Although it’s typical for the grosses of films to be adjusted within a certain margin of error once final numbers come in on Monday, this Sunday sees not two but three films in such a tight race that to rank them is simply too close to call. This brings to mind some of the tight weekend races of the past decade (“Lilo and Stich” vs. “Minority Report”, “Big Fish” opening wide vs. the fourth week of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”, and the opening of “The Hangover” vs. the second week of “Up”).
Currently, “Date Night” is in first place with $27,100,000. While the film enjoyed the top spot on Friday (likely boosted by couples out on, well…date nights) on Saturday the film appears to have fallen marginally behind the second weekend of “Clash of the Titans”. The question going into Sunday is how much of a boost can the film get from Tina Fey’s generally hilarious appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live” last night? Regardless, “Date Night” is Fey’s biggest opening weekend to date (beating out both “Mean Girls” and “Baby Mama”), though it came in at second place for Steve Carell (behind the $38 million opening weekend of “Get Smart” in the summer of 2008). Fox spent $55 million on “Date Night” and as the film has already grossed $34 million worldwide, Fox should easily see a profit in the coming weeks.
“Clash of the Titans” currently sits at a close second in its second weekend at $23,875,000. The film’s 56% drop-off has been blamed on the numbers from last week having been boosted by Thursday night showings and raised attendance on Good Friday, yet the main cause being pointed to is bad word-of-mouth. The film’s domestic total has now reached $110 million and sits at $155 worldwide. The film has finally turned a profit on its $125 million budget, but is still falling short of “300” (the reason the film was greenlit) and (needless to say) “Avatar” (the reason the film was hastily put into 3-D).
“How to Train Your Dragon” is currently in third place in its third weekend with $25,350,000. Though the film experienced the smallest drop-off (12.6%) of any holdover in the top ten, its domestic total (now $133 million) is still less than that of “Shrek” or “Kung Fu Panda” at this point in their respective runs. The film’s worldwide total now stands at $256 million, so Paramount/Dreamworks has now turned a sizeable profit on their $165 million investment.
“Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?” suffered the biggest drop-off of 62.4%, taking in another $11 million to come in at fourth place. This is still a typical second weekend for Perry’s films, and with a domestic total of $48 million of a $20 million budget, this counts as another banner success for Perry.
“The Last Song” also fell 37.5%, taking in another $10 million and landing in fifth place. As far as profit margins go, like Perry’s films, the Miley Cyrus film may as well be “Avatar” as it has also made a major domestic profit (like Perry’s film, worldwide numbers are not available at this time) with a total of $42 million on a $20 million budget.
In other opening weekend news, “Letters to God” enjoyed a strong weekend of $1.25 million in 897 theaters to come in at tenth place. This is impressive for any film with no name actors, and the film could easily expand in the coming weeks with good word-of-mouth from the church-going crowd. The independent horror film “The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” took in $250,000 on 619 theaters to open in twenty-third place.
“La Mission” starring Benjamin Bratt, took in $49,000 on 15 screens for a respectable opening weekend.
The German film “Everyone Else” won the per-theater-average race for the weekend, taking in $11,400 on one screen. The Australian thriller “The Square” came in at second place taking in $16,500 on two screens. In third place was the documentary about The Doors “When You’re Strange” which took in $65,300 on eight screens, for a per-screen-average of $8,163.
Whether it was one of the blockbusters, one of the foreign films, or another piece of genre fair in limited release, all of us at the Awards Circuit would love to hear about what you saw this weekend, and what you think of its awards potential. Also, what are your thoughts on how the top three films may play out once the final tallies come in? Whatever drew you to the theater this weekend, we hoped you enjoyed it, and as always, we look forward to seeing you at the movies.