The dog days of summer continue on the home market.
The best selling release of the week is also one of the worst films of the year.
Also, there are not a lot of limited release / TV on DVD releases to pick up the pace, so the odds are that it will be a slow week in terms of sales.
Looking for a Pick of the Week contender, there are a couple of TV on DVD releases that are prime contenders, Psych: The Complete Fourth Season and Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVIII.
Both are worth picking up, but I'm going with MST3K as the Pick of the Week.
It's a weird week for the DVD release report. According to Amazon, seven of the top ten releases come from two movies: WALL-E and Tropic Thunder. Add in the Spanish language edition and there are five versions of the former movie coming out this week, including the 3-Disc DVD and the 3-Disc Blu-ray, either one of which is worthy of the DVD Pick of the Week. The overall group of releases feels weaker than last week, but it is more than enough that it had to be split into two parts. Part two can be found here.
For the past few weeks, new releases have dominated the home market, and while this week saw two holdovers in the top two spots, there were still plenty of new releases to place high on the charts. Leading the way were Night at the Museum with $9.08 million for the week and $20.64 million overall with Deja vu remaining in second place with $7.02 million this past week and $15.66 million in total.
It was a tough week to write this column, partially because of the selection of DVD coming out tomorrow, and partially because my DVD player had a meltdown while I was in the middle of reviewing Dinosaurs - The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons . (And then today my mouse stops working while my Internet connection has been sporadic all day. It's like my electronics are conspiring against me.) There were a few DVDs that were contenders for DVD Pick of the Week, but in the end I went with Dreamgirls - 2-Disc Showstopper Edition while giving Michael Palin's Around the World in 80 Days an honorable mention.
The Reaping climbed into sixth place this past weekend with $5.98 million on 2634 screens in 39 markets for a total of just $20.38 million. The film had a couple respectable openings including South Korea where it made $1.17 million on 129 screens over the weekend and $1.34 million in total while it took in $335,000 in Brazil. However, in most markets the film stumbled, like in France where is placed seventh with $684,000 or the the U.K. where it placed eighth with $622,000 on 282 screens. The film debuted in ninth place in Australia, ($405,000 on 133 screens); in Russia, ($261,000 on 111); and in Germany, ($247,000 on 201). Mexico became the film's best market as it has pulled in $4.45 million in three weeks, including $589,000 on 350 screens this past weekend; this is just ahead of the $4.25 million the film has earned in Spain, but it only managed $334,000 on 299 screens this past weekend and will quickly disappear there.
Norbit saw its weekend haul sliced neatly in half landing in sixth place with $4.09 million on 2270 screens in 39 markets for a total of $49.38 million. The film wasn't able to crack $1 million in any single market, but Italy came the closest with $940,000 on 263 screens for a two-week total of $3.19 million.
The lone wide release of the weekend struggled to find an audience and even though most of the rest of the top five were able to beat expectations, the weekend box office was still way down.
At just $100 million, the weekend was down 22% from last week and 17% from the same weekend last year.
Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend saw a new film take top spot while several films in the top five outperformed expectations.
However, overall the box office was 3% lower from last weekend at $128 million and just 2% higher than the same weekend last year.
That's likely not enough to keep up with ticket price inflation.
Obviously it is too early to panic, or even make predictions, but this is not the start the industry was hoping for.
A slow week, but that's not surprising. The movie industry is seasonal with peaks and valleys throughout the year. With movie websites, there tends to be the same peaks and valleys, just a few months earlier. (The same is true for DVDs, just a few months later.) While there are a few sites on this week's list that show promise, there are none that are really award-worthy.
The weekend prospects are pretty weak, with none of the wide releases / expanding films looking like they have what it takes to top the box office charts.
This is not particularly surprising, as the Martin Luther King long weekend is not known as a powerhouse at the box office.
With a returning champion and a selection of new and expanding films, moviegoers have a lot of choice, but come Tuesday, there won't be a lot of celebrating in the movie studios.
Big list as I try to catch up after the holidays. I think I caught all the updates. Not only are there a lot of sites on this week's list, several of them are potential award winners with the best of the best being Smokin' Aces
- Official Site
It is the beginning of a new year. A time to start fresh. So why do most of the new releases smell so stale? It's the January dumping ground, home to films that looked promising on paper but just didn't pan out.
That doesn't mean there are no films that could be worth checking out.
Out of the twelve new films opening wide this month (that's opening, not expanding), Smokin' Aces looks great and so does ... no, that's about it.
Almost all of the new releases are likely to struggle at the box office and with critics alike.
And to make matters worse, six of these new releases are going wide on the same weekend.
This is complete madness and guarantees that at least two films that would otherwise succeed are going to fail.
On the other hand, there are nearly a dozen films that have previously opened and are expanding wide (Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth, for example), or are being re-released to grab some last minute Oscar buzz,
(The Queen and The Last King of Scotland, among others).
This makes for an incredibly busy month, but not one that will likely produce many hits.
Two additional notes...
Firstly, Letters from Iwo Jima is expanding throughout the month but likely won't go wide until February.
Secondly, The Dead Girl has a planned expansion on the 19th, but after struggling in limited release since opening last weekend, this seems unlikely.
With more and more Oscar contenders getting ready to start their theatrical runs, it is fitting that a satire of such films, For Your Consideration
- Official Site
, takes home the Weekly Website Award.
This week's round of new movie release information contains release dates for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a sequel to Madagascar and more.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. It's another busy week as the winter slump starts to subside. As for the best site on this week's list, it came down to the interactive feature of Freedomland
- Official Site
and the atmosphere of Night Watch
- Official Site
. After looking over the sites a few times, I still can't decided which one should get the award, so I'm giving it to both.
A number of upcoming movies have been added to the site. Most noticeable of these new movies are a spin-off to the X-Men movies: Wolverine
, Michael Mann directing a Miami Vice
movie based on his own eighties television series and a sequel to last year's surprise hit The Italian Job, Italian Job 2
Full financial estimates for this film, including domestic and international box office, video sales, video rentals, TV and ancillary revenue
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