Archive for the ‘The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything’ Category

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.

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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

Weekend Preview: Will First Sunday Steal Box Office Crown?

January 11, 2008

Traditionally thought of as a dumping ground for Hollywood’s poorest titles, January is typically home to movies that studios have very little hope for. In terms of box office revenue, only September can rival the bad receipts that movies see in January, and this year, things won’t be too much different. Even with four openers, the box office will continue to rely on strong holdovers to keep 2008 ahead of last year.

I’m going to go slightly against the grain of most box office analysts this week, and predict that First Sunday will take the box office crown. Starring Ice Cube, Katt Williams, and SNL alum Tracy Morgan, First Sunday is a black church comedy (I say “black” both because of the African American cast, and its crime theme) that follows two men as they attempt to rob their church. It will have playability among black and (to a lesser extent) churchgoing audiences, which have proven to be very lucrative with the success of Tyler Perry. January has proven to be a very good time to release movies aimed at black audiences: In 2006, Big Momma’s House 2 opened with $27.7 million, and on this very weekend in 2007, Stomp The Yard earned a smashing $21.8 million. Not surprisingly, reviews are terrible, but they’re kind of a non-factor for a film like this. ScreenGems’ First Sunday launches into 2,213 theaters on Friday, and it might steal about $17 million over the weekend.

The Bucket List is not technically a new opener, but since it was only playing in 16 theaters last weekend, I’m going to count it as one. The story of two old men trying fulfill their life’s wishes before they die, The Bucket List stars screen legends Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Movies with two A-list, male actors usually do very well at the box office (see The Prestige, American Gangster, 3:10 To Yuma), but The Bucket List lacks an exciting punch, so its success will be more limited. This will play to a much older audience, who definitely read reviews, and the lackluster critical reception will hurt its chances at success. Still, the Warner Brothers feature with very likable leads is playing in a huge 2,895 theaters, and its sheer visibility will help it earn about $11.5 million over the weekend.

If you’re not an Evangelical Christian, you may not have heard of VeggieTales, a popular Christian-themed franchise that feature animated vegetables like Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato. This weekend, VeggieTales presents The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, the second feature film after 2002’s Jonah, which was a modest success ($25.5 million) for such a small movie. Five years later, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything looks to match Jonah‘s success at best. Outside of its target audience, there has been literally no advertising for this film, which is strange to me, because with a family friendly story, it does have some crossover appeal. Also, it has the best reviews of the weekend, though that’s not saying much. Out in 1,336 theaters, the Universal kiddie-flick should just about match its predecessor’s numbers with a $6.5 million weekend.

The final new film of the weekend is In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. First off, does every film have to have a colon in the title these days? Between Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, I don’t know how many more punctuated titles I can take! Second, if you read my previous post about Uwe Boll, you know how unexcited I am for this video game adaptation starring the normally enjoyable Jason Statham. In The Name Of The King was originally supposed to debut in 2,500 theaters this weekend, but at some point during the week, 900 theater owners bailed out and decided not to play the film, which is a bad sign, and the Freestyle Releasing film was not screened for critics, which also does not bode well for it. Out in 1,605 theaters, Uwe Boll’s latest assault on the film industry might earn a truly terrible $3.5 million, giving it a spot outside the Top 12.

First Sunday‘s primary competition for the top spot comes from Juno. The indie comedy has enjoyed the #1 position for the entire week, and it expands even further this weekend into 2,448 theaters. It’s per theater average will dip a bit from last week’s phenomenal $8,239, but it should still be very strong. A $15 million weekend would give Juno a sensational $71 million overall.

The big three holiday films should continue to perform solidly. National Treasure: Book of Secrets might pull in $11 million over the next three days, for a $187 million total. I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks should each pull in about $9 million, for totals of $240 million and $189 million, respectively. Behaving oppositely, One Missed Call should crumble down to about $5.5 million, for a $20 million total.

Finally, this weekend Atonement boosts its theater count to 950, and a $6 million weekend might result, which would give the period piece just over $26 million overall. The Kite Runner and the Spanish film The Orphanage each expand into about 700 theaters, and while they won’t make the Top 12 this weekend, each could end up with some solid business in the weeks to come if they can win some awards.
Predicted Top Twelve for January 11-13
1. First Sunday – $17 million
2. Juno – $15 million
3. The Bucket List – $11.5 million
4. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $11 million
5. I Am Legend – $9 million
6. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $9 million
7. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything – $6.5 million
8. Atonement – $6 million
9. P.S. I Love You – $5.8 million
10. Charlie Wilson’s War – $5.5 million
11. The Water Horse – $4 million
12. Sweeney Todd – $3.7 million