Sunday, June 28, 2009

Black Sheep @ The Box Office: Transformers More Than Bleeds Us Dry

Earlier this week, Michael Bay was quoted in the press as saying he was disappointed with Paramount and Dreamworks’ promotion of his highly anticipate sequel, TRANFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. He felt that there wasn’t enough of it; that his film was being treated as some plain old sequel and not the event film he believed it to be. After pulling in over $200 million in just five days, subsequently tying THE DARK KNIGHT for fastest film to reach $200 million and far surpassing SPIDER-MAN 2 ($152 million) as the highest five day-opening in history, it would seem to me that any more money spent on promotion would have been completely unnecessary.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN opened on Wednesday to the tune of $60 million, more than double what the TRANSFORMERS did in its opening day in 2007. This would have included over $16 million in midnight screenings the night before, second only to THE DARK KNIGHT. And with it’s near $30 million Thursday take, the film had already banked approximately $90 million before the weekend even began. As the first installment was a general crowd pleaser, it was expected that a lot of more casual filmgoers would have waited to catch the film on the weekend but the fanatics came out in droves during the week to ensure this mammoth success. Whereas critics were pretty much unanimous about not enjoying either film, fans were passionate about the last. This is not the case this time out. Fans of the first are split on the new one so a steeper than expected decline may follow next week. Still, the film captured one of the best global debuts of all time with a combined total of $387 million.

The week’s other major release did little to capitalize on counterprogramming. MY SISTER’S KEEPER, the movie that makes me teary during the trailers starring Cameron Diaz, opened in fifth place to a total of $12 million and an average of under $5K. Less than stellar reviews will likely urge many interested parties to wait for the rental. Meanwhile, a decidedly more upbeat romantic comedy, AWAY WE GO, has finally squeaked its way into the Top 10 this week. After adding over 360 screens, the Sam Mendes directed indie saw its earnings increase by over 93% over last week with an average of over $3K in its fourth week in theatres. Distributer, Focus Features, has been smart about its expansion technique and AWAY WE GO is now sitting comfortably as this summer’s light indie must see.

While the $26K per screen average of TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN is certainly impressive for such a wide release, it is not the highest per screen average this weekend. That would belong to Kathryn Bigelow’s highly regarded THE HURT LOCKER. This may be one of the first Iraq war films to register with filmgoers, as is evident with its $36K per screen average coming from just 4 sites in all of North America. In other limited release news, the Stephen Frears directed CHERI, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, opened to a solid but not spectacular total gross of $400K on just 76 screens. And finally, Woody Allen's WHATEVER WORKS maintained a healthy $11K per screen average as it expanded to 35 screens, suggesting the reaction to the film is a good one.

NEXT WEEK: TRANSFORMERS will face serious competition next weekend, making its expected tumble all the more inevitable. Families will be packing the seats for ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (4000 screens) and will have the added bonus of higher ticket prices for the 3D screenings. And Michael Mann’s much anticipated Jon Dillinger biopic, PUBLIC ENEMIES, starring Johnny Depp, rolls out onto 3200 screens. Be sure to catch the Black Sheep review for PUBLIC ENEMIES coming mid week.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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