Weekend Wrap-Up

Chronicle Super Over Super Bowl Weekend

By John Hamann

February 5, 2012

Eat your heart out, Yuri Geller.

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While Chronicle didn't reach the heights of found-footage products like The Blair Witch Project ($140 million domestic) or Cloverfield ($40 million opening), it appears to be a better product than both of those films. It did stay ahead of films like Apollo 18 ($8.7 million opening) and Quarantine ($14.2 million opening), and should have better legs than The Devil Inside ($33.7 million opening, 76% second weekend drop). The genre is usually left for horror, as only Chronicle and Cloverfield veer away from the more ghoulish side like the Paranormal Activity series. Hopefully for Fox, Chronicle will have better legs than Cloverfield, as after that one opened to $40 million, it could only pull $80 million out of its domestic run in North America.

Finishing second is The Woman In Black, a cheap pickup for upstart distributor CBS Films. Woman in Black stars Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe in his first post-Potter role, sporting facial hair so that everyone knows he's all grown up. The Woman in Black appears to be a good post-Potter choice for Radcliffe, as if this one had failed, Broadway would have been the only one calling. Not only did The Woman in Black work, it really worked for CBS Films, as Woman opened to $21 million despite being out to only 2,855 venues, and not having any characters killed by power tools. Woman in Black had a venue average of $7,356, and an internal multiplier of 2.53. For CBS Films, the opening is their biggest yet, spinning wheels around JLo's The Back Up Plan ($12.2 million opening) and Jason Statham's The Mechanic ($11.4 million opening). The even better news is that Woman was just a $3 million acquisition, which means the distributor is seeing profit now, despite P&A costs. Hell, they were likely seeing a profit after Saturday night. The actual cost of making the film was $17 million, and due to the strong North American opening, it could see as much as $100 million worldwide.


Third spot goes to last weekend's champ, The Grey, but the Northern adventure movie is certainly no Taken. The Grey earned $9.5 million and was off a troubling 52% compared to last weekend when it brought in $19.7 million. It wasn't just the Super Bowl that hurt the Liam Neeson thriller, as The Grey was even off 52% from Friday-to-Friday. Over a normal second weekend, that 52% Friday drop would have crept up, but with the game on Sunday, it stayed down. The Open Road pickup cost the studio $8 million plus prints and advertising commitment on a film that cost $25 million to make. The Grey will likely end up as a $60 million domestic earner, as it has taken in $34.8 million so far.

Fourth spot goes to Universal's Big Miracle, a movie I keep referring to as Big Fish or Free William. The taken-from-'80s-headlines movie failed to cause a stir at the box office this weekend, as the Drew Barrymore/John Krasinski flick managed to earn only $8.5 million at the box office this weekend. This one opened at only 2,128 venues, which means the studio likely didn't have high hopes for the picture. Made for $30 million, Big Miracle won't hurt Universal too badly, especially if it can find some legs like Free Willy did in the early '90s. That one turned a $7.8 million opening into a $78 million gross, gave birth to two sequels, and presented late night TV with jokes for years.

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