Set in New Orleans, Contraband explores the cutthroat underground world of international smuggling - full of desperate criminals and corrupt officials, high stakes and big payoffs - where loyalty rarely exists and death is one wrong turn away. Chris Farraday long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy, botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs, Chris is forced back into doing what he does best - running contraband - to settle Andy's debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian, to head to Panama and return with millions in counterfeit bills. Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife, Kate, and sons become their target.
||January 13th, 2012 (Wide) by Universal|
||April 24th, 2012 by Universal Home Entertainment|
||R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use.|
(Rating bulletin 2182, 7/27/2011)
||Narcotics, Addiction, Revenge, Prologue, Foreign Language Remake, One Last Job, Out of Retirement, Organized Crime, Surprise Twist|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||Relativity Media, Working Title Films, Blueeyes, Leverage, Closest to the Hole, Universal Pictures|
We are in the slowest time of year on the home market, and it is really showing on the Blu-ray sales chart. There were only three new releases to place on the Blu-ray sales chart this week, and only one of them earned a respectable opening week Blu-ray share. Haywire opened in first place with 185,000 units / $3.69 million giving it a Blu-ray share of 49%. That's a solid percentage for a film that struggled to find an audience in theaters.
New releases dominated the top of the DVD sales chart this week. This includes two films that could make a claim for first place: Joyful Noise and New Year's Eve. Joyful Noise led the way in terms of units at 399,000 units to 390,000 units, but New Year's Eve led the way in terms of raw dollars at $7.02 million to $6.38 million. Given their respective production budgets, this is a good start on the home market.
Contraband benefited from a really weak slate of new releases and this helped it earn first place on the DVD sales chart. During its first week of release, it sold 470,000 units and generated $7.52 million, which is good given its box office numbers.
There were only two new releases to earn a spot on the Blu-ray sales chart, but one of them, Contraband, took top spot on the chart. The film sold 510,000 units / $10.19 million giving it an opening week Blu-ray share of 52%. At this point, any action film that doesn't open with a 50% Blu-ray share should be considered a disappointment.
Contraband was an early year action film and generally these films are pretty bad and generally don't have a lot of box office power. This film did better that most in both areas, but is that damning it with faint praise? Or is this a good movie regardless of the release date? And if it is the latter, is the DVD and / or Blu-ray worth picking up?
It's slow week for new releases, a really slow week. According to Amazon.com, the best selling new release is Contraband. It was the biggest box office hit released in January, but it was still no more than a midlevel hit. The second best selling release of the week is The Innkeepers, which is a sign that it is a slow week. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, but it is a limited release that struggled to find an audience in theaters and it shouldn't be the high on the chart. The third best selling new release of the week is the latest Fullmetal Alchemist release, which is even more surprising, as Anime is still very much a niche market release. The fourth best selling release is Car 54 Where Are You?. Really? I'm surprised anyone remembers that TV show. Are there any releases that are worth picking up? Perhaps even contenders for pick of the week? Actually, The Innkeepers on Blu-ray is in the running, as is Pariah on Blu-ray. However, in the end I went with Todd and The Book Of Pure Evil: Season 1, giving it the rarely awarded Puck of the Week.
2012 has gone three for three in the year-over-year comparison. This weekend we have a couple films do a little better than expected and a couple films struggle a little bit, but the overall box office was up 1% from last weekend to $134 million. More importantly, the box office was up 30% from last year. Not only did we have better strength on top with Underworld: Awakening earning $25 million, but we also had much stronger depth. This bodes well going into next week and hopefully January will complete the sweep when compared to last year. Year-to-Date, 2012 now has a 15% lead over 2011 at $748 million to $653 million. It is still far too early to declare victory, but every dollar earned now puts us one dollar closer to matching last year's total.
It's very early in the year, but so far 2012 is on a winning streak. Will that streak continue this weekend? This weekend we have three wide releases, Underworld: Awakening, Red Tails, and Haywire, plus a wide expansion, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Conversely, last year there was only one wide release, No Strings Attached, plus only one holdover that earned more than $10 million, The Green Hornet. This year we should have five films earning more than $10 million and this depth should help 2012 earn a win in the year-over-year comparison.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day long weekend was mostly filled with good news, with all three films doing at least respectable business, while we had a couple holdovers which beat expectations. Contraband was surprisingly strong earning top spot with relative ease. And while it couldn't match The Green Hornet's debut from last year, the overall box office was very solid at $132 million over three days and $163 million over four. The three-day total was 5% lower than last weekend, but 1.5% higher than last year. The four-day total was 2.6% higher than last year. It's obviously way too early to judge 2012's box office run, but at the moment it is 14% higher than last year's pace at $483 million to $423 million.
With Beauty and the Beast disappointing slightly over the 3-day MLK frame, Contraband will take first place by a fairly comfortable margin, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. The action movie is set to pick up about $24.1 million, per Universal, while Disney pegs Beast's Friday-Sunday total at $18.5 million. Joyful Noise will bring in a solid, if slightly disappointing, $11.3 million for Warner Bros..
This weekend is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is not one of the biggest long weekends at the box office. (It is just too close to Christmas / New Year's to really help boost the box office significantly.) There are three films opening wide, Beauty and the Beast 3D, Contraband, and Joyful Noise, plus another film, The Iron Lady, which is expanding enough that it could reach the top ten. I don't think any of them will match last year's winner, The Green Hornet, which pulled in $33.53 million during its opening weekend. However, one can hope all three wide releases reach their potential and 2012 will come out ahead of 2011.
2011 ended, and really that's the only good news we got from the entire month of December. That's not snark either. Of the eleven films opening or expanding wide that month, six will definitely miss expectations by significant margins and with the other five it is too soon to tell, (it depends on how well they hold up during the New Year's Day long weekend). Only Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol can be considered a pleasant surprise, and even then it might not match original expectations. Looking forward, the only really good piece of news for this January is that last January was a pretty bad as well. Only two films, The Green Hornet and No Strings Attached, beat expectations by significant margins, while The Dilemma bombed hard enough to nearly wipe out those gains. This time around, the biggest hit will likely be Beauty and the Beast's 3D re-release, but even then, I doubt it will do as well as The Lion King's 3D re-release. There's a good chance the year will start off on a sour note, just like 2011 ended.
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