Weekend Fix: Shutter Island Shuts Downs The Competition Easily!

February 21, 2010
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Friday Estimates: Shutter Island Takes Off With $14.1 Million Friday; Everything Else Plummets!

February 20, 2010

Early Friday Estimates are starting to come in, and a few things are abundantly clear (box office figures are after the jump):

1. Shutter Island is off to a good start.  After months of negative buzz, massive delays, release date changes, and general confusion, Shutter Island actually landed on its feet! The Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio collaboration earned a robust $14.1 million on Friday, and it could find $36-39 million over the weekend frame.

2. Valentine’s Day is really not all that impressive once Valentine’s Day has passed.  The romantic comedy, which has more stars than a heart-shaped box has chocolates, fell 61% from last Friday to $5.7 million.  A $16-18 million weekend should result.

3. Percy Jackson & The Olympians didn’t hold as well as it needed to in order to ensure a sequel.  The children’s fantasy fell 58% from last Friday to $4 million.  It recover a bit over the rest of the weekend, though, and find $16.5 million overall.

4. Everyone that really wanted to see The Wolfman did so last weekend.  The horror remake dropped an alarming 69% to $2.9 million, and after a solid debut last frame, it will have trouble reaching just $10 million this weekend.  Not good when you take into account the fact that Universal dropped $150 million to make this!

Except for last week’s openers, which are in complete free-fall, the box office performed pretty much as expected, though drops across the board were larger than expected.  Perhaps box office analysts underestimated just how much moviegoing increased over the President’s Day frame, and the inflated grosses of last weekend created unnaturally large decreases this time around.  Perhaps last week’s openers just had audiences that were very excited to rush out and see the films.  Who knows?  Either way, with drops so large, any semblance of “depth” is quickly disappearing from the box office, which is not a good thing for 2010.  Check out the full chart below.

Friday Estimates For February 18, 2010
1. Shutter Island – $14.1 million
2. Valentine’s Day – $5.7 million
3. Percy Jackson & The Olympians – $4 million
4. Avatar – $3.9 million
5. The Wolfman – $2.9 million
6. Dear John – $2.3 million
7. Tooth Fairy – $1.1 million
8. Crazy Heart – $765,000
9. From Paris With Love – $720,000
10. Edge Of Darkness – $615,000

Weekend Preview: Moviegoers Will Get Lost On Shutter Island

February 19, 2010

TBOJ is back in full force today, and it should stay that way for a while!  The video may be late, but I’m all done playing catch up.  This week, we only have one new film coming out, and that’s the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese picture Shutter Island, which should nab the top spot at the box office pretty easily.  To see my prediction for Shutter Island, as well as the rest of the Top 5, check out the video above.  Then, click below to see my full box office predictions for this weekend!

Box Office Predictions for February 19-21, 2010
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Shutter Island 2,991 $31 million
2 Valentine’s Day 3,665 $24 million
3 Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief 3,396 $20 million
4 Avatar 2,581 $18 million
5 The Wolfman 3,223 $15 million
6 Dear John 3,062 $8 million
7 Tooth Fairy 2,523 $4.4 million
8 Crazy Heart 1,089 $4.3 million
9 From Paris With Love 2,311 $3.8 million
10 Edge Of Darkness 2,118 $3.3 million

Catching Up On The Box Office… Valentine’s Day Was Huge, But Will Percy Jackson Be Huger?

February 18, 2010

Hey, folks!  It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here (almost a week!), but I promise I have a good excuse!  I spent all weekend way down in Birmingham, Alabama at the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, and let me tell you, it was the most lavish, over-the-top, ridiculously awesome event I’ve ever been to!  I got to witness the spectacle of a debutante ball, barrel roll in the back seat of WWII fighter airplanes, and eat dinner at swanky restaurants all weekend.  It was truly amazing, and I would go again in a second.  Anyway, the weekend left me playing catch up for a while with my life, but I figured it was about time that I got back to doing what I do best- analyzing the box office!  I wasn’t able to follow the weekend step by step, but wow, it was an exciting one!  Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson And The Olympians, and The Wolfman all exceeded my expectations, and, as some of you mentioned in the comments, I’m excited that 2010 finally started to pull its own weight, adding some much-needed depth to the box office.  (You all know me so well!)  Thus, because it is Box Office Analysis Thursday, keep reading for my late-but-hopefully-still-entertaining take on what went down over this extended President’s Day weekend at the box office:

Valentine’s Day – $63.1 million – $17,227 PTA

The star-cluttered, heavily-marketed, obviously-titled feature performed spectacularly over the weekend, grossing a tremendous $63.1 million over the four day period, shattering all records on the way to becoming the highest-grossing President’s Day weekend of all time.  Valentine’s Day, with its title alone, established itself as the obvious choice this weekend with moviegoers, and the onslaught of stars in the picture only made the film even more consumable.  In a short-attention-span world, Valentine’s Day‘s incredible box office results show that American audiences appreciate being given a clear choice on a certain weekend.
Where It Goes From Here: Considering that this will be sitting at $70 million by tonight, $100 million is a foregone conclusion, though I’d bet that the fangirl effect + the holiday effect + the 4-day weekend effect will make this a frontloaded film.  By the end of this weekend, I’d guess that Valentine’s Day will sit with a gross of about $95 million, and by the end of it’s run, I think it might find about $135 million. Not bad for a movie that cost $52 million to make!  Plus, down the road, it will dominate the home market.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief – $38.7 million – $11,520 PTA

Fox reported a $95 million budget for this potential franchise-launcher, and you know what?  I think they might actually be pretty pleased with this result.  Percy Jackson follows The Golden Compass ($70 million), The Spiderwick Chronicles ($71 million), and Eragon ($75 million) as children’s fantasy franchises based on books that studios hoped could reach to Harry Potter levels, though they each failed at the box office.  This time around, despite the poor advertising, Percy Jackson, which mixes growing up in New York City with Greek mythology, broke out, finding a very solid $38.7 million over four days. 
Where It Goes From Here: Even if you hadn’t heard of the Percy Jackson series, take my word for it: kids love these books, and Fox would be foolish not to continue with this franchise.  It earned good enough reviews to not leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths, and with some refinement that often arrives in the second film in a franchise, this could be a very successful series of movies.  Because of their family appeal, these kinds of kid’s adventure movies often have very strong legs, and if Percy Jackson performs as expected, it could be looking at a nice $130 million gross(right in line with Valentine’s Day).  With strong international grosses and home market returns, Fox could end up being pretty pleased with this performance.  If they can keep the budget down for the sequel, make a better movie, and advertise more effectively, this could be a lucrative franchise in the void left by Harry Potter.

The Wolfman – $35.6 million – $11,035 PTA

I’ll admit it, I was pretty off in my prediction for The Wolfman.  I assumed that werewolf movies had a limited fanbase of super-fanboys, but we do live in a Twilight and True Blood world, and perhaps the massive bump in vampire appeal has increased werewolves’ popularity as well.  The Wolfman howled up a wild $35.6 million over the 4-day weekend, which would seem a whole lot better if Universal hadn’t spent a ridiculous $150 million producing it.  Seriously, where did all that money go?! Certainly not into the lighting.  Still, a $35 million debut is nothing to look down upon.
Where It Goes From Here: I’d expect this to be pretty frontloaded.  Most sci-fi/fantasy movies are.  The Underworld movies usually managed just above a 2.0 multiplier, and applying that to The Wolfman would give the picture about $75 million overall.  Learn to control your budgets, Universal!

Weekend Preview: Valentine’s Day Will Fight Off Greek Gods And Werewolves To Win The Weekend

February 12, 2010

Guys, I’m so sorry that I haven’t been on the ball with posting this week.  Things have been hectic.  I’m trying.  My Tuesday post didn’t exist, and Thursday’s was just a picture.  I’m sort of disappointed in myself, but I’m doing my best, and that’s all I can really do.  The blog won’t be updated this weekend, and the video (which is very short) explains all that.  Plus, you can check out my box office predictions for Valentine’s Day, Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and The Wolfman by watching!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Why Valentine’s Day Will Do Very Well This Weekend…

February 11, 2010

And that is my honest opinion.
The title and genre will earn a few million.
The ginormous cast will make a few million more.
The actual day of Valentine’s Day will contribute substantially.
But Taylor and Taylor will draw the masses.

7 Movies With Fantastically Strategic Release Dates

February 10, 2010

Currently, I feel sandwiched between two weekends that boast wisely placed movies on the box office calendar.  We’re hot on the heels of Dear John‘s fantastic debut, which was lifted by its brilliant counter-programmed Super Bowl release date, and this coming weekend, Valentine’s Day will surely find strong numbers, thanks to the fact that Sunday is Valentine’s Day.  What I want you to take away from this post is that release dates matter a lot.  The American public likes gimmicky release schedules, and when a movie’s title and/or release date give people an obvious choice of which movie to see, it often pays off in spades.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the smartest release dates in recent history, all of which directly led to solid box office results. But that’s enough talking from me- go ahead and check out these seven movies with great release dates, and then let me know what movies you thought had great release dates in the comments!

The Omen (06/06/06)

A movie about the devil! 666! The devil’s number! WOW, that is just so clever! I have to go see this! Sadly, that really was the train of though for many moviegoers. Kudos to Fox for pumping up the release gimmick effectively.  The Omen opened to $12.6 million on a Tuesday (at the time, Fox boasted that they had achieved the best Tuesday opening ever… a dubious distinction) on its way to $54.5 million. Pretty good for a pretty bad horror flick.

Four Christmases (11/26/08)

I wish every Christmas movie would follow the model set by Four Christmases.  Open directly after Thanksgiving and plow through a month of solid box office results.  Four Christmases was just a silly romantic comedy, but it earned a great $118 million during its run.  I wonder how much bigger A Christmas Carol could have been if it had opened closer to, I dunno, Christmas!  (I warned you)

Independence Day (07/03/96)

In 1996, July 4th fell on a Thursday, so Fox wisely took the opportunity to open this Will Smith blockbuster on Wednesday the 3rd.  The result? $45 million in two days of ticket sales, followed by a tremendous $50.2 million weekend.  The July 4th weekend was officially signed over to Will Smith later that month.

The Devil Wears Prada (06/30/06)

Another case of counter programming at its finest. Back in 2006, The Devil Wears Prada decided to open directly against the ├╝ber-hyped Superman reboot.  Hoping to attract the disinterested female audience, Fox (who is proving they know how to release movies well) was bold to go head to head with the man of steel.  Many were sure that the fashion film would get lost in the shuffle, but Prada silenced the doubters, opening to a robust $27.5 million (vs. Superman‘s $52.5 million) on its way $124.7 million.

Saw and Saw II (10/29/04 and 10/28/05)

The one-two punch of the innovative Saw movies (in plot, not in gruesomeness) over Halloween weekend in 2004 ($18.3 million opening, $55 million total) and 2005 ($31.7 million opening, $87 million total) helped fortify a robust franchise for Lionsgate, which framed Saw III, IV, and V as the go-to event films of the next few Halloween weekends. Unfortunately for Lionsagate, Paranormal Activity stole all of Saw VI‘s thunder, and now, Saw 3D and Paranormal Activity 2 are both eyeing the lucrative Halloween weekend release date for this year.

The Passion Of The Christ (02/25/04)

Here’s a film whose opening weekend wasn’t the reason it blew up (controversy took care of that), but it placed the film in such a way that theater owners didn’t want to take it out of theaters for a good while.  Easter fell on April 11th that year, and every knew that a movie about Jesus would do well over that frame, which is why The Passion was still playing in 3,240 theaters during that, its seventh, weekend.  The film came in first place that weekend with $15 million, and then fell all the way down to tenth the very next, earning $4 million.  Newmarket wisely ensure Mel Gibson’s religious film would play in theaters for quite a while with their strategic release date.

50 First Dates (02/13/04)

Sony knew they had a solidly marketable romantic comedy with two widely appealing leads, and they probably knew it could perform solidly.  They took things to the next level, though, by releasing it over Valentine’s Day weekend, making it clear the choice for all couples.  After a good $10 million Friday, 50 First Dates shot way up $19.8 million on Valentine’s Day, a figure which accounted for almost half of the films $39.9 million debut, which set it up for a nice $120.9 million run.  Sony learned from their success and opened Hitch a few days before Valentine’s Day in 2005.  Hitch opened to $43 million before trucking along all the way to $179 million.

New And News: Percy Jackson Arrives In Time For The Olympics; Valentines Day for Valentine’s Day; Wolfman For… A New Moon?

February 8, 2010

After weeks of sub-par offerings at the box office, it looks like 2010 is finally getting its act together.  Three high-profile releases are entering theaters this Friday, and they should each find varying degrees of success.  Valentine’s Day will be huge.  Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief will probably perform solidly.  The Wolfman might not do so well.  All told, the new movies should inject some much needed life into the film industry, which has been living off of 2009’s leftovers for the last few weeks.  Click on inside for a quick preview of those films, as well as a whole lot of news about potential sequels for Fast And Furious, Kill Bill, and Enchanted, a Daredevil reboot, and a great documentary about The Princess And The Frog. This is Monday, and this is New And News.

New:

Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Fox) – 3,300 theaters – Reviews

I had never heard of the Percy Jackson novels until my most recent summer as a camp counselor.  A few of my campers were reading the final installment (which had just hit shelves) in the apparently super-popular series, and they were enthralled.  They told me all about the young Percy Jackson, and his adventures with the mythic Greek gods of Mount Olympus in the middle of New York City.  They told me how he discovers his status as a demi-god and finds himself in the center of a battle between the gods.  They told me they loved the books and couldn’t wait for the movies.  Fox is hoping to capture some of that magic in The Lightning Thief, which could launch a major franchise if it succeeds.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that it will be able to do so.  To me, Percy Jackson falls into the same category as movies like Eragon and The Spiderwick Chronicles: potential fantasy franchises that rely too much upon a built-in audience of readers to support the film.  Advertising hasn’t been especially strong, and though early reviews are positive, Fox hasn’t showcased this film as an event enough.  Personally, I’d love to see this inventive story succeed, because, believe it or not, we’re just one year away from living in a post-Potter world.

Valentine’s Day (Warner Bros) – 3,600 theaters – Reviews

Last year, He’s Just Not That Into You earned $94 million after a February release.  The romantic comedy featured about half of Hollywood’s A-list in a dozen miniature story lines about falling in love.  It was a strategy popularized by sleeper-hit-turned-into-everyone’s-favorite-holiday-movie Love, Actually, and Valentine’s Day has made its resemblance to that movie very clear.  With a star studded cast featuring Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Alba (and that’s seriously only naming a few), you can expect this to be the number one choice this Valentine’s Day weekend.  I think this is going to be huge- I’ve honestly heard just as many guys talking about this as girls, and the widely appealing premise will lead to major success.  Plus, Taylor Lautner will draw in the legion of Twi-hards and Taylor Swift will pull in everyone else.

The Wolfman (Universal) – 3,100 theaters – Reviews

A remake of the classic 1941 film that launched the werewolf genre in the film industry, 2010’s The Wolfman looks like a dark take on the shape shifting story, and it features a rockin’ cast with Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Emily Blunt.  With a hefty $85 million price tag, The Wolfman will have to work very hard to earn back its negative cost, and Universal’s advertising hasn’t done much to draw in the casual moviegoer.  With dark (literally, not in tone), confusing commercials, and no real box office draws,  I don’t see many people choosing The Wolfman over the breezier offerings this weekend.  Maybe it should have waited until a full moon to debut- Valentine’s Day is a New Moon!

News:

Sequels, Sequels, And More Sequels…

Looks like we’re getting a Fast And Furious sequel called Fast Five, another installment of Disney’s Enchanted franchise, and possibly a final Kill Bill film.  You know what?  I honestly wouldn’t mind any of those!

Daredevil Is Getting Rebooted

ow can you tell that studio’s are scared to risk too much money during the recession? They’re determined to produce sequels and reboots of existing franchises before investing a penny in any new idea.  In step with the current trend of rebooting unsuccessful superhero movies (see Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman), Fox is looking to bring Daredevil back to the silver screen after the critically and financially disappointing 2003 treatment.

The Return Of Disney’s 2D Animation Department

/Film is doing an absolutely fantastic series about the revival of Disney’s classic 2D animation.  The video series chronicles the elaborate process of creating The Princess And The Frog, as well as the larger scope of animation at the Walt Disney Company.  The series is absolutely fascinating and chalk full of insightful interviews with passionate animators.  Part one is right here, but be sure to check out the rest of the Frogumentary on /Film.

Weekend Fix: Dear John Takes Down Avatar! The Fangirls Strike Again!

February 7, 2010

Friday Estimates: Dear John Goes To Battle And Comes Out On Top!

February 6, 2010

Remember how I mentioned in yesterday’s video that I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Dear John managed to win the weekend?  Well, after a fantastic Friday, it looks like the romantic drama is going to! Dear John earned a tremendous $13.8 million yesterday, and where it heads from here is an interesting question.  I’m guessing Channing Tatum has a substantial number of teen fangirls, who rushed out on Friday to see this film, so it will be fairly frontloaded.  That being said, Dear John should hold better than most every other movie on Super Bowl Sunday.  All told, an awesome $31 million weekend is in store for Dear JohnAvatar came in second with $6.2 million, and while the sci-fi epic will finally give up the top spot, it will still only fall about 25% from last weekend to $23 million, lifting its total to $629 million.  From Paris With Love couldn’t even live up to lowered expectations, and the John Travolta shoot-em-up only grossed $3 million on Friday.  This should lead to a weak $8 million weekend, only slightly more than what Edge Of Darkness will earn in its second weekend.  Otherwise, there’s not too much to report, as things are performing pretty much as expected.  Crazy Heart broke into the Top 10 with $1.1 million on Friday, and the Oscar-nominated release might see a $3.3 million weekend.  Check below for full Friday box office estimates:

Friday Estimates For February 5, 2010
1. Dear John – $13.8 million
2. Avatar – $6.2 million
3. From Paris With Love – $3 million
4. Edge Of Darkness – $2.3 million
5. When In Rome – $2 million
6. Tooth Fairy – $1.7 million
7. The Book Of Eli – $1.5 million
8. Crazy Heart – $1.1 million
9. Legion – $1.1 million
10. Sherlock Holmes – $785,000