MTC Tracking: Just wake me up when September ends

on Tuesday, August 31, 2010   9 comments

Oh, how things can change in just a few weeks... Between Inception, Salt, Despicable Me, The Other Guys, and The Expendables the end of the summer actually wasn't half bad at the box office. But then came that festering stinker of a weekend that featured Vampires Suck, The Switch, Lottery Ticket, Piranha 3D, and Nanny McPhee Returns. Quality (or lack thereof) aside, none of them exactly lit up the box office, as all of them have failed to pass the $30M mark after almost two weeks in release. Last weekend saw marginally better results, with two films breaking $20M plateau, but The Last Exorcism and Takers aren't special "event" films (shout out to Rohan for reminding us all of the importance of "events")—they're forgettable cinematic junk food. According to recent tracking reports, this weekend's offerings, The American, Going the Distance, and Machete, are just heaping a whole lot more "blah" onto of the pile of "eh" that has been the last few weeks at the movies. Check out early tracking report numbers after the jump:

Major Theater Chain tracking:
The American – $20M (over six days)
Machete – $20M (over four days)
Going the Distance – $11M (over four days)

Real Source tracking:
The American – low 20s (over six days)
Going the Distance – mid-to-high teens (over four days)
Machete – low double digits (over four days)

[via notfabio and secretstalker]

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Summer box office: Revenue increases, while attendance dips. I blame 3D!

on Tuesday, August 31, 2010   9 comments

According to a new report from USA Today, Hollywood grossed $4.35 billion this summer, up a slight $100 million from last summer's record-breaking performance. Despite the increase in revenue, though, the total number of admissions (i.e. tickets sold) was down to an estimated 552 million, which the article notes is the lowest figure since the summer of 2005, when 563.2 million tickets were sold. Why has this change occurred? What should we blame?  If you know me at all, you already know where I'm pointing my finger....

THOSE TERRIBLE, AWFUL, STUPID 3D MOVIES! I'm sorry Jeffrey Katzenberg, but I just don't care about your personal beliefs on the American audience of consumers. Let me make this clear to you: We don't want to pay $15-20 for a movie ticket, and WE DON"T ALL LOVE 3D! I know you and the rest of Hollywood may like the little bit of extra change in your pockets right now, but judging from the major decrease in admissions this summer, you are damaging credibility with Americans, and people are already turning against the 3D gimmick. A loyal customer is much more important than a quick buck, and I can promise you that if you would stop cranking out shoddy, pointless 3D effects, a lot more people will be just fine paying $8-10 for a ticket, and your business will be just fine.

Am I going crazy here? I know that this summer's crop of releases weren't the strongest, but I think 3D's saturation within the theatrical experience is turning people away from the movies altogether. The ticket price beforehand and the headache afterward just isn't worth it. What other factors do you think led to the weaker (and I don't care if revenue is up $100M–these results are troubling) summer box office results?

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New This Week: 'The American' and 'Machete' may not be 'Going the Distance'

on Tuesday, August 31, 2010   0 comments

First off, I apologize for the scant updates. Moving into my house and getting back into the swing of school has taken me a while, and I'm also working on a big, big project that I can't tell you about just yet—you'll get the full scoop in a few weeks! Last weekend was an interesting frame that saw Takers and The Last Exorcism premiere to some surprisingly strong numbers. Now, however, we have reached September, where studios tend to dump their more problematic/unmarketable releases. Going the Distance, a romantic comedy starring Justin Long and Drew Barrymore, has a modest shot at success, while Machete and The American might prove too edgy for mainstream audiences. We could be looking at a re-run of two weeks ago, in which all new movies opened to mediocre numbers. Check out the newcomers below.

Going the Distance (Warner Bros) – 2,900 theaters – Reviews
Erin's wry wit and unfiltered frankness charm newly single Garrett over beer, bar trivia and breakfast the next morning. Their chemistry sparks a full-fledged summer fling, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett stays behind for his job in New York City. But when six weeks of romping through the city inadvertently become meaningful, neither is sure they want it to end. And while Garrett's friends, Box and Dan, joke about his pre-flight calorie-cutting and his full-time relationship with his cell phone, they don't like losing their best drinking buddy to yet another rocky romance. At the same time, Erin's high-strung, overprotective married sister, Corrine, wants to keep Erin from heading down an all-too-familiar road. But despite the opposite coasts, the nay-saying friends and family, and a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might have found something like love, and with the help of a lot of texting, sexting and late-night phone calls, they might actually go the distance.

The American (Focus) – 2,700 theaters – Reviews
As an assassin, Jack is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara. Jack and Clara's time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.

Machete (Fox) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews
After a violent shakedown from a notorious drug lord nearly kills him, Machete, a renegade Mexican Federale and tough-as-nails vigilante for justice, roams the streets of Texas, working as a day laborer. When Machete is hired by a crooked US Senator to execute a covert hit, Machete is double-crossed and forced to run from the cops and an endless stream of assassins. But what they don't know is that Machete is looking for them so he can settle the score.

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Friday Estimates: 'Last Exorcism' and 'Takers' add unexpected life to box office

on Saturday, August 28, 2010   4 comments

Well, isn't this a nice surprise. The Last Exorcism and Takers both had very strong Fridays at the box office, and they both may break the $20M mark. If there is a big winner here, it's Paul Walker.
1. The Last Exorcism (Lionsgate) NEW [2,874 Theaters]
Friday $8.5M, Estimated Weekend $23.2M
2. The Takers (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [2,206 Theaters]
Friday $7.2M, Estimated Weekend $20.3M
3. The Expendables (Lionsgate) Week 3 [3,398 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M (-51%), Estimated Weekend $8.2M, Estimated Cume $81M
4. Eat Pray Love (Sony) Week 3 [3,108 Theaters]
Friday $2.0M (-46%), Estimated Weekend $6.4M, Estimated Cume $60.5M
5. The Other Guys (Sony) Week 4 [3,181 Theaters]
Friday $1.8M (-40%), Estimated Weekend $5.8M, Estimated Cume $99M

[via Deadline]

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MTC Tracking: 'The Last Exorcism' aims for first place, 'Takers' will join the "eh" club with last week's releases

on Wednesday, August 25, 2010   3 comments

Time for another Major Theater Chain tracking report. This week, new movies include The Last Exorcism, Takers, and Avatar: Special Edition. Check out their predicted grosses after the jump:

The Last Exorcism – $18M
Takers – $11M
Avatar: Special Edition – $6M

[via notfabio]

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Box Office Headlines 08/25/10

on Wednesday, August 25, 2010   1 comments

TBOJ has been down since school has been starting up. Between moving in  buying books, attending meetings, and going to class, I've just been kind of swamped, but things are slowing down now. There have been a few things I've wanted to post about, but I just haven't gotten around to them, so consider this a link dump.

Weekend Box Office
Old news by now, but The Expendables fended off five weak newcomers to retain the top spot.
(Box Office Mojo)

Piranha 3D gets a sequel
People love this movie, but a $10M opening weekend just doesn't justify a sequel, imho.

DVD Sales Chart
Date Night leads the new releases with $10M in sales.

Increased 3D ticket prices help theaters
This is an article about British theaters, but it's still very interesting if you want some statistics on how 3D ticket prices have helped movie theaters. According to the piece, over 20% of Cineworld’s first-half admissions came from 3D releases, compared with 8% a year ago.

New This Week
The Last Exorcism, Takers, Avatar Re-Release
(Box Office Mojo)

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Friday Estimates: 'Vampires Suck' wins the day, but 'Expendables' will take the weekend; 'Piranha 3D,' 'Lottery Ticket' are just okay

on Saturday, August 21, 2010   0 comments

This weekend is shaping up to be that rare weekend at the box office where the top five films all gross more than $10 million (great!), despite the fact that none of them have especially impressive grosses (oh). In fact, there's a strong possibility that the #1 film won't even break $15 million, which is a rare occasion in this frontloaded, overhyped age.

1. Vampires Suck – $5 million
You know what really sucks? Vampires Suck led the Friday box office pack, draining $5 million from audiences, which is way more than it should have ever been allowed to gross. The silver lining here is that that teens rush out to see these "spoofs," so it should drop quickly over the rest of the weekend. A depressingly high $13M weekend could be in store.

2. The Expendables – $4.8 million
The action-packed holdover fell a big 64% from last Friday, but it should recover some over the rest of the weekend. A $14.5M weekend would be enough to repeat on top and push The Expendables gross to $63M.

3. Lottery Ticket – $3.7 million
The good news: this only cost about $25M to make. The bad news: It will probably only open to about $10.5 million, and just maybe break $20M in its run. The "eh" news: No one will remember Lottery Ticket in a year's time.

4. Piranha 3D – $3.6 million
This campy, well-reviewed gorefest started off pretty well on Friday with an estimated $3.6M, but the real test for Piranha 3D will be how well it can hold up over the rest of the weekend. Fanboy features are notorious for dropping quickly after opening day, so Piranha 3D could be looking at a $10M weekend. Much like Lottery Ticket, this had a cheap price tag of $24M, but it also may not break the $25M mark. DVD sales are guaranteed to be strong, though.

5. Eat Pray Love – $3.6 million
The Julia Roberts flick fell 57% from last Saturday, proving that it won't be a leggy hit destined for $100 M. The female-targeting film could earn $11.4M over the weekend, which will give it an alright $43.5M total.

6. Nanny McPhee Returns – $3 million
This British spin on Mary Poppins couldn't quite muster up as much excitement as the first film did in 2006, stirring up $3.6M on Friday. Given its family friendly nature, as well as the fact that this is not an "event" to rush out and see," Nanny McPhee Returns should achieve a solid multiplier and earn $10.5M over three days.

7. The Other Guys – $2.9M Friday / $9.5M weekend / $87.5M total

8. The Switch – $2.8 million
Someone cue the bizarrely passionate Jennifer Aniston haters crowing about her inability to perform at the box office. The Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman romantic comedy with an awkward artificial insemination plot only managed a $2.8M opening day. Despite surprisingly solid reviews, The Switch is looking at just a $7.8M weekend.

9. Inception – $2.1M Friday / $7M weekend / $261.2M total

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – $1.5M Friday / $4.4M weekend / $20M total

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'Eclipse' surpasses 'New Moon'

on Friday, August 20, 2010   2 comments

Yesterday, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse eclipsed New Moon as the highest grossing film in the Twilight franchise. In its 51st day of release, Eclipse reached $296,649,934, which is just a tad higher than New Moon's $296,623,634. This is undoubtedly an impressive feat, but even more impressive when you consider that Eclipse's weaker debut at the box office. Eclipse now stands as the 36th highest grossing film in the U.S. of all time. Will Breaking Dawn be even bigger, or is Twilight fever dying down?

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Weekend Preview: 'Vampires Suck,' 'Nanny McPhee,' and 'Piranha 3D' hope to take down 'The Expendables'

on Friday, August 20, 2010   3 comments

I'm moving into my house for my final year of college today, so I don't have time to go into a lot of detail about my predictions. Even with a hefty drop, The Expendables is looking like it may top the box office chart once again this weekend, as none of the new openers have huge mass market appeal. Vampires Suck (which will rule the box office on Wednesday and Thursday, and could win the weekend) is going after the short-attention-spanned teens, Piranha 3D wants gore fans, Nanny McPhee Returns hopes to reach well-mannered families, and Lottery Ticket is targeting urban audiences. They should all open in the $10-15M range. Also opening is Jennifer Aniston's The Switch, which may do just a little bit worse, due to subject matter that many may find uncomfortable. There won't be many huge grosses this weekend, but lots of solid stats above $10M across the board. Predictions are after the jump:

Box Office Predictions for August 20-22
1. The Expendables – $16M
2. Vampires Suck – $15M
3. Nanny McPhee Returns – $12.5M
4. Lottery Ticket – $12M
4. Eat Pray Love – $11.5M
5. Piranha 3D – $11.5M
6. The Other Guys – $11.2M
7. Inception – $7.3M
8. The Switch – $7.1M
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – $5M
10. Despicable Me – $4.8M

Who do you think will rule the box office roost this weekend?

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International Box Office: 'Inception' stays on top, 'The Expendables' starts in 3rd place

on Thursday, August 19, 2010   1 comments

Just as the summer box office is winding down here in the States, the same thing is happening around the world. Inception continued its run atop the international box office chart with $35.5M this week, which pushes the blockbuster's worldwide total to $568.9M. As that film is passing the $500M milestone, Toy Story 3 is busy inching ever closer to the $1 billion mark. The Pixar film pulled in $23.4M this week, lifting its worldwide box office to $950.7M. After a powerful domestic debut, The Expendables got off to a fair start internationally in third place, as it pulled in $16.8M in its first week of release. Right now, it's too soon to tell how far the $90M action film will go, but if it can manage some good holds both domestically and internationally, it will be well on its way to making a profit. Check out the full top ten below:

Weekly International Box Office (in millions)
    Film Weekly Gross  Int'l Total  Worldwide
1 Inception $35.5  $320.4  $568.9
2 Toy Story 3 $23.4  $595.9  $950.7
3 The Expendables $16.8  $16.8  $51.6
4 The Sorcerer's Apprentice $15.1  $74.7  $134.2
5 Step Up 3D $13.5  $33.4  $63.2
6 Grown Ups $9.4  $49.9  $207.9
7 Salt $9.4  $83  $186.4
8 The Last Airbender $9.4  $69  $198.7
9 The Karate Kid $8.8  $107.8  $282.7
10 Cats and Dogs: The
Revenge of Kitty Galore
$7.9  $22.4  $57.6

[Read more at The-Numbers]

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Ranking 13 of this Summer's movies

on Wednesday, August 18, 2010   19 comments

I saw a lot of movies this summer—way more than usual (Interning for EW has its perks!), and as anyone would expect, I thought some of them were good and some of them were bad.  What made summer 2010 different from other years, though, was that were so many films that were simply mediocre. For this grand return of List Wednesday, I thought it might be fun to rank the 13 movies I saw in theaters over the past few months. Keep in mind, you don't have to agree with me—in fact, you probably won't—but my criteria for this list was simple: These movies are ranked on how much I enjoyed myself while watching them. That's it! Check out the list after the jump, and then let me hear your rankings in the comments below. (some spoilers follow)

13. Grown Ups
Inappropriate, unfunny, and uncreative to the max, the one thing I actually do admire about this film is Adam Sandler's continual effort to imbue his movies with at least some degree of stable family values.

12. Dinner for Schumcks
I love Paul Rudd. I love Steve Carell. But I just couldn't stand this movie. The awkward humor never really worked, and it bothered me that the film never acknowledged that Carell's character really was a major, problematic nuisance!

11. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
This could have been a fun movie, but the choppy editing never really allowed us to see Jay Baruschel grow as a magician. He sucked at magic for the whole movie, and then he was suddenly amazing for the final battle. The first act was pretty fun, though, and if nothing else, the film introduced me to "Secrets" by One Republic, which has become one of my favorite songs of 2010.

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
All style, no substance. The constant special effects were audacious and impressive, but I wish they had been paired with an emotionally engaging story, as well. The humor was very goofy and YouTube-ish (I prefer clever and situational humor), and I don't think it will stand the test of time.

9. The Karate Kid 
Probably the most formulaic movie I saw this summer, but executed pretty effectively. Jaden Smith has real screen presence (though, he looks way too little to be training and gaining muscle), and while the movie drags on for too long, it's an alright ride.

8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Silly, popcorn-munching fun! Jerry Bruckheimer has a talent for marrying exciting visuals and great special effects. The dialogue and storyline were stupidly funny, but I had a Mountain Dew and some Sour Patch Kids in my hand, and I was fully prepared for an afternoon of dumb fun. I don't mind this sort of fare during the summer.

7. Iron Man 2
Did the world learn nothing from Spider-Man 3? Don't overstuff your superhero movies! Bewteen Nick Fury, War Machine, Black Widow, and the whole S.H.I.E.L.D program, there was no time for the heartfelt character story lines. The action was good, but I couldn't even tell if Tony and Pepper were dating!

6. The Kids Are All Right
Everyone at EW was buzzing about this, so I had to go see it. I enjoyed the performances in the film a lot—especially Josh Hutcherson's and Annette Bening's—and I think it was beautifully shot and had great dialogue, but I think I'm just a little too square to fully process and embrace a lesbian marital drama. I think this will be the main film in 2010 that people will be afraid to say they didn't love.

5. Salt
Salt was possibly the most preposterously unbelievable film I've ever seen, but I have to give credit where credit is due—the action was well-choreographed and thrilling! I loved that Angelina Jolie's loyalty was never clear, but I couldn't stand the ridiculous ending. Her story checked out. The U.S. president knew Liev Schrieber was evil. The Russian president was alive. Why the heck did she have to run away?!

4. Ramona and Beezus
Normally, movies that don't really have much of a plot bother me, but I found Ramona and Beezus completely enjoyable. Wholesome, good-natured kids movies are a rare thing these days, and with newcomer Joey King's winning performance, this was an easy movie to get behind.

3. Inception
What more can be said about Inception? The sheer ambition of Christopher Nolan's story is mind-boggling, so it's been a nice surprise to see audiences access and understand it, and then make it a huge box office hit. Inception is an enthralling experience, and I was raving after I saw the film, but as weeks have gone by, the realtionship between Cobb and Mal haven't really held up to me. Somehow, I believe in their love story less now than I did then.

2. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
This overwhelmingly honest documentary was the biggest surprise of my Summer. Funny and sad in equal spades, A Piece of Work is a fascinating character study of Joan Rivers, an insecure workhorse of a comedienne, who desperately desires approval and recognition from everyone around her.

1. Toy Story 3
Really, what else could be number one this summer? Toy Story 3 is everything a great movie should be: funny, adventurous, beautiful, and heartfelt. If Disney is going to force Pixar to crank out sequels, let's hope they're all this good. Toy Story 3's touching final scene was a perfect ending to a game-changing animated franchise. Still like Wall-E better, though!

Well, that's my list! What were your favorite films this Summer?

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Spike nabs TV rights for 'The Expendables'

on Wednesday, August 18, 2010   5 comments

Hot on the heels of The Expendables' $35M debut last weekend, Spike has purchased the film's television distribution rights from Lionsgate, with the premiere set for some time in 2013. Details of the deal aren't available, though The Wrap notes that "cable acquisitions of feature films are [generally] based on 10-12% of domestic gross." I do recall FX paying a similar rate for Avatar a few months back.

It's a little bit strange that Spike, who also picked up Kick-Ass from Lionsgate earlier this year, isn't planning on showing the movie until 2013. After the DVD has been out for two full years, are people really going to be interested in tuning into a second-rate cable channel to watch The Expendables? The film fits in nicely with Spike's testosterone-fueled programming, but three years is a long time to wait, and I wonder if the gimmick will be all but forgotten by then. What do you think, Junkies? Will you watch The Expendables on TV?

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DVD/Blu-Ray Sales: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' flexes muscle on DVD chart, while 'Kick-Ass' kicks ass on Blu-Ray

on Wednesday, August 18, 2010   7 comments

Time for a blast from the past, everyone: a DVD/Blu-Ray sales post! I know it's been a while since the last one of these (they're rather time consuming, and in NYC I didn't have a chance), but it's time to get back on the ball. The-Numbers has posted their latest DVD Sales Chart, which has Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Kick-Ass on top. After the jump, and you can view the full chart, my DVD Sales Notes, and TBOJ's exclusive Blu-Ray sales estimates.

DVD Sales Notes:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid's debut on the home market wasn't all that wimpy. The middle school comedy moved 733,212 copies, good for $12.5M in revenue. Theatrically, the film earned $64M, so this is a pretty good start—two years ago, it would have been disappointing, but the home market has changed quite a bit.

Kick-Ass had an alright start on the DVD chart, but not as high as one would expect given niche fanboy audience. Superhero films and geek films (Kick-Ass falls into both categories) tend to sell faster on the home market than Kick-Ass' 480,987 units and $10.7M earnings, but there is a major silver lining—Kick-Ass easily topped the Blu-Ray sales chart, as the fanboy audience tends to be a bit more technologically advanced than the rest of America. Kick-Ass sold a relatively huge 450,000 Blu-Ray discs, which is almost the same figure as sales of the regular format. Unbelievable! Once again, times are changing on the home market.

–How can you tell audiences weren't all that impressed with Clash of the Titans when they saw it in theaters? It has a decidedly un-godly two week sales total of 1.2 million DVDs, which is pretty awful for a special-effects film that grossed $163M in theaters. Then again, Clash has moved 930,000 Blu-Ray copies, so its performance isn't all that disastrous.

–In random news, I just noticed that Taken has sold more DVDs than Alice In Wonderland: 4.3 million vs. 3.8 million copies. Sure, Taken had a year-long head start, but Alice grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. That being said, the live-action fairy tale has certainly outsold Taken in Blu-Ray sales.

–How could 78,820 people actually want to own the fourth season of Heroes?

DVD Sales for week ending August 8, 2010
RankTitleUnits this Week% ChangeTotal UnitsSales this WeekTotal SalesWeeks in Release
1 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 733,212 -.-% 733,212 $12,457,272 $12,457,272 1
2 Kick-Ass 480,987 -.-% 480,987 $10,653,622 $10,653,622 1
3 Clash of the Titans 344,243 -59.5% 1,195,045 $5,848,689 $20,303,815 2
4 The Ghost Writer 114,528 -.-% 114,528 $1,961,865 $1,961,865 1
5 Heroes: Season Four 78,820 -.-% 78,820 $3,073,192 $3,073,192 1
6 Cop Out 74,274 -42.6% 514,950 $1,432,003 $8,844,383 3
7 Repo Men 70,022 -53.4% 220,189 $1,259,696 $3,961,200 2
8 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 65,036 -.-% 2,391,586 $1,121,305 $42,440,496 31
9 Batman: Under the Red Hood 64,743 -53.1% 202,743 $1,022,616 $3,177,748 2
10 The Bounty Hunter 61,370 -23.2% 879,345 $1,218,195 $15,439,682 4
11 Avatar 59,977 20.7% 8,108,722 $1,241,950 $141,803,418 16
12 Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure 59,683 -.-% 59,683 $805,124 $805,124 1
13 Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief 58,584 -27.1% 1,504,877 $878,174 $28,470,876 6
14 Dora the Explorer: Save the Day! 56,751 25.4% - $339,938 - 239
15 Hot Tub Time Machine 56,091 -9.6% 970,395 $917,088 $17,853,947 6
16 The Book of Eli 53,598 5.9% 1,691,501 $1,088,323 $33,056,030 8
17 The Losers 50,518 -34.2% 308,255 $962,873 $5,352,679 3
18 Taken 49,858 -.-% 4,292,089 $579,988 $67,261,092 65
19 Alice in Wonderland (2010) 47,219 -2.1% 3,794,444 $943,573 $67,489,580 10
20 The Shawshank Redemption 46,513 49.7% - $223,183 - 555
21 Toy Story 39,373 4.0% - $706,485 - 719
22 Toy Story 2 38,127 1.2% - $728,123 - 490
23 Green Zone 35,267 -3.1% 670,857 $576,615 $12,390,746 7
24 Shutter Island 34,168 5.7% 1,127,955 $683,018 $20,184,701 9
25 The Blind Side 31,098 -24.3% 5,251,846 $575,002 $84,914,607 20
26 Dora the Explorer: Pirate Adventure 30,299 11.4% - $203,003 - 341
27 Brooklyn's Finest 27,349 -9.2% 529,812 $482,163 $8,420,009 5
28 Our Family Wedding 24,563 -15.6% 322,772 $446,555 $5,732,711 4
29 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 24,196 -5.8% 7,219,788 $428,269 $160,547,226 20
30 Steel Magnolias 22,212 -.-% - $144,156 - 840

Blu-Ray Sales Estimates for Week Ending August 8, 2010
RankTitleUnits this WeekTotal Units
1 Kick-Ass 450,000 450,000
2 Clash of the Titans 180,000 930,000
3 Diary of a Wimpy Kid 100,000 100,000
4 The Crazies 49,210
5 Avatar 42,525
6 Brooklyn's Finest 40,860
7 Hot Tub Time Machine 35,055
8 The Hangover 34,875
9 The Ghost Writer 34,695 34,695
10 Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
The Lightning Thief
11 James and the Giant Peach 23,670
12 Repo Men 21,555
13 Law Abiding Citizen 20,880
14 Batman: Under the Red Hood 20,700
15 The Losers 20,655
16 Shutter Island 20,070
17 Green Zone 18,945
18 Lord of War 18,180
19 Unforgiven 17,595
20 Resident Evil: Extinction 16,920

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'Inception' crosses $250 million mark

on Tuesday, August 17, 2010   10 comments

Christopher Nolan's Inception, which has really established itself as the film of summer 2010 (see the comments below), passed the $250 million mark at the box office on Monday, it's 32nd day of release. Fanboys, rejoice!

For comparison purposes, Up crossed $250M on it's 31st day of release last summer, on the way to earning $293M overall. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe took 34 days to earn $250M in 2005, and it went on to gross $291.7M total. Inception may have trouble reaching the heights of those family films, but a $280M gross is certainly within its reach.

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Joel Schumacher's 'Twelve' has been quitely bombing in limited release

on Tuesday, August 17, 2010   3 comments

Here's a story that I bet distributor Hannover House would rather just disappear. Acclaimed director Joel Schumacher's $5 million picture, Twelve, has been pulling some truly embarrassing numbers over the last two weekends at the box office. It's not clear whether we can attribute this to the overwhelmingly awful reviews (4% on RottenTomatoes!), the complete lack of advertising, or the fact that Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, and 50 Cent aren't exactly box office draws, but no matter how you look at it, Twelve is a financial bust.

After earning a sad $110,238 out of 231 theaters on the August 6 weekend—that's $477 per theater—a whopping 219 theaters dropped the film. This past weekend, Twelve played in only 12 theaters (which is the only fun fact about this movie's release), and it fell 97% to $3,437, which gave the thriller a ten-day total of $181,591. That's a pretty astoundingly awful result for a movie with some high-profile names attached. Had you even heard of Twelve? Are you surprised it's failing so badly?

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MTC tracking: 'Vampires Suck' looking to drain all the life out of 'The Switch'

on Monday, August 16, 2010   11 comments

New feature here: MTC (Major Theater Chain) tracking. These box office-predicting numbers are derived from tracking reports that get sent out to the major movie theater companies to help gauge how upcoming releases are going to perform. While these reports aren't the most accurate documents in the world, they're very helpful for box office analysis. Check out this week's projections after the jump:

Vampires Suck – $22M (over five days)
Nanny McPhee Returns – $12M
Piranha 3D – $11M
Lottery Ticket – $11M
The Switch – $4M

Yikes for The Switch! I have to think it's going to do a little better than that! No matter how you slice it, though, when Vampires Suck is leading tracking, you know summer is officially over.

[via notfabio]

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Universal's disastrous box office year: Will 'Battleship' be its latest expensive mistake?

on Monday, August 16, 2010   10 comments

2010 has been a complete and utter nightmare for Universal. The studio has released eight films, and of those releases, only one has found real success. I haven't backed down when it comes to chiding the studio for overspending, as Universal has continually offered up massive budgets for movies that were never sure-things at the box office. I mean, if you're going to shell out $200 million on a movie, it should be a title with a built-in chance at success. Otherwise it's just poor planning, and frankly, it's inexcusable! Now, according to this article from THR, Universal is planning on spending $200M to produce Battleship, an action movie based on the popular boardgame. Um, WHAT?! Hot on the heels of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's awful opening weekend, you're trying to spend $200M on your next supposed blockbuster? Allow me to remind you of your box office results this year...

Here is a chart of all of Universal's 2010 wide releases. Keep in mind that the reported budgets in the table are notoriously misleading. In Hollywood language, when a movie cost $100M to make, it's safe to assume that it really cost $125-150M. These budgets also don't include the advertising expenditures, which are typically about half the cost of the budget. Prepare for some ugly stats:

Universal 2010 Releases
Film Box Office Budget
The Wolfman $61,979,680 $150M
Green Zone $35,053,660 $100M
Repo Men $13,794,835 $32M
Robin Hood $105,257,055 $200M
Get Him to the Greek $60,974,475 $40M
Despicable Me $221,993,000 $69M
Charlie St. Cloud $28,758,460 $44M
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World $10,609,705 $80M

Just imagine if Despicable Me hadn't blown up—things would look completely hopeless! The one-two-three-four punch of The Wolfman, Green Zone, Robin Hood, and Scott Pilgrim has cost Universal a ton of money, and it's fairly embarrassing that Get Him to the Greek's $60M total is the second-best performance on the studio's lineup.

What's Universal's problem? Quite simply, they spend way too much money! With the economy struggling and audiences growing tired of paying exorbitant ticket prices, Universal needs to play it safer when it comes to their money—or at least spend it on higher quality projects. From my perspective, throwing $200M at an unestablished franchise like Battleship is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, Fox spent $250-500M (who knows?) on Avatar, but that at least had James Cameron and innovative visuals. Battleship seems like a slapped-together affair, with castings happening just two weeks before the shoot. On top of that, are audiences really going to be engaged by a boardgame adaptation? I'm not so optimistic.

Am I being too harsh? Will Battleship be Universal's latest mistake?

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New This Week: 'The Switch,' 'Piranha 3D,' 'Nanny McPhee Returns,' 'Vampires Suck,' 'Lottery Ticket'

on Monday, August 16, 2010   4 comments

How can you tell that we've moved into the dog days of summer? Just look at the rather sad slate of releases. Studios have traditionally used late August and early September as a dumping ground for movies they just want to get off their hands. Most of the time, these movies are awful, and studios are only releasing them out of obligation in hopes of breaking even. Sometimes, though, these are actually quality films, but ones that have little to no chance of box office success. This week, we have both types of movies hitting theaters.  The bad: Vampires Suck and Lottery Ticket, the so-bad-it's-good: Piranha 3D, and the difficult-to-market: Nanny McPhee Returns and The Switch.

Vampires Suck (Fox) – 2,900 theaters – Reviews
Becca, an anxious, non-vampire teen, is torn between two boys. Before she can choose, Becca must get around her controlling father, who embarrasses Becca by treating her like a child. Meanwhile, Becca's friends contend with their own romantic issues -- all of which collide at the prom. 
Just when I thought we were free of these Scary Movie-esque "spoofs," along comes Vampires Suck to prove that there is no hope for humanity. The trailer has a big 6.6 million views on YouTube, which is sad, considering this looks like the worse one yet.

Nanny McPhee Returns (Universal) – 2,600 theaters – Reviews
In the latest installment, Nanny McPhee appears at the door of a harried young mother, Mrs. Isabel Green, who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. But once she's arrived, Nanny McPhee discovers that Mrs. Green's children are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins who have just moved in and refuse to leave. Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life to a tree-climbing piglet and a baby elephant who turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to teach her mischievous charges five new lessons.
Emma Thompson is determined to make this franchise work, but selling a movie about following rules to kids isn't so easy. The original film earned $47.1M in 2006, but it wasn't very memorable, and despite better  reviews this time around, the sequel will be lucky to earn that much.

The Switch (Miramax) – 1,700 theaters – Reviews
A 40-year-old unmarried woman decides to become pregnant by inseminating herself with a turkey baster. What she doesn't know is that the sperm is from her best friend, who must live with the secret that the child is his. 
The media's favorite punching bag, Jennifer Aniston, is definitely a box office draw in the romantic comedy world, but artificial insemination isn't such an accessible theme. The low theater count doesn't bode well for this.

Piranha 3D (Weinstein) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews
Every year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, a riot of sun and drunken fun. But this year, there's something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers; A new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria. After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents. 
Remember Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Well, Piranha 3D is in the same boat. The internet fanboys will love it, but tongue-in-cheek B-movie gore never works at the box office, and the lack of advertising isn't helping. This might do a bit better than Slither.

Lottery Ticket (Warner Bros) – 1,900 theaters – Reviews
Kevin Carson, a young man living in the projects, wins $370 million in a nationwide lottery. When his opportunistic neighbors discover he has the winning ticket in his possession, Kevin must survive their greedy and sometimes even threatening actions over a three-day holiday weekend before he can claim his prize.
Urban comedies geared toward black audiences often perform much better than anyone is expecting. With low production costs of $15-20M, the Bow Wow-led Lottery Ticket doesn't need to earn much to be considered a modest success.

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Weekend Fix: 'The Expendables' blows up, and 'Eat Pray Love' opens nicely, but 'Scott Pilgrim' proves to be expendable

on Sunday, August 15, 2010   3 comments

Let's get right to the story that everyone online wants to talk about: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Universal's latest expensive mistake (after Wolfman, Green Zone, and Robin Hood) debuted in fifth place with a weak $10.5 million. You can blame Michael Cera if you want, or you can take out your anger on the stupidity of Americans—the real culprit in this situation, though, were the unnaturally high expectations. Like Snakes on a Plane and Kick-Ass before it, Scott Pilgrim never had any chance of living up to the massive online buzz that surrounded it. Movie geeks love to buzz about this sort of movie, which was pretty much made just for them, but when it comes time to demonstrate their buying power, the fanboys are always a much smaller audience than Hollywood had anticipated. Add on the fact that this visually ambitious movie is just not very accessible to general audiences, and you have a recipe for box office trouble. Sure DVD sales will be strong, but Scott Pilgrim will be lucky to even earn $25M at the box office, and Universal needs to get their act together.

Perhaps I'm just feeling unsympathetic because I'm truly baffled that everyone thinks Scott Pilgrim is so incredible. The film is audacious and beautiful to look at, but it leaves absolutely no emotional impression. None! I saw the movie six weeks ago, and I still can't think of a singly reason why Scott and Ramona actually belong together. Scott Pilgrim doesn't hold up emotionally at all, and that leaves me cold. I think the positive internet response has scared people from saying anything negative about the movie, but I, for one, totally understand how this box office debacle happened. Rant over.

But let's get to the rest of the box office. The Expendables dominated the weekend, as the slew of action stars drew a huge $35 million. With a per theater average of $10,713, The Expendables pulled off its crazy casting stunt successfully, and it should stick around for a few weeks to come. Unless it totally free falls from here, The Expendables should break $100 million, joining the ranks of Inception, Salt, Despicable Me, and The Other Guys as the late-summer films that saved this season's box office. The Expendables is just a fun, escapist, popcorn movie, and anytime Jason Statham gets the box office results that he deserves, I'm a happy camper.

Eat Pray Love got off to a pretty good start, as well, earning a nice $23.7 million. While its $7,690 average isn't quite heavenly, it does prove that Julia Roberts still has a prayer when it comes to opening a movie. Where the movie goes from here is anyone's guess. On the one hand, the film's target demographic of women over 25 aren't the type to rush out to see a movie, but the built-in draw of the popular novel may have brought audiences in more quickly. The best comparison is probably The Time Traveler's Wife, which opened on the same weekend last year. That film, which was also an adaptation of a popular book geared toward women, earned a 3.5 multiplier. Applying that figure to Eat Pray Love would give the Sony film about $83 million.

Among holdovers, The Other Guys came in third place and fell a typical-for-comedy 49% to $18 million. The Will Ferrell buddy-cop picture has earned $70.5 million, and since most well-reviewed comedies don't start showing legs until their third weekend (see Dinner for Schmucks for proof of this), I have no doubt that The Other Guys will start holding much better in its next frame. I'm still seeing a $120M finish for the film. Inception, meanwhile, continued its remarkable run, earning $11.4 million in its fifth weekend of release! With a $248.6M gross, the Christopher Nolan-directed picture has become the best commercial Warner Bros ever could have wanted for Batman 3.

Other random tidbits:
Salt broke the $100M barrier, and its gross now stands at $103.6M. With a $110M budget and mediocre international performance, I'm not sure if that's enough to justify a sequel.
Despicable Me's $222M gross is Universal's saving grace, especially considering its low costs.
Step Up 3D looks like it may be the last theatrical release for the franchise. Whether it was franchise fatigue, the lack of any real stars, or the 3D factor that drove audiences away is unclear, but it is a shame that the best use of 3D on screen this year isn't being rewarded at all.
Toy Story 3 broke the $400M barrier, which explains why Disney is forcing Pixar to make more sequels.
–The top 12 films earned $133 million, up 6.4%from same weekend last year, when District 9 topped the box office with $37M.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For August 13-15, 2010
Rank Movie Studio Theaters Weekend Gross   Chg     AVG.   Total
The Expendables Lionsgate 3270 $35,030,000 $10,713 $35,030,000
Eat Pray Love Sony 3082 $23,700,000 $7,690 $23,700,000
The Other Guys Sony 3651 $18,000,000 -49%$4,930 $70,543,000
Inception Warner Bros 3120 $11,370,000 -39%$3,644 $248,554,000
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Universal 2735 $10,525,230 $3,848 $10,525,230
Despicable Me Universal 2923 $6,766,745 -32%$2,315 $221,992,780
Step Up 3D Disney 2439 $6,626,600 -58%$2,717 $29,565,000
Salt Sony 2834 $6,350,000 -42%$2,241 $103,569,000
Dinner for Schumcks Paramount 3046 $6,316,000 -39%$2,074 $58,816,000
Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Warner Bros 2728 $4,075,000 -41%$1,494 $35,104,000
Toy Story 3 Disney 1219 $2,165,000 -31%$1,776 $400,676,000
Charlie St. Cloud Universal 2083 $2,083,000 -56%$1,000 $28,727,530
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: 'The Expendables' $13.5M, 'Eat Pray Love' $9M, 'Scott Pilgrim' $4.7M

on Friday, August 13, 2010   11 comments

According to some very early Friday estimates, it looks like the weekend is shaping up just the way most analysts predicted. The Expendables took the top spot on Friday with $13.5 million. Given its niche audience of super-excited males, The Expendables is likely to be a bit frontloaded, so a $35 million weekend could be in store. Julia Roberts' comeback picture Eat Pray Love, meanwhile, pulled in an estimated $9 million. With its target audience of women over 25, this isn't as likely to be so frontloaded, and a $25 million weekend may result. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World started off disappointingly with $4.7 million, and unfortunately, if there was ever a film that would be frontloaded, it's this one. Scott Pilgrim might be able to defeat Ramona's seven evil exes, but when it comes to fighting off box office heavyweights, he's certainly no Dolph Lundgren. Look for a sad $11.3 million weekend. I've updated the post with full Friday results, but I'll be traveling all day today, so I won't be able to make any further updates until we see how all this pans out on Sunday. Full results below:

Friday, August 13, 2010 Box Office
1. The Expendables $13.5M / $35M
2. Eat Pray Love $9M / $25M
3. The Other Guys $5.7M / $19M
4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World $4.7M / $11.3M
5. Inception $3.4M / $11.8M
6. Step Up 3D $2.3M / $7M  
7. Despicable Me $2.3M / $8M
8. Dinner for Schumcks $2M / $6.7M
9. Salt $1.8M / $6.2M
10. Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore $1.7M / $6M

[via Deadline]

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'Toy Story 3' now highest grossing animated film of all time

on Friday, August 13, 2010   2 comments

A few days ago, I told you that Toy Story 3 had become Pixar's highest grossing movie. Now, the 3D sequel has achieved yet another impressive milestone. With a global cume of $920 million, Toy Story 3 has become the highest grossing animated movie of all time—and in just eight weeks of release! Shrek 2, which came out in 2004, previously held the record with its $919 million gross. Toy Story 3 should cross the $1 billion mark in the next few weeks.

What do you think, Junkies? Impressed? Surprised? Is there anything between Toy Story 3 and the $1 billion mark?

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'The Expendables' hopes to lay the smack down on 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Scott Pilgrim'

on Friday, August 13, 2010   2 comments

Ah, it's nice to be back to blogging somewhat regularly again! It's a good thing I am, because I wouldn't want to miss a weekend as diverse and exciting as this one! Entering theaters are three highly-anticipated films which have had the movie world buzzing for months: the ultimate action-star reunion, The Expendables, the ultimate chick-lit adaptation, Eat Pray Love, and the ultimate fanboy film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. While these three titles will certainly help maintain the late-summer momentum that finally kicked in at the box office with the arrival of Inception, it's somewhat surprising that none of them are looking like major blockbusters. Basically, they're all targeting way too narrow target audiences. Check out my predictions after the jump.

The Expendables — $34 million 
Sometimes gimmicks are annoying, and sometimes gimmicks are awesome. The Expendables, which is really just one giant gimmick, falls into the latter category. Uniting almost every notable action star from the last 20 years, The Expendables has lots of explosions, guns, muscles, and not-quite-washed-up leathery tough guys. Any movie with Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, among others, is sure to generate a lot of buzz, but as The A-Team proved earlier this summer, straight-up-cheesy-and-proud-of-it action movies have limited appeal. Out in 3,270 theaters, The Expendables will blast into the top spot fairly easily, but it probably won't be as big as some action fans are hoping.

Eat Pray Love — $22 million
Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling Oprah-supported memoir, Eat Pray Love has a big built-in audience of fans (and just as many haters). The film is directed by the most overrated man in showbiz, Ryan Murphy, and it stars the inexplicably enduring Julia Roberts. Filled with vague, granola themes like inner-peace and self-esteem, Eat Pray Love rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and it's not-so-positive reviews will hurt the it the long run. Sony is opening Eat Pray Love into 3082 theaters, and it should see moderate business

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — $13 million
Universal continues its streak as the most misguided studio of 2010 with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which is opening into 2818 theaters. A super stylish (trust me, I've seen the film) adaptation of a series of graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim is a complete love letter to fanboys, but as history has taught us, that doesn't mean much of anything at the box office. Michael Cera stars as the titular character, but his credibility with audiences has begun to dwindle as people tire of his awkward nerd-shtick. Tracking isn't great for the comic book/superhero/videogame spoof, and this is destined to have poor legs at the box office. Reviews are surprisingly strong (I didn't like it!), but Scott Pilgrim looks like it may become the latest expensive mistake for its studio.

Among holdovers, The Other Guys should ease out of the top spot by about 40-45% to $20 million, battling Eat Pray Love for second place. Inception might fall by 40% to $11M, due to the increased competition from The Expendables. Christopher Nolan's film that saved the summer will be knocking on the door of $250M by Sunday.

What are your predictions for the weekend box office? Sound off in the comments below!

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