Weekend Wrap-Up for August 27-29, 2010

Last Exorcism, Takers Surprise at Late Summer Box Office

By John Hamann

August 29, 2010

Loud noises!

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Screen Gems is by far my favorite studio. They do not release films with $100 or $200 million budgets. Their films do not gross billions. At the same time, they are very successful due to smart movie choices and release strategies. Since 2007, Screen Gems has released 13 films, and of those, only two have failed to earn more than $10 million over their opening weekend. Of those same 13 films, only two have cost more than $35 million to produce (Resident Evil: Extinction, Untraceable), and only two have failed to earn more than their respective production budgets. Screen Gems is the "grinder" studio of the movie business, cranking out hits like a baseball player who hits for average instead of home runs. Screen Gems has two more movies coming out in September, another Resident Evil flick (Afterlife in 3D) and a rom-com called Easy A. They then have Christina Aguilera in Burlesque scheduled for late November, which could be big.

Finishing third is The Expendables, which gives Lionsgate two flicks in the top three. After two weekends at number one, The Expendables was expected to drop hard this weekend, but the plunge wasn't as bad as I expected. After falling 51% last weekend to $17 million, The Expendables earned $9.5 million this weekend, dropping a better 44%. Sylvester Stallone and his band of merry men are driving this one toward $100 million domestic, and it's starting to look like it just might make it. The Expendables has now earned $82 million, matching its budget in weekend three. It is just getting started overseas, but should easily earn $100 million from foreign shores as well. How quickly will cameras roll on a sequel? My bet would be in the next six months or so – maybe this time Stallone can get Willis and Schwarzenegger for more than just one scene.


Fourth spot goes to Eat Pray Love, and if someone told me The Expendables was going to out-gross a Julia Roberts film two months ago, I would have laughed my ass off. However, with a $7 million weekend total for Eat Pray Love, it looks like that will happen. The travel romance dipped 42%. If there is good news for Sony, it is that Eat Pray Love cost about $20 million less than The Expendables, which will likely be the difference in their final domestic totals. Eat Pray Love is also waiting to debut overseas, and this one should sell quite well over there as well. Look for this one to finish with about $80 million in domestic sales, and another $100 million coming overseas. It currently has a total of $60 million.

Sony's other film in the top ten, The Other Guys, manages to hold on to a a top five spot. The now four-weekend-old Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg flick earned $6.6 million and dropped 35% compared to last weekend. After opening to $35.5 million, The Other Guys saw big drops of 51% and 42%, but will cross the $100 million mark in the next couple of days. It has a current gross of $99.3 million.

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