Sunday, July 19, 2009

BLACK SHEEP @ The Box Office: HARRY POTTER Works his Magic!

This time last year, THE DARK KNIGHT shattered the notion of what it meant to open a movie with a three-day haul of $158.4 million. I can still remember how very ticked off I was that I had to settle for MAMMA MIA! on opening night because all THE DARK KNIGHT IMAX screenings were sold out. No one expected HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE to come anywhere near that but Mr. Potter and friends still managed to get a trick or two in anyway.

It certainly seemed like this sixth Harry Potter installment had the potential to reach new heights when it debuted to $22.2 million in advance midnight screenings the day before its release. This gross easily surpassed THE DARK KNIGHT’s $18.5 million record midnight haul from last year. The next day, it came very close to beating the record for best Wednesday opening that was set just a few weeks back when TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN opened to $62 million. Ultimately, opening to the third largest theatre count in history helped HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE take in a weekend haul of $79.5 million for a five-day total of just under $160 million. It is the largest Harry Potter opening to date and fitting, if you, like I, thought it was the best Harry Potter film to date as well.

The news was not so good for BRUNO this weekend. The film fell off a drastic 73% in its second weekend, ensuring that it will come nowhere near the success of star, Sasha Baron Cohen’s last hit, BORAT. I speculated last week that BRUNO didn’t do as well because of its gay content and as I’ve done no research on the subject, I have no basis for this. The film is certainly not being as praised by critics or fans this time out but most people I know who’ve seen it, still thought it was funny. And so I am still left wondering whether the world just didn’t want to watch such a flamboyantly gay character for that long. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

And, while THE HURT LOCKER (pictured further up because I don't want to see any more BRUNO pics) continued to outdraw the majority of the Top 10 in terms of per screen averages, with $8K at 94 screens, a 19% increase over last week, the big art house success story of the week belonged to lovers. 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, a big favorite at this year’s Sundance film festival, opened in 12th place with a per screen average that easily exceeded every title in the Top 10, $31K on just 27 screens. The film expands next Friday and the Black Sheep review is coming this week.

NEXT WEEK: You know its going to be a great weekend when the good money is on the movie with the talking hamsters. Disney’s G-FORCE opens on 3200 screens. Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler battle it out for all the sexes in THE UGLY TRUTH (2700 screens). And yet another movie about a demonic child, THE ORPHAN, opens on 2600 screens. In this one though, we’ll never believe what made the little girl do it. That's what the trailer says anyway.


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