Weekend Wrap-Up

Ocean's Thirteen Leads Busy Box Office

By John Hamann

June 10, 2007

Everybody lines up to get in bed with Clooney.

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Knocked Up is our third place finisher this weekend, and enjoys a much smaller drop than Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The Judd Apatow comedy earned $20.0 million in its second weekend, and was off a small 35%. The 40 Year-Old Virgin dropped an even smaller 24% in its second weekend, but that film debuted with $21.4 million, a much smaller opening figure than Knocked Up's $30.7 million. The bigger the debut, the tougher it is to keep that percentage up. That's why the first Spider-Man's drop of 38% after a $114 million open is so amazing. Knocked Up has an excellent hold for a film that only has positive word-of-mouth keeping it moving forward. So far, the comedy with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl has earned $66.2 million, and it will finish with $125 million or more - not bad for a film that cost $30 million to make.


Our other Up movie of the weekend is Surf's Up from Sony Pictures Animation, makers of the so-so Open Season ($23.6 million opening) and Monster House ($22.2 million opening). Surf's Up, a cartoon about surfing penguins, finished right in the same ballpark as its predecessors, as it earned $18 million over its opening weekend. Those surfing penguins opened at 3,528 venues, and had a theater average of $5,102. This leaves us with the question as to what is the difference between a film like Happy Feet ($41.5 million opening) and Surf's Up? My answer is the Poochie factor. Remember on The Simpsons when Homer was cast as the dog Poochie on Itchy and Scratchy? The writers tried to "manufacture cool" with Poochie, and we all know the result. I think the same thing happened here with Surf's Up, as the suits at Sony tried to manufacture cool for the junior set. Critics liked what they saw, so maybe audiences will in the weekends to come. At RottenTomatoes, 64 out of 86 reviews were positive, giving Surf's Up a fresh rating of 74%. With Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Nancy Drew opening next weekend, Surf's Up could get the bump and run very quickly, as it will be tight times for the target demographic. Look for this Sony effort to finish with less than $100 million.

Shrek the Third slides to fifth place and again deals with a bigger than expected percentage drop, which is becoming the theme of the summer. In its fourth weekend, Shrek the Third dropped 44%, earning $15.8 million. Its drops have now equalled 56%, 47% and 44%. While better than Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, this is still much too high for a kid-friendly franchise like Shrek. Shrek 2 saw drops of 33%, 47% and 38%, before going on to earn $436 million. Like Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek will not come close to the totals of the second film in the series. So far, Shrek the Third has earned $281.9 million, and should finish with about $320 million.

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