Saturday, July 17, 2010

Inception opens with $21 million, Sorcerer's Apprentice grosses $5 million (that's what you get for opening on Wed!). Friday box office for 07/16/10.

Right in line with the highest expectations, Chris Nolan's Inception pulled in $21.6 million on its first full day, including $3 million in midnight sneaks. Depending on whether it plays like a general-audiences hit or a frontloaded genre picture, it could do anywhere from $55 million to $65 million over the weekend. In the realm of live-action films that are completely original and not based on any other prior property, Inception's opening day ranks fourth , behind Avatar ($26.7 million), The Day After Tomorrow ($23.5 million) and 2012 ($23.4 million), while ranking just above M. Night Shyamalan's Signs ($20.8 million) and The Village ($20.3 million). It's a doozy of a start, and it will be absolutely fascinating to see just what drew audiences to this epic puzzler (the concept, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Chris Nolan). It looks like Chris Nolan has joined the exclusive club of marquee directors (James Cameron, M. Night Shyamalan, Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg) who can open a high-concept picture partially on their name in the ad campaign.

Also opening was The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Disney erred in the same way that Fox did with Knight and Day, opening this not-anticipated picture on a Wednesday and thus cutting off its own knees. The film pulled in a mediocre $5.2 million for Friday, a number which would have been much higher had the film not pulled in $7 million during the first two days of release. Now what could have been a manageable $25 million three-day opening will be a weak $17 million three-day and $25 million five-day number. Once again, I repeat, unless your film is heavily anticipated, unless audiences are lining up around the block for the midnight showings, DO NOT open your film on a Wednesday! I don't care that its summer and I don't care if you're worried about competition from another movie opening that same Friday, unless moviegoers absolutely have to see your movie as soon as possible, they can wait until the weekend. Just say no to Wednesday openings.

Scott Mendelson

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