Moviegoers were in the mood for suspense as the Samuel L. Jackson cop thriller Lakeview Terrace easily topped the North American box office beating out three new comedy openers. Dane Cook’s latest My Best Friend’s Girl disappointed, the animated pic Igor bowed respectably, while the Ricky Gervais starrer Ghost Town played to empty auditoriums. The debuting films joined forces for just $37M in ticket sales falling short of the $63M pumped in last weekend by that frame’s four-pack of new titles. Still, the top ten managed to match year-ago levels.

Sony scored its fifth number one opener of the year with Lakeview Terrace which debuted with a solid $15.6M, according to estimates. The PG-13 film about a veteran cop that terrorizes an interracial couple that moves in next door to him played in 2,464 theaters and averaged an impressive $6,331 per site. Produced for about $20M, Terrace connected with adult audiences despite stiff competition in the marketplace for mature moviegoers. According to studio research, 69% of the crowd was over 25 while 56% was female. For Jackson, it was a chance to flex some solo muscle at the box office as the film had no other stars in it. An effective marketing campaign by the studio’s Screen Gems unit also helped to deliver results. Reviews were not too positive, but ticket buyers instead responded to starpower and a good promotional push.




Last weekend’s number one film Burn After Reading held up well in its second frame. The caper comedy from the Coen brothers grossed an estimated $11.3M falling a reasonable 41% and lifted its ten-day cume to a solid $36.4M. The George Clooney-Brad Pitt pic enjoyed a smaller decline than those seen by other wide releases from the Oscar-winning filmmakers. 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty, which also starred the former Batman, dropped 48% in its second weekend while 2004’s Tom Hanks starrer The Ladykillers fell by 44%. Focus looks to ride Burn to the vicinity of $65M.

Dane Cook’s newest comedy failed to live up to the numbers posted by his previous efforts. The romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Girl, which also stars Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs, bowed to an estimated $8.3M from 2,604 theaters for a weak $3,187 average. That was a hefty 39% below the $13.7M of Cook’s Good Luck Chuck from this same weekend last year, and 27% behind the $11.4M debut of Employee of the Month from October 2006. All three were released by Lionsgate in roughly 2,600 locations. Girl carried an R rating and earned the same negative reviews the comedian routinely sees from critics.

Debuting to respectable results in fourth place was the new animated comedy Igor with an estimated $8M from 2,339 playdates. The PG-rated film averaged $3,425 and faced no competition in its quest for family audiences. Pre-release expectations were low since it is not based on any popular brand name property. The MGM release has no other kidpics to face next weekend so it may avoid the large drops seen by most other films.




Three sophomore titles followed. The Robert De Niro-Al Pacino cop flick Righteous Kill tumbled 53% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.7M ranking fifth. With $28.8M taken in across ten days, the Overture Films release should eventually reach $40-45M. Kill has already become the top-grossing film for the new distribution company which made a name for itself this summer with the indie smash The Visitor.




Tyler Perry’s latest hit The Family That Preys took a tumble in its second weekend falling 57% to an estimated $7.5M. The drop was nearly identical to the sophomore slides of 58% and 57% for past films Madea’s Family Reunion and Daddy’s Little Girls, respectively. Lionsgate has banked $28.4M in ten days with Family and should find its way to around $40M by the end of the run. Picturehouse witnessed a sharp decline for its chick flick The Women which fell 48% in its second outing to an estimated $5.3M. With $19.2M collected in ten days, the ensemble film could reach the neighborhood of $30M.

Good reviews meant nothing to the new Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town which opened poorly in eighth place with an estimated $5.2M. Averaging a mild $3,436 from a subdued wide release in 1,505 locations, the PG-13 film about a dentist that can see and speak to spirits also stars Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. The target audience of mature adults had many other options to choose from so competition was tough, plus Gervais has yet to prove himself as a box office draw who can sell tickets. The DreamWorks production was released by Paramount.




Warner Bros. spent its tenth weekend in the top ten with The Dark Knight which grossed an estimated $3M, off just 29%, for a towering $521.9M domestic total. Overseas, the gargantuan smash raised its cume to $455.7M giving the superhero blockbuster a stunning $977.6M worldwide. That puts Knight at number four on the all-time global blockbusters list after Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which all topped the $1 billion mark. Bruce Wayne should become a box office billionaire in early October. Sony’s leggy hit The House Bunny rounded out the top ten dipping 33% to an estimated $2.8M pushing the cume to $45.7M.

September is when top distributors start rolling out their awards contenders and this weekend saw two of them generate sensational launches. Paramount Vantage unveiled the Keira Knightley costume drama The Duchess in seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $203,000 for a sizzling $28,932 average. Attracting mostly good reviews, the PG-13 film will expand into the Top 20 markets this Friday. Warner Bros. rode into twice as many theaters with its Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa which collected an estimated $258,000. Averaging a sturdy $18,429 from 14 sites, the R-rated pic stars Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, and Jeremy Irons and will expand nationally on October 3.




The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.6M which was off only 1% from last year when Resident Evil: Extinction opened in the top spot with $23.7M; and down 3% from 2006 when Jackass: Number Two debuted at number one with $29M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

A four-pack of fall films from specialty distributors fueled a resurgence at the North American box office led by the caper comedy Burn After Reading from the Coen brothers which made off with the number one spot. Solid bows also greeted Tyler Perry’s newest story The Family That Preys and the Robert De Niro-Al Pacino cop thriller Righteous Kill which landed in second and third, respectively. The female-empowerment pic The Women opened in fourth with lukewarm numbers. The four new titles accounted for a whopping 77% of all money spent on the top ten films. It was also the first time that four September films ever opened to double-digit millions on the same weekend.

Just six months after winning the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture, Joel and Ethan Coen scored the largest debut of their career and first-ever number one opening with the crime caper Burn After Reading. The R-rated comedy grossed an estimated $19.4M giving Focus Features the biggest debut in company history and its first top spot bow as well. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and recent Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, the ensemble film averaged a terrific $7,320 from 2,651 sites. The previous bests for the Coens came from 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty and 2004’s The Ladykillers which bowed to $12.5M and $12.6M, respectively. Reviews were generally good for Burn which benefitted from starpower, cross-gender appeal, and good will created by their triumphs with No Country For Old Men. The performance also comes as good news for Focus which has struggled since 2005’s Brokeback Mountain.




Tyler Perry scored yet another hit with his latest film The Family That Preys which opened close behind in second with an estimated $18M from 2,070 locations. The Lionsgate release played in the fewest locations of any new pic and its solid $8,705 average was tops among all wide releases. The filmmaker’s loyal fan following came out once again giving Perry his third impressive debut in under a year. Last March, Meet the Browns opened in second place with $20.1M and a $10,011 average while last October saw Why Did I Get Married? premiere to $21.4M and a $10,618 average. Both were Lionsgate titles released in just over 2,000 theaters. The audience was dominated by African American adult women just as with the Atlanta-based director’s previous films. According to studio research, 82% of the crowd was black, 82% was over 25, and 79% was female. Perry returns once again on February 20 with his next comedy, Madea Goes to Jail.




The pairing of screen legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino led the new action thriller Righteous Kill to a third place debut with an estimated $16.5M in ticket sales. The Overture Films release averaged a solid $5,235 from 3,152 theaters and played to an audience that was not as male-oriented as was expected. In fact, the serial killer drama’s audience was slightly more female (51%) while mature adults led the way as 69% of the crowd was 25 or older. Reviews were not good, but starpower drove the sales as moviegoers wanted to see the first pairing of the two men since Heat which opened to $8.4M in 1995 on its way to $67.4M. Kill differed in that the Oscar-winning actors played partners and actually had numerous scenes together for the first time. Pacino nailed his best opening in a lead role since 2002’s Insomnia ($20.9M) while for De Niro it was his highest since 2005’s Hide and Seek ($22M).




Posting the weakest debut among the frame’s new titles was the remake The Women starring Meg Ryan which bowed to an estimated $10.1M from 2,962 theaters for a mild $3,406 average. Co-starring a long list of actresses such as Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen, the PG-13 film attracted harsh reviews from critics. Women is the final film from Picturehouse and only really had strong appeal to one quadrant – females over 25. With the weekend’s other new releases also generating interest with adult women and boasting more male appeal to help bring in couples, the Diane English-directed pic faced intense competition during a time that traditionally sees only so many dollars circulating in the marketplace.

Leading all the holdover pics was Sony’s hit sorority comedy The House Bunny with an estimated $4.3M, off just 22%, for a $42.2M cume. Tropic Thunder followed close behind dropping 42% to an estimated $4.2M raising its total to $103M for Paramount and DreamWorks. It is the 15th summer film to join the century club and was joined by Will Ferrell’s Step Brothers which reached $100.1M on Sunday to become the season’s 16th blockbuster. Journey to the Center of the Earth should become the final film to join the list as it sits at $98M to date.




Dipping only 27%, The Dark Knight continued to draw in audiences in its ninth weekend. The Warner Bros. megahit took in an estimated $4M and pushed its domestic cume to a towering $517.7M. Getting closer to the billion dollar club, the Caped Crusader pulled in an estimated $6.7M overseas this weekend to raise its international tally to $448.9M and its worldwide gross to a stunning $966.6M. The Dark Knight climbed up to number five among all-time worldwide blockbusters in between 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($970M) and last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961M).

Three star-driven action thrillers rounded out the top ten. Nicolas Cage’s Bangkok Dangerous collapsed in its second weekend tumbling 69% to an estimated $2.4M falling from first to eighth. The Lionsgate release has collected a meager $12.5M in ten days and should finish with only $18M making it one of the actor’s worst-performing action movies ever. The Don Cheadle pic Traitor fell 50% to an estimated $2.1M while Jason Statham’s Death Race fell 46% to an estimated $2M. Totals are $20.7M and $33.2M for Overture and Universal, respectively.




Four films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. Fox’s Vin Diesel actioner Babylon A.D. dropped 58% to an estimated $1.8M for a weak $20.3M total to date. The sci-fi flop should limp to a $24M finish. The runaway hit Mamma Mia! took in an estimated $1.7M, off just 39% in its ninth session, and boosted its North American tally to $139.3M. A final of about $145M seems likely. Universal’s highest-grossing film of the year also shattered the $300M overseas mark with an estimated $17.5M this weekend. That put the amazing international sum at $307M and the global gross at a stellar $446.3M. Produced for $65M, Mamma Mia! will easily take in over $500M at the worldwide box office by the end of its run.

The spoof comedy Disaster Movie dropped 47% to an estimated $1.6M giving Lionsgate just $12.7M thus far. Look for a pitiful $16M by the end of its run. Sony’s stoner hit Pineapple Express took in an estimated $1.1M, off 52%, for a $86M cume. The $27M production should end with a robust $88M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $83.1M which was up 39% from last year when The Brave One opened in the top spot with $13.5M; and up 47% from 2006 when Gridiron Gang debuted at number one with $14.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Screen legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunite almost 13 years after Heat and share significant screen time together this time around in Righteous Kill which leads a pack of four new releases on Friday that hope to revive a box office currently on life support. The Overture Films release is using those two iconic names as the center of its marketing plan which makes sense since plenty of movie buffs will want to see how the two Oscar winners will fare playing partners in the NYPD. John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Dennehy, and Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson co-star in the R-rated cop drama about a serial killer taking out one criminal after another. Kill is a more enjoyable thriller than one would think given the early September dumping ground release date. Reviews won’t be stellar, but they should be good enough to not repel audiences. Adult men will make up the primary crowd so the early weeks of the football season will provide some competition. But starpower will lead the way and curious action film fans will take a chance. 50 Cent has not been utilized as much as he could have in the marketing as the multi-platinum rapper can give the film a solid pull with younger adults. Shooting its way into 2,800 theaters, Righteous Kill might take in about $15M this weekend.


De Niro and Pacino in Righteous Kill

Tyler Perry‘s latest comedy-drama The Family That Preys also hits the multiplexes on Friday. The filmmaker’s third release in less than a year stars Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, and Sanaa Lathan in a tale of two families being torn apart by scandal. Perry once again will see the best business come from his core audience of African American adult women and there is little competition in the marketplace right now for this audience. Recent openings for the mogul have been $20.1M for March’s Meet the Browns and $21.4M for last October’s Why Did I Get Married? The PG-13 Family seems to have less buzz surrounding it so the debut figures may be more in line with the filmmaker’s Daddy’s Little Girls which launched with $11.2M over three days in February 2007. It bowed on a Wednesday ahead of the Presidents’ Day holiday frame. The Family That Preys will debut in 2,070 locations and could collect around $13M this weekend.


Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard in The Family that Preys

Joel and Ethan Coen debut their latest film, the crime caper comedy Burn After Reading which packs plenty of starpower. The R-rated film reunites Ocean’s boys George Clooney and Brad Pitt and also stars John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and Frances McDormand. Burn‘s opening will be a true test of the coattails the directors got from winning big at the Oscars earlier this year with No Country For Old Men. Ten years ago, their Academy buzz from Fargo meant little to their followup The Big Lebowski which bowed to just $5.5M. But the brothers’ films are very review-driven and critics this time are supportive, but are not giving their usual heap of praise. Plus competition for adults over 30 will be stiff with Righteous Kill taking away men and The Women stealing away the ladies. Focus is betting that couples will only have Burn to agree on and will score its business that way. The Coens usually don’t get wide release treatment with their projects but their back-to-back star-driven pics Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers bowed to $12.5M and $12.6M, respectively, in 2003 and 2004. Both faced less competition for mature adults though. Opening in about 2,650 locations, Burn After Reading could debut to around $11M this weekend.


Burn After Reading

Charging into theaters with the most celebrities, and the worst reviews, is The Women. Meg Ryan gets her first chance in years to headline a major wide release and is joined by Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen and others. The PG-13 film about a jilted wife who bonds with society gals is targeting football widows and should play almost exclusively female. The Picturehouse release struggled to get made and then released, but in recent months a larger marketing and distribution investment was made in order to roll the dice and score the next big hit driven by women. Both Sex and the City and Mamma Mia! have grossed north of $400M worldwide this summer shattering expectations for what a film that repels men can earn. But those were both much stronger brands that were more relevant to today’s times. Plus with adults being the primary age group, the awful reviews will take a bite out of sales. George and Brad will take away some biz too. Still, the film is a very marketable choice to those looking to get away from Al and Bobby as well as the sports on television all weekend long. Landing in 2,962 theaters, The Women might gross about $11M this weekend.


The Women

The new crop of fall films should sweep aside the current batch of holdovers with none likely to top $5M this weekend. Last weekend’s default champ Tropic Thunder should also face competition for its adult audience so a 40% decline would put the Paramount war comedy at $4.5M boosting the cume to $103M.

The Dark Knight will be one of very few popular items not rated R this weekend so continued strength may be in order. A 35% drop would leave the smash hit with $3.5M over three days and a stellar $517M to date. The runaway superhero blockbuster has grossed over $950M worldwide and its studio Warner Bros. has now announced that it will be re-released in Imax theaters in January during Oscar season. The large-screen format already accounts for 11% of the towering domestic haul with a record $55M in sales.

LAST YEAR: Jodie Foster scored another number one opener with her vigilante thriller The Brave One which bowed on top with $13.5M. Warner Bros. would go on to reach $36.8M. The Lionsgate Western 3:10 to Yuma slipped to second with $8.9M in its second weekend. The Billy Bob Thornton comedy Mr. Woodcock debuted close behind in third with $8.8M on its way to $25.8M for New Line. Sony’s Superbad followed in fourth with $5.1M in its fifth lap. Rounding out the top five was the fantasy adventure Dragon Wars with a weak $5M before closing with a $11M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com