Ocean's Thirteen Leads Busy Box Office
By John Hamann
June 10, 2007
It was another busy weekend at the box office, as George Clooney and Brad Pitt arrived with Ocean's Thirteen, the latest in the Warner Bros. heist franchise. It is also the fourth "third in the series" film in the last six weeks. There were some other big films vying for the limelight. Surf's Up from Sony was trying to match the success of WB's Happy Feet, and Hostel: Part II was looking to duplicate the $20 million opening of the original in 2006. Finally we have the second weekend of Knocked Up, last weekend's successful comedy that is trying to match the leggy performance of The 40 Year-Old Virgin. How did it all shake out? Read on to find out.
Our number one film of the weekend is Ocean's Thirteen, making this the fifth consecutive weekend with a three-quel in top spot. Ocean's Thirteen was no Spider-Man 3 or Shrek the Third, but it did gross $37.1 million this weekend from 3,565 venues. It had a theater average of $10,401. Audiences weren't as anxious to get out to this one over its debut weekend as they were the first couple of films in this series. The first movie, Ocean's Eleven, earned $38.1 million over its premiere weekend in December 2001, and finished that Christmas season with $183 million as its domestic total. The real revenue for this series comes from overseas, as the first Ocean's flick earned $450 million worldwide. The second film, Ocean's Twelve, had a slightly better opening frame at $39.2 million, but finished with much less domestically ($125.5 million) as well as internationally ($363 million). While the Ocean's Thirteen opening is successful, the studio may have been looking for more as the first two films opened in December, not June.
I wonder if audiences are tiring of the same old, same old with this series, as I would have a tough time determining the difference between these three movies (Was Julia Roberts in the first two Ocean's flicks, or just the first?). Also, the series has diminished in terms of film quality (and believability) since the first outing. Ocean's Eleven was a stellar 81% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and reviews haven't reached that height since. Ocean's Twelve couldn't hold that pedigree and came in rotten at 55%, which may have resulted in the poorer legs for the sequel. Ocean's Thirteen got the same mixed reviews that Ocean's Twelve got. This one finished at 68% fresh, as 86 reviewers out of a possible 127 gave this one a thumbs up. Will the reviews affect its legs? Not really. I expect it to finish with a similar total to that of Ocean's Twelve, coming in around $120 million, with another bonanza coming overseas.
It was a tight race for second this weekend as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End faced off against two Ups: Knocked Up and Surf's Up. Johnny Depp and friends came out on top (for the last time) with an estimated weekend gross of $21.3 million. Like Spider-Man 3, the third weekend for the Pirates is a rebuke, as the weekend-to-weekend drop comes in at an even worse 52%. Did Disney expect to see drops of 62% and then 52% in the third frame? I doubt it. The second film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest dropped 54% and followed that up with a much better 43% drop. After three weekends, the second film in the series had earned $321.9 million, whereas this time the total sits at only $253.6 million after the same amount of time in release. What's happening? It probably comes down to poorer word-of-mouth and a run time that is just short of three hours. These two things don't bode well for repeat viewings, which the second film would have had much more of. Look for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to finish with about $315 million, well off the second film's total of $423 million.