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Monday, August 31, 2009

'Final Destination' edges 'Basterds' for top spot, August 28-30, 2009

Two R-rated horror flicks battled it out against last week's champ Inglourious Basterds for the top spot this weekend, with the 3D thriller The Final Destination easily beating out all other competitors with a strong $28.3 million debut. It was the third straight weekend (and fourth in five weeks) that an R-rated pic topped the charts, following Basterds and District 9. Quentin Tarantino's Basterds slipped a better than expected 47% to $20 million, while Rob Zombie's Halloween II finished in third with a $17.3 million bow. Focus Features' comedy Taking Woodstock opened a distant ninth with $3.7 million.

Thanks to a massive ad campaign and the promise of in-your-face 3D horror thrills, audiences came out in big numbers for Warner's horror sequel The Final Destination. Budgeted at a modest $40 million, the 3-D pic took in a strong $28.3 million, averaging $9,079 in a wide 3,121 theaters. Offering the 3-D version of the film in over half of its theaters (approximately 1,700), the film's increased margins helped it post by far the biggest opening in the Final Destination franchises history, blowing by previous best Final Destination 3, which took in $19.2 million in February 2006.

Dropping 47% to second place was Quentin Tarantino's WWII pic Inglourious Basterds, taking in another strong $20 million this weekend. That brought its ten day cume to an impressive $73.8 million. Buoyed by excellent reviews and good word of mouth, the $70 million budgeted gore fest is on pace to blow past $100 million. Internationally, the Weinstein Co. produced actioner took in $19.4 million, bringing its overseas cume to $59.1 million. Universal owns the film's international rights, while the Weinstein Co. is handling domestic distribution.

Debuting in third was another Weinstein Co. film, the horror sequel Halloween II with $17.4 million. Despite the big competition in front of it, the Rob Zombie-directed pic averaged a solid $5,754 in 3,025 theaters. The debut fell well short of its 2007 predecessor Halloween, which took in $26.4 million in its debut. Reviews were poor to say the least.

Sony's acclaimed sci-fi pic District 9 slipped just 41% to fourth with $10.7 million. In just 17 days the $30 million budgeted film has grossed $90.8 million, and should have no problems surpassing $100 million by next weekend. Directed by newcomer Neil Blomkamp and starring a cast of unknowns, District 9 should go down as one of the most pleasant surprises of the summer season.

The numbers, August 28-30, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 The Final Destination $28,335,000 3,121 $9,079 $28,335,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
2 Inglourious Basterds $20,041,000 3,165 $6,332 $73,760,000 -47.3 2 Weinstein Co.
3 Halloween 2 $17,405,000 3,025 $5,754 $17,405,000 -- 1 Weinstein Co.
4 District 9 $10,700,000 3,180 $3,365 $90,813,000 -41.3 3 Sony
5 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $8,000,000 3,467 $2,307 $132,436,000 -34.5 4 Paramount
6 Julie & Julia $7,400,000 2,503 $2,956 $70,992,000 -15.9 4 Sony
7 The Time Traveler's Wife $6,745,000 2,961 $2,278 $48,193,000 -30.8 3 Warner Bros.
8 Shorts $4,870,000 3,105 $1,568 $13,565,000 -24.0 2 Warner Bros.
9 Taking Woodstock $3,749,000 1,393 $2,691 $3,769,000 -- 1 Focus
10 G-Force $2,845,000 1,926 $1,477 $111,801,000 -30.9 6 Buena Vista

Monday, August 24, 2009

'Basterds' takes box office by storm with $37.6m, August 21-23, 2009

For the second week in a row a newcomer blew past industry expectations to claim the top spot at the box office. This week it went to Quentin Tarantino and Co., as their eclectic and gory WWII pic Inglourious Basterds dominated the weekend with a whopping $37.6 million. Last week's champ District 9 slipped to second with a solid $18.9 million showing. Two other newcomers, Shorts and Post Grad finished a distant sixth and tenth place respectively.

Thanks to some huge buzz, good reviews, Brad Pitt's hefty nameplate, and a rather controversial take on the World War II genre, Quentin Taratino's Inglourious Basterds lead all film with an impressive $37.6 million debut, far beyond industry expectations in the mid-$20m range. Budgeted at $70 million, the big opening likely postponed financial ruin for the struggling Weinstein Co. for another day. Universal co-produced the film.

Averaging a huge $11,880 in 3,165 theaters, Basterds easily became director Tarantino's biggest debut ever, besting 2004's Kill Bill Vol. 2 with $25.1 million. The well-reviewed R-rated pic scored a "fresh" 87% recommendation rating from critics polled by Rottentomatoes.com, but a 10% drop from Friday to Saturday might mean larger drops in the next few weekends. Internationally, Inglourious Basterds opened in 22 markets for a $27.5 million bow, pushing its global take to $65.1 million this weekend.

Falling a better-than-expected 49% to second was the sci-fi sleeper hit District 9, which finished with $18.9 million this weekend. In ten days the $30 million budgeted Sony pic has amassed a hugely profitable $73.5 million, and looks on pace to blow past $100 million domestic. Word of mouth appears stronger than normal for a sci-fi pic of its nature, considering last year's Cloverfield saw a huge 68% drop in its sophomore frame. Despite opening slightly larger than District 9, that film finished its domestic run at $80 million.

G.I. Joe claimed the third spot with $12.5 million, dropping just 44% this weekend. In three weeks the $175m budgeted Paramount release has grossed $120.5 million, and a $150 million domestic take seems likely.

Robert Rodriguez's latest foray in the childrens genre was a dud, as Warner's Shorts managed just $6.6 million in sixth place. Averaging just $2,126 from a wide 3,105 theaters, the kidpic fell well short of 2003's Spy Kids 3D: Game Over with $33 million, and even 2005's The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D with $12.5 million.

Fox's Post Grad was DOA, debuting with $2.8m in 1,959 theaters, averaging a meek $1,429. Starring Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel, the film was slaughtered by critics. Even worse was X Games 3D: The Movie, which managed just $800,000 in 1,399 theaters for a pathetic $572 average. The Buena Vista release opened at No. 19 this weekend.

Thanks to a better-than-expected debut from Basterds, as well as some strong holdover performances, the top ten films grossed an estimated $108 million, up 31% from last year's comparable frame when Tropic Thunder stayed on top with $16.3 million.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The numbers, August 21-23, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Inglourious Basterds $37,600,000 3,165 $11,880 $37,600,000 -- 1 Weinstein Co.
2 District 9 $18,900,000 3,050 $6,197 $73,491,000 -49.4 2 Sony
3 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $12,500,000 3,953 $3,162 $120,531,000 -44.0 3 Paramount
4 The Time Traveler's Wife $10,025,000 2,988 $3,355 $37,448,000 -46.2 2 Warner Bros.
5 Julie & Julia $9,000,000 2,463 $3,654 $59,288,000 -25.3 3 Sony
6 Shorts $6,600,000 3,105 $2,126 $6,600,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
7 G-Force $4,205,000 2,561 $1,642 $107,315,000 -39.2 5 Buena Vista
8 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $3,515,000 1,936 $1,816 $290,275,000 -31.6 6 Warner Bros.
9 The Ugly Truth $2,850,000 1,971 $1,446 $82,887,000 -35.9 5 Sony
10 Post Grad $2,800,000 1,959 $1,429 $2,800,000 -- 1 Fox

Monday, August 17, 2009

'District 9' invades theaters with strong $37m debut, August 14-16, 2009

Opponents of Sony's low-budget sci-fi actioner failed to keep the aliens out, as the $30 million Peter Jackson produced pic dominated the box office with a much better-than-expected $37 million weekend. The debut sent last week's champ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra tumbling 59% to second with $22.5 million, while Warner's time-bending romance The Time Traveler's Wife finished strong in third with $19.2 million.

Critics went gaga over the directorial debut of South African filmmaker and Peter Jackson protege Neill Blomkamp, whose sci-fi pic blew past industry expectations with a $37 million debut. Thanks to an intriguing viral advertising campaign, stellar reviews and great buzz coming out of this year's Comic-Con convention, the modestly budgeted $30 million alien-encounters pic overcame having a cast of complete unknowns and a very unusual storyline. Averaging a stellar $12,135 in 3,049 theaters, the R-rated pic skewed heavily male and Under 25, dominating the core audience that propelled G.I. Joe's opening weekend.

Compared with last year's Cloverfield, a similarly unconventional sci-fi release that thrived off its unusual premise, no stars, low budget, and pseudo-documentary style visuals, District 9 fell a bit short of that $40.1 million opening. That film tailed off quickly and finished its domestic run with $80 million. But if word of mouth turns out to be strong for District 9, look for the film to best Cloverfield's domestic haul.

Thanks to the arrival of District 9, last week's champ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra fell a steep 59% to $22.5 million, bringing its ten day haul to $98.8 million. Budgeted at a hefty $175 million, the Paramount/Hasbro release will most likely fall short of its budget by the end of its domestic run.

Warner's counter-programming play succeeded for third as their romance The Time Traveler's Wife opened with $19.2 million. Averaging $6,427 in 2,988 theaters, the Rachel McAdams-Eric Bana flick shrugged off poor reviews and saw a 17% drop in sales from Friday to Saturday, indicate lukewarm word of mouth.

Conversely, Meryl Streep's Julie & Julia fell just 38% to $12.4 million in fourth. Budgeted at just $38 million, the Sony release has grossed $43.7 million in ten days.

Debuting poorly in sixth was the R-rated comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, which took in $5.4 million in 1,838 theaters for a $2,911 average. Starring Entourage's Jeremy Piven, the film was slaughtered by critics.

Debuting in ninth with much fanfare from critics but not much love from audiences was Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki's latest film Ponyo, which took in just $3.5 million in 927 theaters. Averaging a modest $3,782 per theater, the film is just the latest in a line of critically-acclaimed and internationally popular Miyazaki releases that failed to find an audience in the U.S.

Thanks to a better-than-expected debut from District 9, the top ten films grossed an estimated $119.5 million, up 12% from last year's comparable frame when Tropic Thunder topped with $25.8 million.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The numbers, August 14-16, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 District 9 $37,000,000 3,049 $12,135 $37,000,000 -- 1 Sony
2 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $22,500,000 4,007 $5,615 $98,753,000 -58.9 2 Paramount
3 The Time Traveler's Wife $19,205,000 2,988 $6,427 $19,205,000 -- 1 Warner Bros.
4 Julie & Julia $12,400,000 2,354 $5,268 $43,684,000 -38.1 2 Sony
5 G-Force $6,908,000 3,065 $2,254 $99,049,000 -30.0 4 Buena Vista
6 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard $5,350,000 1,838 $2,911 $5,350,000 -- 1 Paramount
7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $5,155,000 2,771 $1,860 $283,893,000 -42.3 5 Warner Bros.
8 The Ugly Truth $4,500,000 2,733 $1,647 $77,502,000 -33.3 4 Sony
9 Ponyo $3,506,000 927 $3,782 $3,506,000 -- 1 Buena Vista
10 (500) Days of Summer $3,025,000 1,048 $2,886 $17,955,000 -19.1 5 Fox Searchlight

Sunday, August 9, 2009

'G.I. Joe' posts fourth biggest August bow with $56.2m, August 7-9, 2009

Against the better judgment of film critics, many of whom were kept out of pre-release screenings thanks to a cheeky move by Paramount to give bloggers and fanboy sites first crack at reviewing their latest toy-to-screen adaptation, young male moviegoers flocked heavily to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, giving the big-budget actioner the fourth largest August debut in history with $56.2 million. Meryl Streep's well-received Julie & Julia also beat expectations in second with $20.1 million.

Thanks to a massive marketing push and an ultrawide launch in 4,007 theaters across North America, Paramount's $175 million budgeted toy commercial G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra posted the fourth biggest August opening in history with $56.2 million, averaging a fantastic $14,025 per theater. Only 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum ($69.3m), 2001's Rush Hour 2 ($67.4m), and 2002's Signs ($60.1m) have opened bigger. Knowing full well the critical drubbing they took for their last toy-to-movie pic Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Paramount showed the Stephen Sommers directed pic only to a limited number of critics (mainly bloggers and critics from fanboy outlets). The stunt apparently worked, as Friday's Rottentomatoes.com score sat in the high 80% range before plummeting to 37% this weekend.

Thanks to a massive $22.3 million Friday haul, Joe handily beat expectations in the mid-$40m range. The film did see an 18% drop in sales from Friday to Saturday, an ominous sign that legs may not be there for this latest popcorn fare. With its mostly day-and-date release across the globe, G.I. Joe bowed with $44 million internationally, pushing its worldwide take this weekend to $100 million. Don't look for the pic to break even domestically.

Offering counterprogramming to the mindless action-fest that is G.I. Joe, Sony's well-reviewed Meryl Streep-Amy Adams starrer Julie & Julia opened strong in second with $20.1 million, also handily beating expectations. Launching in 2,354 theaters, the PG-13 pic averaged a healthy $8,539 per theater. While the debut didn't match last summer's musical smash Mamma Mia!, which bowed with $27.8 million, the $38 million budgeted pic saw an encouraging 17% jump in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, indicating strong word of mouth. Look for a healthy domestic run for the film.

Falling 44% to $9.8 million was Disney's 3D actioner G-Force, which finished third once again this weekend. In three weeks the fx-laden family comedy has grossed $86.1 million. The film should have no trouble crossing $100 million by the end of its run.

Falling one spot below G-Force was Warner's blockbuster sequel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which fell 50% to $8.9 million. Despite the big drop the film is still running ahead of 2007's Order of the Phoenix, and has amassed $273.8 million in four weeks of release. Budgeted at a massive $250 million, the film has an excellent shot at breaking $300 million domestic to become the second highest grossing film of 2009. Internationally the film took in another strong $22.3 million, bringing its total to $541.8 million. That puts its worldwide total at a jaw-dropping $815.6 million and counting.

The second weekend for Judd Apatow's Funny People wasn't funny at all, as the Adam Sandler-Seth Rogen pic fell 65% to $7.9 million in fifth place. The $75 million budgeted R-rated comedy has grossed $40.4 million to date. At its current pace, the film will finish well short of Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin with $109.2 million and Knocked Up with $148.8 million.

The numbers, August 7-9, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $56,200,000 4,007 $14,025 $56,200,000 -- 1 Paramount
2 Julie & Julia $20,100,000 2,354 $8,539 $20,100,000 -- 1 Sony
3 G-Force $9,804,000 3,482 $2,816 $86,116,000 -44.0 3 Buena Vista
4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $8,880,000 3,455 $2,570 $273,800,000 -50.4 4 Warner Bros.
5 Funny People $7,866,000 3,008 $2,615 $40,417,000 -65.3 2 Universal
6 The Ugly Truth $7,000,000 2,975 $2,353 $69,088,000 -46.9 3 Sony
7 A Perfect Getaway $5,765,000 2,159 $2,670 $5,765,000 -- 1 Universal
8 Aliens in the Attic $4,000,000 3,108 $1,287 $16,293,000 -50.1 2 Fox
9 Orphan $3,730,000 2,270 $1,643 $34,822,000 -50.4 3 Warner Bros.
9 (500) Days of Summer $3,725,000 817 $4,559 $12,343,000 34.1 4 Fox Searchlight

Monday, August 3, 2009

'Funny People' bounces 'G-Force' for top spot with $23.4m, July 31-Aug. 2, 2009

Producer extraordinaire Judd Apatow's return to directing after a two year hiatus was cause for celebration, as the producer/writer/director's latest comedy Funny People topped the weekend with an estimated $23.4 million. The film bumped last weeks' champ G-Force to third, while Warner's Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince held on to second place with $17.7 million. Fox's family film Aliens in the Attic finished in a disappointing fifth place with $7.8 million.

With comedic A-listers Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen joining forces for the first time in their respective careers, Universal's Funny People claimed the No. 1 spot this weekend with $23.4 million. The third film directed by Judd Apatow, following 2007's blockbuster Knocked Up ($30.6m opening, $148.7m total) and 2005's sleeper hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin ($21.4m, 109.4m), Funny People beat out a solid sophomore frame from G-Force and a small drop from Warner's Harry Potter.

Averaging a strong $7,795 in 3,007 theaters, the R-rated pic's internals aren't nearly as robust. The hefty $75 million budgeted release saw a 15% drop in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday, indicating tepid word of mouth. If the trend continues next weekend, the film will have a nearly impossible chance to reach $100 million domestic.

Warner's blockbuster Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince held its spot to move ahead of last week's champ G-Force, as the sequel fell less than 40% to $17.7 million. With many IMAX locations moving from Transformers 2 to Half-Blood Prince (166 in total), the $250 million budgeted pic managed to boost its domestic cume to $255.5 million. After a rocky sophomore frame that saw the film drop a stunning 62%, the film has rebounded and now looks on pace to reach $300 million. It's currently the fourth highest grossing film of 2009, behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Pixar's Up, and Warner's The Hangover.

Internationally, Half-Blood Prince continues to dominate, raking in another strong $42.7 million in 64 markets, bringing its overseas haul to a whopping $492.3 million. Worldwide, the sixth installment in the Harry Potter series has grossed $747.8 million.

Disney's kidpic G-Force slipped 46% to third with $17.1 million, bringing its 10-day cume to $66.5 million. At its current pace, look for the film to surpass $100 million domestic.

With Apatow's Funny People grabbing much of the date crowd this weekend, The Ugly Truth took a 53% hit in its sophomore frame, bringing in $13 million this weekend. In ten days, the Sony pic has grossed a strong $54.5 million. Starring Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, the $38 million budgeted romantic comedy should hit $90 million domestic by the end of its run.

Fox's kidpic debut Aliens in the Attic opened with $7.8 million, averaging a weak $2,511 in 3,106 theaters. The poorly reviewed release won't last long in the top ten.

The numbers, July 31-August 2, 2009

 THE TOP TEN Weekend Theaters Avg. Total Gross %+- Wks Distributor
1 Funny People $23,440,000 3,007 $7,795 $23,440,000 -- 1 Universal
2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $17,700,000 4,393 $4,029 $255,463,000 -39.9 3 Warner Bros.
3 G-Force $17,058,000 3,697 $4,614 $66,461,000 -46.2 2 Buena Vista
4 The Ugly Truth $13,000,000 2,882 $4,511 $54,481,000 -52.9 2 Sony
5 Aliens in the Attic $7,800,000 3,106 $2,511 $7,800,000 -- 1 Fox
6 Orphan $7,250,000 2,750 $2,636 $26,791,000 -43.7 2 Warner Bros.
7 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $5,300,000 2,757 $1,922 $181,843,000 -37.0 5 Fox
8 The Hangover $5,080,000 2,071 $2,453 $255,776,000 -21.4 9 Warner Bros.
9 The Proposal $4,848,000 2,435 $1,991 $148,882,000 -24.0 7 Buena Vista
10 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $4,600,000 2,626 $1,752 $388,101,000 -43.4 6 Paramount