Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weekend Numbers (Final)

Not much unexpected here.

Tropic Thunder ended the five-day weekend with a decent if unremarkable haul of $36.8 million ($25.8 million of that on Fri-Sun). Again, this is a fine result marred only by excessive hype and excessive costs. The minimum budget for this was was $90 million, but numbers as high as $160 million are being tossed around. If it's $90 million, then Paramount/Dreamworks/etc is just fine and this will be in the black by the time the overseas run ends. If it's in the upper estimates, then Paramount better pray for some legs and an unexpectedly good overseas run. Say whatever you will about how 'satire doesn't sell' or 'people don't want war movies', but in the end this opened exactly at the higher end of the Ben Stiller/Jack Black comedy properties that aren't sequels or King Kong. The marketing was saturation level, but the main audience (older viewers) were just the sort that actually cared about the Olympics. Again, this is a fine number and if the movie holds up at all, they'll be ok.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - $14.6 million. Since this film pretty much cost $50.00 to make, and since it was already intended to be aired on TV, this is pretty much gravy for Warner Bros. The bad press amongst the geeks probably cost it $5 million, especially the AICN dust up. But this was never, ever going to perform like anything approaching a live-action Star Wars film, and anyone who thought so really ought to retire from this business. Still, the reviews are scathing and the fans seem to be taking it personally (when don't they?), not realizing that Star Wars is a brand that can be used for different interpretations as Lucas and co see fit. Don't like it? Don't see it. Whether this film does any long term harm to the brand name remains to be seen, but I'd imagine that everything will be forgiven if, come next month, 'The Force Unleashed' is as terrific a video game as everyone wants it to be. Sadly, this may go down as one of the Warner Bros' highest grossing theatrical cartoons in their canon. Warner Bros. has literally only had seven 0r eight animated features that grossed over $30 million. This will certainly out gross such under performing classics as The Iron Giant and Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (another spin-off that went theatrical at the last minute, only to tank and make $5.6 million).

I completely forgot about Mirrors last Friday morning, so my apologies (I updated after the fact). I was expecting about $9 million and it did $11.1 million, so Mazel tov to Fox. Considering the competition and low key advertising, the fact that it was on only 2664 theaters, and that many of those theaters (like mine on Sunday afternoon) were smaller auditoriums, this is a pretty impressive figure. I don't know the budget for this, but it'll do fine on DVD, especially with at least one new classic kill-scene.

The Dark Knight finally fell to second place, for whatever that's worth (it only occurred because The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor was terrible and Pineapple Express opened on a Wednesday). Still, despite losing about 400 screens, it dropped a shockingly small 37% for $16.4 million. New total: $471 million. Yup, not adjusted for inflation, The Dark Knight is now the second-highest grossing film of all time. It won't be catching Titanic's $600 million, but there is no shame in that. This number will stay number two for a long, long time.

Of note: Despite my earlier predictions of overseas under performance, The Dark Knight has bucked the trend and crossed the $800 million mark overseas, overtaking Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull as the worldwide champion. And since, as you may have heard, Harry Potter 6 has been delayed till July 2009, The Dark Knight will all but certainly end the year as the domestic and overseas champion of 2008. Whether it can scrounge up another $350 million globally to take the #2 global slot is debatable, but we'll see.

Woody Allen's Vicki Barcelona ended up at number 10 with $3.7 million (about $5500 per screen). This is of course one of Allen's biggest openings ever, for whatever that's worth. The Pineapple Express dropped 57% for a second weekend total of $9.7 million. Yup, it made less on its second weekend than it made on its opening Wednesday. This one is basically finished, but this $27 million production has already made $63 million and will probably make it to $80 million before having a long life on DVD/BluRay. Despite losing over 500 screens, about 1/4 of its total, Journey To The Center Of The Earth still only dropped 31% this weekend. It's at $89 million at the moment and will likely squeak past the $100 million mark.

Scott Mendelson

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