Posts filed under ‘Box Office reports’

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

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.



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

Box Office Guru Preview: Beowulf Set To Conquer Multiplexes

BeowulfOne animated film will bump another from the number one spot at the North American box office. But the new warrior Beowulf is no B movie but an A-list production from an Oscar-winning director offering action audiences something new. Also opening this weekend but likely to see more modest grosses are the family pic Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and the romantic drama Love in the Time of Cholera. Without a compelling selection of great films, the marketplace should once again fall well below year-ago levels.

Paramount looks to capture the box office crown without the help of DreamWorks this time with Beowulf, a computer-animated action adventure based on the ancient epic poem. The PG-13 film comes from Robert Zemeckis who expands upon the motion capture technology he used in 2004’s The Polar Express. This time around his film is aimed at somewhat older moviegoers as young children will be too frightened by the violence, gore, and yes, nudity. Beowulf aims to pry 14-year-old boys away from their videogame systems and into the multiplexes with a new type of action film that is presented in 3D in selected theaters. Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, and Angelina Jolie lend their voices and digital likenesses.

The marketing has been terrific on the part of the studio. The core audience of young males is excited and ready to buy tickets and the film might even pull in part of the literary crowd curious to see how this classic tale is adapted to the big screen. The marketplace needs something like this now with hits like American Gangster skewing more adult and kidpics like Bee Movie not offering enough violence. If last December’s Eragon could open to $23.2M, then surely Beowulf can target the same crowd and go higher. Launching in over 2,800 theaters, Beowulf could conquer the box office this weekend with about $32M.

The digitally-altered likeness of Ray Winstone in Beowulf
Dustin Hoffman stars as the eccentric owner of a magical toy store in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a new entry for family audiences from Fox. The G-rated film co-stars Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman. With Bee Movie and Fred Claus already out there doing solid business, and likely to collect a combined $30M this weekend, competition for Emporium will be intense. Bad reviews will make parents hesitate, but if kids respond to the TV commercials, then they will find a way to force their parents to take them. Opening wide in around 3,200 locations, Mr. Magorium could bow to about $11M this weekend and try to remain a relevant choice over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday session.

Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
To counter his current role as a brutal killer in No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem stars in the romantic drama Love in the Time of Cholera. The R-rated tale from New Line is getting a moderately wide release and will play to an older adult audience with a female skew. The Oscar buzz Bardem has been receiving for Country could rub off on Cholera helping its case. And Latino audiences are being counted on to show up as are fans of Oprah who has endorsed the book that the film is based on. But overall, the Columbia-set film has not generated enough excitement to deliver a solid debut. Plus poor reviews will turn away much of the target audience. A slot on the lower end of the top ten could await. Opening in about 800 theaters, Love in the Time of Cholera might gross around $3M over the weekend.

Love in the Time of Cholera
Bee Movie should fall from its spot at the top of the box office and slide by about 30% since there is not too much new competition for young kids. A weekend tally of $18M could result giving Paramount $97M to date. Universal’s American Gangster should drop by 40% to about $14.5M giving the crime saga a total of $102M. The holiday comedy Fred Claus could dip by 35% in its second weekend. That would leave the Warner Bros. release with a weekend take of $12M and a ten-day cume of $35.5M.

LAST YEAR: In a major pre-holiday showdown, the penguin toon Happy Feet edged out the new James Bond film Casino Royale for the number one spot with a strong opening of $41.5M. The Warner Bros. family hit went on to collect $198M domestically and a stellar $384M worldwide. Sony’s relaunched spy series still posted a muscular debut grossing $40.8M over the weekend on its way to $167M domestically and a sensational $595M globally making the Daniel Craig-starrer the top-grossing 007 flick ever. After two weeks on top, Fox’s Borat slipped to third with $14.6M. Rounding out the top five were Disney’s The Santa Clause 3 with $8.3M and the Sony release Stranger Than Fiction with $6.6M.


November 16, 2007 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Heroin Pusher, Honey Bee Lift Box Office

American GangsterA heroin pusher and a honey bee put some sting back into the movie business. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe’s bloody crime saga “American Gangster” took in $46.3 million to lead the weekend box office, with Jerry Seinfeld’s family cartoon “Bee Movie” following with $39.1 million. Together, the movies revitalized Hollywood’s listless autumn.

“It took three of the biggest stars in the world to get the box office back on track, and they did it in high style with two totally different kinds of movies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “You had an R-rated movie and a PG-rated movie bringing in a really diverse audience.”

After six-straight weekends of declining revenues, overall business rose, with the top-12 movies taking in $127.2 million, up 12 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” was No. 1 with $26.5 million.

Universal’s “American Gangster,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Washington as 1970s Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas and Crowe as a Jersey cop on his trail, rode a wave of acclaim and Academy Awards buzz to debut at the top of the box office.

Audiences had been relatively disinterested this fall in serious R-rated films aimed at adults. Many of those earlier movies were box-office underachievers despite critical praise, but “American Gangster” landed with both good reviews and packed theaters.

Washington is known for heroic roles, yet as he did with his Oscar-winning turn as a bad cop in “Training Day,” he imbues Lucas with charm and charisma even as the man carries out savage deeds.

“American Gangster” was the biggest opening ever for the film’s two stars. Crowe’s previous best was $34.8 million for “Gladiator,” also directed by Scott, while Washington’s was $29 million for “Inside Man.”

“These are two great actors telling this true story of Frank Lucas,” said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution at Universal. “You couldn’t have picked a better cast.”

DreamWorks and Paramount’s “Bee Movie” features Seinfeld in his first big project since his TV sit-com went off the air nine years ago. Co-written by Seinfeld, the movie has him providing the voice of a bee who sues humanity for stealing his species’ hard-earned commodity honey.

“Bee Movie” owned the family crowd, and studio executives said they expect the movie to hold up well through the holidays. It does face direct competition this weekend with Friday’s debut of the Warner Bros. holiday comedy “Fred Claus,” starring Vince Vaughn as Santa’s black-sheep brother and Paul Giamatti as St. Nick.

“We look forward to seeing how it plays out, but it really looks like there’s some strong playing time ahead for both movies,” said Anne Globe, head of marketing for DreamWorks.

The weekend’s other new wide release New Line Cinema’s “Martian Child,” starring John Cusack as a widower adopting a troubled boy who thinks he’s from Mars opened weakly with $3.65 million, finishing at No. 7.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “American Gangster,” $46.3 million.

2. “Bee Movie,” $39.1 million.

3. “Saw IV,” $11 million.

4. “Dan in Real Life,” $8.1 million.

5. “30 Days of Night,” $4 million.

6. “The Game Plan,” $3.85 million.

7. “Martian Child,” $3.65 million.

8. “Michael Clayton,” $2.9 million.

9. “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?”, $2.7 million.

10. “Gone Baby Gone,” $2.4 million.


November 5, 2007 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

Box Office Guru Wrapup: American Gangster Crushes Competition at #1

The North American box office exploded thanks to the scorching debuts of the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama American Gangster and Jerry Seinfeld’s animated comedy Bee Movie which combined for over $85M in ticket sales. Following weeks of sluggish business where the marketplace failed to match 2006 levels, this weekend’s box office enjoyed a healthy bounce over last year and kicked off the holiday movie season with a bang.

Washington and Crowe both scored new career highs with the estimated $46.3M opening weekend for the crime saga American Gangster which dominated the multiplexes. Universal opened the R-rated tale in 3,054 theaters and generated a scorching $15,175 average per location. Directed by Ridley Scott, Gangster tells the true story of a drug kingpin who built up a heroin empire in Harlem in the early 1970s. The opening easily beat out the former all-time biggest debuts for the Oscar-winning actors: Washington’s Inside Man with $29M and Crowe’s Gladiator with $34.8M.

American Gangster enjoyed the second highest launch of the year for an R-rated film trailing only 300’s $70.9M. Much of the success came from strong sales from young males and the urban audience which saw it as a Scarface for today’s generation. The same audience also helped to power Eminem’s R-rated hip hop drama 8 Mile to a surprising number one opening of $51.2M in November of 2002. Brian Grazer produced both Mile and Gangster. Reviews were mostly favorable and early Academy Award buzz could help the film in the weeks ahead. Despite the long running time of nearly two hours and forty minutes, moviegoers lined up and found their showtimes.

Paramount and DreamWorks settled for a second place debut for their latest animated film Bee Movie which grossed an estimated $39.1M in its opening weekend. The PG-rated toon averaged a sturdy $9,954 from 3,928 locations and performed just a bit below the levels of recent November animated titles. Last year, the penguin pic Happy Feet bowed to $41.5M while the previous year’s Chicken Little launched with $40M. The two went on to gross $198M and $135.4M, respectively, from the North American market. Co-written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld, Bee Movie enjoyed virtually no competition in the current marketplace for family audiences. Critics were not too kind, but ticket buyers showed interest on the opening weekend. For 2007, the toon posted the fourth biggest debut for an animated film after Shrek the Third ($121.6M), The Simpsons Movie ($74M) and Ratatouille ($47M).

Suffering the largest sophomore drop in franchise history, Saw IV tumbled 65% from its top spot bow and grossed an estimated $11M. The Lionsgate title has still banked an impressive $51.1M in ten days and should finish with nearly $70M.

Buena Vista’s Dan in Real Life fared much better in its second weekend dropping a slim 31% to an estimated $8.1M. With $23M in ten days, the romantic comedy might find its way to around $50M despite playing in less than 2,000 theaters.

Sony’s vampire thriller 30 Days of Night declined by 42% and took in an estimated $4M lifting the total to $34.2M. Buena Vista’s The Game Plan followed in sixth with an estimated $3.9M, off only 37%, for a cume to date of $82M.

Neglected and landing in seventh place was the new John Cusack drama Martian Child which opened with an estimated $3.7M. Playing in 2,020 locations, the PG-rated story of a man that adopts a boy who says he’s from Mars averaged a pitiful $1,807 for New Line. Child was the seventh wide release in the past six weeks to debut with an average of less than $2,000.

Three adult-skewing fall pics followed. George Clooney’s legal thriller Michael Clayton collected an estimated $2.9M, down 41%, for a sum of $33.2M for Warner Bros. Lionsgate’s Why Did I Get Married? got hit hard by Denzel’s arrival tumbling 52 to an estimated $2.7M. Cume is $51.2M. The Miramax mystery Gone Baby Gone captured an estimated $2.4M, off 37%, for a $14.9M total.

Warner Independent saw a solid platform bow for its documentary Darfur Now which saw an estimated $24,000 in ticket sales from only three theaters. Averaging $8,000 per venue, the Don Cheadle-narrated film will expand on Friday to more cities.

Three October titles fell sharply and left the top ten this weekend. Disney’s latest re-release of Thee Nightmare Before Christmas saw its post-Halloween sales slump 55% to an estimated $1.5M for a cume of $12.8M. A $15M final seems likely. The Joaquin Phoenix/Mark Wahlberg drama We Own the Night fell 59% to an estimated $1.4M. The Sony release has taken in $27.7M and could make it to $30M. The spoof comedy The Comebacks grossed an estimated $1.5M, down 56%, and has collected a disappointing $11.9M for Fox. Look for a $13M final.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $124.1M which was up 14% from last year when Borat debuted in first place with $26.5M; and up 8% from 2005 when Chicken Little opened in the top spot with $40M.


November 5, 2007 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

Fans Pay $31.8 Million to See ‘Saw IV’

Saw IVAudiences sought out a fresh dose of torture as “Saw IV,” the horror sequel about sadistic traps laid by a serial killer, led Hollywood’s weekend with a $31.8 million debut.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Media By Numbers LLC are:

1. “Saw IV,” Lionsgate, $31,756,764, 3,183 locations, $9,977 average, $31,756,764, one week.

2. “Dan in Real Life,” Disney, $11,809,445, 1,921 locations, $6,148 average, $11,809,445, one week.

3. “30 Days of Night,” Sony, $6,862,764, 2,859 locations, $2,400 average, $27,480,907, two weeks.

4. “The Game Plan,” Disney, $6,129,720, 3,342 locations, $1,834 average, $76,939,167, five weeks.

5. “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?”, Lionsgate, $5,643,899, 1,897 locations, $2,975 average, $47,204,260, three weeks.

6. “Michael Clayton,” Warner Bros., $4,924,374, 2,585 locations, $1,905 average, $28,668,168, four weeks.

7. “Gone Baby Gone,” Miramax, $3,817,451, 1,713 locations, $2,229 average, $11,226,975, two weeks.

8. “Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas,” Disney, $3,446,012, 564 locations, $6,110 average, $10,100,435, two weeks.

9. “We Own the Night,” Sony, $3,395,012, 2,402 locations, $1,413 average, $25,065,018, three weeks.

10. “The Comebacks,” Fox Atomic, $3,371,708, 2,812 locations, $1,199 average, $9,925,268, two weeks.

11. “Rendition,” New Line, $2,372,487, 2,250 locations, $1,054 average, $7,821,105, two weeks.

12. “The Heartbreak Kid” DreamWorks-Paramount, $1,768,720, 2,003 locations, $883 average, $35,139,137, four weeks.

13. “The Darjeeling Limited,” Fox Searchlight, $1,761,335, 699 locations, $2,520 average, $6,126,748, five weeks.

14. “Across the Universe,” Sony, $1,687,341, 964 locations, $1,750 average, $19,296,796, seven weeks.

15. “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” Universal, $1,651,340, 1,603 locations, $1,030 average, $14,058,975, three weeks.

16. “Bella,” Roadside Attractions, $1,328,448, 165 locations, $8,051 average, $1,328,448, one week.

17. “The Kingdom” Universal, $1,232,210, 1,053 locations, $1,170 average, $45,951,010, five weeks.

18. “Lars and the Real Girl,” MGM, $926,675, 296 locations, $3,131 average, $1,330,732, three weeks.

19. “Things We Lost in the Fire,” DreamWorks-Paramount, $731,976, 1,142 locations, $641 average, $2,849,142, two weeks.

20. “Lust, Caution,” Focus, $475,480, 143 locations, $3,325 average, $2,825,183, five weeks.


October 29, 2007 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

’30 Days of Night’ Leads Box-Office Pack

Vampires put the bite on the box office as “30 Days of Night,” a fright flick about bloodsuckers on the prowl in Alaska, debuted at the top of the box-office chart with $16 million.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Media By Numbers LLC:

1. “30 Days of Night,” Sony, $15,951,902, 2,855 locations, $5,587 average, $15,951,902, one week.

2. “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?”, Lionsgate, $12,186,011, 2,034 locations, $5,991 average, $38,950,821, two weeks.

3. “The Game Plan,” Disney, $8,178,646, 3,301 locations, $2,478 average, $69,206,626, four weeks.

4. “Michael Clayton,” Warner Bros., $6,677,272, 2,585 locations, $2,583 average, $21,563,586, three weeks.

5. “The Comebacks,” Fox Atomic, $5,554,594, 2,812 locations, $1,975 average, $5,554,594, one week.

6. “Gone Baby Gone,” Miramax, $5,501,406, 1,713 locations, $3,212 average, $5,501,406, one week.

7. “We Own the Night,” Sony, $5,420,793, 2,362 locations, $2,295 average, $19,704,516, two weeks.

8. “Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas,” Disney, $5,330,101, 564 locations, $9,451 average, $5,330,101, one week.

9. “Rendition,” New Line, $4,060,012, 2,250 locations, $1,804 average, $4,060,012, one week.

10. “The Heartbreak Kid” DreamWorks-Paramount, $3,814,636, 2,782 locations, $1,371 average, $32,025,396, three weeks.

11. “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” Universal, $3,150,180, 2,006 locations, $1,570 average, $11,224,145, two weeks.

12. “Across the Universe,” Sony, $2,653,475, 960 locations, $2,764 average, $16,720,931, six weeks.

13. “The Kingdom” Universal, $2,326,630, 1,730 locations, $1,345 average, $43,897,695, four weeks.

14. “Into the Wild,” Paramount Vantage, $2,138,403, 658 locations, $3,250 average, $6,490,408, five weeks.

15. “Things We Lost in the Fire,” DreamWorks-Paramount, $1,561,949, 1,142 locations, $1,368 average, $1,561,949, one week.

16. “The Darjeeling Limited,” Fox Searchlight, $1,292,778, 201 locations, $6,432 average, $3,875,451, four weeks.

17. “Resident Evil: Extinction,” Sony Screen Gems, $1,004,389, 1,183 locations, $849 average, $49,962,808, five weeks.

18. “Good Luck Chuck,” Lionsgate, $738,143, 852 locations, $866 average, $34,274,118, five weeks.

19. “Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour,” Freestyle Releasing, $586,283, 1,121 locations, $523 average, $586,283, one week.

20. “Lust, Caution,” Focus, $579,908, 125 locations, $4,639 average, $2,097,595, four weeks.



October 23, 2007 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment




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