Weekend Wrap-Up
Hannah Montana Assaults the Box Office
By John Hamann
February 3, 2008

C'mon, c'mon, listen to the money talk!

The Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert movie hit digital cinemas this weekend, rewarding theater owners who made the switch to digital presentation. Made for only $7 million and debuting at a mere 683 cinemas, The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour was easily the biggest film of the weekend. Other openers included The Eye with Jessica Alba, Over My Dead Body with one of the Desperate Housewives, and Strange Wilderness with Steve Zahn.

The number one film of the weekend is Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. After a year of having parents pay excessive amounts of money for live Hannah Montana shows (or lie, cheat or steal to get tickets), Disney found an even better way to make money off the backs of tween girls and families. The studio released the concert film to 683 venues, and it pulled in an outrageous $29 million, giving the concert flick a venue average of $42,460. This production cost Disney only $7 million to make, a figure it earned after one day of release, despite the low venue count. Variety critic Peter Debruge says wisely "Disney has found a new way to print money" - and he's exactly right. By putting Hannah into venues where the price goes up slightly due the Digital 3-D experience instead of regular priced cinemas, Disney increases their profits off the backs of families who most likely have little choice than to buck up for the admission price or have to deal with an upset 12-year-old. At least Disney did it with some class, producing a film that's not trash. RottenTomatoes had very few critics weigh in on Hannah, but of those that did, reviews were quite good. Disney really has done it again with Hannah Montana - by putting the film into so few venues, sellouts will continue. Some will see this one and some will be denied, so the myth and craziness surrounding Hannah Montana will live on for a little while longer, at least long enough for the Disney Corporation to make a few more dollars.

The number two spot goes to our second new release of the weekend, this time Jessica Alba's The Eye. The Eye, one of Lionsgate's two films in the top ten, earned a respectable $13 million from 2,436 venues (the most venues of all four openers), and had a venue average of $5,337. This is Alba's second horror flick released in the last three months, as The Eye follows up on December's flop Awake, in which she co-starred with Hayden Christensen. Awake did much worse, opening to $5 million and finishing with about $14 million. The Eye was much more in line with Good Luck Chuck, a horror film masquerading as a comedy. Chuck debuted to $14 million and finished with $35 million. The Eye was another film held back from critics, despite being critic proof anyway. Expect The Eye to plunge 55% next weekend and be out on DVD in only a few short months.

Finishing third is 27 Dresses, Katherine Heigl's three-weekend-old follow-up to Knocked Up. 27 Dresses earned $8.4 million and was off 37% from the previous weekend, when the chick/wedding flick earned $13.4 million. I'm sure Fox was looking for better holds from 27 Dresses (it dropped 41% in its second weekend), but remember that Dresses cost Fox only $30 million to make, a figure it breezed by after only six days of release. So far, Dresses has earned a decent $57.1 million, and it should finish with about $75 million.

Fourth spot goes to Juno, the little film that could. Juno has been a mainstay in the top ten for seven weekends now, and moves from seventh last weekend to fourth this weekend. Juno earned $7.5 million from 2,475 venues, up 49 theatres from last weekend. Juno was off 27% this weekend, but has amassed an incredible gross so far of $110.3 million.

Falling all the way from first last weekend to fifth this weekend is Meet the Spartans, as audiences vote with their feet. Meet the Spartans earned only $7.1 million and was off 61% compared to its $18.5 million gross last weekend. This thankfully restores my faith in the human condition, as Spartans now has a gross of only $28.3 million, and should finish lower than Epic Movie's $40 million.

Finishing sixth is Rambo, Sylvester Stallone's return to the 1980s school of filmmaking. The franchise reinvention earned $7 million from 2,764 venues, and was off 62% from its debut frame when it earned $18.2 million. Made for less than $50 million, Rambo has now earned $29.8 million domestically. The third film in the series did almost three times the business overseas as it did domestically, so this could end up being a decent effort for Stallone, Lionsgate and the Weinsteins.

The Bucket List finishes seventh as the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman starrer begins to lose a little steam. The Bucket List earned $6.9 million and was off 35% compared to the previous frame. This is a film that I thought would be forgotten after Christmas, but it has held quite well and has so far earned $67.7 million against a budget from Warner Bros. of $45 million.

Eighth goes to Untraceable, the Diane Lane Internet crime drama. After debuting last weekend to $11.4 million, Untraceable dropped 52% in its second frame, all the way down to $5.4 million. It has now earned $19.5 million for Sony and Lakeshore Entertainment.

Cloverfield continues its amazing plunge from its record breaking performance only a few weekends ago. The monster flick earned a tiny $4.9 million, resulting in a drop of 61% - not all that far off last weekend's stunning drop of 68%. After opening to $40.1 million, Cloverfield now has a total of only $72 million, and has no chance of becoming a $100 million film.

Finishing tenth is There Will Be Blood, the tour de force starring Daniel Day Lewis. The Paul Thomas Anderson feature earned $4.8 million and was pretty much flat with last weekend, dropping only 2%. The only problem with the drop is that Paramount Vantage increased the venue count by 622 venues to 1,507 - it had a venue average last weekend of $5,502, but an average this weekend of $3,159. So far, There Will Be Blood has earned $21.1 million.

Over Her Dead Body and Strange Wilderness find themselves on the outside looking in. Over Her Dead Body earned only $4.6 million from 1,977 venues, and becomes another miss for the folks at New Line. Strange Wilderness did even worse, earning $3.1 million from 1,208 venues (almost twice that of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus).

Thanks to Miley Cyrus, the box office managed another weekend ahead of last year's totals. The top 12 this weekend earned $101.5 million, whereas last year's totals came in at only $71 million, led by a $14 million opening for The Messengers. Next weekend brings more things to not be excited about as the openers include Fool's Gold with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with Martin Lawrence.