High School Musical Temporarily Down But Not Out
By John Hamann
November 3, 2008
After Friday, I thought Saw V was going to weekend. As you can see, it doesn't even finish in the top two, a bizarre turn of events for a horror film with a 3.3 internal multiplier. Of course, a 3.3 this weekend is like a 2.2 on most weekends. Saw V made $10.1 million and had a percentage drop compared to last weekend of 66%. Saw V now has a total of $45.8 million against a budget of only $11 million, meaning that both of last weekend's major releases are wildly profitable.
Finishing fourth is Changeling, a film that proved to be excellent counter-programming against such a strange weekend. Changeling earned $9.4 million from a very small venue count of 1,850. It had the best venue average in the top ten, coming in at $5,085. From director Clint Eastwood and current it-girl Angelina Jolie, Changeling had the goods to draw audiences, and with its early-20th Century design, may have drawn the older, more sober crowd on Friday night. Changeling had an internal multiplier of 4.1, which tells us it was not ignored on Friday night (remember High School Musical's internal multiplier was 8.7).
This opening is a huge success for Universal, Eastwood and Jolie. Clint Eastwood's last English language film was Flags of our Fathers, and it opened to $10.2 million in October of 2006. However, it was surrounded by a lot more fanfare, and the opening weekend was considered somewhat of a disappointment. Changeling, on the other hand, has not been embraced by critics. Reviews are currently split down the middle on this one, with a 54% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. Unlike Flags, Changeling isn't a director's follow-up to an Oscar winner (Million Dollar Baby).
For Angelina Jolie, this is a respectable start, considering she's carrying the film and no one is being blown up. She has already bested the gross of her previous Oscar bait, A Mighty Heart, as the story of Daniel Pearl's widow finished with a domestic total of only $9.6 million. It will be interesting to see how Changeling plays out over the rest of its run, as Universal could choose to expand in the coming weeks, or let it play out on fewer than 2,000 screens. With this result, I wouldn't be surprised to see the studio expand it again next weekend, as movies for adults are in short supply in early November. So far, Changeling has a total of $10.1 million.
That puts the poorly scheduled Haunting of Molly Hartley in fifth, but it's a better score than usual for Freestyle Releasing. Molly Hartley earned $6 million this weekend from a far-too-wide venue count of 2,652. Currently, this one is zero for 19 at RottenTomatoes, with Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter calling it "the cinematic equivalent of having a razor blade hidden in an apple". Enough said? Good.
Sixth spot to tenth spot is a scramble due to Halloween, and positions may change when actuals are released tomorrow. Beverly Hills Chihuahua moves from fourth last weekend to sixth this weekend with a gross of $4.7 million. It was off 31%, and has a gross so far of $84.1 million.
The Secret Life of Bees moves to seventh this weekend with a gross of $4 million. It was off 34% has a gross so far of $25.3 million against a budget of only $11 million. While the overall gross won't be huge, it will still be a good pickup for Fox Searchlight.
Eighth goes to the third weekend of Max Payne. It finished the weekend with $3.7 million, and was off 53%. It now has a domestic total of $35.6 million against a budget of $35 million.
Ninth goes to Eagle Eye, as Shia LaBeouf and Steven Spielberg may have spent their last weekend in the top ten. Eagle Eye earned $3.4 million, was off 33%, and has a total so far of $92.5 million. Eagle Eye cost Paramount and DreamWorks $80 million to make.
Pride and Glory, last weekend's not-so-good opener, rounds out the top ten. It earned $3.3 million in its second frame, was off 48%, and now has $11.6 million in the kitty. Look for it to finish well back of its $30 million budget.
Overall, things are expectedly bad. The totals for the top 12 films could only muster $75.2 million, which puts it well back of last year, when the top 12 earned $121.5 million, thanks to Denzel Washington in American Gangster. Next weekend brings the kids' flick Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Role Models, and Soul Men, starring the late Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.
||High School Musical 3: Senior Year
||Walt Disney Pictures
||Zack and Miri Make a Porno
||The Weinstein Company
||The Haunting of Molly Hartley
||Beverly Hills Chihuahua
||Walt Disney Pictures
||The Secret Life of Bees
||Fox Searchlight Pictures
||Twentieth Century Fox
||Pride & Glory
||New Line Cinema
||Body of Lies
||The Other End of the Line
||My Name Is Bruce
||Warner Bros. Pictures
||Happy Go Lucky
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations