Weekend Wrap-Up for July 9-11, 2010

Despicable Me Is Huge

By John Hamann

July 11, 2010

I want to read to her and I don't even know her.

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Despicable Me gives Universal a much-needed shot in the arm, as they have been struggling domestically so far this summer, and struggling in general for more than a year. Summer releases so far for Universal include MacGruber, which failed to earn more than $10 million, Robin Hood, which barely managed to earn $100 million, and Get Him to the Greek, which failed to match the domestic total that its predecessor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, put up in April 2008. It also helps soothe the memories of a summer ago, when the studio had bombs that included Land of the Lost, Bruno, and Funny People. With Little Fockers in December and a Nanny McPhee movie still to come this summer, Universal may have turned their fortunes around with a family film, of all things. Despicable Me cost Universal only $69 million to make, a figure this one will have earned by mid-week.

Finishing second this weekend is The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, last weekend's big winner. After an odd July 4th frame where Eclipse earned more on its first day ($68.5 million) than it did over its first three-day weekend ($64.8 million), I expected a huge plunge for this one in the 65% plus area, as it seemed like Eclipse has peaked after its first Saturday. In the end, Twilight: Eclipse manages a second weekend gross of $33.5 million, giving it a not bad drop of 49%. Let's face it. The decline could have been a lot worse, so it's at least better than expectations. After 12 days, the second film in the franchise, New Moon, had earned $235.7 million. Twilight: Eclipse has a remarkably similar $237 million. The difference is in the budget, as the second film cost Summit $50 million to make, where the third cost $68 million. Whatever the case, Summit can fund an entire slate of movies off the international grosses alone from this series.


Third spot in the chart goes to the 20th Century Fox sequel, Predators. Expected to be a $20 million opener, Predators is another big success this weekend, as it also defied the soft tracking scores. Predators ended up opening to a larger-than-expected $25.3 million, from only 2,669 venues. That gives it an excellent average of $9,479, and more good news for theater owners. This franchise is a bit of an odd duck, as it really is the third film in the franchise, but the second film was released 20 years ago - and flopped badly. Since then, there have been two Alien vs. Predator films, both of which were successful. The first AVP opened to just short of $40 million, and earned $80 million domestic, but was huge overseas, giving AVP a worldwide gross of $172 million against a $70 million budget. While the opening for Predators couldn't match the first weekend of AVP, it wasn't expected to. What Fox needed here was a decent-sized hit, so that the franchise could mature again into something bigger. Fox brought on Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Spy Kids) to produce, as he can deliver a decent action film on the cheap. And it was decent, earning a 65% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, and from what I've heard, fans of the franchise like it as well. It was also made at bargain prices. Predators cost Fox only $38 million to make, so this is going to be a huge win for the studio.

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