(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: Sony Pictures, Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection.)
If we had known that The Rock was indeed cooking a biggest-star-in-the-world movie career, we would’ve stuck our noses up in there a lot sooner. Yes, we would have sniffed up those early stinkers Doom and Be Cool, because at least nestled somewhere in there was The Rundown, which featured peak Seann William Scott and a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger passing the action torch to this upstart, the man who would be Dwayne Johnson. And indeed Johnson was the action man of the mid-aughts, tacking on the likes of Walking Tall to his brawny resume. And like his action forebears, he made a curve into family comedy, releasing The Game Plan, The Tooth Fairy, and Race to Witch Mountain to the delight, we assume, of some people. On a scale between Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot to Kindergarten Cop, we rate Johnson’s comedy career detour Top Dog.
But things turned around in 2010. That’s the year he jumped face first off a building into the pavement. And thus was born a new action/comedy classic: The Other Guys. Meanwhile, ’70s-style throwback Faster showed a leaner, meaner Johnson back in a hard-hitting groove. He was invited into the Fast & Furious family, helping turn Fast Five into the franchise’s first Certified Fresh entry and a global phenomenon. San Andreas, Rampage, and Skyscraper turned him into the master of disaster, while Moana and Fighting With My Family, which he also produced, are among his highest-rated movies.
Central Intelligence was the first collaboration Johnson had with Kevin Hart, which was merely the opening for the main course: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the unlikely reboot-sequel that connected with audiences and critics worldwide. He, Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan all came back for Jumanji: The Next Level, and we’re taking a look back on all of Dwayne Johnson’s movies ranked by Tomatometer!
Say what you like about blockbuster supremo Roland Emmerich, he sure knows how to pack ’em in the aisles. The director of Independence Dayand The Day After Tomorrow‘s new “historical” epic 10,000 B.C.. has – almost inevitably – come straight in at number one in the UK charts.
This is despite the film’s dreadful reviews, dearth of recognisable stars and a daft concept that liberally shifts around thousands of years of history. The movie is currently at a meagre 10% on the Tomatometer, and the plot’s reliance on large, woolly elephantine creatures has given grizzled hacks carte blanche to dub the film a ‘mammoth disappointment/turkey/flop’ etc.
Nonetheless, gullible punters flocked to see the film, and consequently the money men at Warner Bros. sat on over £2m worth of box office receipts in the first 4 days. This is on top of the pic’s $61 million take in the US. It all just goes to show that Emmerich is once again bulletproof at the box office and, along with maybe Michael Bay, the premier popcorn hitmaker of our age.
Elsewhere indie British comedy The Cottage made a so-so showing, coming in at 6th place. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, who made a remarkable debut with critical darling London to Brighton last year, this new effort was also well received, though not to the same extent. 75% on the Tomatometer was a good return for a film described by Elliot Noble from Sky Movies as, “solid Brit-horror nourishment,” though the filmmakers might have expected better than the £350,000 the film has pulled in so far, especially considering the film’s heavy promotion.
Most interesting however is the cross-Atlantic success of the stupidly-monikered Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. The titular 15 year-old is the latest in a long line of manufactured Disney popstrels with her own records, TV shows and movies to make the mouse big bucks. Complete with creepy footage of screaming preteen white-teethed fans, this concert movie has already proved a cash-cow for the corporation in the States and is now making serious money here too. The film came in at nine in the charts, a scarily impressive showing considering it was only playing on 65 screens.
For its third chart-topper of the year, Warner Bros. is going back in time with its ancient adventure 10,000 BC which aims to revitalize a box office on the verge of extinction. Adding to the mix are Disney’s family comedy College Road Trip and the Lionsgate actioner The Bank Job. With ticket sales hitting a three-month low last weekend, the marketplace has nowhere to go but up.
Roland Emmerich follows up his past blockbusters Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow with the action adventure tale 10,000 BC which looks to dominate the box office with ease. Boasting no major stars, the PG-13 film tells the story of a group of prehistoric tribesmen (who happen to speak perfect English) on a treacherous journey to save their kidnapped friends. Warner Bros. has tossed plenty of marketing dollars behind its big-budget offering as it does every spring with an action title not big enough to beat the summer behemoths.
Given the generic story and historical inaccuracies, look for big drops in the weeks ahead. But the opening weekend should be strong for a few reasons. A solid promotional push promises audiences a huge spectacle on the big screen that is worth paying to see. Plus the marketplace has nothing else exciting, especially for teens and young adults, so that key box office demo will show up in large numbers. The studio will be thrilled if the per-theater average can match the film’s title. Attacking 3,410 locations, 10,000 BC may debut with around $32M this weekend.
Vantage Point posted a respectable sophomore session and could stabilize in the third outing. Sony may dip by 40% to around $7.5M for a cume of $51M after 17 days. Paramount’s The Spiderwick Chronicles will finally face off against another offering for families thanks to Disney and Martin. A 35% decline would leave the fantasy pic with $5.5M for the session and lift the total to $62M.
LAST YEAR: Shattering records left and right, the Spartan sensation 300 exploded on the scene to a colossal opening of $70.9M. Warner Bros. hauled in a mammoth $210.6M from North America and a towering $456M worldwide. Far back in second but with a solid hold was the comedy Wild Hogs with $27.6M. The dynamic duo combined for nearly $100M in ticket sales over the weekend making it a summer-like frame. Three holdovers rounded out the top five with nearly identical figures. Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia captured $6.8M, Sony’s Ghost Rider took in $6.7M, and Zodiac grossed $6.6M for Paramount.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Try and imagine, if you will, how you might have felt if you had woken up one night during your childhood to find Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson standing over your bed, holding a bag full of teeth.
That’s the goofy premise hinted at by The Tooth Fairy, which, according to Variety, will find Johnson playing “an ordinary man who’s brought in to try to save the tooth fairy kingdom.” The 20th Century Fox comedy is scheduled to start rolling in August.
Directed by Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2, The Santa Clause 3) and scripted by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, and Jeffrey Ventimilia, The Tooth Fairy will reunite Johnson with producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who worked with him on The Game Plan.
The good news: a slew of new releases await you this week on video shelves! The bad news: woefully few of them are Fresh. That said, you’ve got your pick of twisted horror (Saw IV), harmless star-driven comedy (The Game Plan, Sydney White), French period romance (Moliere), and more. Choose wisely!
Jigsaw is back — not for the first time, not for the last time — in the fourth installment of the Saw franchise, helmed by series vet Darren Lynn Bousman. Once again, the metaphor-loving killer pits his victims against themselves in the most meticulously-crafted death traps in movie history, but this time around there’s a twist: Jigsaw died in Saw III. Que incroyable! Gore-hounds will delight in the unrated DVD edition and bonus features like deleted scenes, Bousman’s audio commentary, and his behind-the-scenes video diary.
There was a time when The People’s Champion could inspire awe with an arch of the eyebrow; now, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson commands multiplexes with family fare like this Disney comedy, about a pro football player whose bachelor existence is threatened by the arrival of a daughter he never knew he had.
For more in the vein of lukewarm family-friendly fare this week, look no further than Sydney White, starring former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. A retelling of the classic Snow White story, the college-set rom-com failed to impress most critics, due largely to Joe Nussbaum’s by-the-numbers direction and a predictable plot heavy on Snow White citations. Watch this if you crave 2 hours of lightweight movie watching, or take a leap and check out…
It’s French, it’s a period piece, it’s a romantic drama based on the life of a great artist. But Moliere, starring Romain Duris and Ludivine Sagnier, is also one of only a few of the week’s new releases that has garnered the praise of critics. Following his fortuitous release from prison thanks to the mercy of the rich Monsieur Jourdain, 17th century playwright Moliere comes to live in Jourdain’s house to teach him about the stage, so Jourdain can impress a lady while keeping it secret from his beautiful wife…whom Moliere begins to fall in love with.
Hunting war criminals seems an arduous enough task for military types, but for fame-hungry reporters (and filmmakers like Morgan Spurlock, whose upcoming doc chronicles his search for Osama bin Laden) it’s a career-defining challenge. In writer-director Richard Shepard’s black comedy, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, and Jesse Eisenberg head to Sarajevo to find a man called The Fox, based on the real-life story of a group of journalists who tried to find and apprehend Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.
Audiences beware: Jessica Simpson is now a “movie star,” as evidenced by her first true starring vehicle. Produced by dad Joe Simpson, and featuring a slew of cameos and appearances by the likes of Rachael Leigh Cook, Luke Wilson, Penelope Ann Miller, Andy Dick, and (sigh) Penny Marshall, Blonde Ambition represents everything that is wrong with the movies — namely, that castmembers like the luminous, capable actress Rachael Leigh Cook are relegated to supporting roles while Simpson bounces her way around the screen as a small-town girl who falls in love with the mailroom boy (Wilson) while climbing unwittingly up the corporate ladder.
‘Til next week, happy renting!
Following a sluggish fall season, November kicks off with a bang this weekend with two high profile films both reaching for the number one spot while appealing to vastly different audiences. Paramount and DreamWorks target kids with the animated comedy Bee Movie from Jerry Seinfeld while Universal goes after adult audiences with its crime drama American Gangster which pits Denzel Washington against Russell Crowe. With little overlap in business, the overall North American box office should surge and finally beat out year-ago levels leading to a solid kickoff for the holiday movie season.
A decade after conquering the television world, Jerry Seinfeld aims to take over the land of film with Bee Movie. The PG-rated toon tells the story of a bee that must try to save his world from those nasty humans that take their honey. Also lending vocal talents are Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Rock who snagged the coveted ‘and’ credit for what amounts to about 60 seconds of dialogue. Timing for the Paramount/DreamWorks release is as good as it gets. Not only is early November a hot time for kids movies to score at the box office but the marketplace has suffered a virtual drought when it comes to family-friendly entertainment this fall with The Game Plan being the only major contender. Parents are dying to take their kids to something else, anything else.
Bee Movie falls into the lucrative category of digitally animated comedies about talking creatures featuring the voice of a popular comedian. Last November’s Happy Feet with Robin Williams opened to $41.5M, the previous year’s Chicken Little bowed to $40M, and 2004’s Shark Tale debuted with $47.6M. Bee has the slick animation and funny situations that kids like but also features humor that adults will enjoy too so it will play to a broad audience. And the millions of Seinfeld fans that have had nothing but DVD box sets every Thanksgiving will finally have some new material they can check out from their favorite comic. Critics have not been very kind but that should not affect the grosses that much. The studio’s marketing blitz will be enough to make children demand a trip to the local megaplex. With a highly commercial product, no competition for the family audience, and an ultrawide launch in over 3,500 theaters, Bee Movie could win the box office battle this weekend and gross about $42M.
Gangster should play out like a Denzel movie more than anything else since his box office track record is the strongest and has more consistency than those of Scott and Crowe. Having scored ten career number one openings to date, Washington has seen his top bow come from last year’s Inside Man which debuted to $29M and a $10,275 average. Last fall’s organized crime hit The Departed opened to $26.9M and a $8,912 average and makes for a good comparison given its genre, starpower, acclaim, rating, and length. Gangster will attract a larger African American audience than Scorsese‘s award winner did so an opening north of $30M seems likely. Appeal to men and women will be equally strong. Many adult dramas have struggled at the box office this fall but American Gangster has the firepower to go out there and pull in paying audiences. Plus the weekend’s other major offerings will not eat into its customer base by too much. Heading into 3,054 theaters, American Gangster might debut with around $34M this weekend.
Look for a better hold from Steve Carell‘s dramedy Dan in Real Life. The Buena Vista title enjoyed a solid average and has generated good word-of-mouth. The weekend’s new releases may not provide too much competition so a decline of 35% could result. That would put Dan at around $7.5M for a total of $22M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Crashing into multiplexes on a tidal wave of buzz was the raunchy comedy Borat which only debuted in 837 theaters but scored a potent top spot bow of $26.5M for a sizzling average of $31,607. The Fox blockbuster was the only film in 2006 to hit number one while playing in less than 2,000 venues. Final grosses reached $128.5M domestically and over $260M worldwide. Two new kidpics split the family audience and followed in second and third. Disney’s Tim Allen sequel The Santa Clause 3 bowed to $19.5M on its way to $84.5M while Paramount’s animated comedy Flushed Away debuted close behind with $18.8M before finishing with $64.5M. Falling to fourth was Saw III with $14.8M for Lionsgate while the Warner Bros. crime thriller The Departed rounded out the top five with $7.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com,
Jigsaw’s twisted games return for another late-October round of torture fun with Saw IV which should allow the lucrative franchise to claim the biggest horror opening of the year for the second straight time. The R-rated gorefest follows last year’s Saw III which bowed to $33.6M this very weekend setting a new debut record for the series. Jigsaw’s death in that installment did not stop a fourth flick from being produced since the most popular horror movie villains never truly die anyway. Although III set a new opening weekend record for the Lionsgate series, it did not match Saw II‘s overall $87M gross and instead finished a bit behind with $80.2M. Still, with small budgets (Saw III was produced for $12M) this cash cow continues to churn out profits and shows no sign of stopping.
The audience for Saw IV is clearly defined and new fans are not likely to be generated. Competition will come primarily from last weekend’s number one opener 30 Days of Night which will suffer a sharp fall this weekend. Otherwise, there is not much to distract genre fans on the weekend before the pumpkin holiday. The marketing has been on par with previous films, but as the franchise ages it risks losing fans who may have had enough with three helpings already. Plus this year has seen a wide assortment of horror films crash and burn which has led to some fright fatigue. Another factor could be the World Series which last year only affected Saw III‘s Friday bow but this year will cut into both Saturday and Sunday business. Many young adults may opt for the torture that the Red Sox are inflicting on the Rockies instead. Saw IV opens on Friday in 3,183 locations and could take in about $29M over three days.
LAST YEAR: Like clockwork, Saw III came in and dominated the pre-Halloween box office with a franchise-best $33.6M debut grossing more than the rest of the top five combined. The Jigsaw pic eroded fast and ended up trailing Saw II‘s total tally and finished with $80.2M. Holding tight in second place was Martin Scorsese‘s crime saga The Departed with $9.8M in its fourth assignment and the lowest drop in the top ten. The magician drama The Prestige followed closely in third with $9.6M. The war drama Flags of Our Fathers ranked fourth with $6.3M while the animated hit Open Season placed fifth with $5.9M. Opening to dismal results outside the top ten was the Tim Robbins drama Catch A Fire with only $2M on its way to a horrible $4.3M. Platforming in only seven sites was the ensemble drama Babel which went on to gross $34.3M and win the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.
Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.
Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.
Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.
LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot. Among the top contenders are Sony’s crime thriller We Own the Night, the Lionsgate comedy Why Did I Get Married?, and the George Clooney vehicle Michael Clayton which expands nationally after its scorching debut in limited release. Adding to the mix are the costume drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the baseball tale The Final Season. The box office race should be a tight one with as many as four films likely to reach the low double digit millions.
Oscar nominated actors Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix face off as brothers on different sides of the law in the new action thriller We Own the Night. The R-rated pic co-stars Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes and will target an adult audience with a slightly male skew. The former Marky Mark proved his box office pull last spring as the only major star in Shooter which bowed to $14.5M and a $5,176 average by targeting the same audience. Things will be more difficult this time because of the intense competition for mature audiences especially from Michael Clayton. But Night‘s biggest advantage over Michael is that it has two commercial stars instead of just one. The combo should lead to a slim edge at the cash registers.
Despite its awkward title, Night has been pushing itself as an action-packed thriller with faces people love to watch. Reviews have been mixed and with such a crowded field, it will be hard to stand out as a must-see option. Starpower should be the main factor here and showdowns between two solid actors are usually popular with ticket buyers. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, We Own the Night could debut to about $12M.
Clayton will test his drawing power since the film has no other box office anchors in it. Co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack are well-respected, but they don’t sell tickets. There is plenty of direct competition which is why the film got a head start a week early. Buzz from its red hot platform bow has spread helping to build interest. The crowd will consist of the same people that opened Syriana to $11.7M, The Black Dahlia to $10M, and Zodiac to $13.4M. Night will take away some males and Elizabeth will steal some females so a huge gross will be hard to find. But over the long-term the film could have legs. Expanding into 2,511 locations, Michael Clayton stands as the widest of the new offerings and may capture around $11M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
Married does not have the promotional value of Black History Month or the help of Presidents Day which Girls had early this year. However, Perry’s new film will not face any direct competitors for its target audience. Girls had to face the second weekend of Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy Norbit which offered some audience overlap. Plus Married boasts more starpower with Perry back on screen and an added boost will come from Janet Jackson who is always a strong draw at the box office with the target audience every time she makes a rare appearance in a movie. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate is unlike anything else in the marketplace right now and with few buzzworthy films aimed at black moviegoers in recent months, it should successfully connect. Debuting in 2,011 theaters, Why Did I Get Married? might open with roughly $12M this weekend.
The first Elizabeth opened in limited release in November 1998 and rolled through awards season that winter eventually reaching an impressive $30M while never playing in more than 600 theaters. It also bagged seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Now the studio is hoping that a built-in audience will want to take another trip to the past. Though the first was an acclaimed picture, no real demand ever surfaced for a sequel. So it will be tough for Golden Age at the box office especially with all the competition. Female-led dramas often struggle in the marketplace since it is often too hard for adult women to drag men with them to the multiplex for these stories. New films from Clooney and Wahlberg offer more cross-gender appeal. Ordering her troops into 2,000 theaters on Friday, Elizabeth: The Golden Age might take home about $8M over the three-day period.
Paramount and DreamWorks were caught by surprise by the lack of strength for the opening of the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid. With nothing to keep it afloat, a 45% decline might be in order especially since adults will be distracted by a wide assortment of other options. That would give the Farrelly brothers a sophomore session of about $7.5M and a cume of only $25.5M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Sony used the Friday the 13th before Halloween to launch the sequel to one of the most successful horror films in history and captured the number one spot. The Grudge 2 bowed on top with $20.8M accounting for more than half of its $39.1M final. Eventual Oscar champ The Departed slipped to second with $19M easing only 29% for Warner Bros. The Robin Williams political comedy Man of the Year debuted in third with $12.3M before finishing with a disappointing $37.3M for Universal. Rounding out the top five were the Sony toon Open Season with $11.1M and New Line’s fright franchise flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with $7.5M for a steep 60% plunge. Opening with weak results in sixth was the action pic The Marine with $7.1M on its way to $18.8M for Fox. The religious-themed drama One Night with the King bowed to $4.1M with a good $4,518 average and finished with $13.4M for 8X.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Ben Stiller‘s new comedy
The Heartbreak Kid stumbled in its opening frame and
forced the overall box office to plunge to the worst October weekend in eight
years. Incumbent family comedy
The Game Plan posted a strong sophomore hold and
retained its position as North America’s most popular film. But two other new
releases did nothing to energize the multiplexes as the top ten films together
grossed what just the top three pictures did a year ago on this same weekend.
The calendar may say October but the dismal box office grosses make it seem like
September never ended.
Surprising industry watchers once again, Disney’s
The Game Plan held onto the
number one spot for a second time grossing an estimated $16.3M for a slim 29%
decline. That gave
The Rock‘s first entry into the world of kid’s movies a solid
$42.8M in only ten days allowing the PG-rated comedy to already surpass the
grosses of his last two films
Gridiron Gang ($38.4M) and
Doom ($28M). All three pics were number one openers. Last weekend, many expected
Game Plan to
debut in second place behind
The Kingdom while this weekend
widely seen as debuting on top. In both cases the quarterback daddy flick
swiped the top spot and with little family competition in the weeks ahead, a
trip to the $100M club could be in the works.
Disney is still benefiting from the fall season’s shocking lack of product for
families. For the third consecutive weekend, seven of the top ten films carried
giving parents few other options for their children. The studio has virtually no
foes to deal with until
Jerry Seinfeld‘s animated pic
Bee Movie hits theaters on
November 2. Game Plan‘s second weekend drop was even smaller than the 40%
decline that the studio’s
Vin Diesel family film
The Pacifier experienced in
March 2005 on its way to a stunning $113.1M tally. The Game Plan now looks
certain to surpass the $90.5M of 2002’s The
Scorpion King to become The
Rock’s highest grossing film in a lead role.
The weekend’s big disappointment came from the Ben Stiller-Farrelly brothers
The Heartbreak Kid which debuted in second place with an
estimated $14M from 3,229 theaters. Averaging a mediocre $4,345 per site, the
R-rated film marked the first reteaming of the actor with the filmmakers since
1998 sleeper smash
There’s Something About Mary which grossed a stunning $176.5M
that year. Heartbreak was universally expected to open at number one
and was thought to have the potential to capture at least $20M in opening
weekend business for DreamWorks and Paramount. The budget was more than $60M,
according to the studios.
For Stiller, Heartbreak‘s opening was half the size of the bows of his other
recent comedies like
Night at the Museum ($30.4M),
Starsky and Hutch
($28.1M), and Along Came Polly ($27.7M). Those were PG or PG-13 films but the
comedian was still expected to draw a large crowd this weekend. However
for the Farrelly brothers, the performance was better than the $12.4M of their
Pitch in 2005 and the $9.4M of 2003’s
on You. Reviews were
mostly negative which is par for the course with these types of comedies.
The Heartbreak Kid put Stiller’s box office power to the test and the results
were discouraging. Most of the comedian’s hits feature other big stars to help
a paying audience. This time Stiller was the only major name and audiences did
not bite. In fact the launch was very similar to that of rival R-rated romantic
Good Luck Chuck which debuted to $13.7M and a better $5,227 average just two
weeks ago. That film offered some star wattage from both genders with
Dane Cook and
Universal’s Middle East drama
dropped 46% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.3M and placed third. The
Jamie Foxx pic has taken in
$31.4M in ten days and should find its way to $50-55M. Sony’s action-horror
Resident Evil: Extinction fell 47% to an estimated $4.3M and pushed its
17-day cume to $43.5M.
Failing to find an audience on opening weekend was the fantasy adventure film
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
which bowed to an estimated $3.7M from a
very wide 3,141 theaters for a dismal $1,186 average. The PG-rated pic from the
new venture between Fox and Walden Media targeted young boys but got
nowhere at the box office. Seeker‘s debut was even worse than the $5M launch of
Dragon Wars from just two weeks ago which went after the same audience.
But thanks to a sluggish marketplace, Seeker‘s weak opening still landed the
film in the top five even though its nearly $40M budget will take much time to
The Lionsgate comedy
Good Luck Chuck grossed an estimated $3.5M, off 44%, for a
$29.1M sum. The dance drama
Feel the Noise delivered a seventh place
debut with an estimated $3.4M from just 1,015 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,350
per site, the PG-13 film played to urban teens and came from the new
Sony/BMG film division.
The weekend’s most notable fireworks came in limited release as the increasingly
crowded arthouse scene saw some red hot numbers from awards hopefuls.
George Clooney led the way with his legal thriller
Michael Clayton which bowed
in only 15 theaters but grossed an estimated $704,000 for an astounding
$46,933 average. Powered by strong reviews and starpower from the Oscar-winning
actor, the R-rated film is hoping to keep the momentum going when it
expands nationally on Friday into more than 2,400 theaters.
A pair of acclaimed filmmakers enjoyed encouraging sophomore expansions with
their latest efforts and delivered the next best averages.
Wes Anderson‘s comedy
Limited widened from two New York houses to 19 locations in seven
markets and grossed an estimated $553,000 for a powerful $29,099
average. Fox Searchlight will continue to open in more cities over the next two
weekends before going nationwide into more than 800 playdates at the end of the
month. Ang Lee‘s NC-17 romantic thriller
Lust, Caution also held up very well as
it entered new cities. The Focus release went from a solo Manhattan house to
17 venues and collected an estimated $369,000 for a potent $21,696 average.
Totals stand at $$477,000 for Lust and $781,000 for Darjeeling.
Also expanding and still generating good averages in their third frames were
Into the Wild and
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Paramount Vantage widened
Wild from 33 to 135 houses and
grossed an estimated $1.3M for an impressive $9,593 average. Warner
Bros. made a leap from five to 61 locations with Jesse and made off with an
estimated $408,000 for a respectable $6,689 average. Cumes are $2.5M and
$746,000 respectively and each film will continue to add more cities and
theaters in the weeks ahead.
Not faring well in its national expansion was the drama The
Jane Austen Book Club which grossed an estimated $1.5M from 1,232 sites for a weak $1,247
average. Last weekend, the Sony Classics release averaged $4,700 from only 41
venues. Total sits at $2M.
Sony’s Beatles-themed musical feature
Universe continued to have
great legs easing a mere 8% in its fourth outing to an estimated $1.9M. With $8M
in the bank from limited release, the Julie Taymor-directed pic goes wide on
Friday into more than 700 sites. Universe joins the music-themed films
Once as movies with some of the best legs at the box office over the last
several months. But it was a sad tune for Universal’s teen comedy
which tumbled 49% to an estimated $1.3M for a weak total of just $10.2M. Look
for a poor $13M finish.
The top ten films grossed a disappointing estimate of $61.9M which was down a
substantial 37% from last year when
Departed debuted in first place with $26.9M; and off 23% from 2005 when
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit opened in the top spot with
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Following a six-week streak of R-rated films topping the charts, The Rock‘s family comedy The Game Plan led the box office last weekend. Now, adult fare comes back to claim the crown with the new Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid which is aiming for an easy number one debut. Also opening nationally are the fantasy adventure The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and the music-filled drama Feel the Noise. With the Columbus Day holiday falling on Monday, some students will have extra time off making for a solid start for the month of October.
Almost a decade after There’s Something About Mary became a sleeper smash, directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly reunite with Stiller for another raunchy relationship comedy with The Heartbreak Kid. A remake of the 1972 film written by Neil Simon, the Paramount release stands as another number one hit inherited from the DreamWorks factory. The pic tells the story of a man who marries too early and then falls for another woman during his honeymoon. In the past year, the R-rated envelope-pushing comedies Borat, Knocked Up, and Superbad grossed nearly $400M in combined domestic box office proving that there is gold to be mined in this genre when films are made well and deliver the laughs that audiences want.
Plus star-driven comedies with major Hollywood faces routinely lure moviegoers away from the home and into the multiplexes. Heartbreak will probably not reach the $30.7M opening weekend figure of Knocked Up which had more buzz plus opened in June when most college students were out of school. But reviews so far have been quite good for this type of film so adults will certainly give it a try. And with so many dark and serious films about outlaws, vigilantes, and terrorists out there, audiences definitely want something light and funny right now. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, The Heartbreak Kid may debut with about $27M this weekend.
The Middle East drama The Kingdom has been ranking number one during the week since kids are busy with school and less able to see Game Plan. Universal should see a 45% drop to about $9.5M which would put the Jamie Foxx actioner at $32M after ten days. Look for Resident Evil: Extinction to slide 50% to roughly $4M leaving Sony with $43M to date.
LAST YEAR: October kicked off with a bang with the top spot debut of Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed with $26.9M. Warner Bros. went on to gross $132.4M domestically and $288M worldwide plus scored four Oscars including the coveted Best Picture statue. Opening in second place with $18.5M was Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which was the first of three horror sequels that month. New Line found its way to $39.5M. Sony’s toon hit Open Season dropped to third with $15.6M in its sophomore frame. The Lionsgate comedy Employee of the Month bowed in fourth with $11.4M on its way to $28.4M. The Guardian rounded out the top five with $9.6M in its second weekend.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
In a fierce head-to-head battle,
family comedy The
Game Plan upset
action thriller The
Kingdom this weekend and became the first PG-rated film since June to
open at number one. The wrestler-turned-actor collected an estimated $22.7M in
ticket sales for his first kidpic and exceeded industry expectations going into
the weekend. Disney’s latest hit comedy averaged a solid $7,307 from 3,103
theaters. Game marked The Rock’s second biggest opening ever in a lead role
after 2002’s The Scorpion King which bowed to $36.1M.
The film is the latest to take a macho action star and put him in a
family-friendly situation involving kids. In
The Game Plan,
The Rock plays a superstar quarterback and stylish bachelor who finds out he has
a daughter. The studio found success with the same formula two years ago with
which debuted much better than expected with $30.6M on its way to an amazing
$113.1M. Game Plan also tapped into a family audience starving for
entertainment as the past several weeks have been dominated by adult fare and
R-rated movies for older teens. Studio research showed that 52% of the audience
was female, 53% was under 25, and two-thirds of the crowd consisted of families.
With a CinemaScore grade of A, and most October releases offering nothing
exciting for kids, Disney should expect playability for many weeks to come.
Settling for the runnerup spot but still generating solid results was
The Kingdom which
premiered to an estimated $17.7M. The Universal release averaged an impressive
$6,335 from 2,793 locations. Carrying the R rating, the
film finds Jamie Foxx leading a team of FBI agents into Saudi Arabia to
investigate an attack on Americans living there. Critics were mixed in their
and Jeremy Piven
co-star. Unlike Game Plan, Kingdom faced plenty of competition
given that the marketplace offered several other serious films aimed at adult
Last weekend’s top film
Evil: Extinction collapsed in its second frame tumbling 66% to an
estimated $8M for a ten-day tally of $36.8M. The Sony threequel should finish up
in the same neighborhood as its predecessor
Evil: Apocalypse which grossed $50.7M three years ago at the same time
Lionsgate followed with a pair of pics. The romantic comedy
Good Luck Chuck
fell 54% to an estimated $6.3M for a cume of $23.6M in ten days. A $35M final
seems likely. The Western
3:10 to Yuma
grossed an estimated $4.2M, off only 32%, for a $43.9M total.
crime thriller The Brave
One dropped 49% to an estimated $3.7M and raised its sum to $30.8M for
Warner Bros. New Line’s
Mr. Woodcock followed in seventh place with an estimated $3M, down 39%,
giving the pic $19.6M to date.
Jumping into the top ten was the musical film
Universe which grossed an estimated $2.1M from only 339 theaters for a
solid $6,047 average. Sony widened the release slightly from 276 locations and
will continue to expand in the weeks ahead. Universe has banked $5.5M to
date in limited release.
Two films from acclaimed directors enjoyed sizzling platform debuts in New
York City this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s
Darjeeling Limited debuted on Saturday and grossed an estimated $140,000
from only two theaters for a powerful two-day average of $70,000. The distrib
will add 17 more theaters in six additional markets on Friday.
Ang Lee, the
first non-white man to win the Oscar for Best Director, debuted his latest film
Lust, Caution in one
Manhattan location and was greeted with an estimated $62,000. Focus will expand
the NC-17 film throughout October.
Among arthouse titles expanding,
Into the Wild
grossed an estimated $669,000 from 33 sites for a sturdy $20,271 average for
Paramount Vantage. Warner Bros. averaged $18,400 with its
Affleck period saga
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford which took in
an estimated $92,000 from five theaters dipping 38%. Not as lucky as it widened
was the Tommy
Lee Jones drama
In the Valley
of Elah which brought in an estimated $1.5M from 762 locations for a
weak $2,008 average. Cume is $3.5M for Warner Independent.
Three movies fell out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal’s smash
Bourne Ultimatum dropped 39% to an estimated $1.7M for a superb $222.8M
domestic total. The Matt Damon hit is the year’s only threequel to surpass the
grosses of both of its two predecessors. A final North American gross of around
$229M should result. Overseas, Ultimatum has also overpowered the two
prior Bourne pics with its international gross of $161.7M putting the
global gross at a stellar $384.5M.
The smash teen comedy
Superbad dropped 47% to an estimated $1.7M boosting the cume to an
amazing $118.9M. Sony should end up with roughly $123M. On the other hand,
Freestyle Releasing has captured a mere $10M with its fantasy adventure
Dragon Wars which is
fading fast and should conclude with only $12M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $73.2M which was down 13% from last
year when Open Season
debuted in first place with $23.6M; but up 3% from 2005 when
in the top spot with $14.8M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya,
After two weeks of rule by Jodie and Milla, the boys come charging back in what could be a fierce fight for the number one spot. Jamie Foxx heads up the Middle East political thriller The Kingdom while The Rock targets a kinder and gentler audience with his family comedy The Game Plan. With little to no overlap in customers, both films should have room to breathe. Also debuting but in a moderate national release is the Morgan Freeman pic Feast of Love.
After scoring four consecutive $100M grossers this summer, Universal aims for another trip to the number one spot with its new military drama The Kingdom. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx leads the cast playing an agent with the FBI that assembles a talented team of experts to go to Saudi Arabia against government orders to investigate a suicide bomber’s attack against Americans. Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, and Jeremy Piven co-star in the R-rated pic. The studio is hoping to reconnect with the same audience that powered its 2005 Iraq War drama Jarhead to a strong $27.7M bow. It’s even used Kanye West‘s music in its advertising just as it did two years ago.
The Kingdom is part of a handful of fall flicks to deal with political issues in the Middle East. As one of the first ones out of the gate, it may not suffer from the backlash against this genre that may eventually be created. Marketed as a revenge picture featuring Americans fighting back against those who wronged us, the Peter Berg-directed film should tap into a certain segment of the audience that will find comfort in this type of fare. But competition for adults will be a factor especially considering how seven of the top eight films last weekend were rated R. Reviews have been mixed, however starpower is ample which should compensate. Infiltrating more than 2,700 theaters, The Kingdom might open with approximately $19M this weekend.
Of course Diesel, Ice Cube, and other macho men have been showing their softer side in kidpics lately so the idea is not totally new. The studio’s sneak previews last weekend helped to get more buzz out there with the target demo and with the lack of direct competition, Game Plan should have smooth sailing with parents and children. The marketing push has been effective as Disney has proven with films like Wild Hogs that it can sell just about any type of star-driven comedy to the public. Charging into about 2,800 locations, The Game Plan could grab around $17M this weekend.
The Dane Cook–Jessica Alba comedy Good Luck Chuck is also following up on a solid debut. Most of the fans of the actors probably came out upfront so a 50% fall to around $7M seems likely. That would give Lionsgate a ten-day cume of $24M.
LAST YEAR Sony topped the charts with its animated offering Open Season which debuted to an impressive $23.6M on its way to $85.1M. Ashton Kutcher voiced the number one film and starred on-screen opposite Kevin Costner in the second place pic The Guardian which opened to $18M. the Buena Vista release went on to collect $55M. Jackass: Number Two fell two spots to third with $14.6M losing half of it audience. Launching in fourth was the Billy Bob Thornton comedy School for Scoundrels with $8.6M for MGM on its way to $17.8M. Jet Li‘s Fearless rounded out the top five with $5M for Focus.