Archive for the ‘Yes Man’ Category

DVD Sales: The Spirit Tops A Weak Chart In The Post-Easter Frame

April 29, 2009

As always, here are my notes on the latest DVD Sales Chart from The-Numbers:

-Maybe because it was the week right after Easter, repenting buyers felt convicted that they needed more of the spirit in their lives, and they mistakenly purchased Lionsgate’s disastrous 300 ripoff The Spirit, thinking it could help them. Whatever the reason, The Spirit benefited from a complete lack of competition, and somehow scored a number one debut. Granted, its $6.3 million first week is the weakest total Ive seen in a long time, and it will plummet next weekend. Still, with enough time in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart, I’m sure The Spirit‘s DVD sales will surpass its abysmal $19 million total box office.

Twilight continues its shockingly amazing run on the home market, with another $5.5 million this week, for a $133 million total. Having already sold a stunning 7.4 million copies of Twilight on DVD, Summit Entertainment has to be feeling pretty good about the upcoming sequel, New Moon, which debuts this Winter.

-Warner Brothers has to be disappointed with the lackluster performance of Yes Man on DVD. Just $13 million after two weeks of release is extremely bad for a Jim Carrey comedy that earned $90 million during its theatrical run.

-Just as the Easter frame was kind to family films last week, the post-Easter frame was equally harsh to these same titles. Marley And Me, Bolt, The Tale Of Despereaux, Bedtime Stories, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa all saw sizable drops of 62-88%.

-Speaking of Bolt, I thought I should point out that after four weeks, the animated pooch film has $53 million in the kitty (or would doghouse be more appropriate, here?), and it’s been a solid performer on DVD for Disney.

-I’m somewhat ambivalent about the home market performance of two Oscar-winning films. First off, The Reader‘s $4.5 million opening week is nothing to cry about, but its nothing special either. Second, Slumdog Millionaire‘s $20 million after three weeks feels quite low to me, especially after its rosy $141 million box office. I think it probably came out on DVD too soon after its theatrical run. After three straight months of deafening buzz during awards season, every person that was going to be persuaded to see Slumdog already did, so the quick release date after it won its obligatory Oscar may have backfired for Fox Searchlight.

See the full chart after the jump:

Top 30 Selling DVDs for the Week Ending April 19, 2009
Rank Title Units this Week % Change Total Units Sales this Week Total Sales Weeks in Release
1 Spirit, The 334,298 -.-% 334,298 $6,268,088 $6,268,088 1
2 Twilight 296,188 -28.6% 7,382,885 $5,538,716 $133,501,184 4
3 Day the Earth Stood Still, The 292,678 -66.9% 1,176,061 $5,179,493 $19,829,870 2
4 Bedtime Stories 280,209 -80.8% 1,963,618 $4,788,940 $33,568,422 2
5 Marley and Me 269,378 -62.9% 2,520,919 $4,628,857 $45,442,103 3
6 Yes Man 247,648 -53.4% 779,579 $4,321,680 $13,523,714 2
7 Reader, The 234,376 -.-% 234,376 $4,542,207 $4,542,207 1
8 Bolt 194,328 -73.3% 3,034,363 $3,515,899 $53,966,384 4
9 Tale of Despereaux, The 157,622 -72.7% 734,892 $2,677,998 $12,485,815 2
10 Slumdog Millionaire 154,580 -43.4% 1,270,027 $2,493,375 $20,834,683 3
11 Doubt 134,488 -47.9% 392,775 $2,419,439 $6,991,119 2
12 Seven Pounds 130,075 -41.7% 859,188 $2,154,042 $14,587,218 3
13 Quantum of Solace 123,256 -27.5% 1,876,092 $2,131,959 $33,515,945 4
14 Not Easily Broken 93,838 -56.9% 311,466 $1,594,308 $5,851,111 2
15 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 86,483 -64.0% 2,855,178 $1,382,863 $49,136,150 7
16 Stuart Little 75,855 -9.7% $578,774 470
17 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 60,742 -88.7% 5,744,631 $763,412 $87,950,809 11
18 Role Models 60,541 -42.2% 1,648,990 $1,028,592 $28,016,340 6
19 High School Musical 3: Senior Year 56,864 -74.8% 2,971,273 $1,064,653 $53,175,812 9
20 Pinocchio 54,357 -69.2% $923,525 495
21 Australia 52,217 -39.7% 1,354,212 $887,167 $22,829,054 7
22 Mamma Mia! 51,786 -.-% 5,957,687 $665,921 $125,254,362 18
23 Fireproof 49,236 -.-% 1,520,956 $766,112 $26,191,317 12
24 40-Year-Old Virgin, The 46,534 -.-% $474,456 175
25 Tigger and Pooh and a Musical Too 44,495 -71.6% 201,135 $844,960 $3,819,554 2
26 Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword 35,335 -63.1% 131,132 $494,337 $1,834,537 2
27 Milk 34,748 -33.6% 494,538 $607,743 $8,827,310 6
28 Punisher: War Zone, The 34,419 -32.6% 398,065 $668,235 $7,525,557 5
29 Transporter 3 33,396 -35.8% 1,011,642 $573,793 $18,041,585 6
30 Cadillac Records 29,675 -26.0% 310,751 $504,178 $5,927,887 6

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.

Friday Estimates: Marley Stays On Top, Bedtime Stories Holds Well, And Go Slumdog Millionaire!

January 3, 2009

After a magnificent debut last weekend, Marley And Me will again take the top spot, and based on its $9.7 million Friday numbers, it’s looking like the dog movie should drop by about 30% for the weekend. Bedtime Stories only fell 16% from last Friday to $8.5 million, while The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button dropped 30% to $7.1 million. Overall, things at the box office are looking pretty similar to last weekend, and it looks like my holiday prediction method will end up working out pretty well. The biggest news on the charts might belong to Slumdog Millionaire, which actually increased 13% from last Friday on the heels of massive awards buzz. I saw the film last night, and let me go on record as saying that Slumdog Millionaire deserves all the critical and financial praise it’s getting. Out in 612 theaters, it’s already earned about $25 million, and I’m very hopeful about it’s prospects, but I will not be satisfied until it has earned at least $75 million. Anyway, here are the Friday Estimates:

Top 12 for January 2, 2009
# Movie Title Friday-to-

Friday
Daily Gross
1 Marley And Me -31% $9,700,000
2 Bedtime Stories -16% $8,500,000
3 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button -30% $7,100,000
4 Yes Man -7% $5,600,000
5 Valkyrie -33% $5,400,000
6 Seven Pounds -18% $3,900,000
7 The Tale Of Despereaux -12% $2,800,000
8 The Day The Earth Stood Still -32% $1,900,000
9 Doubt -2% $1,800,000
10 Twilight +12% $1,800,000
11 Slumdog Millionaire +13% $1,600,000
All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

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.

Weekend Fix: Audiences Say "Eh" Instead of "Yes" To New Releases

December 21, 2008

In the final frame before Christmas this year, the box office was in sorry shape. With a lackluster slate of new releases that failed to take full advantage of the holiday, and snow storms across the Northeast, the Top 12 raked in just $82 million, down a whopping 45% from the same weekend a year ago. Yes Man topped the charts, with Seven Pounds and The Tale Of Despereaux following in second and third, but all three of the new releases failed to really break out.

Jim Carrey’s antic-laden comedy, Yes Man, earned $18 million this weekend at the multiplex. Considering 2007 saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets debut to $44 million during the same weekend last December, this is not a great result. With poor reviews and a tired concept, Yes Man failed to provide audiences with something new, and it paid the price. Yes Man looked like a 1990’s comedy, and with its underwhelming debut, people made it very clear that they currently prefer the Apatow-style of comedy, which is fast-paced and raunchy, but soulful. The Warner Brothers release had a $5,288 per theater average, which is mediocre for a new release, but all is not lost for Yes Man. The silver lining here is that we are in late December, where every day acts like a weekend day, so the comedy should be leggier than most, but this still has to be a disappointment for both the studio and Carrey, who needs to pursue more dramatic roles, like in The Truman Show or Eternal Sunshine and the Spotless Mind. Personally, I’m excited for his role in 2010’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Seven Pounds, the Sony-produced Will Smith drama, sputtered out of the gates, earning just $16 million in its first three days. Earning an alright $5,801 per theater, Seven Pounds actually had the highest venue average in the Top 12, which shows how weak the frame was overall. The big problem here was in the advertising. From the trailer and commercials, it was almost impossible to figure out what this movie was about, which is never a good strategy for promoting a film. The bad reviews didn’t help things, either. The real loser in this equation, though, has got to be Will Smith, who was hoping for his 9th $100 million earner with Seven Pounds. Up until this point, Smith was untouchable among stars. Unfortunately, with a $16 million dollar opening, this probably won’t stick around nearly as long as December 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness ($163 million finish) or December 2007’s I Am Legend ($256 million finish). It could be that Smith’s recent donations to the Church of Scientology (oxymoron?) are having a Tom Cruise Effect on his career. All I have to say is, “Don’t become crazy, Will!”

The final new release this weekend was The Tale Of Despereaux, which opened to $10.5 million. The Universal film about a gallant mouse got middling reviews, and proved for the umpteenth time that releasing an animated movie is a task best left to Dreamworks or Disney. It seems like whenever a studio (that is not Pixar) tries to release a detailed, realistic-looking animated film, it doesn’t work out at the box office. Films like Ice Age, Madagascar, or Open Season, which have zanier, exaggerated animation, tend to do better. Despereaux had a disappointing per theater average of $3,810, and I fully expect it to get left in the dust when Disney’s Bedtime Stories debuts on Christmas Day.

Among holdovers, drops were a bit steeper than expected, mostly due to the snow storms across the Northeast (and as someone who was in Connecticut during the snow storms, I can attest: there was a lot of snow). Fox’s sci-fi actioner, The Day The Earth Stood Still, nosedived 67% this weekend, earning $10 million for a $48.6 million total. This is yet another case of The Fanboy Effect. Warner Brothers’ well-performing Four Christmases fell 41% to $7.7 million as it crossed the $100 million mark, while Summit’s Twilight continued to show it’s resilience, as it’s 34% drop was the smallest in the Top 12. It earned an additional $5.2 million for a fantastic $158.4 million total.

Disney’s Bolt fell 43% to $4.3 million, as it inches its way closer to the $100 million plateau. The animated dog feature has performed admirably over the past few weeks, and it currently sits with $95 million. Not so lucky was Fox’s Australia, the overblown epic starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Down 44% to $2.3 million, the insanely expensive Baz Luhrmann film has a disappointing total of just $41 million. At the bottom tier of the Top 12, Quantum of Solace fell 42% to $2.1 million, Milk dropped 37% to $1.6 million, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa declined 53% to $1.5 million. Totals are $161.3 million, $10.3 million, and $172.3 million, respectively.

Up above, I skipped over the one real bright spot of the weekend: Slumdog Millionaire. The Fox Searchlight feature, which audiences and critics are loving, expanded into 589 theaters and earned $3.2 million over the weekend. This was good for a venue average of $5,388, the second-best in the Top 12. The most palatable of this year’s Oscar bait, Slumdog Millionaire has already earned $12 million, and with many awards on the way, look for the Danny Boyle film to keep chugging right along for the next few weeks.

Next weekend brings us seven new wide releases: Amusement, Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Marley and Me, Revolutionary Road, Spirit, and Valkyrie. These releases should bring a much-needed dose of flavor to the movies, which will hopefully redeem the performances this weekend. Regardless, with that many new films, things should be interesting… Here’s the chart:

Top 12 for December 19-21

# Movie Title Weekend Gross Total
1 Yes Man $18,160,000 $18,160,000
2 Seven Pounds $16,000,000 $16,000,000
3 The Tale of Despereaux $10,507,040 $10,507,040
4 The Day The Earth Stood Still $10,150,000 $48,626,884
5 Four Christmases $7,745,000 $100,154,000
6 Twilight $5,227,000 $158,460,899
7 Bolt $4,256,000 $95,009,000
8 Slumdog Millionaire $3,150,000 $12,133,750
9 Australia $2,325,000 $41,947,337
10 Quantum Of Solace $2,150,000 $161,290,000
11 Milk $1,641,290 $10,322,173
12 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $1,510,000 $173,332,000

All Numbers Courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

What do you think of this weekend’s box office? What went wrong? Do you think things will pick up next weekend? Write your answers in the comments!

Friday Estimates: I Got It Right(ish)!

December 20, 2008

I’m going to gloat a little bit. I was pretty darn close in my predictions for the weekend (except for Despereaux…), and I’m a little bit proud of myself. Take that Entertainment Weekly! Look’s like my little operation here at The Box Office Junkie was a heck of a lot more accurate than yours! To be fair, though, everyone everywhere overestimated. Bragging aside, it’s looking like Yes Man will take in about $18 million, Seven Pounds may find $16 million, and The Tale of Despereaux $11 million. Here are numbers for Friday:

Friday Estimates for December 19
1. Yes Man – $6.5 million
2. Seven Pounds – $5.3 million
3. The Tale Of Despereaux – $3.5 million
4. The Day The Earth Stood Still – $2.9 million
5. Four Christmases – $2.3 million
6. Twilight – $1.6 million
7. Bolt – $1 million
8. Slumdog Millionaire – $755,000
9. Austrailia – $625,000
10. Quantum Of Solace – $565,000
11. Milk – $425,000
12. Nothing Like The Holidays – $360,000

Weekend Preview: Jim Carrey vs. Will Smith In A Bipolar Box Office Frame

December 18, 2008

This weekend, the holiday season is officially here, and studios are hoping that with kids out of school, and parents off from work, the movies can rake in some serious cash. Timing wise, there’s no better space on the calendar to take advantage of the public’s holiday freedom. Last year, we had National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Enchanted, and I Am Legend all riding very high on their way to profitability So here’s my question: On one of the biggest weekends of the entire year, is this really the best Hollywood could do? Opening this Friday, we have the Jim Carrey screwball comedy, Yes Man, the Will Smith sobfest, Seven Pounds, and another CG animated film, The Tale Of Despereaux. Really, the battle is between Yes Man and Seven Pounds, as this weekend’s main offerings hit the two extremes of mainstream movie tastes. Although both films are headlined by established box office stars, thematically, they couldn’t be more different.

Warner Brothers’ Yes Man sees Jim Carrey in the kind of role that made him famous. That means over-the-top, exaggerated facial gestures, crazy voices, and general absurdity to boot. Yes Man is about a man who only says, “Yes,” and the way that that liberating mentality eventually becomes a hindrance. Sound familiar? Liar, Liar comes to mind… I’m not sure that audiences still love this version of Jim Carrey. His work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show showed he’s a versatile actor, but after straying a bit too far from his own persona in this years awful The Number 23, perhaps Carrey wanted to get back to his initial bread n’ butter. In the last few years, however, comedies have become much more fast-paced, quick-witted affairs, with snappy dialogue and wry humor. I don’t know that Ace Ventura would necessarily work in today’s marketplace, and that’s the problem with Yes Man. It doesn’t seem fresh; it seems like a retread. The reviews aren’t great at all, but it does stand out amongst all the Oscar dreck, and the lighthearted Jim Carrey film should find an audience. Opening in 3,434 theaters, look for Yes Man to pull in $18 million.

On the other side of the spectrum is Sony’s Seven Pounds, a dramatic film starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson that hopes to capture the same success as 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness. The subject of this film has been exceedingly difficult to gather from the advertisements, which work hard to sell the film on Will Smith, rather than the convoluted premise. The official synopsis reads: “In the film, Smith plays Ben Thomas, an IRS agent with a fateful secret who embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.” Not giving audiences a clear idea of the story is never a good idea, and I think Seven Pounds will ultimately pay for that. Still, Will Smith is a proven draw at the box office, and I expect that his latest inspirational drama will manage to pull in solid crowds throughout the holiday season. But Seven Pounds is not going over to well with critics, which diminishes much of its long term potential, and the story doesn’t look particularly uplifting- just very dour. I don’t see this matching The Pursuit of Happyness‘ $163 million run, and maybe not even The Bucket List‘s (a similarly-schmaltzy film) $93 million. Will Smith’s name will draw in viewers, though, and from 2,758 theaters, Seven Pounds might earn $17 million as well.

The final new wide release this weekend is Universal’s The Tale Of Despereaux, a computer-generated animated film about a heroic mouse’s adventures. I’m going to be frank. As long as the world is spoiled by the perfection that is Pixar, all other animated films will simply pale in comparison, both in the visuals and in the story. Despereaux doesn’t look to have too much going for it, other than being cute, but very few people know about the source material, and reviews are bad. Debuting in 3,104 theaters, I’m only seeing a $6 million weekend. Let’s just hope it doesn’t pull a Delgo

I know I must sound terribly Scrooge-like today, but I have to wonder how this weekend’s slate ended up at this. None of these films is a surefire, family-friendly tentpole release. I just cant wrap my mind around why Disney didn’t bump Bedtime Stories up to this weekend, or maybe they could have waited to release High School Musical 3 in December, so they could cash in on this lucrative season. I guess it’s no use crying over spilled egg nog, though, so I digress. Holdovers should be relatively soft, though former chart-topper The Day The Earth Stood Still might nonetheless see a 50% drop. Four Christmases should do well, and other family films should have the smallest drops in the Top 12. Also of note, Oscar-lock Slumdog Millionaire expands into 589 theaters this weekend, and it should find some success in doing so. Here are my predictions for the frame:

Predicted Top 12 For December 19-21
1. Yes Man – $18 million
2. Seven Pounds – $17 million
3. The Day The Earth Stood Still – $14 million
4. Four Christmases – $10 million
5. The Tale Of Despereaux – $6 million
6. Bolt – $5.7 million
7. Twilight – $5.5 million
8. Slumdog Millionaire – $3.3 million
9. Australia – $2.8 million
10. Quantum Of Solace – $2.6 million
11. Milk – $2.6 million
12. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa – $2.1 million

What about you? What are your predictions?