Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2008:
#5: Mamma Mia! Indeed

By David Mumpower

January 13, 2009

Have they forgotten about my terrible singing yet? No?

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Mamma Mia! eventually wound up with domestic receipts of $144.1 million, making it the 12th most successful release of 2008. Let's put this result into perspective. Sex and the City, one of the other two 2008 blockbusters driven by women's ticket sales (Twilight being the other), opened to $56.8 million, more than double Mamma Mia!'s $27.8 million opening take. Sex and the City's final box office was $152.6 million, meaning it earned another $95.8 million after opening weekend. Mamma Mia!, on the other hand, brought in a jaw dropping $116.3 million after its first three days. For all of the hoopla given to Sex and the City for its opening weekend (and monumentally huge Friday), Mamma Mia! outperformed it every step of the way from then on. This is why BOP considers Mamma Mia! to be the bigger story in 2008.

If you don't agree with us, let me make one further point in this regard. Sex and the City wound up with worldwide box office of $408.9 million and another $92 million in home video sales (and counting, obviously). That's incredible. Mamma Mia!'s producers look at those numbers and laugh, though. Whereas the slutty ladies of Manhattan had international revenue of $256.3 million, the Abba fans absolutely shredded worldwide box office. Mamma Mia! currently has international receipts of $428,575,785, making it the third best performer worldwide in 2008. If you don't follow international receipts much and are not sure how to put $428.6 million into perspective, simply consider that Iron Man did "only" $263 million, WALL•E did $303 million, and Quantum of Solace has done $384 million thus far. Mamma Mia!'s international revenue is within shouting distance of The freakin' Dark Knight's $464.0 million. ABBA vs. The Joker is much more competitive than you might expect.


Thanks in large part to international receipts, highlighted by Mamma Mia! recently becoming the number one film of all-time in England, the film is the sixth best overall performer of 2008 with $572.7 million in box office. And it may yet surpass Iron Man's $581.3 million to finish in the top five. With another $107 million in video sales already, Mamma Mia! is on the short list of most lucrative movie productions of 2008. With a budget of only $52 million, it has earned almost $700 million for Universal in its first six months. A performance like this makes you wonder why the producers of Mamma Mia! are not being asked to head to Wall Street and help out all of the struggling financial industries. Anyone who pays $50 million and makes $700 million should be given their due consideration when they talk about investments. Alternately, maybe The Music of ABBA should be a college Finance class.

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