Archive for the ‘Gran Torino’ Category

Friday Estimates: With $9.5 Million On Its First Day, Taken Will Take The Weekend

January 31, 2009

Friday turned out to be a pretty good day at the box office this weekend, and movies basically have tonight to keep making money, before their box office potential is slashed in half by Super Bowl Sunday. Based on Friday Estimates, though, Taken will easily run away as the weekend champ.

The Liam Neeson action picture, Taken, found a great $9.5 million on Friday, which was far and away the best on the chart. This debut establishes Liam Neeson as a viable box office draw, which is good, because I’m fairly certain that most people knew him as “that guy in a bunch of movies” and the voice of Aslan in the Narnia films. For the rest of the weekend, I’ll give Taken a pretty typical-for-Superbowl-Weekend multiplier of 2.5 and say it should end up with about $24 million for the frame.

The Uninvited opened to a fair $4.5 million on Friday. It’s a bit curious to me that this didn’t break out more, but I think that January’s recent glut of horror films at the cinema must have finally had an effect on the box office. Still, because of low production costs, this is hardly a flop, and it should be able to rake in $12 million over the three day weekend, good enough for 2nd or 3rd place, since Paul Blart: Mall Cop will be looking at a similar total. It will be intersting to see if The Uninvited has a smaller decline next weekend because of its Super Bowl lowered totals.

New In Town could only muster up $2.6 million of ticket sales, as it appears that people just aren’t excited to see Renee Zellweger in any kind of movie, especially one as bad as this. I’m telling you all, winning the Oscar for Best Actress is a box office death sentence. Give New In Town $7.5 million over the weekend. Here are the full Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates For January 30, 2009
1. Taken – $9.5 million
2. The Uninvited – $4.5 million
3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $4 million
4. Gran Torino – $2.8 million
5. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – $2.6 million
6. New in Town – $2.6 million
7. Slumdog Millionaire – $2.25 million
8. Hotel For Dogs – $1.9 million
9. My Bloody Valentine 3-D – $1.5 million
10. Bride Wars – $1.2 million
11. The Wrestler – $1.1 million
12. Inkheart – $1.1 million

Advertisements

Weekend Fix: Paul Blart Can’t. Be. Stopped.

January 26, 2009

Man, this week has really taken a toll on me, and I apologize for the lateness of this post. Basically, if you’re a fan of the box office, you’ve already read 20 different recaps of the weekend (unless my little operation of The Box Office Junkie really is your #1 box office source, in which case, I’m flattered!), so you can survive a week without my analysis. It’s been an especially hectic time right now (this is the same time I put my blog on hiatus last year), but I promise I’m sticking around for the long hall. Anyway, I don’t have time for a full post, so here’s the numbers, along with five observations:

1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop is the most popular thing since Obama.

2. R-rated movies are doing quite well right now. 7 of the Top 12 are rated R.

3. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans did fine. When you consider that it was originally intended as a straight-to-DVD feature, it did great.

4. Sorry, Inkheart. Reading still isn’t cool.

5. Slumdog Millionaire is the most popular thing since Paul Blart: Mall Cop. After 11 weekends, it still has the highest per theater average in the Top 12. It will easily surpass $100 million.

Top 12 For January 16-18
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $21,500,000 -32% $6,838 $64,800,000
2 Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans $20,700,000 New $7,036 $20,700,000
3 Gran Torino $15,985,000 -27% $5,250 $97,561,000
4 Hotel For Dogs $12,360,000 -27% $3,779 $36,955,000
5 Slumdog Millionaire $10,550,000 +80% $7,477 $55,915,616
6 My Bloody Valentine: 3D $10,050,000 -53% $3,966 $37,770,000
7 Inkheart $7,725,000 New $2,910 $7,725,000
8 Bride Wars $7,000,000 -40% $2,671 $48,702,264
9 The Curious Case Of Banjamin Button $6,000,000 8% $2,651 $111,044,000
10 Notorious $5,700,000 -72% $3,473 $31,794,846
11 Defiance $5,432,000 -39% $3,030 $18,329,000
12 Revolutionary Road $5,268,000 195% $4,979 $11,867,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

You know how it goes… Sound off in the comments!

Weekend Preview: Will Underworld Rise To The Top?

January 23, 2009

Sorry for the delay on this column! It won’t happen again! This weekend Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans and Inkheart hit the big screen, while lots of Oscar bait like Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, and Frost/Nixon have major expansions. All in all, it should be a busy weekend. Let’s get to some analysis:

The likely number one flick this weekend is Sony’s Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans, the third film in the popular Underworld franchise, which pits vampires in an epic, ongoing battle with werewolves. Where this rivalry came from, I don’t know. Nor do I know about ninjas and pirates, for that matter; I guess there’s just not enough room in this world for too many fantastical characters at once… Despite the currently “in” subject matter, I’m not thinking that this is going to suddenly be another Twilight. Kate Beckinsale, the leading lady of the first two movies did not come back for Rise Of The Lycans, which will hurt its weekend gross some, and there is an extremely crowded marketplace. Underworld: Evolution opened to $26 million back in 2006, but with less star power and smaller theater count of 2,924 theaters, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans should see a softer $23 million this weekend.

The other new opener is Inkheart, yet another action-adventure-family film from Brendan Fraser, who seems to be reinventing his career around the genre. Inkheart, which is a story about stories in books coming to life, looks a heckuva lot like last year’s $100 million hit Journey To The Center Of The Earth, but it hasn’t had as much of an advertising push as that film did. Still Brendan Fraser has proved that he can draw in audiences (I mean, he actually got $100 million worth of people to go see the new Mummy picture!), so this should still have a somewhat solid debut. The Warner Brothers feature is hitting 2,655 theaters, and It should find $14 million over the frame.

Over in Oscar bait land, three films are moving into wide release. Slumdog Millionaire, which is all but a lock for Best Picture at this point, will add over 800 theaters this weekend for a total count of 1,411 theaters, which should lead to a solid $9.5 million. Revolutionary Road, the depressing Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio marriage film, is moving from limited release into 1,058, but it does not have the same playability as Slumdog. Remember, this is the EEE, and people don’t want to be sad! Give it $5 million over the weekend. Finally, Frost/Nixon, a film that should be thankful for the much-needed Oscar attention, will be expanding into 1,097 theaters. This movie is suffering from the fact that it jsut looks really boring. Give it $4 million over the weekend.

As far as last weekend’s openers, Notorious and My Bloody Valentine should fall hard, while Hotel For Dogs and Paul Blart: Mall Cop should see much smaller declines. Gran Torino will reamin a power player on the charts. Here are my predictions:

Predicted Top 12 for January 23-25
1. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans – $23 million
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $18 million
3. Gran Torino – $15 million
4. Inkheart – $14 million
5. Hotel For Dogs – $11 million
6. Slumdog Millionaire – $9.5 million
7. My Bloody Valentine: 3D – $9 million
8. Notorious – $8 million
9. Bride Wars – $6.5 million
10. Defiance – $5.5 million
11. Revolutionary Road – $5 million
12. The Unborn – $4.5 million

Weekend Fix: 4-Day Weekend With Monday MLK Day Numbers

January 19, 2009

Here are the 4-day totals for the January 16-19 weekend. With a great variety of choices for American audiences, Martin Luther King Weekend proved to be one of the most lucrative weekends in the history of the box office, as the top eight films each grossed at least $10 million over the 4-day frame. You can read the full analysis of the 3-day weekend here.

Top 12 For January 16-19
# Movie Title 4-Day Gross 3-Day % Change 4-Day
AVG.
Total
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $38,000,000 $12,086 $38,000,000
2 Gran Torino $26,000,000 – 24.6% $8,748 $77,000,000
3 My Bloody Valentine 3D $24,240,000 $9,565 $24,240,000
4 Notorious $24,000,000 $14,652 $24,000,000
5 Hotel for Dogs $22,500,000 $6,878 $22,500,000
6 Bride Wars $14,025,000 – 44.2% $4,344 $39,852,125
7 The Unborn $10,992,940 – 50.3% $4,660 $34,232,095
8 Defiance $10,700,000 +13401% $5,980 $11,041,000
9 Marley & Me $7,450,000 – 44.5% $2,523 $133,859,283
10 Slumdog Millionaire $7,150,000 + 56.0% $12,285 $43,987,205
11 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $6,603,000 – 39.2% $2,970 $103,628,000
12 Bedtime Stories $6,084,000 – 44.9% $2,323 $104,989,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

Weekend Fix: At The Box Office, Dogs May Be The New Penguins, But Fat Guys Are The New Will Smiths!

January 18, 2009

What a crazy world we live in! Even before we’ve gotten to the Monday of MLK weekend, the 3-day frame was one of the 10 biggest weekends in the history of the box office! The Top 12 films grossed a fantastic $170 million, increasing a whopping 29% over last year! This is shocking for January, but really cool! There’s so much to talk about! Here’s my rundown of each film:

Paul Blart: Mall Cop – Sony – $33.8 million – $10,751 per theater average
Fat Man #1. This opening is the second highest January opening of all time, behind 2008’s Cloverfield ($40 M). Maybe after Kevin James starred with Will Smith in 2005’s Hitch, and with Adam Sandler in 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, he’s garnered some of their box office drawing power, because this debut is just huge, and it still has MLK day tomorrow to rake in the big bucks! Mark this off as a huge success for both James as a leading actor and Sandler as a producer. Paul Blart: Mall Cop was benefited by its strong advertising campaign, and the relatively low comedic expectations of moviegoers. (Though I will confess that I sounded a bit pretentious in my Weekend Preview.) In these recessionary times, it looks like no one wants to think too hard when they go to the movies. Welcome to The Era Of Easy Entertainment! (EEE)

Gran Torino – Warner Brothers – $22.2 million – $7,481 PTA

Clint Eastwood continues to draw in audiences, who have really found a strong connection to the film. Due to the holiday on Monday, the film saw a very soft 24% decline, and with a $73 million total and a great venue average after two weekends in wide release, Gran Torino is headed for at least $130 million. A much needed return to profitability for the director, after Flags Of Our Fathers ($33 M), Letters From Iwo Jima ($13 M), and Changeling ($35 M).

My Bloody Valentine: 3D – Lionsgate – $21.9 million – $8,642 PTA
Shame on you, Supernatural fans! According to my calculations, there are still about 1.5 million of you who did not go see your beloved Jensen Ackles this weekend on the big screen! I thought you were the most dedicated fans of any TV show, like, EVER. Still, enough of you came out for the 3D slasher flick to have a pretty solid opening of $21.9 million, further proving that horror is back on the map and in perfectly good shape. Come 2010, audiences will probably be tired of it again, so studios, cash in while you can! MBV:3D has already revealed some of its frontloadedness, since its Friday numbers were higher than Saturday’s, but I expect that this will have slightly better legs than most other horror films, due to its good reviews.

Notorious – Fox Searchlight – $21.5 million – $13,126 PTA
Fat Man #2. This is truly the surprise of the weekend! Admittedly, I’m a former prep school kid from southern Virginia, who grew up more in the time of Eminem than B.I.G., so maybe I’m a bit out of touch with the hip hop legend’s drawing power, but I think even Fox Searchlight has to be unbelievably surprised with how well Notorious performed. It’s sizzling venue average is nothing short of amazing, and although it only played in 1,638 theaters, audiences turned out in huge crowds to see the biopic. Like most other films marketed to urban audiences, though, this one will be a victim of frontloadedness. Even with the holiday weekend effect, Notorious still came up with an internal multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 2.55, which is pretty low, so I’m expecting this to fall pretty quickly. Not that that matters, though! Notorious has already made its mark, and I’m sure it’s already covered its production budget, so it’s all gravy at this point. I bet somewhere, a Tupac movie just got the greenlight…

Hotel For Dogs – Paramount – $17.7 million – $5,413 PTA
This is the fourth successful dog release in the last four months. In October there was Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 M). In November there was Bolt ($105 M). And in December there was Marley And Me ($132 M so far). Emma Roberts has redeemed herself after the lackluster performance of last year’s Nancy Drew ($22 M), and even with a lower venue average, Hotel For Dogs will probably go further than both Notorious and My Bloody Valentine: 3D, due to its family friendly nature. But let me talk for just a second about dogs. I’m going to be honest: I’m a little put off by the rise of dogs in society lately. I mean, they’re cute and fluffy, and I love them as pets as much as anyone else, but I think that people are starting to think that dogs are humans. Between the rising numbers of clothing stores for canines, the onslaught of ASPCA commercials, the intensity of the anti-fur movement, their sudden box office viability, and the constant talks of “animal rights,” and I just have to wonder whether people realize that we are, in fact, people, and dogs are, in fact, animals. Call me once every human in the world has rights. Then, I’ll start to worry about whether the dogs do. Rant over.

Bride Wars – Fox – $11.8 million – $3,640 PTA
I still don’t feel like talking about this film, but I’ve got it to give it credit for its good box office run thus far. It’s the girl version of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and it’s probably headed for a $60-65 million finish. Like I said, welcome to EEE!

The Unborn – Universal – $9.8 million – $4,175
I know it was aided by the holiday weekend effect, but a 50% drop is pretty good for a horror film in its second weekend opening against another frightfest. With $33 million so far, this is a huge victory for Universal, who solidly advertised the film. You know, I’m seeing a trend here, Hollywood: If you believe in the films you put out and advertise them effectively, they do well at the box office! Weird, huh?

Defiance – Paramount Vantage – $9.2 million – $5,146
Okay, I’m saying it now. Outside of the Bond franchise, Daniel Craig is box office poison. The whole release kind of confuses me, actually. I heard almost nothing about this film, which cost a hefty $60 million, and after two weeks in very limited release, it failed to light up with moviegoers. Add in lackluster reviews, and you have a true misfire.

Slumdog Millionaire – Fox Searchlight – $5.9 million – $10,137 PTA
Seeing that my second-favorite film of 2008 just had an incredible 56% increase on the heels of its Golden Globes win erases any of the malice I was feeling towards Paul Blart and Bride Wars. There is hope for audiences yet! It really is quite amazing that in its tenth week of release, Slumdog Millionaire still has a per theater average of $10,137, the second highest in the Top 12. If this gets the Oscar for Best Picture (and it’s looking more and more like it will), we could be looking at a $100 million earner here!

The Rest Of ‘Em
You don’t really need to hear me talk about Marley And Me, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, and Bedtime Stories anymore, do you? It’s hard to believe that they came out just 25 days ago, because I feel like Ive been talking about them for forever! Suffice it to say, they were all solid performers of the Christmas season that kicked off what could be a historic winter at the box office. The full 3-day weekend numbers are below:

Top 12 For January 16-18
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $33,800,000 New $10,751 $33,800,000
2 Gran Torino $22,235,000 – 24.6% $7,481 $73,232,000
3 My Bloody Valentine 3D $21,900,000 New $8,642 $21,900,000
4 Notorious $21,500,000 New $13,126 $21,500,000
5 Hotel for Dogs $17,707,000 New $5,413 $17,707,000
6 Bride Wars $11,750,000 – 44.2% $3,640 $37,577,125
7 The Unborn $9,848,825 – 50.3% $4,175 $33,087,980
8 Defiance $9,206,000 +13401% $5,146 $9,547,000
9 Marley & Me $6,325,000 – 44.5% $2,143 $132,734,283
10 Slumdog Millionaire $5,900,000 + 56.0% $10,137 $42,737,205
11 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $5,599,000 – 39.2% $2,519 $102,624,000
12 Bedtime Stories $4,848,000 – 44.9% $1,851 $103,753,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

For the record, at the end of the day, I’m okay with Paul Blart: Mall Cop being on top of the charts. It isn’t going to kill me, and hey, I might even chuckle once or twice if I watched it. You know, my little sister, who’s six years old, loves slapstick comedy. She’s as sweet as a peach, but if I stub my toe or poke my eye or trip and fall, the girl can not contain her laughter! So who am I to say that Blart isn’t comedy?! It’s not comedy that I necessarily want to see, but I’m not about to totally discount the collective consciousness. Now let’s hear what you think about the weekend!

Friday Estimates: Really, America? Paul Blart?

January 17, 2009

What on Earth is going on with the box office lately? I feel like a navigator on a ship, who has used the stars to guide and direct him on his journeys for his whole life, only for the stars to just up and switch places, without warning. I mean, how else do you explain the inexplicably gigantic debuts of the top two films this weekend? Did anyone see this strong of a debut coming for Paul Blart: Mall Cop? And who thought that Notorious would open to these kinds of numbers? Box office gods, I surrender!

The number one film on Friday was Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which earned a disturbingly great $9.5 million on its first day. The Sandler-produced slapstick comedy starring Kevin James attraced droves of young males, who were apparently not scared away by the awful reviews. It’s like the male version of Bride Wars… Its looking at a possible 3-day gross of $27 million, with $32 million over the full MLK weekend. Maybe there’s just no use being bitter, though. You know what they say: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” I might actually go see this! Actually nevermind, I’d definitely rather be bitter.

As impressive as Blart‘s performance is, though, Notorious is undoubtedly the strongest debut of the weekend. Out in just 1,637 theaters, Notorious found $9 million on its first day, and it will have the strongest per theater average this weekend. Producer Sean “P Diddy” Combs has to be thrilled with this result right now, and I’m sure he’s already in the process of somehow pitching MTV a new reality show based on the success of this film. (Making The Band 5: Making The Movie!) The film chronicling the life of rap superstar, the Notorious B.I.G., will probably be a bit frontloaded, so a $25 million total over the 3-day seems right, with a stunning $30 million over four.

At least My Bloody Valentine: 3D and Hotel For Dogs were acting somewhat normal yesterday. The 3D horror flick took in a good $7.5 million, which should translate into a frontloaded $20 million weekend, with $24 million overall. Hotel For Dogs grabbed a solid $4.7 million on Friday, but its grosses should pump up over Saturday and Sunday. Totals of $18 million over the 3-day, and $22 million over the 4-day are probably in store for the kiddie comedy.

Other than the straight-out-of-left-field debuts of Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Notorious, things should pretty much match up with my predictions, which makes me feel a little less inadequate. But, hey- I’m not complaining! You know, it’s just one crazy weekend of box office after another, and I’m loving the ride! Here are the full Friday estimates:

Top 12 Friday Estimates for January 16th
1. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $9.5 million
2. Notorious – $9 million
3. My Bloody Valentine 3D – $7.5 million
4. Gran Torino – $6.5 million
5. Hotel For Dogs – $4.7 million
6. Bride Wars – $3.5 million
7. Defiance – $2.9 million
8. Marley & Me – $2.3 million
9. The Unborn – $2.2 million
10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – $1.7 million
11. Bedtime Stories – $1.6 million
12. Slumdog Millionaire – $1.3 million

Weekend Preview: Can My Bloody Valentine: 3-D Win The 4-Day?

January 15, 2009

Though January has traditionally been a month where studios dump their very worst pictures of the year, it looks like times may be a’changin’. This year, during the Martin Luther King 4-day weekend, we have four new wide releases and two major expansions that don’t all look awful! As far as new films go, entering theaters this weekend is the horror film My Bloody Valentine: 3D, the kiddie flick Hotel For Dogs, the biopic Notorious, and the Sandler-produced comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Definace and Last Chance Harvey are each launching into 1,000+ theaters. Contrary to past Januaries, the respective studios seem to be very confident in these releases, and the advertising has been surprisingly strong. Gran Torino is still a force to be reckoned with, though, and it could stay on top for a second weekend. All in all, the variety of choices at the theater along with the extended weekend should provide the box office with some depth and lead to a solid weekend of receipts.

The number one film this weekend should be My Bloody Valentine: 3D. The strong debut of The Unborn last weekend confirmed a renewed interest in the horror genre, and Valentine has the 3D gimmick working in its favor as well. Lanuching on a record 1,033 3D screens, this savvy move by Lionsgate not only creates novelty and interest, but it pumps up ticket prices in these venues, which will lead to a higher total gross. There has been tons of advertising for this one, and it’s kind of nice to see a film that’s not hiding from it’s “R” rating. The ads sell violence, terror, sex, gore, lots of 3D action shots, and most of all, FUN! You see, the problem with the way so many films are marketed, is that the studio forgets to tell people that they will have fun if they go see the film. My Bloody Valentine: 3D has not forgotten this point, and with some surprisingly great reviews and a legion of Supernatural fans eagerly awaiting Jensen Ackles on the big screen, the horror movie should scare up a strong $23 million from 2,534 venues over the three day period.

The only other opener that could have a chance to take the top spot is Paramount’s Hotel For Dogs, a film that proves difficult to predict. On the one hand, it’s a movie about dogs, and between Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94 million) and Marley And Me ($126 million so far), dogs are totally the new penguins at the box office. Also, it’s got the widest release of any film this week, checking in to 3,271 theaters, and the sheer accessibility will help it’s total. Advertising has been solid for Hotel for Dogs, and there aren’t any other new films vying for the family market. While all these things are positives for the film, we must not forget that Marley And Me opened huge just four weeks ago, and I have to wonder if audiences are ready for another dog movie so soon afterwards. Maybe they are, and Hotel For Dogs will garner its own massive opening, but I don’t think this is the most likely outcome. Still, the reviews are good enough, and parents and kids know Emma Roberts from her popular Nickelodeon show Unfabulous. When all is said and done, I think this could leash a pretty good $20 million, but $5 million more or less wouldn’t surprise me.

Notorious, a film chronicling the life and untimely death of rap legend Notorious B.I.G., opens into 1,637 theaters this weekend, and it should find a fair degree of success. Biggie’s iconic status in the rap community will absolutely help this Fox Searchlight effort, produced by Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Films marketed to an urban audience are often quite successful, and given that this is MLK weekend, Notorious should be able to capture success similar to the racially themed basketball film Glory Road, which opened to $13 million in 2006. For the 3-day weekend, Notorious might grab about $12.5 million.

The final new release of the weekend is Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a film that excites me about as much as Bride Wars. Ugh. This is a film from Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison, which has brought us such classics as Grandma’s Boy and The Benchwarmers. There’s been almost a shocking amount of promotion for this, and while I love Kevin James, I truly hope audiences can spot this as the stinker that it is. Reviews are, not suprisingly, bad. You know, I’ve learned over the years that it is a bad idea to mix my own personal feelings with box office prediction, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Even if it’s opening in a huge 3,144 theaters, I still see Paul Blart: Mall Cop coming in with just $10 million. (UPDATE: okay, okay- I see that I’m too much on my high horse. I think the commercials I have seen just really suck. I’ll bump my prediction up to $12 million instead.)

Last Chance Harvey and Defiance both have major expansions this weekend, moving into 1,054 and 1,789 theaters, respectively. Neither of these films has been blowing up in limited release, but Defiance, which stars Daniel Craig, has certainly has more promotion behind it. Still, with a $60 million pricetag, it won’t make back its budget in theaters, and it will probably earn about $7.5 million this weekend. Last Chance Harvey, the quirky comedy starring Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, has achieved a little bit of awards attention, but it will probably only earn about $3 million over the weekend.

Among holdovers, drops should be soft, as Sunday numbers will be stronger than usual, due to the holiday on Monday. Gran Torino is not going to go down quietly. The Clint Eastwood film has struck a chord with audiences, and it’s looking at another weekend of solid bank, and a possible second weekend at number one. For the 3-day weekend, a 27% drop should give it $21 million. Wedding “comedy” Bride Wars should also see a small drop, earning about $13 million. Finally The Unborn, which opened well last week, will erode quickly for two reasons. First, that’s just the nature of the horror genre, and second, My Bloody Valentine: 3D is coming out. A 65% plunge will give it $7 million for the weekend. Here the full weekend predictions:

Predicted Top 12 for January 16-18

1. My Bloody Valentine: 3-D – $23 million
2. Gran Torino – $21 million
3. Hotel For Dogs – $20 million
4. Bride Wars – $13 million
5. Notorious – $12.5 million
6. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $12 million
7. Defiance – $7.5 million
8. The Unborn – $7 million
9. Marley And Me – $7 million
10. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $6 million
11. Slumdog Millionaire – $5 million
12. Bedtime Stories – $5 million

Do I have this right, or am I way off? What do you predict these movies will make?

Oscar Bait Roundup + Golden Globes Effect

January 13, 2009

The Golden Globes were last night, and as I’m sure you have already heard, the evening undoubtedly belonged to Fox Searchlight’s Slumdog Millionaire, which picked up the fimmaker’s trifecta of awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The other big story was Kate Winslet, who nabbed the trophies for both Best Actress and Best Suppoting Actress, for Revolutionary Road and The Reader, respectively. For Best Actor, comeback kid Mickey Rourke was awarded for The Wrestler. Also, Wall-E won Best Animated Picture, which is kind of a backhanded compliment, considering it’s good enough to be Best Picture, without the “animated” stipulation… But anyone could tell you the winners of the night- let’s get to the main point of this post: How will the Golden Globes victories affect the box office performance and Oscar chances of the Oscar bait films?

As you can see below, all of the winners in the Comedy/Musical categories are no longer playing theaters, so they won’t be included in this discussion. I’ll post a list of the winners at the bottom, but first, let’s analyze film by film:


Gran Torino – With a $29 million weekend, Clint Eastwood doesn’t need to worry too much about the fact that he didn’t win any awards. Reviews aren’t really good enough to merit huge Oscar attention, but with a massive $10,000+ venue average, it’s well on its way to $100 million.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – It fell 49% this weekend, and with no major award victories, it will probably continue its descent. Still, it’s made $94 million, and $125 million seems like a likely final total. With or without an Oscar, this is a major financial success for Paramount.

Slumdog Millionaire – I gush about this film enough, as it is, so I’ll keep this short. After $34 million worth of great word-of-mouth and three Golden Globes, Fox Searchlight would be fools to not expand this in the very near future. It’s $6,206 per theater average (in its ninth week!) is strong enough to sustain an expansion, especially with the free advertising that comes from the Golden Globes.

Doubt – It’s banked a surprisingly good $22 million, but it’s $1,945 average isn’t great, and without much awards attention, I doubt it will make it past $30 million.

Revolutionary Road – Could the picture that’s so depressing it’s nigh-unmarketable turn into a success? The awards recognition will certainly help, but the reality is, this is not a story that many people are excited to see on the big screen- they go to see the acting. While it’s $10,667 per theater average looks great on paper, keep in mind that Gran Torino basically matched it, and that film is two weeks older and playing in 20 times as many theaters! Road probably won’t make it past $15 million.

The Reader – This film has more to gain than any other after the Golden Globes, because it hasn’t exactly been blowing up in the last few weekends, and mediocre reviews probably aren’t helping. Out in 507 theaters, it ony managed a $1.3 million weekend, which gave it a fairly poor $2,667 venue average. Weinstein needs to sell the Kate Winslet full force and hope for the best.

Milk – I continues to plug along rather steadily, and it’s earned a pretty good $19 million thus far, but Slumdog Millionaire has really taken away it’s Oscar mojo. If it can manage to pick up an Oscar or two, it might have a chance yet, but it’s momentum is definitely slowing down.

Frost/Nixon – It’s still doing alright, but it’s hardly the flashiest title of the bunch. With $7.6 million so far, it should be able to hit $15 million overall. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke’s Golden Globes win should give this the much needed exposure it needs in order to continue expanding. It’s got a nice venue average right now and about $3 million already, and if Fox Searchlight can play their cards right, they could be looking at a modest hit here. At least $10 million seems likely.

Here are the winners (full list here), with numbers below:

2009 Golden Globe Winners In Film

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Danny Boyle –
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Screenplay
Simon Beaufoy – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actress – Drama
Kate Winslet –
Revolutionary Road

Best Actor – Drama
Mickey Rourke –
The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Sally Hawkins –
Happy Go Lucky


Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Colin Farrell – In Bruges

Best Supporting Actress
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Here are the numbers:

Oscar-Seeking Titles for January 9-11 2009
# Movie Title Wk
3-Day Gross
Change Theaters
PTA
Total
Reviews
1 Gran Torino 5 $29,025,000 +888.4% 2,808
(+2,724)
$10,337 $40,065,000 75%
5 The Curious Case
Of Benjamin Button
3 $9,450,000 -49.4% 2,947 (-41) $3,207 $94,330,000 72%
11 Slumdog Millionaire 9 $3,730,000 -20.5% 601 (-11) $6,206 $34,075,000 94%
14 Doubt 5 $2,503,000 -49.9% 1,287 (-) $1,945 $22,941,000 76%
16 Revolutionary Road 3 $1,440,000 +46.1% 135 (+97) $10,667 $3,170,000 67%
17 The Reader 5 $1,352,000 -15.4% 507 (+109) $2,667 $5,516,000 60%
19 Milk 7 $1,251,000 -33.8% 295 (-14) $4,241 $19,125,000 92%
20 Frost/Nixon 6 $912,000 -34.9% 205 (-) $4,449 $7,652,000 90%
21 The Wrestler 4 $874,000 +99.6% 60 (+42) $14,567 $2,848,000 98%
26 Rachel Getting Married 15 $179,805 +7.9% 98 (+31) $1,873 $10,379,000 87%
All Numbers Courtesy Of Exhibitor Relations

Weekend Fix: Gran Torino, Bride Wars, And The Unborn All Have Strong Openings

January 11, 2009

What a great weekend at the box office! Amidst reports of peaking unemployment, retail failures, and recessionary woes, the box office continues to shine throughout this winter season. It appears that people are eager to escape from all the depressing news bogging them down by taking a good ‘ole trip to the movie theater. The Top 12 movies grossed a cumulative $129 million, an increase of 22% over last year. While many of the holdovers got hit harder than expected, the three robust debuts of Gran Torino, Bride Wars, and The Unborn set a promising tone for the rest of 2009.

The number one film this weekend is Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, which earned a fantastic $29 million, after expanding into 2,808 theaters. I believe that this debut will be considered massively important, as it marks another milestone in the ever continual internationalization of cinema. Truly, I can’t remember another film with a large Asian cast to have such audience support. Of course Clint Eastwood was the main draw here, but it’s still a promising sign for the industry. The debut gave the Warner Brothers Oscar bait a per theater average of $10,337, the best in the Top 12. Let me take a moment to break down how great of a venue average that is: Last weekend Gran Torino was playing in 84 theaters and had a per theater average of $33,571, which means that while the theater count increased 3,300% , the per theater average only fell 69%, which is pretty incredible. After five weekends in theaters, Gran Torino has amassed $40 million, and with awards season kicking into high gear, I’m thinking that this shouldn’t have any trouble making it to $100 million in the near future.

Let’s talk about this next film as little as possible. I’ll try to sum it all up in one sentence and then move on to something worth talking about. Fox’s Bride Wars debuted in second place with $21.5 million, which gave it a pretty good (but not surprisingly Satanic) venue average of $6,665. Why, Anne Hathaway? Why?!

The Unborn came in thrid place, with a stronger opening than anyone was expecting. The Universal horror flick scared up a solid $21 million, effectively marking that the 2006-2007 horror slump is over. The recognition here really belongs to Universal’s marketing department, who put together genuinely creepy trailers and television ads that gave people a good of the story (A long-lost, evil, unborn twin is coming to terrorize his sister). I’m usually not a fan of horror movies, but even I wasn’t unexcited for The Unborn. Whereas a movie like Seven Pounds opened poorly because people had no idea what it was about, The Unborn showed that the opposite was true, and I’m thinking that The Uninvited will reap similar benefits later this month. The film had a great $8,950 venue average, but any hope for longevity is pretty doubtful. First, there is the simpe reality that horror releases are notoriously front-loaded, and on top of that, there is a new horror title coming out for the next three weekends. It doesn’t really matter, though, because these movies are so cheap to produce. The Unborn will be pretty fortunate to make it to $50 million, before selling well on DVD.

Wait a second, is it Christmas Weekend all over again? The four Christmas Day releases fill up the next four spots on the chart, albeit with much lower numbers and some fairly steep drops. Provided with fresh titles on the scene, audiences forgot about the old films. Fox took away some of its own audience with Bride Wars, and consequently, the Jennifer Aniston starrer, Marley And Me, dropped 53% to $11.3 million, and has earned $123 million overall. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button fell 49% to $9.4 million for the weekend, and a $94 million cume. Perhaps poor word-of-mouth has spread, because Bedtime Stories fell a harsh 58% to $8.5 million, giving it $97 million total. The Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler features will each surpass $100 million in the next week. Tom Cruise’s comback movie, Valkyrie declined 53% to $6.6 million, and has found a solid $71 million overall.

The Jim Carrey vehicle Yes Man fell 56% this weekend to $6 million. After its dispappointing $18 million opening, Warner Brothers’ Yes Man has been leggier than anyone would have guessed, and it has now earned a total of $89 million, which represents an impressive 5.0 multiplier.

In ninth place, we have Not Easily Broken, a marital drama from Sony released in just 724 theaters. Proving that melodrama is a genre that does have some life in it, Not Easily Broken earned $5.6 million, which gave the film a good $7,735 per theater average. While this result is a nice surprise for the weekend, it pales in comparison to the kind of numbers that Tyler Perry can pull in for a similar movie. He truly does have the golden touch.

Moving down a notch to another overly dramatic film, the Will Smith snoozefest Seven Pounds dropped 61% to $3.9 million over the weekend frame. With $66 million in the bank after four weekends, the ultra serious Sony drama will go down as one of the few missteps in Smith’s otherwise impeccable career.

Future Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire (that is, if Wall-E isn’t nominated) dropped just 20% to $3.7 million this weekend for a $34 million total. It’s still pulling in a solid $6,206 venue average, but Fox Searchlight needs to pump up the advertising and the theater count, because there is certainly lots of life left in this vibrant title, especially as it rakes in the awards.

Down in 12th place is Twilight, the teenage vampire movie from way back in November that can’t be stopped. Perhaps it’s just riding on the news of star Taylor Lautner returning for the sequel, but the Summit Entertainment feature fell just 40% to $2.8 million, and it has grossed a stunning $181 million over eight weekends. Here are the full weekend results:

Top 12 for January 9-11 2009

# Movie Title 3-Day Gross
% Change AVG. Total
1 Gran Torino $29,025,000 888% $10,337 $40,065,000
2 Bride Wars $21,500,000 $6,665 $21,500,000
3 The Unborn $21,095,150 $8,950 $21,095,150
4 Marley And Me $11,350,000 -53% $3,263 $123,710,171
5 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $9,450,000 -49% $3,247 $94,330,000
6 Bedtime Stories $8,550,000 -58% $2,435 $97,180,000
7 Valkyrie $6,662,000 -53% $2,347 $71,509,383
8 Yes Man $6,155,000 -56% $2,083 $89,411,000
9 Not Easily Broken $5,600,000 $7,735 $5,600,000
10 Seven Pounds $3,900,000 -61% $1,588 $66,830,000
11 Slumdog Millionaire $3,730,000 -20% $6,206 $34,074,855
12 Twilight $2,789,000
-40% $1,902 $181,395,000
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Friday Estimates: GRAND Torino At The Box Office

January 10, 2009

I’ve just got to be real with you- I way underestimated the box office of the premiering films, and I overestimated the holdovers. Things just took a rather unexpected turn this weekend, but don’t worry, I’m not about to sit here and dwell on it. After all, pretty much everyone got it wrong!

This weekend proved to be a pretty big draw for American audiences, as all three openers debuted to pretty good results. Gran Torino, after launching into wide release in its fifth week, earned an estimated $9.8 million on Friday, which is fantastic. The NFL playoffs should detract from its overall multiplier a little bit, but it’s still headed for around $29 million for the weekend. Much to my dismay, Bride Wars also opened well with $8 million on Friday. It should make it to around $24 million for the weekend. I don’t want to talk about it. The Unborn also managed an $8 million Friday, and because it will be front-loaded, I’m seeing an $18 million weekend. Still, that’s a fairly good debut, which means that audiences may be ready for horror movies again after two years of disappointing receipts. Give it a month before people are tired of these movies again… The only other new film hitting the charts was Not Easily Broken, a small film playing in just 724 theaters. It opened in 7th place, $2 million on Friday. Look for a $6 million weekend.

With the new options shining so brightly, there were some very large drops among returning features. Among holdovers, Marley And Me is looking at $10 million for the weekend, Benjamin Button should find $9 million, and Bedtime Stories $8 million. Here’s the Top Ten Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for January 9th
1. Gran Torino – $9.8 million
2. Bride Wars – $8 million
3. The Unborn – $8 million
4. Marley And Me – $3 million
5. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $2.7 million
6. Bedtime Stories – $2.1 million
7. Not Easily Broken – $2 millino
8. Valkyrie – $1.9 million
9. Yes Man – $1.9 million
10. Seven Pounds – $1.1 million