There was great news for Pixar with yesterday's box office results as their latest blockbuster, WALL-E, had the best first Monday in their history. Its $8,913,286 in revenue is exemplary. Don't take my word for this, though. Instead, let's get straight to the numbers.
Daily Box Office Analysis for June 30, 2008
By David Mumpower
July 1, 2008
Kung Fu Panda opened to a similar total as WALL-E, $60,239,130 as opposed to $63,087,526. This is a difference of only 4.5% for the movies released within weeks of each other that also have the same target demographics. So, Panda is a perfect comparison model for WALL-E's behavior. Those of you who read the column last month will recall that its first Monday was around $6.3 million ($6,316,507 to be exact). WALL-E has beaten that amount by almost $2.3 million. So, yesterday's number for WALL-E is 41.1% better than what Panda grossed on June 9th. Now, I'm sure some of you are already typing up your "but school wasn't out everywhere..." email. I question the veracity of this statement, as I believe the body of schools had ended by this period, at least the ones that are not year-round. Even so, there are other numbers that support the premise that Pixar should be giddy about yesterday's result.
The three recent Pixar summer releases that directly compare to WALL-E are last year's Ratatouille, 2006's Cars, and 2003's Finding Nemo. Nemo is the title that should theoretically blow the curve given the fact that it's the most successful Pixar release to date. It's also the prior release for WALL-E director Andrew Stanton, so this title is interesting for a couple of reasons. Here are the pertinent data points. Finding Nemo earned $6.95 million on its first Monday, a number that inflation adjusts to $8.19 million. So, even if we allow for five years of ticket price increases, WALL-E is still ahead of Finding Nemo in terms of first Monday ticket sales. It also beats Nemo in terms of Sunday/Monday decline. Nemo fell 68.5% while WALL-E is just barely on the happy side of 50.0%. Yes, I'm shocked, too.
Bringing in the other Pixar titles, here is what we need to know to form a model. Cars had an initial Monday of $6,407,907, a decline of 62.6% from its Sunday total of $17,124,836. Ratatouille, last year's entrant, had a disappointing opening weekend of only $47,027,395. So, its Sunday/Monday decline of 44.5% seems great, and it is quite good; however, relative to its weekend performance, we must keep in mind the disparity between a $47 million opening as opposed to a $60+ million opening. It's much easier to have a 44.% decline off a $13,598,308 Sunday than it is to accomplish the same feat off a $22,032,107 million Sunday as Nemo had. What matters here is that even if we adjust for inflation, WALL-E has had the best Pixar Monday in terms of ticket sales and box office revenue. It has also had the second best Sunday/Monday decline of the five animated films under discussion (Kung Fu Panda's Sunday/Monday decline was 63.5%). In short, it was a sensational performer on Monday. The question becomes whether it will sustain that momentum moving forward. This is what we will track the rest of the week.
There was another huge opener this weekend, and that title is Wanted. After joining WALL-E in becoming the first pair of $50+ million openers in box office weekend, the Angelina Jolie title performed quite well on Monday. Coming off a $50,927,085 three-day total, it earned $6,381,750 on Monday, a decline of 55.3% from Sunday. Obviously, given the data above, you can see that this is a shockingly strong performance for what should be a heavily frontloaded film. For comparison, however, keep in mind that The Incredible Hulk also did quite well on its first Monday, falling only 61.4% off a $55.4 million weekend. Its total of $6,010,405 is less than what Wanted managed, though. So, day four of this title has been impressive. We'll more carefully track it in future days.
Overall box office for the top ten saw combined revenue of $24,576,510. Yes, this total absolutely torches anything we had seen in June up until yesterday. June ended with a spectacular bang. We are now running 4% ahead of Summer 2007 in terms of actual tickets sold, which is an amazing feat given the comparison to the year of the Three-quel.