erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Monday July 19, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: Parasites and Predators

The big news is that Christopher Nolan's "Inception," despite requiring work from moviegoers, did well at the box office: $60 million. Not sure what the word-of-mouth is from others but the word from my mouth is: "Go."

Meanwhile, "Sorcerer's Apprentice," the Disney/Bruckheimer thing starring Nicholas Cage, fared poorly with only $17 million. Yes, it opened on a Wednesday, but its total domestic take is still just $24 mil. Another faulty tentpole. Its 31% rating from the top critics at Rotten Tomatoes isn't horrible, but it only got there because reviews such as this one from Owen Gleiberman were labeled positive: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice is too long, and it's ersatz magic, but at least it casts an ersatz spell." The most important review, meanwhile, isn't even on RT. It comes from my 9-year-old, movie-reviewing nephew, Jordy, who told me over the weekend that "SA" sucked. The words from his mouth: Don't go.

So quality wins out again. One wonders when the studios will get it.

The biggest drops? "The A-Team" shed 808 theaters, down to 428, and lost 73.2% of its business. "Predators" shed no theaters, staying at 2,669, and lost 72.5% of its business. Not good for either film but particularly the latter. In fact it's the biggest second-week drop of the year. Both films, by the way, are from Fox. No surprise.

The full weekend chart can be read here.

It'll be interesting to see how "Inception" does during its second weekend. Anecdotally, I've heard from adults wanting to go back for a second viewing and teenage girls at slumber parties dissecting the intracacies of its plot. Good signs. Also bad signs. Ideas may be the most resilient parasites, as Cobb (Leo) tells us in "Inception," but Hollywood is full of its own brand of resilient parasites, who love to latch onto original ideas and turn them into crap. Expect dull, derivative movies about dreams in the near future. Fox is already probably working on one.

UPDATE: The actuals are in and "Predators" only dropped 71.7%, so its was only the second-worst second-weekend drop this year. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (2010)—you are still champ!

Meanwhile, "Inception" grossed $62 million, not $60 million. A good word-of-mouth sign.

Posted at 08:16 AM on Jul 19, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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Monday July 12, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: Kids' Movies and Grown Ups

“Despicable Me” opened at $60 million!

What does this mean? Not much, really. It's a better opening than some thought, but it's only the sixth best opening this year, behind the obvious (“Iron Man 2”; “Toy Story 3”), and the not-so-obvious (“Clash of the Titans”). Unadjusted, it's the 69th best opening weekend ever, behind such films as “Planet of the Apes” (the 2001 version), “Hulk” (the 2003 version), and “2012” (the 2009 version).

Of those 68 movies that opened better, however, 52 opened in more theaters than “Despicable”'s 3,476. So of the 3,500-and-under crowd, its opening is 18th best. Remove sequels and it's 10th best.

But, again, that's unadjusted. Adjust, and it goes from 69th to 133th, behind such long-lasting films as “Van Helsing,” “Big Daddy,” “The Village,” and “101 Dalmatians” (the 1996 live-action version).

Robert Rodriguez's “Predators,” from Fox, the fifth in the off-again, on-again series, grossed $25 million, good enough for third place. Didn't boom, didn't bomb. Nothing to write a blog post home about.

The big news came from returning films.

The worst percentage change for any wide release was, big surprise, M. Night Shyamalan's “The Last Airbender,” dropping 57% despite adding 34 theaters. Given its lousy reviews, though (7% from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes), and lousier word-of-mouth, one assumed, one hoped, it would drop more. It wound up in fifth place with $17 million. The percentage drop would've been worse, of course, but the film opened on a Thursday, its biggest day, and so had that much less to fall off from.

Meanwhile, “Toy Story 3” (99%), despite direct competition from a popular new kids' movie, fell off by only 27%, pulling in $22 million. That's fourth place. It's now the highest-grossing film of the year domestically.

Before we celebrate the long legs of quality films like “Toy Story,” however, this news: the smallest percentage drop came from the Adam Sandler comedy, “Grown Ups,” which didn't exactly kill with the critics (13%), but which, in its third week, still fell off by only 13%. It's now grossed $111 million domestically. That's 10th for the year and our most successful comedy. Grown ups, indeed.

Full chart here.

Posted at 06:57 AM on Jul 12, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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Tuesday July 06, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: The Short, Sad Life of Jonah Hex

Once again, two movies opened wide this weekend, and once again they were no.s 1 and 2 at the box office—even though no. 1, "Twilight: Eclipse," actually opened on Wednesday (but to the best reviews of the series, 63% from top critics at RT, although indicative was Joe Morgenstern's thumbs up: "It didn't leave me cold"), while no. 2, "The Last Airbender," opened on Thursday (to horrible reviews and 7% from top critics on RT).

The other five films in 2,000+ theaters fell off in typical fashion: between 47.9% ("Karate Kid") and 52.8% ("Grown Ups").

Of the seven films playing wide this weekend, the only one out of place was "Toy Story 3." It's now in its third week but it remained ahead of the two second-week films. Like so:

A few questions from looking at the final column above. Since most major releases get a partner with whom they dance during subsequent weekends, which film partnered with "Toy Story 3" three weekends ago? And who was "Get Him to the Greek"'s partner? And what two films opened six weekends ago but has since fallen off the charts?

Answers in reverse order.

Six weekends ago, "Prince of Perisa" and "Sex and the City 2" opened together. "PP" is now 12th, in 600 theaters, and probably won't gross $90 million domestically. "SATC" is now chartless, although still playing in several local Seattle theaters, and is stuck at $93 million. 

"Get Him to the Greek" opened with "Killers," that Ashton Kutcher thing, which is still playing in 700+ theaters and made about a half mil. Total gross: $45 million ($56m worldwide).

And "Toy Story 3"'s partner? That would be "Jonah Hex," which has all but vamoosed. It's still playing in a handful of theaters but for whatever reason they're not counting its numbers. It hasn't topped $10 million domestically. It's already been tossed and forgotten.

Remember the difficulty Andy had in throwing away his toys in "Toy Story 3"? That's not Hollywood with its toys. But then they make a shittier product. And they know new ones arrive every week.

Posted at 08:15 AM on Jul 06, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office
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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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