Monday, May 18, 2009

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Demons Over Angels

Two years ago, around this same time, director, Ron Howard and novelist, Dan Brown, unleashed THE DA VINCI CODE on the planet. It pulled in about $77 million in North America and blew away everyone’s expectations. The book itself was a phenomenon and that spilled over onto the screen and across the planet. That said, people may have flocked to see it but they didn’t leave happy. Howard and Brown are back again with ANGELS & DEMONS but it seems to me that despite their angelic efforts, the demonic taste their last outing left in people’s mouths has ultimately won out.

ANGELS & DEMONS has brought in an estimated $48 million in returns but that is a far cry from the opening gross of its predecessor. Reviews for both the book and the film were better this time out but there was no urgency this time out. Still, the haul was still solid and no one call ANGELS & DEMONS a disappointment. This is especially true when you factor in the international returns. ANGELS & DEMONS, the continued adventures of Tom Hanks as supreme symbologist, Robert Langdon, pulled in a little over $104 million in 96 countries to easily capture the international crown with a total of $152.3 million. Not to take away from this success but THE DA VINCI CODE did bring is $155 million internationally and a grand total of $232 million. I’ll stop harping; ANGELS & DEMONS is not THE DA VINCI CODE after all and fans can also appreciate that because it is definitely a better film too.

Howard, Hanks and Brown (not a law firm) only narrowly captured the top position in North America as last week’s champ, STAR TREK, came in just behind with $43 million. A 42% drop for a fan heavy summer blockbuster is extremely respectable. This is especially true when you consider the 65%+ drop of WOLVERINE in its second weekend. WOLVERINE tapered off this week with only a 44% drop but in just two weeks, STAR TREK has nearly totaled more than WOLVERINE has in three weeks ($147 million vs. $151).

As there were no other debuts in the Top 10, which did about 4% better than the same weekend last year when PRINCE CASPIAN debuted with $55 million, we can go straight to the excitement happening below it. The oft delayed, THE BROTHERS BLOOM, starring Adrian Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz, finally came out and actually did well. It didn’t capture the honor of having the highest per screen average around but it did fare better than ANGELS & DEMONS, with an average of over $20K on just 4 screens. The highest per screen average around actually went to French export, SUMMER HOURS, starring Juliette Binoche. The film in which siblings let go of their past during an estate sale pulled in over $24K per screen on just 2 screens. This week’s only other major platform debut was a disappointing finish for the Steve Zahn/Jennifer Aniston indie, MANAGEMENT. The film debuted on 212 screens and brought in less than $2K per screen. Promotion was pretty minimal though so I guess that was what management expected.

NEXT WEEK: ANGELS & DEMONS does not stand a chance against the overcrowded weekend that is coming. First off, on the smaller fare front, THE BROTHERS BLOOM will expand. Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant and beautiful, THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE hits 30 screens across the country. And Jessica Biel debuts her British farce, EASY VIRTUE. When it comes to bigger movies, I think the biggest casualty will be the Wayans Brothers spoof, DANCE FLICK (2300 screens). It’s going to come down to two intensely different movies battling it out for the top spot. Ben Stiller returns in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 (4000 screens), hoping to repeat the long-term success of his first family hit. McG and Christian Bale though are back with a reenergized franchise on Thursday as TERMINATOR SALVATION (3500 screens) finally declares war on the multiplexes.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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