Taken Dominates Super Bowl Weekend
By John Hamann
February 1, 2009
In the review department, Taken did okay - better than the usual male action film, but lower than a usual Liam Neeson flick. At RottenTomatoes, 107 reviewers chimed in, and 61 found something to like. That gives it a 59% fresh rating at the time of this writing, good enough to keep folks coming out to see it. Next weekend delivers four new wide openers, but Taken should still do okay, as none of them are male-oriented action movies. Taken should end up as a $75 million dollar winner for Fox; budget data isn't available, but a good guess puts this one at about $50 million, and Taken has already earned $70 million from overseas sales.
Finishing second is our consecutive weekend champ, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It was an interesting weekend for Paul Blart, as it had a very broad audience over the last few weekends, and now it had a Super Bowl to contend with. Despite the Sunday spectacle, Paul Blart still did very well, earning $14 million, and dropping a not bad 35%. Over the last few frames, Paul Blart has had weekend multipliers (Friday gross divided by weekend gross) around 3.8, which means it's playing to a very broad audience from the very old to the very young. This weekend's (estimated) multiplier was 3.5, which tells us that Super Bowl had little effect on Blart's performance. The $25 million Sony/Happy Madison co-production has now earned $88.4 million, and it will hit $100 million in no time.
Third goes to The Uninvited, this year's horror flick counter-programming to the Super Bowl. Like the rest of the examples listed above, The Uninvited did only okay, earning $10.5 million from 2,344 venues. This is neither blow out success or sad flop; anything over $10 million has to be considered a success for Paramount, as production costs are most likely in the $25 million area. Reviews were expectedly poor, and a good guess has this one leaving the top ten after next weekend.
Hotel for Dogs is in fourth place this weekend, just as it was last weekend. This can surely be attributed to the fact that it skews differently than most of the movies that are vying for attention against football. The dogs earned $8.7 million, and dropped a solid 32%. The $75 million Paramount production has now earned $48.2 million.
Fifth spot goes to Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood "get off my lawn" movie. Gran Torino became Clint's biggest movie ever this weekend, as it took in another $8.6 million. It dropped 47% compared to last weekend (the Super Bowl didn't help), but now has amassed a domestic total of $110.5 million, Eastwood's biggest haul. Gran Torino should earn $135 million before it's through, all against a production budget of $35 million.
That keeps Slumdog Millionaire in sixth, the same spot it held last weekend. My current Best Picture fave earned $7.7 million and was off a slight 28%, despite Fox Searchlight adding 222 venues. Slumdog has now earned $67.2 million domestically, and about $30 million overseas. This one should finish as a $100 million picture for Searchlight, against a $15 million pickup cost.