Sandler and Bieber bring the box office back to life
By John Hamann
February 13, 2011
Justin Bieber almost earned that budget back on the first day of release. Never Say Never took in $12.2 million on Friday night alone, as the fanbase ate it up on the first day. The question following Friday was whether it would follow the Hannah Montana pattern, the Jonas Brothers pattern, or neither. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds opened to $8.7 million on its first Friday – a number the folks at Disney were thrilled with, until they saw the Saturday number and were over the moon. Hannah Montana pulled in another $13.1 million on Saturday – an increase over Friday of 51%. Even the Sunday out-grossed the Friday. The Best of Both Worlds movie enjoyed a weekend multiplier of 3.6, and started the fad. The Jonas Brothers opened with a much lower $5 million on their opening day, and never saw a higher number. The 3D concert experience finished with a weekend multiplier of 2.5, and followed the weekend with a 77% plunge. The Jonas Brothers went from hot, to not, in a weekend. With the Bieber film, the result was more along the lines of the Jonas Brothers film, although you do have to remember that Hannah Montana was billed as a one-weekend-only event. The weekend multiplier for Never Say Never was 2.48, and we'll have to wait to see how it holds up next frame. The low 2.48 might indicate a heavy fall is in the offing.
Gnomeo and Juliet finishes third this weekend, as the February movie lineup is pushing me to move to Antarctica. The Disney-then-Miramax-then-Disney film took in $25.5 million this weekend from kids that are either too young for Bieber madness (I would also say too smart, but they chose this instead – enough said). The 3D release opened at 2,994 venues this weekend and had an average of $8,517. Mixing Shakespeare and garden toys in the Toy Story model might look good on paper, but do kids really want to see this? I think Disney should be really happy with this result, as this could have gone the way of Planet 51 ($12.2 million opening), Alpha and Omega ($9.1 million opening), or worse. Kudos to the Disney marketing machine for bailing this one out. Critics were mixed on Gnomeo and Juliet, with 50 out of 92 finding something to like, leaving it with a 54% fresh rating. No budget data is available, but if it looks cheap, it probably is. Despite this being the first real kid's picture since Yogi, and the only one on the slate until March, I still expect Gnomeo to fade fast.
Fourth goes to the last of our four openers (yes, we were desperate for new product), Focus Features' The Eagle. Starring Channing Tatum, Focus Features is discovering quickly that most people couldn't pick their star out of a lineup. The Eagle debuted to only $8.6 million from a too-wide 2,296 venues. It had a sad venue average of $3,741. Romans fighting, without the 300 look, or many effects whatsoever, and starring GI Joe. Who did Focus think was going to attend this one? I am floored that it made as much as it did this weekend. If they were aiming for an older crowd they should have made a better movie – this one was only 33% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and will likely find itself at the back of the pack by next weekend.