Sunday, May 24, 2009

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Stiller Takes Down the Terminator

Overcrowding at the box office is standard fare during the summer months. I always feel that the films could be better spread out but studios continue to insist upon pitting film against film instead of just picking perhaps more quiet weekends to let films find their own audiences. I just have to learn though that it isn’t about everyone having their own day; it’s about coming out strong and taking down the other guy while you’re at it.

Prognosticators were torn on how this weekend would play out. On the one hand, TERMINATOR SALVATION was tracking very well and seemed to be riding some pretty strong buzz. On the other hand, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE AT THE SMITHSONIAN was coming a hugely successful following for the first film and a lack of family fare in the market place. Most had their money on NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM as family films tend to do big business on Memorial Day weekend. They would have won their bets but grossly overshot how much they would win by. Some predictions had the film coming in at $75 million but it only brought in $53 million in the end. While well below what they may have been hoping for, it is still much better than the first adventure’s opening weekend take of $30 million and that one went on to make over $250 million.

The buzz for TERMINATOR SALVATION seemed to dissipate pretty quickly as soon as the weekend hit. The McG directed film, the first in the series to come out since 2003, capitalized on the demand by coming on Thursday to the tune of $13 million, including midnight screenings. Poor reviews though, from both critics and fans, may have shortened the lines. Personally, I felt that the critics were being more harsh than needed but regardless, McG’s franchise reboot has a much more difficult road ahead of it as it goes into its next two expected installments. Meanwhile, the STAR TREK reboot continues to travel at warp speed. It has now brought in over $180 million in just three weeks and should have no problems crossing the $200 million mark by next weekend.

The Top 10 saw only one other debut and it did what was expected. DANCE FLICK did mediocre business and will likely end up making is reported $25 million budget back but not doing much else past that. And below the Top 10, THE BROTHERS BLOOM and SUMMER HOURS continued to add theatres and grosses. Each saw their returns increase over 300% and their averages in and around $7K per screen. Although there are no estimates reported for Steven Soderbergh’s sexy THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, the week’s best art house debut goes to EASY VIRTUE (Black Sheep review to come this week). This British farce, with Jessica Biel making a play for more leading parts, pulled in a solid $11K average. Reviews are mixed though so Biel will need to try again. I would suggest she take off some clothes but she already has and that went straight to video.

NEXT WEEK: Pixar tries to make it 10 for 10 with their latest feature, UP! An animated feature about an old grump and a boy scout in a flying house seems like a hard sell to me but they made rats in the kitchen and a half silent film about a robot work so I don’t underestimate anything they put out. UP! will be released on 3700 screens. The only other wide release next weekend is looking for a decidedly different market. Sam Raimi’s financing horror flick, DRAG ME TO HELL, opens on 2400 screens. Outside of that, THE BROTHERS BLOOM goes wide and this year’s Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, DEPARTURES, from Japan, will finally hit North American theatres.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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