It's a deceptively slow week when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray releases. Have I mentioned how much I love the word, "deceptively"? It is worse than meaningless and actually reduces the amount of information given in any sentence it appears in. In this case, the first sentence could mean the week appears to be slow, but it is actually quite busy. Or it could mean the week appears busy, but is quite slow. Unfortunately, it's the latter. There are four first run releases coming out on the home market, which is more than most weeks, but all four missed expectations to one degree or another. Additionally, there's only one new release that I'm seriously considering for Pick of the Week, The Venture Bros.: Season Four on Blu-ray. In fact, there are a couple Blu-ray catalog titles that are more interesting than any of the first run releases. Leading the way there is Stand By Me, which is not only a great movie, but the Blu-ray isn't shovelware and includes Blu-ray exclusive extras like a Picture-in-Picture track. So which release is the Pick of the Week? I can't decide, so let's call it a tie.
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.
This is the last week before Christmas and there are a lot of DVDs on this week's list that would make perfect last minute Christmas gifts. There are also a lot of DVDs that feel like they are being dumped on the home market in the hopes that they will be scooped up by ever desperate shoppers. Of the contenders, Jackie Chan's Police Story - Special Collector's Edition and The Simpsons - The Complete Ninth Season - Collectable Lisa Head Packaging came close to taking home the honor. But in the end I went with When the Levees Broke.
It was a relatively slow week for new releases
, but without much competition there were two newcomers finishing atop the standings. In first place was Poseidon
as the disaster
flick hopes to save its run on the home market; the $8.97 million it was able to bring in put it in first place comfortably, but it won't be enough to help it show a profit any time soon.
's batch of DVDs managed to place a handful of new releases on the chart, including the top two films. R.V.
opened in top spot with $9.08 million, a reasonable start given its domestic total and its target audience.
A South Korean
film, Hanbando, a.k.a. The Korean Peninsula, topped its native market with a huge $6.14 million on 520 screens over the weekend and a total of $9.85 million overall. That was good enough for sixth place on the international charts.
The Da Vinci Code
slipped out of the top five with $3.85 million on 3037 screens in 55 markets for a total of $515.15 million. This is the 11th best international total ever, while its worldwide mark of $728.36 million places it 23rd on the all-time worldwide chart
Last minute updates in weekend numbers showed that it was The Da Vinci Code
and not Poseidon
grabbing the final spot in the top five. It was an exceedingly close race with the former film topping the latter by less than $3000 both with $5.68 million. The Da Vinci Code
earned its box office on 4352 screens in 57 markets while Poseidon
needed just 3584 in 48. On the other hand, their running tallies are worlds apart with The Da Vinci Code
leading $507.68 million to $94.72 million. That film became just the 12th film to cross $500 million internationally and is less than $20 million from overtaking Finding Nemo
for 10th place on the international charts.
Scary Movie 4
opened in first place in both France and Spain, helping the film into sixth place overall with $4.89 million on 1512 screens in 22 markets for a total of $74.72 million internationally. In Spain the film made $1.76 million on 400 screens over the weekend and $1.83 million in total, while in France it brought in $3.47 million on 571 screens, but that was for the full week.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
started its international run last weekend but missed the top five with $7.93 million on 810 screens in 8 markets. The film took first place in five markets, including the U.K. with $3.35 million on 415 screens, in Australia with $2.28 million on 221 screens, and New Zealand with $444,000 on 53 screens. This is inline with what the original
opened with in those markets, but with shorter legs due to Sequelitis
it won't have as high a final box office.
Trick 2 opened in its native Japan
finishing in a close second with $3.83 million on 282 screens. That was enough for sixth place on the overall charts and the best per screen average in the top 30.
The final weekend before the start of World Cup saw Volver
become the latest best of the rest finishing sixth with $4.46 million on 863 screens in 5 markets for a total of $27.25 million. The film was again led by its performance in France where it grew for the second week in a row up 14% to $3.02 million on 404 screens for a total of $9.09 million while in Italy it grew by 28% to $1.44 million on 268 screens for a total of $5.61 million after three weeks. In both of those markets the film is on pace to top such worldwide blockbusters as Mission: Impossible 3
, something nobody would have predicted before the start of the summer. Even more impressively, it is about a week away from France becoming the film's most lucrative market topping the $11.94 million it made in its native Spain
The one major change from the studio estimates was in fourth place as the Spanish
, grew by 15% to $4.55 million on 835 screens in 5 markets for a total of $21.33 million. The big surprise came in France where the film was up a massive 41% from its opened taking in $2.64 million on 333 screens for a two-week total of $5.53 million. Meanwhile, in Italy is was down a mere 16% to $1.11 million on 309 screens for a total of $3.30 million.
Mission: Impossible 3
was knocked out of first place by The Da Vinci Code
, but that was not a surprise to anyone. What was a surprise is the lack of staying power Mission: Impossible 3
has exhibited so far; this week the film fell a further 43% o $23.22 million on 6392 screens in 57 markets for a total of $164.32 million. Its best market of the weekend was the U.K. where it added $3.44 million on 445 screens to its total of $23.70 million. However, South Korea is close behind with $3.19 million on 330 screens for a total of $23.22 million. The film only as a few openings left and Japan is the only major player out there so unless a minor miracle happens Mission: Impossible 3
won't reach the heights that its predecessors
's weekend numbers were better than earlier estimates and that helped place the film fourth overall with $4.99 million on 1398 screens in 11 markets. The film finished first in Russia with $1.45 million on 213 screens over the weekend and $1.61 million in total while it had to settle for second in Germany with $1.10 million on 308 screens. It also opened in second place in Hong Kong with $462,000 on 34 screens and $580,000 including the previews mentioned last week. So far the film has earned $18.92 million at the international box office, the largest single chunk coming from the U.K.; in that market the film has made $6.32 million including $439,000 on 285 screens this week.
Mission: Impossible 3
started its international run this weekend in first place with $70.03 million on 6997 screens on 56 markets. With a per screen average just the tiniest margin over $10,000, it is no man's land between hit and miss; it made a very healthy amount of money, but still not as much as many expected. Its international debut very similar domestic opening in that way.
For the fifth week in a row, Ice Age: The Meltdown
top the international charts earning a still impressive $30.01 million on 8374 screens in 57 markets for an international total of $379.61 million after a month of release. The film is starting to lose both theatres and markets and won't be able to top the charts next weekend, but it has already managed more than enough to show a very healthy profit and should reach $600 million worldwide within a couple of weeks. Its best market of the weekend was Italy where it was down a mere 4% to $5.17 million on 544 screens over the weekend and already has $15.31 million in that market. Its best market overall is Germany where the film has earned $54.00 million in four weeks, including $3.47 million on 1093 screens this past weekend.
The last weekend in April is generally not a good time to open a new movie since the first weekend in May is the unofficial start of the Summer Blockbuster season. Movies that open now generally only get one weekend of release before being crushed by the competition. Because of this, studios tend to dump films that have lowered expectations during this weekend. So there's little surprise that the total box office was down 6.6% from last week to $102 million. But more importantly, that represents a 12.6% increase
from the same weekend last year despite the fact that last year's number one film
earned nearly $5 million more than this year's number one film
did. This surge had helped the year-to-date figure grow to $2.603 billion, up 4.7% over last year's pace. This is significant because it puts ticket sales on the rise as well as total box office.
It's a busy week for wide releases with four such films coming out, although none of them look like breakout hits.
In fact, only one of the films is opening in significantly more than 2,000 theatres.
Continuing the overriding trend of the year, the film that is earning the worst reviews of the weekend should also top the charts.
Ice Age: The Meltdown
continues its international run adding another $40.23 million on 9034 screens in 60 markets to its total of $333.06 million on the international scene and $501.41 million worldwide. The film in now 43rd on the All-Time Charts
and is climbing the charts very quickly. It had a trio of openings in major markets taking first in Italy with $5.25 million on 538 screens but had to settle for second in South Korea with $1.41 million on 234 screens over the weekend and $1.55 million in total. In Japan the film was even weaker finishing in fourth place with $1.28 million on 465 screens, which is well below the $5000 per theatre average that separates the hits from the missing, so even with Golden Week holidays, Ice Age: The Meltdown
won't have much legs in the market. Its best market overall was Germany where the film remained first despite a post-East drop-off of 57% falling to $5.35 million on 1109 screens for a total of $48.60 million after three weeks there.
It was a mixed week with the total box office hitting just $110 million, down 9.0% from last week.
On the other hand, that was up an impressive 17.4% from the same weekend last year and year-to-date 2006 is now leading 2005 by 4%.
On an interesting side note, of the three new releases, the film that earned the worst reviews earned the best box office while the film that earned the of best reviews earned the weakest box office.
Further proof that high quality is detrimental to a film's box office potential.
A trio of new films tackle Scary Movie 4
looking to become the next box office champ. None of the films are winning over the critics with one of them not even being screened, but that doesn't seem to be the huge warning sign that it usually signifies.
A trio of new films tackle Scary Movie 4 this weekend, looking to become the next box office champ.
None of the films are winning over the critics, and one of them was not even screened, but that isn't necessarily the huge warning sign that it usually signifies.
Ice Age: The Meltdown
added another $60.34 million on 8303 screens in 57 markets for a total of $263.19 million in internationally and $410.42 million worldwide as of Monday. This means it took less than three weeks for the film to top the original
's totals on both the international and worldwide box office, and that's with three more major markets left to open in, (South Korea, Italy, and Japan). The film added a dozen markets this weekend, but most of those were smaller in nature but did include $829,000 on 45 screens in Hong Kong and $516,000 on 110 in Thailand. Holdovers include an outstanding $12.37 million on 1111 screens in Germany for a two-week total of $37.07 million there while in the U.K. it added $6.40 million on 503 screens to its total of $34.58 million in the market. It was even more impressive in Mexico given the relative size of the market, it remained in first place for the third weekend in a row with $2.54 million on 912 screens for a $24.72 million total. On the other hand, the film fell 60% during the weekend in Russia falling out of first place with $1.35 million on 397 screens for a three-week total of $15.92 million.
Hard Candy easily won the race on the per theatre charts, taking in nearly $60,000 in 2 theatres for an average of $29,025.
Friends with Money slipped to second place with a still impressive $17,611 average in 42 theatres, which bodes well for Friday when it is scheduled to open in several hundred more theatres.
The only other movie in the $10,000 club was the overall box office leader, Scary Movie 4, with $11,167.
It was a great weekend at the box office, with the box office growing and records falling.
The total box office rose 4.4% to just shy of $120 million, which was $43.7% higher than last year.
In fact, the week's number one film earned nearly half of what the total box office brought in this time last year.
With two weeks of incredible year-to-year growth, 2006 has pulled ahead of 2005 by 4%, but remember, this time last year was the weakest part of the entire year, so don't celebrate prematurely.
If 2006 can keep the growth up even when it goes against Revenge of the Sith, that's when we celebrate.
There's less than 12 hours to enter the Kinky Contest
and for those who have been waiting for the theatre counts to enter, here they are for the relevant films.
We should have a new winner atop the box office this Easter weekend with two new films opening wide.
Strangely, it is not the digitally animated film from Disney that is leading the charge to the top.
Back to normal levels of traffic on this list, but like last week there's not an over abundance of huge sites on this week's list. I hope that changes soon as the summer box office season is just around the corner. The best of the bunch this week is Hard Candy
- Official Site
, which has been slowly growing for months.
This week we have another three-way contest with prizes from Show Me, I Am a Sex Addict, and Barry Manilow.
As always, the object of the contest is to predict the opening box office of a certain film with the person who comes closest to predicting the opening 3-day weekend (Friday to Sunday), without going over, winning the prize.
To win Barry Manilow - Music and Passion, predict the opening weekend of Scary Movie 4.
To win an autographed poster from I Am a Sex Addict, predict the opening weekend of Kinky Boots.
Finally, to win a copy of Show Me on DVD, predict the opening weekend of Hard Candy.
And, if that wasn't enough, of the three winners, the person whose margin of error is the lowest (on a percentage basis), will win a bonus prize.
Entries must be received by 10am, Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
It's a much busier week this week including several sites that I found through e-mails. Thanks for the tips. (On a side note, if you sent me an e-mail regarding a movie site and I forgot it, please send it again. It was a big list this week and I'm almost positive one or two sites slipped between the cracks.) Unfortunately, while there are plenty of sites on this week's list, there's not a lot of top notch ones. The movie on this list that made me the most excited was The Simpsons Movie
, and that one doesn't even have an official movie site, just the teaser trailer
March wasn't as strong as expected and April doesn't seem to have what it takes to turn things around. IMDb has a poll they run every month on what film you are looking forward to the most. This time the number one film is Silent Hill
was in first with 16.5% of the vote. Number two went to 'Other' at 13.0% of the vote. This is a really, really bad sign. With no advanced buzz, many films will have a hard time attracting an audience, which not only means less people are seeing the movies, but also less people are seeing the trailers for the big summer releases, which means less buzz about the summer releases... On the other hand, there are several limited releases that look promising including Friends with Money
, Hard Candy
, The Notorious Bettie Page
, and Kinky Boots
. Unfortunately, all but the first are being released on April 14th.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. This week's winner was one of last week's best sites, She's the Man
- Official Site
, which added a lot of content this week including some old stuff that was off site for previous weeks.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. It was another slow week with nothing really grabbing my attention and nothing award-winning, (although there are a couple of sites that show promise). Hopefully some of the summer blockbusters will start launching flash sites so this slump can end.