January 15, 2008

Box Office Update 1/11-1/13: The Bucket List Rises to the Top

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson proved a strong tandem, leading The Bucket List to box office dominance in its first weekend of wide release. The buddy comedy about a pair of men with terminal cancer who embark on a globe trotting adventure of self discovery garnered lukewarm response from critics (including a one star review from Roger Ebert), while my own anecdotal evidence showed it to be a hit with general audiences. I suspect that it will have strong legs over the next few weeks. As for my experience? I cannot say that I cared for it all that much, although it does have some good laughs.

Following up the buddy flick is the latest from Ice Cube, First Sunday. I cannot say I expected much based on the advertising. I was pleasantly surprised to find a film that offered up a positive message while still providing some big laughs. No, it did not work entirely and it did travel in the way of stereotypes, but it was still an enjoyable romp. Tracy Morgan made good use of his highest profile movie role yet, while Katt Williams left a big impression as he stole many of the scenes he appeared in.

There was one other new entry to the top ten this week, the latest Veggie Tales adventure, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything reached ninth place. It had a lackluster debut, totaling $4.2 million, granted, its audience is a bit smaller than the rest of the top ten. I suspect it will do stronger business once it reaches DVD.

Among the returning films Juno had the strongest hold, slipping a mere 14% from last week. It is proving to be a genuine powerhouse as it packs houses nationwide. It's $70 million take is climbing and has got to be seen as a huge success for Fox Searchlight. Let's not forget that the film itself is fantastic and deserves all of the attention its getting.

Also buried within the top ten are a trio of big moneymakers. I Am Legend will be crossing the $250 million mark, making it a huge hit and one that was certainly bigger than expected. Meanwhile, both National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Alvin and the Chipmunks are both heading towards $200 million, a mark that no one expected either to attain, particularly the Chipmunks.

Next week will see the arrival of the much anticipated Cloverfield, which will easily top the coming frame. Also entering the fray will be the Katherine Heigl comedy 27 Dresses, and the heist comedy Mad Money. Not only that, Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men will head back to wide release in the build up towards the Academy Awards, plus There Will Be Blood expands a bit more.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Charlie Wilson's War (11), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (12), and The Water Horse (13).
This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
123The Bucket List$19,392,416$20,816,1293
2NFirst Sunday$17,714,821$17,714,8211
41National Treasure: Book of Secrets$11,302,002$187,114,9474
54Alvin and the Chipmunks$9,302,895$187,943,3745
63I Am Legend$8,179,610$240,283,4515
75One Missed Call$5,981,373$20,493,3372
87PS I Love You$4,827,212$46,830,3244
9NThe Pirates Who Don't Do Anything$4,251,320$4,251,3201

Box Office Predictions Recap
Rather mediocre week on the prediction front. In some cases I had the dollar number spot on, while others were way off, same for the positioning. I overestimated Juno's ability to take over the top spot, while underestimating both The Bucket List and First Sunday, both of which proved to have rather potent weekends. My biggest mistake, aside from those already mentioned, was the belief that Uwe Boll's latest disasterpiece would be able to crack the top ten, combined with Atonement's staying power. There's always next week.

Anyway, here is how I picked the field:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
31Juno$13,612,682$14 million
12The Bucket List$19,392,416$13.5 million
43National Treasure: Book of Secrets$11,302,002$11 million
24First Sunday$17,714,821$9 million

Alvin and the Chipmunks

$9,302,895$8.5 million
66I Am Legend$8,179,610$7 million
97The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything$4,251,320$5.5 million
88PS I Love You$4,827,212$4.5 million
79One Missed Call$5,981,373$4 million
1410In the Name of the King$2,984,524$3.5 million


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