Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday Numbers - blood flows at the US box office

The List

First off, Get Smart pulls in $13.5 million, setting it up to make about $39 million, which is where everyone more or less pegged it. This is a fine opening for a very-well marketed movie. The cast was filled with demographically targeted actors and every one of them earned their keep. This one should play at moderately healthy levels for the next few weeks. It IS quasi-assembly-line film making, but it's occasionally charming and harmless. I laughed about six times, which is about five more than I expected to.

Kung Fu Panda dropped another 40% with $6.4 million, again seemingly running neck and neck with Cars. Yay for quality cartoons! I shant expect another weekend drop this low next weekend.

Indiana Jones 4 has now surpassed Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 in the day-to-day numbers. Pirates 3 ended up with $309 million, so expect Indy 4 to close out with $315 million.

And that's pretty much all of the good news...

So, Marvel's brilliant strategy to reboot the Hulk franchise continues with expected results. Hulk's second Friday dropped a mammoth 76% five-years ago, ending up with $18 million for a 71% drop for the weekend (the biggest % drop ever for a movie opening above $23 million). So, now with an extra $30 million spent on the new film, and allegedly more positive word of mouth, the second Friday for The Incredible Hulk is... $6.5 million... a drop of 70%. Nice work, morons. Can't imagine why you went bankrupt twelve years ago. Anyway, expect the drop to level off a little and end up with a still disastrous 65% drop. At this rate, the new Hulk will actually be lucky to equal the old Hulk's $132 million. It's called frontloading, and it's changed quite a bit since 2003, people. So, for those who bought Marvel in stock, in late April, I'd say yesterday would have been the day to sell.

Speaking of Hulk's 76% drop being a record for a second weekend for a boffo opener... that record may just fall this weekend. Despite all the attacks in the press over M. Night Shyamalan's alleged ego and what-not, audiences still liked the guy enough to show up in solid numbers ($30 million) for The Happening's opening weekend. I wish I could comment on the film's quality, but I haven't had a chance to see it (my wife wants to see it, so it's harder to schedule around the ten-month old). Although judging by this weekend's numbers, we could probably take Allison and not piss off too many people.

Yes, The Happening's second Friday is... $3.3 million... a drop of... 75%. Holy crap... which is the opinion that almost everyone I've talked to has stated in regards to the film. Anyway, Friday was a bit front loaded, so the weekend should theoretically level off to a slightly less pathetic 70%. On the plus side (grasping at straws, I know), The Happening will end with weekend with $50 million, so it'll easily make back its $60 million budget and is on track to do at least another $60 million overseas. This one will make money, but the damage to Shyamalan's reputation with regular moviegoers (the ones who didn't bother to see Lady In The Water) may require some serious intervention. Even if Avatar: The Last Air-Bender fits the bill, I'm thinking a musical comedy here. Might I suggest that M. Night do the least M. Nighty thing possible and direct the eventual adaptation of Wicked?

But wait, there's more terrible news (or great news, if you believe in justice). The new Darkseid of comedy, Mike Myers, watched his allegedly putrid Love Guru get stomped, starting out with a mere $5.5 million. If this film is in any way front loaded, expect a three-day under $15 million. If this is actually playing like a childrens' film, then it might just make it to $18 million. Might I suggest that Mike Myers consider a co-starring role in M. Night Shyamalan's Wicked?

But wait... there's more!! Adam Sandler fans continue to flee from the overpowering stench of effort and would-be quality. Yes, Don't Mess With The Zohan dropped another 60% from last Friday. That'll teach Sandler to... try!

Yeah, it's nasty out there this weekend. But don't fret moviegoers, because it's all heavy hitters from here on in. For the next month, we have Wall-E, Wanted, Hancock, Hellboy II, The Dark Knight (better not stink), Mama Mia (doesn't stink), and X-Files 2. I'll update with the final numbers on Monday night.

Scott Mendelson

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