Daily Box Office Analysis for June 4, 2007
By David Mumpower
June 5, 2007

Pick the dorkiest between the cast of Freaks and Geeks and the 'ask me about my wiener' guy.

Starting today, BOP's daily box office analysis returns for the summer season key period of June through Labor Day. This will be a Tuesday-through-Friday column in addition to the one Tim Briody already does for Friday numbers analysis. Some of these updates will be numbers-intensive, detailed examinations of box office behavior. Others will be more simplistic. Daily box office numbers have a tendency to be repetitive over an extended period, so the column will be more detailed when appropriate. The rest of the time, the format will be closer to "here it is, do with it what you will".

In particular, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the week will see more detailed analysis, with the reason being that weekend openers will still be early in their behavioral patterns. So, tracking them will be more educational for the reader as well as more rewarding for BOP's writers. We love what we do here, but anyone who was around long enough to report on Titanic's box office knows that saying "it's doing really, really well" grows tiresome and creatively unfulfilling after a while. We can sugarcoat the reality, but BOP's all about honesty.

One other note: oftentimes, the numbers will be posted first then the analysis will be added later. If you pull up a column and it's just the daily top 10 (or 12), keep checking back in for further details. Our site has been founded upon the philosophy that simple numbers presentation is a soulless endeavor, and that's not going to change any in this series of columns. We are going to continue offering our unique perspective on box office behavior inasmuch as the situations allow. Not every piece will be as fleshed out as the ever-popular Twelve Days of Holiday Box Office updates we do around Christmas, but there will be at least some analysis every day. Over time, behavioral patterns will be made clear to our newer readers and, hopefully, the folks who have been with BOP since its inception will also learn a thing or two along the way.

Today's starter course will be relatively brief. The main topic of discussion is the first Monday of Knocked Up. Judd Apatow's latest directorial offering has been a splendid performer thus far, surpassing expectations each step of the way. After a $9.8 million debut on Friday, there was debate about how the production would hold up over the weekend. Would it play out like a teen movie, or would it show the legs of a more adult title? A 15% increase to $11.3 million on Saturday went a long way in eliminating those doubts with the point driven home by a $9.6 million Sunday. Knocked Up beat Universal's Sunday estimate by $1.3 million, giving it a total of $30.7 million over its first three days. For a film with a production budget of $30 million, this is a glorious accomplishment.

After becoming the fifth best R-rated comedy opening of all-time, what could Knocked Up do for an encore? The correct answer is "continue to beat expectations". Knocked Up earned another $4.4 million on Monday. To put this in perspective, let's compare it to some similar projects from prior years. The caveat is that I am not going to adjust for inflation today. The explanation is that given the overall lousy legs of summer 2007 releases to date, it's fair to do a straight dollars to dollars comparison for now. The ticket price inflation is theoretically off-set by the evolving nature of box office prioritization on the first week of business.

Keeping that in mind, let's look at four examples. The Break-Up is a 2006 release that opened to $39.2 million in its first weekend, 28% better than Knocked Up. On its first Monday, The Break-Up managed $3.9 million. After getting beaten by 28% over the weekend, Knocked Up did better than The Break-Up on its first Monday. The magic word here is OUTstanding. Other recent comedies in this vein are 2005's The 40 Year-Old Virgin, 2005's Wedding Crashers, 2004's Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and 2003's American Wedding. Virgin, Apatow's previous directorial effort, earned $3.1 million on its first Monday. Wedding Crashers, a movie North America loved a lot more than I did, earned $4.6 million on its first Monday. Dodgeball, a very funny Ben Stiller movie, earned $5.6 million. And American Wedding, one of the four R-rated comedies to open better than Knocked Up, earned $5.0 million.

In case you are wondering how it was doing in comparison to their opening weekends, here are those numbers. I already pointed out that The Break-Up earned $39.2 million. In addition, Wedding Crashers opened to $33.9 million, American Wedding opened to $33.4 million, Dodgeball opened to $30.1 million and The 40 Year-Old Virgin opened to $21.4 million.

As you can see, Knocked Up's Monday holds up very well in comparison to other recent summer comedy blockbusters, many of which exceeded it in terms of opening weekend performances. What is particularly noteworthy about the above is that every title I listed as a comparison earned at least $100 million. Wedding Crashers made $209.2 million, The Break-Up earned $118.7 million, Dodgeball earned $114.3 million, The 40 Year-Old Virgin earned $109.2 million and American Wedding earned $104.4 million. That's an average performance of $131.2 million with the median being $114.3 million. This is the type of company Knocked Up is keeping, indicating that it does appear to be a $100 million hit unless it unexpectedly loses steam down the road.

With regards to the other two new openers, the news is...ahem...disappointing. Mr. Brooks is already under a million, though we'll round it up to $1 million flat to keep the math clean. Gracie is already scrounging the depths of the top ten at #9, earning $145,000. It will be out of the top ten by Friday, and it might not even last that long. North America continues to reject soccer movies just as empathically as we reject the actual sport itself. David Beckham should save himself the trouble and go ahead and stay in England. All he can do in Los Angeles is get Posh Spice's picture in the paper every day...and let's be honest. That's going to happen anyway.