Archive for the ‘P.S. I Love You’ Category

6 December Movies That Had Poor Box Office Starts, But Major Legs

December 23, 2009

I’m about to go see Avatar, so I’ll have to keep this post short and sweet.  Movies released in December are a breed of their own.  Because students are out of school and many adults are off of work for the last half of December, movies released during the month often see smaller opening weekends, for people feel no need to rush out to the box office and see them.  Most movies released during the year have a multiplier of about 3.0, which means the total gross was three times higher than the opening weekend.  During the holidays, however, every day is like the weekend, and movies will have multipliers of 4, 5, 6 or even higher!  Many films will open with alarmingly poor numbers, but actually go on to see some very nice grosses.  That’s why I’m not too concerned about the initially low grosses for The Princess And The Frog.  Over the Sunday-to-Monday period, the film dropped just 23% to $2.9 million, and it should continue to perform strongly during weekdays for the next two weeks.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, let’s look at six recent movies that had seemingly poor box office starts, but went on to see much more solid box office finishes.

1. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $9.3 million
Total Gross: $82.9 million
Multiplier: 8.9

2. Fun With Dick And Jane (December 21, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $14.4 million
Total Gross: $110.3 million
Multiplier: 7.6

3. Rumor Has It (December 25, 2005)

Opening Weekend: $3.5 million
Total Gross: $43 million
Multiplier: 12.3!
**This “opening weekend” was just one day long.

4. Charlotte’s Web (December 15, 2006)

Opening Weekend: $11.5 million
Total Gross: $83 million
Mulitplier: 7.2

5. P.S. I Love You

Opening Weekend: $6.5 million
Total Gross: $53.7 million
Mulitplier: 8.3

6. Charlie Wilson’s War

Opening Weekend: $9.7 million
Total Gross: $66.7 million
Mulitplier: 6.9

Friday Estimates: Treasure Tops Charts, Predator Becomes Prey

December 29, 2007

     Friday numbers are in, and the box office is thriving.  We’re headed for some very solid weekend totals based on these Friday results, and many holdovers will see increases in their weekend-to-weekend grosses.
     National Treasure: Book of Secrets should hold onto the top spot this weekend, with a Friday gross of $12.2 million.  I saw this movie last night, and it was one of the silliest, stupidest, most preposterous, wildly entertaining movies I have seen in quite some time.  (Thank goodness Justin Bartha’s comic timing balances out Cage’s ridiculous maxims…) I let go of all my movie-buff pretentiousness, leaned back in my seat, and had a wonderful time.  It’s certainly family friendly enough to keep pulling in families, and it has the Disney brand name, so it should have a pretty good weekend multiplier.  Book of Secrets looks headed for a $40 weekend.
     Alvin and the Chipmunks flexed its box office muscle last night, holding off I Am Legend for the second place spot.  With $10.4 million, Alvin increased a great 24% from last Friday, while I Am Legend fell a small 16% to $9.2 million.  Fox’s rodent comedy should finish the weekend with about $33 million, and Warner Brothers’ sci-fi thriller might pull in $28 million.

     Also increasing from last weekend, Charlie Wilson’s War pulled in a solid $3.9 million, and with a probable $11 million weekend, the Universal political dramedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts is on its way to redeeming its slow start.
     Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem lost some major steam going into the weekend, placing fifth on Friday with $3.4 million.  It appears that the fanboys really did all see AVP:R on opening night, so this should have a pretty bad holiday multiplier.  Look for just over $9 million this weekend.
     Juno will pass the aforementioned alien thriller by the end of the weekend.  After earning $3.3 million on Friday, the Ellen Page comedy should earn about $10 million over three days.
     The Water Horse continued to behave exactly like the legend of the Loch Ness monster- except for a few witnesses, no one has seen it.  With $3.2 million on Friday, it could earn just under $10 million over the weekend, giving it a small $20 million overall.

     Among the rest of the films, P.S. I Love You did better than last weekend, with $3 million on Friday.  Sweeney Todd revealed some of its front-loadedness with an alright $2.7 million.  And The Great Debaters pulled in a small $2 million (though Enchanted did better with $2.3 million).
Friday Estimates for December 28
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $12.2 million
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $10.4 million
3. I Am Legend – $9.2 million
4. Charlie Wilson’s War – $3.9 million
5. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem – $3.4 million
6. Juno – $3.3 million
7. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep – $3.2 million
8. P.S. I Love You – $3 million
9. Sweeney Todd – $2.7 million
10. Enchanted – $2.3 million
11. The Great Debaters – $2 million
12. The Golden Compass – $1.5 million

Christmas Grosses and The 5-Day Weekend

December 27, 2007

     You may not realize it, but each year, Christmas Day is one of the biggest box office days of the year.  Millions of North Americans flood into movie theaters after celebrating Christmas in the morning, and movies do quite well for themselves.  This Christmas was no exception.  This year, the Top 12 films earned a combined $62.7 million, which almost equals the entire weekend Top 12 from a few weeks ago!  The fact that Christmas Day is so huge at the movies always surprises me, because until I started following the box office a few years ago, I thought no one left their house on Christmas, but this is certainly not the case.  In fact, this was the biggest Christmas day box office in history!  National Treasure: Book of Secrets  captured the third best Christmas Day gross ever, and I Am Legend continued to dominate, while Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem had a great opening day as well:
Top 12 for Christmas Day
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $13.7 million
2. I Am Legend – $9.8 million
3. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem – $9.5 million
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $6 million
5. Charlie Wilson’s War – $4.3 million
6. The Great Debaters – $3.6 million
7. Sweeney Todd – $3.2 million
8. P.S. I Love You – $3.9 million
9. Juno – $2.8 million
10. The Water Horse – $2.4 million
11. The Golden Compass – $2 million
12. Walk Hard – $1.5 million
     Now, onto the five-day weekend.  As I’ve said, during the holidays, every day is pretty much part of the weekend, and all movies see incredible bumps in their grosses.  Still, for whatever reason, the five-day weekend is still a figure that box office analysts love to look at.  Thus, I’ve put together this chart of the Top 20 earners for the past five days.  The box office looks 100% different than it did two weeks ago, proving that there truly is no other time at the movies like late December.
Top 20 for December 21-25
# Movie Title 5-Day Weekend Total
1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets $65.4 million $65.4 million
2 I Am Legend $47.7 million $151 million
3 Alvin and the Chipmunks $38.6 million $94.5 million
4 Charlie Wilson’s War $16 million $16 million
5 Sweeney Todd $13.6 million $13.6 million
6 P.S. I Love You $10 million $10 million
7 Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem $9.5 million $9.5 million
8 The Golden Compass $7 million $51.4 million
9 Juno $6.8 million $9.8 million
10 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story $6.3 million $6.3 million
11 Enchanted $6.2 million $100.4 million
12 The Great Debaters $3.6 million $3.6 million
13 Atonement $2.9 million $6.7 million
14 No Country For Old Men $2.8 million $37.8 million
15 The Water Horse $2.4 million $2.4 million
16 The Kite Runner $2 million $2.7 million
17 The Perfect Holiday $1.3 million $4.9 million
18 This Christmas $1.3 million $48.2 million
19 Fred Claus $1.2 million $71 million
20 August Rush $0.6 million $29.7 million

Weekend Fix: National Treasure Lives Up To Its Name

December 23, 2007

     Led by the solid opening of National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the box office continued to perform strongly this weekend.  Despite the rather tepid debuts of some of the openers, I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks held well enough to sustain the overall box office.  During the December 21-23 frame, the Top 12 films earned a cumulative $153.5 million, up 1% from last weekend, and a great 41% from the same weekend last year, when Night At The Museum opened in the top spot.
     National Treasure: Book of Secrets struck gold this weekend at the movies, getting off to a great start with $45.5 million in its debut.  The Disney adventure film blazed onto the scene in a huge 3,832 theaters, but it still racked up a very good $11,874 venue average.  Being a Disney film, Book of Secrets has a good deal of family playability, so it should remain a prominent force throughout the holiday season.  The original National Treasure opened in November, 2004 with $35 million, but held wonderfully through the holidays, eventually making a delightful $173 million.  This gave National Treasure a terrific 4.9 multiplier, and while Book of Secrets probably won’t see such small drops (it had an internal multiplier of 2.7, which is low, but typical for sequels), it should still perform very solidly throughout the Winter season.  It should hit $100 million in a week or so, with much more to come in the new year.

     I Am Legend held up the second spot quite nicely, dropping 56% to $34.2 million for the weekend.  The Warner Brothers sci-fi thriller retained an incredible second weekend per theater average of $9,454, which proves its popularity among audiences and assures that it will retain its theater count.  I Am Legend should be Will Smith’s biggest film since 1997’s Men In Black, which grossed $250 million.  After ten days, I Am Legend has earned a great $137.5 million, well on its way to the $200 million club.
     Also dropping one spot from last weekend is Alvin and the Chipmunks.  The CGI rodent comedy continues to astound me with its phenomenal performance (just look at its reviews!), and this weekend it stole another $29 million from innocent families, which represents a small 35% drop.  The Fox comedy also retained a great venue average with $8,288 in each theater.  Alvin is doing a great job of filling the void left by The Golden Compass, and it is the go-to choice for families of the kindergarten set.  It has earned an amazing $84.9 million in two weekends.

     Charlie Wilson’s War comes in fourth place this weekend, earning a rather small $9.6 million in its opening frame.  The Universal political comedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts failed to effectively communicate its story in its advertising campaign.  It’s war-themed nature didn’t help either.  As I see it, people go to the movies for escapism, not to see more of the depressing stuff that’s already on TV, and I’ll say this until the day that I die: If you want your movie to succeed, show audiences that they will have FUN by seeing it.  Even with a small $3,735 per theater average, Charlie Wilson’s War‘s performance is not a disaster.  During the holidays, weekend figures are not as important, and since no one has school or work, movies play well during the week as well, so if this film can build some significant awards buzz (and it boasts some good reviews), it could save itself.  We’ll have to wait and see.     In fifth, Sweeney Todd sang its way to the tune of a $9.4 million opening.  Being a Tim Burton film, this comes with a built-in cult audience who rush out to see his films on opening night, and with a 2.4 internal multiplier, it had a very front-loaded weekend.  Playing in just 1,249 venues, Sweeney Todd grabbed a nice $7,486 per theater average.  Dreamworks’ gory slasher musical (there’s a first) has earned great reviews, and it should perform pretty well in the coming weeks.

     P.S. I Love You performed as expected, earning a modest $6.5 million in its opening weekend.  The Warner Brothers romantic comedy, which stars Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler , has a small per theater average of $2,651.  There was nothing that made this film stand out form the crowd, and it looked generic and sappy.  Once again we see that just because an actress wins an Oscar (or two in this case) doesn’t mean she can open a film.
     In its fifth weekend, Enchanted displayed its staying power, dropping just 25% to $4.2 million.  The magical Disney comedy has done very well for itself, and after five weeks, it has earned a fantastic $98.5 million.

     The biggest shock of the weekend has to be the awful performance of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.  Walk Hard, a Sony film, flopped with a terrible $4.1 million opening.  Though it boasts great reviews, its advertising (which featured tremendously creative commercials of an older Dewey Cox) didn’t give audiences a clear idea of what to expect.  Also, Judd Apatow, the producer of the spoof, may only have drawing power when it comes to what made him famous: the raunchy sex comedy.  With a very bad $1,547 per theater average, Walk Hard will unfortunately not last very long.
     New Line’s The Golden Compass continued its utter free-fall this weekend, earning just $4 million, a 55% decrease.  This cold film has not caught on with audiences, who want to feel good during the holidays, and the hugely expensive fantasy film has earned just $48.4 million after three weekends.

     In tenth place, Juno continued to impress with a great $3.4 million out of just 304 theaters.  The teen pregnancy comedy has been surrounded by almost deafening buzz, and it is totally living up to it.  With a stunning $11,184 venue average, Juno has everything going for it, and it is catching on in a big way with audiences.  It’s kind of wonderful to see a smart, fresh, independent comedy garner such massive amounts of interest, and when it goes wide on Christmas day, it should continue to perform very strongly.  So Juno it has made $6.4 million.
     Atonement, another film with tons of awards potential, had a good weekend as well.  Expanding into 297 theaters, the Focus feature earned $2 million, giving it a solid $6,648 per theater average.  With tons of awards on the way, it should do well over the next month.  So far, Atonement has grossed a strong $5.7 million.
     Back in twelfth, No Country For Old Men dropped 40% to $1.7 million.  The Miramax thriller, which is almost assured a Best Picture nomination, has grossed a smashing $36.7 million after seven weekends.
     Overall, though there were some dull openings, things remained bright at the box office this weekend.  It’s important to keep in mind that opening weekends don’t matter as much during the holiday season, so while some of the figures may be rather low, for the box office, the next two weeks are virtually an extended weekend, where movies do incredible business.
Top Twelve for December 21-23
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $45.5 million
2. I Am Legend – $34.2 million
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $29 million
4. Charlie Wilson’s War – $9.6 million
5. Sweeney Todd – $9.4 million
6. P.S. I Love You – $6.5 million
7. Enchanted – $4.2 million
8. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – $4.1 million
9. The Golden Compass – $4 million
10. Juno – $3.4 million
11. Atonement – $2 million
12. No Country For Old Men – $1.7 million
*All numbers courtesy of Exhibitor Relations

Friday Estimates: Treasure Succeeds, Walk Hard Falls Hard

December 23, 2007

     Friday numbers are in, and while the chart looks like it’s turning out pretty close to the predictions in the Weekend Preview, there are two surprising disappointments: Walk Hard and Charlie Wilson’s War.

     National Treasure: Book of Secrets opened very well on Friday, pulling in $17.1 million.  With Christmas Eve on Monday, and most people (who don’t work retail) out of work, it should see some inflated Sunday numbers and have a great multiplier.  It will be interesting to see whether this sequel is as leggy as its predecessor, and if it might ultimately beat I Am Legend in a race for the holiday crown.  For the weekend, Book of Secrets should find about $55 million .
     Sweeney Todd earned a solid $3.9 million from just 1,249 theaters, and a great per theater average should result.  It’s on its way to about $13 million for the weekend.
     Charlie Wilson’s War earned a small $2.8 million.  Looks like the trend of moviegoers rejecting war-themed, political movies continues with Charlie Wilson’s War, and even with Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks as draws, it should make a disappointing $9 million for the weekend.
     P.S. I Love You opened within expectations, earning $2.4 million on its first day.  The sappy romantic comedy looks headed for an $8 million weekend.
     The biggest surprise of the weekend has to be Walk Hard‘s awful opening.  On its first day the spoof earned a tiny $1.5 million.  It appears that the movie truly was too smart for people to really understand that it was a comedy.   Also, while Walk Hard‘s advertising campaign has been remarkably innovative, it was perhaps too difficult for the average person to get the joke.  It will struggle to earn $5 million.
Friday Estimates for December 21
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $17.1 million
2. I Am Legend – $11 million
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $8.5 million
4. Sweeney Todd – $3.9 million
5. Charlie Wilson’s War – $2.8 million
6. P.S. I Love You – $2.4 million
7. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – $1.5 million
8. Enchanted – $1.3 million
9. The Golden Compass – $1.2 million
10. Juno – $970,000
11. Atonement – $530,000
12. No Country For Old Men – $480,000

Weekend Preview: National Treasure Should Strike Gold

December 21, 2007

     After two movies singlehandedly saved the box office last weekend, the latest crop of newcomers has a lot to live up to.  Luckily, this weekend, five extremely diverse wide releases hit theaters, offering something for every moviegoer.  National Treasure: Book of Secrets explodes onto the scene with rollicking adventure.  Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story brings some spoof comedy to the table.  Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street sings a few eerie show tunes.  Charlie Wilson’s War  provides some star-studded dramedy.  And P.S. I Love You fills the romantic comedy slot.  As if that wasn’t enough for you, another four films go wide on Christmas day!  That’s right, folks, we’ve officially reached the holiday season.
     National Treasure: Book of Secrets should easily top the box office this weekend.  Back in 2005, the original National Treasure was a surprise juggernaut.  The film followed Nicholas Cage as a treasure hunter, who was on the hunt for a secret American treasure.  An adventure film for conspiracy theorists, the film was a ludicrous Da Vinci Code rip off, but it didn’t pretend to be anything else.  The Jerry Bruckheimer adventure was pure, popcorn-munching fun, and Disney marketed it perfectly.  After a good $35 million opening, it struck a chord with audiences, endured through the holiday season, and went on to gross a sensational $173 million.  A franchise was born.
     Book of Secrets sticks to the proven formula, pitting Nic Cage against a band villains in a race to find a “city of gold” that was hidden by America’s founding fathers.  Critics love to trash this kind of movie, and reviews (which won’t matter much for this movie) are equally mediocre to the original, but I have to admit, National Treasure is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  It’s got a great sense of humor, and though the plot is preposterous, it provides moviegoers with the main thing that they are seeking: FUN!  So many studios forget to advertise the fact that you will have fun if you go see their movie, but Disney, the best advertiser in the business, always sells this point.  Diane Kruger, Harvey Kietel, John Voight, Justin Bartha, and Helen Mirren all star in this swashbuckling installment, for which Disney is already planning subsequent sequels.  National Treasure: Book of Secrets should open bigger than the original, and it could outpace I Am Legend by the end of its run.  It’s opening in a massive 3,832 theaters, and it might earn a big $50 million over the weekend.

     Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a movie produced by the on-fire Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad), is spoof of the musical biopic.  Starring John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer, Walk Hard sends up Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan, among others.  Reviews are very good, and it’s exciting to see a true spoof movie- not simply a rehash of famous scenes, like the dreadful Epic/Date/Scary Movie.  I’m a bit concerned that Walk Hard could be too smart for its own good, for some of the ads make it somewhat hard to tell that this is a spoof, and that could confuse potential moviegoers.  However, the Apatow brand is absurdly strong, and he is really the main draw for this feature, so it should still perform well.  Playing in 2,650 venues, Sony’s Walk Hard might rock its way to a $14 million opening.

     Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman star in the fast-talking political comedy, Charlie Wilson’s War.  Set during the Cold War, Tom Hanks plays the title character, a womanizing, slick U.S. Senator who finds himself feeling suddenly convicted to improve the world.   He consequently convinces the CIA to train fighters in Afghanistan that will help fend off the Soviet Union. As a marketable concept, this is questionable.  War-themed movies like The Kingdom and Lions for Lambs, have failed at the box office lately, and the story is too complex to advertise effectively.  Universal is relying completely on star power from America’s favorite actor and actress to carry Charlie Wilson’s War to success.  Much like last year’s The Good Shepherd, this plays to an older audience, and while its opening might be smaller, it should have great legs.  Reviews are pretty good, and it’s garnered some awards attention, which will help its business substantially.  Still, though, with exciting choices like I Am Legend and National Treasure: Book of Secrets playing, it could be easy to overlook Charlie Wilson’s War.  In 2,574 theaters, it should earn about $14 million this weekend.

     Sweeney Todd is the latest film from Tim Burton, so it should come as no surprise that it stars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, who seem to star in every Burton project these days.  Sweeney Todd is a strange story about a man named Benjamin Barker who escapes from prison and takes on the identity of Sweeney Todd.  He does this to exact revenge on the judge who originally imprisoned him, and he kills many people in this grisly revenge movie.  What makes all this even more interesting is that Sweeney Todd is a full musical, adapted from the stage show by Stephen Sondheim.  Full of creepy, macabre music and fine acting performances, critics are hailing Burton’s direction, and the film has received wonderful reviews.  Sweeney Todd is opening in just 1,249 theaters, but advertising has been strong, and Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have a built-in fan base.  This should result in a very solid per theater average and $13 million weekend.

     The final new wide release of the weekend is P.S. I Love You, a romantic comedy starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.  Swank plays a woman whose husband (Butler) has just passed away.  As it turns out, her husband knew he was dying and left her a series of letters to help her transition out of her grief and back into life.  Though the concept is sweet, Hillary Swank isn’t the right woman for this kind of role.  She lacks the cute, girly factor that is so necessary in a romantic comedy, and after Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry, it’s tough for audiences to accept her outside of strong, dramatic roles.  On top of this, there simply isn’t very much excitement for this film, and reviews are very bad.  Produced by Warner Brothers, P.S. I Love You is being released in 2,454 theaters, and it should earn about $7 million over the next three days.
     Among the returning films, I Am Legend should place second.  It’s shown decreasing grosses during its weekdays, which signifies a rather large drop for this weekend.  A 55% drop would give it $34 million for the weekend and a marvelous $136 million overall.  Alvin and the Chipmunks should hold better because of its family-friendly nature.  As sad as it makes me, Alvin might pull in an additional $26 million this weekend, for an $81 million total.  After multiple award nominations in almost every circle of critics, Juno and Atonement both expand into about 300 theaters this weekend.  They should each see their weekend grosses increase to about $3.6 million and $3 million, respectively.
Predicted Top 12 for December 21-23
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $50 million
2. I Am Legend – $34 million
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $26 million
4. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – $14 million
5. Charlie Wilson’s War – $13 million
6. Sweeney Todd – $12 million
7. P.S. I Love You – $7 million
8. The Golden Compass – $4.5 million
9. Enchanted – $3.8 million
10. Juno – $3.6 million
11. Atonement – $3 million
12. No Country For Old Men – $2.3 million