Weekend Wrap-Up

Glorious Inglourious Basterds for Tarantino, Universal and the Weinsteins

By John Hamann

August 23, 2009

Someone's overcompensating.

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Finishing second is last weekend's big winner, District 9, which debuted to a powerful $37.4 million in the previous frame. This weekend, facing direct competition from Inglourious Basterds, District 9 held on okay, with a gross of $18.9 million and a drop of 49%. With both District 9 and Basterds targeting males, we knew one of these films was going to lose out, and as usual, the holdover takes the hit while the newcomer thrives. Still, District 9 is a huge hit with $73.5 million so far (against a $30 million budget), with $100 million certainly not out of the question. Neill Blomkamp is going to be THE name to watch over the next few years. While there are some who would like Blomkamp to return to the Halo franchise, if he could continue to produce fantastic, original stuff like this, wouldn't we all be better off?

After dropping almost 60% in its second weekend, G.I. Joe is again falling over itself as it loses a large part of its audience again in weekend three. G.I. Joe earned only $12.5 million this weekend, dropping another 44% in the process. What once looked like an easy stroll to reach $200 million now looks like a grind to earn $150 million. A good comparison for G.I. Joe is The Fantastic Four, which opened to $56.1 million, dropped 60% to $22.8 million, and then 45% to $12.6 million. Fantastic Four finished with $154 million against a budget of $90 million. G.I. Joe cost Paramount much more to make at $175 million; however, we unfortunately can't paint a true FAIL message on this one, as it's earned $120.5 million domestically, and another $100 million overseas so far. It may suck, but its going to be profitable.


The Time Traveler's Wife also had a rough weekend, and it wasn't fighting with a new opener for demographic appeal. Rough word-of-mouth gives The Time Traveler's Wife a three-day gross of $10 million, and a drop compared to last weekend of 46%. As this column has often stated, these romance films are made for legs, and this one just isn't going to have them. The opening and total will be good enough to continue to propel forward the career of Rachel McAdams, who sees her biggest "above-the-title" gross so far, and is in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes film, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as the great detective. The Time Traveler's Wife has now earned $37.4 million against a budget of $40 million, a number Warner Bros. should be truly happy with, given that this one was shot way back in 2007, a fact that I thought the studio managed to hide very well.

Fifth goes to another chick-flick, Julie & Julia, Sony's take on Julia Child. After opening to $20 million and dropping an okay 39% last weekend (against the opening of The Time Traveler's Wife), Julie & Julia has another fine weekend in the third frame, with the film earning $9 million and dropping 25%. Who would have thought the turnout for this one – a film about a chef and a blogger – would turn into a possible $75 million hit for Sony? So far, this small, $40 million budgeted film has brought in $59.3 million, and could bring another Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep – who still has two more big projects coming in 2009, The Fantastic Mr. Fox from Wes Anderson and It's Complicated, her new comedy with Steve Martin that's set for a Christmas Day release.

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