Mid-February Means Moolah at the Box Office
By John Hamann
February 17, 2008
In a small surprise, finishing second is dance film Step Up 2 the Streets, sequel to the 2006 film, Step Up. After earning an excellent $6.6 million on Valentine's Day (basically tied with Jumper, but on 1,000 fewer screens), Step Up 2 the Streets earned $19.7 million over Friday-to-Sunday from a quite slim venue count of 2,470. It had a three-day average of $7,962. The original Step Up was certainly no Lawrence Welk film, as the urban dance flick earned $20.7 million in its first frame in August 2006 and didn't completely wilt after opening (like many of these urban dance films do), as it finished with $65 million, before going on to be quite strong on DVD. The production budget for the first Step Up came in at only $12 million, and Disney raised the bar with the sequel, bringing the production budget up to $35 million. With this opening weekend success, it looks like the increased investment was warranted. Critics threw stones, but even this one out-reviewed Jumper, pulling in a 28% fresh rating, but also garnering a 38% rating from the nation's top critics. There are worse things your teenager could be seeing (yes, I'm referring to Jumper), and with these results we may just see Step Up 3: Electric Boogaloo.
Finishing third is The Spiderwick Chronicles, the latest in what seems to be a very long list of child fantasy/secret world pics. Spiderwick is no Narnia, but it is in the same ballpark as the failed Golden Compass movie. Spiderwick opened on Valentine's Day to an expectedly soft $2.3 million, but turned that into a three-day, Friday-to-Sunday gross of $19.1 million. Distributed by Paramount, but made by Nickelodeon, Kennedy/Marshall and Mark Canton (amongst others) The Spiderwick Chronicles lists 15 producers at IMDb, all of who were looking for big things from this potential franchise. With this opening, I'd say audiences - except maybe a small portion of the target demographic - are getting fatigued by these types of films. It did review well - the best out of the openers - but still came in at only an okay 78% fresh. The budget for this one is rumored to be as high as $100 million, and will be an extreme long shot to recoup that figure domestically. The good news for Spiderwick is that it has its demographic basically to itself until Jim Carrey and Horton Hears a Who opens on March 14th.
Finishing fourth is last weekend's number one film, Fool's Gold, with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. After opening to an okay $21.9 million last weekend, Fool's Gold got shot down this weekend, as it earned $13.1 million over three days. Despite its follow up being a long weekend, Fool's Gold still managed to plunge 39%. With a $75 million production budget, Fool's Gold is going to have to hold better in the weekends to come. Currently, it has a total of $42 million.
Finishing fifth is rom-com Definitely, Maybe with Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin. After opening on Valentine's Day to $3.2 million, Definitely, Maybe earned $9.7 million over the three-day portion of the long weekend, but did that from only 2,204 venues, an inexplicably low venue count. Definitely had some fans with critics, as this one came in at 69% fresh at RottenTomatoes (which is excellent for a Ryan Reynolds flick). While no flop, this isn't going to be huge for Universal, but may become a fair investment once DVD revenue is counted.