Box Office Guru Wrapup: Funny People Leads Sluggish Weekend
The Collector takes home little loot.
Comedy heavyweights Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow claimed the number one spot
with their new dramedy
Funny People which debuted to only moderate results leading the entire top
ten to slump to its lowest point of the summer. Two other new releases, the
in the Attic and the horror film
both struggled to find ticket buyers helping the North American box office once
again fall below year-ago levels for the fourth consecutive weekend.
Universal claimed the top spot with Funny People which debuted to an estimated $23.4M making for the lowest gross for a number one film all summer. Playing in 3,007 locations, the R-rated story of a Hollywood superstar facing death averaged a healthy $7,795 per theater. Reviews were mixed for the reported $75M production.
Funny People, which co-stars Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and Eric Bana, opened weaker than Apatow's last directorial effort Knocked Up which bowed to $30.7M in June 2007 with a $10,690 average. With Sandler being a bigger and more reliable star, Funny was expected to at least open in the same vicinity. Even last weekend's The Ugly Truth with Knocked Up star Katherine Heigl did better with its $27.6M bow from fewer theaters.
Universal has suffered through a very forgettable summer and Funny People has added another headache. Land of the Lost is considered one of the season's most expensive flops with less than $50M collected, Public Enemies hasn't been a blockbuster despite the starpower, and Brüno fared well on opening day but has been plummeting by at least 66% each weekend since. The studio could possibly end the summer without any $100M hits. It had four last summer when the it focused mostly on franchise action films. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this past Wednesday, the latest wizard flick enjoyed the smallest third-weekend decline for the franchise since 2002. Prince's Friday-to-Sunday take fell just 40% to an estimated $17.7M allowing it to hold steady in second place. Domestic cume to date rocketed to $255.5M. The last Potter installment to enjoy a smaller drop in the third outing was Chamber of Secrets which dipped only 24% thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday session.
Warner Bros. was able to debut the new Hogwarts chapter in 166 additional IMAX venues this past week following the five-week run those screens had for the new Transformers pic. That boosted the playdate count for Prince to 4,393 this weekend making it the widest film release in history edging out the 4,366 of last summer's The Dark Knight, another Warners smash. The new Potter seems likely to hit $300M in North America.
Close behind in third was last week's top entry G-Force with an estimated $17.1M for a 46% sophomore decline. It was a bigger fall than those experienced by fellow summer 3D kidpics Up and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs which depreciated by 35% and 34%, respectively, in their second weekends. After ten days, Disney's spy actioner has grossed $66.5M and is hoping to reach $110-120M by the end of its run.The Ugly Truth took a major hit falling 53% but still collected a sizable gross taking in an estimated $13M in its second weekend. The ten-day total for Sony stands at $54.5M. Budgeted at $38M, the Katherine Heigl-Gerard Butler pic should end up with an encouraging $90-100M. Sony hasn't been too big of a player at the box office this summer so Truth will be a welcome hit.
Opening in fifth place and barely making a dent in the summer movie season was the new kidpic Aliens in the Attic which took in an estimated $7.8M from 3,106 theaters for a weak $2,511 average. The Fox release tried to play to families and older kids, but couldn't compete with the high-octane competition from all the wizards and guinea pigs infesting multiplexes. Orphan held up reasonably well dropping 44%, encouraging for a fright flick, to an estimated $7.3M boosting the total to $26.8M in ten days. Warner Bros. looks to end with a solid $45M or so.
Popular summer blockbusters rounded out the top ten continuing their successful runs. Fox's Ice Age threequel dipped 37% to an estimated $5.3M upping the total to $181.8M. Close behind was the runaway smash The Hangover with an estimated $5.1M, off only 21%, for a stellar $255.8M cume. The post-bachelor party flick has now spent nine consecutive weekends in the top ten matching Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, and Monsters vs. Aliens for the most of any 2009 releases. The only film to spend more time this calendar year was Oscar champ Slumdog Millionaire which spent 11 total frames in the top ten.
Sandra Bullock claimed ninth place with her top grosser ever, The Proposal, which took in an estimated $4.8M, down just 24%, for a $148.9M sum. The Buena Vista release has been a consistent go-to choice for adult women and couples. Falling 43% to tenth place was the year's largest hit Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with an estimated $4.6M raising the cume to $388.1M.
Scaring up little excitement outside of the top ten was the new horror film The Collector which debuted poorly with an estimated $3.6M. Averaging a weak $2,736 from 1,325 sites, the R-rated Freestyle release failed to connect with its target audience which had more high-profile options to choose from.Adam bowed to an estimated $66,265 from four sites for a $16,566 average. The total since its Wednesday start is $94,776. Focus unleashed its Korean vampire thriller Thirst in four theaters as well and banked an estimated $55,173 for $13,793 per location. Both films will expand to more cities throughout August.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $106.1M which was down a troubling 25% from last year when The Dark Knight stayed in the top spot for a third straight time with $42.7M; and also down 33% from 2007 when The Bourne Ultimatum debuted at number one with $69.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandaya, Box Office Guru