Wow. What a week for DVD releases. There are roughly 50 releases on this week's list but strangely not many that were in contention for the DVD Pick of the Week. In a few cases the price-tag was just too high, or the extras were a little light. In the end I went with Fido - Buy from Amazon. Some might think this is my pro-Canada bias showing through... and I really can't argue with that. Still, it is a fun movie and deserves to be seen by more people.
With Mission: Impossible 3
dominating the international charts, most films saw a serious drop-off and those that didn't were able to climb the charts, or at least remain stable. For instance, Eight Below
fell 27% to $3.67 million on 1951 screens in 27 markets, but despite there being two new releases in the top five, it was able to remain in sixth place on the overall charts. The film was not able to crack $1 million in any single market, but did perform well in Spain with $587,000 on 225 screens and that lifted its total box office to $2.15 million in the market, $30.35 million internationally, and $111.42 million worldwide.
A pair of openings in major markets helped Eight Below
climb a spot to sixth with $5.05 million on 2129 screens in 24 markets for a total of $24.26 million so far. The film opened in France but could only manage sixth place with $1.85 million on 473 screens while in Spain it opened in first place, but only managed $981,000 on 224 screens. In the meantime, the film dipped just 4% during its second weekend in Australia adding $769,000 on 258 screens to its total of $2.29 million there.
There were eighth new releases to chart this week led by Aeon Flux
; however, while the film topped the charts, its $6.08 million in rentals was hardly impressive.
It was a slow week for new releases as Hostel
took the top prize on the rental charts. But it was a close contest with it pulling in $8.42 million compared to the $8.11 million earned by the second place film, Fun with Dick and Jane
The latest Asterix & Obelix movie, Asterix and the Vikings, opened in second place in native France
with $3.64 million on 606 screens. The film also made $167,000 during its second weekend in Belgium for a $454,000 two week total. These films are very popular in France and other parts of Europe, but have never made the transition here.
It's another really slow week for DVD releases, with only a few that even come close to being contenders for DVD Pick of the Week.
The best of the bunch and the one mostly likely to please a wide audience is Mrs. Henderson Presents - Buy from Amazon.
On the other hand, the one I'm looking forward to the most is Event Horizon - Special Collector's Edition. Meanwhile, I'll probably pick up Remington Steele - Season 3 for Mother's Day, whenever that happens to be.
Several films made they international debut this past weekend with even more returning to the charts, but because of the power of Ice Age: The Meltdown
, none of them were able to reach the top five, but a few came close. Leading that list is Jean-Philippe; the French
film debuted in third place in its native home with $3.34 million on 550 screens. It also opened in two other French-speaking markets but was much weaker earning seventh in Switzerland with $62,000 on 12 screens over the weekend and $68,000 in total while in Belgium it managed just ninth with $131,000 on 29 screens over the weekend and $144,000 in total. Add it up and the film pulled in $3.53 million on 591 screens in 3 markets during its first weekend of release.
With Ice Age: The Meltdown
dominating the international box office, the rest of the charts were weaker than usual with several films in the top 30 this week that would not have charted last week. Failure to Launch
had its best weekend haul on the international scene taking in $4.17 million on 1300 screens in 14 markets for a running tally of $13.61 million. Much of that came from the film's opening in two major markets, the U.K. and Italy. In the former is finished second with $1.88 million on 352 screens while in the latter it managed just fourth with $686,000 on 220 screens. It's best market in total is Germany, despite the fact that it fell out of the top five there; so far the film has pulled in $4.10 million after three weeks there, including $841,000 on 354 screens this weekend.
Two openings in two major markets helped Hostel
climb into sixth place with $4.03 million on 1120 screens in 27 markets for a running tally of $15.42 million. Its best opening was in the U.K. where it debuted in second place with $2.12 million on 304 screens while it struggled in Spain with just $1.01 million on 250. The film has already earned enough to show a profit even after taking into account P&A budget, exhibitor's share, etc. and should be able to double its current international total before its run is over.
The only opening of note for Syriana
over the weekend was Turkey where the film placed third with $211,000 on 62 screens. Without a major opening, the film fell 35% to $3.68 million on 1992 screens in 43 markets and now has $27.35 million, which is still a disappointing total.
A number one opening in France, as well as a slew of smaller debuts, pushed Underworld: Evolution
into sixth place on the international charts with $4.98 million on 1473 screens in 20 markets for a running tally of $36.12 million after nearly two months in release. In France the film earned $1.84 million on 346 screens while it managed the same feat in a trio of Asian markets: Taiwan with $600,000 on 75 screens, Malaysia with $310,000 on 45, and Hong Kong with $290,000 on 25. Interestingly, the original
was banned in Malaysia.
A fourth place, $1.63 million debut on 250 screens in France helped Memoirs Of A Geisha
leap up the charts this weekend. Overall the film finished in sixth place on the international charts with $3.98 million on 1723 screens in 47 markets for an international total of $88.34 million. The film placed higher during its opening in Finland with $79,000 on 12 screen over the weekend and $95,000 in total while it had to settle for ninth place in Belgium with $200,000 on 29 screens.
On the weekend before the Oscars are announced, Brokeback Mountain
climbed a couple of spots to sixth with $4.44 million on 1368 screens in 30 markets for an international total of $53.89 million. New openings include Belgium where the filmed debuted in second place with $312,000 on a mere 27 screens for the best per screen average in the market. It wasn't as potent in Poland where it had to settle for fourth place with $194,000 on 40 screens over the weekend and $217,000 in total. The film also benefited from soft in the U.K. where it slipped just 5% to $442,000 on 245 screens for a very impressive total of $15.83 million so far. It was even better during its second weekend in Holland where it rose 1% to $210,000 for the weekend and $562,000 in total.
It was a very close race over the Martin Luther King long weekend, with the top three separated by just over $1 million over the 3-day weekend.
However, the overall box office was still down 1.7% from last weekend and 9.0% from last year.
Year-to-date, 2006 is still off to a strong start, but it's too early for those numbers to mean much.
It's another busy weekend with four wide releases, but unlike last week, none are earning terrible reviews. Of course, none of these films are being championed by the critics and none look like they will be runaway hits at the box office either. Still, it should be a close contest for top spot with several interesting races along the way.
Nearly every film on Friday's column was able to meet or beat expectations this weekend, and that really helped ease the post-holiday transition.
Granted, on a week-to-week basis the box office was down 14.2% to $128 million, but that was still 7.7% higher than the same weekend last year.
Last year the box office got off to a great start, so this is either are really good sign for 2006, or symptoms of a significant change in behavior that could make the January dumping grounds a thing of the past.
Either way, it's good news.
The first full weekend of 2006 brings us three wide releases, two of which were not screened for critics. The only film that is being reviewed is the latest sadistic horror film from Lionsgate. But while the overall box office will suffer, there is quite a race for top spot brewing, with three films having a legitimate shot at winning the box office crown.