Friday Estimates: Michael Jackson's This Is It Doesn't Live Up To Hype

on Saturday, October 31, 2009   0 comments


Michael Jackson's concert film, This Is It, earned $7.4 million on its opening Wednesday, and then followed that up with a steep 50% drop to $3.7 million on Thursday.  Obviously, this is going to be a very frontloaded film, and it will certainly undercut most everyone's expectations, which had This Is It pegged at earning about $50 million in its first five days.  Now, a five day total of about $30 million seems more likely. 

UPDATE: Friday box office results are now in, and This Is It earned $7.5 million.  Just as the Wednesday/Thursday figures were frontloaded, so should the weekend figures be.  A $20 million weekend seems likely for Jackson's posthumous documentary, which is far below what Sony was hoping for. Perhaps the film was hurt by the fact that Jackson lacked a large fanbase among young people. Perhaps the film will hold up better than expected over the rest of the weekend. We'll have to wait and wee, but I wouldn't count on it.  Paranormal Activity found another solid $6 million on Friday, and it should do very well on Halloween. Its performance will be good for second place, and the horror film that can't be stopped should find $17 million over the weekend frame.  Meanwhile, Paranormal's main victim, Saw VI, could only manage $2 million on Friday, and it's looking at an awful $6 million second weekend. Keep reading for the very early Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for October 30, 2009
1. This Is It - $7.5 million
2. Paranormal Activity - $6 million
3. Couples Retreat - $2.4 million
4. Law Abiding Citizen - $2.4 million
5. Where The Wild Things Are - $2.2 million
6. Saw VI - $2 million

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Weekend Preview: This Is It For Michael Jackson's This Is It

on Friday, October 30, 2009   0 comments


Only one new release this weekend, and that is Sony's Michael Jackson's This Is It, the documentary about Michael Jackson's final hours as he prepared for his latest tour.  Watch the video above (you'll see me getting musical!) to get my prediction for This Is It's box office potential.  The rest of the chart should largely look the same as last week.  Paranormal Activity will see a soft drop, as Paramount is adding 457 theaters to its count.  $100 million is all but assured for Paranormal at this point.  Law Abiding Citizen and Couples Retreat will continue their impressive runs with small decreases, while Where The Wild Things Are and (to a greater extent) Saw VI will fall hard.  Read on for my full predictions for this Halloween weekend...

Box Office Predictions for October 30 - November 1, 2009
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
Michael Jackson's This Is It
3,481
$35 million
2
Paranormal Activity
2,402
$15 million
3
Law Abiding Citizen
2,764
$8 million
4
Where The Wild Things Are
2,754
$7 million
5
Couples Retreat
3,027
$6.7 million
6
Saw VI
3,036
$5.8 million
7
Astro Boy
3,020
$4 million
8
The Stepfather
2,346
$3.8 million
9
The Vampire's Assistant
2,754
$3.2 million
10
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
2,322
$3.2 million

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DVD Sales: The Proposal Wins, Land Of The Lost Loses

on Wednesday, October 28, 2009   0 comments


Another week, another DVD Sales Chart!  Hot on the heels of the huge debuts of Wolverine and Monsters Vs. Aliens, we had yet another blockbuster debut this week, but this time it was females who drove this one to the top.  Click on inside to keep reading my DVD Sales Notes...

DVD Sales Notes:

-Sandra Bullock flexes her star power once again as The Proposal sells a huge 2.4 million DVDs in its first week for a $39.3 million total! For an already successful movie that grossed $163.9 million, this is a fantastic result, and it shows that romantic comedies, if they're good enough and have the right stars, are still a hot commodity.

-Just as Land Of The Lost was ignored in theaters, its DVD debut is equally inauspicious with a $7.4 million sales week.  The Will Ferrell movie that never took off only made $49.4 million in theaters, though it carried a huge $100 million budget.

-Trick 'r Treat's release is confusing to me.  According to reviews, it's good.  But it's available almost nowhere, and it received no promotion, so I'm not sure what Warner Brothers is doing with it.  All I know is that it should probably be earning more than the $2 million its earned after two weeks...

-On the TV front, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 4 and Bones: The Complete Fourth Season are both doing pretty well on DVD, as each show passed the $10 million mark in sales this week.

-Once again, the Halloween effect is in full force this week.  (Except with the debut of Drag Me To Hell! Why won't people watch this movie- it's great!)  If you need proof, look no further that Hocus Pocus' #14 re-entry onto the chart!

Top DVD Sales for the Week Ending October 18, 2009
#
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
The Proposal
2,413,215
-.-%
2,413,215
$39,261,077
$39,261,077
1
2
Land of the Lost
460,924
-.-%
460,924
$7,370,175
$7,370,175
1
3
Monsters vs. Aliens
380,564
-46.4%
3,326,567
$6,744,774
$58,075,082
3
4
Drag Me to Hell
341,229
-.-%
341,229
$5,797,481
$5,797,481
1
5
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
177,854
-3.1%
3,697,164
$2,748,076
$62,869,550
5
6
Year One
148,654
-56.6%
491,556
$2,376,977
$7,859,980
2
7
Hannah Montana The Movie
107,388
13.7%
2,632,023
$1,624,780
$45,431,718
9
8
Katt Williams: Pimpadelic
97,494
-.-%
97,494
$1,656,423
$1,656,423
1
9
The Wizard of Oz
79,395
-34.9%
-
$1,468,014
-
656
10
Edward Scissorhands
76,982
-14.0%
-
$805,586
-
476
11
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
73,603
-27.7%
913,902
$1,397,721
$16,104,058
4
12
Corpse Bride, The
73,362
-28.8%
-
$402,757
-
194
13
Spookley the Square Pumpkin
68,535
-14.8%
-
$641,261
-
215
14
Hocus Pocus
64,433
-.-%
-
$385,954
-
385
15
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 4
62,985
-.-%
411,649
$1,573,995
$10,644,577
5
16
Bones: The Complete Fourth Season
62,502
-70.5%
274,623
$2,343,200
$10,189,556
2
17
Dr. Seuss - Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites
62,261
-25.5%
-
$404,074
-
315
18
Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season
60,572
-.-%
60,572
$1,937,698
$1,937,698
1
19
Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Big Halloween
60,330
-22.8%
199,057
$512,202
$1,689,994
162
20
My Life in Ruins
58,882
-55.4%
190,871
$1,177,051
$3,815,511
2
21
Break-Up, The
57,435
-23.6%
3,120,825
$466,085
$51,548,518
157
22
Coraline
53,091
-4.4%
2,088,101
$825,103
$38,144,080
13
23
Race to Witch Mountain
50,678
-21.4%
1,586,609
$828,347
$28,766,644
11
24
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
47,782
-21.1%
624,910
$716,252
$10,903,483
7
25
Observe and Report
45,610
-37.5%
438,837
$911,744
$8,110,879
4
26
Trick 'r Treat
43,438
-53.3%
136,356
$651,136
$2,043,976
2
27
Barbie and the Three Musketeers
42,473
-26.5%
730,153
$636,670
$10,601,492
5
28
The Sandlot
38,989
-42.2%
-
$279,575
-
403
29
Management
35,681
-.-%
118,931
$713,263
$2,377,431
3
30
Crank 2: High Voltage
35,474
-24.5%
624,346
$667,110
$11,336,000
6

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(Lack Of) Weekend Fix: Paranormal Steals Saw VI's Activity

on Tuesday, October 27, 2009   0 comments

One of the things I remember most about playing basketball growing up was the warm ups before each game.  All the players are scattered about the key, shooting basketballs up at the boards.  Many times, the balls all seemed to reach the basket at almost exactly the same time, as if we players had been planned to shoot together at a precise moment, and when one ball swished through the net, they usually all did.  However, every once in a while when this phenomenon occurred, the first ball to reach the hoop would miss, and suddenly every shot was a brick.  None of them would go in.  That's how this week has been.

Usually, things go swimmingly.  My life's proverbial jump shots usually sail through the net.  Of course, they occasionally fall to the ground, but you know, things are pretty good for me.  This weekend, however, was tough.  Though it was awesome, it was the perfect storm of busyness in my life.  I had a huge football game to attend on Saturday, two events that I had planned and had to run on Sunday, and two projects due on Tuesday.  Add in the fact that I think I might have the flu (gasp!), and you can see why the Weekend Fix is delayed.  I'm sorry, but I'm just going to have to cut my losses and skip the Weekend Fix this week. I'm really sorry about this, but you can go ahead and read the recap from my other favorite box office website here. Otherwise, the blog should operate normally.  All you really need to know is this:

Paranormal Activity is lightning in a bottle.  Saw VI got unlucky this year.  It looks like people want a horror movie at Halloween more than they want Saw.

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Friday Estimates: Paranormal Activity Kills The Saw Franchise?

on Saturday, October 24, 2009   1 comments


This is not good news for the Saw franchise.  Saw VI could only open to $7 million on Friday.  Considering how frontloaded this franchise historically is, this mean were looking at an $18 million weekend.  That's WAY down from the standard $30 million openings of the Saw franchise.  There's not great news for The Vampire's Assistant ($2.3 million), Astro Boy ($2 million), or Amelia ($1.3 million) either.  Paranormal Activity looks like it will take the top spot after a $7.5 million Friday, and it should earn pretty much exactly what I predicted with $21.5 million over the weekend.  In other news, Where The Wild Things Are dropped a huge 63% from last Friday to $4.4 million, and it should pull in $13-14 million over the weekend.  That's a huge drop for a movie that targeted kids and families... Law Abiding Citizen, meanwhile, fell just 45% to $4.2 million, and it should find $12.5 million over the weekend.  Here are the very early Friday Estimates:

Early Friday Estimates for October 23, 2009
1. Paranormal Activity - $7.5 million
2. Saw VI - $7 million
3. Where The Wild Things Are - $4.4 million
4. Law Abiding Citizen - $4.2 million
5. Couples Retreat - $3.7 million
6. The Vampire's Assistant - $2.3 million
7. The Stepfather - $2.1 million
8. Astro Boy - $2 million
9. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - $1.5 million
10. Zombieland - $1.3 million
11. Amelia - $1.3 million

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Weekend Preview: Can Paranormal Activity Scare Away Saw VI's Audience?

on Friday, October 23, 2009   0 comments


Sorry this post is a few hours late, but between Blogger shutting down, a dentist appointment, my internet router crashing, and being generally sick and stuffy, this really is the fastest I could've gotten this posted!  Anyway, it's going to be another busy weekend at the box office in what's shaping up to be a very healthy October.  New releases include Saw VI, Astro Boy, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, and Amelia, and Paranormal Activity is getting a major national expansion.  Watch the video above for my box office predictions for these movies, and then check below for my full prediction chart.  It should be a busy, fun weekend at the movies!

Box Office Predictions for October 23-25, 2009
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
Saw VI
3,036
$25 million
2
Paranormal Activity
1,945
$21.5 million
3
Where The Wild Things Are
3,735
$16 million
4
The Vampire's Assistant
2,754
$12 million
5
Law Abiding Citizen
2,890
$11 million
6
Astro Boy
3,014
$10 million
7
Couples Rereat
3,074
$9 million
8
The Stepfather
2,734
$5.2 million
9
Amelia
818
$5 million
10
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
2,741
$4.8 million

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Star Trek or Paranormal Activity? Which Is REALLY The Bigger Moneymaker For Paramount?

on Thursday, October 22, 2009   10 comments



In one corner we've got a major blockbuster: Star Trek.  In the other corner, we've got an independently produced horror movie: Paranormal ActivityStar Trek is Paramount's highest grossing film of 2009, with a huge $257 million in the bank.  Paranormal Activity, on the other hand, has earned $36 million in its first month in theaters.  So which movie do you think has been the more successful performer for Paramount?  Sensible logic would say that Star Trek is the obvious winner, but I'm not so sure that's the case.  Let's crunch some numbers and figure this out...

Star Trek
-Domestic Gross - $257.7 million
-International Gross - $127.2 million
-Worldwide Total - $384.9 million
-Theater's Share ≈ $50 million (Theater's usually take about 20% of the theatrical gross)
-Production Budget - $150 million
-Advertising Budget - $75-140 million (There are conflicting reports on this.  I've seen everything from $75 million, which seems low, to $140 million, which seems a bit high.  Let's split the difference and use $107 million as our figure.)
-International Advertising And Distribution - $75 million?  (I really have no idea because I can't find figures for this anywhere! Still, to promote and release a film all over the world seems like it must take more than $50 million, so I'll make a guess, that is very much just a guess, of $75 million.)
-TV Distribution - $30.9 million (FX agreed to pay 12% of the domestic gross for the TV rights)
Total Negative Costs ≈ $382 million
Total Combined Earnings - $415.8
Profit ≈ $33.8 million

Paranormal Activity
-Domestic Gross - $36.9 million (so far)
-International Gross - N/A
-Theater's Share - $7 million
-Production Budget - $11,000 (But this was not paid for by Paramount.  This was independently made and then bought by Dreamworks/Paramount before the big split between them.(
-Rights to Distribution - $350,000 (Source; This is what Paramount, then called Dreamworks, had to pay to be able to release this movie.)
-Advertising Budget - less than $1 million (The campaign was done online, which is very cheap compared to traditional TV/print advertising)
-TV Rights - N/A
Total Negative Costs ≈ $8 million
Total Earnings - $37 million
Profit - $29 million (so far)

So who is our winner?  Let's hash that out. After the hundreds of millions spent on production and distribution, the sci-fi reboot of Star Trek has netted just over $33 million for Paramount.  Great DVD sales are all but assured, and the movie no-doubt will benefit from merchandising, but DVDs aren't available yet, and I have no way of knowing what sort of merchandising revenues Paramount has collected.  Still, after all the money spent on Star Trek, one would think that the movie would've managed to make a bit more money theatrically.  Frankly, I'm not surprised that it hasn't.  Studios are notorious for spending egregious amounts of money on their movies, and they receive frequent criticism for their frivolous spending.  The bottom line is that Star Trek cost a ton of money, and there's just no getting around that.  Still, while the theatrical release did not find Pirates-style box office grosses, the film served much more as a platform for the future of the Star Trek franchise.  The DVD will be huge.  The merchandising grosses are surely valuable.  And the sequel will be gigantic!  Therefore, while Paramount invested a horrendously large amount in Star Trek, it looks like their gamble worked well enough and it will continue to pay off in the future.

Paramount hasn't had to work nearly as hard, though, to earn money with Paranormal Activity.  The movie was independently made for $11,000 and then Dreamworks/Paramount purchased it for $350,000.  The movie was advertised solely through Eventful, and so pretty much no money was spent on advertising- the buzz just built itself!  Because Paramount invested almost no money in Paranormal Activity's release, pretty much all of its gross is pure profit!  Now the movie has earned $8 million and $20 million in the last two weekends, and it's only going to keep expanding through Halloween, so higher grosses are surely on the way.  I have no idea where Paranormal Activity will finish, and who knows if it will get an international release, but the deafening buzz and its amazing Cinderella story thus far, seem to be pointing it in the direction of at least $80-90 million.  Again, Paramount has had to spend almost nothing on this movie, and so the theater's share of the gross is really the only other factor we need to look at.  If we say Paranormal finishes with about $90 million, then Paramount is looking at a $70 million profit!  And that's without DVD sales!

Now, don't get me wrong, Star Trek is by no means a failure.  The movie did well, and the franchise will continue to thrive because of it, but when you are looking at production and distribution costs of about $332 million vs. costs of pretty much nothing, it's going to be very hard to recoup that amount of money quickly.  Paranormal Activity is pure gravy, and you can mark my words, in terms of theatrical profits, this is Paramount's biggest success in a long, long time.

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10 Movies That Are Always On TV

on Wednesday, October 21, 2009   8 comments


We're right here at the middle of the week.  Some call today hump day, but TBOJ calls it List Wednesday!  This week, I'm counting down the 10 movies that I see playing on TV more than any others.  This is not really a countdown of quality, but one of frequency, because I think we all know that USA, TBS, TNT, and apparently now the Weather Channel, all play the same movies over and over again each weekend.  You know, there's something kind of nice about watching a movie on TV.  It's comforting, predictable, and somehow, even though you may already own the DVD, you feel a certain desire to watch the TV version.  It's like hearing a great song on the radio: the fact that you didn't choose it makes it even better! Anyway, here are the 10 films that I feel like are always on TV:

10. National Lampoon's Vacation
This one always came on when I was younger, but it plays less frequently these days, which is a shame.  I swear, I've seen Grandma die and get strapped to the roof of the station wagon at least a dozen times, and it's never any less funny!  Today's kids have Wall-E, but they don't have Wallyworld!


9. Twins
A classic Ahnuld and Danny Devito movie, in which the two play twin brothers.  Implausible? Yes.  Awesome? Of course!  I will always find it hilarious that Arnold is not only physically perfect, but he's also the good guy, whereas Devito has to be short, fat, and evil! 



8. Not Another Teen Movie
The extent to which people enjoy this movie is based on their generation.  About eight or nine years ago, She's All That, The Breakfast Club, and Can't Hardly Wait were the movies that were always on TV, and this movie mocks them (and every other teen movie of the last 20 years) boldly, so if you know what NATM is referencing, it's brilliant.  This is probably my biggest guilty pleasure flick.

7. Grease
You see the Greasers on the bleachers and the Pink Ladies at the lunch table, and you're sucked in.  Say goodbye to your next two hours and just enjoy it.



6. Coming To America
Eddie Murphy is an African prince.  He moves to New York and looks for a wife.  That's really all I know because I've never watched this movie.  I don't know why, but for some reason I just feel like I wouldn't like it.  I know to put it on this list because I see it on TV all the time, and then I change the channel.

5. Never Been Kissed
This Drew Barrymore back-to-high-school comedy is totally roofus.  Everyone can relate to feeling awkward in high school, and Josie-Grosie is just so unbelievably endearing.  Plus, I'm a sucker for Barrymore's speech at the prom after the dog food incident.


 
4. Jumanji
I'm pretty sure everyone has seen this movie.  If you haven't, then allow me to compare you to the fat rhino who just can't keep up with the rest of the pack.  You've got Robin Williams at his best and most adventurous, Bonnie Hunt being awesomely paranoid, and Kirsten Dunst holding her own.  Add a cool plot and some amazing special effects, and you've got a blockbuster.  Unfortunately, Jumanji didn't do all that well in theaters ($100.5 million), so I'm glad its gotten way more exposure on TV over the years.

3. Bring It On
Here's a teen movie that isn't completely stupid!  In fact, it's got wit, attitude, a ton of beautiful girls, and a fun story tell.  Here again, in Dunst, is an endearing character.  Who isn't rooting for a spunky, hard-working cheerleader who gets cheated on by her boyfriend, betrayed by her former captain, cry/dances in her room alone, and still tries to make things right and win Nationals?  This is a theme I'm noticing: endearing blonde women somehow make movies delightfully rewatchable... see #7, #5, #4, #3, and #1.

2. The Replacements
Boy is this a dumb movie, but really, no one wants to watch a serious movie on TV.  Between the constant commercials and the inevitable people that will interrupt you throughout, a ridiculous football comedy starring Keanu Reeves works just fine.

1. Legally Blonde
How many weekends in the last five years has TBS played this Reese Witherspoon legal comedy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?  It seems like its on a couple times a month!  But I'm not complaining, because Legally Blonde is just a funny movie.  The pretentious Harvard students, the admissions video, and the ridiculous perm-filled lawsuit are, like, so, totally, fabulous!

Now, I want to hear what you all think! Have I left off any movies that you feel are always showing up on the tube? Do you relate to these choices? Let me know in the comments!

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DVD Sales: Monsters Repeats On Top; Year One Has A Poor Week One; Halloween Titles Flourish

on Tuesday, October 20, 2009   6 comments


I won't lie to you- it was a pretty slow week on the Home Market, and the chart looks fairly similar to last week, but there are a couple of surprises, and some of them are just so random, I don't even know what to think!  Take a look inside for my DVD Sales Notes and the full DVD Sales Chart:

DVD Sales Notes

-Monsters Vs. Aliens repeats its reign on top of the chart this week, adding an additional $12.6 million to its gross.  In two weeks, it's sold just under 3 million copies, giving it a smokin' $51.5 million total.

-Unfortunately for Year One, the crass caveman comedy starring Jack Black and Michael Cera, did as poorly in its first week on DVD as it did in theaters.  Year One sold 348,954 copies, for a sad total of just $5.6 million.

-The impressive TV-on-DVD performer of the week is Bones: The Complete Fourth Season, which earned about $8 million in its first week.  For a procedural show, this is pretty great!

-The Cat In The HatMatilda?!  THE SANDLOT?!?!  Am I ten years old again?  Are we seeing an early Christmas shopping effect?  I mean, these titles are just too random to reappear on the chart, and other things like Race To Witch Mountain, Gran Torino, and Bring It On: Fight To The Finish saw solid increases, as well.  Maybe these all got  re-releases that I didn't know about, but I'm calling early Christmas sales.  The Break Up has to be the most random thing on that chart, though.  I guess Vince Vaughn's turn in Couples Retreat inspired people to go check out this 2006 title.

-Whether or not we're seing any kind of Christmas effect, we're definitely starting to see a major Halloween effect on the home market.  The Corpse Bride, almost 4 years after its original release found $538,507 this week, good for eighth place among all DVDs.  Trick 'r Treat, the direct-to-DVD feature starring Anna Paquin, earned $1.4 million.  This must have been bad- Warner Bros. didn't even try to promote it.  Other spooky movies that are benefiting from the Halloween effect include Edward Scissorhands (+24%), Spookley The Square Pumpkin (+29%), Clifford's Big Halloween (+33%), and Coraline (+6%). 

Check out the full chart below:

Top DVD Sales for the Week Ending October 11, 2009
#
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
Monsters vs. Aliens
720,831
-67.8%
2,956,450
$12,586,574
$51,512,725
2
2
Year One
348,954
-.-%
348,954
$5,579,774
$5,579,774
1
3
Bones: The Complete Fourth Season
215,745
-.-%
215,745
$7,980,408
$7,980,408
1
4
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
186,911
-32.0%
3,522,587
$3,181,692
$60,177,257
4
5
My Life in Ruins
135,012
-.-%
135,012
$2,698,890
$2,698,890
1
6
The Wizard of Oz
123,839
-60.5%
-
$2,510,093
-
655
7
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
105,458
-46.8%
843,959
$2,002,647
$14,775,840
3
8
Corpse Bride, The
105,313
57.5%
-
$538,507
-
193
9
Hannah Montana The Movie
95,870
-8.2%
2,526,024
$1,868,506
$43,834,009
8
10
Trick 'r Treat
94,717
-.-%
94,717
$1,419,808
$1,419,808
1
11
Edward Scissorhands
91,185
24.0%
-
$949,044
-
475
12
Dr. Seuss - Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites
85,851
47.1%
-
$446,425
-
314
13
Spookley the Square Pumpkin
82,751
29.0%
-
$743,931
-
214
14
Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Big Halloween
80,445
32.8%
141,030
$682,978
$1,197,345
161
15
Break-Up, The
77,201
-.-%
3,065,432
$631,844
$51,099,146
156
16
Observe and Report
74,101
-25.7%
394,301
$1,481,279
$7,220,604
3
17
Thomas and Friends: Percy's Ghostly Trick
70,641
7.5%
136,368
$704,997
$1,360,953
58
18
The Sandlot
69,272
-.-%
-
$542,344
-
402
19
Matilda
66,461
-.-%
-
$492,476
-
638
20
Race to Witch Mountain
65,451
20.5%
1,536,879
$1,279,914
$27,956,835
10
21
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
61,487
19.1%
578,019
$967,805
$10,201,255
6
22
Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat
61,054
-.-%
-
$478,053
-
291
23
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
59,108
-70.1%
256,737
$1,004,245
$4,276,981
2
24
Barbie and the Three Musketeers
58,676
-29.4%
688,531
$879,553
$9,977,578
4
25
Coraline
56,369
5.9%
2,035,827
$910,528
$37,332,174
12
26
Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins
54,062
-14.6%
293,468
$1,088,376
$5,748,566
3
27
Gran Torino
52,404
-.-%
3,742,591
$605,004
$56,578,091
18
28
How I Met Your Mother: Season Four
52,216
-58.0%
176,516
$1,351,872
$4,458,129
2
29
Sons of Anarchy - Season One
49,305
-.-%
315,685
$1,601,919
$10,128,597
8
30
Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season
49,233
-37.1%
476,550
$1,771,896
$17,328,566
4
All numbers via The-Numbers

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News That Caught My Eye: Moses Meets 300? Toy Story 3, Star Trek, And X-Men

on Monday, October 19, 2009   0 comments


It's Monday, and that means it's time for News That Caught My Eye, where I round up some of my favorite news articles about the movie world from the past week.  In this edition, we have have news about some sequels, a brand new trailer for a hotly anticipated Summer 2010 release, and the most delightfully strange idea ever!

Star Trek Sequel in 2012?
Lots of great information in this one from TrekMovie about the future of the Star Trek franchise.  J.J. Abrams will definitely be back as a producer, but it's not clear if he'll produce.  A Summer 2012 release seems likely.

Toy Story 3 Trailer Released
Alright, so this really isn't a news article, but the blogosphere was all in a tizzy when Disney released the trailer for the latest Disney-Pixar masterpiece.  Toy Story 3 comes out this Summer, and I can't wait!


The Ten Commandments, 300 Style?
Variety reports that Peter Chernin, over at Twentieth Century Fox, has purchased a treatment of the story of Moses to be told in the style of Zak Snyder's 300?  This could be amazing, but it may also have "fail" written all over it.  Either way, I'm intrigued!

Bryan Singer To Return To X-Men?
You realize you want to come back to the franchise, now?  Couldn't you have come to this conclusion before X-Men: The Last Stand?!  Oh, well.  Better late than never, I guess. Via THR.

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Weekend Fix: Wild Things Ain't That Wild, Law Abiding Citizen Does Well, Paranormal Activity AMAZES

on Sunday, October 18, 2009   1 comments


What an amazing weekend at the box office, as the Top 12 films took in $129.9 million, riding the wave of solid releases of Where The Wild Things Are, Law Abiding Citizen, and The Stepfather.  Add in some solid holdovers, and the mega-successful expansion of Paranormal Activity, and you've got one amazing weekend at the box office!  Watch my recap video above (it's a good one) and then check below for the full box office chart!

Top 12 Box Office Hits For October 16-18, 2009
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend
Chg
AVG.
Total
1
Where The Wild Things Are
Universal
3735
$32,470,000
New
$8,693
$32,470,000
2
Law Abiding Citizen
Overture
2890
$21,250,000
New
$7,353
$21,250,000
3
Paranormal Activity
Paramount
760
$20,163,000
155%
$26,530
$33,717,000
4
Couples Retreat
Universal
3009
$17,948,685
-48%
$5,965
$63,339,030
5
The Stepfather
Sony
2734
$12,300,000
New
$4,499
$12,300,000
6
Cloudy w/a Chance of Meatballs
Sony
3037
$8,100,000
-30%
$2,667
$108,284,000
7
Zombieland
Sony
3171
$7,800,000
-47%
$2,460
$60,823,000
8
Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D)
Disney
1489
$3,011,000
-61%
$2,022
$28,594,000
9
Surrogates
Disney
2326
$1,922,000
-55%
$826
$36,322,000
10
The Invention Of Lying
Warner Bros.
1624
$1,905,000
-43%
$1,173
$15,495,000
11
Whip It!
Fox Search.
1482
$1,525,000
-46%
$1,029
$11,378,417
12
Capitalism: A Love Story
Overture
993
$1,433,000
-46%
$1,443
$11,599,923
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Where The Wild Things Are On Top; Law Abiding Citizen Actually Does Well!

on Saturday, October 17, 2009   2 comments


Some very early Friday Estimates are starting to roll in, and as predicted, Where The Wild Things Are topped the Friday box office with an estimated $11.9 million.  This should guide the Warner Brothers feature to a solid $35 million weekend.  Keep reading to find out how the rest of the box office looked...

Law Abiding Citizen, the critically ravaged prison drama starringJamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, found a surprisingly great $7.7 million on Friday.  I predicted it to earn just $9.5 million, so this is definitely a break out hit. It could be headed to a $20 million weekend.

Paranormal Activity grossed a very good $6.7 million out of 760 theaters on Friday, so it should finish the weekend with an unbelievable $17 million.

Couples Retreat fell 50% from last Friday to $5.8 million, but it should recover over the rest of the weekend and finish with about $19 million.

The Stepfather also exceeded my expectations, finding $4.3 million on Friday, which is far from spectacular, but pretty good when you consider the poor reviews, the weak advertising, and the lack of proven star power.  It might grab $10.5 million over the weekend frame.

It should also be said that the box office is exhibiting a tremendous amount of depth this weekend, as five films are headed to $10+ million weekends! This abundance of ticket sales and great business is kind of random, considering this weekend really only had one high profile release, but hey, in this recession, every economic win is a reason to rejoice!

Box Office Estimates For October 16, 2009
1. Where The Wild Things Are - $11.9 million
2. Law Abiding Citizen - $7.7 million
3. Paranormal Activity - $6.7 million
4. Couples Retreat - $5.8 million
5. The Stepfather - $4.3 million
6. Zombieland - $2.4 million
7. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - $2.1 million
8. Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D) - $825,000
9. The Invention Of Lying - $605,000
10. Surrogates - $585,000

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Weekend Preview: Will Where The Wild Things Are Be The Blockbuster Everyone's Hoping It Will Be?

on Friday, October 16, 2009   0 comments


Okay guys, there have been a couple requests for a traditional Weekend Preview, so this week I decided to do one.  The video above is asking for some feedback on which format you like the best, so please chime in with your opinion in the comments!  This week, three new films hit theaters, but based on buzz,  it almost seems like there's just one new release.  On the docket we have the very low profile Law-Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather, and the very high profile Where The Wild Things Are.  Keep reading to see my predictions of how each of these movies will perform this weekend.

Where The Wild Things Are - 3,735 theaters - $31.5 million
1. Sorry popular media, but I still say this Warner Brothers movie is too hipster and weird to be a huge mainstream success. 
2. Between the built in fans of the book, the strong advertising campaign, and the ultra-wide release into 3,735 theaters, a solid opening weekend is guaranteed.
3. Reviews are fairly good, but that's from snobby critics who actually appreciate artistic themes and dour characters (think Donnie Darko).  This film will have masses of teenage fans who say it is the best piece of art they have ever seen, but for the common middle American family, I'm not so sure this plotless dreamscape will be beloved.

Law Abiding Citizen - 2,889 theaters - $9.5 million
1. This film stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, two movie stars who aren't exactly box office draws.
2. Unlike the above release, I have seen almost no advertising for this drama, which is about a tyrannical prisoner and a harsh district attorney.
3. The wide release will garner at least some attention, but abysmal reviews will keep the target audience of this (adults) away.

The Stepfather - 2,734 theaters - $6 million
1. I feel like some Screen Gems producers were sitting in a room and said, "Hey, lets make a cheap horror remake and just throw a good looking Gossip Girl star in it!  It's almost no work on our part!"
2. Unfortunately for the above producers, these poorly reviewed, cheap retreads only do well when supported by a major advertising campaign, which this has not had.
3. The good news for Screen Gems is that I'm sure this movie was inexpensive to make, so even if it fails financially, I'm sure it was a small investment.

Paranormal Activity - 760 theaters - $17 million
1. The little horror film that could expands into 600 more theaters this weekend, and I'd expect a full wide release from Paramount next weekend.
2. Because of the expansion, the blazing $49,000 per theater average of last week is going to come down a bit, but a $21,000 average would still give this an amazing $17 million for the weekend.
3. Based on Paranormal Activity's shockingly effective "Demand It" campaign, I'd expect a slew of films to begin trying to use Eventful to make their movies break out.  This seems like a rather unique case, though, and I don't expect lightning to strike twice.

Among holdovers, Couples Retreat, since it is a widely accessible comedy, should see a friendly second weekend drop of about 45% to $18 million. Zombieland and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs should keep riding the wave of fantastic word-of-mouth to small drops of 40% and 30%, respectively. My full predictions are below:

Box Office Predictions for October 16-18, 2009
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
Where The Wild Things Are
3,735
$31.5 million
2
Couples Retreat 3,009
$18 million
3
Paranormal Activity
760
$17 million
4
Law Abiding Citizen
2,889
$9.5 million
5
Zombieland
3,171
$9 million
6
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
3,037
$8 million
7
The Stepfather
2,734
$7 million
8
Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D)
1,467
$5 million
9
Surrogates
2,326
$2.7 million
10
The Invention Of Lying
1,624
$2 million

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2009's Biggest Box Office Star: Stupidity!

on Thursday, October 15, 2009   2 comments


After five days and $43.1 million, someone add Couples Retreat to the list!  2009 has been called the Era Of Easy Entertainment by many great film scholars (well.... really, just me) because in the doldrums of one our country's worst-ever recessions, the film industry, particularly the less intellectual section of it, is thriving.  With depressing news on our TVs, depressing pink slips on our desks, and depressing bills in our mailboxes, it appears that Americans are decidedly in the mood for something light and fun.  Movies that offer a respite from these harsh realities seem to be the antidote-of-choice for many sad Americans, and 2009 has seen dumb movie after dumb movie top the box office.

Now when I say "dumb," I am not claiming that these movies shouldn't exist, nor am I trying to act pretentious and snobby.  I am merely stating that there have been a huge number of generally poorly-reviewed, generally illogical and senseless movies that have succeeded at the box office this year.  These films typically don't take themselves very seriously, and though many are comedies, there have been equally stupid and equally successful action flicks and thrillers as well.  Americans like not having to think very hard when they're at the movies, and 2009 has been all about cinematic junk food! Let's take a look at some of the top benefactors of the EEE:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - $402.1 million

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - $179.9 million

Fast And Furious - $155.1 million

G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra - $149.2 million

Paul Blart: Mall Cop - $146.3 million

G-Force - $118 million

The Ugly Truth - $88.9 million

Knowing - $80 million

Hotel For Dogs - $73 million

I Love You, Man - $71.4 million

Obsessed - $68.3 million

The Final Destination - $66 million

Bride Wars - $58.7 million

Tell me, how many of these titles are people going to remember in ten years?  Heck, it hasn't even been ten months and I can barely remember Knowing!  The point is, the above movies are reaping the benefits of a stressed American populace, capitalizing on the desire for escapism of so many people. 

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5 Children's Books I'd Love To See Made Into Movies

on Wednesday, October 14, 2009   11 comments


It's List Wednesday again, and with the release of the hotly anticipated Where The Wild Things Are happening in just two short days, I thought it might be fun to count down my Top 5 children's books that I'd like get their own film adaptations.  But don't just sit there and let me tell you my opinion; I want to hear what books from your childhood you want to see on the silver screen in the comments!  Let's get started.

5. The Red Carpet
This is definitely my weakest choice of the whole bunch because I think the plot is probably too narrow for an entire film.  Basically, the story revolves around a hotel that rolls out the red carpet for an important guest.  However, the red carpet never stops unrolling, and it never stops either, so before long, every sidewalk and road in the entire city is covered in red carpet.  The bulk of the story revolves around the chase to stop the carpet, but the book ends by showing how everyone gets to feel like royalty for one day.  I think that mentality could make for an interesting film.

4. Heckedy Peg
I'm not going to lie: this book is creepy and weird and kind of disturbing, but I loved it when I was a kid.   After a poor widowed mother goes to the market to buy each of her seven children one special treat, an old witch named Heckedy Peg tricks the unattended children into letting her into the house, where she then turns them each into one of her favorite foods.  Upon returning, the mother must figure out where her children have been taken, and how to get them back before Heckedy Peg literally feasts upon them.  This is a children's book that I do not want to see made into a children's movie, but perhaps a stylish horror film, instead.  Has anyone else ever read this?

3. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch
This absolutely delightful story about a painfully boring man named Mr. Hatch is one that I remember fondly from my childhood.  Mr. Hatch works in a shoelace factory, where he eats a single prune and a sandwich for lunch each day.  He lives alone and has no friends and no excitement in his drab life.  All this changes when he finds a small box of chocolates at his front door that says, "Somebody Loves You."  Suddenly, Mr. Hatch has a little pep in his step, and soon he receives a bigger box of chocolates, then another, and then another!  Each time, Mr. Hatch begins to come out of his shell more and more, and in the end his entire town decides to show him how much they love him with a surprise party in his backyard.  It gets me happy just thinking about it!

2. The Little Red Caboose
Without a doubt, this was my favorite book when I was little.  I loved trains, and I loved getting to make the train noises (Clickety-Clack, Clickety-Clack) that were written in this book.  The story is completely endearing, though.  Wherever the train goes, children cheer for the tank engine, the boxcars, the flatcars, and the coalcars, but everyone just walks away when the little red caboose passes by.  Caboose is lonely and tired of being forgotten, so he does something heroic to get everyone's attention.  I think an animated movie that explored life at the train station, maybe in the same vein as Cars, could be really fun to see.  And a landscape of train tracks on rolling, forested hills could be visually stunning as well.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
This book is a classic.  I think pretty much every person I know (with the notable exception of my roommate) read this when they were little.  The story is pretty simple: a caterpillar eats and eats and eats until he is so huge that he just builds a cocoon and turns into a butterfly.  That's pretty much it.  Still, the story has such huge audience recognition, that I think it would be a pretty much guaranteed hit if a studio wrote a good script and released it to a very wide family audience.

What do you all think?  Would you see any of my proposed adaptations?  What books would you like to see made into movies?  Let me know in the comments!

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DVD Sales: Monsters Vs. Aliens Oozes Life On The Home Market

on Tuesday, October 13, 2009   0 comments


Alright guys, no excuses anymore!  My computer is completely fixed (Really, I mean it this time), and I will be blogging daily from now on.  Let's get started with the latest DVD Sales Chart and my DVD Sales Notes about Monsters Vs. Aliens' great debut.

DVD Sales Notes:

-The new number one DVD this week is Dreamworks' Monsters Vs. Aliens which starts off with a great $38.2 million.  While this won't be the sort of power house DVD like Wall-E, which sold over 10 million copies, a first week of 2.2 million units sold ain't half bad!

-62 years after its original release, The Wizard Of Oz shows it still has some fight in it.  A re-release of the film garnered $6 million this week.

-Between Monsters Vs. Aliens strong debut and the $56.9 million that  X-Men Origins: Wolverine has racked up in three weeks, the DVD Sales Chart has experienced a much-needed injection of strong sales lately.

-Wholesomeness > Skankiness.  After three weeks Barbie and the Three Musketeers has made $9.1 million.  After five, Bring It On: Fight To The Finish has earned $9.2 million.  Barbie will have overtaken the cheerleaders by next week.

-My favorite show, How I Met Your Mother, had a modest debut of $3 million for its Season 4 DVDs, but this is better than it's ever done before, so I'm excited!

The full chart is below.

Top DVD Sales for the Week Ending October 4, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total
Wks
1
Monsters vs. Aliens
2,193,832
-.-%
2,193,832
$38,198,564
$38,198,564
1
2
The Wizard of Oz
308,453
-.-%
-
$6,022,668
-
654
3
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
270,719
-57.5%
3,331,637
$5,226,420
$56,917,589
3
4
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
195,690
-63.8%
735,892
$3,547,860
$12,725,892
2
5
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
194,593
-.-%
194,593
$3,222,460
$3,222,460
1
6
How I Met Your Mother: Season Four
122,196
-.-%
122,196
$3,053,678
$3,053,678
1
7
Hannah Montana The Movie
103,549
9.6%
2,429,300
$1,973,644
$41,949,225
7
8
Observe and Report
98,942
-55.1%
319,433
$1,977,851
$5,723,993
2
9
Barbie and the Three Musketeers
82,488
-44.0%
629,178
$1,236,495
$9,087,877
3
10
Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season
76,784
-14.7%
425,854
$2,774,206
$15,503,812
3
11
Edward Scissorhands
72,835
35.1%
-
$727,622
-
474
12
State of Play
72,616
57.6%
632,114
$1,197,438
$10,864,816
5
13
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
72,396
-.-%
7,014,940
$741,328
$102,321,731
35
14
The Office - Season Five
68,667
-11.0%
734,387
$2,314,078
$24,755,404
4
15
Corpse Bride, The
66,912
-.-%
-
$381,398
-
192
16
Thomas & Friends: Percy's Ghostly Trick
65,815
-.-%
65,815
$656,834
$656,834
57
17
30 Rock: Season Three
64,718
-27.9%
154,507
$2,439,869
$5,267,324
2
18
Spookley the Square Pumpkin
63,402
-.-%
-
$569,984
-
213
19
Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins
62,085
-64.8%
238,223
$1,253,211
$4,636,311
2
20
Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Big Halloween
60,330
-.-%
60,330
$512,202
$512,202
160
21
Dr. Seuss - Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites
58,795
-.-%
-
$381,580
-
313
22
Crank 2: High Voltage
58,575
1.1%
540,576
$1,094,257
$9,761,554
4
23
Heroes - Season Three
57,040
1.9%
560,270
$2,089,375
$20,896,814
5
24
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The Complete Second Season
54,626
-21.4%
124,151
$2,032,087
$4,569,054
2
25
Coraline
53,530
3.2%
1,979,780
$917,820
$36,427,166
11
26
Away We Go
53,310
-.-%
53,310
$928,660
$928,660
1
27
Race to Witch Mountain
53,091
2.0%
1,470,193
$1,076,510
$26,651,879
9
28
Management
51,774
-.-%
51,774
$1,034,962
$1,034,962
1
29
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish
50,678
2.9%
515,567
$835,680
$9,217,537
5
30
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 4
43,928
-35.2%
313,138
$1,201,431
$8,094,089
3

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