Knocked Up Scores Against Blockbusters
By John Hamann
June 3, 2007
Our number two film is Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, which really is an exciting entry in the top ten for a variety of reasons. First, let's look at its numbers: Knocked Up, with no A-list stars, earned $29.3 million from a comparably tiny venue count of 2,871. It had a very healthy theatre average of $10,200, which was the best in the top ten this weekend, beating PotC: At World's End. The next set of good news is that this one didn't need the GDP of a small country to get produced. Knocked Up cost Universal only $33 million to produce, and doesn't carry the baggage a film with Lindsay Lohan or Mel Gibson does.
The stars of Knocked Up were not huge draws. Seth Rogen (Cal in the 40-Year Old Virgin) and Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy) lead a cast whose most popular names may be Harold Ramis and Joanna Kerns in small roles. The best piece of good news for Knocked Up and movie-going in general is the glorious reviews, as critics called the Universal picture the best comedy of the summer (despite it being only the first weekend in June). RottenTomatoes shows us the love this weekend, as of the 129 critics polled this weekend, an astonishing 118 had something positive to say about Knocked Up. That's 91% fresh rating, something not seen from very many comedies - or really many films at all. I look forward to a slim drop next weekend, hopefully sub-30%, as it faces off against Ocean's Thirteen, Surf's Up and Hostel: Part II next weekend. With its weekend multiplier of 2.96, Knocked Up should have no problem being the first film of the summer to reach $100 million the old fashioned way, through good word-of-mouth and a healthy (but not absurd) opening weekend.
Finishing third is Shrek the Third from DreamWorks, a film that I thought would level out after a drop last weekend of 56%. It wasn't to be, as the big green ogre grossed $26.7 million in its third weekend (I'm surrounded by 3s) and was off a better-than-last weekend, but still nasty, 50%. Shrek 2 dipped 47% in its post-Memorial Day frame, but was coming off a drop of 33%. The original Shrek dipped 33% over its post-Memorial Day frame. Currently, Shrek the Third sits with $254.6 million, and I see it finishing right around the $300 million mark.
Kevin Costner's Mr. Brooks finishes fourth, as the actor sees his lowest opening since the brutal 3000 Miles to Graceland. It wasn't a complete disaster, as the thriller from MGM opened to $10 million from 2,453 venues. Mr. Brooks had a so-so venue average of $4,085. Critics were mixed on Mr. Brooks, as it had 55 positive reviews and 46 negative notices at RottenTomatoes. For a Kevin Costner film to open larger in summer, it has to be embraced by the critics, and not be the same old same old thriller. This one will probably be lucky to see $30 million before the end of its run.