May 30, 2010

Jack-in-the-Box Office for the weekend of May 28th - 30th

My apologies for the absence last week, but I decided to celebrate Memorial Day a week early so that I would be here with you today to analyze the Box Office numbers from this all important holiday weekend.

As far as the three day weekend numbers are concerned, it turns out neither Carrie and the girls nor something that looks like “Clash of the Titans” but stars Jake Gyllenhaal could defeat the second weekend of America’s favorite ogre. “Shrek Forever After” took in $43 million this weekend, to take the top spot and raise its domestic total to $133 million. As its worldwide gross currently sits at $158 million and its production budget was $165, even though the film has fallen behind the grosses of the last two in the franchise, it will still make hundreds of millions for Dreamworks, once the global theatrical run had ended. Still two things remain to be seen: First, will this be another “Dreamworks sleeper” a la “How to Train Your Dragon” which maintained incredible momentum for weeks despite a slow start and second, is Dreamworks sensing a fatigue to this franchise that may cause them to make good on calling this film “The Final Chapter”. Only time and stock prices will tell…

“Sex and the City 2” took in $32 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total (including Thursday’s grosses) to $46 million and its worldwide total to $73 million. Even though the latest film in the multi-media franchise may need all five days of the holiday weekend to compete with the three-day opening of the first film, the film will easily make its $100 million budget back in the coming days, and will prove a financial success for Warner Brothers any way you slice it. The latest film could easily out-gross it predecessor, though the real test of the film will be in the coming weeks. Regardless, it should be profitable enough that you should mark your calendars to spend Memorial Day weekend 2012 at the movies with the girls seeing “Sex and the City 3”.

Though it may not be in “flop” territory yet, the numbers almost call to mind Jane Lynch’s famous line on “Glee”: “That’s the smell of failure and it’s stinking up my office.” Buena Vista put $200 million into “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” hoping there would be a brand-name from the video game in the marketplace that simply wasn’t there (the video game debuted in 1989). What they couldn’t have planned for, was that the disappointing “Clash of the Titans” and “Robin Hood” created a sword-and-sandals fatigue that kept filmgoers away from theaters on opening weekend. Adding insult to injury, while Jake Gyllenhaal is easily one of the best actors working today, early on in the marketing campaign for the film, audiences seemed uncomfortable accepting him in a summer blockbuster. Ironically, his critical and commercial success in “”Jarhead”, Brokeback Mountain”, “Zodiac”, and “Brothers”, were likely what made it impossible to be taken seriously by audiences in another summer blockbuster despite the commercial success of “The Day After Tomorrow” in 2004. This weekend, “The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” grossed $30 million domestically and $58 million worldwide. The coming weeks will define whether the film is a “flop” or not, though at this rate there is a great chance of it not making its money back.

In fourth place is the fourth weekend of “Iron Man 2”, which took in another $16 million to bring its domestic total to $274 million and its worldwide total to $550 million, all from a $200 million investment from Paramount. Look for “Iron Man 3” to kick off the summer movie season on Friday, May 4 2012.

Rounding out the top five was the third week of “Robin Hood” which is actually turning a profit on a global scale despite underwhelming stateside. The film made $10 million this weekend to bring its domestic total to $83 million, yet its worldwide total currently sits at $154 million, making Universal’s $200 million investment look like a solid gamble.

The only other film to open this weekend (and also the film with the highest per-screen average) was “Micmacs”, the latest film from the Oscar-nominated writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the man behind “Amelie” and “A Very Long Engagement”. The film made $48,700 on four screens, bringing its average to $12,175 per-screen.

What drew you to the theater this holiday weekend? Did you see a new summer blockbuster, or catch up on one from the past several weeks? Or, did you go straight to the arthouse and opt for quieter fair with fewer big names and no CGI budget? Either way, we at the Awards Circuit would love to hear what you saw, what you thought about it, and always, any awards potential you see. Thanks for commenting, and from the bottom of our hearts we wish you a great summer at the movies.

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