Christmas Comes Early for Disney Again
By John Hamann
November 8, 2009
Finishing third is The Men Who Stare At Goats, which may be the oddest title for a film that opened with more than $10 million. Starring George Clooney, Goats earned a strong $13.3 million from 2,443 venues. I consider this a strong opening as Goats was not an easy movie to market, considering it's about a military unit that tries to kill goats with their minds (no, really). Reviews were only okay at best, with 77 positive reviews out of a possible 131, giving this one a 59% positive rating at RottenTomatoes. Goats is being distributed by Overture Films, and the upstart studio is going to have a decent sized hit on their hands, as they paid only $5 million for the rights to distribute and market, a number this one earned on opening day. This is a stronger opening than some of Clooney's other smaller films, like Syriana (top weekend, $11 million), Michael Clayton (top weekend, $10.4 million) and Intolerable Cruelty (top weekend, $12.5 million). For all involved, this is a great start for a movie with such an odd title.
Opening in fourth is The Fourth Kind, and it also gets off to a better than expected start. The Fourth Kind is a quasi horror/sci-fi pic starring Milla Jovovich, that few had on their radar for an opening around $15 million. It managed to finish second on Friday night, and had a weekend gross of $12.5 million from 2,529 venues. This is a decent opening for Jovovich, and while it doesn't approach the grosses she's seen with Resident Evil films, it does trounce everything else she's done. Universal, who is distributing for a fee on this one, marketed The Fourth Kind heavily during the baseball playoffs, and the campaign worked, at least for a weekend. The drop next weekend should be huge, as this one was only 15% fresh at RottenTomatoes.
Fifth spot goes to Paranormal Activity, everyone's favorite phenomenon. After seeing the first drop of its run last weekend (ironically over Halloween), Paranormal Activity gets beat up this weekend, as it deals with stronger competition in The Fourth Kind and The Box. Now in its seventh weekend, Paranormal Activity grossed $8.6 million, and dropped a surprisingly large 48%, despite adding another 100 venues. None of it matters, though, as the $11,000 production has now earned $97.4 million, and will cross the $100 million mark in just days.
The Box finishes sixth, but even its opening was better than expected. The Cameron Diaz flick earned $7.9 million ($5 million was expected) from 2,635 venues. This one needed better marketing and better reviews for an improved performance, and got neither. The Box finished at 46% fresh, and the marketing failed to generate much interest in the pre-release media, despite sounding like a good idea.
Seventh spot goes to Couples Retreat, the bad film that won't go away. Retreat earned another $6.4 million in its fifth weekend, basically the same amount it earned last weekend (it held up better than one might expect because of the rough Halloween decline). The $70 million film has now earned $95.8 million, as it works its way toward $100 million for Universal.