April 11th, 2011
It was an awesome week for new releases on the sales chart, or should that be "new release". While there were five new releases to chart, one of them, Tangled, dominated selling 3.46 million units while generating $51.92 million in sales. It is already the biggest selling DVD of 2011.
April 5th, 2011
Like last week, four new releases reached the top 30 on this week's sales chart and all four landed in the top five. It was a close race for top spot with Yogi Bear leading The Tourist 685,000 units to 609,000 units. In terms of dollars it was even closer at $10.27 million to $9.99 million.
March 21st, 2011
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.
March 16th, 2011
Rango climbed into first place on the international chart this weekend adding $24.05 million on 5214 screens in 46 markets to its two-week total of $47.18 million. It opened in first place in Australia with $2.73 million on 296 screens, while it finished a very close second in Brazil with $1.75 million on 330 screens over the weekend for a total opening on $2.75 million. As far as holdovers go, it was down just 6% in the U.K. to $2.48 million on 471 screens over the weekend for a total of $5.82 million after two. It was able to remain in first place in Mexico with $2.13 million on 927 screens over the weekend and $5.82 million after two. With debuts in Russia, France, Italy, Japan, and other markets still ahead, it should have little troublen hitting $100 million internationally and $250 million worldwide making it the biggest hit of the year, so far.
March 2nd, 2011
For the third weekend in a row, Black Swan led the way on the international chart, pulling in $17.50 million on 3,950 screens in 45 markets for a total of $123.37 million internationally and $226.95 million worldwide. In Spain it remained in first place with $2.52 million on 319 screens over the weekend for a total of $6.47 million after two. It added $2.81 million on 363 screens over the weekend for a total of $13.74 million after three. It doesn't have many markets left to open in, but the film has already made nearly a quarter billion dollars on a production budget of just $13 million, so it is fantastically profitable.
February 23rd, 2011
As I've stated in the past, it is quite rare for a film that opened in limited release in the United States to go on and have success internationally. Most markets are simply too small to have the infrastructure to support limited releases. So it's quite a pleasant surprise to find two such films atop the international box office. Leading the way for the second weekend in a row is Black Swan, this time earning $17.60 million on 3,699 screens in 39 markets. In total it has $98.24 million and it has likely already reached the century mark. It opened in first place in Spain with $2.91 million on 296 screens, but it was not as strong in Italy with $1.50 million on 257 screens, which was only enough for third place. Oscar contenders tend to perform really well in Italy, so this is a bit of a disappointment. As far as holdovers are concerned, the film was down just 18% in France, adding $3.82 million on 338 screens over the weekend for a total of $9.77 million after just two weeks of release.
February 16th, 2011
Black Swan rose to top spot with $19.41 million on 3041 screens in 34 markets for a total of $72.90 million internationally. The film is about to cross $100 million domestically, and it looks assured at repeating that feat internationally, which is very impressive for an art house film. It opened in France scoring second place with $4.58 million on 300 screens, giving it the best per screen average in the market. It also opened in Russia earning fourth place with $1.34 million on 329 screens over the weekend and $1.73 million in total. Over the weekend, it earned twice as much as True Grit opened with, despite opening in fewer theaters. On the other hand, even including Wednesday and Thursday, it made less than The Eagle made from Friday to Sunday. This makes it hard to judge its opening. In the meantime, the film added $1.71 million on 481 screens in the U.K. for a total of $20.47 million in that country. It will have little trouble overtaking Dawn Treader in that market, possibly as early as this time next week.
February 9th, 2011
Tangled's international run is coming close to an end, but it has a couple of major milestones left to reach. Over the weekend it added $23.90 million on 5186 screens in 42 markets for a total of $288.33 million internationally and $479.40 million worldwide. At this point next week it will have $300 million internationally and $500 million worldwide. In order to reach profitability before it hits the home market, it will need to get past the $600 million mark worldwide, which is likely out of reach. However, assuming it does well on the home market, reaching profitability is inevitable at this point. This week it opened in Spain with $5.61 million on 650 screens, which was enough for first place over the weekend and the third best Disney debut in that market. Meanwhile, the film was down just 11% during its second weekend of release in the U.K., adding $7.38 million on 448 screens over the weekend for a running tally of $17.35 million. And, it has yet to open in Japan, so it is not done yet.
January 6th, 2011
So, will holdovers bewitch the box office?
The answer to that is almost guaranteed to be yes.
There is almost no chance either the one wide release, Season of the Witch, or the major expansion, Country Strong, will top the chart. In fact, one could argue there's a better chance neither will reach the top five. This is really bad news for the start of 2011. We knew the holdovers wouldn't be as strong as they were last year, no with Avatar earning $50 million over the weekend, but if the new releases can't keep pace with last year's new releases, we could be in trouble.
January 3rd, 2011
2011 has begun but it didn't get off to a strong start. It didn't even get off to a better than expected start, as only one film in the top five really topped expectations. Overall, the box office grew by 10% from last week hitting $159 million, but that's not great given Christmas Eve landed on a Friday. It was also down 28% from the same weekend last year, so 2011 is off to a bad start. Granted, it's incredibly early, but there are not a lot of hopeful signs for the rest of the month and double-digit declines will likely be the norm.
January 2nd, 2011
With no new wide releases over New Year's weekend, this week's was a battle of the holdovers at the box office, and thanks to the fact that Christmas Eve (a slow day at the box office) fell on a Friday in 2010, the weekend-to-weekend comparison for each movie generally looked good.
Curiously, though, the top three movies all declined from last weekend while all the other movies in the top 20 saw increases.
With plenty of films to choose from, audiences spent over $4 million on at least 13 different films, seven of which topped $10 million.
That's not quite a record (no less than nine movies earned over $10 million over MLK weekend in 2001), but it is unusual.
December 30th, 2010
The New Year's weekend normally has no wide releases, and that's the case this year. This means last weekend's three big hits will finish one-two-three this weekend, although they could finish in a different order. Meanwhile, all three combined might not make as much as Avatar earned this time last year, meaning 2010 will end and 2011 will begin on a sour note.
December 27th, 2010
It was a good news, really bad news weekend. Let's start with the good news. The overall box office for the year reached $10 billion for only the second time in history. Bad news, the box office this past weekend was so bad that 2010 lost its lead over 2009. It did rise from last weekend by 8% to $145 million, but that's 47% lower than the same weekend last year. Granted, Christmas Eve landing on a Friday did have a lot to do with that, but this is still a terrible result. Year-to-date, 2010 has now earned $10.33 billion, which is about $50 million behind last year's pace. It won't get better next weekend, so 2010 won't be setting the record.
December 22nd, 2010
This weekend could be a disaster at the box office. Not only is it likely that the biggest release will under-perform, but Christmas Eve lands on the Friday. Christmas Eve is a black hole at the box office and it basically cuts nearly a full day off the weekend. Worse still, last year was incredibly strong and it is very possible that the number one movie this year won't make as much as the third place film did last year.
December 20th, 2010
The weekend numbers were mixed with only one film performing really well and a few more pulling in middling numbers for this time of year. Overall the box office was up 47% from last weekend adding $135 million to its running tally, meaning it crossed the $10 billion mark over the weekend. The good news is this was a weekend faster than that milestone was reached last year and the second highest in history. The bad news is that it was down 2% from last year, while the year-to-date race now has 2010 up by just 1.2% at $10.07 billion to $9.94 billion. There is a chance that by this time next week, 2010 will have surrendered its lead.
December 19th, 2010
The weekend before Christmas brought little cheer to the movie industry, with Tron: Legacy posting a fairly ordinary $43.6 million opening, and the weekend's two other wide openers and one wide expansion missing the mark.
Since Avatar was released this weekend last year, the year-on-year comparisons look bad for the industry as a whole, and 2010 looks certain to lag 2009 in tickets sold, and possibly in total revenue.
December 16th, 2010
Early in the year, after the fantastic success of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, it looked like 2010 would see more tickets sold than 2009, and it could crush the total box office record.
That seems like a long, long time ago.
Memorial Day was a disaster and, despite a few bright spots here and there, the box office has never regained its early shine.
Now the question is not whether 2010 will see more tickets sold; it won't.
The question is whether or not 2010's total box office can remain above 2009's pace.
If Tron: Legacy is a monster hit, it could go along way to helping save a win for 2010.
It's going to need to be a monster hit to keep pace with last year and the only shred of good news I can think of for 2010 is that Avatar was a relatively slow starter, when compared to its eventual run.
December 1st, 2010
It's the end of the year and there are certainly some question marks that will be answered over the next 31 days. Are there any monster hits left for 2010? Will 2010 manage to stay ahead of 2009? Will it actually start winning again at the box office? Unfortunately, the answer to all three of those questions might be no. First of all, of the November wide releases, only two will really match expectations, with a couple of others coming close. So December starts on the weak side. Additionally, last December saw the release of Avatar, the biggest box office hit of all time. There's no film coming out this month that will match that movie. In fact, there's a chance no movie coming out this month will match last December's second place film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. This means that even though 2010 had a $300 million lead over 2009 just a few weeks ago, by the end of the year, 2010 might fail to break last year's record.