Six New Releases Storm Box Office

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for March 23-25, 2007

By John Hamann

March 25, 2007

Zhang Ziyi has looked better.

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Six newcomers stormed the box office and most came out okay, with a group of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles leading the way. A total of 14,569 venues were taken over by new product, showing weak films from last weekend the proverbial door. One might think that with so many new releases they might cannibalize each other, but it wasn't to be, as five out of the six studios with a new release this weekend are going to end up at least somewhat happy.

The number one film is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a new movie entry in the series of comic books and cartoons that led to a 1990 blockbuster film and a couple of sequels. The 2007 version of the mutant turtles took in $25.5 million from 3,110 venues. The Warner Bros. effort had a venue average of $8,183. At first glance, this opening isn't that far off the first movie's $25.4 million debut, but you are at BOP, so let's look closer. Adjusting the 1990 film to 2007 dollars changes the opening figure dramatically. Once we adjust for inflation, that $25.4 million total would turn into $36.3 million today, and trash the $25.5 million the new flick earned. In addition, the original Turtles were a phenomenon and very different from what we are seeing this weekend. The debut at the time was a March record, and for you trivia buffs out there, it knocked Pretty Woman out of top spot after Julia Roberts' hooker-flick opened to number one the previous weekend. The 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stayed on top for four consecutive weekends and in the top two for seven weekends. It finished with over $135 million and crossed the $200 million mark internationally. The 2007 version will not come close to having the same kind of staying power than that the 1990 version did. This is a blip, not a phenomenon. For Warner Bros., it does the trick in the world of first-weekend box office.

Second spot does go to a phenomenon. This one is called 300 and is also from Warner Bros., who has the top two films at the box office. 300 pulled in a remarkable $20.5 million, off a quite respectable 38%. The special effects-heavy war flick trounced the $150 million mark this weekend and also gave itself a lock on crossing the $200 million plateau. After dropping 54% last weekend, 300 could have seen a Ghost Rider-like plunge throughout its run, but it pulled out of the nosedive and delivered the goods. Currently this blockbuster with the $60 million budget has earned a powerful $162.4 million.

Third place goes to another of the new releases, Mark Wahlberg's Shooter. The Paramount release earned $14.5 million this weekend from 2,806 venues, giving it a venue average of $5,168. Considering that 300 and The Hills Have Eyes sequel were all gunning for Shooter's dollar, a $10 million plus opening has to be considered a success. The action flick earned a mixed rating of 49% at RottenTomatoes. For Wahlberg, it's his fourth consecutive strong outing as Shooter follows Oscar-winner The Departed, the football drama Invincible and Four Brothers.


Finishing fourth is Wild Hogs, another holdover with an amazing percentage drop. The poorly reviewed comedy earned another $14.4 million, dropping a slim 25% from last weekend. Wild Hogs is starting to look a lot like Bringing Down the House, the Steve Martin/Queen Latifah hit from 2003. That film opened to over $30 million and followed that up with three consecutive drops below 30%. Bringing Down The House was also a poorly reviewed comedy, but its 34% fresh rating makes it look like quality cinema compared to Wild Hogs' 17% rating. Currently the Disney release sits with $123.8 million, and is behind only 300 as the biggest movie of the year so far.

Our fifth place film, The Last Mimzy sees a solid debut as it earned $10.2 million this weekend from 3,017 venues. While the opening wasn't huge, this could be a word-of-mouth type kids flick, much like Bridge To Terabithia. The problem may be that reviews aren't quite where New Line would like them, as Mimzy found a mixed rating of 56% at RottenTomatoes.

Finishing sixth is last weekend's dog in Sandra Bullock's Premonition, but at least this mutt dropped off in its second weekend. Premonition earned $10.1 million in its second frame, and was off a loud 42% in the process. After two weekends, the Sandra Bullock thriller has earned $32.2 million.

Seventh goes to the unnecessary The Hills Have Eyes 2, which amounts to basically a quick cash grab from Fox Atomic. The Wes Craven sado-sequel earned $10 million in its debut weekend, and will be out of the top ten within a couple of weeks. Fox opened this one to 2,447 venues, where it had an average of $4,087. The opening is well off that of the remake/original from 2006, which started with $15.7 million. These films are made for a song, so this release is akin to latest Big Mac coming off the production line at your local McDonalds.

The Adam Sandler/Don Cheadle drama Reign Over Me finishes eighth, and though it is toward the bottom of the pack, it has a decent gross. The 9/11 drama earned $8 million this weekend from 1,671 venues, giving it an okay average of $4,788. Reign Over Me was the only new release this weekend to get a fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. It earned a rating of 66% at the review compilation site. As for Sandler in dramas, this one finished right in line with Spanglish, which opened to $8.8 million in 2004, but Reign Over Me debuted on about 900 fewer screens.

Ninth spot goes to Pride, Terrence Howard's drama about a swim team. Pride unfortunately was the loser in the group, as the sports drama opened to only $4 million. This Lionsgate entry will sink quickly, despite a strong cast that includes Howard, Bernie Mac and Kimberly Elise.

Finishing tenth is Dead Silence, the horror film about a ventriloquist's dummy from the creators of Saw. It saw a typical-for-horror drop of 56% in its second weekend as it brought in $3.5 million. Dead Silence's grand total is now $13.2 and it will be forgotten in another week.

Overall, the box office continued its current hot streak. Last year the top ten, led by V for Vendetta, pulled in about $90 million. This year, the top ten earned a much stronger $120.6 million. Next weekend things should even get busier. On tap for release are the Will Ferrell/Jon Heder comedy Blades of Glory, Disney's Meet the Robinsons and The Lookout from Miramax.

Top Ten for Weekend of March 23-25, 2007
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Gross ($)
Gross ($)
1 TMNT 3,110 New 25.5 25.5
2 300 3,280 -38% 20.5 162.4
3 Shooter 2,806 New 14.5 14.5
4 Wild Hogs 3,401 -25% 14.4 123.8
5 The Last Mimzy 3,017 New 10.2 10.2
6 Premonition 2,831 -42% 10.1 32.2
7 The Hills Have Eyes 2 2,447 New 10.0 10.0
8 Reign Over Me 1,671 New 8.0 8.0
9 Pride 1,518 New 4.0 4.0
10 Dead Silence 1,806 -56% 3.5 13.2



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