Jonas Brothers No Miley Cyrus at the Box Office
By John Hamann
March 1, 2009
The post-Oscar weekend was an interesting one, but not for the reasons you might expect. Not only is it post-Oscar, with Slumdog Millionaire prepared to have its best weekend yet, its also the pre-Watchmen weekend, when studios crawl into their holes, protecting their films from the juggernaut coming next weekend. Two films went wide, but neither of them had more than 1,750 venues. New releases included The Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chiu-Li. The Jonas Brothers were forecast to beat the $31 million earned by the equally inane Miley Cyrus movie, while Street Fighter was looking to make a few bucks before going to the Wal-Mart $2.99 bin. Were the predictions true? One was, but read on to find out more.
Our number one film of the weekend is not The Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience. Instead, first place goes to Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. Given what we know about the tracking for the Jonas Brothers film, the race was certainly closer than anyone expected. Madea Goes to Jail won the weekend despite dropping like a Jonas Brother after being pushed out of an airplane by Disney execs. After pulling in $41 million in its opening frame last weekend, The Tyler Perry flick plummeted, earning only $16.5 million, good for a large drop of 60%. That's the highest drop ever for the man known for his big openings followed by big second weekend plunges, beating Diary of a Mad Black Woman (50% second weekend drop), Madea's Family Reunion (58% drop), and The Family That Preys (58% drop). While the drop is horrendous, we should remember that Madea Goes to Jail out-opened Perry's former biggest movie, Madea's Family Reunion, by more than $10 million. Madea Goes to Jail now has a total of $64.9 million, and after only two weekends, is Tyler Perry's biggest film (Family Reunion finished with a domestic total of $63.3 million).
This means that The Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience finished up in second place. A film designed to steal allowances from the small hands of little girls, the Jonas Brothers film was expected to be huge - much like Best of Both Worlds, the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana Concert Movie. Shockingly, it was not, to the great dismay of Disney executives. The Jonas Brothers movie actually opened flat, earning $12.7 million, albeit from a very small venue count of 1,271. It did have a decent venue average of $9,992. I'm sure Disney will try to spin this as a success, but with people like Media By Numbers president Paul Dergarabedian calling for a $40 million opening, it's tough to wash the stink of failure off when your movie comes in at a third of the tracking estimate. This will be more bad news for the stock price at Disney, which is at lows not seen since shortly after 9/11.
What happened to the Jonas Brothers? Weren't thousands of screaming teenagers selling out theatres in dozens of cities across the country? According to Fandango they were; however, selling out the Friday 7:00 show in two dozen cities does not make a blockbuster, especially when the 9:00 show is full of only tumbleweeds and crickets (for a true blockbuster example, tune in next week for Watchmen). The Jonas-bots had a weekend multiplier of 2.59 (weekend gross divided by Friday gross, and a good determination of frontloading, amongst other things), while the Miley Cyrus multiplier came in at a very impressive 3.6. This is an audience we will never understand, and this box office performance leaves a lot of questions: Were the kids put off by the Miley movie? Are the Jonas Brothers simply second string compared to Hannah Montana? Is the teen/tween 3-D concert phenomenon over? While no budget data has been released, we know that the Miley Cyrus concert movie cost Disney $7 million to make last year, so a $12 to $15 million estimate is probably on target for this one. So, Disney ends up with a small success with the Jonas Brothers, as this will beat its production budget before going on to good things on DVD.