erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Monday June 28, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: How's “Prince of Persia” Doing in Egypt?

No real surprises this weekend. Of the newcomers: “Knight and Day,” which looked kinda fun to me, did a blah $20 million, while “Grown Ups,” which looked atrocious, grossed $41 million on the strength of urine, masturbation and Rob-Schneider-kissing-an-old-lady jokes. Yay, America! Apparently we still have money to waste.

BTW: Is Schneider's “old lady” an in-joke among the players? Writer Adam Sandler giving himself Salma Hayek as a wife and his pal Schneider an actress in her late 70s? If so, even the in-jokes in this thing suck.

The two returning b.o. champs with high Rotten Tomatoes scores continued to fare well. “Toy Story 3” and “Karate Kid” fell off by only 46 and 48 percent, respectively, and finished first and fourth respectively. After three weeks, “Karate Kid” has now grossed more than twice as much as “The A-Team” ($135m to $62m), while “Toy Story 3,” after two weeks, has grossed almost as much as “Shrek Forever After” has after six weeks: $226m to $229m. “3” will pass “Shrek” today.

Among the crap films: Fox pulled “Marmaduke” from 1,385 theaters and its take dropped 60%; Lions Gate pulled “Killers” from more than 350 theaters and its take dropped 60%. But the biggest drop was for “Jonah Hex,” which fell more than 70%, even though Warner Bros. didn't pull it from any of its 2,825 theaters, and even though there wasn't much to fall off 70% from. It's currently at $9.1m. Where will it end up? Double digits, probably, but I don't know if I'd bet on $12m.

Full weekend chart here.

Finally, which 2010 movies feel like bombs but aren't necessarily? Some possibilities:

  • “Prince of Persia,” which has grossed $86m in the U.S., but $220m overseas, for a total of $312m.
  • “Robin Hood,” which has grossed $103m in the U.S., but $198m overseas, for a total of $302m.
  • And “Sex and the City 2,” which has grossed $93m in the U.S., but $172m abroad, for a total of $265 m.

At the same time, the first “Sex and the City” grossed $262m overseas (wow!). It'll be interesting to see if “2” picks up this slack. It's currently the no. 1 movie in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the U.K. Inexplicably, it hasn't hit Australia yet, where it made $25m in 2008. Not so inexplicably, it hasn't hit several other countries that Box Office Mojo tracks, including Bahrain, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which are watching, respectively, “The Back-Up Plan,” “Nour 3iney,” “Shrek Forever After” and, believe it or not, “Prince of Persia.” So at least they don't have a problem with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead.

Posted at 06:40 AM on Jun 28, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday June 21, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: Toys Find Homes; "Hex" Hexed

The original "Toy Story" was in many ways about that moment in our history when the astronaut or spaceman (Buzz Lightyear) eclipsed the cowboy or sheriff (Woody) as the hero in the imaginations of boys everywhere. Pin it somewhere in the early 1960s—about the time Tom Hanks was Andy's age.

It could also be about that cultural moment when science-fiction eclipsed the western as our pre-eminent genre. Even as boys imagined themselves as astronauts, for example, Gene Roddenberry still had to pitch the original "Star Trek" as a western: "'Wagon Train' to the stars," he called it. Now it'd be the opposite. And it wouldn't sell. "It's like 'Star Trek'...but on the dusty plains!" Yeah, have fun with that.

Well, sci-fi still soars and the western has still seen better days. Sheriff Woody rides off into the sunset as perhaps our last, great, popular western hero in "Toy Story 3," while the film's main competition this past weekend, "Jonah Hex," a western, got bucked. "Toy Story 3" won the weekend with an estimated $109 million take, while "Jonah Hex" finished eighth—eighth!—with $5 million. Not even a battle. It helped that "3" was a beloved sequel, universally acclaimed (98% RT rating) and in more than 4,000 theaters, while Jonah Hex was an original, universally panned (14% RT rating), and in 2,845 theaters.

But eighth? Behind the fourth weekend of "Prince of Persia" and the third weekend of "Killers"? Yeesh.

"Hex"'s per-theater-average ($1,800) was the second worst of the summer—behind only "MacGruber," which grossed "$4 million in 2,551 theaters for $1,585 per in May. Everything went wrong for "Hex," including its title, which now seems like bad foreshadowing. What's next? "Joe Box Office Bomb"?

In other news, and despite the competition from "3," "Karate Kid" did surprisingly well, falling off only 47% and taking second place with $29 million. It's already grossed more than $100 million. "The A-Team" fell off even less, 46%, but it had less to fall off from; it grossed $13 million. "Get Him to the Greek" lost over 100 theaters but dropped only 38%, while "Shrek" couldn't handle "3" and fell by 65%.

Here's a puzzler: With "Toy Story 3" opening, and with "Shrek" as nose-holding backup, people still plunked down $2.6 million of hard-earned, global-financial-meltdown money for "Marmaduke"? But that thing's almost gone, finishing 10th, and its total domestic gross ($27 million) is about 2/3 of what "Toy Story 3" grossed on Friday alone.

"Toy Story 3," by the way, was the best opening for a Pixar movie ever—beating out "Finding Nemo," which made $70 million in May 2003. This is true even when adjusted for inflation. ("Nemo" winds up with $92 million adjusted.)

Full chart here.

And don't forget to vote for your favorite "Toy Story" movie here.

Posted at 07:02 AM on Jun 21, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office, Pixar
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Monday June 14, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: The B-Team

In the battle of the 1980s remakes, “The Karate Kid” kicked the butt of “The A-Team” at the U.S. box office last weekend: $56 million to $26 million. This is gratifying on several levels:

  • “Kid”'s Rotten Tomatoes rating is almost 20 points higher than “A-Team”'s, 70% to 53%, or among top critics 66% to 48%, and I've been a longtime proponent of the notion that quality matters.
  • Jackie Chan. I've been a fan since the days when the U.S. feared Japanese economic might rather than Chinese economic might, and I'm always happy when he does well at the U.S. box office.
  • “Kid” is a formulaic underdog story. “A-Team” is a formulaic overdog story. If you're going formula, I'll take the underdog.
  • “The A-Team” cost $110 million, stars three white guys and an angry black guy, and was futzed over by 11 screenwriters hired and fired by Fox, a studio which is infamous for dumbing down its product. “The Karate Kid” cost $40 million, stars a black kid and a Chinese guy, lists only one screenwriter, and its studio, Sony, was able to keep itself out of the conversation.

As for why it did well? I don't think any of the above really had much to do with it. I think it opened well for the following reasons:

  • It stars a kid who looks like a kid. Kids identify.
  • It's rated PG (rather than the more covetted PG-13) so kids can actually see it.
  • One line from the trailer: “I get it. You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.” 

What kid wouldn't want to go after hearing that line? It's a real-life Yoda-Luke thing!

As for the rest of the top 15? A steady if unremarkable decline for the crap May/June releases. It looks like “Sex and the City 2,” currently at $84.7 million, will peter out (sorry) before $100 million. It looks like “Robin Hood,” at $99.6 million, won't.

But the worst performer seems to be “Marmaduke.” After 10 days, in over 3,200 theaters, its domestic box office stands at a mere $22 million. Not good for a family comedy with a budget of $50 million. But this should be expected: its RT rating is only 11%. And its studio? Fox.

“I get it: You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.” The irony is that the old master, “Star Wars,” is a Fox film, but from its wiser, 20th Century days.

Posted at 08:49 AM on Jun 14, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday June 06, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: “Shrek” Holds off “Marmaduke” with One Hand

Dreamworks should send a thank-you note to Fox. This weekend, Fox's “Marmaduke” opened to bad reviews (12% among RT's top critics) and weak box office ($11 million in 3,200+ theaters, or sixth place), allowing Dreamworks' tired, overweight “Shrek” to huff atop the weekend charts for the third time.

Of course if Dreamworks begins its “thank you”s there, where do they stop? Thanks, Lions Gate, for putting so much money and effort into another Ashton Kutcher movie. Thanks, New Line, for trotting out Carrie and the girls (on camels!) one time too many. Thanks, Disney, for attempting to build a franchise around a video game even though only one video-game adaptation, “Lara Croft,” ever grossed over $100 million, while the streets are strewn with pieces of the rest: “Max Payne,” “Doom,” “BloodRayne,” “Street Fighter.” Thanks, everyone. 

Here's the weekend top 10. Reverse some positions and the top-10 grossing movies are also the top-10 movies in terms of availability. We're seeing what's out there. Which is why we're not seeing much:

* top critics only

A year ago “The Hangover” opened with an RT rating of 78% and grossed $44.9 million in its first three days. Pixar's “Up,” in its second week, with an RT rating of 95%, finished second with $44.1 million. “Land of the Lost” and “My Life in Ruins” both received scathing reviews and died out of the gate. They keep sending us movies to die out of the gate.

Here's the good news if you just want Shrek to go away: “Toy Story 3” arrives in two weeks.

Me, I've only been seeing SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) movies the past two weeks. Thus far? “Restrepo.” Repeat: “Restrepo.”

Posted at 12:45 PM on Jun 06, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office, Restrepo
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Sunday May 30, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: Ladies Second

Two years ago "Sex and the City" made $59 million during its three-day opening weekend: $26M+ and $17M+ and $12M+. This year, "Sex and the City 2" is estimated to make $46 million over its four-day opening weekend (Thurs.-Sun.): $14M, $13M, $10M., $9M. Adjust for inflation and it's even worse: $63M for three days vs. $46M for four. Take out Thursday's total for "2" and its opening weekend is about half of what "1"'s was. 

Now it could be that the fashionistas are waiting until Monday to celebrate Memorial Day with the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse. But I doubt it. So why the comedown?

Last week I argued the latest "Shrek" faltered because the previous "Shrek" stank. There's carryover.

I'd argue that the previous "SATC" wasn't that good, either. In fact, I did argue it. But I think "SATC 2" mostly suffered because, well, it just looked awful.

I saw a clip a few weeks ago on "The Daily Show." The four women are out in the desert riding camels. Samantha complains of hot flashes, to which Carrie states the obvious: You're in the desert; you're supposed to have hot flashes. That's a joke. Then Charlotte gets a call on her cell but she's having trouble with the connection and does the "Can you hear me now?" bit. She keeps leaning and leaning. And then she falls off the camel. That's a joke, too. And that was the clip.

And I thought: "If that's the clip, what's the rest of the movie like?"

I'm probably not the only one to have this thought.

Women, I've heard, tend to pay more attention to movie critics than men. That's one of the problems Hollywood execs have with women: they care about quality.

"SATC," of course, is a fairly critic-proof franchise but not completely. It can squeak by with a not-horrible 53% rating, as the first movie garnered from top critics at RT.com. But "SATC 2" garnered a 9% rating from top critics—and it was a pretty loud 9% rating, too. People heard. Women heard.

My guess is that "2" won't gross more than $115M. If word-of-mouth is bad, as it seems to be, it might not break its $100-million budget.

In other news, "Prince of Persia" (23%) proved it was no tentpole in the desert, finishing third with $30 million.

Their loss, "Shrek"'s gain. It fell by only 38% to remain no. 1 for the weekend. The lesser of three evils.

Posted at 06:42 PM on May 30, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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