Archive for the ‘Tom Cruise’ Category

Weekend Fix: Everything (But The Spirit) Holds Well, Slumdog And Doubt Shine

January 4, 2009

The first weekend of 2009 provided Hollywood with a strong start for the year. Marley And Me, Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, and Valkyrie remained the top four choices for moviegoers, and the top seven features each held their rank from last weekend. Though there was very little movement on the chart, solid holdovers and tiny drops led the Top 12 to earn $130 million in total box office, a 7% increase over the first weekend of 2008. It’s a happy new year, indeed.

Marley And Me again took the top spot, grossing $24 million, for an eye-popping $106 million total. The Fox production dropped 34% from last week and had a solid $6,682 per theater average, which guarantees that it will keep playing in theaters for a good while longer. Marley And Me has firmly re-established the box office vitality of both Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, and it really is a victory for all those involved. Between this and last year’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fox has demonstrated that they know how to open a movie in late December to great success, so if you’re wondering about the prospects of Fox’s next December title, James Cameron’s Avatar, which is being released on December 19th of this year, I’m making an early prediction that it’s going to be HUGE.

Disney’s Adam Sandler vehicle, Bedtime Stories, evaded any backlash from its horrendous reviews and managed to drop just 26% to $20 million. Proving that the holidays are kind to family films, Bedtime Stories earned a $5,507 venue average, as parents took advantage of the winter break and flocked to the theaters with their kids one last time, before they had to go back to school. The film has grossed a nice $85 million so far.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button fell 31% in its second weekend, raking in an estimated $18 million dollars. The Paramount picture had a good $6,158 per theater average. There’s something nice about seeing a true-blue, old-school Hollywood drama starring A-list leads like Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett do so well at the box office. It just makes me feel like there is normalcy in the world, which is comforting. After twelve days, the picture has amassed a very good $79 million.

United Artists’ Valkyrie continued its surprisingly strong run this weekend, adding $14 million to its box office total, with a $5,505 venue average. The WWII drama starring Tom Cruise has caught on quite well with male viewers, and with $60 million already in the bank, it could be headed to a $90 million total. So while Tom Cruise may not be all the way back to his Mission: Impossible/ Top Gun glory days, he’s well on his way to career redemption.

The next three spots are filled by three films that can’t seem to get enough of each other, for they have been stuck together on the chart since they debuted three weeks ago. In fifth place is the Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel comedy Yes Man, which earned $14 million. The Warner Brothers film has performed admirably after its lackluster start, and it now sits with $79 million total. In sixth is Seven Pounds, the Will Smith flick that just didn’t ever catch on. This weekend the Sony drama found $10 million, pushing its total to $60 million. And in seventh is Universal’s The Tale Of Despereaux, which grossed $7 million, for a modest $43 million total.

Doubt came in eighth place this weekend, as the effects of awards season begin to show their strength. The religious drama from Miramax fell only 6% to $5 million. It’s $3,909 venue average isn’t amazingly strong, but its enough to keep it around for a few weeks, and if it can pick up some awards, it will keep up its slow burn at the box office. Thus far, it has earned a pretty-good-considering-the-subject-matter $19 million. The Day The Earth Stood Still, a film that won’t be winning any awards, earned $4.8 million this weekend for an alright $74 million total.

And now for the film that I am unabashedly in love with: Slumdog Millionaire. I’m serious, it’s not like I just liked this movie a little bit- I LOVED it. I’m talking Wall-E levels of affection here! To my great pleasure, the Danny Boyle masterpiece did great at the box office this week, actually increasing 11% to $4.7 million, for a $29 million total. Even better, it’s $7,794 per theater average was the best in the Top 12! Fox Searchlight has mastered the art of rolling out lovable, artistic flicks like this one, and they’re doing a great job with Slumdog Millionaire. Seriously, go see it.

Filling up the last two spots are November stalwarts, Twilight and Bolt. The Summit vampire movie sucked another $4.5 million out of Americans’ pockets for a $176 million total. It will be interesting to see how the third Underworld movie, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans, which debuts later this month, will perform in this newly-invigorated vampire genre. Finishing off the Top 12 is Disney’s Bolt, a film that has recovered nicely after a very slow start. This weekend, it grossed $3.2 million for a $110 total, which represents a great 4.23 multiplier. (For the uninitiated, a multiplier is calculated by dividing a movie’s total gross by its opening weekend.)

From here on out, look for things to cool down a bit now that the holidays have come to a close. The box office should return to its regular cycle of low weekday and high weekend numbers. Next weekend will see the debut of three new films: Bride Wars, The Unborn, and Not Easily Broken. Check back next Thursday for my Weekend Preview, throughout the week for new industry-related stories. For now though, here are this weekend’s results:

Top 12 for January 2-4 2009
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross
% Change AVG. Total
1 Marley And Me $24,050,000 -34% $6,862 $106,510,250
2 Bedtime Stories $20,317,000 -26% $5,507 $85,351,000
3 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $18,400,000 -31% $6,158 $79,011,000
4 Valkyrie $14,042,000 -33% $5,055 $60,691,979
5 Yes Man $13,850,000 -17% $4,033 $79,413,000
6 Seven Pounds $10,000,000 -24% $3,626 $60,308,000
7 The Tale Of Despereaux $7,019,816 -21% $2,271 $43,741,816
8 Doubt $5,031,000 -6% $3,909 $18,730,000
9 The Day The Earth Stood Still $4,850,000 -37% $2,075 $74,299,426
10 Slumdog Millionaire $4,770,000 11% $7,794 $28,778,672
11 Twilight $4,530,000 -4% $2,399 $176,815,169
12 Bolt $3,271,000 -3% $1,892 $109,897,000
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.
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Weekend Fix: Marley And Me Shuts Out Competition On The Biggest Christmas Weekend Ever

December 28, 2008

Fueled by the powerful debuts of Marley And Me, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Bedtime Stories, and Valkyrie, the box office was in full force this weekend, pulling in record numbers for the Christmas frame. It appears that in the midst of a recession, while retail sales are rapidly declining and unemployment is on the rise, the movies offered American audiences a perfect escape from the harsh realities of life. If only the holidays could help our economy as much as they help the movie industry! Over the four day weekend, the Top 12 pulled in an amazing $264 million. Over the three day weekend, the Top 12 pulled in an estimated $194 million, an increase of 15% over the same weekend last year.

Marley And Me nabbed the top spot this weekend, with a humongous $51.6 million opening. Based on the popular bestseller by Josh Grogan, Fox’s already successful Marley And Me officially shuts up all those who claimed that Jennifer Aniston would never be able to become a full-fledged movie star. Between this and 2006’s The Break Up, it seems she has found her niche in relationship movies that are not quite romantic comedies. This is also a big victory for Owen Wilson, as this marks his comeback from his unfortunate and highly publicized suicide attempt last year, so it’s nice to see him doing better. Marley And Me had a fantastic per theater average of $14,849 ($10,632 for the 3-day), the best in the Top 12. Fox has advertised this movie so well. Just like with last December’s Alvin And The Chipmunks, they sold the cute-factor, with commercials that showcased the adorable canine, and it payed off in a big way! In fact, cuteness, sweetness, and schmaltz are all perfectly acceptable in the holiday season. With great family playability and good enough reviews, this should continue to do solid business over the next few days and weeks, and I don’t see any reason why Marley And Me shouldn’t breeze all the way to $170 million in the near future. A true success in every way.

In second place this weekend was David Fincher’s Oscar bait, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, which took in a great $39 million. The Paramount picture exceeded expectations and had a brilliant per theater average of $13,052 ($9,103 for the 3-day). Audiences responded to the fresh and innovative storyline, proving that a good story is the best way to sell a movie. But the story didn’t do all the work here- Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett definitely pulled in some viewers, and the good reviews and Oscar buzz pulled in even more. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button fought against its long playtime, avoiding the three-hour-curse that plagued King Kong in 2005, and performed like a champ. With awards season already upon us, Button should continue to perform strongly, and I’ve gotta say, it is nice to see a movie that can be considered both mainstream and an awards-contender. If it wins some major honors, the sky is the limit in terms of box office, but even if it doesn’t, $140 million is all but assured.

Disney’s Adam Sandler picture (oxymoron?), Bedtime Stories, came in third place this weekend, earning $38.6 million over four days. Bedtime Stories is a classic case of a movie that is a victim of high expectations. Even if its $38.6 million debut isn’t necessarily bad, everyone was expecting this to do better, and absolutely no one thought that The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, which was playing in 700 less theaters and is over an hour longer than Bedtime Stories, could match its debut. So why wasn’t it bigger? Well, I think there are a couple of factors that led to this result. To begin, reviews were bad. Very bad. On top of that, people associate Adam Sandler with a very specific kind of character (see: slacker and/or raunchy), and perhaps that didn’t work so well during the holiday season, where wholesome characters are more welcome. But don’t get me wrong- Bedtime Stories is far from a failure. In fact, with a very large theater count and a good $10,630 venue average ($9,103 for the 3-day), Bedtime Stories should stick around for a while, and will have no trouble making it to $140 million.

Proving that he’s still a star, Tom Cruise also had a good weekend at the cineplex, as United Artists’ Valkyrie took in an estimated $30 million. This movie had a lot working against it. The first problem, Tom Cruise. Mr. Cruise has wisely toned down his antics and raves over the past year, and it looks like audiences are finally ready to move on from Oprah-gate and Lauer-bash. The second problem , a war theme. In the past few years, films about war have not done well at all. You see, movies are about escapism, and when our country is currently at war, no one wants to go to the theater to see what’s already on the news 24/7. It appears, though, that Valkyrie, which takes place during WWII, is far enough removed from our current situation to be affected by the poor receipts that have plagued movies about the Iraq War. With a good $11,075 average ($7,942 over the 3-day), Valkyrie could return Tom Cruise to his $100 million days.

The next four spots on the chart were occupied by last weekend’s top four releases. Warner Brothers’ Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey, did pretty well, dipping just 10% over the three day weekend ($16.5 million), and pulling in $22 million over four days, for a total of $50 million. The Sony drama Seven Pounds was also down 10% ($13.4 million over the 3-day), grabbing an additional $18 million over the four day weekend, which gives the Will Smith vehicle a very underwhelming $40 million total. The Tale Of Despereaux held it’s own, making $11.4 ($9.4 million over the 3-day, a 7% drop) million for a humble $27.7 million total. And sci-fi actioner The Day The Earth Stood Still notched a $10.3 million weekend ($7.9 over the 3-day, a 20% drop) for a $63.3 million total.

Way back in ninth place was Lionsgate’s attempt at Sin City, a much worse movie called The Spirit, which only managed to earn $10.4 million in it’s four day debut, but just $6.5 million over the regular weekend. Despite a cast made up of Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, and Scarlatt Johannson, The Spirit had a weak $4,125 venue average ($2,595 over the 3-day). This was a movie marketed to teens and fanboys, and it’s front-loadedness is already apparent. Look for The Spirit to disappear quickly.

December stalwart Four Christmases added an extra $7.1 million ($5 million over the 3-day) to it’s great $111.8 million cume. The Warner Brothers comedy will probably disappear pretty quickly now that Christmas has passed. Next on the list was Miramax’s Doubt. After expanding into 1,228 theaters, the dramatic Oscar contender starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, did pretty well, considering its dour subject matter. Over four days, it pulled in $7.1 million for a $6,294 per theater average ($5.7 million over the 3-day, for a $4,479 average). Doubt has currently earned $8.8 million. Rounding out the Top 12 was Twilight, a movie that has done quite well for itself over the past six weeks. Summit’s teen vampire flick found another $6.5 million this weekend, boosting its total to $167 million. (As a side note, I just learned about all this drama going on among Twilight fangirls! The studio wants to recast Taylor Lautner in New Moon for someone with bigger muscles, but the fans want Taylor as Jacob! Read more here…it’s kind of hilarious.) Results for both the 4-day and 3-day weekends are below:

Top 12 for December 25-28 2008
# Movie Title 4-Day Gross
Total
1 Marley And Me $51,675,000 $51,675,000
2 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $39,000,000 $39,000,000
3 Bedtime Stories $38,598,000 $38,598,000
4 Valkyrie $30,000,000 $30,000,000
5 Yes Man $22,400,000 $49,591,000
6 Seven Pounds $18,100,000 $39,026,000
7 The Tale Of Despereaux $11,400,000 $27,945,000
8 The Day The Earth Stood Still $10,400,000 $63,615,000
9 The Spirit $10,350,000 $10,350,000
10 Four Christmases $7,300,000 $111,817,000
11 Doubt $7,100,000 $8,825,000
12 Twilight $6,000,000 $167,063,207
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Top 12 for December 26-28 2008
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross
1 Marley And Me $37,000,000
2 Bedtime Stories $28,069,000
3 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $27,200,000
4 Valkyrie $21,531,000
5 Yes Man $16,450,000
6 Seven Pounds $13,400,000
7 The Tale Of Despereaux $9,367,000
8 The Day The Earth Stood Still $7,900,000
9 The Spirit $6,510,000
10 Doubt $5,675,000
11 Four Christmases $5,045,000
12 Twilight $4,518,000

All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Friday Estimates: Marley Remains Top Dog

December 27, 2008

The Friday Estimates chart looks almost identical to Thursday, as Marley And Me stayed on top the day after Christmas with a fantastic $14 million. It’s looking to earn around $55 million over the weekend, when all is said and done. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and Bedtime Stories each took in around $10 million, and both should finish the four-day weekend with $40 million under their belts, which is great for Benjamin Button but a bit underwhelming for Bedtime Stories. Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, continues to exceed expectations, notching another $8 million on Friday. It looks to be heading for $30 million by Sunday. The Spirit is already revealing it’s front-loadedness, falling 25% to $3 million from Thursday to Friday. It’s should match my original prediction of $12 million over the four days. Also of note, Doubt and Slumdog Millionaire are still doing their thing near the bottom of the chart. Here are the rest of the results:

Top 12 for December 26, 2008
# Movie Title Daily Gross
1 Marley And Me $14,o00,000
2 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $10,200,000
3 Bedtime Stories $10,100,000
4 Valkyrie $8,000,000
5 Yes Man $5,500,000
6 Seven Pounds $4,550,000
7 The Spirit $3,000,000
8 The Day The Earth Stood Still $2,200,000
9 The Tale Of Despereaux $2,100,000
10 Four Christmases $2,000,000
11 Doubt $1,470,000
12 Slumdog Millionaire $1,280,000
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

Christmas Day Estimates: Oh My Dog! Marley And Me Opens To $14.5 Million On First Day!

December 26, 2008

Wow, I don’t think anyone saw this powerful of a debut coming! And that applies to more movies than one! The top three films had the top three Christmas Day debuts EVER. Marley And Me just broke the all-time record for best Christmas Day box office with an estimated $14.5 million! It could be looking a sizzling $58 million debut! The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button didn’t do too badly either, with $11.8 million. The long play-time will cut into it’s gross a bit, but a $45 million projection ain’t too shabby. Assumed front-runner Bedtime Stories took third place with $10.5 million, but I believe it will do much better in the next few days, considering Christmas is a day when many families do choose to stay in. It might finish with $45 million. Even Valkyrie (to my chagrin, I’ll admit it) managed to pull in $8.5 million in ticket sales! The Tom Cruise starrer could make it to $30 million by Sunday. Thanks goodness for The Spirit, which helped maintain some predictability at the box office by only earning $4 million. Give it a still-way-better-than-it-deserves $15 million weekend. Wow, what an amazing day at the box office! Unlike last weekend, the new releases have captured moviegoers’ attention, and people flocked to the theaters in droves this Christmas. Here are the estimates:

Top 12 for December 25, 2008
# Movie Title Daily Gross
1 Marley And Me $14,500,000
2 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $11,800,000
3 Bedtime Stories $10,500,000
4 Valkyrie $8,500,000
5 Yes Man $6,000,000
6 Seven Pounds $4,750,000
7 The Spirit $4,000,000
8 The Day The Earth Stood Still $2,750,000
9 Four Christmases $2,250,000
10 The Tale Of Despereaux $2,000,000
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

It’s funny, though. My family has never even considered going to the movies on Christmas Day, and I’ve always felt like a lot of people are in the same boat as me. I don’t even change out of my pajamas, much less go out! It just wouldn’t feel appropriate to me. Anyone else agree? Or do YOU go to the movies on December 25th? Let me know in the comments! Happy holidays!

Weekend Preview: An Avalanche Of New Releases Hope To Find Holiday Success

December 25, 2008

Well Christmas time is officially here! Kids are out of school, parents are off from work, and families are reunited for the holidays. Ah, Christmas! Snow is falling across the country, and sleigh bells are jingling through the sky. My gooey, sentimental, cheerful side is telling me how sweet it is that carols are being sung and people are smiling. My analytical, bottom line, box office side is telling me that this is the time that Hollywood can earn a ton of cold hard cash. Not surprisingly, there are five new wide releases this weekend: Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, Marley And Me, and The Spirit.

Seeing as it’s Christmas Eve, and my whole family is coming into town tomorrow morning, and I need to get my sleep (or else Santa won’t come!), this will be a slightly abridged Weekend Preview. I’ll go over each of the new films coming out this weekend with just a couple sentences, ranking them from least box office potential to most over the four day weekend. Oh, wait a minute- did I say films? I meant gifts!

The Orange At The End Of Your StockingThe Spirit (Lionsgate – 2,509 theaters) It’s like 300 and Sin City, just with a terrible advertising campaign, and even worse reviews. $12 million

The Inevitable Chapstick In Your StockingValkyrie (United Artists – 2,711 theaters) It is 2008, and I’m wondering what people dislike more: movies about war or Tom Cruise? $14 million

Nice! A Best Buy Gift Card!The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (Paramount – 2,988 theaters) I had this idea for a screenplay like five years ago! Grrrrr. It looks extremely intriguing, and reviews are pretty good, but a three hour runtime will limit the number of people willing to see it, and the number of times it can be played in theaters. $23 million

Oh Snap, This Is A Nice SweaterMarley And Me (Fox – 3,480 theaters) Jennifer Aniston is on the comeback train, people love Owen Wilson, and who doesn’t love a cute dog? A good romantic comedy with solid leads can be a big draw, and the PG rating will bring in some families. $27 million

An Ipod!Bedtime Stories (Disney – 3,681 theaters) Seems to be following the Night At The Museum trajectory. Sandler is a proven draw, and Disney has marketed the heck out of this one. It is the clear choice for families, on this, the most family-driven weekend of the year. And as a side note, I am aboslutely enamored with Keri Russell. $45 million
Predicted Top 12 for December 25-28
1. Bedtime Stories – $45 million
2. Marley And Me – $27 million
3. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button – $23 million
4. Yes Man – $19 million
5. Seven Pounds – $16 million
6. The Tale Of Despereaux – $15 million
7. Valkyrie – $14 million
8. The Spirit – $12 million
9. The Day The Earth Stood Still – $7.5 million
10. Four Christmases – $5 million
11. Twilight – $5 million
12 Bolt – $4.5 million

Alright guys, have a great holiday. Posting won’t be too frequent for the next couple days, but I’ll try to get Thursday/Friday numbers and the Weekend Fix up as soon as I can. Have a very merry Christmas!

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!”