Sunday, May 15, 2011

Box Office Bulletin: "Bridesmaids" turn heads while "Thor" stays #1

Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, Deadline, and other sources:

Read Robert Hamer's Weekend Openings Column for the May 13-15 weekend...

"Thor" continued to rule the box office universe in its second weekend by avoiding the typical slide that action movies and comic book adaptations tend to suffer from. Hot on its heels and performing well above expectations is the female ensemble comedy, "Bridesmaids", which impressed many pundits with its success.

"Thor" slid less than 50% in weekend 2 and earned an estimated $34.5 million, moving it to $119.3 million stateside in 10 days and $318 million worldwide. Budgeted at $150 million, the film had strong attendance during the week and although "Thor" will likely take a big hit when the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" film drops on May 20, everyone is thrilled with the film's success in furthering the build to 2012's "The Avengers". Expectations are also heightened for July's "Captain America: The First Avenger" with "Thor"'s success.

Co-written by Saturday Night Live star Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids" was a test for Hollywood. Wrongly saddled with comparisons to "The Hangover", the all female-ensemble R-rated comedy drew in a much larger than projected audience. While it finished just north of our own Robert Hamer's predictions, "Bridesmaids" banked an estimated $24.4 million on a reported budget of $32.5 million. The movie will likely be profitable by the middle of the week and could holdover strong in its second weekend with no direct competition for its target audience. While audience reports showed attendance as nearly 2:1 female, the film received a 90% Rotten Tomatoes average and was the buzz movie of the weekend. I'll hold back editorializing to some extent, but let me simply say that I think everyone wins with the success of "Bridesmaids" this weekend.


In January 2010, Paul Bettany made the leap from dramatic character actor to post-apocalyptic action star with "Legion". After "Legion"'s mediocre but profitable performance, Bettany is back as the star of "Priest", an adaptation of a Korean graphic novel also set in a post-apocalyptic landscape and reuniting Bettany with "Legion"'s director, Scott Stewart.

Shot for $60 million, a much larger budget than "Legion" received, "Priest" did not find the audience it hoped for, landing with a disappointing $14.5 million estimated start, less than "Legion"'s $17.5 million start. Ravaged by critics, "Priest" may have suffered from confusing trailers which never really provided viewers a sense of what they were getting. Also, the PG-13 rating seemed to not fit the horror/science-fiction subject matter, which may have steered folks down the hall to see "Thor" a second time. With this opening, "Priest" will probably struggle to land at $40 million domestically, the same haul which "Legion" enjoyed, but when all is assessed and considered, this is a significant disappointment for studio Screen Gems.

National Geographic Entertainment scores a big opening and Will Ferrell struggles to sell, as well as other notables, after the cut!


Roadside Attractions took the cautious route with "Everything Must Go!", a drama featuring Will Ferrell as a man whose wife leaves him and tosses all of his stuff on the lawn. Ferrell decides to live amongst all of his stuff and tries to make a rationalization of the changes in his life. The premise is intriguing, but audiences were either not aware of the film, or put off by the subject matter in tough economic times. Then again, access may have been an issue as the movie opened at just 218 locations with a mediocre $825k. If Roadside expands the film or better promotes it, the film may still find some traction, but shot for a mere $5 million, "Everything Must Go!" may have to wait for DVD to earn its money back.

Following in the footsteps of January's "From Prada To Nada", Lionsgate Films launched its second Latin-themed feature in partnership with Televisa and Latin filmmakers, "Go For It!". No one did and in fact "Go For It!" drew no interest whatsoever from Latino audiences or otherwise, as the film drew a pathetic $505 per screen average, scoring $110k for the opening weekend. Lionsgate dropped the film in the same number of locations as Ferrell's aforementioned "Everything Must Go!", but this "Go" was inert and motionless.

On just 40 screens, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's turn as "Hesher" drew a lower-than-anticipated response. Mixed-to-positive reviews could not bring this to strong numbers, but the film still earned approximately $127k in its platform opening. Gordon-Leavitt has earned raves for his performance and if upstart studio Wreckin Hill Entertainment can build buzz, the film may have some legs going forward.

Most notable for the weekend estimates, is that the third-highest per screen average of the weekend came from National Geographic Entertainment's inspiring family drama, "The First Grader". Recounting a fictionalized version of a true story of an 84-year old Kenyan soldier who decides to learn how to read, the film scored an impressive $7,533 per screen average in its 3 locations, earning an estimated $23k. Reviews were middling but those in attendance were reportedly moved and National Geographic looks to roll this out incrementally over the next several weeks.

"The Beaver" continued its rollout to dismal per showing totals despite expanding from 22 locations to 105 sites. The film did increase 46% in its second weekend, but scored a passive $1,505 per screen average. The film has earned approximately $308k thus far. It will be interesting to see what Summit Entertainment chooses to do with the film's long-planned wide expansion on May 20. People thus far seem to be largely uninterested.

1980's throwback "Skateland" opened on 2 screens with a mediocre $2,583 per site average and the controversial NC-17 rated "A Serbian Tale" did not have its numbers reported at press time.

Overall, the weekend box office earned an estimated $125 million grossed by the Top 12 films, a drop of an estimated 19.3% from the previous weekend. The Top 12 from the same weekend in 2010 earned $131.4 million, led by a $52.0 million second weekend for "Iron Man 2".

THE TOP 10 (Estimates, with Actuals reported on Monday)

1. "Thor" (Paramount), $34.5 million, $119.3 million, 2 wks
2. "Bridesmaids" (Universal), $24.4 million, NEW
3. "Fast Five" (Universal), $19.5 million, $168.8 million, 3 wks
4. "Priest" (Screen Gems), $14.5 million, NEW
5. "Rio" (20th Century Fox), $8.0 million, $125.0 million, 5 wks
6. "Jumping The Broom" (TriStar/Sony), $7.3 million, $26.0 million, 2 wks
7. "Something Borrowed" (Warner Bros.), $7.0 million, $25.6 million, 2 wks
8. "Water For Elephants" (20th Century Fox), $4.1 million, $48.5 million, 4 wks
9. "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" (Lionsgate), $2.2 million, $50.2 million, 3 wks
10. "Soul Surfer" (TriStar/FilmDistrict), $1.8 million, $39.2 million, 6 wks

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