Box Office Guru Wrapup: "Epic Movie" Conquers Box Office

Proving that there's always money in spoof comedies, Fox's "Epic Movie" shot straight to number one over the weekend in its debut frame beating out three other new releases plus a handful of expanding Academy Award contenders. In fact, the immature laugher outgrossed all five Oscar nominees for best picture combined.

The crime drama "Smokin' Aces" and the Jennifer Garner dramedy "Catch and Release" both enjoyed good results in their opening weekends, however the new horror flick "Blood and Chocolate" failed to even make the top ten. Most holdovers remained strong as the overall marketplace bounced back from last weekend's dismal results.

Matching the numbers it posted a year ago with "Date Movie," Fox struck again with "Epic Movie" which topped the charts with an estimated $19.2M from 2,801 theaters. The PG-13 film lampooned several recent box office action hits and averaged a solid $6,855 per site. "Date Movie" skewered numerous romantic comedies and bowed to a similar $19.1M last February over the three-day portion of the Presidents' Day holiday weekend. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, whose writing credits include "Date Movie," "Spy Hard," and the entire "Scary Movie" series, wrote and directed "Epic." Teenagers made up a large portion of the audience and both genders were well-represented. Critics who did bother to review it trashed the film.


"Epic Movie": 0 percent Tomatometer, $19 million opening

Opening in second place with impressive results and similar per-theater success was Universal's mob thriller "Smokin' Aces" with an estimated $14.3M from 2,218 locations. Averaging a commendable $6,430 per site, the frame's only new R-rated pic connected with young men as its primary audience. According to studio research, 59% of the audience was male and 57% was 25 or older. "Smokin'" stars Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, and Alicia Keys and cost less than $20M to produce which should make it a profitable venture when all worldwide rights are exploited. The film also opened at number one in Russia this weekend with $1.7M and has grossed an additional $5.3M from the United Kingdom after its third weekend.



Alicia Keys, in her big-screen debut

The unstoppable blockbuster comedy "Night at the Museum" enjoyed yet another small decline sliding only 21% in its sixth weekend to an estimated $9.5M. The Ben Stiller-Robin Williams smash has pumped its cume up to $216.7M and will soon join the top 50 domestic blockbusters of all-time.

Jennifer Garner generated respectable results for her latest film "Catch and Release" which was not given a very wide release, but still sold an estimated $8M in ticket stubs. Averaging a solid $4,932 from 1,622 playdates, the PG-13 film about a woman rebuilding her life after her husband's death played heavily female. According to Sony's research, an overwhelming 75% of the crowd consisted of women and 58% was 25 or older. "Catch" cost $25M to produce and opened smaller than her previous headlining efforts "13 Going on 30" ($21.1M in 2004) and "Elektra" ($12.8M in 2005). Reviews were mostly negative.


"Catch and Release": At 22 percent, it's better than "Elektra"

Sony's "Stomp the Yard," 2007's top-grossing new release, slipped only 37% and took fifth with an estimated $7.8M. Total stands at an impressive $50.7M.

A quartet of Oscar-nominated films followed. Paramount's musical "Dreamgirls," which led all films with eight Academy Award nominations, expanded from 2,214 to 2,785 sites and grossed an estimated $6.6M. That represented a slim 17% drop in sales from last weekend but a steeper 34% fall in the per-theater average which was $2,376. Cume to date is $86.7M. Despite not earning a best picture nomination, "Dreamgirls" is still holding up well and posting relatively low declines.


"And You, And You, And You...You're Gonna Snub Me"

Also showing durability was Will Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness" which earned the box office star an Academy nod for best actor. The Sony blockbuster dipped only 21% to an estimated $5M pushing its sum to $152.9M. "Pursuit" did not have any expansion, but instead lost 378 theaters and still witnessed a decline similar to that of "Dreamgirls" which scored many more Oscar nominations and added hundreds of playdates to its run.

The fantasy tale "Pan's Labyrinth" widened from 609 to 823 sites and grossed an estimated $4.5M equaling its gross from last weekend. Nominated in six different categories, the Mexican film saw its per-theater average dip 26% from last weekend to a still-solid $5,474. Total is $16.3M for the Picturehouse release.



"The Queen" saw a healthy bump in sales and ranked ninth for the weekend with an estimated $4M, up 18%, for a $41.2M sum to date. Miramax added 244 additional venues and saw its average inch up 2% to $2,186.

Rounding out the top ten was a film that has approximately zero chance of earning any Academy Award nominations a year from now. The horror film "The Hitcher" tumbled 54% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.6M giving Focus only $13.4M to date. A $16-18M final seems likely.

Opening poorly outside of the top ten was yet another horror film, the werewolf thriller "Blood and Chocolate," which bowed to only $2.1M according to estimates. The PG-13 film attacked 1,200 theaters and averaged a weak $1,753 per venue for MGM.




With last Tuesday's Academy Award nominations putting several films into the media spotlight, distributors took the opportunity to expand their contenders and saw increased weekend grosses, even though averages were mostly not very impressive. Best picture candidate "The Departed," which was near the end of its theatrical run after opening in early October, went back into national release and grossed an estimated $3M. Averaging $2,096 per site in 1,453 locations, the Martin Scorsese crime saga upped its cume to $124.9M. Its best picture rival "Babel" widened to 1,090 playdates and grossed an estimated $2.6M for a $2,368 average. Sales were up 25% from last weekend while the average inched up 2% with the total reaching $27.2M.

Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima," which has been holding back much of its release in anticipation of Oscar nods, added 55 theaters to its run and surged 26% to an estimated $1.7M. The Warner Bros. release averaged a decent but not spectacular $4,120 from 415 locations. The average increased a healthy 9% from last weekend and the subtitled film has collected $4.9M to date as "Letters" remained the lowest-grossing best picture nominee by far. But much potential could still be ahead of it.



Among films with high profile acting nominations, Fox Searchlight's "Notes on a Scandal" more than tripled its run to 640 theaters and grossed an estimated $2.5M as the weekend take doubled. The Judi Dench-Cate Blanchett pic averaged $3,978 per playdate and has taken in $9M thus far. The distributor's Forest Whitaker drama "The Last King of Scotland" remained mostly steady with its theater count and saw its gross inch up 3% to an estimated $1.7M for a $7.7M total. Sony Classics more than quadrupled the run of Penelope Cruz's "Volver" and took in an estimated $1.2M from 689 sites. The average was diluted down to just $1,671 as the total climbed to $8.9M.

The industry often looks at a film's box office boost on the weekend after Academy Award nominations are announced to determine how much gold an Oscar nod is worth. But what is often overlooked is the additional marketing and distribution expense that is invested by a distributor to create new marketing materials, buy more advertising, and ship extra prints out across the country. Expanding these films in a crowded marketplace is not cheap, but studios do believe that there are long-term benefits to be gained by the added attention like extra momentum in overseas and video markets, plus possibly some added votes from Academy members. In addition, it is difficult to separate the sales that are due directly to the Oscar attention from those that would have occured anyway even if no nominations came through.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Paramount's high school drama "Freedom Writers" dipped 33% to an estimated $3.5M in its fourth session. The Hilary Swank pic has grossed a respectable $31.3M to date and should finish with about $36-38M. The MGM family release "Arthur and the Invisibles" dropped 46% to an estimated $1.7M for a $11.5M cume. A disappointing $14M final seems likely.



Universal's futuristic drama "Children of Men" scored three Oscar nominations, but it meant little to its ticket sales. The R-rated drama fell 46% to an estimated $2M lifting the sum to $30.7M. The Alfonso Cuaron-directed film should conclude with around $35M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $82.4M which was down 12% from last year when "Big Momma's House 2" opened at number one with $27.7M; and down 16% from 2005 when "Hide and Seek" debuted on top with $22M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Comments

Derbeste

Rob Beste

[b]....[/b]
Weeks like this make me wonder why terrorists even bother with us.

Jan 29 - 10:05 AM

Bane Of Anubis

C M

Yes, I see the corollary

Jan 29 - 10:21 AM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Amen. It's a mystery to me why sh!t like Epic Movie scores while a movie like Pan's Labyrinth struggles to find an audience. And yet, folks complain that there just aren't any good movies anymore. Well, why should Hollywood work to make good movies when there are enough morons in America willing to spend money on cheap, low brow comedy crap??!!!

Jan 29 - 10:53 AM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
people are tired of politically motivated Commie Bull Crap like Pan's Labrynth! Hey Gueillermo you think youre so smart! You think adding extra violence into a fantasy movie makes you an artist? You think it makes you special? NO! Sorry it actually only means you get slapped an R rating and most of your audience can't see and it and don't want to see it! Real genius! Yeah 96% rating open wide in all theatres got your AZZ handed to you by a 00% movie! talk about BOXOFFICE PWNAGE!!!!!

Jan 29 - 11:52 AM

ArmyofJuan

Juan Marable

Well considering Pans Labyrinth is only in like...800 some theaters, it really cant make that huge of an opening can it?

And i don't see how Pans Labyrinth was "politically motivated commie bull crap". And he didn't add extra violence to the move, all the violence in the movie seemed pretty necessary.

But as for the main article, wasnt the movie filmed in Spain? Or are we just calling Pans Mabyrinth a mexican film because Del Toro is mexican.

Jan 29 - 12:11 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

[b]I AGREE, THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
Do the ALL CAPS help? Anyway, yes you're right, which is why I'm not seeing Epic Movie. I don't find piss poor parody particularly entertaining. Of course, I don't find watching the toilet flush entertaining either, but I'm sure there's someone who does. Now the question is, would you pay money to see that?

Jan 29 - 12:16 PM

the-russian

Nick Danczyk

well said.

"...Commie Bull Crap like Pan's Labrynth..." My head hurts from how dumb this guy is.

Jan 29 - 01:22 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

I chose not to address his "commie bull crap" crack, since I have my doubts that he even knows what that means. His opinion of Guillermo del Toro was invalidated the moment he spewed it.

Jan 29 - 01:51 PM

h-town24

frank ford

Go kil yourself Derbeste!

Jan 29 - 10:19 AM

Bane Of Anubis

C M

Yes, I see the corollary

Jan 29 - 10:21 AM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Amen. It's a mystery to me why sh!t like Epic Movie scores while a movie like Pan's Labyrinth struggles to find an audience. And yet, folks complain that there just aren't any good movies anymore. Well, why should Hollywood work to make good movies when there are enough morons in America willing to spend money on cheap, low brow comedy crap??!!!

Jan 29 - 10:53 AM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
people are tired of politically motivated Commie Bull Crap like Pan's Labrynth! Hey Gueillermo you think youre so smart! You think adding extra violence into a fantasy movie makes you an artist? You think it makes you special? NO! Sorry it actually only means you get slapped an R rating and most of your audience can't see and it and don't want to see it! Real genius! Yeah 96% rating open wide in all theatres got your AZZ handed to you by a 00% movie! talk about BOXOFFICE PWNAGE!!!!!

Jan 29 - 11:52 AM

ArmyofJuan

Juan Marable

Well considering Pans Labyrinth is only in like...800 some theaters, it really cant make that huge of an opening can it?

And i don't see how Pans Labyrinth was "politically motivated commie bull crap". And he didn't add extra violence to the move, all the violence in the movie seemed pretty necessary.

But as for the main article, wasnt the movie filmed in Spain? Or are we just calling Pans Mabyrinth a mexican film because Del Toro is mexican.

Jan 29 - 12:11 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

[b]I AGREE, THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
Do the ALL CAPS help? Anyway, yes you're right, which is why I'm not seeing Epic Movie. I don't find piss poor parody particularly entertaining. Of course, I don't find watching the toilet flush entertaining either, but I'm sure there's someone who does. Now the question is, would you pay money to see that?

Jan 29 - 12:16 PM

FILMCZY

First Last

Come on! Do you want the kids INSIDE the house or OUTSIDE the house? They have to go see something on their dates, right? EM is PG-13 (unrated of course when the dvd arrives when...next week?) All the highbrow movies are rated R. I hardly see the audience for EM running to buy tickets for Pan's Labyrinth, Babel, or even Smokin' Aces. Catch and Release? Too nerdy for pre-teens. And who wants to see Night at the Museum again?

Jan 29 - 11:34 AM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Hmm, I don't see the Pan's Labyrinth audience running to waste their money on EM either, yet that's the garbage that's getting the wide release. I know it's possible to actually make a decent PG-13 movie without insulting our intelligence. It doesn't even need to be "highbrow," it just needs to have a reasonable amount of effort. After all, we've gotten quite a few decent family movies in the last several years, so why is it so hard to release good pre-teen/teen type films? The reason we keep getting crap is because you keep paying for it!!

Jan 29 - 12:00 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
people are tired of politically motivated Commie Bull Crap like Pan's Labrynth! Hey Gueillermo you think youre so smart! You think adding extra violence into a fantasy movie makes you an artist? You think it makes you special? NO! Sorry it actually only means you get slapped an R rating and most of your audience can't see and it and don't want to see it! Real genius! Yeah 96% rating open wide in all theatres got your AZZ handed to you by a 00% movie! talk about BOXOFFICE PWNAGE!!!!!

Jan 29 - 11:52 AM

ArmyofJuan

Juan Marable

Well considering Pans Labyrinth is only in like...800 some theaters, it really cant make that huge of an opening can it?

And i don't see how Pans Labyrinth was "politically motivated commie bull crap". And he didn't add extra violence to the move, all the violence in the movie seemed pretty necessary.

But as for the main article, wasnt the movie filmed in Spain? Or are we just calling Pans Mabyrinth a mexican film because Del Toro is mexican.

Jan 29 - 12:11 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

[b]I AGREE, THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
Do the ALL CAPS help? Anyway, yes you're right, which is why I'm not seeing Epic Movie. I don't find piss poor parody particularly entertaining. Of course, I don't find watching the toilet flush entertaining either, but I'm sure there's someone who does. Now the question is, would you pay money to see that?

Jan 29 - 12:16 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]PS[/b]
I want to have Jayma Mays baby!

Jan 29 - 11:52 AM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Hmm, I don't see the Pan's Labyrinth audience running to waste their money on EM either, yet that's the garbage that's getting the wide release. I know it's possible to actually make a decent PG-13 movie without insulting our intelligence. It doesn't even need to be "highbrow," it just needs to have a reasonable amount of effort. After all, we've gotten quite a few decent family movies in the last several years, so why is it so hard to release good pre-teen/teen type films? The reason we keep getting crap is because you keep paying for it!!

Jan 29 - 12:00 PM

ArmyofJuan

Juan Marable

Well considering Pans Labyrinth is only in like...800 some theaters, it really cant make that huge of an opening can it?

And i don't see how Pans Labyrinth was "politically motivated commie bull crap". And he didn't add extra violence to the move, all the violence in the movie seemed pretty necessary.

But as for the main article, wasnt the movie filmed in Spain? Or are we just calling Pans Mabyrinth a mexican film because Del Toro is mexican.

Jan 29 - 12:11 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

[b]I AGREE, THE KEY WORD IS ENTERTAINMENT![/b]
Do the ALL CAPS help? Anyway, yes you're right, which is why I'm not seeing Epic Movie. I don't find piss poor parody particularly entertaining. Of course, I don't find watching the toilet flush entertaining either, but I'm sure there's someone who does. Now the question is, would you pay money to see that?

Jan 29 - 12:16 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

The problem with movie's like Pan's Labyrinth is A. It's not marketed for shit...I wouldn't have even heard of it if it weren't for sites like this, plus to the person who doesn't have time to search out what it's about it looks like a mix between low rent cirque du soleil and the Dark Crystal and B. without any lead in or effort made to make people aware this type of movie on the surface only appeals to a small nitch group of the population and lastly C. Sometimes people don't want to go to see great art they just want to laugh at the guy getting kicked in the crotch. Step off you high horse and take a trip outside your ivory tower every once in a while. The world needs all kinds. Just think if their weren't the mindless drooling masses or the throngs of hippie arthouse junkie's we wouldn't have anyone to look down on or ridicule and that Sir is a world I'm just not ready for...but then again that's just one man's opinion.

Jan 29 - 12:44 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

I live in an ivory tower? Cool. Who knew? If trashing a film like Epic Movie means I'm riding a high horse, then I'd best not step off, because that's a long drop.

Look, I've got nothing against mindless entertainment. Movies like Spiderman and Slither find a way to be fun, funny, and action oriented without being insulting. That's all I'm looking for. It's just a sad state to me when such ridiculous wit like EM opens #1 at the box office while there are great films overlooked that truly deserve better. While at the same time, people cry that there are no good movies to see. They just aren?t looking hard enough.

This isn't likely to change in the future, but hey, that's "just one man's opinion" right?

Jan 29 - 01:09 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

All I'm sayin is people have different taste's, there are probably people out there who said movie's like Blazing Saddles, Airplane and Life of Brian were just stupid mindless junk too. Now I have serious doubts whether the current crop of spoof movies will supply a movie to match those comic classics, but you never know. All Genre's add their own flavor to the mix. Just watch the movie's you like, let other people watch there's and if you really feel that strongly about it talk to your local theater owner about getting more of your type of movies. That's what I do and now this week they're playing "To Have and Have Not" Sure it's on so late only a handful of people come, but sometimes that's the price you have to pay.

Jan 29 - 02:12 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Far be from me to disagree, because I'm not. You're entitled to your opinion, so long as you remember that I'm entitled to mine. After all, it was you who accused me of sitting atop a high horse and living in an ivory tower.

I know I'm not going to change any minds. That's not what I'm trying to do anyway, so don't tell me how I should express my opinion. I wasn't asking. I'm simply venting my frustration for the talented filmmakers who truly care about their films and may never be seen by a broader audience.

Jan 29 - 02:56 PM

the-russian

Nick Danczyk

well said.

"...Commie Bull Crap like Pan's Labrynth..." My head hurts from how dumb this guy is.

Jan 29 - 01:22 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

I chose not to address his "commie bull crap" crack, since I have my doubts that he even knows what that means. His opinion of Guillermo del Toro was invalidated the moment he spewed it.

Jan 29 - 01:51 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

I chose not to address his "commie bull crap" crack, since I have my doubts that he even knows what that means. His opinion of Guillermo del Toro was invalidated the moment he spewed it.

Jan 29 - 01:51 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

All I'm sayin is people have different taste's, there are probably people out there who said movie's like Blazing Saddles, Airplane and Life of Brian were just stupid mindless junk too. Now I have serious doubts whether the current crop of spoof movies will supply a movie to match those comic classics, but you never know. All Genre's add their own flavor to the mix. Just watch the movie's you like, let other people watch there's and if you really feel that strongly about it talk to your local theater owner about getting more of your type of movies. That's what I do and now this week they're playing "To Have and Have Not" Sure it's on so late only a handful of people come, but sometimes that's the price you have to pay.

Jan 29 - 02:12 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Far be from me to disagree, because I'm not. You're entitled to your opinion, so long as you remember that I'm entitled to mine. After all, it was you who accused me of sitting atop a high horse and living in an ivory tower.

I know I'm not going to change any minds. That's not what I'm trying to do anyway, so don't tell me how I should express my opinion. I wasn't asking. I'm simply venting my frustration for the talented filmmakers who truly care about their films and may never be seen by a broader audience.

Jan 29 - 02:56 PM

Racer Z

Shannon Potratz

Far be from me to disagree, because I'm not. You're entitled to your opinion, so long as you remember that I'm entitled to mine. After all, it was you who accused me of sitting atop a high horse and living in an ivory tower.

I know I'm not going to change any minds. That's not what I'm trying to do anyway, so don't tell me how I should express my opinion. I wasn't asking. I'm simply venting my frustration for the talented filmmakers who truly care about their films and may never be seen by a broader audience.

Jan 29 - 02:56 PM

barnaby Jones

Andy Webster

Epic Movie will be gone in a couple of weeks MAX ! Whereas Pan's will still be proping up the the rest of the crap, quietly going about it's business until the blockbuster season kicks off.

Jan 29 - 04:17 PM

synergyred

Nancy Elizabeth

Right now, I deeply want to see Children of Men and Pan Labyrinth. Unfortuantly, my local theater doesn't have either. It DOES manage to get every horror movie ever made though. Can someone tell me the logic behind that?

Jan 29 - 04:41 PM

ImaRobot

Jason Perry

Commie bull crap. ahahaha..I haven't even seen it yet (it's not playing anywhere near me), but if I am correct it is set during the Spanish Civil War? Well that was between republican centrists and fascists. there weren't even communists involved. so it's clear that...you have no idea what you're talking about. And I agree that it is very, very disapointing that Epic Movie was number one...the trailers alone made me crawl out of my skin. I just don't understand.

Jan 29 - 04:46 PM

Miro Stak

Miro Stak

Off topic, but the communists were involved. The USSR was the republicans' main ally and many units fighting the fascists were communist.

Jan 30 - 09:35 AM

llaltoo

Lindsay L

just out of curiousity, has a movie with a 0% tomatometer scored first place at the box office before? i know a lot of astonishingly bad movies have, but 0%??

Jan 29 - 04:48 PM

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