The first set of weekdays for The Incredible Hulk and The Happening are over, and we are ready to examine the results. Hulk fell 6.4% to $4.215 million yesterday, giving it a running total of $79.16 million after seven days in release. Meanwhile, The Happening once again experienced the steepest drop in the top ten, falling 9.4% to $1.98 million. But what does it all mean? That's what we hope to determine today.
Daily Box Office Analysis for June 19, 2008
By David Mumpower
June 20, 2008
In comparing the 2008 version of Hulk with its 2003 predecessor, the news is again not as positive as anticipated. Ang Lee's version fell almost exactly the same amount on Thursday, 6.3%, to $4.079 million. We again fail to witness that moment wherein the new movie incontrovertibly demonstrates better box office behavior. Yes, it earned $136,000 more on its first Thursday, but if we adjust for inflation, The Hulk was at $4.810 million after the same time frame. In terms of holdover from the weekend to Thursday, $4.215 million is 7.6% of its opening frame revenue of $55.414 million. 2003 Hulk's $4.079 million represents 6.6% of its $62.128 million opening.
As an explanation of why I'm so troubled by this, let's consider Sex and the City for a moment. I have maintained in Monday Morning Quarterback that this title should be judged as a low $40 million opening for purposes of its legs rather than its actual $56.848 million. The reason for this is that a full 49% of that title's opening weekend box office was accrued by close of business on its first Friday. Even allowing for this, however, Sex and the City's first Thursday total of $4.754 million represents a holdover of 8.4% from the previous weekend. Summarizing, I consider Sex and the City's first Friday to skew it so much that I don't even look at it as a mid-$50s opening. Even if we use that $56.848 million number for the purposes of examining of how well it held up through its first week, however, it STILL beats what The Incredible Hulk has done. That's completely unexpected behavior representative of a heavily frontloaded movie. Hulk appears poised to have a steep drop this weekend, and it does not appear to be any stronger a box office performer than its predecessor, at least not to date. That's disappointing.
The news for The Happening is even worse. If Hulk's 6.6% holdover from its first weekend to the following Thursday is poor, what does that make M. Night Shyamalan's Folly? $1.980 million is a (marginally) lower 6.5% of its opening frame's gross of $30.517 million. Driving the point home further, You Don't Mess with the Zohan is a title we have already established is showing poor movie legs. On Monday, The Happening earned $3,131,387 on Monday, over $900,000 more than Zohan's $2,205,813 on the same day. Yesterday, Zohan acquired $1.865 million worth of revenue, a difference of only $115 thousand from The Happening. Sure, Zohan was down only 34% Thursday over Thursday from last week, but making up $800,000 (or 88% of the difference) in four days is an astonishing demonstration of how much The Happening is in free fall. The legs on this thing are so bad that Tim Conway might get a new idea for a Dorf On... movie.
Combined box office revenue for the top ten yesterday was $17.265 million, a decline of 4.3% from Wednesday's $18.036 million. This total is up a respectable 9.6% from last week's $15.752 million as well as 27.7% from the first Thursday of June's $14.129 million. Summarizing the strength of this week at the box office relative to last week, the top 10 was up 8.9% on Monday, 2.8% on Tuesday, 7.0% on Wednesday and 9.6% yesterday. With the introduction of two titles of moderate strength today, next week's numbers are poised to relatively duplicate what we have seen here.