Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday box office (quick)...

Up did $21.4 million, which could mean $55 million, or it could mean $75 million. I'd say closer to the latter, but Wall-E was surprisingly front loaded last year. We won't know until Sunday morning, no matter what Nikki Finke tells you at 4pm today. Either way, it's right in line with the Pixar expectation and just a shade below the Pixar-record opening day of $23 million for Wall-E.

Universal marketing should be dragged to hell for not getting Drag Me to Hell to $8 million+ (it opened to $6.5 million yesterday). The reviews were great, the poster was terrific, and the film damn well should have capitalized on the 'girl power' marketing niche. The TV spots seemed to have played up the director's Evil Dead roots as well as the reviews, but failed to actually make the picture look genuinely fun (especially since they insisted on spoiling all kinds of climactic stuff). I can only wonder if they spent their ad dollars chasing the geek demo that was always going to show up. There is no excuse for this not opening at least as well as The Strangers. Considering the tripe that Sony/Screen Gems gets to $20 million+ (Prom Night, When A Stranger Calls), something that theoretically plays in the same sandbox (PG-13, hot-chick in peril, the potential use of female empowerment as a marketing tool) plus gets knock-em out of the park reviews should have done better than these would-be pretenders.

I can only wonder if the previews made younger teens think that this would actually be genuinely scary, as opposed to the no harm, no foul stuff that Screen Gems usually puts out. As we'll notice from the opening weekend trends, PG-13 horror that all but promises not to scare you has a much easier time opening at $20 million than R-rated horror that actually looks scary and/or intense (think Quarantine or The Hills Have Eyes). Ironically, Universal may have been better off allowing/forcing Sam Raimi to get an R. The PG-13 doesn't seem to have brought in the young kids and, from what I'm reading in the comments sections of my review at Huff Post and Open Salon, quite a few horror buffs are reluctant to go purely because of the lower rating. I can only imagine the word of mouth on this will be terrific, but $6.5 million is a mild disappointment for a major studio horror film that got almost unanimously rave reviews.

In other news, Star Trek crossed the $200 million mark yesterday, dropping only 39% from last Friday. It's now the highest grossing film of the year domestically. Night at the Museum 2 buckled under the competition and fell 54%, while Terminator Salvation crumbled 65% via negative audience feedback. More to come when the full weekend numbers roll in.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Niki said...

I saw UP before it opened and was not thrilled. I think it will have a good opening weekend (60+ million if they follow the usual trends) but not sure if long term it will do great.

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