Extinction Saves Box Office From Disaster
By John Hamann
September 23, 2007
Eastern Promises, the latest film from director David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen, went wide to 1,404 venues, and had a fair weekend gross of $5.7 million. The story of the Russian mob that co-stars Naomi Watts had a stellar limited release last weekend on 15 screens – it had a venue average of over $36,000 – but that fell to an average of $4,093 this weekend, suggesting that this one might have been better off with a smaller platform expansion. Eastern Promises received excellent reviews (88% fresh at RottenTomatoes), but may have problems turning those reviews into box office success. So far, the $50 million production has earned $6.5 million, but could still earn as much as $30 million at the domestic box office.
Sydney White, the new teen flick with Amanda Bynes, opens in a coma with a poor $5.3 million. The Universal release got started at 2,102 venues this weekend and had an appalling opening weekend venue average of $2,530. This one would have been better off being released on the Disney Channel, and sticking with the working title, Sydney White and the Seven Dorks.
Finishing seventh is Mr. Woodcock, last weekend's third place finisher. The Billy Bob Thornton/Stifler comedy earned $5 million in its second weekend, dropping 45%. Can someone tell me why Susan Sarandon is in this garbage? So far, Mr. Woodcock has earned $15.7 million.
Eighth and ninth go to our beloved summer holdovers, Superbad and The Bourne Ultimatum. Superbad celebrates its sixth weekend in the top ten with a gross this weekend of $3.1 million. That's a drop of 40%, and fourth consecutive in the 30-40% range. It has a total so far of $116.1 million, and while it won't reach Knocked Up's stunning $149 million total, let's remember that Superbad doubled its production budget in its first five days of release, and by the end of next weekend, the comedy will have earned more at the domestic box office than big name comedies like Blades of Glory ($118 million finish) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ($118.7 million finish). Congratulations to Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, who now has four $100 million hits on his resume.
The Bourne Ultimatum earns another $2.8 million, as Jason Bourne and company spend their eighth consecutive weekend in the top ten. Ultimatum dropped 33% compared to last weekend. This version of Bourne, propelled by stellar reviews and even better word-of-mouth, has outclassed its predecessor by $45 million, earning $220.2 million so far. The budget came in at a high $130 million, but foreign sales have already equalled that total, and the domestic take had to be better than what Universal was hoping for. The Bourne Ultimatum should finish with about $225 million in domestic ticket sales, and should be considered one of the big successes of the summer.
Finishing tenth is Dragon Wars, last week's little movie that no one knew about until commercials started airing two weeks in advance of its theatrical release. Typical of a fanboy film like this one, Dragon Wars dropped a heavy 53% on its way to $2.5 million over the weekend. Its running total of $8.5 million is better than anyone should have hoped for.
The Beatles salute Across the Universe enjoyed another solid weekend in limited release as it earned $2.1 million from 276 venues. That gives it a second weekend venue average of $7,428 – maybe slightly lower than what Focus Features was looking for.
Overall, box office was slightly down versus last year, when the top 12 films earned about $82.3 million. This year, the top ten films at the box office pulled in $80.6 million, a tiny decline of 2%. Next weekend we get an odd assortment of choices in Feast of Love, The Game Plan and The Kingdom, so check back next weekend to see who can take down the second weekend of Resident Evil: Extinction.
||Resident Evil: Extinction
||Good Luck Chuck
||The Brave One
||3:10 to Yuma
||New Line Cinema
||The Bourne Ultimatum
||Rush Hour 3
||New Line Cinema
||Into the Wild
||The Jane Austen Book Club
||Sony Pictures Classics
||The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations