Box Office Guru Wrapup: Prom Night Crowned Multiplex Queen
The frame's one major bright spot came in the form of Prom Night, a reboot of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis chiller, which captured the crown with an estimated $22.7M in its first weekend in theaters. Attacking 2,700 locations, the PG-13 suspense pic averaged a spectacular $8,407 per venue. Horror films rarely surpass the $8,000 per-theater average mark unless the word Saw is in the title. With a strong marketing campaign from Sony's Screen Gems unit, a recognizable face in Brittany Snow, a commercially friendly rating, and a release date right before prom season making the subject matter very topical, the slasher hit connected with teens and young adults looking for a scare.
Prom was just the latest success story from Hollywood's continuous mission to recycle old horror hits. Audiences came out in huge numbers for other remakes in recent years like 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($28.1M debut), 2004's Dawn of the Dead ($26.7M), 2005's The Amityville Horror ($23.5M), and last year's Halloween ($26.4M). With Prom Night, Sony also tied Fox for the industry lead of three $20M+ openers this year. With a production cost of nearly $20M, Prom Night should become the latest profitable fright flick for the studio.
Collecting about half as much business in its opening weekend was the Keanu Reeves cop thriller Street Kings which debuted to an estimated $12M. The R-rated actioner averaged a commendable $4,864 from 2,467 sites. Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Jay Mohr, and Cedric the Entertainer co-star in the tale of dirty L.A. cops. The Fox Searchlight film played to the opposite audience that rallied behind Prom Night pulling in adults with a male skew. Reviews were not kind. The debut was almost identical to the $11.9M launch of the Bruce Willis film 16 Blocks. Both were star-driven police thrillers released in the spring. Blocks eventually reached $36.9M.
After two weeks as the top card sharks, Kevin Spacey and pals saw their blackjack pic 21 fall to third place with an estimated $11M. Slipping only 28%, the Sony release was still a formidable player with an impressive third-frame gross and $4,020 average. With a solid $62.3M won in 17 days, the card-counting hit should finish up with a terrific $90M.
After a fierce battle over second place last weekend, Fox's Nim's Island
and Universal's Leatherheads
witnessed vastly different sophomore drops that gave the Abigail Breslin
adventure a clear edge this time around. The family film dipped only 32% to an
estimated $9M while the
comedy fumbled by 51% to an estimated $6.2M. Ten-day totals reached $25.3M and
$21.9M, respectively. Nim's, which was produced for $37M, is not facing
much competition for its core audience so a lengthier run leading to $45-50M
seems likely. The $58M-budgeted Leatherheads is suffering from bad buzz
and should end its season with a disappointing $35M. But Universal has two more
promising players hitting the field this month - the comedies
Sarah Marshall and
Baby Mama - which
should allow the studio to recover.
The year's highest grossing film in the domestic market Horton Hears a Who followed in sixth with an estimated $6M in its fifth session. Off only 34%, the Fox blockbuster has banked $139.6M to date.
Miramax posted a modest opening for its Dennis Quaid-Sarah Jessica Parker
dramedy Smart People
which took in an estimated $4.2M in its first weekend in theaters. Playing in
only 1,106 sites, the R-rated film averaged a lukewarm $3,797 per theater. Older
adults were the target audience with women outnumbering men. Reviews were not
The Ruins crumbled 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.3M thanks to intense competition for the horror crowd from Prom Night. With only $13.4M scared up in ten days, the DreamWorks/Paramount pic should quickly end its run with under $20M.
The spoof comedy Superhero Movie grossed an estimated $3.1M, off 43%,
and boosted its total to $21.2M for MGM and The Weinstein Co. Paramount's Drillbit Taylor
rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.1M, down 39%, for a cume to date of
A pair of independent films debuted to healthy numbers in limited release this weekend. Overture generated muscular figures for its illegal alien drama The Visitor which grossed an estimated $88,000 from only four houses for a potent $22,000 average. The PG-13 film expands wider on Friday.
Fox Searchlight saw its musical documentary Young@Heart take in an estimated $52,312 from four locations as well and averaged a solid $13,078. The senior citizen flick expands to 15 new markets on Friday and will slowly roll out to roughly 260 theaters over the next month.
Three radically different films were tossed out of the top ten this weekend. Lionsgate collected an estimated $1.6M for the Tyler Perry comedy Meet the Browns. Down 54%, the Angela Bassett film has taken in $40.1M to date and should reach about $43M overall. Fox's horror remake Shutter tumbled 63% to an estimated $1.1M for a $24.8M cume. A respectable $26M final should result.
The prehistoric adventure
grossed an estimated $1.5M, down 46%, and lifted its total to $91.8M. The Warner
Bros. actioner will soon surpass studio stablemate The Bucket List to
become the second highest grossing film of the year so far. A $95M final seems
likely. Overseas, the caveman flick has taken in a robust $158.7M allowing the
global tally to break the $250M mark this weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $79.5M which was down 13% from last year when Disturbia opened at number one with $22.2M; and down 26% from 2006 when Scary Movie 4 debuted in the top spot over the Easter frame with $40.2M.