The Box Office Report — January 20-22

Last week, in Box Office…

Contraband wins the weekend with $24.3 million. (That $28 million they said was for the 4-day weekend. Homie don’t play that. I deal with 3 days only unless it’s a legitimate holiday like Christmas or I’m drunk.) The film was only budgeted at $25 million, so this will be considered a huge success, and knowing Mark Wahlberg, he’ll want to do a sequel. Mark Wahlberg is more of a producer nowadays than an actor.

Beauty and the Beast 3D finished second with $17.8 million. Not as big a number as The Lion King. Possibly because The Lion King is the most beloved Disney film. Or because people are just tired. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s free money for them. I just don’t want it to turn into them just rereleasing shit rather than put out new stuff. Otherwise, let’s see how it holds up this week before we make any statements.

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol finished third with $11.7 million. This film continues to do amazing business. It’s gonna hit $200 million stateside, which is pretty awesome. Nice going, Brad Bird.

Joyful Noise opened to fourth place, and $11.2 million. Don’t worry, they only spent $25 million. I hope all the old women and fat housewives loved it.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows finished fifth with $8.6 million. That’s really solid again for it. It’s made $170 million so far, but apparently no budget has been officially released, which means they really needed to make more than that.

The Devil Inside — wow. This is how you know they bought the weekend with advertising — fell 76%! Holy shit! It made $8.6 million. Remember, this is a film that made $33 million last weekend. So, they spent $30 million to make an extra $15 million, and now have $46 million after two weeks to show for it. I bet they’re still in profit on this, but — why bother? Why spend the $30 million in the first place? I bet they’d have done like $15 million the first weekend with just regular advertising, and actually made a bigger profit riding it out that way. I’ll never understand studios. WHY IS THE FIRST WEEKEND SO IMPORTANT? WHY IS THAT ALL THAT MATTER FOR A FILM’S SUCCESS RATIO?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — hah. That’s funny — made $6.66 million for the weekend. It has pulled in almost $90 million domestically, which is its budget. And I bet the studio will take that, since it didn’t open that well, and has got some Oscar chances.

War Horse made $5.9(2) million (that 2 will be important in a second) million for the weekend, in 8th place. It has pulled in exactly its $66 million budget so far, which is nice for it.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked has made, in ninth place, $5.9 million (though really $5.89 million). This is the last time I’ll ever have to talk about this movie.

We Bought a Zoo made $5.6 million in tenth place. Good for it. It wasn’t that great, but it also wasn’t terrible. $64 million for it is a nice little number. Modest success. That’s cool.

The Iron Lady made $5.4 million in eleventh place. 11 films made over $5 million. That’s crazy. I saw this movie last week. It was pretty bad. Even Streep’s performance was pretty lackluster for something they’re calling a sure-fire Oscar winner.

This sucks. All these good films are gonna be washed away after this week. And I’ll be left with nothing but the January bullshit. Oh well…

Onto the new releases…

The big film opening this week is Underworld: Awakening. And most people expect it to win the weekend. I’ve seen estimates ranging between $20 million and as high as $25 million. I don’t know. Is this a guaranteed $20 million opener? The last one pulled in $20 million (en route to only $45 million domestically), and that was three years ago. My gut tells me this is only like $18 million. But maybe increased ticket prices help them get to $20 million. I don’t know. $25 million just seems crazy. That seems like you’re going by what something like this should do. Like an ideal studio-based figure. (Or tracking. I don’t know.) I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Red Tails is also opening this weekend. I’m rooting for this to succeed. Lucas put up almost all of the budget himself, this is something he’s been wanting to make for almost 25 years — I’m rooting for him. I’m seeing estimates all over the place on this one. I’ve seen estimates as low as $8 million and as high as $18 million. No one knows. The lower end is going on the assumption that people won’t go see black movies, and the higher end is going on, “It’s George Lucas, it’s an action movie, it looks entertaining as hell, people have to go, right?” I, honestly, am expecting the former, and hoping for the latter. $15 million would be great for this. I don’t even care how good it is. I just want to see it succeed, because at least the only problems we can have with it are in its execution (scrimping on story for action scenes, CGI, etc) and not in the fact that it’s a creatively bankrupt sequel or remake. Let’s hope it does really well.

Haywire also opens this week. I’m crazy excited for this. It sounds like so much fun. Seeing this opening in January is like that scene in Cast Away where Tom Hanks spends all day trying to light the fire, and finally sees a spark, and starts blowing in it, lest it go away. This is my life raft in a sea of shit. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll make money, as Steven Soderbergh movies tend to be forgotten at the box office. Almost all estimates here are around $9 million, and that would be my gut number too. I’m hoping it overperforms from expectations, but I won’t expect it. I just hope this doesn’t do $6-7 million. That would be a real shame. (Seriously, you’re gonna go see Underworld and not this?)

Also, technically not a new release but also not really a holdover, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is getting a wide release this week. Most people expect this to finish in second with around $13 million. Good for it. It’s not a bad movie. I’m okay with this making money. It should. It’s definitely in the upper 25% of what should be making money.

And now, the holdovers…

Contraband will probably take the standard 50% drop and do around $12-13 million. That seems standard fare.

Beauty and the Beast has a decent chance at an above-average hold, it being the only real kid-friendly thing out there. Of course, it’s not really an ideal month for kids, but I’m expecting at hold of at worst 60% and a total of around $10-11 million, skewing toward $11 million and change. That, again, seems like an obvious figure.

Ghost Protocol seems like it’ll hold, but not amazingly well. It’s at the stage where they’re below $10 million, so they’re looking at $7 million at best. It could overperform, given the competition, and do like $7.5 million, but I’d skew between $6-7 million on this.

Joyful Noise, with a good weekend, should do around $6 million and change. Again, that’s a good weekend. A bad weekend — it might not make 5.

I’m not sure how the rest of them will do. Sherlock Holmes will need to do good business to hit $5 million. The Devil Inside will almost certainly plummet under $5 million. And everything else was at $6 million last weekend. There’s no way they hit $5 million. I’d love for them too, but I don’t know if it’ll happen.

So that’s the weekend. We’re looking at Underworld #1, no matter how it does. Probably Extremely Loud second, unless Red Tails does closer to $15 million. Contraband third, depending on Red Tails. Red Tails could be fourth or fifth, depending on how it and Beauty and the Beast does, so those will probably be your top five there, with Red Tails going pretty much anywhere from 2-5. Then Haywire will probably be sixth, and Ghost Protocol seventh. 8, 9 and 10 will probably be a combination of Sherlock, Joyful Noise and The Devil Inside.

Wow, that was so much more fun than typing it out on a list. The list thing at the end just made me sour on this whole article, which is why I’ve been half-assing it the last few weeks. I guess it felt too much like work, along with all the shitty-ish movies that I knew were coming, plus it felt like a standard thing like everyone else’s. It got stale, is what I’m saying. I thought I was just gonna stop doing it. But this one felt fun. I think I’ll do it this way from now on. Which — I just wrote my guesses in a paragraph and not a list. I must be out of my mind right now. Excuse me while I go find my sanity.

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