Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper; Mystery Meat of a Tentpole Sandwich
By John Hamann
July 10, 2011
It's an interesting weekend at the box office – Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper both performed admirably - but were sandwiched between the opening weekends of venue hog Transformers: Dark of the Moon and the final installment of Harry Potter. The downside for the openers is the reduced size of the weekend box office pie; however, the reward is higher traffic to the movie theater, where movie marketing works best.
The number one movie of the weekend was never really in doubt, as Transformers: Dark of the Moon repeats at number one after a red hot 12 days. This weekend, the Michael Bay film earned $47 million from 4,107 venues. It dropped 52% compared to its previous Friday-to-Sunday gross last weekend of $97.9 million. It took only eight days for Transformers: Dark of the Moon to hit 200 million, a tie for second fastest of all time. Now the race is on for $300 million, with Revenge of the Fallen having a serious head start.
That 52% drop is the key statistic this weekend. Is it bad or good? The first example to look at, of course, is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but comparing it to that film calls for a serious asterisk. Revenge of the Fallen opened the weekend before July 4th in 2009, and over that Independence Day Weekend, the 4th fell on a Saturday. That's essential here, because unlike Christmas Day, July 4th itself is not a strong movie day. On July 4, 2009, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fell 41% versus its previous day gross, whereas on the next Saturday, July 11, 2009, Transformers 2 increased its take from the Friday gross by 24%. Revenge of the Fallen ended up falling 61% over its second weekend in 2009 - but would likely have improved by as much as 8% - had July 4th not fallen on Saturday. Why do I make a big deal out of this? Because the Transformers franchise is undeniably leggy, despite serious quality issues with the second film. Revenge of the Fallen is generally hated; however, it fell more than 50% only twice – that second weekend that needs an asterisk – and its 12th weekend when it followed Labor Day (where it increased its take by 40%) and fell 54% from $803,000 to $370,000. The first Transformers never saw a drop above 50% - the closest it came was 48% in weekend five.
As for performance, Transformers: Dark of the Moon continues to chase the performance of Revenge of the Fallen. The overall total has now reached $261 million versus Fallen's $293.3 million and the original's $224 million following their respective weekends. The worldwide figure here is equally amazing – Dark of the Moon has already cleared $300 million overseas.
Finishing second is Horrible Bosses, the latest in the R rated comedy craze, starring Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey. With a concept everyone can relate to, solid reviews, a sizzling marketing campaign and a solid release date, Horrible Bosses earned a very solid $28.1 million from 3,040 venues. From Warner Bros./New Line, the Seth Gordon (King of Kong) film cost only $37 million to make, so will join the summer 2011 list of highly successful R-rated comedies. Like Bridesmaids, Horrible Bosses is quality film-making, so its legs could be decent following a strong opening frame. At RottenTomatoes, the film is 74% fresh, with 91 positive out of 123 reviews. This one isn't on the same level as Office Space, but at least it's funny.