Cop Out, Crazies, Voted Off Shutter Island
By John Hamann
February 28, 2010
It's a lazy weekend at the box office, what with the Olympics winding down, snow in the Northeast, and openers – that at least on paper – don't look so hot. It leaves the door open for last weekend's big winner, Shutter Island, to repeat on top. Speaking of repeats, that weekend result would be a repeat of last year, when Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail finished on top for the second straight weekend despite a drop of over 60%. We're not afraid to say it – moviegoing starts for real in 2010 next weekend when Alice in Wonderland opens in 3D. Simply put, moviegoers have been asleep while Avatar has been doing all of its repeat business, and not even The Crazies can snap us out of our slumbers.
The number one film this weekend is Shutter Island, as the Marty Scorsese flick repeats at number one. The Leo DiCaprio film opened last weekend with $41.1 million, and didn't really behave like a horror movie. It opened on Friday to $14.1 million, and actually increased on Saturday to $16.3 million. This is definitely not the norm for horror flicks. All too often, horror flicks open large on Friday due to horror fanboys (and fangirls), as well as the date movie crowd. They then slip away for the rest of the weekend, never seeing the height of that Friday number again. Likely due to Scorsese himself, Shutter Island was able to move away from that norm, and would have given Paramount some hope that Shutter Island might have some decent legs, and turn the $80 million film into a big profit center. The only opener playing in the same genre this weekend is The Crazies, and Paramount likely thought similarly as I did last weekend (from last weekend's Wrap: "and Overture Films rolls out The Crazies, which looks interesting, but is most likely awful"). Turns out that The Crazies isn't awful at all, and the shrewd Overture launched a viral campaign that increased awareness significantly heading into its opening frame.
In the end, Shutter Island grossed a strong-for-horror $22.2 million, which means the spooker drops only 46% compared to last weekend. The weekend-to-weekend drop is key in this conversation. Paramount would have been hoping for a better hold; however, the plunge is actually quite good given the genre, and considering there is some negative word-of-mouth coming out of last weekend's screenings (too long, not engaging etc). Horror films tend to drop 60% or more so this decline is quite good compared to Shutter Island's genre brethren. Could the drop have been better? At Box Office Prophets, we don't tend to buy into the "competition hurts" idea. While I don't believe competition hurts openers, I will listen to the argument that competition can hurt holdovers. The Crazies really could have been a $6 million opening footnote in box office lore, but it ended up much stronger than that, and I believe took some business away from Shutter Island. And while a small amount of business shouldn't hurt a big grosser like Shutter Island, losing money in the second weekend is like losing time at the top of the bobsled run, it affects every weekend that follows. Shutter Island has a gross so far of $75.1 million against an $80 million budget, and should have no problem clearing $100 million in a few short weekends.