Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
March 18, 2007
That pesky basketball tournament might cut into the demographic, tooKim Hollis: 300 was dominant once again this weekend, earning $31.2 million. Should we focus on the ten day total of $127.5 million or its 56% drop?
Tim Briody: There's not much to say about the decline, other than anyone who wasn't expecting at least 50% qualifies as insane.
David Mumpower: As I said in the Weekend Wrap-Up, I consider a focus on the 56% drop. Also, if we take last weekend's Thursday sneaks out of the question, its decline falls right in the 50% range. For an opening of this stature, that's quite good.
Kim Hollis: It would only have been a surprise if 300's drop had been better than 50%, really.
Tim Briody: Oddly, there's always a small audience that thinks "this set a record, I'd better see what the fuss is about" that slightly tempers these big drops.
Reagen Sulewski: In the larger perspective, it's headed towards $175 million, so this is a pretty tremendous result by any means.
David Mumpower: 300 is the number one film of 2007 to date and it's about to blow past Borat ($128.5 million) and The Departed ($132.1 million) in terms of recent box office successes. It's going to pass the biggest action film in recent memory, Casino Royale ($167.0 million), too. Over the past eight months, the only two movies it isn't certain to beat are Night at the Museum and Happy Feet. That's splendid.
Tim Briody: It's the middle of March and we have 3 $100 million films already. This is also stunning.
Kim Hollis: And one that is oh so close.
Tim Briody: Eddie Murphy would trade it all for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Kim.
David Mumpower: I haven't done the research yet, but I can't ever recall having five $75+ million films after eleven weeks of box office to start a year. We're averaging a blockbuster every other week.
People have been waiting for middle-aged biker buddy films and flaming motorcycle heroes for ages!Kim Hollis: What's the cause of all this unprecedented early year box office success?
David Mumpower: I back-handedly answered that a moment ago. There hasn't been much out there in terms of exciting movies since last summer. Borat was exciting and consumers generally agreed that Casino Royale delivered. We had one comedy that was a stunning achievement in Night at the Museum, and we had a good family film in Happy Feet. That's only four great options for consumers in eight months. None of the other major end-of-year awards contenders were mainstream, either.
Tim Briody: Or, in a sentence: movies have come out that people want to see.
Kim Hollis: I'm a little bit taken aback, though, that "movies people want to see" include Wild Hogs, Norbit and Ghost Rider.
David Mumpower: First of all, Tim, never interfere with my verbosity! Second of all, I see it as even more than that. The DVD releases over that period were no great shakes, either. Sales and rentals flatlined in the second half of the year, so potential consumers were nothing short of desperate for decent new options.
Reagen Sulewski: Of course, aside from 300, you couldn't drag me in to any of these early year blockbusters with a threat or a promise.
Kim Hollis: Right, Reagen. The only 2007 movie I've seen in theaters has been Breach (I wasn't even interested in 300, frankly).
Reagen Sulewski: "One groom? Two grooms? Oh, my medication."
Kim Hollis: Yeah, DVD options were definitely the pits in the first quarter. It looks like we're finally going to start to pick up this week.
Tim Briody: Well, two of the heavy hitters from last fall that you mentioned, Borat and Casino Royale, have just come out on DVD. Will that impact current box office?
David Mumpower: That's an interesting question. They certainly have not so far, particularly considering that 300 would share that demographic with them. The more subtle effect of offering home video consumers fall-back options would be interesting to track, however.
Reagen Sulewski: I'm not sure I buy that totally. We've had direct attempts to submarine releases with DVDs before, a la Shrek and Monsters, Inc. As much as the theater experience has declined, there's still a priority on going out for the big demos.
Kim Hollis: And with just a ridiculous over-saturation of movies next weekend, we'll either see one or two stick or all of them fail miserably.
David Mumpower: That is why I said it would be a gradual effect, Reagen. What we saw over the past six months was the worst batch of home video options since DVD's rise. It's a subtle build-up rather than immediately impacting.
Kim Hollis: Are we all agreeing that there's nothing special going on here? It's mainly a case of movies that customers want to see?
Tim Briody: Despite questionable quality, as Reagen pointed out, yes.
David Mumpower: From a box office perspective, something very special is going on. In terms of the why, I think we all agree that there are an unusual amount of populist releases thus far in 2007. And we're not even to May, yet.
Reagen Sulewski: Unless the summer films fall on their faces, we're heading for a potential record year.