Archive for January, 2008

Going on Hiatus

January 26, 2008
Hey guys, I’ve loved getting to talk about the movies for the last two months with all of you, but due to the massive time requirements that running this website entails, and the lack of compensation, I am going to have to discontinue my work on The Box Office Junkie. It simply takes too much of my time to receive nothing in return, and I’m far too busy at this stage in my life to keep the site going.

Maybe one day I’ll set up the site again, but not for a good, long while. This isn’t a decision I like making, but it’s a necessary one for my stress levels and sanity. Anyway, to anyone that ever read the site, thanks. I really appreciate all your interest.
Peace,
Grady
Advertisements

Tom Cruise: Killing His Career One Day At A Time!

January 23, 2008

He’s always smiled a little too wide. He’s always laughed a little too hard. And that’s why we liked him. But when Tom Cruise acts overly cheery (and entirely arrogant) while talking about his cult religion of scientology, he comes off like a maniac. The clip above has been spreading around the internet like crazy over the past few days. Have you seen this video? Very creepy.

But I’m not just reporting on a pop culture event- this actually does relate to the box office. You see, Tom Cruise used to be the biggest box office star alive (now that title belongs to Will Smith), but in the last two years, he has committed career suicide. Whether jumping on Oprah’s couch, professing his love for his Stepford wife, Katie Holmes, lashing out at Matt Lauer about prescription drugs, or raving about Scientology like some kind of lunatic, Tom Cruise has taken every precaution to make sure that he’s totally unlikable, and his career is suffering big time. Take a look at what I mean:
1986-1996
After his breakout debut in Risky Business in 1983, audiences were hungry for more of this charismatic, up-and-coming actor, and Tom Cruise saw some tremendous box office successes in the years to come and carved out his place on the A-list. Here are a few examples:
1996 Top Gun – $176 million
1988 Rain Man – $172 million
1992 A Few Good Men – $141 million
1993 The Firm – $158 million
1994 Interview With The Vampire – $105 million
1996 Mission Impossible – $180 million
1996 Jerry Maguire – $153 million
1997-1999

Tom took a break for a few years, but returned with two films in 1999 in search of some critical acclaim. The results were pretty good. Eyes Wide Shut did quite well for such a controversial and risque film, earning $55 million, while Magnolia earned a modest, but strong $22 million. Cruise even got himself a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in 2000. Now that he’d again proved his acting chops, his next step was to conquer the box office once and for all…
2000-2005

The next seven films Tom Cruise released were massive hits. Mission: Impossible 2 kicked off the new millennium in a big way with a massive $215 million gross. Each of his following films broke $100 million dollars, and they solidified him as the single most famous, bankable (highest paid) star in the business. His consistency was simply unmatched.
2000 Mission: Impossible 2 – $215 million
2001 Vanilla Sky – $100 million
2002 Minority Report – $132 million
2003 The Last Samuari – $111 million
2004 Collateral – $100 million
2005 The War of the Worlds – $234 million
2005-2007

Unfortunately, in 2005, Tom did a lot more than just release a movie. He had his whole couch-jumping incident with Oprah, then he fell madly (like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mad…) in love with Katie Holmes, then he lashed out at Matt Lauer about prescription drugs, and now he has embarked on a crusade for Scientology. In just two years, his public image has been almost entirely destroyed, and this is reflected in the box office of his latest two films.

Mission: Impossible 3, despite pulling in the best reviews of the franchise, struggled at the box office. It earned just $133 million, which represents a massive 38% slide from M:I2‘s $215 million gross. Sure, M:I3 made over $100 million dollars, but this drop was not a good sign. Long-time partner Paramount quickly dropped Cruise from their studio’s payroll. In 2007, Tom came out with Lions for Lambs, and what do you know? It bombed. The United Artists (Cruise’s own studio) wide release couldn’t even hit $15 million.
2008-

I have little hope for Tom Cruise saving his career. Based on the above video, he just seems to keep getting crazier by the day. United Artists’ next release is Valkyrie, which was recently pushed back from its summer release date to October 2008. I’m highly doubting that it will be successful, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Bring the old Tom Cruise back!”

We’re Sad To See You Go, Heath

January 23, 2008

     It’s always a sad day in Hollywood when a truly great actor is lost, and on Tuesday, we lost one of our most promising actors.  Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday, and I’m sure you’ve seen the story on the news by now.  Say whatever you want about the man’s personal life (he had a few issues), but he could act, and since he kept a low profile, he was always most notable for his acting skills than tabloid fodder.  Whether belting a ballad from the bleachers in 10 Things I Hate About You, fighting for his brother and country in The Patriot, or mourning his unfulfilled love of Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain, Heath Ledger took chances and impressed audiences everywhere.  I can say, without a doubt, that his performance as Ennis Del Mar in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain will go down as one of the riskiest, restrained, powerful performances of our time.  Presently, Heath can be seen portraying Bob Dylan in He’s Not There, and this summer, he can be seen in his final role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.  Heath Ledger was just 28 years old, and he will be terribly missed.  Rest in peace.

Weekend Fix: Fanboys And Girly Girls Run The Box Office

January 21, 2008

This weekend at the box office, 2008 continued to trounce 2007, thanks mostly to the huge debut of Cloverfield, and 27 Dresses‘ solid bridesmaid performance. Over three days, the Top 12 films earned a fantastic $131.8 million, which represents a 24% increase over last weekend, and an enormous 84% over the same weekend last year. This is made even more eye-popping when you factor in the holiday weekend. Over four days, the Top 12 churned out $157.2 million in ticket sales. Where did this box office surge come from? The fanboys.

Monster movie Cloverfield stomped onto the scene and claimed first place this weekend, grossing a huge $46 million over four days. The super-secretive Paramount picture proved that if a trailer can truly whet an audience’s appetite, they’ll show up to get their fill when it debuts. The fanboys (self-included here) have been raving about Cloverfield for months now, excitedly anticipating it in forums across the web. All that excitement translated into big box office for the J.J. Abrams produced project, which broke the record for best three-day opening in January, but I’m expecting Cloverfield to fall pretty quickly. Movies that appeal to the movie-geek community (still self-included) usually open big and fall fast. We saw it last month with AVP:R, and we’ll see it (to a lesser extent) with Cloverfield. The trend is already apparent in its opening weekend: After a $16.8 million opening day, the film fell 17% on Saturday, which implies front-loadedness. Still, with good reviews, a widely-appealing story, an $11,738 (three day) venue average, and an innovative spin on the monster movie, Cloverfield shouldn’t have much trouble crossing the $100 million mark some time in the future. In second place, the romantic comedy 27 Dresses earned about $1 million for each of the dresses in its title, garnering a sweet $27.3 million four-day gross. This is great news for both of the film’s leads, for Katherine Heigl’s star continues to rise, and James Marsden proved that he can open a movie as the romantic lead. The one-two punch of Cloverfield and 27 Dresses reminds me very much of June 30, 2006, a weekend when Superman Returns opened with $52.5 million, and chick flick The Devil Wears Prada came in second with $27.5 million. (Coincidentally, Prada and Dresses were written by the same woman, who must have a knack for penning girly movies that open well against action films.) After that weekend, The Devil Wears Prada ended up having way better legs than Superman Returns, finishing with $124.5 million versus Superman‘s $200 million, and while 27 Dresses probably won’t reach these heights (it will have trouble pulling in any men), I wouldn’t be surprised if it finished with a total very similar to Cloverfield‘s. Its three day per theater average of $7,442 is strong, and Fox has got to be happy with these results.

In third place, The Bucket List pulled in $16.1 million over the holiday weekend. Showing some fairly promising endurance, the three-day gross only fell 28% from last week, though the Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson comedy’s three-day venue average of $4,806 was just alright. Still, with $43.7 million after ten days, Warner Brothers’ The Bucket List is doing quite well, and that makes me pretty happy. Any time old actors can prove themselves at the box office, I’m thrilled. Juno, the little comedy that could, came in fourth place this weekend, grossing $12 million over the four day period. Over the three-day weekend, the widely released indie darling (finally) started to show some very slight signs of its age, dropping 27% and earning a $3,917 venue average, which is actually still fairly strong. Fox Searchlight has platformed Juno gradually with amazingly effective results. The teen pregnancy comedy has earned a tremendous $87.1 million over seven weekends.
First Sunday fell hard this weekend, earning just $9.4 million. Over the three-day frame, the “Hey, let’s rob a church!” comedy had a low $3,525 per theater average and fell an alarming 56%, which is pretty awful, since the four day weekend usually leads to soft declines. Still, ScreenGems (who reached a similar audience with last year’s This Christmas) will ultimately be pleased with First Sunday‘s performance. After two weekends, it’s earned $30.1 million.

In sixth place, Disney’s juggernaut National Treasure: Book of Secrets continued its great run with another $9.4 million over four days. This is and always was money in the bank for Disney, and after five weekends, the Nicholas Cage adventure film has earned $199.6 million.

Mad Money, the estrogen-heavy heist film starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes, and Queen Latifah, opened poorly, stealing just $9.2 million over the holiday weekend. Unable to convince many women to watch a robbery film, Mad Money lost most of its audience to 27 Dresses. The comedy earned terrible reviews and had a weak $3,022 venue average over the three-day weekend, and it should disappear from the Top 12 faster than some shredded money from the Federal Reserve.
In eighth and ninth place are constant companions Alvin and the Chipmunks and I Am Legend, respectively. The former held better than the latter, and Alvin scooped up $9.2 million, while I Am Legend earned $5.7 million. After six weekends, the CGI rodent comedy has earned $198.6 million, and the Will Smith apocalyptic thriller has earned $248.3 million.

Atonement held onto the tenth place spot, earning a $5.7 million in the holiday weekend after its Golden Globe win for Best Picture. Helped by its expansion into 1,291 theaters, Atonement increased 13% over the three-day weekend, and it earned a $3,687 per theater average. The period piece has been a great performer for Focus Features, and it will have no trouble breaking $50 million in the weeks to come. If it wins some Oscars (that is, if there are any Oscars this year…) it could go very far.
The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything managed to hang on to a spot in the Top 12 this weekend, earning $3.6 million over four days. The entirely overlooked Universal release from the VeggieTales has grossed a tiny $8.5 million after two weekends.
Providing a nice surprise at the end of the Top 12, There Will Be Blood earned $3.5 million. The Paramount Vantage film has received lots of awards attention for Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance, and with a strong $7,416 per theater average, it should be around for a good while. Thus far, in just 260 theaters, it has earned a very encouraging $8.6 million.

Top 12 for January 18-21

# Movie Title Weekend Gross Total
1 Cloverfield $46,037,000 $46,037,000
2 27 Dresses $27,270,000 $27,270,000
3 The Bucket List $16,110,000 $43,669,000
4 Juno $12,000,000 $87,125,533
5 First Sunday $9,400,000 $30,066,000
6 Nation Treasure: Book of Secrets $9,359,000 $199,242,000
7 Mad Money $9,200,000 $9,200,000
8 Alvin and the Chipmunks $9,200,000 $198,580,181
9 I Am Legend $5,715,000 $248,292,000
10 Atonement $5,690,199 $32,815,005
11 The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything $3,631,400 $8,518,310
12 There Will Be Blood $3,541,000 $8,575,000

All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Three-Day Estimates: Cloverfield Stomps All Over Competition

January 20, 2008

     One of the most important things for a box office analyst to be able to do is recognize when the movie business is changing.  Sometimes, films just don’t behave the way you think they’re going to, and you must realize that the traditional box office behavior of yesteryear may no longer apply.  This seems to be the case with January.  With fantastic performances from Cloverfield, 27 Dresses, and The Bucket List (one of the films which I egregiously underestimated this weekend), January has become a totally viable month for studios to release big titles, leaving poor September as the worst month of the year.  This weekend proves that with solid marketing and a catchy concept, a movie can open well at any time of the year.  Fueled primarily by Cloverfield‘s record breaking opening (highest ever in January!), this year’s three-day weekend was huge, blowing past 2007’s grosses.  Check back in tomorrow for the four-day weekend analysis.

Three-Day Estimates for January 18-20
1. Cloverfield – $41 million
2. 27 Dresses – $22.4 million
3. The Bucket List – $15.2 million
4. Juno – $10.3 million
5. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $8.1 million
6. First Sunday – $7.8 million
7. Mad Money – $7.7 million
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $7 million
9. I Am Legend – $5.1 million
10. Atonement – $4.8 million
11. There Will Be Blood – $3.1 million
12. One Missed Call – $2.8 million
All numbers courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Friday Estimates: Cloverfield Has Monster Sized Box Office

January 19, 2008

     What month are we in again?  January?  Really?  Alright, but last time I checked, January was one of the worst months of the year in terms of box office.  With Cloverfield and 27 Dresses‘ fantastic opening day grosses, it looks like times must be really changing.  At least Mad Money is behaving normally…

     Cloverfield exploded onto the scene with an awesome $16.8 million on Friday.  Paramount’s experimental advertising campaign has paid off in a big way.  I’m expecting this one to be very frontloaded, so a 3.0 multiplier over four days could be in order.  Still, this would give Cloverfield an amazing $49 million over the holiday weekend.

     In the appropriate bridesmaid position on the chart, 27 Dresses will claim the second place position on the chart.  On Friday, the Katherine Heigl/James Marsden rom-com earned a delightful $7.7 million.  Just like opening Alvin and the Chipmunks against I Am Legend, Fox counter-programmed this film very well, and 27 Dresses should match my prediction of $27 million over the next three days.

     Way back in fifth place, Overture Films’ flagship title, Mad Money, got off to a disappointing start.  The lame comedy featuring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes, and Queen Latifah (who only seems to find success as part of an ensemble) earned a meager $2.3 million on its first day, and it will only find about $7 million overall.

     The rest of the chart should behave pretty much as predicted, though with just $2.2 million yesterday, First Sunday is falling harder than expected.  The real surprise on the chart, though, comes from There Will Be Blood.  Hot on the heels of Daniel Day-Lewis’ Golden Globe win for Best Actor, the stunningly reviewed Paramount Vantage release popped in at twelfth place on Friday with $0.8 million.  In only 389 theaters, it could be looking at a strong $3 million weekend.
     Alright, tomorrow I’ll post some three-day estimates, but there won’t be any analysis.  Because of the four day weekend, the Weekend Fix will be up on Monday.  Have a great weekend!
Friday Estimates for January 18
1. Cloverfield – $16.8 million
2. 27 Dresses – $7.7 million
3. The Bucket List – $4.2 million
4. Juno – $3.1 million
5. Mad Money – $2.3 million
6. First Sunday – $2.2 million
7. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $2.1 million
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $1.6 million
9. I Am Legend – $1.4 million
10. Atonement – $1.3 million
11. One Missed Call – $890,000
12. There Will Be Blood – $820,000

Weekend Preview: Is Cloverfield The New Snakes On A Plane?

January 18, 2008

     Hey, fellow Box Office Junkies!  Sorry for the lack of posts this week- life’s been utterly crazy for the past few days, and I haven’t been able to update nearly as much as I’ve wanted to.  Luckily for you, though, everything is back on track today with this Weekend Preview.  I have to confess, because of the sheer amount of analysis that a certain monster movie has required me to do, I’m only going to be writing about the three new releases this week, but you can see my full Top 12 predictions at the end of the post.  Suffice it to say, January 2008 should remain very well ahead of January 2007 in this third weekend of the year.  Alright, let’s get started.
     Remember way back in 2006 when a little movie called Snakes On A Plane debuted?  You know, the one where Samuel L. Jackson yelled the famous line, “I have had it with these mother f***ing snakes on this mother f***ing plane!”  Greeted with an absolutely deafening amount of online buzz, from the moment Snakes On A Plane (Whoa- you can abbreviate with SOAP!) debuted its title, it had what seemed to be an endless legion of die-hard online fans who could not wait to see the movie as soon as it came out.  It was the first virally promoted film to take full advantage of the tech-savvy blogging community, as almost all the excitement and anticipation for SOAP came from the web.  Box office analysts were expecting a huge opening and a great box office total.  After all, we’d never seen a movie with this kind of online excitement behind it.

     Well, when SOAP finally debuted on August 18, 2006, analysts quickly realized that judging the movie’s potential success based on internet buzz was a mistake.  Snakes opened with a disappointing $15.2 million, and then went on to a totally underwhelming $34.5 million.  It was one of the biggest letdowns in recent history, based on the gigantic expectations.  How is this all relevant, you ask?  Well, the reason I bring this up now is that there is another film hitting screens today that has followed a very similar viral-crazed path of promotion: Cloverfield.
          The brain child of hotshot producer J.J. Abrams (the creator of the TV series Lost), Cloverfield is a super-secretive monster flick that’s been buzzed about since its very first trailer, which featured that glorious shot of the Statue of Liberty’s head falling onto the street in NYC.  Bloggers and fanboys have been raving for months anticipating the film, and awareness for Cloverfield is very high.  Judging by the apparent excitement on the web, it would seem that this mystery-monster-movie was poised to open with the kind of numbers that many people expected SOAP to start with.  But will it similarly disappoint?  I don’t think so, and here’s why:

     Cloverfield‘s marketing contains one essential ingredient that SOAP‘s lacked, and that is mystery!  People who went to see Snakes on a Plane got exactly what title said they would get: snakes on a plane.  Cloverfield, on the other hand, is totally mysterious.  What does this monster look like?  Is it anything like Godzilla?  How tall is it?  Does it get killed?  Does it destroy all of New York?  Why does it decapitate Lady Liberty?  Curiosity is going to drive a lot of people into the theaters this weekend, and it helps that Cloverfield is not so clearly a B-movie for geeks only.
     Also, Cloverfield is a proven formula with a slight tweak.  Special-effects-driven disaster movies have impressed time and time again at the box office (Jurassic ParkThe Day After Tomorrow, I Am Legend to name a few), and Cloverfield‘s slight tweak of a familiar story should keep the crowds coming.  Also setting this film apart is its unique photography style.  Supposedly captured entirely on the protagonists home video, Cloverfield takes a page out of The Blair Witch Project‘s book with a shaky cam style.  Some critics hate this, but most are praising the film for the freshness it brings to the table, and it’s getting some very good reviews.  Personally, I think the shaky cam can get a bit annoying (Paul Greengrass, can we just watch Jason Bourne fight sometimes?!), but I appreciate the stylistic chance that Cloverfield is taking with it.  All of this is to say that I think that Cloverfield‘s opening (and the second weekend drop) is going to be big.  Launching onto 3,411 theaters, Cloverfield might find about $39 million in three days, and $47 million over the extended weekend (because of MLK Day), easily giving it the #1 spot.

     The other big opener this weekend is Fox’s romantic comedy 27 Dresses, which should do some very solid business with women this weekend.  Starring Katherine Heigl, who’s hot off her debut in Knocked Up, and James Marsden, who actually isn’t the third wheel here, 27 Dresses tells the story of a woman who has been a bridesmaid 27 times.  Just when it looks like her love life is hopeless, she suddenly finds herself falling in love with her own sister’s fiancee.  The story is a fresh one, and Fox, which has been pushing this film hard, has done a great job of selling the story.  It looks like the massive amounts of advertising should pay off.  Heigl, already popular with women because of her role on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, proved her comedic chops with Knocked Up last summer, and while 27 Dresses is not pulling in anywhere near the kind of reviews that that movie received, her rising star should help the romantic comedy debut well.  James Marsden has never carried a movie as a leading man, so it will be interesting to see how he fares.  In March 2006, the Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey feature Failure To Launch debuted to $24.4 million on its way to a fantastic $88.7 million total, and it looks like 27 Dresses could surpass that performance.  Walking down the aisle in 3,057 theaters, 27 Dresses should earn about $27 million over the four-day weekend.

     And then we have Mad Money, the female heist film about robbing the Federal Reserve.   Proving that Hollywood doesn’t have any roles for older women, Mad Money stars Diane Keaton as a down-on-her-luck janitor at the Federal Reserve, who pairs up with sassy Queen Latifah and ditzy Katie Holmes to steal a huge load of cash that’s meant to be shredded up and recycled.  Critics are trashing the film (who would’ve thought that Katie Holmes could get an even more negative response for this than her role in Batman Begins?), calling it unfunny and implausible.  The excitement meter is very low for this one, and of the three leading ladies, only Keaton has any real drawing power.  The main problem for this film is that 27 Dresses will be the primary choice for women this weekend.  The aforementioned romantic comedy will provide direct competition for Mad Money, which is the first release for fledgling studio Overture Films.  Unfortunately, the young studio will probably be mad at how little money Mad Money makes.  Entering into 2,470 theaters, the female heist comedy might earn a small $8.5 million over the holiday weekend.
 
Predicted Top Twelve for January 18-21
1. Cloverfield – $47 million
2. 27 Dresses – $27 million
3. The Bucket List – $12.6 million
4. Juno – $11 million
5. First Sunday – $10.3 million
6. Mad Money – $8.5  million
7. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $6.7 million 
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $6.5 million
9. Atonement – $5 million
10. I Am Legend – $4.9 million
11. One Missed Call – $2.9 million
12. P.S. I Love You – $2.6 million

Golden Globe Winners Come From All Over The Globe

January 14, 2008

     In case you weren’t one of the people who tuned into the hour long half-hour press conference that announced the Golden Globes recipients, here’s a rundown of the winners.  I’ve listed the big categories below, but check out the full list of winners here.
     My reactions?  All the winners are very deserving.  The choices might be a bit out of touch with the average American’s movie taste (no love for Juno?), but that’s the case every year.  What really strikes me is the internationalization of the award winners.  This year, it looks like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has earnestly tried to live up to its name, presenting a very European list of victors.  Atonement is a British film, and Julie Christie, and Daniel Day-Lewis both hail from England as well.  La Vie En Rose‘s Marion Cotillard and Julian Schabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are both French imports.  Finally, Javier Bardem (pictured), winner of Best Supporting Actor – Drama, hails from Spain.
     Hollywood has been emphasizing the globalization of the film world for a while now (most notably with the incessant glorification of Babel last year), but these Golden Globes are a clear sign that Americans are very slowly beginning to accept foreign films as credible works of art.  

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Atonement

Best Actress – Drama
Julie Christie Away From Her

Best Actor – Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Sweeney Todd

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Marion Cotillard La Vie En Rose

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp Sweeney Todd

Best Director
Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Weekend Fix: Bucket List On Top, First Sunday Strong

January 13, 2008

    Four new films opened this weekend.  Two did quite well, but two did quite poorly.  In the end, though, the box office this weekend was very healthy for January, which is usually a tragic month in terms of dollars.  The Top 12 films earned a nice $108.8 million, which represents an understandable 35% drop from last weekend, when many kids had not yet gone back to school.  Year to year, however, things looked much brighter, as the Top 12 were up 12% from last year’s frame, when dance drama Stomp The Yard led the charts with $21.8 million.

     Debuting in the top spot, The Bucket List reaffirmed that when it comes to the box office, going by the formula can be a good choice.  With a feel-good concept, an easily understood (and advertised) story, and some true blue film stars, The Bucket List was full of life, earning $19.5 million over the weekend.    The film’s entire advertising campaign was based around its two leading men, and in this case, the strategy proved very effective because these two men are movie stars, and not just celebrities.  Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are famous because of their film work- not because of tabloid fodder, and because of this, they can successfully open a film.  Consequently, stars like Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, and Angelina Jolie are inconsistent at the box office because people care more about their personal lives than their acting skills.  For The Bucket List, moviegoers flocked to the theaters to watch Freeman and Nicholson interact, and there are very few actors who still have that kind of drawing power.  The Warner Brothers buddy comedy had a good, though unspectacular, venue average of $6,750.  Reviews largely criticize the film for being too schmaltzy, but audiences love cheesy, feel-good tearjerkers, and this could have some pretty good legs.  Based on the opening, I’m thinking The Bucket List might end its run around $80 million, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

     In second place, First Sunday opened with a very good $19 million, proving for the umpteenth time that the African American market is lucrative and underutilized by Hollywood.  The ScreenGems film starring Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan had a great $8,586 per theater average, which was the best in the Top 12.  Bad reviews didn’t have an effect on First Sunday‘s opening, and since it was targeted a young audience, their negative effect should be minimal; however, this is not to say it will endure for very long.  Movies that target African American audiences tend to have horrible legs at the box office, and I’m expecting this to top off at about $50 million, which would still represent a respectable total.

    Indie darling Juno came in at third.  The Ellen Page comedy that won no Golden Globes(!) pulled in a sturdy $14 million this weekend, giving it $71.2 million overall.  This total means that Juno is just $0.3 million away from passing Sideways as Fox Searchlight’s highest grossing film ever, and it should earn that title on Monday.  Though Juno expanded into 2,448 theaters this weekend, it dropped 12% from the last frame, but this is nothing to worry about.  In its sixth weekend, it still managed a very good $5,719 venue average, and the teen pregnancy comedy has a lot of life left in it.  According to last week’s poll, 20% of you think that Juno will not break $100 million, but I’m going to have to say that you are sorely incorrect.  It seems headed for a $120+ million finish.

     In fourth, fifth, and sixth, we have the big three holiday films that have dominated the box office (and this blog) for weeks.  Down 43% from last weekend, Disney’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets found another $11.5 million, giving it a strong $187.3 million after four weekends.  Meanwhile, Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks fell 41% to $9.1 million, which gives the rodent comedy a $187.7 million total after five weeks.  Also in its fifth weekend, Warner Brothers’ I Am Legend pulled in $8.1 million, a 48% drop.  With $240.2 million overall, I Am Legend is set to become Will Smith’s second-highest grossing film behind Independence Day ($306 million).
     In its second weekend, One Missed Call behaved exactly like most other derivative horror movies, dropping a large 51% to $6.1 million.  This drop was the steepest in the Top 12, which is not surprising given the reviews (it 0/53 with critics!).  The Warner Brothers film had a weak $2,737 per theater average, and it will disappear from theaters and memories in the very near future.  After two weeks, One Missed Call has earned $20.6 million.

     You know how I said that tearjerkers have great legs at the box office?  P.S. I Love You is a prime example of this.  The weapy Hilary Swank romance earned $5 million this weekend, down just 36% from the previous frame.  Its venue average of $2,155 is nothing to get excited about, but this is a Warner Brothers film that has done very well for itself.  After opening with an awful $6.5 million, P.S. I Love You has really caught on with audiences, for when it comes to romantic movies, reviews often don’t line up with the collective consciousness (case in point: The Notebook).  After four weekends, it’s pulled in a very solid $47 million.

     Back in ninth place, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything opened poorly with just $4.4 million.  With a low theater count of 1,337, and a low per theater average of $3,305, the VeggieTales picture will certainly finish below Jonah’s $25.5 million total, and it won’t last in theaters for long.   This is a disappointing start for the Universal film.
     Atonement expanded into 950 theaters this weekend, and it pulled in $4.3 million, down a small 15% from last weekend.  This Focus Features film has quietly earned $25.2 million so far, and its Golden Globe win for Best Picture on Sunday will certainly help it in the weeks to come.  (By the way, watch this this lovely interview from EW.com with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.  It’s nice to see actors who act to tell stories, not to get awards or fame…)
     Charlie Wilson’s War, the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts film that just didn’t quite click, fell 47% to $4.3 million this weekend.  With a low $1,775 venue average, Charlie Wilson’s War should start shedding theaters pretty quickly now.  The Universal film has earned a moderately disappointing $59.5 million after four weekends.

     In the number twelve spot, Sweeney Todd (which picked up a Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor award on Sunday) falls 39% to $3.4 million over the last three days.  With $44.1 million in four weekends, it will be interesting to see how much further the DreamWorks musical can go now that it has received some major awards attention.
    The final new opener, In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, debuted outside the Top 12 with a tiny $3.3 million, and a paltry $2,002 per theater average.  I’m rather proud of North America for its blatant rejection of Uwe Boll’s latest terribly reviewed film.  Though this will be his most unsuccessful film to date, I’m sure it will result in an even bigger budget for his next one…
     Next weekend should be very interesting.  We’ve got Katherine Heigl and James Marsden in the romantic comedy 27 Dresses, the uber-hyped old-school monster movie, Cloverfield, and the female heist flick, Mad Money.  Check back on Friday for the Weekend Preview.
Top 12 for January 11-13

# Movie Title Weekend Gross Total
1 The Bucket List $19,540,000 $20,964,000
2 First Sunday $19,000,000 $19,000,000
3 Juno $14,000,000 $71,249,796
4 National Treasure: Book of Secrets $11,482,000 $187,295,000
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks $9,100,000 $187,740,479
6 I Am Leged $8,130,000 $240,234,000
7 One Missed Call $6,130,000 $20,642,000
8 P.S. I Love You $5,005,000 $47,008,000
9 The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything $4,418,785 $4,418,785
10 Atonement $4,299,670 $25,208,460
11 Charlie Wilson’s War $4,274,200 $59,498,270
12 Sweeney Todd $3,402,000 $44,070,000

All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Friday Estimates: Not Kickin’ The Bucket Just Yet

January 12, 2008

     Friday Numbers are in, and it looks like I underestimated the power of two old-school box office heavyweights.  The Bucket List had a great Friday with $6.4 million, which should give the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson comedy a very respectable $19 million weekend, which is good for #1.  

     As for the rest of the openers, after a $6.2 million Friday, First Sunday looks headed for my prediction with $17 million through Sunday.  The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything had a poor start, earning just $1.1 million on its first day.  The swashbuckling vegetable film (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use…) should finish up with just about $4 million.  And in news that totally delights me, Uwe Boll’s latest film, In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, is flopping!  It earned just under $1 million on Friday, which should give it a horrible $2.8 million weekend and a spot outside the Top 12.  Moviegoers, I salute you.
Friday Estimates for January 11
1. The Bucket List – $6.4 million
2. First Sunday – $6.2 million
3. Juno – $4.6 million
4. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $3.3 million
5. I Am Legend – $2.6 million
6. One Missed Call – $2.2 million
7. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $2 million
8. P.S. I Love You – $1.6 million
9. Charlie Wilson’s War – $1.4 million
10. Atonement – $1.3 million
11. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything – $1.1 million
12. Sweeney Todd – $1 million