Friday Numbers Analysis
Bourne Again
By David Mumpower
August 4, 2007

If there had been any lingering doubt about which espionage franchise was the choice of modern consumers, those concerns were dismissed last night. The Bourne Ultimatum earned a dazzling $23.7 million, guaranteeing it will become the largest opener in the franchise to date. In fact, this Friday performance almost matches the entire $27.1 million opening weekend of the first title in the series, The Bourne Identity. It also represents a 28.8% increase from The Bourne Supremacy's $18.4 million Friday debut, 17.8% if we adjust for 2004-2007 ticket price inflation. The real kicker here is the fact that Casino Royale, the well received franchise re-boot of James Bond, managed only $14.7 million in its first day of release with a total first weekend of $40.8 million. Clearly, The Bourne Ultimatum is going to torch the latter number and has already beaten the former one by 61%. Bond might be the biggest selling franchise of all-time, but Bourne is the spy of the moment.

The natural question is what we should expect from the rest of the weekend. Could this title be front-loaded more than the prior two titles in the series? Obviously, this is a concern for any sequel with a massive Friday. Given the exemplary word-of-mouth, reviews and buzz for The Bourne Supremacy, however, I am less worried about the possibility than I was last weekend with The Simpsons Movie. The Bourne Identity's internal multiplier was a solid 3.08 while The Bourne Supremacy's was 2.85. This is an indication that Ultimatum should hold up well over the weekend with a 2.75 multiplier giving it an expected total of $65.2 million. A larger estimate tomorrow wouldn't surprise me but a lower one would.

The next biggest opener yesterday was third place finisher Underdog. The childhood favorite of BOP's own Kim Hollis earned a moderate $4.1 million, which is solid but nowhere near the expected George of the Jungle/Inspector Gadget territory Disney was forecasting earlier this year. A solid internal multiplier of 3.35 would give the crime fighting superhero canine $13.7 million for the weekend. Underdog is likely to have legs, but this is not the type of performance we have come to expect from Disney for this sort of film.

The other two noteworthy openings this weekend are Hot Rod and Bratz. The former title is the latest attempt from a largely unknown Saturday Night Live featured player to become a movie star. Hot Rod managed a weak $2.0 million Friday. While the results are better than It's Pat, to be sure, they are basically a wash with The Ladies Man (once adjusted for inflation), and they aren't even as good as the dreadful A Night at the Roxbury. Frankly, I had expected more from this title than a $5.2 million weekend. Conversely, those effin' Bratz dolls did better yesterday than I had wanted, earning $1.7 million in ticket sales from fans of Whore Mannequins. There might be some fanboy rush on this one (and isn't that a scary thought?), but I suspect it will hold up well over the weekend, slightly edging out Hot Rod in the end. A weekend of $5.4 million is in the cards.

The big news for returning titles this week is that The Simpsons Movie absorbed a body blow with box office of only $7.9 million, dropping a devastating 73% from last Friday. Some would argue that this is expected given how brilliant its first day of $30 million was. Those of you who have been reading BOP's Daily Numbers columns know better. All of the hallmarks of major front-loading have been present from Tuesday forward, with the end result being a likely second weekend of $24.9 million, which is a loss of two thirds of its revenue from last weekend. There is no way to sugarcoat that as a positive. The news for the less interesting No Reservations is more positive. It fell only 48% from last weekend, earning $2.1 million. A weekend of $6.5 million appears likely for the least imaginative project on the summer schedule.