Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Funny People Leads Sluggish Weekend

The Collector takes home little loot.

by | August 2, 2009 | Comments

Comedy heavyweights Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow claimed the number one spot
with their new dramedy

Funny People
which debuted to only moderate results leading the entire top
ten to slump to its lowest point of the summer. Two other new releases, the
kidpic Aliens
in the Attic
and the horror film
The Collector
both struggled to find ticket buyers helping the North American box office once
again fall below year-ago levels for the fourth consecutive weekend.

Universal claimed the top spot with

Funny People
which debuted to an estimated $23.4M making for the lowest
gross for a number one film all summer. Playing in 3,007 locations, the R-rated
story of a Hollywood superstar facing death averaged a healthy $7,795 per
theater. Reviews were mixed for the reported $75M production.
Friday generated $8.7M in opening day grosses but sales tumbled 15% on Saturday
to $7.5M signaling bad word-of-mouth. The weekend estimate Universal reported
was very aggressive as it includes a scant 3% Saturday-to-Sunday decline. Final
grosses will be reported on Monday and the three-day figure may end up closer to

Funny People, which co-stars Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and
Eric Bana, opened weaker than Apatow’s last directorial effort Knocked Up
which bowed to $30.7M in June 2007 with a $10,690 average. With Sandler being a
bigger and more reliable star, Funny was expected to at least open in the
same vicinity. Even last weekend’s The Ugly Truth with Knocked Up
star Katherine Heigl did better with its $27.6M bow from fewer theaters.[rtimage]MapID=1205730&MapTypeID=2&photo=8&legacy=1[/rtimage]
People’s Saturday drop and weak B- CinemaScore grade hints at a troubled path
ahead. Audiences may be finding it too serious for an Apatow pic and not
immature enough for a Sandler flick. The actor has scored $100M hits in each of
the last seven years (tying Will Smith) but never with an R-rated entry.
Sandler’s younger fans may have been kept out because of the rating. A running
time of nearly two-and-a-half hours also tested the patience of moviegoers.

Universal has suffered through a very forgettable summer and Funny People
has added another headache. Land of the Lost is considered one of the
season’s most expensive flops with less than $50M collected, Public Enemies
hasn’t been a blockbuster despite the starpower, and Brüno fared well
on opening day but has been plummeting by at least 66% each weekend since. The
studio could possibly end the summer without any $100M hits. It had four last
summer when the it focused mostly on franchise action films.[rtimage]MapID=1205730&MapTypeID=2&photo=32&legacy=1[/rtimage]With most IMAX locations finally getting to open

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
this past Wednesday, the latest
wizard flick enjoyed the smallest third-weekend decline for the franchise since
2002. Prince’s Friday-to-Sunday take fell just 40% to an estimated $17.7M
allowing it to hold steady in second place. Domestic cume to date rocketed to
$255.5M. The last Potter installment to enjoy a smaller drop in the third
outing was Chamber of Secrets which dipped only 24% thanks to the
Thanksgiving holiday session.

Warner Bros. was able to debut the new Hogwarts chapter in 166 additional IMAX
venues this past week following the five-week run those screens had for the new
Transformers pic. That boosted the playdate count for Prince to
4,393 this weekend making it the widest film release in history edging out the
4,366 of last summer’s The Dark Knight, another Warners smash. The new
seems likely to hit $300M in North America.[rtimage]MapID=1189302&MapTypeID=2&photo=48&legacy=1[/rtimage]Half-Blood Prince again ruled the overseas box office this weekend grossing
an estimated $42.7M from over 13,200 screens in 64 markets propelling the
international cume to a sensational $492.3M. The global gross flew to an
eye-popping $747.8M in just under three weeks of release. Top offshore markets
are the United Kingdom with $66.5M, Japan with $50.8M, and Germany with $48.2M.

Close behind in third was last week’s top entry
an estimated $17.1M for a 46% sophomore decline. It was a bigger fall than those
experienced by fellow summer 3D kidpics Up and Ice Age: Dawn of the
which depreciated by 35% and 34%, respectively, in their second
weekends. After ten days, Disney’s spy actioner has grossed $66.5M and is hoping
to reach $110-120M by the end of its run.[rtimage]MapID=10009462&MapTypeID=2&photo=26&legacy=1[/rtimage]With a new Apatow flick in the marketplace,
The Ugly Truth

took a major hit falling 53% but still collected a sizable gross taking in an
estimated $13M in its second weekend. The ten-day total for Sony stands at
$54.5M. Budgeted at $38M, the Katherine Heigl-Gerard Butler pic should end up
with an encouraging $90-100M. Sony hasn’t been too big of a player at the box
office this summer so Truth will be a welcome hit.

Opening in fifth place and barely making a dent in the summer movie season was
the new kidpic
Aliens in the
which took in an estimated $7.8M from 3,106 theaters for a weak
$2,511 average. The Fox release tried to play to families and older kids, but
couldn’t compete with the high-octane competition from all the wizards and
guinea pigs infesting multiplexes.[rtimage]MapID=1197086&MapTypeID=2&photo=15&legacy=1[/rtimage]The horror flick
held up reasonably well dropping 44%, encouraging for a fright
flick, to an estimated $7.3M boosting the total to $26.8M in ten days. Warner
Bros. looks to end with a solid $45M or so.

Popular summer blockbusters rounded out the top ten continuing their successful
runs. Fox’s

Ice Age
threequel dipped 37% to an estimated $5.3M upping the total to
$181.8M. Close behind was the runaway smash
The Hangover

with an estimated $5.1M, off only 21%, for a stellar $255.8M cume. The
post-bachelor party flick has now spent nine consecutive weekends in the top ten
matching Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, and Monsters vs. Aliens
for the most of any 2009 releases. The only film to spend more time this
calendar year was Oscar champ Slumdog Millionaire which spent 11 total
frames in the top ten.

Sandra Bullock claimed ninth place with her top grosser ever,
The Proposal
which took in an estimated $4.8M, down just 24%, for a $148.9M sum. The Buena
Vista release has been a consistent go-to choice for adult women and couples.
Falling 43% to tenth place was the year’s largest hit
Transformers: Revenge of
the Fallen
with an estimated $4.6M raising the cume to $388.1M.

Scaring up little excitement outside of the top ten was the new horror film
which debuted poorly with an estimated $3.6M. Averaging a weak $2,736
from 1,325 sites, the R-rated Freestyle release failed to connect with its
target audience which had more high-profile options to choose from.[rtimage]MapID=10011524&MapTypeID=2&photo=2&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Two new titles launched to good results in platform release. Fox Searchlight’s
Hugh Dancy romance Adam bowed to an estimated $66,265 from four sites for a
$16,566 average. The total since its Wednesday start is $94,776. Focus unleashed
its Korean vampire thriller
in four theaters as well and banked an
estimated $55,173 for $13,793 per location. Both films will expand to more
cities throughout August.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $106.1M which was down a troubling 25%
from last year when
The Dark Knight
stayed in the top spot for a third straight
time with $42.7M; and also down 33% from 2007 when
The Bourne Ultimatum
at number one with $69.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya, Box Office

Movie Gross
Funny People


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


The Ugly Truth
Aliens in the Attic

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

The Hangover
The Proposal
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen