Weekend Box Office

Box Office Guru Wrapup: It's Sunny Skies for Cloudy

Also, little to no Love for Happens, Informant, and Jennifer's Body.

by | September 20, 2009 | Comments

Moviegoers chose 3D fun over Hollywood stars as the animated comedy

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
powered ahead of expectations to debut
at number one grossing more than the three new live-action films combined. Matt
Damon and Jennifer Aniston generated unimpressive numbers for their debuting
films The
Informant!
and Love Happens, respectively, while Megan Fox failed
to lure in ticket buyers to her horror entry
Jennifer’s Body
.
Overall, the North American box office did see a healthy double-digit gain over
last year.

Movie fans of all ages lined up for

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
making it the fifth 3D film of the
year to open atop the box office chart. The PG-rated toon took in an estimated
$30.1M from 3,119 theaters averaging a hearty $9,651 per site. If estimates
hold, it will rank as the third best opening in the notoriously slow month of
September trailing Sweet Home Alabama ($35.6M in 2002) and Rush Hour
($33M in 1998).[rtimage]MapID=1196077&MapTypeID=2&photo=19&legacy=1[/rtimage]As
with most 3D films before it, Meatballs set a new record for the widest
bow for an extra-dimensional pic with 1,828 (59%) of the theaters offering the
3D version including 127 IMAX 3D venues. Many of the multiplexes also devoted at
least one screen to the 2D version for those moviegoers that didn’t want to pay
the higher ticket price for 3D. The studio estimated that between $17.5M and
$18M of the weekend gross came from the 3D screens with industry leader RealD
stated that more than $16M of that figure came from their screens. IMAX sites
delivered $2.5M. Despite the cost, moviegoers still found it worthy to pay for
3D entertainment on the big screen keeping the year-long boom alive and kicking.

The forecast is bright for Cloudy as the weeks ahead should continue to
flourish. Critics raved about the film, audiences were very pleased with those
under 24 giving it an A grade from CinemaScore, and the road ahead offers few
other options for kids. Disney rolls out its double feature of Toy Story &
Toy Story 2
in 3D on October 2 but the next major new film for families
comes on October 16 with Where the Wild Things Are. Wild and
Cloudy
are both movie versions of popular kids books.[rtimage]MapID=1196077&MapTypeID=2&photo=16&legacy=1[/rtimage]With
studios and exhibitors still working together to put 3D into every cinema in the
country, Cloudy‘s stronger-than-expected opening proves that consumer
demand is still healthy for engaging films in the format, even if they don’t
come from DreamWorks, Pixar, or Disney. Other 3D films that opened at number one
this year include March’s Monsters vs. Aliens, May’s Up, July’s
G-Force
, and August’s horror film The Final Destination. In addition,
Ice Age 3 has grossed $195M domestically since debuting in second place
in July behind the second weekend of the Transformers sequel. Those five
3D films have collectively grossed a whopping $864M from North America alone and
Cloudy stands a chance of adding in another $100M or more.

Opening in second place with a mediocre launch was the Matt Damon undercover
drama The
Informant!
which grossed an estimated $10.5M from 2,505 theaters.
Averaging a so-so $4,210 per site, the R-rated Warner Bros release from director
Steven Soderbergh was marketed as a comedy caper pic and played to mature
adults. The opening was worse than the debuts for other adult-skewing
star-driven dramas from this year like State of Play ($14.1M) and
Duplicity
($14M) and was just barely ahead of the $9.7M of The Soloist
showing once again how difficult it can be for studios to draw in paying
customers with these types of movies. Reviews were generally good for
Informant
and Damon is a big star, but outside of the Bourne
franchise he has troubling anchoring a hit all by himself.[rtimage]MapID=1200661&MapTypeID=2&photo=32&legacy=1[/rtimage]Tyler
Perry fell two spots to third place with his latest film

I Can Do Bad All By Myself
which grossed an estimated $10.1M,
off a steep 57% in its second weekend. The sophomore drop was almost identical
to the 58% fall that the filmmaker’s The Family That Preys suffered one
year ago this weekend and was slightly better than the 61% tumble that
February’s Madea Goes to Jail witnessed. After ten days, Myself
has banked a solid $37.9M and looks headed for a $50-55M final.

Jennifer Aniston found herself in fourth place with the new romantic drama
Love Happens

which bowed to an estimated $8.5M. The Universal release averaged a mild $4,455
per location and launched in the fewest theaters among the new films with only
1,898 sites. The PG-13 love story had little appeal outside of its core audience
of adult women. Studio research showed that 78% of the crowd was female and 71%
was 30 or older. Budgeted at only $18M, Love was not too expensive of a
gamble and did show that outside of comedies, the former Friends star
Aniston is not necessarily a bankable draw at the box office.[rtimage]MapID=1213771&MapTypeID=2&photo=3&legacy=1[/rtimage]Having
the least bite among the weekend’s four new releases was the Megan Fox-led
horror flick
Jennifer’s Body
which collected just $6.8M, according to estimates, from
a very wide 2,702 theaters for a dismal $2,517 average. Despite being one of
Hollywood’s most followed celebrities, the Transformers starlet failed to
pull moviegoers into the multiplexes. Body had a strong marketing push
from 20th Century Fox and even some starpower from Oscar-winning writer Diablo
Cody. But the overabundance of horror films in recent weeks took its toll and
Fox could not flex any muscles when it came to anchoring her first major film.
Her agents will now have difficulty landing big paydays for future films.

With its R rating, Jennifer’s Body skewed towards young adults and
successfully played to both genders. Studio research showed that 70% of the
audience was under 25 and 51% was female. Reviews were not too good, but most
horror films are treated that way from critics. Produced for only $16M, Body
should be able to break even when it reaches DVD where it should connect with a
larger fan following.[rtimage]MapID=1190943&MapTypeID=2&photo=14&legacy=1[/rtimage]The
sci-fi toon 9
fell 49% in its second weekend to an estimated $5.5M giving Focus a decent
$22.8M in 12 days. Look for a final take of about $35M.

Inglourious
Basterds
reached two milestones this weekend becoming Quentin
Tarantino’s top-grossing film both domestically and internationally by
surpassing two previous hits. The Nazi flick grossed an estimated $3.6M, down
41%, for a $109.9M cume for The Weinstein Co. That edged out the director’s
previous best in North America, 1994’s Pulp Fiction with $108M from the
Weinstein-led Miramax. Of course, ticket prices were much lower 15 years ago so
Fiction has still sold about 73% more stubs. Overseas where Universal is
handling the release, Basterds upped its total to $115.7M beating the
$111.4M of 2003’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 which was Tarantino’s previous high.
The global tally for the Brad Pitt starrer stands at $225.6M on its way to at
least $260M.[rtimage]MapID=1200615&MapTypeID=2&photo=66&legacy=1[/rtimage]Dropping 40% to eighth place was Sandra Bullock’s
All About Steve

with an estimated $3.4M and $26.7M total for Fox. Summit’s horror misfire
Sorority Row
got
slashed by 51% in its second weekend to an estimated $2.5M giving the fright
flick just $8.9M in ten days. Bookending the top ten with 3D pics, the horror
sequel

The Final Destination
landed in tenth with an estimated $2.4M, down 57%,
for an impressive $62.4M cume to date.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $83.3M which was up 14% from last year
when Lakeview Terrace opened in the top spot with $15M; and up 11% from
2007 when Resident Evil: Extinction debuted at number one with $23.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru

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