Crowe, DiCaprio Chihuahua Chow
By John Hamann
October 12, 2008
It was supposed to be a big horse race this weekend. Columbus Day weekend in the US and Thanksgiving in Canada brought out a couple of big players, most notably the Russell Crowe/Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Body of Lies. Expected to dominate, Body of Lies was joined by the heavily advertised Quarantine and The Express, as well as the under-advertised City of Ember. However, even with all the heavy-handed marketing of the new films, the mighty Beverly Hills Chihuahua won the weekend box office for a second straight weekend.
Yes, our number one film of the weekend is Beverly Hills Chihuahua, last weekend's winner. After an opening frame of $29.3 million last weekend, the Disney purse dogs managed to hold onto to top spot again, earning $17.5 million. Beverly Hills Chihuahua dropped 40% this weekend, and is our fifth repeat winner for 2008. Beverly Hills Chihuahua is now becoming reflective of Eight Below, Disney's last big dog film. Eight Below opened to $20.2 million in February 2006 and finished with $82 million domestic. It earned another $39 million overseas, all against a budget of $40 million. While no budget data is available for Beverly Hills Chihuahua, we can assume the budget figure is somewhat similar to that of Eight Below. The 43% fresh Chihuahua flick now has a total of $52.5 million, and could earn as much as $100 million, if it holds well next weekend and doesn't get too trashed by High School Musical 3 in the following frame. Let's just say it is, and will be, a good month for Disney.
Second goes to Screen Gems' wonderfully advertised horror flick Quarantine. It outgrossed the star-laden Body of Lies, earning $14.2 million from 2,461 venues. It had the best venue average in the top ten at $5,770. As BOP's Kim Hollis reported yesterday, Quarantine was actually the number one film on Friday, with a first day gross of $5.4 million, but couldn't keep up with the family friendly Chihuahuas over the rest of the weekend (as is always the way). Quarantine ended the weekend with an internal multiplier of 2.6, where the second weekend Chihuahuas finished with a much stronger multiplier of 4.0.
This is another huge home run for Sony and Screen Gems, the subgroup of Sony that has had some seriously good performances on low budgets. A couple of examples include the recently released and former number one flick Lakeview Terrace, which opened to $15 million against a budget of $20 million. With a first weekend where the gross comes close to or outperforms the production budget, a film is almost sure to be profitable. Sure, Lakeview tumbled seriously in its follow-up weekends, but Screen Gems and Sony would have seen that coming prior to greenlight. Lakeview currently sits with $36.2 million against that $20 million budget, and will earn even more overseas. Another example is The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which also starred Quarantine's Jennifer Carpenter. That one was made for less than $20 million, opened to $30 million, had a domestic total of $75 million, and went on to earn a similar amount overseas. Quarantine was made for $12 million, and will most likely earn at least $40 million. Not a bad investment if you ask me.