Daily Box Office Analysis for June 27, 2007

It's Die Hard Time, Bay-bee!!!

By David Mumpower

June 28, 2007

Live free! I choose live free!

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$9,111,638. That's either the amount Live Free Or Die Hard earned yesterday or it is the average annual cost the government has spent cleaning up the messes left by supercop John McClane. Assuming it is the former, that's a respectable number of tickets sold for a debut Wednesday in June/July.

Let's look at some other recent summer Wednesday openers on this level. The most direct analogy from a pure dollars perspective is (surprisingly) Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde. The heavily frontloaded sequel disaster debuted to $9.147 million before flatlining over the weekend with only $22.2 million. I'm disregarding this one as an outlier, but it's a cautionary tale for the kind folks at Fox.

Some more appropriate comparisons did better on their first days. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (maybe you've heard of it) started with $13.5 million on its way to an opening weekend of $46.6 million. Batman Begins earned $15.1 million on June 15, 2005 then made $48.7 million on its opening weekend. Men in Black II's first day was $18.6 million then it followed that up with $52.1 million over the weekend. Superman Returns debuted at $21.0 million then fell off to a mediocre $52.5 million first weekend. War of the Worlds started with $21.3 million on its way to a $64.9 million opening weekend. The one that blows the curve in terms of both first day performance and three day holdover is Spider-Man 2, which spiked at $40.4 million on Wednesday, but was so frontloaded that it managed only $88.2 million on opening weekend. There are some other movies we could factor in here like White Chicks, King Arthur and Like Mike, but all of their first days are in the $4 million range, less than half of what Live Free Or Die Hard did. As such, I consider them unfit for comparison. So, what we can draw from the ones that matter is that Live Free Or Die Hard is not going to be War of the Worlds or anything, but it's also not going to be Herbie: Fully Reloaded, either ($2.7 million Wednesday followed by a $12.7 million weekend).


So, these are the data points in play as we determine how solidly Live Free Or Die did on its first day as well as how we should project it to hold up through Sunday. Wednesday/Thursday decline will be the topic of tomorrow's column, and should be old hat by now to long time readers of BOP anyway. What we are most interested in studying is the behavior large scale Wednesday openers exhibit the following weekend. Opening weekend and final box office are the two stats most mainstream box office wonks obsess upon, after all. As we can see from the above, $9.1 million is fine, but it's certainly not mega-blockbuster territory. In fact, it represents only 60% of the box office of Batman Begins, a sub-$50 million opener. So, it is safe to say that barring something wildly unforeseen, John McClane's latest outing is not going to be a $50 million opener.

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