Sunday, May 31, 2009


People love to watch other people fail. It is especially more delicious when the one falling is finally doing it after a number of successes. And while the industry people around the world consistently admire and appreciate the Pixar pictures, they are all still waiting to watch them fall on their faces. The logic is that a streak of success ten pictures long is not sustainable but if there is one thing Pixar is good at (and realistically, there are a great number of things they are great at), it is making the impossible happen and proving everyone wrong.

The truth of it is that people may speculate when the first Pixar failure will come but these same people all LOVE the Pixar movies. UP! is no exception to any of this. It is universally adored by critics and audiences alike and now, it has overcome a vague advertising campaign to become Pixar’s biggest opening in years. As far as comparable summer Pixar releases go, UP! and its $68 million take is the biggest Pixar opening since FINDING NEMO pulled in $70 million in 2003. The fish movie went on to make close to $340 million in North America alone. WALL-E and RATATOUILLE both debuted to less ($63 million and $47 million respectively) and went on to make over $200 million each domestically so UP! is certainly off to a bold start. Now we just have to see where the wind carries it over time.

Universal’s attempt to counterprogram against UP! was only moderately successful. Sam Raimi’s return to the horror genre, DRAG ME TO HELL, only brought in about $16 million to narrowly beat out the second week of TERMINATOR SALVATION, which stumbled more than it should have (-62%). DRAG ME TO HELL is actually only slightly less praised than UP! is but audiences did not buy into the high concept approach to horror. That old lady in the movie couldn’t afford her mortgage payments and people couldn’t afford to pay to watch her not afford those payments. Or maybe they were just more interested in seeing the second frame of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN. The Ben Stiller McMovie dropped off a reasonable 52% considering it had intense competition from UP!.

Both EASY VIRTUE and THE BROTHERS BLOOM continued successful expansions this week. THE BROTHERS BLOOM nearly cracked the Top 10, coming in just behind OBSESSED with $652K on 148 screens. Perhaps by the time final figures come in tomorrow, it will have surpassed the Beyonce thriller. Though Black Sheep doesn’t believe Jessica Biel’s turn in EASY VIRTUE is that special, audiences are eating it up. The British farce added just 16 screens to its roster and saw its returns increase by nearly 70%. And although it has the third highest per screen average of any film playing, this year’s winner Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film, DEPARTURES, did not do the kind of business befitted to an Academy Award winning film. $72K on 9 screens is respectable but hardly memorable. An earlier release would have helped significantly.

NEXT WEEK: Laugh it up, folks. Will Ferrell goes head to head with his former OLD SCHOOL director next week as LAND OF THE LOST (3300 screens) opens against the much buzzed about, THE HANGOVER (3200 screens). Oh, and if you’re a woman and want to laugh, well then you’ll be happy to hear that Nia Vardalos is back in theatres with MY LIFE IN RUINS (1100 screens). Or maybe laughing at people is much more your style. Mariah Carey returns to theatres in TENNESSEE (14 screens); she plays a waitress who wants to sing. It’s a big stretch. And finally, if you like your laughter with a little heart, Sam Mendes goes indie with AWAY WE GO. That’s where I’ll be.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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