This past weekend, we saw three new releases. Leading the way was Hellboy II: The Golden Army and its $34,539,115, good enough to edge Hancock for first place. There was a second $20+ million opener as third place finisher Journey to the Center of the Earth brought in a better than originally estimated $21,018,141. Notable about this performance is that Warner Bros. stated over $11 million in receipts came specifically from the few hundred locations that exhibited the Brendan Fraser title in 3-D. Over half of the title's box office came from less than a third of its locations. The executives at Real-D are thrilled by this particular news cycle and its free publicity. And bringing up the rear in any number of ways was Meet Dave, which earned a pathetic $5,251,918 (or roughly 9% of its production budget). So soundly rejected was this title that it fell into the dreaded category of sub-$2,000 per-venue averages, a claim every studio fears for new releases. At $1,744 per location, Meet Dave wasn't even close.
Daily Box Office Analysis for July 14, 2008
By David Mumpower
July 15, 2008
Given the three new openings of solid, respectable and atrocious performances, their first Mondays are an interesting topic for observation and discussion. This fact is particularly true since Hellboy II's hold on first place over the weekend was tenuous at best. After winning the box office derby by $3.4 million on its first day, the Guillermo Del Toro title fell a hefty 15.1% on Saturday, allowing Hancock to regain first place. On Sunday, Hellboy II jumped back into first place after a solid Sunday decline of 21.6%, but the difference between Hancock and it was less than $200,000.
On Monday, Hancock reclaimed first place with $3,808,818, a decline of 57.5% from Sunday's $8,956,582. That's not good news for the Hellboy sequel, which fell 59.4% to $3,716,640. Given the miniscule $92,000 separating them, Hellboy II has a chance to retain first place tomorrow. Considering that Hancock's weekday legs are just ordinary, however, this is not good news for Universal. A title that fell 55.1% Monday-to-Monday has still managed better numbers than Hellboy II's first Monday. The comic book adaptation's Monday performance represents only 10.8% of its weekend tally, which also troubling. Consider that The Incredible Hulk, a movie with horrible legs and a much larger opening weekend, had the same 10.8% holdover on its first weekday. Not good.
With regards to Journey to the Center of the Earth, it maintained a hold on third place for the fourth straight day with $2,724,208. This is a drop of 57.2% from Sunday's $6,359,405, better than the two titles mentioned above but similar once we allow for difference in scale between a $20 million opener and a couple of performers in the lower $30 million range. Since Warner Bros. (the New Line branch of it anyway) has been trumpeting the fact that it would have had an even better opening weekend had more exhibitors been set up to handle 3-D screenings, this is a so-so result (at best). If all the demand was not met in its first three days, this was not borne out by a spillover effect on Monday. We'll see how this trend follows over the next few days.
As for Meet Dave, the only real question, one we discuss in detail in today's Monday Morning Quarterback, is why studios keep forgetting Eddie Murphy's track record. Every once in a while, he has a film that is dead on arrival in theaters and one would think that people dealing with money on this scale would have safeguards in place to prevent such a result. The fact that it keeps happening anyway is genuinely depressing, and there are a lot of people at Fox sweating their jobs this week because of it. If nothing else, the title had been remarkably consistent in its top ten location, finishing in seventh each of its first three days. With Monday's results, it has even screwed that up, falling to eighth place with $673,493. When Kung Fu Panda's 39th day of $684,527 is beating your first weekday, there is a problem. Meet Dave fell 53.8% from Sunday's $1,480,482, which is pretty scary for a title this small. It's fading fast and probably will be out of the top ten by Friday.
The overall top ten had combined revenue of $17,589,746 yesterday. We are way down 16.3% from last Monday's $21,024,436. Putting this in perspective, we have lost roughly $7 million from just two Mondays ago when the top ten was at $24,576,510. The Dark Knight cannot get here soon enough to prop box office back up again.