Weekend Wrap-Up: Beowulf Triumphs? Eh, Not So Much

November 19, 2007 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

BeowulfWhen is a $28 million, top-of-the-box-office win not necessarily such a great thing? When it’s the $150 million shoulda-been geek fest Beowulf. Surely Paramount was hoping that the combination of video-game-esque violence and a naked CGI Angelina Jolie would bring forth the slavering hoards of fanboys. But every geek at the movies would have meant a box office in the range of $60 to $75 million, or more; $28 million means lots of geeks stayed home. And USA Today notes that “about 40 percent of that was from 3D showings, though just 20 percent of prints offered the extra dimension,” which means that even fewer geeks showed up to see this one than that $28 million suggests, because the 3D version came with a premium ticket price that artificially boosted the weekend’s take, when compared to other films currently playing.And let’s compare Beowulf‘s business, shall we, to a flick earlier this year that could have been a guide to expectations? Back in March, the similarly themed and similarly aimed 300, playing on a similar number of screens (including some in IMAX, just like Beowulf), earned almost $71 million in its first weekend… and it cost only $65 million to produce. Ouch. Paramount will play Beowulf‘s performance as a win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, quietly, heads rolled over this one, and I don’t mean Grendel’s noggin, either.

In the No. 2 slot is another movie that looks successful at first glance but will likely be considered a flop in the long run: Bee Movie earned another $14.3 million this weekend, for a cumulative take since it opened three weeks ago of almost $94 million. Sounds fine, right? But it’s going to be a struggle for this flick to earn back its ridiculous budget of $150 million. Add in all the many (and annoying!) joint promotional campaigns, and the cost of this one is likely well over $200 million.

Smaller is better at the movies of late. Not that American Gangster, at No. 3, is exactly small… not with two mega stars poised for Oscar and critics’ nominations. But its $13.2 million payday this weekend took it over the $100 million mark, which means it has now earned back its budget, and seems likely to play strongly through the awards season.

And Fred Claus, at No. 4 with $12 million, will likely play well through Christmas: it dropped only 35 percent from last weekend, a sign that audiences are responding positively to its combination of goofy comedy and sweet sentimentality. The No. 6 flick, Dan in Real Life, is also staying strong: its take this weekend of $4.5 million seems minor, but it dropped only 30 percent from last weekend. (Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium made a weak debut at No. 5 with $10 million.)

Best per-screen average of the weekend goes to Margot at the Wedding, from The Squid and the Whale filmmaker Noah Baumbach, which earned $41,500 on each of its two screens. And the Coen Brothers continue to draw audiences to the tune of $20,932 on each of its 148 screens (up from 20 last weekend) with No Country for Old Men.

Beowulf‘s per-screen? $8,912. But it looks way better in 3D, honestly.

Source: www.cinema-pedia.com


Entry filed under: Box Office reports. Tags: , , , , .

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