Daily Box Office Analysis for August 8, 2007
By David Mumpower
August 9, 2007

Cuba and friend have an appropriate reaction to Daddy Day Care's first day receipts.

Technically, The Bourne Ultimatum should not be the lead story in today's update. The sequel to a movie that earned $164.3 million worldwide including $104.1 million domestically was released into theaters yesterday. Given the fact that Daddy Day Care star Eddie Murphy did not return for the follow-up, you have probably already deduced the type of quality being discussed here. Daddy Day Camp instead stars Cuba Gooding Jr., the actor who joins Marisa Tomei, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Hudson and Frank Sinatra on the list of "It seemed like a good idea at the time" Academy Award-winning thespians. Seriously, look at those names again and realize that each of them has one more Academy Award than Cary Grant ever received.

Anyway, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s most recent headlining roles were in Shadowboxer ($400,000 domestically), Radio ($52.3 million domestically), The Fighting Temptations ($30.2 million domestically), and Boat Trip ($8.6 million domestically). Mr. Show Me the Money had done well with Snow Dogs ($81.2 million domestically) and Rat Race ($56.6 million domestically), so he's been right at 50/50 over the past six years with Radio counting as the other hit; however, this group does not include some of his other work in End Game, Dirty and In the Shadows, none of which even merited notable theatrical release. It's been a long time since Jerry Maguire - or even Snow Dogs. Gooding Jr. needs a hit, but it's obvious from looking over his track record where North American audiences stand with him.

If Gooding Jr.'s flagging popularity hadn't been made clear previously, the point was driven home when Daddy Day Camp debuted to a piddling $773,706. Remember how I was making fun of Hot Rod the other day for being a huuuuge box office non-factor? Hot Rod earned $822,752 in its sixth day of release, meaning that audiences were 6.3% more likely to go see it after almost a week in theaters than they were the moment Daddy Day Camp was available. The critically reviled children's film (but only for really, really stupid children) is currently 2% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes with only one critic out of 44 professing enjoyment for the title. Presumably, said critic's last name is also Gooding. At this point, the only good news I have for Cuba Jr. is that American Gangster is right around the corner. Maybe that will make people overlook what a sellout he has been here and how much it has blown up in his face.

As for The Bourne Ultimatum, it was the number one movie for the sixth consecutive day, earning $6,734,210. This is a decline of 9.8% from Tuesday's total of $7,466,400. In case you are wondering, Transformers fell 15.2% from its second Tuesday total of $8,253,776 to its second Wednesday total of $7,003,058. Its first Tuesday and Wednesday totals would be bad examples for a pair of reasons. The first is that the $56,924,914 earned on those days is hugely disproportionate to the other titles being discussed here. The following week is when the film had performed in the $70 million range the prior weekend. As such, it's the better comparison. And the other reason is that Transformers had a Tuesday-Wednesday increase of 4.4% due to holiday inflation, so it's a bad comparison all the way around.

The other two titles of interest with regards to The Bourne Ultimatum comparisons are Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Simpsons Movie. Potter fell 8.0% from $9,169,473 on its first Tuesday to $8,438,206 on its first Wednesday. Matt Groening's animated crew fell from $7,501,425 on its first Tuesday to $6,406,944 on its first Wednesday, a drop of 14.6%. This marks the first direct weekday-to-weekday comparison wherein Bourne beats The Simpsons, albeit by only $327,266. It's good news that the title is finally surpassing another that has proven to be so heavily front-loaded. Even so, it still lags behind Potters in terms of intra-week holdover. It is, however, holding its own against Transformers, which is a nice sign. It's going to be the only one of the four titles that does not break the $100 million barrier in seven days or less, though.

Speaking of The Simpsons Movie, it earned $3,080,934 yesterday, giving it a grand total of $138,480,147 after 13 days in release. I would like to make the point about how front-loaded it is by comparing it to the other $70 million openers on the list that came before it. Unfortunately, we know from prior discussions that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as well as Transformers both had mid-week openings. So, it would require some backtracking to find the right numbers for comparison. That could prove off-putting to some readers. Oh, what the hell. Let's try it anyway.

From the period of its first Friday to 13 days later on a Wednesday, Transformers earned $153,299,351. Keep in mind that its running total as of that point was $238,202,379, but that includes an additional three (and a half) days of box office that would skew the data. We are only concerned about what it did in direct day-to-day comparisons with The Simpsons Movie and, as you can see, it's roughly $14.8 million ahead. For the same time frame, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix accrued box office receipts totaling $158,392,022. That's even better than the Transformers by roughly $5.1 million and represents a total 14.4% larger than what The Simpsons Movie has managed in the same time frame.

Here is the alarming thought, though. Both titles mentioned as comparison for The Simpsons Movie got their starts during the middle of the week. Transformers actually started with Monday sneaks at 8 p.m. while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix debuted on a Wednesday. So, each of these titles should have had great issues with demand being met earlier in the release cycle than The Simpsons Movie has faced. Few of the consumers who showed up prior to the first weekend for either title would have been likely to return from that point forward. Yes, there is a small segment of customers who are willing to give repeat viewings to quality titles (I'm one of them, in fact), but it's a very small group at its core. So, almost all of the people who saw Transformers and Potter prior to their first weekends were customers whose business was not factored into our little equation. As such, these titles should have had smaller numbers in the following 13 days. The fact that they did not is a strong indictment against what The Simpsons Movie has done since opening weekend.

Since the logical mind should wonder about such things given the context above, you would probably like to see a similar comparison for The Bourne Ultimatum. Here it is. Matt Damon's latest espionage blockbuster has $92,616,000 after six days in release, a period encompassing last Friday to yesterday. If we look at that same six day time frame for the other three titles in question, this is what we get. Transformers earned $95,686,858 from its first Friday until its second Wednesday. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the strongest performer of the group during this period, brought in $105,131,573, 9.9% more than Transformers. The Simpsons Movie is the second best performer of the group, earning $97,222,671 in the same six days of comparison.

I do want to put in a few caveats for the above, though. The first is that The Simpsons Movie has the afore-mentioned advantage over Potter and Transformers in that its biggest days of box office are all included in that time frame whereas the other two blockbusters have their biggest days (the first Wednesday in each instance) excluded. The other note here is a tricky one that many would ignore if it were not spelled out. The Bourne Ultimatum started out $4,753,097 lower than The Simpsons Movie, so the current gap of $4,606,671 means that Bourne has caught up over the first three weekdays. It might be $45.9 million behind right now, but that gap is being eaten up a little bit each day. At this point, it seems inevitable that The Bourne Ultimatum surpasses The Simpsons Movie during their domestic theatrical runs. A lousy second weekend holdover for The Bourne Ultimatum could change that opinion; however, we have already seen with Transformers and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that a big gap is hard to chase down no matter how strong a title might perform in its second and third weeks in release.

Overall box office for the top ten yesterday saw combined receipts of $19,397,492. This is a drop of 7.0% from Tuesday, but it's a 5.8% increase from last Wednesday's $18,332,532 performance. The past couple of days, I have mentioned how strong those single days of box office have been when placed in comparison with the other Mondays and Tuesdays of the summer thus far. Wednesday's number is less satisfying, but there is a good reason for that. July 4th came on a Wednesday, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released on a Wednesday, and Live Free Or Die Hard was released on a Wednesday. A week which sees no solid titles unveiled on Wednesday is going to match up poorly with weeks where big budgeted blockbusters titles are released. If you need someone to blame for yesterday ruining the hot streak of great daily numbers, look no further than Cuba Gooding, Jr. This is all Daddy Day Camp's fault.