Hannah Montana Assaults the Box Office
By John Hamann
February 3, 2008
The Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert movie hit digital cinemas this weekend, rewarding theater owners who made the switch to digital presentation. Made for only $7 million and debuting at a mere 683 cinemas, The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour was easily the biggest film of the weekend. Other openers included The Eye with Jessica Alba, Over My Dead Body with one of the Desperate Housewives, and Strange Wilderness with Steve Zahn.
The number one film of the weekend is Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. After a year of having parents pay excessive amounts of money for live Hannah Montana shows (or lie, cheat or steal to get tickets), Disney found an even better way to make money off the backs of tween girls and families. The studio released the concert film to 683 venues, and it pulled in an outrageous $29 million, giving the concert flick a venue average of $42,460. This production cost Disney only $7 million to make, a figure it earned after one day of release, despite the low venue count. Variety critic Peter Debruge says wisely "Disney has found a new way to print money" - and he's exactly right. By putting Hannah into venues where the price goes up slightly due the Digital 3-D experience instead of regular priced cinemas, Disney increases their profits off the backs of families who most likely have little choice than to buck up for the admission price or have to deal with an upset 12-year-old. At least Disney did it with some class, producing a film that's not trash. RottenTomatoes had very few critics weigh in on Hannah, but of those that did, reviews were quite good. Disney really has done it again with Hannah Montana - by putting the film into so few venues, sellouts will continue. Some will see this one and some will be denied, so the myth and craziness surrounding Hannah Montana will live on for a little while longer, at least long enough for the Disney Corporation to make a few more dollars.
The number two spot goes to our second new release of the weekend, this time Jessica Alba's The Eye. The Eye, one of Lionsgate's two films in the top ten, earned a respectable $13 million from 2,436 venues (the most venues of all four openers), and had a venue average of $5,337. This is Alba's second horror flick released in the last three months, as The Eye follows up on December's flop Awake, in which she co-starred with Hayden Christensen. Awake did much worse, opening to $5 million and finishing with about $14 million. The Eye was much more in line with Good Luck Chuck, a horror film masquerading as a comedy. Chuck debuted to $14 million and finished with $35 million. The Eye was another film held back from critics, despite being critic proof anyway. Expect The Eye to plunge 55% next weekend and be out on DVD in only a few short months.