100 million, and could finish with $120 million domestic by the end of its run.

Trying to seize upon the recent popularity of horror films over Superbowl weekend (horror pics have topped three of the last four Superbowls including The Messengers in 2007, When a Stranger Calls in 2006, and Boogeyman in 2005), Paramount unveiled its horror remake The Uninvited, which debuted in third with $10.5 million. A remake of the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters, the film averaged $4,485 from 2,344 theaters. Budgeted at a modest $20M, the film might still have trouble breaking even theatrically. Reviews were mostly poor.

Paramount fared better with is children's comedy Hotel for Dogs, which fell just 32% to $8.7 million. In just 17 days the PG comedy has collected an impressive $48.2 million.

Despite what will be a quiet night at the Oscars for Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino became the actor's highest-grossing film ever, as its $8.6 million weekend haul brought the film's cume to $110.5 million. In one weekend Gran Torino surpassed 2004's Million Dollar Baby ($100.4m), 1992's Unforgiven ($101.1m), and 1993's In the Line of Fire ($102.3m), giving Eastwood his fourth $100 million grossing pic ever.

Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire continued to receive the biggest Oscar bounce of the season, falling just 28% to $7.7 million, bringing its cume to $67.2 million. Adding 222 theaters to its theatrical run, the Danny Boyle pic has now become the third highest grossing film in studio history, behind only Sideways with $71.5m and Juno with $143.5m.

The weekend's only other new wide release, Renée Zellweger's comedy New in Town debuted in eighth with $6.8M million, averaging just $3,479 in 1,941 theaters. Released by Lionsgate, the poorly-reviewed pic failed to lure women in the studio's counter-programming bet.

Thanks to solid holds and a stronger than expected showing from Liam Neeson's Taken, the top ten films grossed an estimated $96 million, up 1% from last year's comparable frame when Hannah Montana shattered records with its $31.1 million debut. It was up a whopping 45% from 2007 when The Messengers topped a weak box office with $14.7 million.

The numbers, January 30-Feb. 1, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Taken $24,625,000 3,183 $7,736 $24,625,000 -- 1 Fox
2 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $14,000,000 3,206 $4,367 $83,375,000 -35.3 3 Sony
3 The Uninvited $10,512,000 2,344 $4,485 $10,512,000 -- 1 Paramount
4 Hotel for Dogs $8,706,000 3,160 $2,755 $48,229,000 -32.3 3 Paramount
5 Gran Torino $8,600,000 3,015 $2,852 $110,547,000 -47.1 8 Warner Bros.
6 Slumdog Millionaire $7,680,000 1,633 $4,703 $67,244,000 -28.2 12 Fox Searchlight
7 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans $7,200,000 2,942 $2,447 $32,784,000 -65.4 2 Sony
8 New in Town $6,752,000 1,941 $3,479 $6,752,000 -- 1 Lionsgate
9 My Bloody Valentine 3D $4,256,000 1,406 $3,027 $44,604,000 -57.5 3 Lionsgate
10 Inkheart $3,700,000 2,655 $1,394 $12,792,000 -51.3 2 Warner Bros.