Box Office Guru Wrapup: "Ratatouille" Becomes Top Chef of Box Office

Pixar scored its eighth consecutive number one opening with the animated feature "Ratatouille" which easily topped the North American box office chart this weekend. Bruce Willis got the action going in second place with the debut of his new shoot-em-up sequel "Live Free or Die Hard."

The Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" and the femme-driven drama "Evening" saw much smaller grosses in their national openings but still landed in the top ten. The overall box office was slightly better than last year's as the the first half of 2007 came to a close.



"Ratatouille" cooked up an estimated $47.2M in its premiere frame hitting the top spot, but the G-rated toon delivered the smallest opening for Pixar since 1998's "A Bug's Life" which bowed nationwide over the Thanksgiving session to $33.3M over three days (roughly $40M at today's ticket prices). The new entry about a rodent that secretly cooks up delicious meals in a Paris restaurant fell short of the debut numbers posted by recent Pixar offerings like last summer's "Cars" ($60.1M), 2004's "The Incredibles" ($70.5M), and 2003's "Finding Nemo" ($70.3M). With every company in Hollywood now producing computer-animated films for kids, and "Cars" driving into theaters just one year ago, "Ratatouille" lacked the event status that most Pixar pics carried with them.



Still, reviews were sensational and while the film may have been a bit of a tough sell upfront, strong word-of-mouth could give the rat pic solid legs in the weeks ahead, especially with the Independence Day holiday week coming up. Pixar films often go on to reach four or fives times their opening weekend numbers domestically so joining the $200M club is still possible. The French setting could also boost overseas sales. Most recent Pixar films earned more internationally than domestically except for "Cars" which boasted a very American NASCAR-type storyline.



Opening at number two with a similar gross, but spread out over five days, was the Bruce Willis action sequel "Live Free or Die" Hard which collected an estimated $33.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $48.2M since its Wednesday launch. Playing in 3,408 theaters, the Fox release averaged a healthy $9,727 over three days. Studio research showed that the PG-13 film skewed a bit older and a bit more male, as expected. With the franchise being dormant for twelve years, it was a challenge to make this new "Die Hard" picture relevant to today's young summer moviegoers. "Live Free" earned strong reviews from critics and overseas, where its title is "Die Hard 4.0," grosses are expected to be significantly stronger as evidenced by 1995's "Die Hard With A Vengeance" which collected a whopping 72% of its $361M worldwide total from outside of North America.



Steve Carell's comedy "Evan Almighty" dropped 52% in its second weekend to an estimated $15.1M and fell two spots to third place. Universal has collected $60.6M in ten days and seems headed for the $100M mark by the end of the run. That makes "Evan" the summer's biggest underachiever given its reported $175M production cost and the fact that it has grossed less than half as much as "Bruce Almighty" did in its first ten days four years ago.



The hotel room thriller "1408" declined by 49% in its sophomore frame and collected an estimated $10.6M. John Cusack's latest film has scared up a solid $40.4M after ten days and could finish with an impressive $70M for MGM making it the year's second biggest horror film after "Disturbia."



Falling 55% to an estimated $9M was "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which has banked $114.8M to date. The PG-rated Fox sequel is off 7% from the 17-day cume of its PG-13 predecessor from 2005.



Universal's comedy "Knocked Up" placed sixth with an estimated $7.4M, down only 32%, for a cume of $122.4M. "Ocean's Thirteen" followed falling 47% to an estimated $6.1M giving Warner Bros. $102.1M domestically. The international tally climbed to $124.1M boosting the worldwide total to $226M and counting.



Disney's Captain Jack saga "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" ranked eighth with an estimated $5M dipping only 30% in its sixth voyage. The North American cume stands at $295.8M putting it at number 25 the all-time domestic blockbusters list just behind 2003's first "Pirates" adventure which grossed $305.4M. Overseas, the third Pirates film surged to $608.9M raising the global gross to an astounding $904.7M allowing it to surpass "Spider-Man 3" to become the top-grossing film worldwide in 2007. At World's End has also become the sixth biggest blockbuster of all-time overseas and only the ninth movie ever to break the $900M mark globally.



Michael Moore's new documentary "Sicko" opened nationwide over the weekend and placed ninth with an estimated $4.5M from only 441 theaters for a solid $10,204 average. Though it was an impressive debut, it was nowhere near the $23.9M opening and $27,558 average of the filmmaker's last release "Fahrenheit 9/11" from June 2004. That controversial film went on to become the top-grossing doc ever with $119.2M. "Sicko," a criticism of America's health care problems, failed to attract the same amount of controversy and has gotten off to a slower start for Lionsgate. Cume is $4.6M including an exclusive one-week run in New York City.



The dying-mother drama "Evening" bowed with weak results in tenth place with an estimated $3.5M from 977 sites for a mild $3,596 average. Focus saw poor reviews for its femme-driven drama.



At 2007's halfway point, the top five summer films (led by "Spider-Man 3"'s $333.7M) have collectively grossed $1.18 billion, up 31% from last year. The top five blockbusters of the overall year have combined for a $1.32 billion, up an encouraging 37% from this point in 2006, so the marketplace has certainly been healthy with some big hits, even if some have not met the industry's high expectations.



Four films tumbled out of the top ten over the weekend. Paramount's "Shrek the Third" fell 51% to an estimated $2.7M giving the DreamWorks toon $313.8M to date. That allowed the $170M-budgeted ogre tale to crack the Top 20 on the all-time domestic list at number 20 right behind "The Fellowship of the Ring" which took in $314.2M. Look for a final of about $320M which would be substantially behind the $436.7M of "Shrek 2" which currently ranks number three all-time. Worldwide, "Shrek the Third" has grossed over $500M with many major markets yet to open.



Rival toon "Surf's Up" grossed an estimated $2.4M, off a steep 64%, giving Sony $53.7M thus far. A mediocre $60M final could result. The teen girl pic "Nancy Drew" fell 56% to an estimated $1.9M for a $21.3M sum. Warner Bros. should end its run with only $25M or so. Paramount Vantage's "A Mighty Heart" dropped 61% to an estimated $1.6M giving the Angelina Jolie pic just $7M in ten days. A $10M final seems likely.



The top ten films grossed an estimated $141.6M which was up a scant 2% from last year when "Superman Returns" opened at number one with $52.5M; and up 9% from 2005 when "War of the Worlds" debuted on top with $64.9M over three days.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Comments

Karthik Selvakumar

Karthik Selvakumar

I still have yet to see A Mighty Heart. Seen the rest though, Ratatouille is magnificent.

Jul 1 - 09:17 PM

Sputnik99

sputnik 99

I saw both Ratatouille and Live Free or Die Hard, and I must say that Rat has a stronger story, and IMO should last longer, at least until Harry Potter is out for a couple weeks. Still, LFODH is a blast and will definitely keep Rat's numbers down for a while. Plus, Transformers is going to kersmash both movies in the week ahead. But no records will be broken by Transformers because there is too much competition.

There was a lot of crap in May and early June. Here comes the good stuff.

Jul 1 - 09:20 PM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

What is the crap you are talking about? Because the only crap i think you are talking about is Knocked Up and 28 Weeks later.

Jul 1 - 11:28 PM

Krooked

Anthony Jacobs

I'm sorry RT, but that was the least creative news title.

Jul 1 - 09:37 PM

starscream69

Chris S

I love what i am about to write on here...o.k....here it goes.....I TOLD YOU SOO. I called it. I told everyone ratatouille was going to be one of pixars worst, and i was right. i havent seen it yet, so im not downing the story or anything, but i said from the get go that it would be one of the lowest grossing pixar films ever, and i was right, its the second worst opening, just ahead of A bug life. All you Brad Bird lovers can put that in ur pipe and smoke it.

Jul 1 - 09:40 PM

Rents

Required huh? kkdkkdd

who gives a crap? It was still a great movie and one of Pixar's best. Box office openings don't mean much.

Jul 1 - 10:15 PM

Silverevilchao

Silver The Evil Chao

[b]Sales =/= Greatness[/b]
You sound like one of the guys who would go see Daddy Day Camp just because it got decent sales numbers.

Also, look at Shrek 3. Crap, yet it sold. Pirates 2 (not a typo)? Crap. Spider-Man 3? Crap. Nancy Drew? Crap, crap, CRAP. All of which sold like a bunch of hotcakes because guillible people like you rely on the sales numbers to dictate which movies they're going to see.

Jul 2 - 12:17 AM

Rents

Required huh? kkdkkdd

who gives a crap? It was still a great movie and one of Pixar's best. Box office openings don't mean much.

Jul 1 - 10:15 PM

aknddon3

andrew kruzel

What is the crap you are talking about? Because the only crap i think you are talking about is Knocked Up and 28 Weeks later.

Jul 1 - 11:28 PM

Silverevilchao

Silver The Evil Chao

[b]Sales =/= Greatness[/b]
You sound like one of the guys who would go see Daddy Day Camp just because it got decent sales numbers.

Also, look at Shrek 3. Crap, yet it sold. Pirates 2 (not a typo)? Crap. Spider-Man 3? Crap. Nancy Drew? Crap, crap, CRAP. All of which sold like a bunch of hotcakes because guillible people like you rely on the sales numbers to dictate which movies they're going to see.

Jul 2 - 12:17 AM

nogard46

joe smith

[b]I think people are a lil tired of comp anime[/b]
seems like every other week is another computer cartoon movie. I'm not saying they are all bad, buts its getting very tiresome.

Saw Die Hard and wow that was a fun ride! Glad to see McClane back! it was a pretty good flick kinda like a good appetizer to the real meal, the main dish, the 1 pound 1 inch steak I'm about to get called TRANSFORMERS!!!!

Jul 2 - 02:02 AM

Gimy

Gimy Moo

Rat is EXACTLY what i expected from seeing their last extended trailer before the movie opened. its good but...NOT great. the hype is overrated and its just well...kinda boring. its not bad, but the whole "greatest pixar movie ever" talk is bs. its not funny and really...not cute. the only time its REALLY REALLY good is when the rats are all on the screen and you'd think, hey...RAT MOVIE...that'll happen alot, right? nope. maybe 10 minutes. the human aspect ruins it...

happy to see 16 blocks, the sequel, not do that well. pg-13 for a john mclain movie is as logical as a nc-17 disney flick. it'll do nothing this week with Transformers coming out so maybe(wishful thinking) the sh3t new sequels to the ol' classics routine will slow down

Jul 2 - 05:25 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

emmmm, wasn't it the best opening for a Diehard movie ever? From all acounts I've heard the PG-13 doesn't damage the movie at all. Of course I can't say from personal experience for another month, but I'm not bitter...(Under his breath, stupid queen and her stupid licensing laws)

Jul 2 - 06:13 AM

kendrith1975

Ken Tsoi

I think you are the only person here who think DIE HARD 4 did not do well. What are you trying to measure here? Will it really do nothing this week against TRANSFORMERS? The last DIE HARD sequel grossed only marginally more than 100 million 12 years ago, and DIE HARD 4 got great reviews for an action sequel, not to mention that it skewed older (its audiences not rushing out on opening weekend). It still manages to snag 33.2 million after business dilution from Wednesday and Thursday. So even if TRANSFORMERS come in and score big, DIE HARD 4 will still ended up grossing more than DIE HARD 3 even after ticket price adjustment because the word of mouth will be there to sustain longevity.

Jul 2 - 07:41 AM

Mr. Kong

Sam jacobs

I'm surprised Ratatouille didn't do better, but after that fall Evan Almighty is going to blow at the box office. Though it's doing somewhat solid, 1408 deserves better; it's an excellent movie.

Jul 2 - 05:46 AM

~*Admiral Snowstorm*~

Dominique Amsterdam

I think it's great that good movies are winning the Box Office.

Also, I don't see how $47.2 million is in any way 'weak'. Except in comparison to the other Pixar movies, that is, but that's still a respectable number for a debut. And odds are, it's going to keep raking in money for weeks to come. Transformers will put a little dent in it, perhaps, but then again, the two movies appeal to different audiences. I don't see Ratatouille leaving the Top Five for at least three weeks.

Jul 2 - 05:57 AM

Mr. Kong

Sam jacobs

Agreed. 47.2 is excellent for an opening.

Jul 2 - 08:09 AM

Modano

T H

I saw Ratatouille and I too thought it was great. But in terms of strict financial numbers, I think Pixar and Bird may be straddling the line between entertaining adults and kids. I thought Ratatouille and to a lesser extent Incredibles both seemed to be written with more adult driven dialogue set to animation and less kids humor, even though I liked them both immensely. Ratatouille didn't have many "kids laughing out loud" moments, but I was amazed it could keep kids' attention for almost 2 hrs, and some people applauded at the end. This may be a reason why this Pixar movie may not make as much as its predecessors, along with trying to push a movie about a rat that takes place mostly in one setting, plus the strong cometition this summer. Then again, Shrek is able to gross plenty with numerous pop culture references written in, but the story revolves around an ogre and a freakin donkey. I too hope it has strong legs and is able to last through Transformers and Harry Potter. It is a true quality film.

Jul 2 - 06:03 AM

synergyred

Nancy Elizabeth

Good for Ratatouille! Yes it's not going to do as well as Finding Nemo, but Pixar movies (unlike Most Blockbusters) doesn't exactly tend to go down 60+% in their second week. They tend to have more of a longevity. I think that good word of mouth will bring in a lot of people, and not to mention that it's really the only decent kid movie out right now. Some may disagree with me when it comes to Surf's Up, I will give you that, but not too many kids are going to see Nancy Drew (or, as I call it "Hollywood ruins another one of my childhood loves"). Transformers might take away a little in the 10-year-old boys category (not to mention older geeks too) and Harry Potter will make a dent but as the movies have been getting darker and darker, I think parents might opt to take the six year olds to something a little more kid-friendly.

Then again I saw a five year old at a nine-o'clock showing of Underworld 2 so what do I know about kids.

Jul 2 - 06:09 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

emmmm, wasn't it the best opening for a Diehard movie ever? From all acounts I've heard the PG-13 doesn't damage the movie at all. Of course I can't say from personal experience for another month, but I'm not bitter...(Under his breath, stupid queen and her stupid licensing laws)

Jul 2 - 06:13 AM

Super Simba

Super Simba

I thought Rat was a terrific film, but with so much competition and bad CGI kids movies being released what seems like every other day, I was expecting it not to have as great an opening as other Pixar flicks have had. But whatever - lower than average box office intake doesn't affect the quality of the movie. Once again, great job Pixar!

Jul 2 - 07:26 AM

IMAmoose24

Eric Schulze

Love to see Pirates III beating out Spidy III for the top grossing movie of the year. Spiderman 3 was some shite

Jul 2 - 07:33 AM

kendrith1975

Ken Tsoi

In terms of blocksbuster 3quels, SPIDER MAN 3 is the better reviewed among the 3, with the highest business retention compare to its predecessor, and the highest grossing in North America, if not world-wide. It is not too shabby.

Jul 2 - 07:47 AM

Merlin235

Merlin Ambrosius

I will be interested to see which movie grosses the most domestically. It won't be Pirates, that's for sure. But with 'only' 335 million in the bank, some suprise flick could come and steal the title. My guess is Harry Potter has a good chance of besting 335 million. The interesting thing is, with movies grossing so much more internationally now than they are domestically, I'm sure we'll see a lot less 'Americanized' movies coming out of Hollywood in the future.

Jul 2 - 09:12 AM

kendrith1975

Ken Tsoi

I think you are the only person here who think DIE HARD 4 did not do well. What are you trying to measure here? Will it really do nothing this week against TRANSFORMERS? The last DIE HARD sequel grossed only marginally more than 100 million 12 years ago, and DIE HARD 4 got great reviews for an action sequel, not to mention that it skewed older (its audiences not rushing out on opening weekend). It still manages to snag 33.2 million after business dilution from Wednesday and Thursday. So even if TRANSFORMERS come in and score big, DIE HARD 4 will still ended up grossing more than DIE HARD 3 even after ticket price adjustment because the word of mouth will be there to sustain longevity.

Jul 2 - 07:41 AM

kendrith1975

Ken Tsoi

In terms of blocksbuster 3quels, SPIDER MAN 3 is the better reviewed among the 3, with the highest business retention compare to its predecessor, and the highest grossing in North America, if not world-wide. It is not too shabby.

Jul 2 - 07:47 AM

brettswiz

Brett Swiecinski

[b]Live Free or Die Hard was great...[/b]
had a blast watching this film. Definitely the most fun I've had watching an action movie at the theathers since probably Spidey 2. I think Die Hard will do fine this week against the transformers. Tho both are action packed, i see two different audiences at both.

Can't wait til 8 tonight. I want to see at least 5 robots blow up =)

Jul 2 - 07:52 AM

Mr. Kong

Sam jacobs

Agreed. 47.2 is excellent for an opening.

Jul 2 - 08:09 AM

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