We come full circle in this week's discussion of daily box office numbers. Ten weeks ago, we started this column with a study of the weekday performance of Knocked Up. At the time, it was the fifth largest R-rated comedy opening of all-time after a weekend debut of $30,690,990. Our determination was that it was going to have long legs, and its current box office of $147.3 million definitely supports the assertion. Fast forward to today and we are ready to evaluate the weekday performance of Superbad, which recently became the fifth largest R-rated comedy opening of all-time, supplanting Knocked Up by opening with $33,052,411. I don't know about you, but I'm getting some serious déjà vu.
Daily Box Office Analysis for August 20, 2007
By David Mumpower
August 20, 2007
Given the fact that Knocked Up had a final multiplier (final box office total divided by opening weekend) of 4.8, expectations immediately become lofty for the latest work from Seth Rogen, the male lead in Knocked Up. Another 4.8 final multiplier here would mean $158.6 million domestically for Superbad, while giving Rogen two movies that together total $300 million this summer. He would automatically become the ugliest successful actor since Jeff Goldblum was in Independence Day and The Lost World: Jurassic Park in consecutive summers. It's a scary, scary thought and one my internal radar says is a bit ambitious. With kids filtering back into school in mid-August to Labor Day, the opportunity for legs seems less advantageous for Superbad. Of course, we are here to examine the reality behind the perception, so let's find out how it's doing so far.
Before getting into the daily numbers, here is what you should consider about Superbad thus far. It earned $10,448,720 on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, it turned around and earned $10,267,489. Folks, that's a 1.7% drop from Saturday-to-Sunday. The Sixth Sense and My Big Fat Greek Wedding didn't ever do that (on a non-holiday inflated weekend, anyway). Scream never did that, and Mouse Hunt couldn't pull it off. These are some of the leggiest films in the history of box office, yet they never saw a decline that low on a Sunday relative to the previous Saturday of box office. The only time The Sixth Sense or My Big Fat Greek Wedding managed it was due to Labor Day holiday inflation on their respective Sundays. Without the holiday boost, they can't pull it off. For that matter, freakin' Titanic, the mother lode of movie box office records, cannot stake a claim to such a low Saturday-Sunday drop. Even before we start the weekday analysis, we already know that Superbad is showing signs of being a massive buzz hit with off the charts word-of-mouth.
So, how did it do on Monday? Superbad earned $5,444,824 on its first weekday, a deeply impressive number. That is only a 47.0% drop from Sunday, and people who have been reading this column for a while know that anything under 50% is grrrreat. It's even better when we place it in context. Knocked Up, which opened with 92.8% of the weekend box office of Superbad, earned $4,435,695 on its first Monday...and THAT was considered a great performance. Even so, it's only 81.5% of what Superbad managed. By the way, in case you were wondering, Knocked Up fell 14.4% on its first Sunday from its first Saturday. In short, Superbad has surpassed Knocked Up every step of the way thus far in its first four days of box office.
Knocked Up isn't alone in this regard. We listed a series of comparison titles for Knocked Up while evaluating its first week of performance. Those titles included Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, American Wedding, The Break-Up and The 40 Year-Old Virgin. For comparison, consider the following: The Break-Up earned $3.9 million on its first Monday. The 40 Year-Old Virgin earned $3.1 million. Wedding Crashers earned $4.6 million. American Wedding earned $4.0 million. Anchorman earned $4.3 million. In point of fact, only one title had a better first Monday than Superbad. That film is Dodgeball, which grossed $5.56 million, edging Superbad by only $120,000. While we're at it, Rush Hour 3, a title that opened 48.6% higher than Superbad, had a first Monday of $5.31 million. That's 2.5% lower than the movie it crushed on opening weekend. Sure, Rush Hour 3 was wildly front-loaded, but that's still very impressive.
As you can see from the empirical data above, Superbad has walked all over some of the top performing comedies in recent years. Its four-day total of $38,497,235 is the second largest of any title listed above, edging American Wedding by $100,000 but falling only $10,000 short of Wedding Crashers. As I said earlier, I do not expect it to hold up long term the way it has at the start, but the collated data thus far is emphatic. Superbad, a film with zero star power, is more than just the hardest R since South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. It is a word-of-mouth phenomenon thus far and is on its way to staking a claim as the most shocking blockbuster of 2007, which is a title that has a lot of competition considering the success of titles such as Disturbia, Wild Hogs, and 300.
The other new titles this week barely merit mention. In fact, one of them, The Last Legion, falls outside the top ten in its first Monday. Given that it finished 12th for the weekend, I guess that's not surprising. Given its $67 million budget, however, it is all sorts of brutal for The Weinstein Co. Similarly, The Invasion has finished fourth, sixth, sixth and seventh in its first four days in theaters. Given its budget of $70 million, it too is in need of an umbrella to ward off all the chocolate rain. Another $688,425 yesterday gives Nicole Kidman's biggest bomb (to date) running box office receipts of $6,639,834. Another three days of that plus a second weekend of $3 million or so will almost pay for the $10 million worth of re-shoots Warner Bros. inexplicably authorized for a project they decided to abandon anyway. The Invasion isn't quite All the King's Men, but it's pretty close.
Box office for the top ten earned combined receipts of $15,089,114. As you know, that's not a great performance, but it could have been much worse. Superbad's strong Monday represents a full 36% of the overall top ten.