Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Box Office Blather: Princess Dividends and Per Screen Averages

The box office for New Year's weekend was little changed from Christmas weekend when Jeff Bridges double dipped and I had a creepy 90s flashback (that whole post still applies) so instead of sharing their grosses in that banal way you can get anywhere, let's share their gross minus their budget. This is an inexact science for sure. It doesn't include the $$$ of worldwide grosses but it also doesn't include the $$$ of advertising costs so we like it as a vague snapshot of how the movies are doing.

Top Ten Box Office
key: red (budgets way too big) black (passed their budget) green (heading towards significant profits.)
  1. Little Fockers + $2 million (second week)
  2. True Grit + $48 million (second week)
  3. Tron Legacy -$39 million (third week)
  4. Yogi Bear - $15 million (third week)
  5. Chronicles of Narnia -$69 million (fourth week)
  6. The Fighter + $21 million (fourth week)
  7. Tangled - $93 million (sixth week - not as disastrous as it looks since Disney is its own franchise. People really like this gargantuanly expensive movie so it might restore some faith in the faltering "brand" and help the next movie. Plus it adds another "princess" to their merchandise line. Ka-ching!)
  8. Gulliver's Travels -$85 million (second week)
  9. Black Swan + $34 million (fifth week)
  10. The King's Speech + $7 million (sixth week)
This is far less depressing than just regular ol' box office reporting right? The good movies aren't as expensive to make and they're making significant money. [Tangent: Let True Grit (review) and Black Swan (plentiful posts) be a lesson to filmmakers and studios: these movies look sensational and feature movie stars. How on earth is your movie so much more expensive?]

One more list. How about the best per-screen averages? Naturally this favors movies in very few theaters that have withheld themselves for several months of buzz whilst waiting for Golden Globe and Oscar fever to kick in. From my throne armchair that looks like distributors just throwing money away while people talk about product they can't spend money on for 3 to 12 months. This only increases the likelihood of piracy and/or likelihood that people might be sick of you in the abstract when you're finally available for tangible purchase. Yes, I live in NYC and seeing movies is easy but I remember quite well what a trial it was before I moved here. I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block.

That list goes like so...

Top Per Screen Average
  1. Blue Valentine (4 theaters) $48,000+ (debut)
  2. Country Strong (2 theaters) $20,000+ (2nd week)
  3. Another Year (6 theaters)  $18,000+ (debut)
  4. Somewhere (8 theaters) $17,000+ (2nd week)
  5. The Illusionist (3 theaters) $15,000+ (2nd week)
  6. The King's Speech (700 theaters) $11,000+ (6th week)
They must be partying at the Weinstein Co. right now (#1 and #6)

I can't fathom why Country Strong, built to appeal to an enormous market of people who love country music, didn't just open wide? If the film isn't very good -- which they keep saying -- why not make all your money up front before word of mouth doesn't kick in? Naturally this chart is very good news for The King's Speech since it's already gone wide and it's still filling plentiful seats wherever it plays. But here's the sad news: It's rough going out there for Rabbit Hole which has only a $4,000+ average on 34 screens in its 3rd week. Now that's a better number than most of the top ten movies but it's not generally enough to get distributors excited about spending more money to release you winder. Sniffle. Rabbit Hole is not half as depressing as Blue Valentine so if the "depression" factor is keeping people away, they're being silly. It's a really good movie. Why can't Nicole catch a break? Sigh.

What did you spend your money on over New Year's? (I mean, besides booze)


Daniel Armour said...

I saw Rabbit Hole and Blue Valentine on New Year's Eve, if that counts. Rabbit Hole was well-done and is easily one of my favorite films of 2010. Blue Valentine was decent but it only really got going in the second half. Unfortunately, even though it got better, B.V never reached the heights of greatness.

For a movie about falling in and out of love, it lacked a little humanity. I understand it was supposed to be like that in certain ways - these people are shells of their former selves - but it just made it hard for me to connect.

I tried to see The King's Speech New Year's Day but the showing wanted to see was sold out.

Bia said...

Saw The King's Speech -- I liked it, but it did remind me of something I would see on HBO. I loved the scenes with Guy Pearce and Eve Best as Edward and Wallis. Those two would've made their own interesting movie...

adam k. said...

Some people say Nicole could get a surprise win and some say a surprise snub, but I don't think either is too possible, frankly. People seem to "get" that this is a big comeback for her, that it's her movie, and that she deserves another nom, which is why she's getting in, but I think the total lack of audience interest in Rabbit Hole is why it's getting precisely zero additional attention. It seems like it's always been a Nicole nod and nothing else, period. Luckily for her, she's famous and respected enough to glide over any perceived failure of the film (at least in terms of nomination chances).

I'm still SO pumped about Black Swan's box office success. Interesting that they gave him Wolverine even before his new movie got all popular. Now he's suddenly on top of the world. If Wolverine also does really well, and is GOOD, Aronofsky will totally start getting the budgets he deserves, and lots more people will be exposed to his work. I'm so excited for him...


adam k -- agreed but why does he need bigger budgets? Black Swan looks incredible for $13 million and basically shames most of the productions that cost $100 million.

George P. said...

I haven't seen a movie in theaters since 127 Hours about a week or two ago. As for the New Year, I did see Knight and Day, Harry Brown, and Machete at home.


an odd triple feature?

/3rtfu11 said...

As a fellow Kidman fan maybe it’s best to accept that the American public is completely indifferent to her. Her continued taste in bold studio films (which are becoming something of a dinosaur these days) and auteur driven art house fare isn’t going to gain her any new supporters. It would be really wonderful if she’s nominated again. However, I’m not holding my breath or placing any bets -- The Academy can be so very disappointing.

Bryan said...

Good to hear that the big city hasn't changed you, and that you're still Jenny from the block. Hang on to those Midwestern roots, Nate!

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