Sunday, January 25, 2009

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Mall Cop vs. The Oscars

Alright, yes, PAUL BLART: MALL COP held on to the number one spot this weekend with a very narrow decline. And yes, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS opened in second place with respectable numbers considering Kate Beckinsale did not return for this third outing. None of this matters though because this past Thursday, the 81st Annual Academy Award nominations were announced and it’s time to check in on the top nominee to see how they fared now that the highest honours have been bestowed upon them.

Two out of the five nominees for Best Picture find themselves in the Top 10. Re-entering in ninth place this weekend is the nominee leader with a whopping 13 nods, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. The film has been playing in wide release now for six weeks but still managed an 8% increase. With a total of $111 million, it is by far the most successful of the five nominees. It may have come in second place in the overall tally but SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is the top box office performer this weekend amongst the nominees. The film entered its first wide release frame this weekend and moved up five spots to reach the number five position, a new high in its lengthy 11 week run. The film has nabbed up over $55 million already and judging from the reception and accolades that keep lining up for it, the Danny Boyle success is almost certainly destined to top $100 million.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was not the only Oscar hopeful that planned its wide release expansion for this weekend to coincide with expected nominations. Best Picture nominee, FROST/NIXON added a hefty 946 screens to see its take increase over 350% from last weekend. While it may sound impressive, its average was under $3K, which is nothing compared to the averages it was pulling down in limited release. THE WRESTLER only managed to earn two Oscar nods (Springsteen was robbed!) but that didn’t stop it from increasing over 115% after adding 422 screens this last week. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD came up short at the Oscars, earning only three nominations but it had already planned to add 887 screens so what can you do. The film saw its returns increase by 195% and just missed the Top 10 so hopefully that will make up for the Academy not giving the love to Winslet’s disheartening performance. Lastly, THE DARK KNIGHT reentered IMAX theatres this weekend in hopes of capitalizing on its nominations and crossing the $1 billion mark internationally. Sadly, it missed the nominations in all the major categories, save for Heath Ledger’s supporting turn, and Warner Bros. has not released its projected earnings so I can’t even tell you if it lost out there too.

The remaining two nominees for Best Picture did nothing this weekend to take advantage of their recognition. Still, both MILK and THE READER saw their earnings increase by 10% each. MILK is essentially finishing its run while THE READER will expand next weekend.

NEXT WEEK: There will be no box office report as Black Sheep will be on a beach somewhere.

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