Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Prom Night Crowned Multiplex Queen

by | April 13, 2008 | Comments

Teen girls seized control of the North American box office powering the
horror remake Prom Night
to number one. Adult men settled for the runnerup spot with the Keanu Reeves
cop thriller Street Kings
as the overall box office failed to generate any kind of notable heat. The
marketplace has now trailed last year’s grosses during eight of the last nine

The frame’s one major bright spot came in the form of Prom Night,
a reboot of the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis chiller, which captured the crown with an
estimated $22.7M in its first weekend in theaters. Attacking 2,700 locations,
the PG-13 suspense pic averaged a spectacular $8,407 per venue. Horror films
rarely surpass the $8,000 per-theater average mark unless the word
is in the title. With
a strong marketing campaign from Sony’s Screen Gems unit, a recognizable face in Brittany Snow,
a commercially friendly rating, and a release date right before prom season
making the subject matter very topical, the slasher hit connected with teens and
young adults looking for a scare.

Prom was just the latest success story from Hollywood’s continuous
mission to recycle old horror hits. Audiences came out in huge numbers for other
remakes in recent years like 2003’s
The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre
($28.1M debut), 2004’s
Dawn of the Dead

($26.7M), 2005’s
The Amityville
($23.5M), and last year’s
($26.4M). With Prom Night, Sony also tied Fox for the industry lead of
three $20M+ openers this year. With a production cost of nearly $20M, Prom Night
should become the latest profitable fright flick for the studio.

Collecting about half as much business in its opening weekend was the Keanu Reeves
cop thriller Street Kings
which debuted to an estimated $12M. The R-rated actioner averaged a commendable
$4,864 from 2,467 sites. Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Jay Mohr, and Cedric the Entertainer
co-star in the tale of dirty L.A. cops. The Fox Searchlight film played to the
opposite audience that rallied behind Prom Night pulling in adults with a
male skew. Reviews were not kind. The debut was almost identical to the $11.9M
launch of the Bruce Willis film 16 Blocks.
Both were star-driven police thrillers released in the spring. Blocks eventually
reached $36.9M.

After two weeks as the top card sharks, Kevin Spacey and pals saw their
blackjack pic 21
fall to third place with an estimated $11M. Slipping only 28%, the Sony release
was still a formidable player with an impressive third-frame gross and $4,020
average. With a solid $62.3M won in 17 days, the card-counting hit should finish
up with a terrific $90M.

After a fierce battle over second place last weekend, Fox’s Nim’s Island
and Universal’s Leatherheads
witnessed vastly different sophomore drops that gave the Abigail Breslin
adventure a clear edge this time around. The family film dipped only 32% to an
estimated $9M while the
George Clooney
comedy fumbled by 51% to an estimated $6.2M. Ten-day totals reached $25.3M and
$21.9M, respectively. Nim’s, which was produced for $37M, is not facing
much competition for its core audience so a lengthier run leading to $45-50M
seems likely. The $58M-budgeted Leatherheads is suffering from bad buzz
and should end its season with a disappointing $35M. But Universal has two more
promising players hitting the field this month – the comedies
Sarah Marshall
Baby Mama
– which
should allow the studio to recover.

The year’s highest grossing film in the domestic market Horton Hears a Who
followed in sixth with an estimated $6M in its fifth session. Off only 34%, the
Fox blockbuster has banked $139.6M to date.

Miramax posted a modest opening for its Dennis QuaidSarah Jessica Parker
dramedy Smart People
which took in an estimated $4.2M in its first weekend in theaters. Playing in
only 1,106 sites, the R-rated film averaged a lukewarm $3,797 per theater. Older
adults were the target audience with women outnumbering men. Reviews were not
very strong.

The Ruins crumbled 59% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.3M thanks
to intense competition for the horror crowd from Prom Night. With only
$13.4M scared up in ten days, the DreamWorks/Paramount pic should quickly end
its run with under $20M.

The spoof comedy Superhero Movie grossed an estimated $3.1M, off 43%,
and boosted its total to $21.2M for MGM and The Weinstein Co. Paramount’s Drillbit Taylor
rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.1M, down 39%, for a cume to date of

A pair of independent films debuted to healthy numbers in limited release this
weekend. Overture generated muscular figures for its illegal alien drama The Visitor
which grossed an estimated $88,000 from only four houses for a potent $22,000
average. The PG-13 film expands wider on Friday.

Fox Searchlight saw its musical documentary Young@Heart
take in an estimated $52,312 from four locations as well and averaged a solid
$13,078. The senior citizen flick expands to 15 new markets on Friday and will
slowly roll out to roughly 260 theaters over the next month.

Three radically different films were tossed out of the top ten this weekend.
Lionsgate collected an estimated $1.6M for the Tyler Perry
comedy Meet the Browns.
Down 54%, the Angela Bassett
film has taken in $40.1M to date and should reach about $43M overall. Fox’s
horror remake Shutter
tumbled 63% to an estimated $1.1M for a $24.8M cume. A respectable $26M final
should result.

The prehistoric adventure
10,000 BC
grossed an estimated $1.5M, down 46%, and lifted its total to $91.8M. The Warner
Bros. actioner will soon surpass studio stablemate The Bucket List to
become the second highest grossing film of the year so far. A $95M final seems
likely. Overseas, the caveman flick has taken in a robust $158.7M allowing the
global tally to break the $250M mark this weekend.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $79.5M which was down 13% from last year
when Disturbia
opened at number one with $22.2M; and down 26% from 2006 when Scary Movie 4
debuted in the top spot over the Easter frame with $40.2M.