Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday Numbers roll in... ($20 million for Kung Fu Panda)

Once again, Deadline Hollywood and Fantasy Moguls were the first to report the Friday numbers, and once again they were off by a decent margin. At least Finke corrected herself in the morning, after posting super-early Friday evening estimates (Moguls did late in the afternoon too). I'd rather be right than first, but that's just me.

Anyway, Kung Fu Panda pulled in a whopping $20 million on Friday alone, suggesting that it'll top $55 million even if it doesn't play like a kids film. If it does, then $70 million is not out of the question. Finding Nemo and The Incredibles both parlayed $20 million Fridays into $70 million three-days. If it beats $74 million (unlikely, but possible), it'll be the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel cartoon ever and the third biggest cartoon opening period. Obviously I should have taken those $49 million openings for Madagascar and Shark's Tale and adjusted them for inflation. Oh well, if I'm going to be wrong, I'd rather it be because a good film did better than I expected.

This may be the third summer in four years where a Pixar film is defeated at the domestic box office by a DreamWorks cartoon (ironically the one off-year is 2006, where Over The Hedge deserved to crush the atrocious Cars but came up in a distant second-place). Wall-E now has its work cut out for it, so it'll be interesting to see whether the seemingly off-beat and arty robot tale can hold its own against the more traditional (but very good) family adventure film.

For the record, Wall-E does not have to break any records or fend off any competition to be considered a success. If Wall-E is good, it'll make its own boatload of money and play all summer right alongside Kung Fu Panda, and that's the best result for everyone. If anything, how wonderful would it be if they manage to co-exist with DreamWorks/Paramount as the place for high-quality traditional animated product while Disney/Pixar becomes the artier, more experimental cartoon factory? For DreamWorks that's gonna have to mean more Over The Hedge and Kung Fu Panda and less Shark Tale. For Pixar, that means more Meet The Robinsons and Ratatouille and less Cars.

Don't Mess With The Zohan did a terrific $15 million, which means it'll end up with about $42 million. It may just top the $42.2 million of Anger Management that represents Sandler's best three-day stand-alone number (Longest Yard pulled in $47 million in the Fri-Sun portion of a $58 million four-day Memorial day opening). Nice work to all involved, as there was some fear that this offbeat Sandler project had a Little Nicky vibe. Obviously the lesson isn't 'don't make Sandler weird' but 'don't make him ugly'.

Indiana Jones 4 drops a reasonable 47% to $6.5 million. Assuming matinée business kicks up again, expect about $24 million for the thirdd weekend and a $255 million 21-day total. It's still running neck and neck with Pirates 3, so the $300 million mark is still likely.

I keep giving Sex And The City the benefit of the doubt and it keeps kicking me in the ass. "Don't worry, it won't be a one-weekend wonder!" "Oh wow, that $26 million opening day will lead to a $70 million three-day!" "Wow, those strong weekday numbers mean that the second weekend won't have a huge drop!" Anyway... Sex And The City dropped a whopping 73% from Friday to Friday to $7.3 million. To be fair, last Friday was insanely front-loaded, so the total weekend drop could be a more reasonable 60%. Still, come what may, it'll likely cross the $100 million mark by Sunday.

Fun fact - they are test-screening both The Women and He's Just Not That Into You this coming week around Woodland Hills. Do I see another Spring Break test screening around the corner?

Scott Mendelson

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