Daily Box Office Analysis for August 19, 2008

By David Mumpower

August 20, 2008

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For the seventh consecutive day, Tropic Thunder is the number one film at the box office. Another $3,257,597 on Tuesday represents a 9.3% decline from Monday's $3,590,742. This is not a large drop relative to most first Tuesday performances; however, there is a bit of cause for concern.

Yesterday was a sensational day at the box office overall. Only three films in the top ten had lesser box office on Tuesday than Monday. The other two titles in decline were Star Wars: The Clone Wars, down 2.1% to $1,338,022, and Mirrors, down 3.7% to $1,128,295. Clearly, all three major new releases this week performed in similar fashion. The only anomaly was Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which was up a spectacular 9.4% from Monday's $450,857 to Tuesday's $493,410. Yes, it's only $43 thousand but every little bit counts on small indie releases like this. For the major studio titles out last week, a Tuesday decline was a given. The problem with Tropic Thunder is that it had by far the steepest decline at 9.3% when nothing else fell more than 3.7%. There is the difference in scale between a $3.3 million performer and a pair of performers in the $1.1-$1.3 million range to consider, but Tropic Thunder is showing signs of deterioration.

Before you come in with both guns blazing on BOP Feedback, hear me out on this. Pineapple Express is a title I think you would agree is not showing the usual longevity for a title of its pedigree. Comedies run indefinitely, but its $1,579,790 Tuesday is only 13% of its opening day performance. It's also reflective of only 6.8% of the title's opening weekend. For comparison, Knocked Up's 14th day in theaters reflected 24.3% of its first day of revenue as well as 7.7% of its opening weekend. If you want to use Superbad as a comparison since it was later in the summer, that title's 14th day represented 14.1% of its first day and 5.5% of its opening weekend. So, Pineapple Express isn't doing as well as either one relative to first day revenue and the only reason it's beating Superbad on 14th day to opening weekend holdover is because its biggest day of box office isn't included in its first Friday-Sunday tally. Given that Superbad made roughly $42.6 million from its 15th day on and that Pineapple Express isn't holding up as well, it may not make $100 as it currently stands at $65,880,810. Don't get me wrong. It's still a massive hit. It just isn't the leggiest of films from Team Apatow.


Now let's bring Tropic Thunder back into the picture. Its $3,257,597 yesterday is 12.6% of its opening weekend. Pineapple Express made more money on its seventh day at $3,281,459. That number also represents a 14.1% holdover from its opening weekend. You may be saying, "Yes, but what about Pineapple Express' Wednesday opening?" That shouldn't matter here since Tropic Thunder is also a Wednesday opener. Pineapple Express did a lot better on its Wednesday, but their opening weekends are similar enough for the comparison to hold. I know that there is a lot of jargon and calculations being tossed around here, so I am striving to keep the main purpose of all of this in view. At this moment, I don't believe Tropic Thunder is going to have legs. It appears to be doing ever so slightly worse than Pineapple Express did under the same market conditions. That title had $48.4 million after seven days and looks to end up in the $85-90 million range. Tropic Thunder is at $43,963,927 after a week, putting it $4.5 million behind in the short term and probably about $12 million behind over the long haul. I think that Tropic Thunder's best case scenario at this point is about $80 million. The only thing that would change my mind and force significant re-evaluation would be a decline of less than 40% this weekend.

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