October 13, 2009

Box Office Update 10/9-10/11: Paranormal Activity Wins the Weekend (yes, you read that right)

Yes, you read that title right. This weekend's big winner was Paranormal Activity. The funny thing about that is that it was the number four movie. It may not have made the most money, but it is the biggest success story in recent memory. It is bigger than Taken, Paul Blart, and The Hangover, in my estimation. Yes, that is only a few recent box office surprises, but I think you have an idea what I am getting at. Couples Retreat may be the name next to the number one, it may have the biggest number to the right of it, but it was far from the shot in the arm that Paranormal Activity has, at least temporarily, provided.

A few weeks ago, this little film was released in very limited fashion to midnight showings only. It proved to be a success and it was granted a full limited release through AMC. It is this limited release where the film has exploded. Buzz has been building across the internet and it appears to actually paying off (unlike the comparatively lackluster showing for Snakes on a Plane). At a mere 160 locations it pulled in a staggering $7.9 million. A rather impressive figure considering the number of theaters and humble beginnings.

It is quite special to see what is happening with Paranormal Activity. Due to the buzz and a campaign to gauge interest, the film is going wide next weekend. Everyone, go out and support the film. This is a quality film that is breath of fresh air and helps show there is life outside the Hollywood system. This movie was made for a mere $11,000 in to weeks in the director's home, if that is not something worth applauding, I don't know what is.

Now, back to the actual top of the chart. Couples Retreat won the weekend by a large margin, taking in more than $34 million. This relationship comedy has its moments but it feels a lot like a sitcom. Despite the recognizable faces that we have enjoyed in other projects, they are just passing through here. I suspect it will have a successful run, but it could have been so much better.

Dropping to second place is last week's big winner, Zombieland. It fell 40% from its initial frame, and I think that is a pretty good showing. Generally, I would expect a movie like this to have a steeper percentage dip. I guess that is a testament to how good this horror-comedy is and the strength of its word of mouth. For the record, I loved it and recommend it without hesitation.

Continue down the line and you will find Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This animated film is on the cusp of the century mark and it is likely to do so sometime during the week. This adaptation is not a film I felt the need to see, but after positive word of mouth I decided to check it out. I was pleased to find a fun movie, it is definitely worth the time.

The rest of the chart is pretty solid, nothing terribly surprising. All of them had solid showings, none of them offering up good stories. Still, there are some good movies out there, make sure you give them a shot.

Next week Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx go toe to toe in Law Abiding Citizen, while a couple of young adults have to deal with the evil of The Stepfather, finally we will see if Spike Jonze can show us Where the Wild Things Are.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Informant! (11) and Love Happens (13).
This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NCouples Retreat$34,286,740$34,286,7401
32Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs$11,527,480$95,778,4364
420Paranormal Activity$7,900,695$9,113,9363
53Toy Story 1 & 2 3D$7,766,643$22,768,9912
75The Invention of Lying$3,339,263$12,295,8682
86Whip It$2,827,512$8,793,5702
98Capitalism: A Love Story$2,630,292$9,025,4833
107Fame (2009)$2,543,067$20,028,8293

Box Office Predictions Recap
I was so close to knocking this one right out of the park. I was nearly spot on with the gross predictions. My one blemish, money-wise, was with Couples Retreat. I figured it would do well, but I did not think it would crack the $30 million mark. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What surprised me the most is the film I did not figure as a contender that actually finished fourth, Paranormal Activity.

Here is how the field matched up:
ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Couples Retreat$34,286,740$24 million
22Zombieland$14,802,431$14 million
33Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs$11,527,480$9 million
54Toy Story 1 & 2 3D$7,766,643$7.5 million
65Surrogates$4,268,314$4.5 million
76The Invention of Lying$3,339,263$3.5 million
87Whip It$2,827,512$3 million
108Fame (2009)$2,543,067$2.25 million
99Capitalism: A Love Story$2,630,292$2 million
1110The Informant!$2,204,286$1.75 million


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