Box Office Better Than Incredible - Monday Update
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for November 5-7, 2004
By John Hamann
November 7, 2004
When the box office estimates came out on Sunday, I wondered whether Disney was over-estimating the opening weekend success of The Incredibles to keep it ahead of Finding Nemo's opening take. I also wondered if Disney purposefully under-estimated to protect from any sort of negative word prior to The Incredibles going up against The Polar Express. As it turns out, both my wonderings were wrong, as The Incredibles' actual number is quite close to its estimate. Yesterday Disney estimated a $70.7 million dollar gross for The Incredibles, and the actual out today is a close $70.5 million. That figure still keeps it above Nemo's $70.3 million opening weekend.
As for the rest of the releases, the only botched estimate came from Sony and The Grudge, as its $13.5 million estimate was dialed back to $12.7 million. My guess would be that the Friday number was incorrect rather than the Sunday. As for the rest of the top 5, Ray pulled back to $13.6 million versus $13.8, Saw was reduced to $11.1 million from $11.4, and new release Alfie moved from $6.5 to $6.2 million.
Check back later in the week when BOP will forecast the upcoming success of The Polar Express as it takes on The Incredibles.
The column below reflects estimates, but the chart at the bottom of the page reflects actuals.
Trust Pixar to rev the box office up in November. The opening weekend for The Incredibles is the biggest yet for Pixar, and is a definitive sign of the future of animated filmmaking. Overall, box office is white hot with the huge opening weekend, as the behemoth of The Incredibles didn’t slow holdovers Ray, Saw and The Grudge.
When Monsters, Inc. opened on November 2, 2001 it grossed $62.6 million over its opening weekend, or about $67.5 million if tickets were sold at today’s prices. Finding Nemo improved on that slightly, opening in May and finding $70.3 million. This weekend, The Incredibles has trumped Monsters Inc and basically tied Nemo (although that ranking could change tomorrow), finding a mammoth $70.7 million from 3,933 venues. That’s the biggest opening weekend ever for Pixar and Disney since Finding Nemo, released in May of last year. Since the release of Nemo, Disney has released 27 films versus Pixar’s zero. The Incredibles had a venue average of $17,970, but more importantly had a weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday’s gross) of 3.4. The weekend multiplier indicates that business got better after Friday’s first-day gross of $20.9 million, and indicates that The Incredibles is playing older than Monsters, Inc., which had a 3.6 internal multiplier. Monsters finished its run with a opening weekend compared to total gross multiplier of about 4.0. If The Incredibles can match that, it will gross $282.7 million; if it matches Nemo’s 4.8 (which it probably won’t, due to the different season of release), it will gross an incredible $339.3 million. Tune into BOP next weekend when we analyze what impact The Polar Express has on the second weekend drop of The Incredibles.
There was an article last week at investors.com, and offshoot of Investor’s Business Daily, about the potential success of The Incredibles. The lead line to the story is “Pixar's latest computer-animated movie, "The Incredibles," faces more competition than past releases when it opens Friday.” For competition, the writer picks The Polar Express (true), SpongeBob SquarePants (true) and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events (not even close) as The Incredibles’ tough competition. For one, Lemony Snickets doesn’t come out until December 17th, seven weeks from now. After seven weeks of Monsters, Inc. play, that film had already grossed $219 million, and made only $5 million in its seventh frame. Sure, The Polar Express and Spongebob may provide some competition, but will their combined weight compare to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which came out in Monsters, Inc.’s third weekend (when Monsters, Inc. still made $22.7 million)? Reviews for The Incredibles are fantastic; at RottenTomatoes, 145 reviews were counted, and only four are negative so far, giving the film a superior fresh rating of 97%. This compares well with Finding Nemo (99% fresh) and Monsters, Inc. (95% fresh) and even better versus DreamWorks films like Shrek (88% fresh) and Shrek 2 (90% fresh). I think $250 million is in the bag for this Pixar blockbuster, with the only question being how far over $300 million this film ends up earning.
Crusader Entertainment’s Ray manages to hold onto second spot this weekend, earning $13.8 million from 2,463 venues (457 more than last weekend). Ray dropped 31% compared to last weekend, which is adequate, but not stellar considering how many venues were added this weekend. Its growing total is fantastic, though, as the $30 million film has now grossed $39.8 million after only ten days.
Third spot this weekend goes to The Grudge, which managed to keep its weekend-to-weekend drop below 50% for the second straight weekend. The Grudge earned $13.5 million from 3,336 venues, which gives it an average of $4,046. The Sony film dropped 38% in its post-Halloween weekend and now has a cume of $89.6 million. $100 million is now a given for the $10 million feature, and should come close to beating fellow remake The Ring’s $129 million domestic finish.
Fourth place goes to big financial winner Saw, the low budget Sundance pickup. Saw had another huge take this weekend compared to its budget, as the film with the $1.3 million budget grossed another $11.4 million over the weekend. That brings the total for the Lions Gate release up to $35.7 million, a number that must seem like a dream for Evolution Entertainment. Look for Saw to finish above $50 million.
In at fifth is our other new release of the weekend, Alfie with Jude Law. With mixed reviews in hand, Alfie grossed $6.5 million this weekend from only 2,215 venues. Because of the low venue count, the Paramount release had a decent venue average of $2,934. Reviews are of the love it or hate it style; 94 reviews were counted at RottenTomatoes, with half of them negative. Alfie is Jude Law’s third release in the last month and a half, as he has also appeared in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and I Heart Huckabees. His next film, Closer (which came in at number five on BOP’s Top 25 Holiday Films list) is set for release on December 3rd.
Pulling up in sixth is Alfie’s biggest competition in Shall We Dance?, the Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez ballroom dance movie. Dance grossed $5.7 million this weekend, down a remarkable 10%. After four weeks of release, the Miramax film has grossed $42.1 million versus a production budget of $50 million. This film has come a long way after stumbling out of the gate with $11.8 million.
As expected, Shark Tale got dumped on its head a bit this weekend, dropping from its fourth place $7.5 million gross last weekend to a seventh place, $4.6 million gross this weekend. It dropped a respectable 39% after losing 564 venues this weekend. Shark Tale has now grossed $154.1 million domestically, and over $115 million overseas.
Friday Night Lights lands in eighth. The high school football movie grossed $3 million this weekend, down 27% compared to last weekend. Friday Night Lights had been a huge success for Imagine Entertainment as the $30 million film has now grossed $57.3 million domestically.
Falling to ninth this weekend is box office success Ladder 49. The John Travolta/Joaquin Phoenix movie grossed $2.6 million in its sixth weekend in the top ten, and has now grossed $69.9 million overall.
Tenth spot goes to Team America: World Police from Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Team America grossed a small $1.9 million in its fourth weekend, as the film finally manages to break the $30 million mark with a total gross of $30.5 million.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s release of Alexander Payne’s Sideways is raising some box office eyebrows. Sideways grossed $1.1 million from 66 venues this weekend and had a venue average of $16,136. I saw Sideways at a press screening on Friday, and I can’t tell you how impressed I was with this film. When it comes to your market, don’t miss out on this one.
Overall this weekend, box office kept up with last year. In 2003, both The Matrix Revolutions and Elf opened over the first weekend in November, leading to a $140 million gross for the top ten films. This year, led by The Incredibles, the top ten grossed $133.6 million, keeping a good pace versus last year.