March 18, 2008

Box Office Update 3/14-3/16: Horton Hears a Who Hears the Box Office Call

The family film always has the opportunity rise to the top, when that family film is a computer animated tale there is a good chance that it will succeed at the box office. Besides hitting a wide range of demographics, you are much more likely to bring out the families, opposed to picking them apart with an R or PG-13 rating. Yes, none of this is new, but it does apply to this week's big winner, Horton Hears a Who based on the Dr. Seuss tale. The Jim Carrey and Steve Carell starring animated film has risen to the top of the pile with a healthy $45 million haul. To top it all off, the film is well worth checking out, it is funny, smart, and truly entertaining for the whole family.

In addition to Horton's success, two other new releases made their presence felt in the top ten this week. First up is Never Back Down, finishing third with $8.6 million. Not a bad haul for a film with a narrow band of appeal (primarily adolescent males). The film could have been fun, even though it had no chance of being good, if only the fights were good (they aren't). It is the equivalent of Step Up 2 from earlier this year, only with fighting instead of dancing. Both films used the same formula, but the earlier film succeeded by infusing infectious energy into the dances, while Never Back Down settled for lame fights that wanted to be like real MMA fights, but just couldn't make the grade.

Slipping down to seventh place you will find Neil Marshall's latest creation, Doomsday. I truly felt the film was going to do better than the nearly $5 million that it got. It is a big overblown action film that should have played well to the masses. I saw it and loved it, but in retrospect I recognize that its cult-like appeal masquerading as the mainstream combined with its R rating was not going to allow it to garner mass appeal. Well, that and the fact that it plays like a greatest hits real from a number of other, better films.

As for the returning films, 10,000 BC fell the expected 50+%, while the rest of the top ten films exhibited decent staying power from last week. In particular, The Bank Job slipped less than 15%, pretty impressive for what is a film with smaller aspirations than, say, Semi-Pro, which is just now reaching, in its third weekend, what it was predicted to make in its first.

Next week is Easter and will likely be a weak weekend at the box office. Still, there will be a few films arriving that will be competing for your dollar. Those films will be the latest Judd Apatow production, Drillbit Taylor starring Owen Wilson, the latest horror remake in Shutter, and Tyler Perry's latest film, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Jumper (11), Fool's Gold (13), and Step up 2: The Streets (14).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NHorton Hears a Who$45,012,998$45,012,9981
2110,000 B.C.$16,773,312$61,577,4232
3NNever Back Down$8,603,195$8,603,1951
42College Road Trip$7,810,400$24,203,5432
53Vantage Point$5,462,747$59,263,1284
64The Bank Job$5,054,961$13,257,9492
97The Other Boleyn Girl$2,882,846$19,153,7293
106The Spiderwick Chronicles$2,335,238$65,376,0315

Box Office Predictions Recap
Well, my placing was all over the place, but my gross predictions were, more or less, in the right ballpark. My biggest dollar goofs were underestimating Horton by about $5 million and overestimating Doomsday by $3 million. The rest of my guesstimations all fell within $1.5 million, and I feel pretty good about that, at least for the moment. As for my placing, I would have figured that Doomsday was going to place a little better than it did, I guess its packaging as a cult film in training did not help its box office potential.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Horton Hears a Who$45,012,998$40 million
2210,000 B.C.$16,773,312$18 million
43College Road Trip$7,810,400$8 million
74Doomsday$4,926,565$7.5 million

Never Back Down

$8,603,195$7 million
56Vantage Point$5,462,747$5 million
67The Bank Job$5,054,961$4 million
108The Spiderwick Chronicles$2,335,238$3.5 million
89Semi-Pro$3,043,162$3 million
910The Other Boleyn Girl$2,882,846$2.5 million


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