Weekend Fix: Shutter Island Holds, Cop Out And The Crazies Open Well! Update On My Life!

on Sunday, February 28, 2010   12 comments

Hey guys, if you want the box office results, you can check my Twitter.  Right now, I have got to get some work done.  Everything is explained in the video above.  Have a great Sunday!

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Friday Estimates: Shutter Island Stays Put At #1, Cop Out And The Crazies Follow At #2 And #3

on Saturday, February 27, 2010   5 comments

Friday box office estimates are rolling in, and the weekend is shaping up exactly as I predicted.  (I mean, I'm not trying to brag, but it feels good when your predictions actually line up with results!)  Shutter Island's brand of confusing intensity and gorgeous cinematography remains the most in-demand thing at the box office right now, and the Martin Scorsese picture raked in another $6.7 million on Friday.  WIth a healthy boost on Saturday, this should lead to a $22 million weekend.  Keep reading for my take on the rest of the Friday Estimates.

Cop Out failed to arrest as many moviegoers, though $6.2 million worth of people were sentenced to buy tickets to the poorly-reviewed Kevin Smith comedy.  Because Cop Out is a newcomer, it won't see much of a Saturday boost, but it should hold up rather well throughout the weekend, leading to an $18-19 million frame.

The Crazies had no trouble attracting all the usual suspects that these sorts of horror remakes attract, and it found a solid $5.7 million.  Teens and horror fans tend to rush out to see these movies when they debut, so a weaker 2.7 multiplier is expected, which would give The Crazies $15.4 million for the weekend.  Considering this cost just $20 million to produce, and probably almost as much to promote, this should earn back its negative costs at the box office, and then find a healthy profit for Overture on the home market.

>Now, let's rattle off the rest of these holdovers... After its $2.9 million Friday, Avatar is headed for an $11.9 million weekend, and tonight, it will cross the $700 million plateau.  All these weeks later, Avatar's incredible box office run is still no less amazing to me.  Valentine's Day and Percy Jackson And The Olympians should both earn about $8.8 million this weekend, after Fridays of $2.8 million and $2.3 million, respectively.  The Wolfman continues its veritable plummet, dropping 63% from last Friday to $1.1 million.  This should lead to a sad $3.5 million weekend.

Friday Estimates for February 26, 2010
1. Shutter Island - $6.7 million
2. Cop Out - $6.2 million
3. The Crazies - $5.7 million
4. Avatar - $2.9 million
5. Valentine's Day - $2.8 million
6. Percy Jackson And The Olympians - $2.3 million
7. Dear John - $1.4 million
8. The Wolfman - $1.1 million
9. Tooth Fairy - $650,000
10. Crazy Heart - $600,000

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Weekend Preview: Police Cars And Radioactive Zombies Move Fast, But Can They Outpace Shutter Island?

on Friday, February 26, 2010   5 comments

Well, here we are at another Friday, and once again, it's time for some box office predictions.  Hopefully, my predictions will be a little more accurate than my American Idol ones, since I messed those up royally.  (Seriously, I know this is a box office blog, but was anyone else really surprised/annoyed at who got booted from Idol last night?)  This week, two new films are entering theaters, and both are unsurprising and surprising in different ways.  Cop Out is unsurprising because it's a poorly reviewed Hollywood comedy.  It's surprising because it was directed by cult-favorite-gone-cult-enemy-by-selling-out Kevin Smith.  The Crazies is unsurprising because it is yet another horror remake being released in the early months of the year.  It's surprising because it's reviews are actually great!  Both films should have moderately good debuts, and if you'd like to see my predictions for them, watch the video above.  Still, neither movie is likely to dethrone Shutter Island atop the box office, and to see my predictions Shutter Island, Avatar (which is set to cross $700 million this weekend), and the rest of the Top 10, check out the chart below!

Box Office Predictions for February 26-28, 2010
RankMovie Theaters Predicted Gross
1Shutter Island 2,991 $23.5 million
2Cop Out 3,665 $19.4 million
3The Crazies 3,396 $15 million
4Avatar 2,581 $11.8 million
5Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief 3,223 $9.1 million
6Valentine's Day 3,062 $8 million
7The Wolfman 2,523 $4.1 million
8Dear John 1,089 $3.5 million
9Tooth Fairy 2,311 $3.3 million
10Crazy Heart 2,118 $2.2 million

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"Moviegoers Love A Good Psychological Thriller..." Really?!

on Thursday, February 25, 2010   5 comments

The day after Shutter Island's robust $41.1 million debut, I was reading my favorite column over at BoxOfficeProphets, the Monday Morning Quarterback.  During the discussion, one of their analysts, Matthew Huntley, remarked:
We have to keep in mind Shutter Island was sold as mainstream entertainment and was the only wide release of the weekend. Moviegoers love a good psychological thriller and this one happened to be available. It tapped into the adult crowd by being more intelligent, patient and character-oriented than most. If a movie is quality mainstream, it's only natural it's going to make a lot of money, despite the director.
When I read this, I was more than a little confused.  Since when did moviegoers love psychological thrillers?  As long I've been looking at the film industry, these sorts of mind-bending suspense movies have struggled tremendously at the box office.  Take a look at every similar psychological thriller (and by "similar" I mean that these are hallucinatory, brain-melting kinds of thrillers, not horror, sci-fi, or government conspiracy movies) over the past decade:

Mind-Frakking Psychological Thrillers of the 2000s
Movie Year  Gross
Memento 2001 $25.5 million
Vanilla Sky 2001 $100.6 million
Insomnia 2002 $67.3 million
Paycheck 2003 $53.8 million
The Butterfly Effect 2004 $57.9 million
Wicker Park 2004 $12.4 million
Stay 2005 $3.6 million
Premonition 2007 $47.8 million
The Eye 2008 $31.4 million
Push 2009 $31.8 million
The Box 2009 $15.1 million

Clearly, psychological thrillers are not that bankable of a genre- especially in the last few years.  Movies like Push (which, just to jog your memory, starred Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning), The Eye (Jessica Alba), The Box (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz), Stay (Naomi Watts), and Wicker Park (Josh Hartnett) were all critical and financial disasters.  Studios have trouble advertising movies with convoluted story lines, and when audiences can't even understand the previews for a movie, they aren't too keen on seeing the actual film.  Confusing scripts with poor writing mar these sorts of films (unless Christopher Nolan is directing), and of all the psychological thrillers on the list above, the only major box office hit is Vanilla Sky, though even that couldn't make back it's negative costs.  With all these lackluster grosses, I can not bring myself to agree with Huntley's assertion that "everyone loves a good psychological thriller."  The facts simply don't support it.

Shutter Island will cross Vanilla Sky's $100 million mark with ease.  Why has it been so much more successful than other similar movies?  Because Shutter Island had two special ingredients that made people willing to get on board: Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. The magic combination of the respected director and leading man commanded enough trust to mobilize moviegoing audiences.  Sure, Shutter Island looked just as confusing as all the other films listed above, but because of Scorsese's pedigree as a tremendous filmmaker, people naturally approach his films with a willingness to do a little more work to understand what is going on.  They don't mind doing so because they know that Scorsese usually makes great movies, and they really know that good things happen when he works with DiCaprio, for this was proved in The Departed and The Aviator.

Therefore, I don't agree with Huntley's statement that, "If a movie is quality mainstream, it's only natural it's going to make a lot of money, despite the director."  I think in this case, the plot was way too out there to be widely buzzed about, and the only thing that made Shutter Island a mainstream film was the director.  Of course, it had solid advertising as well, and unlike the stars listed above, DiCaprio has proven that he can open movies at the box office when paired with the right material, but Shutter Island would not have been advertised, released, or attended to such a strong degree without Scorsese's name attached.

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10 Actors That Deserve Better Movie Roles

on Wednesday, February 24, 2010   24 comments

The Crazies, which will start terrorizing theaters this Friday, features Timothy Olyphant, a talented actor who doesn't receive a huge amount of attention.  There's a lot of these actors and actresses in Hollywood.  People that light up the silver screen with charisma and consistently great performances, yet can't seem to find traction with moviegoing audiences.  These compelling individuals often find themselves relegated to playing underdeveloped roles in crappy movies like Catch And Release, Hitman, A Perfect Getaway, and The Crazies, which is a shame, since they have all the chops to be major box office draws on the A-list.  There's more than a few of these actors on my radar, and because it is List Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to take a look at 10 actors who deserve better movie roles...

Before we begin, let me qualify the word "better."  For some of these actors, "better" simply means better scripts.  Many of them are stuck shooting low-quality movies that are beneath their level of talent.  For others, "better" means higher-profile pictures, which have box office potential that matches their movie star potential.  Now that we've cleared that up, let's get started:

1. Timothy Olyphant
I already discussed him above, but I just looked at his imdb profile, and he has a movie called Elektra Luxx coming up.  This can not be good.

2. Gabrielle Union
How does this woman not nab better roles?  She's gorgeous, funny, and admirably sassy. Her biggest role came about a decade ago in Bring It On, and since then, she's been stuck starring in films such as Meet Dave, Running With Scissors, and The Perfect Holiday.

3. Jason Statham
Hands down the best action star out there.  For some reason, though, people just don't remember him.  After great (though only marginally successful) turns in Crank, Transporter, The Bank Job, and War, here's to hoping a studio can find him a big-budget vehicle to launch him to stardom.


4. Amanda Bynes
Arguably the funniest young actress out there, Bynes' complete lack of a movie career astounds me.  How can the girl who was funny enough to have her own show at thirteen be so unsuccessful at the box office?  Hairspray's been her only solid role for years.  Otherwise, she's been stuck in dreck like What A Girl Wants, Sydney White, and cheap made-for-TV movies.

5. Queen Latifah
Sure, she's on the A-list, but why can't the hugely likeable actress find a vehicle that showcases her charming personality and humor?  Titles like Mad Money, Taxi, and The Cookout aren't cutting it.

6. Abigail Breslin
We all sill enjoy the girl we fell in love with in Little Miss Sunshine, but she's at that awkward age (which Dakota Fanning is just starting to leave) where solid leading roles are few and far between.  Thus, she's forced to take on movies like Nim's Island and Kitt Kettridge: An American Girl.

7. Hugh Grant
I'm not saying he hasn't had some great roles in the past, but every time I see Grant in a film like Music And Lyrics or Did You Hear About The Morgans?, I can't help but long for the days of Notting Hill and About A Boy.

8. Keri Russell
Hands down my favorite actress.  Back in 2005, I was so excited she was starring in the big blockbuster Mission: Impossible 3, but she was killed off in the first ten minutes!  Still, I didn't give up on her.  After endearing turns in August Rush and Waitress, I had faith that she might nab some terrific roles , but that hasn't been the case.  In the last two years, the former Felicity star has appeared in the critically reviled films, Bedtime Stories and Extraordinary Measures.  One day, Keri!  One day, everyone else will see how awesome you are!

9. Mandy Moore
The singer-turned-actress made the transition onto the silver screen much more smoothly than most, and she always brings a fresh breeziness to her roles, but surely she can find some better scripts than License To Wed and Because I Said So!

10. Ryan Gosling
Here's a guy who chooses great roles.  Lars And The Real Girl (which was the subject of my third blog post ever, by the way), Fracture, and Half Nelson all proved that.  Still, I'd like to see Gosling in a movie that earns some major dough at the box office.  He deserves the recognition for his fantastic work.

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DVD Sales: Gamer's [Lack Of] Success Further Underscores The Home Market's Decline

on Tuesday, February 23, 2010   4 comments

So, it's been a while since I've done a DVD Sales post, (I believe my source, The-Numbers, has been posting a week later than usual this year, and I've been waiting for them to catch up) but I figured it was about time to start back up again.  This week, Gamer topped the chart with paltry sales of 345,854 units and $5.8 million in revenue, which is a sad illustration of the current financial situation of the home market.  Indeed, nothing seems to be selling like it used to, and since Blu-Ray sales aren't reported, it's difficult to say whether or not they're counteracting the decline.  My hunch, though, is that Blu-Ray isn't offsetting the failing DVD sales enough to seem encouraging.  I mean, honestly, a $120 million earner like Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs should be selling more than 1.6 million units in three weeks!  Click inside to check out the full (and rather sad) DVD Sales Chart.

DVD Sales for the Week Ending January 24, 2010
RankTitleUnits this Week% ChgTotal UnitsSales this WeekTotal SalesWks
1 Gamer 345,854 -.-% 345,854 $5,775,762 $5,775,762 1
2 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 246,006 -24.7% 1,672,481 $4,238,290 $29,908,060 3
3 The Hangover 219,963 -2.2% 7,434,644 $4,172,962 $140,745,035 6
4 Weeds: Season Five 188,594 -.-% 188,594 $4,066,087 $4,066,087 1
5 I Can Do Bad All By Myself 168,673 -71.0% 749,709 $3,203,100 $14,236,974 2
6 The Hurt Locker 166,909 -47.1% 482,411 $2,979,326 $8,655,207 2
7 Pandorum 145,570 -.-% 145,570 $1,599,814 $1,599,814 1
8 The Invention of Lying 134,399 -.-% 134,399 $2,244,463 $2,244,463 1
9 Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball 119,804 -.-% 119,804 $2,155,274 $2,155,274 1
10 Whiteout 117,348 -.-% 117,348 $1,876,395 $1,876,395 1
11 Inglourious Basterds 114,132 -16.2% 2,877,979 $1,568,299 $51,620,770 6
12 Up 94,176 19.1% 8,841,316 $1,809,724 $151,789,109 11
13 Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred 82,728 5.9% - $743,725 $2,196,212 97
14 Halloween II (2009) 79,512 -60.3% 279,737 $1,453,479 $5,113,592 2
15 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 73,183 -12.5% 7,231,898 $1,216,770 $97,166,660 7
16 Glee, Volume One: Road to Sectionals 72,353 -29.2% - $1,875,390 $13,331,208 4
17 District 9 66,785 -24.6% 1,502,734 $1,166,173 $25,323,558 5
18 Paranormal Activity 63,879 -20.8% 714,693 $1,038,596 $11,791,946 4
19 (500) Days of Summer 61,977 -.-% 521,657 $937,712 $8,371,312 5
20 Fame 60,421 -65.8% 237,288 $966,132 $3,794,235 2
21 G-Force 58,795 -22.0% 1,920,719 $1,219,814 $38,901,419 6
22 The Final Destination 58,588 -38.5% 449,179 $995,410 $7,631,551 3
23 Star Trek 57,516 -15.6% 6,298,512 $801,048 $93,042,705 10
24 Julie & Julia 55,337 -24.5% 2,082,202 $945,709 $35,475,229 7
25 Lost - The Complete Fifth Season 54,991 -58.0% 969,030 $1,127,381 $35,292,015 7
26 Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Darkside 52,466 -24.4% 908,771 $681,533 $11,861,838 5
27 9 50,080 -10.6% 387,969 $850,859 $6,591,593 4
28 Matilda 48,350 -21.3% - $483,017 - 653
29 Alvin and the Chipmunks 48,046 -.-% 7,976,295 $648,141 $132,952,094 95
30 Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, The 46,379 -23.7% - $384,018 - 527

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New And News: Wait, Tracy Morgan Is In Cop Out? I Just Assumed He'd Be The Star Of The Crazies...

on Monday, February 22, 2010   2 comments

What better way to start off your week than with a new edition of New And News?  After a week with just one new release, this weekend churns out two new flicks, and though Cop Out and The Crazies are hoping to laugh/scare up some major business, neither is likely to open as well as Shutter Island.  Head on inside for a preview of each of these films, as well as some depressing news about the American Pie franchise, some more reasons to hate the Oscars, and a truly wretched movie idea.

New:

Cop Out (Warner Bros) - 3,100 theaters - Reviews
Pretty much your standard buddy cop comedy.  Bruce Willis stars as a detective who must cash in his most valuable baseball card in order to pay for his daughter's wedding.  However, when the card gets stolen, Willis must team up with his crime fighting partner, Tracy Morgan, to solve the case.  Unfortunately, Morgan seems to be preoccupied with suspicions of his wife's infidelity, and if he wasn't irritable enough already, he then has to enlist the help of an obnoxious stoner (Seann William Scott) to solve the case.  The trailer for Cop Out didn't look especially spectacular, but if you're a 30 Rock fan, you're well aware of the comedic force of Tracy Morgan.  Coupled with Seann William Scott's goofball humor and Bruce Willis' everyman appeal, this could be a mid-level hit, though it hasn't received enough of an advertising push to really break out.

The Crazies (Overture) - 2,400 theaters - Reviews
This loose remake of the George Romero classic (according to the press release) takes place where most classic horror movies do: in a small town in the middle of nowhere.  When a strange toxin infects the water supply of a tiny village in Kansas, the residents begin to go insane, becoming sadistically violent and killing each other.  Insert an overly confident protagonist, an undeveloped romance with an attractive blonde, some extremely disturbing acts of gruesome violence, and it sounds like a recipe for a perfectly generic modern horror movie.  In a similar way, I'm guessing The Crazies will see some perfectly generic results.  Maybe $35-40 million in its run, followed by a short but strong life on DVD, followed by no one remembering anything about it.

News:

A New American Pie Film Is In The Works
Does this mean Tara Reid might actually get a job again?!  The LA Times reports that Universal has hired writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who penned Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, to pen American Pie 4, a potential theatrical release which may act as a sequel or a reboot for the American Pie franchise, which has been reduced to a direct-to-video franchise in the last few years.  Personally, I think this is a cry for help from Universal after The Wolfman's financial bust.  The actors that appeared in the original teen sex comedy back in 1999 are in their 30s now, and though some are interested in appearing, I doubt Alyson Hannigan and Seann William Scott really need the work that badly.  Just give it up, Universal.

Oscar Nominees Told To Prepare Two Speeches
According to Reuters, producers of the Oscars have asked nominees to produce two speeches, one for the crowd that focuses on what the award means to them personally, and one for the "Thank You Cam" backstage where they can say all their thank-yous to the people that helped them get there.  Wonderful. Now we can dote even more upon a tiny group of recognized actors and simultaneously ignore the rest of the cast and crew- because they don't really do anything important, right?

Someone Is Building An Erector Set Movie
You know the little metal trinkets that kids used to play with back in the day?  The ones you could make bridges or cranes or cars out of?  Yea, well according to IGN, those toys are getting the big screen treatment thanks to Helix Films and the Meccano Toy Company.  Am I excited?  No!  Movies shouldn't be based on inanimate objects- they should be based on stories!

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Weekend Fix: Shutter Island Shuts Downs The Competition Easily!

on Sunday, February 21, 2010   4 comments

This weekend at the box office, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio both earned their best opening weekends ever, as Shutter Island topped the chart with $40.2 million. After the gargantuan grosses of President's Day weekend, the box office came down a couple notches over the last three days, and despite the fact last week's openers saw huge decreases, Shutter Island's strong debut was enough to help the Top 12 earn $121.7 million, and while this figure is 2% higher than the Top 12 over the same frame last year, the overall box office actually dropped by about 5%.  (I blame the whopping 69% drops for Valentine's Day and The Wolfman...)  Watch the video above for my take on the weekend box office.  I talk about Shutter Island's success, Percy Jackson and the failing business model for children's fantasy movies at the box office, and The Woflman's disastrous run, amongst other things.  Plus, I show off my "fancy" new background!  After watching, check below for the full weekend box office chart and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Top 12 Box Office Hits For February 19-21, 2010
Rank Movie Studio Theaters Weekend Gross
ChgAVG.Total
1
Shutter Island Paramount 2991 $40,200,000 New$13,440 $40,200,000
2
Valentine's Day Warner Bros 3665 $17,160,000 -69%$4,682 $87,422,000
3
Avatar Fox 2581 $16,100,000 -32%$6,238 $687,821,154
4
Percy Jackson & The Olympians Fox 3396 $15,300,000 -51%$4,505 $58,760,392
5
The Wolfman Universal 3223 $9,846,265 -69%$3,055 $50,314,890
6
Dear John Sony 3062 $7,300,000 -55%$2,384 $65,971,000
7
Tooth Fairy Fox 2523 $4,500,000 -26%$1,784 $49,867,120
8
Crazy Heart Fox Search 1089 $3,025,000 -29%$2,778 $21,585,198
9
From Paris With Love Lionsgate 2311 $2,500,000 -55%$1,082 $21,200,000
10
Edge Of Darkness Warner Bros 2118 $2,210,000 -54%$1,043 $40,314,000
11
The Book Of Eli Warner Bros 1455 $1,845,000 -49%$1,268 $90,732,000
12
When In Rome Disney 1627 $1,747,000 -53%$1,074 $29,354,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Shutter Island Takes Off With $14.1 Million Friday; Everything Else Plummets!

on Saturday, February 20, 2010   10 comments

Early Friday Estimates are starting to come in, and a few things are abundantly clear (box office figures are after the jump):

1. Shutter Island is off to a good start.  After months of negative buzz, massive delays, release date changes, and general confusion, Shutter Island actually landed on its feet! The Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio collaboration earned a robust $14.1 million on Friday, and it could find $36-39 million over the weekend frame.

2. Valentine's Day is really not all that impressive once Valentine's Day has passed.  The romantic comedy, which has more stars than a heart-shaped box has chocolates, fell 61% from last Friday to $5.7 million.  A $16-18 million weekend should result.

3. Percy Jackson & The Olympians didn't hold as well as it needed to in order to ensure a sequel.  The children's fantasy fell 58% from last Friday to $4 million.  It recover a bit over the rest of the weekend, though, and find $16.5 million overall.

4. Everyone that really wanted to see The Wolfman did so last weekend.  The horror remake dropped an alarming 69% to $2.9 million, and after a solid debut last frame, it will have trouble reaching just $10 million this weekend.  Not good when you take into account the fact that Universal dropped $150 million to make this!

Except for last week's openers, which are in complete free-fall, the box office performed pretty much as expected, though drops across the board were larger than expected.  Perhaps box office analysts underestimated just how much moviegoing increased over the President's Day frame, and the inflated grosses of last weekend created unnaturally large decreases this time around.  Perhaps last week's openers just had audiences that were very excited to rush out and see the films.  Who knows?  Either way, with drops so large, any semblance of "depth" is quickly disappearing from the box office, which is not a good thing for 2010.  Check out the full chart below.

Friday Estimates For February 18, 2010
1. Shutter Island - $14.1 million
2. Valentine's Day - $5.7 million
3. Percy Jackson & The Olympians - $4 million
4. Avatar - $3.9 million
5. The Wolfman - $2.9 million
6. Dear John - $2.3 million
7. Tooth Fairy - $1.1 million
8. Crazy Heart - $765,000
9. From Paris With Love - $720,000
10. Edge Of Darkness - $615,000

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Weekend Preview: Moviegoers Will Get Lost On Shutter Island

on Friday, February 19, 2010   9 comments

TBOJ is back in full force today, and it should stay that way for a while!  The video may be late, but I'm all done playing catch up.  This week, we only have one new film coming out, and that's the highly anticipated Martin Scorsese picture Shutter Island, which should nab the top spot at the box office pretty easily.  To see my prediction for Shutter Island, as well as the rest of the Top 5, check out the video above.  Then, click below to see my full box office predictions for this weekend!

Box Office Predictions for February 19-21, 2010
RankMovie Theaters Predicted Gross
1Shutter Island 2,991 $31 million
2Valentine's Day 3,665 $24 million
3Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief 3,396 $20 million
4Avatar 2,581 $18 million
5The Wolfman 3,223 $15 million
6Dear John 3,062 $8 million
7Tooth Fairy 2,523 $4.4 million
8Crazy Heart 1,089 $4.3 million
9From Paris With Love 2,311 $3.8 million
10Edge Of Darkness 2,118 $3.3 million

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Catching Up On The Box Office... Valentine's Day Was Huge, But Will Percy Jackson Be Huger?

on Thursday, February 18, 2010   4 comments

Hey, folks!  It's been a while since I've written anything on here (almost a week!), but I promise I have a good excuse!  I spent all weekend way down in Birmingham, Alabama at the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, and let me tell you, it was the most lavish, over-the-top, ridiculously awesome event I've ever been to!  I got to witness the spectacle of a debutante ball, barrel roll in the back seat of WWII fighter airplanes, and eat dinner at swanky restaurants all weekend.  It was truly amazing, and I would go again in a second.  Anyway, the weekend left me playing catch up for a while with my life, but I figured it was about time that I got back to doing what I do best- analyzing the box office!  I wasn't able to follow the weekend step by step, but wow, it was an exciting one!  Valentine's Day, Percy Jackson And The Olympians, and The Wolfman all exceeded my expectations, and, as some of you mentioned in the comments, I'm excited that 2010 finally started to pull its own weight, adding some much-needed depth to the box office.  (You all know me so well!)  Thus, because it is Box Office Analysis Thursday, keep reading for my late-but-hopefully-still-entertaining take on what went down over this extended President's Day weekend at the box office:

Valentine's Day - $63.1 million - $17,227 PTA
The star-cluttered, heavily-marketed, obviously-titled feature performed spectacularly over the weekend, grossing a tremendous $63.1 million over the four day period, shattering all records on the way to becoming the highest-grossing President's Day weekend of all time.  Valentine's Day, with its title alone, established itself as the obvious choice this weekend with moviegoers, and the onslaught of stars in the picture only made the film even more consumable.  In a short-attention-span world, Valentine's Day's incredible box office results show that American audiences appreciate being given a clear choice on a certain weekend.
Where It Goes From Here: Considering that this will be sitting at $70 million by tonight, $100 million is a foregone conclusion, though I'd bet that the fangirl effect + the holiday effect + the 4-day weekend effect will make this a frontloaded film.  By the end of this weekend, I'd guess that Valentine's Day will sit with a gross of about $95 million, and by the end of it's run, I think it might find about $135 million. Not bad for a movie that cost $52 million to make!  Plus, down the road, it will dominate the home market.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief - $38.7 million - $11,520 PTA
Fox reported a $95 million budget for this potential franchise-launcher, and you know what?  I think they might actually be pretty pleased with this result.  Percy Jackson follows The Golden Compass ($70 million), The Spiderwick Chronicles ($71 million), and Eragon ($75 million) as children's fantasy franchises based on books that studios hoped could reach to Harry Potter levels, though they each failed at the box office.  This time around, despite the poor advertising, Percy Jackson, which mixes growing up in New York City with Greek mythology, broke out, finding a very solid $38.7 million over four days. 
Where It Goes From Here: Even if you hadn't heard of the Percy Jackson series, take my word for it: kids love these books, and Fox would be foolish not to continue with this franchise.  It earned good enough reviews to not leave a bad taste in peoples' mouths, and with some refinement that often arrives in the second film in a franchise, this could be a very successful series of movies.  Because of their family appeal, these kinds of kid's adventure movies often have very strong legs, and if Percy Jackson performs as expected, it could be looking at a nice $130 million gross(right in line with Valentine's Day).  With strong international grosses and home market returns, Fox could end up being pretty pleased with this performance.  If they can keep the budget down for the sequel, make a better movie, and advertise more effectively, this could be a lucrative franchise in the void left by Harry Potter.

The Wolfman - $35.6 million - $11,035 PTA
I'll admit it, I was pretty off in my prediction for The Wolfman.  I assumed that werewolf movies had a limited fanbase of super-fanboys, but we do live in a Twilight and True Blood world, and perhaps the massive bump in vampire appeal has increased werewolves' popularity as well.  The Wolfman howled up a wild $35.6 million over the 4-day weekend, which would seem a whole lot better if Universal hadn't spent a ridiculous $150 million producing it.  Seriously, where did all that money go?! Certainly not into the lighting.  Still, a $35 million debut is nothing to look down upon.
Where It Goes From Here: I'd expect this to be pretty frontloaded.  Most sci-fi/fantasy movies are.  The Underworld movies usually managed just above a 2.0 multiplier, and applying that to The Wolfman would give the picture about $75 million overall.  Learn to control your budgets, Universal!

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Weekend Preview: Valentine's Day Will Fight Off Greek Gods And Werewolves To Win The Weekend

on Friday, February 12, 2010   4 comments

Guys, I'm so sorry that I haven't been on the ball with posting this week.  Things have been hectic.  I'm trying.  My Tuesday post didn't exist, and Thursday's was just a picture.  I'm sort of disappointed in myself, but I'm doing my best, and that's all I can really do.  The blog won't be updated this weekend, and the video (which is very short) explains all that.  Plus, you can check out my box office predictions for Valentine's Day, Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and The Wolfman by watching!  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Why Valentine's Day Will Do Very Well This Weekend...

on Thursday, February 11, 2010   2 comments


And that is my honest opinion.
The title and genre will earn a few million.
The ginormous cast will make a few million more.
The actual day of Valentine's Day will contribute substantially.
But Taylor and Taylor will draw the masses.

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7 Movies With Fantastically Strategic Release Dates

on Wednesday, February 10, 2010   4 comments

Currently, I feel sandwiched between two weekends that boast wisely placed movies on the box office calendar.  We're hot on the heels of Dear John's fantastic debut, which was lifted by its brilliant counter-programmed Super Bowl release date, and this coming weekend, Valentine's Day will surely find strong numbers, thanks to the fact that Sunday is Valentine's Day.  What I want you to take away from this post is that release dates matter a lot.  The American public likes gimmicky release schedules, and when a movie's title and/or release date give people an obvious choice of which movie to see, it often pays off in spades.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the smartest release dates in recent history, all of which directly led to solid box office results. But that's enough talking from me- go ahead and check out these seven movies with great release dates, and then let me know what movies you thought had great release dates in the comments!

The Omen (06/06/06)
A movie about the devil! 666! The devil's number! WOW, that is just so clever! I have to go see this! Sadly, that really was the train of though for many moviegoers. Kudos to Fox for pumping up the release gimmick effectively.  The Omen opened to $12.6 million on a Tuesday (at the time, Fox boasted that they had achieved the best Tuesday opening ever... a dubious distinction) on its way to $54.5 million. Pretty good for a pretty bad horror flick.

Four Christmases (11/26/08)
I wish every Christmas movie would follow the model set by Four Christmases.  Open directly after Thanksgiving and plow through a month of solid box office results.  Four Christmases was just a silly romantic comedy, but it earned a great $118 million during its run.  I wonder how much bigger A Christmas Carol could have been if it had opened closer to, I dunno, Christmas!  (I warned you)

Independence Day (07/03/96)
In 1996, July 4th fell on a Thursday, so Fox wisely took the opportunity to open this Will Smith blockbuster on Wednesday the 3rd.  The result? $45 million in two days of ticket sales, followed by a tremendous $50.2 million weekend.  The July 4th weekend was officially signed over to Will Smith later that month.

The Devil Wears Prada (06/30/06)
Another case of counter programming at its finest. Back in 2006, The Devil Wears Prada decided to open directly against the ├╝ber-hyped Superman reboot.  Hoping to attract the disinterested female audience, Fox (who is proving they know how to release movies well) was bold to go head to head with the man of steel.  Many were sure that the fashion film would get lost in the shuffle, but Prada silenced the doubters, opening to a robust $27.5 million (vs. Superman's $52.5 million) on its way $124.7 million.

Saw and Saw II (10/29/04 and 10/28/05)
The one-two punch of the innovative Saw movies (in plot, not in gruesomeness) over Halloween weekend in 2004 ($18.3 million opening, $55 million total) and 2005 ($31.7 million opening, $87 million total) helped fortify a robust franchise for Lionsgate, which framed Saw III, IV, and V as the go-to event films of the next few Halloween weekends. Unfortunately for Lionsagate, Paranormal Activity stole all of Saw VI's thunder, and now, Saw 3D and Paranormal Activity 2 are both eyeing the lucrative Halloween weekend release date for this year.

The Passion Of The Christ (02/25/04)
Here's a film whose opening weekend wasn't the reason it blew up (controversy took care of that), but it placed the film in such a way that theater owners didn't want to take it out of theaters for a good while.  Easter fell on April 11th that year, and every knew that a movie about Jesus would do well over that frame, which is why The Passion was still playing in 3,240 theaters during that, its seventh, weekend.  The film came in first place that weekend with $15 million, and then fell all the way down to tenth the very next, earning $4 million.  Newmarket wisely ensure Mel Gibson's religious film would play in theaters for quite a while with their strategic release date.

50 First Dates (02/13/04)
Sony knew they had a solidly marketable romantic comedy with two widely appealing leads, and they probably knew it could perform solidly.  They took things to the next level, though, by releasing it over Valentine's Day weekend, making it clear the choice for all couples.  After a good $10 million Friday, 50 First Dates shot way up $19.8 million on Valentine's Day, a figure which accounted for almost half of the films $39.9 million debut, which set it up for a nice $120.9 million run.  Sony learned from their success and opened Hitch a few days before Valentine's Day in 2005.  Hitch opened to $43 million before trucking along all the way to $179 million.

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New And News: Percy Jackson Arrives In Time For The Olympics; Valentines Day for Valentine's Day; Wolfman For... A New Moon?

on Monday, February 08, 2010   8 comments

After weeks of sub-par offerings at the box office, it looks like 2010 is finally getting its act together.  Three high-profile releases are entering theaters this Friday, and they should each find varying degrees of success.  Valentine's Day will be huge.  Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief will probably perform solidly.  The Wolfman might not do so well.  All told, the new movies should inject some much needed life into the film industry, which has been living off of 2009's leftovers for the last few weeks.  Click on inside for a quick preview of those films, as well as a whole lot of news about potential sequels for Fast And Furious, Kill Bill, and Enchanted, a Daredevil reboot, and a great documentary about The Princess And The Frog. This is Monday, and this is New And News.

New:

Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Fox) - 3,300 theaters - Reviews
I had never heard of the Percy Jackson novels until my most recent summer as a camp counselor.  A few of my campers were reading the final installment (which had just hit shelves) in the apparently super-popular series, and they were enthralled.  They told me all about the young Percy Jackson, and his adventures with the mythic Greek gods of Mount Olympus in the middle of New York City.  They told me how he discovers his status as a demi-god and finds himself in the center of a battle between the gods.  They told me they loved the books and couldn't wait for the movies.  Fox is hoping to capture some of that magic in The Lightning Thief, which could launch a major franchise if it succeeds.  Unfortunately, I don't know that it will be able to do so.  To me, Percy Jackson falls into the same category as movies like Eragon and The Spiderwick Chronicles: potential fantasy franchises that rely too much upon a built-in audience of readers to support the film.  Advertising hasn't been especially strong, and though early reviews are positive, Fox hasn't showcased this film as an event enough.  Personally, I'd love to see this inventive story succeed, because, believe it or not, we're just one year away from living in a post-Potter world.

Valentine's Day (Warner Bros) - 3,600 theaters - Reviews
Last year, He's Just Not That Into You earned $94 million after a February release.  The romantic comedy featured about half of Hollywood's A-list in a dozen miniature story lines about falling in love.  It was a strategy popularized by sleeper-hit-turned-into-everyone's-favorite-holiday-movie Love, Actually, and Valentine's Day has made its resemblance to that movie very clear.  With a star studded cast featuring Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Alba (and that's seriously only naming a few), you can expect this to be the number one choice this Valentine's Day weekend.  I think this is going to be huge- I've honestly heard just as many guys talking about this as girls, and the widely appealing premise will lead to major success.  Plus, Taylor Lautner will draw in the legion of Twi-hards and Taylor Swift will pull in everyone else.

The Wolfman (Universal) - 3,100 theaters - Reviews
A remake of the classic 1941 film that launched the werewolf genre in the film industry, 2010's The Wolfman looks like a dark take on the shape shifting story, and it features a rockin' cast with Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Emily Blunt.  With a hefty $85 million price tag, The Wolfman will have to work very hard to earn back its negative cost, and Universal's advertising hasn't done much to draw in the casual moviegoer.  With dark (literally, not in tone), confusing commercials, and no real box office draws,  I don't see many people choosing The Wolfman over the breezier offerings this weekend.  Maybe it should have waited until a full moon to debut- Valentine's Day is a New Moon!


News:

Sequels, Sequels, And More Sequels...
Looks like we're getting a Fast And Furious sequel called Fast Five, another installment of Disney's Enchanted franchise, and possibly a final Kill Bill film.  You know what?  I honestly wouldn't mind any of those!

Daredevil Is Getting Rebooted
ow can you tell that studio's are scared to risk too much money during the recession? They're determined to produce sequels and reboots of existing franchises before investing a penny in any new idea.  In step with the current trend of rebooting unsuccessful superhero movies (see Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman), Fox is looking to bring Daredevil back to the silver screen after the critically and financially disappointing 2003 treatment.

The Return Of Disney's 2D Animation Department
/Film is doing an absolutely fantastic series about the revival of Disney's classic 2D animation.  The video series chronicles the elaborate process of creating The Princess And The Frog, as well as the larger scope of animation at the Walt Disney Company.  The series is absolutely fascinating and chalk full of insightful interviews with passionate animators.  Part one is right here, but be sure to check out the rest of the Frogumentary on /Film.

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Weekend Fix: Dear John Takes Down Avatar! The Fangirls Strike Again!

on Sunday, February 07, 2010   2 comments

It has finally happened.  After seven weeks on top of the chart, Avatar has been knocked down!  You might think that another big-budget special effects feature would be the one to dethrone the proverbial king of the box office world, but no, it was the romantic drama Dear John that knocked the Na'vi off the podium.  With a superb marketing campaign that targeted young females, Dear John, grossed $32.4 million this weekend.  Fans of Amanda Seyfried, Channing Tatum, and the Nicholas Sparks source material came out to the box office in droves, pushing the military romance to fantastic numbers.  Still, let's not discount Avatar.  Now in its eighth weekend of release, Avatar had its highest drop this weekend, and it only fell by 25% to $23.6 million!  It's earned $630.1 million overall.  From Paris With Love, meanwhile, would kill for those kinds of numbers in its first weekend, for the John Travolta action movie flopped with a sad $8.1 million debut.  Last weekend's releases, Edge Of Darkness and When In Rome, both fell hard this week, by 59% and 55%, respectively.  Oscar-bait Crazy Heart did fairly well in its expansion into 819 theaters, grossing $3.6 million this weekend, giving the film an $11.2 million total.  Overall, the Top 12 films were down a big 21% from the same weekend last year, though much of that drop can probably be attributed to the fact that the Super Bowl was a week earlier last year.  Things should pick up next week with the release of Valentine's Day, The Wolf Man, and Percy Jackson And The Olympians.  Watch the video above for my thoughts on the weekend box office, and then check below for a full chart of this week's box office results.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For February 5-7, 2010
Rank Movie Studio Theaters Weekend Gross
ChgAVG.Total
1
Dear John Sony 2969 $32,400,000 New$10,913 $32,400,000
2
Avatar Fox 3000 $23,600,000 -25%$7,867 $630,093,323
3
From Paris With Love Lionsgate 2722 $8,120,000 New$2,983 $8,120,000
4
Edge Of Darkness Warner Bros 3066 $7,005,000 -59%$2,285 $29,097,000
5
Tooth Fairy Fox 3218 $6,500,000 -35%$2,020 $34,332,973
6
When In Rome Disney 2456 $5,504,000 -55%$2,241 $20,899,000
7
The Book Of Eli Warner Bros 2820 $4,835,000 -46%$1,715 $82,163,000
8
Crazy Heart Fox Search 819 $3,650,000 58%$4,457 $11,187,730
9
Legion Sony 2339 $3,400,000 -53%$1,454 $34,600,000
10
Sherlock Holmes Warner Bros 1805 $2,630,000 -42%$1,457 $201,579,000
11
The Blind Side Warner Bros 1740 $2,600,000 -14%$1,494 $241,626,000
12
Up In The Air Paramount 1547 $2,350,000 -16%$1,519 $76,681,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Dear John Goes To Battle And Comes Out On Top!

on Saturday, February 06, 2010   6 comments

Remember how I mentioned in yesterday's video that I wouldn't be totally surprised if Dear John managed to win the weekend?  Well, after a fantastic Friday, it looks like the romantic drama is going to! Dear John earned a tremendous $13.8 million yesterday, and where it heads from here is an interesting question.  I'm guessing Channing Tatum has a substantial number of teen fangirls, who rushed out on Friday to see this film, so it will be fairly frontloaded.  That being said, Dear John should hold better than most every other movie on Super Bowl Sunday.  All told, an awesome $31 million weekend is in store for Dear JohnAvatar came in second with $6.2 million, and while the sci-fi epic will finally give up the top spot, it will still only fall about 25% from last weekend to $23 million, lifting its total to $629 million.  From Paris With Love couldn't even live up to lowered expectations, and the John Travolta shoot-em-up only grossed $3 million on Friday.  This should lead to a weak $8 million weekend, only slightly more than what Edge Of Darkness will earn in its second weekend.  Otherwise, there's not too much to report, as things are performing pretty much as expected.  Crazy Heart broke into the Top 10 with $1.1 million on Friday, and the Oscar-nominated release might see a $3.3 million weekend.  Check below for full Friday box office estimates:

Friday Estimates For February 5, 2010
1. Dear John - $13.8 million
2. Avatar - $6.2 million
3. From Paris With Love - $3 million
4. Edge Of Darkness - $2.3 million
5. When In Rome - $2 million
6. Tooth Fairy - $1.7 million
7. The Book Of Eli - $1.5 million
8. Crazy Heart - $1.1 million
9. Legion - $1.1 million
10. Sherlock Holmes - $785,000

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Weekend Preview: Dear John May Tackle Avatar Out Of The Top Spot During The Super Bowl

on Friday, February 05, 2010   2 comments

Could this finally be the week that Avatar rescinds the top spot on the chart?  I know I've asked that for the last few weeks, but the planets (Pandorum excluded) may be aligned in just the right way to push Avatar down to second place this frame.  The Super Bowl will draw males away from the theaters, and it may leave the romantic, female-targeting Dear John to take the box office by storm.  Still, Avatar hasn't gone down yet, and there's a good chance it will win the weekend again, so it's going to be a fun, close one to watch!  The other newcomer, From Paris With Love, probably won't have as much success, and the John Travolta action film will have a mid-level debut.  To hear my predictions of those new films, watch the video above.  As far as the holdovers go, drops are usually pretty small at this time of the year, though the Super Bowl will subtract a huge portion of audiences on Sunday.  It is also important to note that a massive snowstorm is expected on the East Coast this weekend (an estimated 28" where I am!), which may also dampen grosses substantially.  Despite those forces working against the box office, though, the Oscar nominations and consequent expansions of many well-reviewed films should lead to some sturdy grosses in the lower rungs of the chart, especially from the Jeff Bridges showcase, Crazy Heart.  After you've watched the video above, check below for my full weekend prediction chart!

Box Office Predictions for February 5-7, 2010
RankMovie Theaters Predicted Gross
1Avatar 3,000 $25 million
2Dear John 3,066 $22.5 million
3From Paris With Love 2,722 $15 million
4Edge Of Darkness 3,066 $10 million
5When In Rome 2,456 $7.5 million
6Tooth Fairy 3,218 $7.2 million
7The Book Of Eli 2,820 $4.6 million
8Crazy Heart 819 $4 million
9Legion 2,339 $3.4 million
10Sherlock Holmes 1,805 $2.8 million

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