Senior citizen superstars grabbed control of the North American box office as
the end-of-life tale The Bucket List
starring Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman
opened nationally after a limited run and took over the number one spot. Ice Cube
delivered very solid results for his new comedy First Sunday
which debuted close behind in second place giving the marketplace some new blood
after a three-week stretch when mostly the same titles held the top positions on
the charts. Overall, moviegoers spent over $100M on the top ten films and kept
the box office going strong.
Director Rob Reiner
scored his first number one opener in over fifteen years with The Bucket List
which debuted to a healthy estimate of $19.5M over the Friday-to-Sunday period
to lead all films. The PG-13 pic expanded nationwide into 2,911 theaters after
two weeks of exclusive runs in only 16 sites and averaged a sturdy $6,712 per
location this weekend. The story of two dying men who set out to fulfill their
final wishes received mixed reviews from critics but was welcomed with open arms
by the paying public. It was the director’s first trip to the box office throne
since 1992’s A Few Good
Men which also starred Nicholson.
The Bucket List was one of four films that Warner Bros. placed in the
top ten. The studio’s four-pack accounted for 38% of all tickets sold for the
top ten movies. Add in the cash from its limited run and Bucket has
collected $21M thus far. In today’s youth-skewing marketplace, it is rare to see
a film anchored by two 70-year-old men hit the top of the box office.
proved once again how reliable of a draw he is with comedy with his latest
venture First Sunday
which opened a close second with an estimated $19M while playing in 700 fewer
theaters than Bucket. The PG-13 pic about a pair of petty criminals who plot to
rob a neighborhood church broke into 2,213 theaters and averaged a potent
$8,586. It was the best average of any film in wide release. If estimates hold,
Sunday will give Cube the third best opening weekend of his career after the
pair of Barbershop
hits which bowed to $20.6M for the first installment in 2002 and $24.2M for
First Sunday looks to be another moneymaker for the rapper-turned-actor
as well as for Sony’s Screen Gems unit. The $20M production skewed to a 54%
female audience while 63% was between the ages of 18 and 39, according to studio
research. With late-night talk shows back in production, stars Cube and Tracy Morgan
were among the first actors to go back out and promote their films using those
valuable marketing vehicles.
Fox Searchlight expanded its hit comedy Juno
again adding 523 locations and slipped a spot to third place with an
estimated $14M. That represented a drop in gross of only 12% from last weekend
and a 31% decline in the per-theater average to $5,719. The cume to date has
reached $71.3M and on Monday the ensemble hit will surpass the $71.5M of
Sideways to become
the top grossing film ever for Searchlight. Juno now looks on course to reach at
least $110M domestically making it a highly profitable picture considering its
production budget of less than $10M.
The holiday season’s awesome threesome followed. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
claimed the number four spot in its fourth weekend with an estimated $11.5M.
Down 43%, the Buena Vista adventure sequel boosted its cume to $187.3M and
stands as Nicolas Cage‘s
top-grossing movie ever.
Fox’s kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks
collected an estimated $9.1M, off 42%, for a $187.7M tally to date. Close behind
was Will Smith
who saw his sci-fi smash I Am Legend
drop 48% to an estimated $8.1M for a stellar cume of $240.2M for Warner Bros.
Together, the trio has grossed a jaw-dropping $615M and counting just from North
America over the last month.
The supernatural thriller One Missed Call
dropped down to seventh losing 51% from last weekend for an estimated $6.1M in
ticket sales. Warner Bros. has scared up a respectable $20.6M in ten days and
should be headed for a finish of roughly $35M. The studio’s romantic drama
P.S. I Love You
continued to score with women not interested in the NFL playoffs and slipped
only 36% to an estimated $5M. Cume to date is a solid $47M.
Universal opened the new animated film The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything
to the tune of $4.4M, according to estimates. The G-rated adventure from The
VeggieTales franchise averaged a decent $3,305 from 1,337 theaters. The
debut was weaker than the $6.2M and $6,597 average of Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
which bowed in October 2002. Rival kidpic Alvin and the Chipmunks grossed
twice as much as Pirates this weekend despite being in its fifth weekend
Two big awards contenders from the Universal family were in a dead heat for
tenth place with estimates that were virtually identical. The
Knightley period romance
in an estimated $4.3M, off 15%, for a $25.2M cume to date. Focus continued to
expand the film going from 583 to 950 playdates. Oscar winners Tom Hanks
Roberts saw their latest film
War fall 47% to an estimated $4.27M pushing Universal’s total
to $59.5M. War is the second lowest grossing film for Hanks over the past
ten years ahead of only
which swiped $39.7M in 2004.
Opening poorly outside of the top ten was the adventure tale In the Name of the King
starring Jason Statham
which bowed to just $3.3M, according to estimates. Attacking 1,631 sites, the
videogame-inspired pic averaged a weak $2,002 and failed to attract sizable
interest from its young male target audience. Freestyle Releasing handled the
distribution for the PG-13 film.
Two films fell out of the top ten this weekend. The
musical revenge tale
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street dropped 39% to an
estimated $3.4M boosting its sum to $44.1M. The $50M DreamWorks/Warner Bros.
co-production should end its domestic run with $50-55M. Sony’s fantasy adventure The Water
Horse fell 47% to an estimated $3.3M for a $35.2M total. Look for a
Day-Lewis oil baron saga
There Will Be
Blood remained a muscular contender in limited release. The
Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-production grossed an estimated $1.9M from 129
sites for a powerful $15,039 average in its third weekend. The acclaimed drama
widened from 51 theaters and will roll out to 375-400 locations this Friday in
its first major test in wider national play. Total is $4.4M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $101.1M which was up a sturdy 12% from
last year when
Stomp the Yard opened at number one with $21.8M; and up 9% from 2006
when Glory Road
debuted in the top spot with $13.6M. Both of those years were helped by the
Martin Luther King holiday which this year falls a week later on the calendar.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
at the movies, we’ve got two wild and
crazy guys (The Bucket
and Morgan Freeman),
pious crooks (First Sunday, starring
Ice Cube and
Tracy Morgan), botanical
buccaneers (The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie),
haunted expatriates (The
Kite Runner), tormented mothers (The
Orphanage), and Uwe Boll (In
the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, starring
Reynolds). What do the critics have to say?
How can a
movie directed by Rob Reiner and starring
Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman
possibly fail? If, say critics, it has a really contrived, sappy script, which
is the problem with
The Bucket List.
Nicholson and Freeman star as a couple of sixtysomethings who, after discovering they each have terminal
illnesses, team up to do all the living they can in the time they have left —
in the form of skydiving and tattoo-getting, among other things. Pundits say the
two stars give it their all, but they’re undercut by a predictable plot that
overdoses on schmaltz. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, Bucket probably
shouldn’t top your list.
Tracy Morgan are talented people. Unfortunately, critics say their despite
their combined ability to generate intermittent chuckles, they’re unable to save
First Sunday. The film is a tale of two incompetent crooks who contrive a
plot to rob the local house of worship. However, their plan goes awry rather
quickly, and the pair has a crisis of faith. Pundits say First Sunday has
its moments, but it’s ultimately undone by a script that lacks nuance and
consistency; others aren’t buying the sentimentality of the last act. At 25
percent on the Tomatometer, First Sunday might need to do penance.
The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie contains
no plank-walking, keel-hauling, or bottles of rum. But guess what? Critics say
it’s clever enough to keep you entertained. The latest in Christian animation’s
most venerable franchise since
Davey and Goliath, Pirates follows
the comic misadventures of Larry the Cucumber, Mr.
Lunt and Pa Grape, as they are transported from their humdrum lives back in time
to the days of William Kidd — and trouble on the high seas. Pundits say while Pirates,
may be several cuts below
Ratatouille, it’s sweet and inoffensive, with a
positive message and some good laughs. At 67 percent on the Tomatometer,
this Pirates‘ life may not be for everyone, but at least it won’t make
you want to mutiny.
Khaled Hosseini‘s novel
Kite Runner drew widespread praise for its tale of
youngsters living through a tumultuous period in Afghani history. And critics
say Marc Forster’s big-screen adaptation does a reasonably good job of
translating the book’s sweep — while still taking some liberties. Kite
stars Zekiria Ebrahimi and
Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada as two youngsters who survive both the Soviet invasion and the rise
of the Taliban — albeit with some pretty heavy emotional baggage. The scribes
say Forster gets some great performances from his child actors, and captures the
visual beauty of the war-torn land. But some say the film doesn’t quite have the
same impact as the novel, dialing up some of the big emotions while skimping on
nuance. Still, at 65 percent on the Tomatometer, this Kite flies
reasonably high. (Check out our interviews
feel the fine art of cinematic suspense has drowned in a sea of gore, critics
say you’re in for a treat with
The Orphanage. Produced by
Guillermo del Toro, The Orphanage follows Laura (Belén
Rueda) and Carlos (Fernando Cayo) , the adoptive parents of Simon (Roger
Príncep), an orphan suffering from HIV. The boy has a host of imaginary friends,
and what he says about them starts sounding pretty sinister. The scribes say
Juan Antonio Bayona‘s film is loaded with dread and spooky atmospherics, but it
also succeeds as a heart-wrenching psychological portrait. At 85 percent on the
Tomatometer, The Orphanage is Certified Fresh. (Check out our interview
with Bayona and screenwriter Sergio Sanchez
here and our review from Cannes
Boll, everyone’s favorite critical pariah, has a new movie out:
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. No it wasn’t screened for critics. But
what did you expect, given the fact that the man’s career Tomatometer is at five
percent? Critics don’t really dig him, especially the one he knocked out. Dungeon
Matthew Lillard in a tale of a regular guy who must do battle with beasts
conjured by an evil sorcerer; swordplay no doubt ensues. Hey kids, stop laying
siege to that dungeon and guess the Tomatometer! (And read our [qualified]
defense of Mr. Boll’s work in this week’s Total Recall.)
opening this week in limited release:
tabascoman77, both for boldly announcing that
One Missed Call
would end up at zero percent on the Tomatometer, and for his excellent taste in
hot sauce. Personally, I like the garlic Tabasco, but that’s just me.
For the first time in three weeks, studios will pack a Friday with plenty of new releases as four films open or expand nationwide giving the box office chart a major shakeup. Leading in the polls and getting the widest release is The Bucket List starring Oscar winners Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Challenging Hollywood’s old guard are three younger agents of change. Ice Cube campaigns for a spot in the top five with the comedy First Sunday, Jason Statham heads up the adventure tale In the Name of the King, and some cartoon vegetables headline the kidpic The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. Hoping to play the spoiler is the indie smash Juno which once again expands into wider release. The films should each play to different audiences which will help the overall marketplace expand.
After spending the last decade directing flops, Rob Reiner hopes to score his first number one hit in over fifteen years with The Bucket List which features the Academy Award-winning actors Nicholson and Freeman on screen together for the first time. The PG-13 pic tells the story of two dying old men who set out to fulfill their last wishes before taking the big trip upstairs. Financing a major film anchored by two men who celebrated their 70th birthdays last year is not something Hollywood studios typically do. It’s usually seen as a risky endeavor. But Warner Bros. is counting on mature adults, men and women alike, to take interest and come out to see two legends on the big screen together.
Hurting Bucket‘s chances are the mixed reviews it’s been getting from critics. The target audience for this particular movie will definitely be affected by what reviewers have to say. Also, the picture has come up almost empty-handed during awards seasons so it has less marketing tools in its arsenal than the handful of acclaimed adult dramas touting their awards and nominations. In limited release, Bucket scored muscular per-theater numbers over the last two frames averaging $20,989 and $20,424 from only 16 locations. Co-star drawing power will not shoot this film up to the opening weekend levels of recent Jack flicks like The Departed or Anger Management. But even his less flashy films generate solid debut numbers due to his loyal fan following. Kicking its way into 2,911 theaters, The Bucket List could debut with about $15M.
First Sunday comes a week before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame which historically has been a good time for films led by black casts. Cube’s pictures usually are dependable when it comes to drawing a crowd. However his last two releases, the Sony sequels Are We Done Yet? and XXX: State of the Union, were not exactly major hits. Plus the story of stealing from church may not go down well with some folks. Breaking into roughly 2,000 theaters, First Sunday might open with around $12M.
After enjoying the second three-week box office reign of his career (the first being his other turn as Ben Gates), Nicolas Cage will see National Treasure: Book of Secrets drop down a couple of spots in the standings. The Buena Vista smash could fall by 40% to about $12M boosting the overall total to $187M which would make it one of the top ten blockbusters of 2007. Also hopping into that list will be fellow PG-rated holiday hit Alvin and the Chipmunks. Fox’s family comedy looks to slide by 35% this weekend to roughly $10M giving the singing chipmunks a robust $189M to date.
Scary movies from last weekend’s top five should witness larger declines. Will Smith‘s I Am Legend which is the highest grossing zombie movie of all-time may fall by 45% to about $8.5M for a $240M cume. The supernatural thriller One Missed Call should depreciate faster and fall 50% to around $6M giving Warner Bros. a respectable $21M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend was ruled by the urban dance drama Stomp the Yard which generated a powerful $25.9M debut over the four-day extended frame. The Sony hit went on to finish with a solid $61.4M. Holdovers filled up the rest of the top five led by three-time champ Night at the Museum with $21.8M over the long weekend. Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness followed with $10.7M with Dreamgirls in fourth with $10.3M and Hilary Swank‘s Freedom Writers ranking fifth with $8.8M over four days. Three new releases opened lower on the charts. Universal’s action drama Alpha Dog bowed to $7.4M on its way to $15.2M. Debuting in more theaters but with smaller grosses were Buena Vista’s horror pic Primeval with $6M and MGM’s kidpic Arthur and the Invisibles with $5.7M. Final grosses reached $10.6M and $15.1M, respectively.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com