Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend box office 6/26-28/09

After each of the first two weekends of my blog's life, I did a short post commenting on the box office results from the previous weekend. Since then, I have not made any posts specifically on the box office. This does not mean in any way that I have ceased to follow the box office. Ask me any day, "So, how's the box office going?" and chances are I will be able to rattle on at least three minutes about the current state of the box office: who was in last weekend's 5 or 10 top-earning movies, approximately how much the top 3 or so earned, a sense of who's "doing well" and who's "underperforming", and whether the box office has been considered good or bad lately. This is an important component of my geekiness. It's not just the fantasy books and the sci-fi TV shows and the computer RPGs. It's this strange obsession with the box office (and, let's be fair, other Hollywood business news and numbers).

I suppose sometimes the box office is more interesting than other times; it's always best if there is a particular movie that I am rooting for or rooting against. But the truth is that every weekend there are movies battling it out for the top--or at least a respectable--spot on the box office list. And any weekend you can find me celebrating triumphs, mourning tragic losses, lamenting undeserved victories, and relishing in the carnage. So with this box office comments post, I attempt to share my joy (though I may just bore people to tears--I'm not delusional, at least in this respect). I will try to limit myself to the most interesting tidbits. But I can't make any guarantees on that.

Note: All figures are U.S. box office unless otherwise noted; I find international earnings fascinating as well, but they get more complicated to compare because everything opens different weekends in different places.

The titan this weekend was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It opened last Wednesday breaking the record for a Wednesday opening with $60.6 million, besting previous opening Wednesday record holder Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix's $44.2 million. The Transformers sequel was able to build on the success of the 2007 Transformers movie, taking in $200.1M over its first five days, giving it the second highest five day opening gross ever, behind last year's The Dark Knight (which earned $203.8 in five days). Transformers 2 was not reviewed as well as the first one; movies like Transformers are generally considered "critic proof"--their audiences aren't much deterred by poor reviews--but that often only works for opening weekends. It is possible that its success will drop off in following weekends due to weak word of mouth. We saw in May how word of mouth pays off for the big blockbusters, as the well-received Star Trek had a lower opening weekend than the poorly reviewed Wolverine but quickly surpassed it after just a few weeks out in theaters. Transformers 2 was also a huge hit overseas, taking in a further $166.1M, bringing its total to one of the best international openings of all time.

Romantic comedy The Proposal continued to perform strongly in its second weekend, taking in $18.6M. That pales in comparison to Transformers, but it's actually a very good take for a second weekend of a comedy, which obviously did not cost as much to make as the special effects-extravaganza that is Transformers. Another comedy, The Hangover, continued to perform beyond many expectations, adding another $17M in its fourth weekend (!) to bring its total to $183M. Pixar's Up earned $13.1M to bring its total to $250M, passing Star Trek ($246M) as the highest grossing film of the year, though considering Transformers is now in the picture, that title will likely not hold for long. New drama My Sister's Keeper under-performed, taking in $12.4M when it was expected to get $15-20M.

Taking 6th place was the disappointing Year One ($6.02 in its second weekend) followed by somewhat under-performing The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ($5.45 in its third). Star Trek is still on the chart with $3.71M, and the Night at the Museum sequel with $3.64M. Rounding out the top 10 was Away We Go in limited release, taking in $1.71.

You might be able to tell that I was pleased that Star Trek did better in the end than Wolverine at the box office. I tend to like it when good movies make more than bad ones, since it encourages studios to make more good ones (these are technical show biz terms). So I am also pleased at the success of Up, which I finally saw this weekend, contributing $8 to its $13.1 million. I loved the first Transformers movie, and I do intend to see the sequel regardless of the reviews. But if the Transformers movie is as bad as the critics say it is, I am a little wary of its success. If it had beaten The Dark Knight, I probably would have been bitter. We'll see how it continues to perform. I don't want it to be an example to the studios that all we care about are big robots and explosions and Megan Fox. Give me some intelligent plot and character development and I may see it twice.

All right, this turned out longer than it needed to be. Maybe in the future I'll only mention the top 5, or the winning movie. And maybe not give so much background information. Of course, if it hadn't been a record-breaking (or near record-breaking) weekend, there wouldn't have been as much background to give. I'll think about it.

Sources: (not sure what the permalink would be)


Sebastian said...

My guild's forum is full of alternating reviews:


'Shit. Script written by a 10 year old. Even boobs do not make up for it.'


... and so on.

So, yeah, just don't go with any expectations and it'll be great :)

I haven't seen Up yet! You didn't say if it was any good... I assume it's awesome?

Eleni said...

I didn't explicitly say that I thought Up was good, but I did say that I like it when good movies do well and thus I was pleased at Up's success.

I liked it a lot. I think I liked Wall-E more, but it was very good. I highly recommend it.

I won't go into Transformers expecting much. Except for lots of robots.