July 15, 2008

Box Office Update 7/11-7/13: Hellboy Outlasts Hancock

Last week, the leader at the box office was a superhero film that did not begin life as a comic book. It definitely got its inspiration from the funny pages, but it the film was spawned from an original script. That movie was Hancock, and it put on a surprisingly strong showing in its second week, although it was not quite enough to retain the top spot. This weekend's winner actually had its origin in comic book form, although this particular tale is an original written for the screen. The number one film is none other than Hellboy II: The Golden Army. It took the crown with a solid $34.5 million.

Before going any further, I have to throw a hearty recommendation behind the Guillermo Del Toro helmed film. Hellboy II will be a good alternative for those of you who are unable to get tickets for The Dark Knight (I urge those interested to get your tickets now as they are going fast). Hellboy II opened more than $11 million more than its 2004 predecessor and becomes the biggest opening of Guillermo Del Toro's career. Hopefully, it will not be completely swallowed up by the Batman juggernaut, as it is a wildly imaginative film that has great action, comedy, and is just a lot of fun to watch.

Two other films went into wide release this weekend. First up is Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Fraser. It is not so much a new adaptation of the Jules Verne novel as much as it draws its inspiration from it. It finished third with a strong $21 million, which is more than I thought it would make. The film is being screened in 3D as well as flat, and it looks like both versions drew audiences. I saw it in a packed house, in 3D, and it is the only way to see it. It is not a great movie, but it is fun and does a good job of showcasing the latest version of 3D technology.

The other wide release tanked, finishing a lowly seventh place. The Eddie Murphy vehicle (hehe) Meet Dave failed to connect with audiences, evidenced by the very small opening night crowd I saw it with. For Murphy, this ranks as one of the worst openings of his long career. Only Pluto Nash, Holy Man, and 48 Hrs. opened with less, and the latter only had 850 screens to work with. I have to concur with those who didn't go, it is not terribly well worth seeing on the big screen. If anything, wait for the DVD release.

Among the returning films, most of them had strong weekends. I guess it helps not to have a runaway blockbuster at the top, it allows for a greater spread among all films. Personally, I was surprised to see Hancock hold on so well, that begs the question if the credit is for good word of mouth or for the wide appeal of Will Smith. The world may never know.

Next week will see the behemoth that is The Dark Knight arrive and proceed to clean house. Also taking a bow will be the Abba-centric musical turned film Mamma Mia! and the animated Space Chimps.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (11) and Sex and the City (12).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NHellboy II: The Golden Army$34,539,115$34,539,1151
3NJourney to the Center of the Earth$21,018,141$21,018,1411
64Get Smart$7,201,376$111,564,1764
7NMeet Dave$5,251,918$5,251,9181
85Kung Fu Panda$4,411,412$202,154,3116
96The Incredible Hulk$2,324,345$129,905,4355
108Kit Kittredge: An American Girl$2,303,054$10,992,6414

Box Office Predictions Recap
While not blockbuster numbers, Hellboy II: The Golden Army outdid my expectations by just a little bit on its way to leading the box office charge in a race that was a lot closer than I had expected it would end up. Anyway, I was pretty close except for the two secondary releases. I way overestimated Meet Dave while I underestimated Journey to the Center of the Earth. Oh well, I betcha I pick next week's number one movie!

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Hellboy II: The Golden Army$34,539,115$33 million
22Hancock$32,080,560$28 million
73Meet Dave$5,251,918$20 million
44Wall*E$18,793,588$19 million

Journey to the Center of the Earth

$21,018,141$16 million
56Wanted$11,996,175$10 million
67Get Smart$7,201,376$6 million
88Kung Fu Panda$4,411,412$5 million
99The Incredible Hulk$2,324,345$3.5 million
1110Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull$2,260,327$3 million


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