Daily Box Office Analysis for July 5, 2007

By David Mumpower

July 6, 2007

The box office went *boom* this week.

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$19,208,000. That is how much Transformers made on July 5th, and the only word appropriate to use to describe it is ‘yowza'! Yesterday in this forum, I indicated what a solid performance would be for Transformers the day after the July 4th holiday. I said that anything under 40% would be an indicator of strong hold-over appeal for a movie of this magnitude. For those of you who have not already skipped ahead and done the math here, $19.2 million represents a decline of only 34.0% from the July 4th record-shattering performance of $29.1 million. With $84.9 million after three (and a quarter) days of release, Transformers has staked a claim as the most successful new movie property of 2007. 300's $70.9 million had been winning but even if we take out the $8.8 million Transformers earned on Monday night sneaks, it still claims $76.1 million in its first three full days. BOP's Reagen Sulewski, my good buddy, views this as a harbinger of big things to come in his weekend forecast.

The reason we are so optimistic about the behavior of Transformers thus far is that it has shown absolutely no signs of front-loading. Many guy/teen-friendly movies of this type see tremendous first day box office then begin to decline quickly once the early demand has been met. Transformers is not behaving in such a manner. In fact, if we re-evaluate the last time we had this particular calendar configuration for the July 4th holiday, which was 2001, we find some stunning data support for its hold-over appeal.

Both of the new openers on July 4th that year – Cats and Dogs and Scary Movie 2 – fell more than Transformers did yesterday. Scary Movie 2 dropped 36.5% while Cats and Dogs declined 44.3%. Now factor in the idea of scale. Those two movies had combined July 4th box office of $17.2 million, a full $12 million less than Transformers managed on its own. As BOP has discussed endlessly over the years, it is much more difficult for a movie with a larger box office number to match its total on multiple days. A movie that earned $29.1 million on Wednesday should by all rights fall to $14 or $15 million on Thursday when most people are no longer on holiday, and even if it did that, we would not be worried. Instead, Transformers has managed a better Thursday depreciation than either of the movies working on a much smaller scale in terms of actual revenue.


There is even one more data point that is more impressive than this. In 2001, the top ten's combined box office revenue on July 4th was $36.386 million. July 5th saw a decline to $21.547 million. That means the overall depreciation for the top ten on July 5, 2001, was 40.8%. That is what the normal movie release on July 5th should be expected to fall after the holiday is over. For 2007, the trend is not quite so dramatic. The rest of the top ten, Transformers excluded, earned $28,787,683 on Wednesday then fell to $20,695,379 on Thursday. That's an average fall of 29.1% for a top ten title. Transformers basically matched this ratio despite being almost as large a revenue source as the other nine titles combined. Folks, the BOP staff is not easily impressed as a rule, but I can assure that all of us are taken aback a bit by this Thursday performance. We are talking about an indisputable juggernaut now.

Given the data above, you have already likely made the logical inference that the news was equally sunny for the rest of the top ten. Everything held up better than expected, indicating a great overall set of weekdays of box office for all major titles in release. Ratatouille is a perfect example of how well movies held up this week. It earned $7,855,873, which means that it actually saw an increase in box office from Monday's impressive $7,550,960 to yesterday. As we have been discussing all summer, this type of behavior is anomalous. Movies should naturally decline roughly 20% throughout the weekdays. Of course, a large part of the reason why Ratatouille did not do so is holiday inflation. Even allowing for this, however, we are talking about a movie that started the week facing numerous questions do to a shaky $47.0 million debut. Only four days later, it sits at $80.5 million and suddenly appears much more Pixar-esque.

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