Half a dozen new releases reached the top 30 on this week's sales chart and one of them reached number one.
Even so, it was a really weak list.
Gamer opened in first place, but it only sold 346,000 units and generated $5.78 million in consumer spending at retail.
That's mediocre, no matter what its ranking.
While there were several new releases on the sales chart, including a new number one, sales were soft as a whole.
The new number one film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, only sold 581,000 units and generated $11.03 million in opening week sales.
As it is usually true at this time of year, there are very few major releases hitting the home market this week.
Most of the films on this week's list that opened wide were critics and / or box office disappointments, but at least there are a number of smaller films to pick up the slack. This includes Big Fan, which features what should be a star making performance by Patton Oswald, but the DVD isn't exactly loaded with extras. That's not an issue with Moon, as both the DVD and the Blu-ray are loaded with extras. The best release of the week is arguably The Hurt Locker and both its DVD and Blu-ray are Pick of the Week material. However, it is likely that it will be joined by Transformers - Season 2 - Volume 2, once the screener arrives.
None of the three wide releases were able to live up to Thursday's predictions and while the number one film held on a lot better than expected, it wasn't enough to compensate. Overall the box office was down 4.7% from last weekend to $96%, which was 4.2% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date 2009 is still up on 2008 by 7.8% at $7.8 billion to $7.3 billion.
As expected, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs finished in first place over the weekend, and it beat industry expectations by earning more than $30 million.
This helped the overall box office grow by 9.9% from last weekend.
The total weekend haul of $101 million was also 14.9% higher than the same weekend last year.
Year to date, 2009 has made $7.70 billion at the box office, which is 7.9% higher than last year's pace.
This isn't as large a lead as the box office has had this year, but it's still fantastic.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was the clear winner at the box office, according to studio estimates released on Sunday morning.
The digitally-animated comedy earned a very respectable $30.1 million, according to Sony, making it their best opening ever for an animated film ahead of Open Season, which posted a $23.6 million opening back in 2006.
Meatballs looks a fair bet to hit $100 million during its run.
We have four wide releases this week, or at least three wide releases and one semi-wide.
There should be very little suspense on which film will finish first though, as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is the clear favorite.
The real question is how much it will make and whether or not it can help the overall box office top last year.
Or, if some of the pundits are correct, by how much.
Crude topped the per theater charts with $16,595 in its one theater. The overall box office leader, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, also topped the $10,000 mark with an average of $10,398.
The winners of our Predicting the Fall contest were determined and they are...
The first official weekend of Autumn was not great at the box office, as every single new release missed expectations, some by small margins, others quite dramatically.
This was enough to push the total box office down to $92 million, off 6.7% from last weekend and 8.7% lower than the same weekend last year.
Year-to-date, 2009 is still up on 2008 by a significant margin, leading $7.53 billion to $7.00 billion.
Tyler Perry topped the charts once again this weekend as I Can Do Bad All By Myself scored a solid $24 million opening, according to Lionsgate's Sunday estimate.
While that's not a record for Perry, it is the best he's managed with a Fall release so far.
His strategy of releasing two movies a year in what are generally down periods at the box office -- February/March and September/October -- has paid off again with his fifth number one opening.
Focus Features' 9 came in second with an estimated $10.9 million over the weekend for a total of $15.3 million after five days.
Fall officially begins with the weekend after Labor Day, which in many years is the worst weekend of the year.
That probably won't be the case now thanks to Tyler Perry's propensity for wearing dresses.
This time last year wasn't the first weekend after Labor Day (it's a strange year this year and the weekends don't line up perfectly) and this will mean 2009 might have a little more trouble keeping up with last year than it normally would.
2009 should still come out ahead, but it will be close compared to the first weekend of Fall from last year.
For this week's contest, we're looking forward to the first weekend of autumn, the weekend after Labor Day.
Statistically, this is the worst weekend during the entire year, which makes it hard to predict which film will come out on top and by with how much.
Complicating matters is our choice of target film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which is the least predictable of the four wide releases.
In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office of I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales on DVD and Power Rangers RPM - Race for Corinth on DVD.
Meanwhile, whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will win a copy of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland on DVD and Little Einsteins - Fire Truck Rocket's Blastoff on DVD.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
Summer ended on a strong note with three films from August that have the potential to cross $100 million at the box office. But I don't think there's a single film coming out this month that has the potential to do the same.
Then again, we're not concerned with keeping up with August, we are concerned with keeping up with September last year, and that will be an easier task most weeks.
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