Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday box office in review: Angels & Demons pulls in $16.5 million for Friday.

As expected, Angels & Demons pulled in $16.5 million on its opening Friday. Absolutely no one expected the picture to open anywhere near the $28.6 million that the controversy-drenched The Da Vinci Code opened to over the same weekend three years ago. And if they did, they are idiots. That former picture had months of free publicity, the mystique of its alleged non-fiction roots, and the allure of controversy, and it was based on a much more widely read book. Rival studios are 'expecting' a $55-60 million opening, which is what rival studios do in these situations (What... it didn't mean our inflated expectations? It's a failure!"). I have no idea what the picture cost (the fact that I can't find said budget is an ominous sign), but it is arguably more entertaining than The Da Vinci Code, so it could have better legs. Although Sony may have shot itself in the foot, as the only other adult-skewing entry on the horizon until July is the June 12th release of The Taking Of Pelham 123, which is also a Sony production (July 1st brings the Michael Mann gangster epic Public Enemies). More long term prognosis when the weekend finals come in on Monday night. On the plus side, come what may, the film has a climactic moment that will quickly become a YouTube favorite, on par with Nicolas Cage's bearsuit attack in The Wicker Man.

Star Trek dropped a decent 55% from its midnight-screening enhanced opening Friday. It's $11.8 million officially put it over the top as the highest grossing Star Trek movie of all time. Obvious inflation still places it farther down the list in terms of tickets sold, but the speed in which Star Trek blazed past is predecessors in impressive none the less. The total weekend drop for the weekend will probably be about 50%, which sadly is considered legs in this day in age. X-Men Origins: Wolverine dropped 48% for a $4.2 million third Friday, which sure beats the 75% drop that the picture took on its second Friday. Theoretically, this would imply that the bleeding has been clotted somewhat, although it will still get hammered next weekend by Terminator: Salvation. It just crossed the $140 million mark and should finish the weekend just over $150 million, or just a touch ahead of the week-younger Star Trek (Trek has already begun outpacing the daily numbers for Wolverine). As it is, it'll take even Star Trek at least one more week to catch up to the year's number one film, the $188 million grossing Monsters Vs. Aliens, a number that the sci-fi reboot should cross on or just after Memorial Day.

More to come when the weekend finals are announced (aiming for Monday night).

Scott Mendelson

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