Weekend Wrap-Up

Shutter Island Shuts Competition

By John Hamann

February 21, 2010

That is one strange yoga pose.

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Following an extremely busy Valentine's/President's Day weekend, Martin Scorsese returned to theaters this frame with Leo DiCaprio, and is the lone new release. The last time we saw Scorsese and DiCaprio together was in 2006 with The Departed, the film that won the director an Oscar for his work, and Best Picture. The Departed also earned just short of $300 million worldwide. Flash forward a year and a half later, and instead of Oscar talk for Shutter Island, this Scorsese work is battling talk of delays and questionable quality. Would Shutter Island swing under The Departed's $26.9 million opening? Read on to find out.

For Marty Scorsese, this is his fourth consecutive film with Leo DiCaprio, if we don't count Shine a Light, Scorsese's concert movie about The Rolling Stones. DiCaprio and Scorsese started their affair in 2002 with Gangs of New York, the ten-time nominated film. Gangs brought in $77 million domestically, but earned $190 million worldwide. At the time, Gangs of New York was Scorsese's second biggest domestic earner, behind only Cape Fear, which brought in $79 million in 1991. Next for Marty and Leo was The Aviator, this time nominated for 11 Oscars (it won four, neither of which went to the actor or director). The Aviator was Scorsese's first $100 million film – it took in $102 million domestically, and $112 million overseas. Then, two years later came The Departed, a masterwork with a master class of actors. The Departed earned five Oscar noms, but this time, finally, Scorsese won Best Director for his work, and the film won Best Picture. After a career of struggling for audience recognition via the box office, the Scorsese and DiCaprio team up changed all that. Scorsese became a true box office success, and also found critical and award success as well.


That brings us to today and Shutter Island. Back to water and scares a la Cape Fear, it's no secret that Shutter Island was delayed from October 2009 by Paramount, who said they wanted to cut marketing costs in the fourth quarter of 2009. A better reason might be that Paramount wanted to push Up in the Air for Oscar and not Shutter Island, but we'll never know. In the end, the move was a solid one, as Shutter Island did manage to take in $40.2 million from 2,991 venues, which sets a new high water mark for Scorsese film openings – by a long shot. It's also a new high for Leonardo DiCaprio, whose former highest was Catch Me If You Can, a film that opened five days after Gang of New York in 2002. Catch Me If You Can opened to $30 million, and went on to earn a powerful $164 million. Shutter Island got off to a strong start over the weekend with a $14 million Friday, very similar to both last weekend's Valentine's Day (the movie, not the Hallmark holiday), as that one started with $14.5 million before going on to a three-day total of $56.2 million, thanks to the long weekend. A weekend earlier, Dear John got off to a $13.8 million first day, but could only turn that into a $30.5 million opening, partly due to the Super Bowl. Shutter Island, as expected, flew between those totals, and had a weekend multiplier of 2.87.

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