Weekend Wrap-Up

Openers Dominate Weekend Box Office

By John Hamann

February 8, 2009

The guy from Alias can't believe he's in a movie with Scar-Jo.

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In somewhat of a surprise second place finish is Taken, Liam Neeson's revenge actioner that debuted loudly in the number one spot last weekend. After an opening frame of $24.7 million, Taken held extremely well for the genre, dropping a fantastic 18% and finishing the weekend with $20.3 million. A 50% drop would have been acceptable for Taken, as there are four new openers this weekend; however, none of those openers are aimed at men. After being counter counter-programming against the Super Bowl last weekend, Taken is working as regular counter-programming against He's Just Not That Into You this weekend. The Fox film has now earned $54.4 million and will face some competition next weekend from The International and to a slight degree, Friday the 13th. However, Taken now has a shot at being a $100 million film, something no one saw coming.

We have another surprise in third, as Coraline manages to outgross (thankfully) The Pink Panther 2. Coraline, our second book-based opener, earned $16.3 million from a small run of 2,298 venues. It had an excellent average of $7,105. With a 3-D marketing angle and excellent reviews, Coraline outperformed expectations, leading to a big win for Focus Features and their first animated film. Coraline is from Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, and is adapted from Neil Gaiman's book. This film had a dark angle to it, and fans of Nightmare obviously came out to support this one. Reviews were fantastic, with 100 positive reviews out of a possible 114. Coraline was given a budget of $75 million, but according to IMDb came in under that amount as it was made for $35 million. This should mean it will end up as a success for Focus Features, even if legs are elusive.

Fourth spot goes to the most unnecessary of sequels, The Pink Panther 2. Steve Martin should be ashamed for launching another one of these upon unknowing children, but at least it didn't do as well as its predecessor, at least over opening weekend. The Pink Panther 2 earned $12 million from 3,243 venues, well back of the $20.2 million the original opened to in February of 2006. It scored the expected 14% rotten rating at RottenTomatoes, and will hopefully disappear quickly.

Fifth goes to top ten stalwart Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which is now in its fourth big weekend. The film continues its steady push to $100 million and more, as Paul Blart earned $11 million in its fourth frame. It was off 21% from the previous frame. The $26 million Sony comedy has now earned $97 million.

Finishing sixth is the last of the new releases, Summit Entertainment's Push. The wannabe Heroes flick didn't resonate with audiences, as Push earned a slim $10.2 million from only 2,313 venues. It had an average of $4,412. With a choppy marketing campaign, horrible reviews, and a script that made it look like the second season of Heroes (shudder), this one had little chance at success. Summit Entertainment is coming off the huge success that was Twilight, the teen vampire comedy that dominated the winter months of 2008 ($187 million domestic, $161 million overseas, all against a $37 million budget). The good news for Summit is that they have some strong looking product being released this year, including Knowing with Nic Cage (and Alex ‘Dark City' Proyas directing), Bandslam with Vanessa Hudgens, and of course New Moon, the follow up to Twilight.


Slumdog Millionaire is our number seven film, as it drops just one spot from last weekend. Slumdog earned another $7.4 million from 1,724 venues. That brings the domestic total up to $77.4 million for the current Best Picture Oscar fave.

Eighth goes to Gran Torino, as Clint Eastwood's Oscar ignored flick begins to wane. Gran Torino earned $7.2 million in its fifth weekend of wide release; it was off just 12%. The $35 million Warner Bros. release has now earned $120.3 million.

As expected, The Uninvited falls from third last weekend to ninth this weekend, as The Pink Panther 2 scoops up the horror dollars this weekend. The Uninvited earned $6.4 million in its second frame, off an actually better than expected 38%. The Paramount horror flick now has a total of $18.4 million.

Hotel for Dogs slips to tenth this weekend. The Paramount feature that never caught on earned $5.8 million in its fourth weekend and drops 33%. Its total has now reached $55.2 million.

Overall this weekend, things are again way up at the box office. A year ago, the movie business was a struggle, with Fool's Gold leading a motley crew of contenders. During that weekend in 2008, the top 12 films earned a paltry $89.7 million - the low point for the year at that point. This year, with four mostly healthy new releases and Taken, the box office amassed a top 12 total of $131.4 million, a whopping 46% of the previous years' grosses. Next weekend should provide another healthy frame as Valentine's falls on a Saturday, and new releases include the Friday the 13th remake, Confessions of a Shopaholic and The International with Clive Owen.

Top Weekend Box Office for 2/6/09-2/8/09 (Actuals)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Actual Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 He's Just Not That Into You New Line Cinema $27,465,000 $27,785,487 New $27,785,487
2 Taken Twentieth Century Fox $20,300,000 $20,547,346 - 16.9% $53,610,944
3 Coraline Focus Features $16,334,613 $16,849,646 New $16,849,646
4 The Pink Panther 2 Columbia Pictures, MGM $12,000,000 $11,588,150 New $11,588,150
5 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Columbia Pictures (Sony) $11,000,000 $10,884,825 - 21.5% $96,886,687
6 Push Summit Entertainment $10,204,000 $10,079,109 New $10,079,109
7 Slumdog Millionaire Warner Independent Pictures $7,400,000 $7,177,270 - 5.9% $77,203,055
8 Gran Torino Warner Bros. Pictures $7,240,000 $7,155,339 - 13.1% $120,195,197
9 The Uninvited DreamWorks Pictures $6,400,000 $6,262,651 - 39.3% $18,424,141
10 Hotel for Dogs DreamWorks $5,820,000 $5,711,229 - 33.8% $55,125,062
11 Underworld: Rise of the Lycans Screen Gems $3,900,000 $4,083,369 - 46.1% $39,841,908
12 New in Town Universal Pictures $3,300,000 $3,228,190 - 52.1% $11,856,481
  Also Opening/Notables
  Fanboys MGM $164,000 $171,533 New $171,533
  2009 Oscar Shorts Shorts International N/A $150,203 New $150,203
  Chocolate Magnolia N/A $11,180 New $11,180
  Inkheart New Line Cinema $1,170,000 $1,231,458 - 66.9% $14,885,535
  My Bloody Valentine 3D Lionsgate $1,850,000 $1,856,829 - 58.5% $48,182,383
  Bride Wars Twentieth Century Fox $1,500,000 $1,500,029 - 57.4% $56,244,349
  Defiance Paramount Vantage $1,420,000 $1,393,322 - 44.3% $25,196,967
  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Paramount $2,400,000 $2,302,188 - 35.0% $119,950,285
  Revolutionary Road Paramount Vantage $1,680,000 $1,670,594 - 37.5% $18,738,643
  The Wrestler Fox Searchlight $2,230,000 $2,207,555 - 4.6% $16,170,788
  The Reader The Weinstein Company $2,300,000 $2,275,489 - 4.4% $16,033,070
  Doubt Miramax Films $729,000 $722,534 - 13.7% $29,103,495
  Milk Focus Features $1,109,889 $1,125,312 - 24.0% $25,257,922
  Frost/Nixon Universal $752,850 $771,985 - 45.0% $15,651,111
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
Continued:       1       2



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