Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Jodie Struggles But Still Hits #1

The Brave One emerges on top.

by | September 16, 2007 | Comments

For the second straight weekend, a star-driven action drama aimed at adult
audiences opened at number one with $14M in ticket sales from roughly 2,700
theaters. This time it was
Jodie Foster‘s
The Brave One
which topped the charts bumping former champ
3:10 to Yuma
the runner-up spot.
Billy Bob
‘s new comedy
Mr. Woodcock

opened respectably in third while the fantasy actioner
Dragon Wars
bowed to
weak results in fourth place.

Warner Bros. captured the top spot with the vigilante thriller
The Brave One
weekend averaging a solid $5,087 from 2,755 theaters. The Jodie Foster film’s
gross was enough to claim the number one spot, but was a far cry from the
numbers that the Oscar-winning actress has seen from recent films. The R-rated
pic’s bow was 43% weaker than her last film
$24.6M launch in September 2005 and down 53% from the $30.1M debut of
Panic Room
March 2002. All were adult-skewing thrillers anchored solo by Foster playing a
strong woman who takes care of problems on her own.

Two elements that may have dampened the grosses for Brave were lukewarm
reviews and a better-than-expected hold from
3:10 to Yuma

which is also playing to a mature adult crowd. Foster was aggressively promoting
the Neil Jordan-directed
film on every TV and print outlet over the past two weeks but that did little to
prevent the revenge pic from posting one of her worst openings in recent years.
In fact, over the last decade, her only wide release to debut weaker was 1999’s
Anna and
the King
with $5.2M.

The Brave One was the first number one hit of the year to be anchored by
a woman. It could be followed by another next weekend when
Milla Jovovich‘s
action sequel
Evil: Extinction

Audiences kept lining up for
Russell Crowe
and Christian
in the Western 3:10 to Yuma which enjoyed a strong hold in its
second weekend dropping only 35% to an estimated $9.2M. That gave Lionsgate a
solid $28.5M after ten days with $50M possible by the end of the run which will
make it one of the distributor’s top-grossing non-Saw

Opening with a decent showing in third place was the
Billy Bob ThorntonSeann
William Scott
Mr. Woodcock

with an estimated $9.1M. Averaging $4,079 from
2,231 theaters, the PG-13 pic performed slightly better than Thornton’s last
School for Scoundrels
which bowed to $8.6M despite playing in 773 more
theaters last September. Critics were understandably harsh.

The fantasy adventure film Dragon Wars debuted with weak results in fourth with
an estimated $5.4M from 2,269 sites for a poor $2,371 average. The PG-13 film
from Freestyle Releasing attracted poor reviews. Teen sensation Superbad spent its fifth straight weekend in the Top Five
grossing an estimated $5.2M and boosted Sony’s cume to $111.3M. MGM’s horror
redo Halloween fell 47% to an estimated $5M in its third scare and lifted its
sum to $51.3M.

Dipping only 27% was
The Bourne Ultimatum
which grossed an estimated $4.2M
pushing the massive cume to $216.2M. Only one 2007 release has performed better
in its seventh weekend — Wild Hogs with $4.7M in April. Overseas, the Universal
hit collected an estimated $20.8M from 4,333 theaters in 46 territories and
enjoyed number one debuts in France, South Korea, Belgium, Norway and the
Netherlands. That lifted the international total to $125M and the global tally
to $341M making it the biggest Bourne ever. Look for the $400M barrier to fall
later this fall.

The sports comedy Balls of Fury drooped down to eighth place with an estimated
$3.3M, off 41%, for a $28.9M total after 19 days for Focus. New Line’s action
sequel Rush Hour 3 held up well again sliding 32% to an estimated $3.3M for a cume of $133.2M to date. The family comedy
Mr Bean’s Holiday eased only 22% to
an estimated $2.7M for a $28.5M sum for Universal.

There was plenty of activity in the arthouses as Oscar season got underway with
strong limited launches from a handful of early contenders. Director
‘s crime thriller
Eastern Promises
generated the best average with its
estimated $553,000 bow from 15 theaters for a muscular $36,867 per site. The
R-rated tale won the top audience prize at the Toronto International Film
Festival on Saturday boosting its industry profile and will expand on Friday to
more than 1,300 locations nationwide. This weekend’s results were almost
identical to the platform bow of Cronenberg’s last film
A History of Violence

which opened in mid-September two years ago in 14 theaters to a $515,992 frame
and $36,857 average before expanding wide the following weekend with $8.1M from
1,340 venues and a $6,047 average. Coincidentally, Jodie Foster was number one
at that time with Flightplan.

Sony’s musical extravaganza
Across the Universe
was red hot also with a debut of
an estimated $685,000 from 23 venues for a potent $29,783 average. Studio data
showed that the Julie Taymor-directed pic skewed towards young women as the
audience breakdown was 62% female and 57% under 25. Universe also widens on
Friday and will be in roughly 400 playdates.

The Tommy Lee Jones military mystery
In the Valley of Elah opened to solid
results with an estimated $150,000 from nine locations for a $16,667 average.
Warner Independent reported that the audience was more male and older. Directed
by Paul Haggis,
Elah will expand to 250-300 runs next weekend. The
Daniel Radcliffe drama
December Boys did not fare as well and
grossed an estimated $18,000 from four theaters for a mild $4,500 average in New
York and Los Angeles. Pic will widen to 10 theaters on Friday and will have a
tough road ahead given the avalanche of limited-release options on the horizon.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. New Line’s stylish
action thriller Shoot
‘Em Up
tumbled 55% in its second weekend to an estimated
$2.6M giving the Clive Owen pic only $10.3M after ten days. A $15M final seems
likely. The Nanny Diaries grossed an estimated $2.2M, off 31%, for a cume of
$24M. The MGM release should finish up with just under $30M. Paramount’s
expensive flop Stardust took in an estimated $1.4M, down 25%, for a domestic
tally of only $36.4M. With a reported production cost of $65M, the adventure
film looks to end its run with a disappointing $40M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $61.3M which was up 9% from last year
when Gridiron Gang debuted in first place with $14.4M; but down 8% from 2005
when Just Like Heaven opened in the top spot with $16.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru

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