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Sunday, June 28, 2009

'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' rakes in record $387m worldwide in debut, June 26-28, 2009

Michael Bay is laughing all the way to the bank this fourth of July weekend. After taking a certified beating from critics, who gave the film a "rotten" 21% score from Rottentomatoes.com, the glitzy action auteur proved that bigger is sometimes much better. He spent more money ($200 million budget compared to $150m for its predecessor), pushed for bigger effects, and brought the running time to a head-scratching two-and-a-half hours, all to satisfy the pent up demand by audiences for a certified box office blockbuster. The result was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which took in a staggering $201.2 million over its five-day opening and $387 million worldwide, giving the sequel the largest global opening haul in history.

After pulling in $89.2 million over the Wednesday-Thursday time frame, including a record crushing $60.2 million on Wednesday alone, the Paramount/DreamWorks release amassed an incredible $112 million over the weekend, bringing its five-day total to $201.2 million. Only last summer's The Dark Knight grossed more over its first five days, bringing in $203.8 million last July. By comparison, the original Transformers bowed with $70.5 million over the July 4th weekend in 2007, pulling in $155.4 million over its first 6 days of release (it debuted on a Tuesday).

Averaging a massive $26,453 in 4,234 theaters over the weekend (including 169 IMAX screens), the Michael Bay actioner shattered the June opening weekend record set by 2004's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with $93.7 million. It also broke the five-day record for a Wednesday opener, easily surpassing the $152.4 million haul by 2004's Spider-Man 2.

Starting on Wednesday with a record-shattering $60.6 million, the opening day haul was the second largest in history behind The Dark Knight's Friday take of $67.2 million, as well as the largest by far for a Wednesday bow. That now-annihilated record belonged to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which debuted on Wednesday with $44.2 million in 2007.

Internationally Transformers whipped up a frenzy as well, though not to the dizzying heights of its North American release. The pic took in $186 million since the beginning of the week, putting its worldwide take at $387 million. That makes Revenge of the Fallen already the second highest grossing film globally for 2009, behind only Angels & Demons with $467.7 million.

With sizable competition ahead in the form of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs coming July 4th and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arriving 11 days later, Transformers will likely see a heavy sophomore drop. But with an opening five-days like that, the film could still coast to $350 million domestic without even trying.

Sandra Bullock's hit romantic comedy The Proposal continued to fare well in its sophomore frame, falling 45% to $18.5 million, bringing its ten-day cume to $69.1 million. Released by Buena Vista and co-starring Ryan Reynolds, the $40 million budgeted pic looks headed towards $120 million domestic.

The comedy blockbuster The Hangover continued its phenomenal run at the box office, falling another slight 36% to $17.2 million. In four weeks the film has now amassed $183.2 million, and seems like a shoe-in for $250+ million domestic.

Disney-Pixar's computer-animated comedy Up is now officially the highest grossing film of 2009, surpassing Star Trek in its fifth week of release. Falling 45% to $13 million, the film managed a decent drop despite the overwhelming presence of Transformers 2. In five weeks the film has grossed a lofty $250.3 million, and should be able to replace No. 2 on the all-time Pixar by next weekend. Already ranked as the fourth highest grossing film in studio history, the $175 million budgeted pic is poised to surpass the $255.8m of Monsters, Inc. (No. 3), and the $261.4m haul of The Incredibles (No. 2). The film is still just barely behind the pace of 2003's Finding Nemo which grossed $339.7 million domestic, but with Ice Age 3 on the near-term horizon, and Harry Potter VI not far behind that, it appears unlikely Up would unseat Nemo at the top of the list. Still, given the fantastic word of mouth this summer, look for Up to just barely cross $300 million domestic.

The numbers, June 26-28, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $112,000,000 4,234 $26,453 $201,246,000 -- 1 Paramount
2 The Proposal $18,466,000 3,058 $6,039 $69,050,000 -45.1 2 Buena Vista
3 The Hangover $17,210,000 3,525 $4,882 $183,242,000 -35.7 4 Warner Bros.
4 Up $13,046,000 3,487 $3,741 $250,218,000 -44.5 5 Buena Vista
5 My Sister's Keeper $12,030,000 2,606 $4,616 $12,030,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
6 Year One $5,800,000 3,024 $1,918 $32,307,000 -70.4 2 Sony
7 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $5,400,000 2,995 $1,803 $53,406,000 -55.1 3 Sony
8 Star Trek $3,606,000 1,823 $1,978 $246,225,000 -34.6 8 Paramount
9 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smith. $3,500,000 2,250 $1,556 $163,248,000 -55.2 6 Fox
10 Away We Go $1,678,000 495 $3,390 $4,056,000 92.6 4 Focus

'Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen' annhilates competition with est. $200m opening

Thanks to its record smashing $60.6 million Wednesday opening bow, a huge $28.6 million Thursday, another mind-boggling $36.7 million Friday and an estimated $39.5 million Saturday, Michael Bay's blockbuster sequel Transformers 2 looks headed towards $200 million for a five-day weekend, becoming only the second film in history to achieve that mark, following The Dark Knight's $203 million five-day bow. If Sunday estimates come in better than expected, its concievable the two-and-a-half hour actioner could best even that mark, a record once thought untouchable.

Despite being savaged by critics, the critic-proof sequel appears likely to be the top grossing pic of 2009, unless Ice Age 3 (opening July 4th) and Harry Potter VI (opening July 15th) can knock the Shia LeBeouf pic off course.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

'Transformers 2' wallops box office with record smashing $60.6m Wednesday

In a summer where mostly the stronger reviewed films have fared the best -- Star Trek, Up and The Hangover have all enjoyed strong openings and long lucrative box office runs -- here comes Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to hit the reset button and restore the summer box office blockbuster back to its old habits.

Garnering some of the worst reviews of the entire year (a dismal 21% on Rottentomatoes.com), Transformers 2 exploded in its opening day bow, raking in over $60.6 million on Wednesday, including a staggering $16 million from midnight screenings alone. That annihilates the previous record holder Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which debuted with $44.2 million in 2007. Surging past even the most optimistic predictions from Paramount themselves, the $200 million budgeted sequel looks certain to beat the overall gross of its 2007 blockbuster predecessor Transformers, which took in $319 million domestic and $708 million worldwide.

The Megan Fox-Shia LeBeouf starrer looks on pace to shatter the current 5-day record holder, Warner's The Dark Knight with $203 million.

Monday, June 22, 2009

'The Proposal' dominates weekend with $34.1m debut, June 19-21, 2009

Sandra Bullock posted the biggest opening of her career as her romantic comedy The Proposal dominated the box office at No. 1 with a whopping $34.1 million. Two week champ The Hangover continued its torrid pace with a slight 18% drop, while Pixar's Up edged out the other newcomer Year One for third place. Overall, the box office finished on par with last year's comparable frame, after three sluggish weeks behind the pace.

Finishing the weekend in the top spot for the first time in ten years (when Forces of Nature topped with $13.5m), Sandra Bullock made her long awaited return to the romantic comedy as The Proposal surged past industry expectations with an estimated $34.1 million. The opening nearly doubled her previous career best, the 2007 thriller Premonition.

Averaging a powerful $11,163 from 3,056 theaters, the Buena Vista release shrugged of mixed reviews, arriving just in time for female viewers in need of something other than horror, action and comedy. Budgeted at just $40 million, the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds starrer was helped by a very strong marketing push, as well as sneak previews last weekend which helped get early word of mouth generated heading into Friday.

The debut for The Proposal was on par with 2002's hit romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama, which took in $35.6m in its debut on its way to $127.2m total, and 2006's The Break-Up, which bowed with $39.1 on its way to $118.7m domestic. With few direct competitors on the horizon, look for The Proposal to become just the fourth film in Sandra Bullock's career to break $100 million domestic.

Despite losing the top spot this weekend, Warner Bros.' blockbuster R-rated comedy The Hangover continued its staggering run at the box office, slipping just 18% to $26.9 million. That brings the $35 million budgeted pic to a 17-day $152.9 million cume. The Vegas-inspired comedy now looks on pace to not only surpass Wedding Crashers, which current stands as the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time at $209m, but become one of the top five highest grossing R-rated films in history.

Once again falling in line right behind The Hangover was Pixar's blockbuster family comedy Up, which slipped just 31% to $21.3 million this weekend, bringing its four week cume to an incredible $224.1 million. In just 24 days the Disney release has become the 6th highest grossing Pixar film in history, surpassing the entire domestic gross of last year's Oscar winning hit Wall-E with $223.8 million, as well as 2007's Oscar winner Ratatouille with $206.4 million.

Budgeted at a hefty $175 million, the acclaimed computer-animated comedy continues to follow the pace of Pixar's highest grossing film ever, Finding Nemo, which took in $21.1 million in its fourth weekend for a $228.5 million cume. Nemo would eventually finish its domestic run with $339.7 million, becoming the second highest grossing animated film in history.

With 60% of its business being coming from the more lucrative 3-D equipped theaters, the next few weeks could be much tougher with the arrival of Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which will eat up a significant portion of the 3-D screens when it opens July 1st. Regardless, Up looks certain to surpass The Incredibles's $261 million domestic haul, which would make it the second highest grossing film in Pixar's illustrious history.

Dismal reviews relegated Jack Black and Michael Cera's latest comedy Year One to fourth place, as the $60m budgeted PG-13 pic finished with $20.2 million in 3,022 theaters for a $6,684 average. The opening was on par with his 2003 comedy School of Rock, which opened with $19.6 million. However, don't expect Year One to exhibit the same kind of legs that helped Rock finish with $81.2 million domestic.

The numbers, June 19-21, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 The Proposal $34,114,000 3,056 $11,163 $34,114,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
2 The Hangover $26,855,000 3,545 $7,575 $152,919,000 -18.1 3 Warner Bros.
3 Up $21,336,000 3,832 $5,568 $224,113,000 -30.6 4 Buena Vista
4 Year One $20,200,000 3,022 $6,684 $20,200,000 -- 1 Sony
5 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $11,300,000 3,077 $3,672 $43,332,000 -51.7 2 Sony
6 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $7,300,000 2,962 $2,465 $155,953,000 -24.1 5 Fox
7 Star Trek $4,700,000 2,307 $2,037 $239,444,000 -13.8 7 Paramount
8 Land of the Lost $3,976,000 2,945 $1,350 $43,672,000 -55.8 3 Universal
9 Imagine That $3,100,000 3,011 $1,030 $11,351,000 -43.7 2 Paramount
10 Terminator Salvation $3,070,000 1,920 $1,599 $119,513,000 -35.9 5 Warner Bros.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

'Hangover' tops box office again with $32.5m, June 12-14, 2009

Audiences once again opted for the one-two weekend punch of the R-rated hit comedy The Hangover and Disney-Pixar's blockbuster smash Up, as both films finished with the two best holdovers in the top ten. Of the weekend's two new releases, The Taking of Pehlam 123 shrugged off mediocre reviews thanks to its starpower finishing in third place, while Eddie Murphy's box office struggles continued with his family flop Imagine That.

After narrowly holding off Up when last weekend's final numbers were released last Monday, The Hangover finally became the first film in four months to finish in the top spot for two weeks in a row, falling just 26% to $33.4 million. Thanks to phenomenal weekday sales last week (Monday-Thursday netted the Warner comedy a whopping $27 million), the $30 million budgeted comedy has now amassed $105.4 million in its first ten days of release, and looks on pace to become the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time.

Thanks to phenomenal word of mouth the Warner release didn't miss a beat despite decent competition from the Denzel Washington-John Travolta starrer Pelham, besting even the strong sophomore frames of fellow R-rated hits Knocked Up (36%) and Tropic Thunder (37%). The second weekend drop was comparable to the 24% slide from 2005's Wedding Crashers, which went on to become the highest grossing R-rated comedy in history with $209.2 million. At its current pace with weekday sales continuing to be strong, look for Hangover to surge past Wedding Crashers by the end of the summer.

Though bested for a second straight week by sleeper sensation The Hangover, Disney-Pixar's latest blockbuster Up continued to reign unopposed in the family film market, falling just 31% to $30.5 million. That gives the PG release the second biggest 3rd weekend ever for an animated pic, behind only Shrek 2's $37.9 million haul back in 2004, and ahead of such notables as Finding Nemo with $28.4m (39% drop) and The Incredibles with $26.5 million (47% drop).

In just 17 days the $175 million budgeted Pete Docter release has grossed a phenomenal $187.2 million, and has amazingly closed the gap with Finding Nemo, which took in $191.5 million in its first 17 days of release. That film went on to become the highest grossing animated film in history back in 2003, though it relinquished the title a year later to 2004's mega-smash Shrek 2 with $441 million. Thanks to fantastic word of mouth, still strong margins from the 1500+ 3-D equipped theaters, and little direct competition until July 4th's Ice Age 3, Up looks likely to become just the fourth $300+ million grossing computer-animated release in history.

Debuting in third with a strong $25 million was the Denzel Washington-John Travolta remake The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which averaged a solid $8,133 in 3,074 theaters. The R-rated Tony Scott-directed actioner received mixed reviews from critics (a "rotten" 50% score from Rottentomatoes.com), but managed to open stronger than Washington and Scott's previous collaborations Deja Vu ($20.5m) and Man on Fire ($22.7m), as well as Washington's Oscar-winning turn in Training Day ($22.5m). It was the actor's third biggest opening ever behind only American Gangster ($43.6m) and Inside Man ($29m). With a 13% increase in sales from Friday to Saturday, word of mouth appears fairly strong, which could indicate a healthy run at the domestic box office this summer.

Fox's hit comedy Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian continued to exhibit strong legs, falling just 34% in its fourth weekend to $9.6 million, bringing its cume to $143.4 million. Though its trajectory is significantly behind that of its 2006 blockbuster predecessor Night at the Museum, which had accumulated $185 million by its fourth weekend on its way to $250.8 million total, Smithsonian still appears likely to surpass $175 million domestic.

After a dreadful opening last weekend, Will Ferrell's action-comedy TV adaptation Land of the Lost fell 51% to $9.2 million, bringing its ten-day cume to just $34.9 million. Look for the $100 million budgeted Universal pic to finish with a paltry $55 million domestic.

The only other debut this weekend came from Eddie Murphy's family comedy Imagine That, which failed draw much attention amongst popular alternatives Up and Night at the Museum, finishing with a disappointing $5.7 million. Carrying a $55 million price tag, the Paramount release averaged a pathetic $1,895 in an ultrawide 3,008 theaters, barely edging out last year's flop Meet Dave which bowed with $5.3 million.

Despite strong holdover performances from The Hangover and Up, the top ten films managed just $131.7 million in ticket sales, down a whopping 25% from last year's comparable frame when The Incredible Hulk debuted at No. 1 with $55.4 million.

The numbers, June 12-14, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 The Hangover $33,415,000 3,355 $9,960 $105,389,000 -25.7 2 Warner Bros.
2 Up $30,515,000 3,886 $7,853 $187,179,000 -30.9 3 Buena Vista
3 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $25,000,000 3,074 $8,133 $25,000,000 -- 1 Sony
4 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $9,600,000 3,365 $2,853 $143,447,000 -34.4 4 Fox
5 Land of the Lost $9,153,000 3,534 $2,590 $34,980,000 -51.4 2 Universal
6 Imagine That $5,700,000 3,008 $1,895 $5,700,000 -- 1 Paramount
7 Star Trek $5,600,000 2,638 $2,123 $232,028,000 -32.6 6 Paramount
8 Terminator Salvation $4,695,000 2,650 $1,772 $113,831,000 -43.1 4 Warner Bros.
9 Angels & Demons $4,200,000 2,436 $1,724 $123,300,000 -35.9 5 Sony
10 Drag Me to Hell $3,864,000 2,273 $1,700 $35,146,000 -45.1 3 Universal

Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Up' edges 'Hangover' for top spot with $44.2m, June 5-7, 2009

In a weekend many thought might be a battle of two newcomers, it was Disney-Pixar's blockbuster family comedy Up which held on to the top spot, leading all films with another fantastic $44.2 million. Its biggest challenger was not Will Ferrell's big budget TV adaptation Land of the Lost, but rather the modestly budgeted R-rated comedy The Hangover, which despite no big stars managed one of the biggest opening weekends ever for an R-rated comedy at $43.2 million. Unable to shrug off horrendous reviews, Land of the Lost finished a distant third with $19.5 million.

Battling throughout the weekend for the top crown, Pixar Animation's Up and Warner Bros.' The Hangover traded places between Friday and Saturday, with the PG-rated animated hit edging the raunchy R-rated comedy by less than $1 million by Sunday. Falling just 35% from its better than expected debut last weekend the $175 million budgeted pic finished with $44.2 million, bringing its ten day take to a remarkable $137.3 million. That ten-day haul is the third biggest in Pixar history, behind only 2003's Finding Nemo with $144 million and 2004's The Incredibles with $143.2 million. Finding Nemo posted a sophomore frame of $46.6 million (down 33.7%) on its way to $339.7 million total, while The Incredibles posted a $50.2 million second weekend (down 28.7%) on its way to $261.4 million.

Thanks to glowing reviews and fantastic word of mouth, Up became the first film in four months to finish at No.1 in consecutive weekends and also posted the biggest sophomore frame since The Dark Knight finished with $75.1 million last July. At its current pace and with no direct competition until Ice Age 3 on July 1st, look for Up to become the second biggest film in Pixar history with a $270-280 million domestic haul.

Blowing away nearly all industry projections this weekend, Warner Bros.' raunchy Vegas comedy The Hangover debuted in second with $43.3 million, posting the third biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy. Averaging a whopping $13,238 in 3,269 theaters, the well-reviewed pic beat out R-rated brethren like Superbad ($33.1 million), Wedding Crashers ($33.9 million) and Knocked Up ($30.7 million) despite a relatively unknown cast.

Carrying a production budget of just $30 million, the Todd Phillips directed pic will go a long way in helping Warner shake off the disturbing performance of its summer tentpole Terminator Salvation, which limped across the $100 million mark in its third week of release in spite of its $200 million price tag. Knowing they already had a hit on their hands, Warner had already greenlit a sequel for its newest comedy franchise.

Universal's gamble in bringing a cheesy 1970s Saturday morning TV show to the big screen blew up in their face as their big budget family comedy Land of the Lost debuted in a distant third with just $19.5 million. Savaged by critics (RT score of just 28%), the Will Ferrell vehicle came to theaters with a $100 million price tag, averaging $5,545 in 3,521 theaters.

Ferrell's affinity for turning 70s era TV shows into big budget theatrical productions has been a mixed bag, with 2005's Bewitched opening to $20.1 million on its way to $63.3m total, and 2004's Starsky and Hutch (in which he had a non-starring role) debuting with $28.1 million and $88.2m total. Universal's choice to launch Land of the Lost this weekend was probably its downfall, as the film was forced to follow the second weekend of Pixar's Up, and the third for Fox's Night at the Museum 2, all of whom share the same PG family demographic. Fans of Ferrell most likely chose the better-reviewed and less watered-down The Hangover. Look for Lost to finish with less than $50 million domestic.

The numbers, June 5-7, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Up $44,244,000 3,818 $11,588 $137,316,000 -35.0 2 Buena Vista
2 The Hangover $43,275,000 3,269 $13,238 $43,275,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
3 Land of the Lost $19,524,000 3,521 $5,545 $19,524,000 -- 1 Universal
4 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $14,650,000 3,807 $3,848 $127,341,000 -39.8 3 Fox
5 Star Trek $8,400,000 3,202 $2,623 $222,802,000 -33.4 5 Paramount
6 Terminator Salvation $8,175,000 3,304 $2,474 $105,495,000 -50.3 3 Warner Bros.
7 Drag Me to Hell $7,342,000 2,510 $2,925 $28,534,000 -53.6 2 Universal
8 Angels & Demons $6,500,000 2,925 $2,222 $116,125,000 -42.7 4 Sony
9 My Life in Ruins $3,225,000 1,164 $2,771 $3,225,000 -- 1 Fox Searchlight
10 Dance Flick $2,000,000 1,707 $1,172 $22,667,000 -57.8 3 Paramount