You thought the Sex and the City DVD collection was expensive? Start saving up for the ultimate Sopranos box set, coming this fall. Also look for a DVD spin-off from last weekend’s Get Smart, and find out what new robot character Pixar might have planned to keep WALL-E company! Plus, this week’s new releases after the jump.


A Sopranos Box Set To Die For…

HBO is already preparing for Christmas with a gift box that would melt any would-be mobster’s heart: the ultimate Sopranos DVD set. All six seasons will be spread across a whopping ten pound, 28-disc collection (which also includes three soundtrack CDs), and will include 16 “lost” scenes, cast and crew interviews, and an interview of creator David Chase by super fan Alec Baldwin. Learn behind-the-scenes stories, like how Anthony La Paglia almost appeared in a show-within-the-show as a fictionalized version of Tony Soprano in Season 1, that Edie Falco auditioned for the role of Carmela only days before shooting the pilot (and wearing in-line skates), and that several fake final scenes were actually filmed to conceal Tony’s controversially peaceful series exit. The price for reliving all this Sopranos glory? Four hundred bucks. Start saving those racketeering dollars now.

Third Futurama Movie To Be Fantasy-Themed

With the second Futurama DVD movie, The Beast with a Billion Backs, hitting shelves this week, co-creator David X. Cohen revealed just what breed of geek the forthcoming third Futurama movie will serve: the fantasy nerd.
“The third one is a big move into the world of fantasy, magic and dragons and castles and that kind of stuff,” he told Movie Web. “So you’ll get to see the fantasy versions of all of our characters and I think it will be the most visually spectacular of the four.” The fourth and final film, Cohen promises, will give fans yet another big finale in a more classic science-fiction style; read on for what Cohen calls their “best DVD extra ever” in this week’s new releases!

Smart Sidekicks Getting Their Own DVD Movie

$39 million worth of moviegoers went to see Get Smart last weekend; will those same fans put down cash for a DVD spin-off movie starring supporting CONTROL nerds Bruce and Lloyd? Warner Bros. is betting on it, giving CONTROL gadget guys Bruce (HeroesMasi Oka) and Lloyd (Nate Torrence) their own direct-to-video adventure, in stores July 1. The story of Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control will run parallel to that of Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell), which is in theaters now; purchase the DVD and get $7 off admission to Get Smart in select theaters.

Pixar Planning a WALL-E Spin-off Character?

In other DVD spin-off news, it looks like Pixar will double the population of adorable on-screen robots when they introduce a second character to accompany WALL-E‘s eventual DVD and Blu-Ray release. Over at /Film, director Andrew Stanton had vaguely described a “sci-fi short that is very connected to WALL-E” that had been produced at the same time. Later, in an unconfirmed report from Upcoming Pixar, an orchestra scoring musician divulged that the DVD extra is in fact titled BURN-E, about a robot named BURN-E. While the report remains as yet unconfirmed, be on the lookout for clues and sightings of the rumored BURN-E when WALL-E hits theaters this Friday!

Click for this week’s new releases!

10,000 B.C.

Tomatometer: 9%

Roland Emmerich, king of the high concept film (Universal Soldier, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) strikes yet again with a big-budget spectacle of prehistoric mammoth hunts, giant killer chickens, and deadly tribal warfare. At nine percent on the Tomatometer, anyone with a taste for camp can’t afford to miss this. Everyone else, beware!

Bonus Features:

A handful of additional scenes and an alternate ending are the only extras here, although many of these feature unfinished digital effects; no doubt Warner Bros. is holding out for a buffer special edition release down the line. Rent it, if you must.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Tomatometer: 80%

Well, it wasn’t the huge hit that Nickelodeon/Paramount were hoping it would be, especially given the instant megabucks that any children’s fantasy books-turned-film franchise rake in these days. But Mark WatersSpiderwick Chronicles, about a trio of siblings who discover a magical world of goblins literally in their backyard, got solid backing from critics, which means if you missed it in theaters you should definitely give it a chance on DVD.

Bonus Features:

Pick up the two-disc Field Guide Edition for tons of making-of featurettes with the cast and crew, concept art and character details, an interactive guide to the film’s characters while you watch, and deleted scenes.

Definitely, Maybe


Tomatometer: 73%

Earning 73 percent on the Tomatometer is darn impressive these days for a romantic comedy, so it’s with great happiness that this Ryan Reynolds vehicle comes to DVD. In a year of Fool’s Golds, 27 Dresses, and Mades of Honor, this romantic whodunit tale told by a single father (Reynolds) to his daughter (Abigail Breslin) surprised critics by being sophisticated, well-written, and clever. Check out our exclusive clip from the DVD release here.

Bonus Features:

Reynolds and writer-director Adam Brooks (French Kiss, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) appear on a commentary track alongside a few behind-the-scenes features and deleted scenes. Download a coupon for $5 off the DVD at the film’s official site.

Charlie Bartlett

Tomatometer: 54%

Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) stars as the titular teen, a privileged kid at a new public school who becomes a de facto shrink to his fellow classmates; Robert Downey Jr. and teen dream Tyler Hilton co-star. After numerous theatrical release date delays, Charlie Bartlett split the critics with mixed reviews, so now’s the time to check it out on DVD and see which camp was right.

Bonus Features:

First time director Jon Poll, Yelchin, and co-star Kat Dennings provide a commentary track, and a music video from the film finds its way onto the bonus menu.

Persepolis

Tomatometer: 95%

This coming-of-age story of an Iranian girl not only won over critics with its emotional and enthralling black and white animation, it went beyond its genre to win acclaim as a great film. Telling the story of her own life, co-director Marjane Satrapi (with Vincent Parannaud) earned an Oscar nomination for adapting their original graphic novel to the screen. Recently banned in Lebanon, Persepolis comes to DVD as one of the most acclaimed films of 2007.

Bonus Features:

The movie itself is worth purchasing the release alone, but it is bolstered by a full menu of bonus features. You can watch Persepolis either in its original French or in an English dubbed version; renowned actresses Catherine Deneuve and her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, provide voices for both, while American stars Sean Penn, Gena Rowlands, and Iggy Pop join the English voice cast. Satrapi and Parannaud provide commentaries and appear in the making-of the French and English versions of their film. The 2007 Cannes press conference, scene comparisons, and more also appear.

Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs

Tomatometer: N/A

In the second of four planned DVD movies, the Futurama cast and crew is back with another madcap space adventure with the staff of the Planet Express. Directly after the events of Bender’s Big Score, a tear in the universe, an inter-dimensional monster comes to Earth and installs Fry as the new Pope; Brittany Murphy, David Cross, and Stephen Hawking guest star.

Bonus Features:

In an interview with Movie Web, David X. Cohen reveals what he calls the best Futurama DVD extra ever: a full-length “lost” episode previously only revealed in parts in the Futurama video game, animated completely in 3D CGI. Be on the lookout for a preview of the upcoming third movie, the fantasy-themed Bender’s Game.

Unnecessary Re-release of the Week: Xanadu: Magical Music Edition

Tomatometer: 35%

What do you get when you mix 1980s pop music, Greek mythology, roller disco, and Olivia Newton-John? You get Xanadu, one of the worst movie musicals ever made and the winner of the most unnecessary re-release of the week award. With re-mastered picture and sound and an all-new featurette, the so-called “Magical Music Edition” also comes with a full soundtrack CD of songs by Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra and retails for only $14.99. For anyone even thinking about buying this disc, consider the following: sure, Xanadu was adapted into a Tony-nominated Broadway show, but it was also the last feature appearance of song-and-dance legend Gene Kelly; do you really want to remember him this way?


‘Til next week, happy viewing!

March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.

Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.

Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.


Rick Fox and Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns

Owen Wilson takes up the title role of Paramount’s new high school comedy Drillbit Taylor playing a homeless soldier of fortune who takes an assignment to protect a trio of teenage nerds. The actor’s biggest commercial hits have come from pairings with other big-name actors like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Here he flies solo as the only star and historically that that has led to small grosses. Younger teens will make up the primary crowd so the PG-13 rating may give pause to parents of kids in the high single digits. A slight male skew is also likely. There’s ample competition so a large debut is not likely, plus Wilson’s main draw comes with adults not twelve-year-olds. The Friday holiday will get things started well, but word-of-mouth will have to take it the rest of the way. Reviews have not been too bright and March Madness will take many boys out of the picture this weekend. Debuting in about 2,700 theaters, Drillbit Taylor could punch up about $12M this weekend.


Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor

Another spooky Asian fright film gets the photocopy treatment by the idea-starved American horror industry in Fox’s Shutter. The PG-13 chiller stars Joshua Jackson as a photographer who discovers creepy images of a dead woman in his snapshots. The insatiable horror audience is the target here and the rating will make sure that younger teens up for a scare will be able to buy a ticket. Jackson is far removed from his Dawson’s Creek days and lacks the drawing power he once had. Plus the studio’s marketing push has not been very forceful so awareness is low. Don’t look for this one to open like The Eye or One Missed Call which both bowed in the $12-13M range. The only factors working for it are the 85 minute running time and the fact that there have been no horror films released since the Jessica Alba‘s thriller from the first weekend of February. Snapping into around 2,700 locations, Shutter could gross about $8M this weekend.


Shutter

Fox has no intentions of giving up its hold on the number one spot. The studio’s Seuss hit Horton Hears A Who looks unlikely to be defeated by the newcomers and should take advantage of the Good Friday school holiday to post a better-than-usual sophomore hold. Ice Age dropped by 35% in its second frame in 2002 while its Fox sibling Robots fell by 42% in 2005. Both were March openers but neither had the Easter holiday helping the sophomore session. The well-liked Horton might drop by 30% to about $31M and boost its ten-day total to a robust $91M.

10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.

LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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.

North American film fans heard the call of the elephant and stampeded to the box office to see the animated Dr. Seuss pic Horton Hears a Who, which enjoyed the largest opening weekend of the year so far. The testosterone flick Never Back Down launched to decent numbers; however, the virus thriller Doomsday was dead on arrival in its debut. But ‘toon power was able to revitalize the marketplace, sending the top 10 above the $100M mark and ahead of year-ago levels for the first time in a month.

Jim Carrey and Steve Carell lent their voices to Horton and ticket buyers responded, spending an estimated $45.1M on the Fox hit for a strong number one premiere. The G-rated tale bowed ultrawide in 3,954 locations and averaged a sturdy $11,406 per theater. The Whoville story generated the fourth best March opening ever, behind 300 ($70.9M), Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M), and the original Ice Age ($46.3M) and also landed the fifth largest opening in history for a G-rated film.

Horton took advantage of star power, the popularity of the Seuss brand, and an open marketplace with few options for families to help it post the year’s best debut. But the film went beyond just parents and kids — the studio reports that 47 percent of the audience was non-family, with teens kicking in a significant contribution. Budgeted at $85M, the animated feature also garnered glowing reviews from most critics. Horton also bowed in 29 international markets this weekend, and captured an estimated $14.2M tally.

Animated films opening in March usually enjoy strong legs thanks to the Easter holiday and school vacations. Ice Age‘s opening weekend represented only 26 percent of its eventual $176.4M domestic final. Fox’s 2005 film Robots witnessed a 28 percent share, Meltdown played like a sequel and saw 35 percent, and last year’s Disney offering Meet the Robinsons grabbed 26 percent. Horton should follow in the same footsteps, as direct competition in the coing weeks is not too fierce, leading to possibly $150-175M from North America alone.

Trailing the animated elephant were the woolly mammoths of 10,000 BC. The not-so-accurate account of prehistoric times fell 54 percent in its second outing to an estimated $16.4M and pushed the total to $61.2M after 10 days. Given the bad reviews, negative word-of-mouth and the genre, the sharp decline was expected. The Warner Bros. title is playing almost exactly like another spring historical actioner, 2002’s The Scorpion King. The Rock starrer generated similar numbers with a $36.1M debut and $61.3M 10-day take before concluding with $90.5M. 10,000 BC should find its way to the same vicinity domestically. Overseas, the prehistoric pic collected a mighty $38M this weekend as it saw top spot debuts in the United Kingdom, Korea, and Russia and second place launches in France and Italy. The international cume has risen to $73M putting the global gross at an impressive $134M.

So far this year, moviegoers have been showing up in the same numbers, but have spread their dollars across a wider selection of movies than in 2007. Overall domestic box office is up 4 percent compared to the same period last year, and when factoring in the annual increase in ticket prices, total admissions are up only a slight amount. But at this point in 2007, six films had crossed the $50M mark, including three that broke the $100M barrier; this year, none have reached nine digits yet, but a whopping 10 have vaulted ahead of $50M (not including Horton, which is just days away from surpassing that mark).

The Mixed Martial Arts drama Never Back Down debuted to mediocre results and landed in third place with an estimated $8.6M from a wide 2,729 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,155, the PG-13 high school tale is the first in-house production from new distributor Summit and played to an audience of young males. Research showed that 59 percent of the audience was male and 60 percent were under 21. Never was budgeted at $20M.

Martin Lawrence’s second comedy of the year, College Road Trip, dropped a moderate 42 percent in its second weekend,, grossing an estimated $7.9M. With $24.3M collected in 10 days, the G-rated family flick should end up in the neighborhood of $45M.

Sony’s action thriller Vantage Point has been enjoying surprisingly strong legs, and slipped only 27 percent this week, to an estimated $5.4M for a solid cume of $59.2M. Rival actioner The Bank Job posted an even greater hold, sliding only 17 percent in its sophomore frame to an estimated $4.9M, giving Lionsgate $13.1M in 10 days. The high-octane pics should reach about $75M and $27M, respectively.

Universal suffered a dismal opening for its futuristic virus thriller Doomsday, which bowed to just $4.7M, according to estimates, from 1,936 theaters. The R-rated pic averaged a miserable $2,450 and should find its real audience on DVD this summer.

Will Ferrell‘s basketball comedy Semi-Pro fell 49 percent to eighth with an estimated $3M, pushing the total for New Line to $29.8M. Look for a final of roughly $35M, making it the comedian’s lowest-grossing lead performance in a wide release since 1998’s Night at the Roxbury.

Sony’s The Other Boleyn Girl dipped only 28 percent to an estimated $2.9M for a cume of $19.2M. The kidpic The Spiderwick Chronicles rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $2.4M, off 49 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Final grosses should reach $26M and $70M, respectively.

Warner Independent had a mixed weekend with its pair of limited release titles. The Naomi Watts thriller Funny Games opened in 289 theaters and grossed an estimated $520,000 for a dull $1,800 average. But its promising platform release Snow Angels added one Los Angeles site and took in an estimated $26,000 from three sites for a potent $8,667 average. The Kate Beckinsale starrer expands to the top 10 on Friday during its third session.

Three solid box office performers fell from the top 10 this weekend. Fox’s sci-fi flick Jumper dropped 42 percent to an estimated $2.1M, lifting the total to $75.8M. The $85M Hayden ChristensenSamuel L. Jackson actioner should conclude with about $80M. It’s already banked $100M overseas and counting.

The $70M adventure comedy Fool’s Gold collected an estimated $1.7M, off 38 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Warner Bros. looks to end with just under $70M. Step Up 2 the Streets, the latest teen dance drama to score with audiences, took in an estimated $1.5M, down 51 percent. With $55.4M taken in thus far, the Buena Vista release will reach close to $60M, putting it within striking distance of the $65.3M gross of 2006’s surprise smash Step Up.

The top 10 films grossed an estimated $101.3M, which was up less than 1 percent from last year — when 300 remained at number one in its second weekend with $32.9M — and up 13 percent from 2006, when V for Vendetta debuted in the top spot with $25.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Three new releases roll into multiplexes across North America – one the size of an elephant, the others like specks of dust. Fox aims to deliver the largest opening weekend of the year so far with its animated family event film Horton Hears A Who which could very well triple the gross of its nearest competitor. Summit counters with its action title Never Back Down while Universal also targets young men with its horror flick Doomsday. Overall, the marketplace looks to bounce back and even stands a chance of beating year-ago figures for the first time in a month.

Almighty pals Jim Carrey and Steve Carell play nice this time in the first-ever animated feature version of a Dr. Seuss tale in Horton Hears A Who which goes into
saturation release on Friday. The G-rated pic tells of a playful elephant that discovers an entire city living on a tiny speck on a flower, but can’t convince others of its
existence. Fox has a mighty big hit on its hands for a number of reasons. The property is from an author that all generations are familiar with so parents and kids
alike can relate. The marketplace has very few viable options for children at the moment. Plus starpower from the two leads makes this a comedy juggernaut that
will allow the film to go beyond its core family audience and tap into business from teens and young adults too.

With one of the sharpest marketing departments around, Fox has the means to mine riches from this surefire spring blockbuster. Who else could propel lame
kidpics like Night at the Museum and Alvin and the Chipmunks to $200M+ megahit status over consecutive holiday seasons? The studio has used March as a
launching pad for its animated offerings from Blue Sky Studios allowing the films to steer clear of summer and holiday hits from Pixar and DreamWorks. In 2002,
Ice Age surprised everyone with its $46.3M debut. Three years later its Robots opened to $36M while the 2006 sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown bowed to a
mammoth $68M. Forgotten are the days of Titan A.E. Horton Hears A Who is destined to join its March brothers on the hit list.

The key to grosses skyrocketing lies in the interest of teens. Will they look at this as a Carrey-Carell dream team laugh-a-thon and line up? Chances are many will,
especially with no other major comedies doing substantial business. Appeal is broad with males and females of all ages opening their wallets. Sure it’s not as funny
as you’d hope given the two big C’s involved, but moviegoers will eat it up nonetheless. Plus with Good Friday and Easter helping the second weekend, long-term
prospects seem rosy too. Debuting ultrawide in over 3,900 theaters, Horton Hears A Who could collect about $50M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Seth Rogen and Jim Carrey (voices, that is) in Horton Hears a Who

Rookie distrib Summit Entertainment kicks into high gear with its fighting extravaganza Never Back Down which hopes to connect with the Mountain Dew crowd
looking for extreme action. The PG-13 flick stars relative unknowns Sean Faris and Amber Heard with Djimon Hounsou cast as the only star name. Action comes
from a high schooler’s discovery of the world of Mixed Martial Arts with the film playing as a hybrid of Fight Club and The Karate Kid. With little starpower and
a generic premise, Never will struggle to post strong box office numbers on opening weekend. Plus Doomsday will be stealing away some of the target audience
of young males. The two films really should not be opening head to head since neither is strong enough to stand on its own two feet in the first place. Summit gets
credit for at least trying with a marketing push that goes beyond what a pic with such little star wattage deserves. Never Back Down punches its way into 2,729
locations on Friday and could bag around $6M over three days.


Sean Faris in Never Back Down

Another killer virus film attacks the multiplexes, this time the British thriller Doomsday from Universal. The R-rated fright flick marks one of the studio’s few films to
not be screened for the press ahead of time and instead will rely on marketing to find its audience. Young men and genre aficionados should make up the primary
crowd here and they won’t be easy to reach. Besides the debut of Never Back Down, 10,000 BC is also in the marketplace playing to a good chunk of this
audience. Overall, the promotional push has not been too strong and awareness levels are not high, especially outside of the target demo. Infecting 1,935 theaters,
Doomsday looks to debut with about $5M this weekend before making a swift jump to that shiny disc.


The riotous revelry of Doomsday

After a sturdy debut, the prehistoric adventure 10,000 BC should suffer a sizable drop thanks to negative word-of-mouth. Direct competition from new releases
won’t be too much of a factor, but bad buzz will scare away prospective second weekend patrons. Look for a 55% decline which would give Warner Bros. about
$16M for the frame and $61M in ten days. The caveman pic will continue to dominate the overseas box office thanks to debuts this weekend in lucrative markets
like France, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Disney’s College Road Trip will take a direct hit from Horton this weekend as the family crowd will have a much bigger film to rally behind. A 40% drop would
put the Martin LawrenceRaven-Symone comedy at $8M for a ten-day cume of $25M.

Audiences have been receptive to the presidential assassination storyline of Vantage Point which could drop another 40% to $4.5M this weekend for a cume of
$58M for Sony. Lionsgate’s The Bank Job probably saw the bulk of Jason Statham fans rush out on opening weekend so a 45% fall would give the heist thriller
$3M and $11M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: New releases were no match for the top two films in North America which remained on top of the charts. The mammoth Spartan smash 300 tumbled 54% in its second weekend but still posted a hefty $32.9M sophomore tally. The Disney comedy Wild Hogs showed good legs dipping 31% and ranked second with $19.1M in its third lap. Faring best among the freshmen, Sandra Bullock‘s supernatural thriller Premonition opened in third with $17.6M for Sony on its way to a solid $47.9M. Rounding out the top five were fellow newcomers Dead Silence with a moderate $7.8M and Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife with a disappointing $5.7M. Final grosses reached $16.8M for the Universal pic and $12.6M for the Fox Searchlight laugher.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Moviegoers went back in time and powered the prehistoric adventure 10,000 B.C.
to the top spot at the North American box office making it the latest film
panned by critics to shoot straight to number one with the paying public. The
Warner Bros. release bowed in 3,410 theaters to an estimated $35.7M and averaged
a sturdy $10,478 per site. A strong marketing push led by a brilliantly exciting
trailer helped to draw in a sizable audience which disregarded the dismal
reviews.

The opening was about half of the colossal $70.9M debut that the studio saw one
year ago this weekend with its other historical epic adventure
300
. However, that was a
more stylized actioner which generated much more buzz and so B.C. was
never expected to come close to the Spartan heights. Instead, the prehistoric
pic opened stronger than many other big-budget spring action films like
V For Vendetta

($25.6M), Constantine
($29.8M), and Hidalgo
($18.8M).

Overseas, 10,000 B.C. conquered the box office in 19 of its 20 markets
grossing a combined $25.3M from 3,600 prints this weekend to boost the
international cume to $61M. The global take will break the $100M barrier within
days.

Disney claimed the runnerup spot with its kidpic College Road Trip
which grossed an estimated $14M from 2,706 theaters. Averaging a respectable
$5,174 per site, the G-rated film stars Martin Lawrence
and

Raven-Symone

as a father-daughter pair on a trip to see prospective universities. The
performance fell short of other Disney vehicles that tried to make a family man
out of macho stars. The studio’s
Vin Diesel pic The Pacifier
bowed to $30.6M in March 2005 while The Rock‘s The Game Plan
debuted to $23M last September. Trip used the starpower that Raven-Symone has
with young girls to help bring in its target audience.

Sony’s hit action thriller
Vantage Point
held up well again in its third frame and grossed an estimated $7.5M, off 42%,
for a cume to date of $51.7M. The Will Ferrell
comedy Semi-Pro
got clobbered in its second weekend tripping 62% to an estimated $5.8M. With
only $24.7M in ten days, New Line should end up with a disappointing $35M or so.

The new Jason Statham
heist pic The Bank Job
debuted in fifth place with an estimated $5.7M from 1,603 locations. Averaging a
mild $3,562 per theater, the R-rated actioner fell short of the actor’s recent
films like War and
Crank
which both opened
in the neighborhood of $10M.

Kidpic The Spiderwick Chronicles
suffered a larger decline thanks to new family competition from Martin and
Raven. The Paramount title dropped 45% to an estimated $4.8M lifting the cume to
$61.7M. Sony’s The Other Boleyn Girl
followed with an estimated $4M, down 51%, for a $14.6M total. A $22-24M final
seems likely.

Three of the year’s top-grossing films rounded out the top ten. The Fox
sci-fi flick
Jumper
dropped 51% to an estimated $3.8M boosting the tally to $72.5M. Buena Vista’s Step Up 2 The Streets
fell 47% to an estimated $3M while the Warner Bros. adventure comedy Fool’s Gold
dipped 37% to an estimated $2.8M. Cumulative totals stand at $53M and $62.8M,
respectively.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $87.1M which was down 36% from last year
when 300 opened at number one with $70.9M; and off 2% from 2006 when
Failure to Launch

debuted in the top spot with $24.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week
at the movies, we’ve got prehistoric passion (10,000 B.C., starring
Steven Strait and
Camilla Belle), travel travails (College Road Trip,
starring Martin Lawrence and
Raven-Symone), and
hard-boiled heists (The Bank Job, starring
Jason Statham). What do the
critics have to say?

If you’re
looking for subtlety,
Roland Emmerich is not your man. That’s not to say he’s a
bad filmmaker; he’s made some quality big-budget, high-concept yarns (Independence
Day
springs to mind) that deliver thrills aplenty. Unfortunately, critics say
his latest,

10,000 B.C.
, is mired in the stone age. B.C. stars

Steven Strait and
Camilla Belle
as a pair of hunting-and-gathering honeys; when
Belle gets kidnapped, Strait and members of their tribe journey into the unknown
to save her — and run across saber-toothed tigers, wooly mammoths, and other
civilizations. The pundits say 10,000 B.C. doesn’t lack for compelling
visuals, but it’s weak on plot and characterization and filled with
unintentional comedy. At 12 percent on the Tomatometer, 10,000 B.C. is a
Mesolithic mess. It’s also the worst-reviewed film of Emmerich’s career.




“Jiminy Jilickers! Just missed the Red Bull Flugtag!”

With
College Road Trip,
Martin Lawrence joins
Ice Cube and
Robin Williams in the pantheon
of once-edgy performers toplining poorly-reviewed family road trip comedies.
Lawrence stars as the overbearing father of
Melanie (
Raven-Symone), whose plan for a just-the-girls trip to look at schools
is undermined by her dad’s insistence on going along for the ride; subsequently,
laffs are had and lessons are learned, at least in theory. The pundits say Road
Trip
features over-the-top gags and a remarkable shortage of comic
imagination. At zero percent on the Tomatometer, this is the worst-reviewed film
of Lawrence’s career, edging out the five percent
Big Momma’s House 2
.




Maiden voyage of the Battleship Pigtemkin.

After
touring the martial arts circuit in movies like
The Transporter
and
War
,
Jason Statham returns to his grimy thriller roots with

The Bank Job
.
Based on the real-life 1971 robbery of security deposit boxes, he stars as a
petty thug in over his head as the job spirals out of control. It’s a throwback
to the heist movies of yore, and according to the critics (to quote
The French
Connection
‘s tagline) the time is right for an out-and-out thriller like this.
Director Roger Donaldson never lets the pace flag, forging a movie that’s
dramatic, funny, and plain entertaining. At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, The Bank Job is looking like a solid investment. (And
check out our Total Recall feature on heist movies

here
.)




“Who knew Louise Brooks could bend like that?”

Also
opening this week in limited release:




Testing out the rumor that Stratocasters taste like fried banana.

Recent
Roland Emmerich Films:
—————————————–
46% — The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
62% — The Patriot (2000)
25% — Godzilla (1998)
62% —

Independence
Day
(1996)
43% — Stargate (1994)

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.


The main protagonists of 10,000 B.C.

Having completed successful kidpic makeovers for Vin Diesel and The Rock, the Disney machine now turns its attention to Martin Lawrence who stars in his first G-rated flick ever – College Road Trip. The family comedy co-stars former Cosby kid Raven Symone, who also serves as a producer, playing the teenage daughter looking at prospective colleges to attend. The Mouse House has a patented formula when it comes to manufacturing and marketing family content like this. Lawrence and Symone will draw upon two different audience groups to attract sales and the Disney brand name will add extra glow. There is very little competition for this crowd right now so Trip should hit its mark. The opening may not reach the $30.6M of The Pacifier or the $23M of The Game Plan, nor will it be a top spot bow like those two, but a solid debut is assured. Driving into 2,706 theaters, College Road Trip could collect roughly $18M this weekend.


One of the many hijinks in College Road Trip.

Action fans not interested in the era Before Christ can get their kicks from Jason Statham‘s latest pic The Bank Job. The R-rated heist thriller should play exclusively to the actor’s action fans, but don’t expect this one to be among his top-grossing titles. The marketing push has not been as loud as those for his recent film War or his Transporter vehicles plus a more narrow release is planned. Crossover appeal beyond his core base is unlikely. A sack full of about $6M from 1,603 vaults seems likely for The Bank Job this weekend.


Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in The Bank Job.

Last weekend’s top player Semi-Pro will face some direct competition for young men from the new caveman flick. Look for a 45% drop to about $8M for the New Line release giving the Will Ferrell comedy $27M in ten days.

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

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