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Rango Leads 2011 but Can't End the Box Office Woes

March 7th, 2011

There's very little good news at the box office this weekend, but we will start with some happy thoughts. Rango had the best opening weekend of the year, which helped the box office climb 23% from last weekend to $134 million. On the other hand, this time last year Alice in Wonderland opened with $116 million by itself, which means 2011 lost the year-over-year comparison by 32%. Year-to-date, 2011 now has $1.69 billion compared to last year's pace of $2.13 billion and it's not like it's going to get better over the coming weeks.

As previously mentioned, Rango was the biggest opening of the year, pulling in $38.08 million over its first three days. However, this was on the low end of expectations, and it was behind How to Train Your Dragon by more than 10%. Its reviews are also not as strong as Dragon's were. Worse still, that film was the only animated film in wide release for two months, while Rango doesn't even have two weeks without direct competition. On the other hand, it is a family film, it's earning amazing reviews, and $100 million should be a really safe goal.

The Adjustment Bureau beat expectations with $21.16 million during its opening weekend. It's not quite as good as Matt Damon's previous release, but given the difference in release dates, I think the studio should be more than happy with this result. Add in a more mature target demographic and very strong reviews and the film's legs could be much better than average. I'm not saying $100 million is likely, but $75 million a real possibility.

While critics hated Beastly, it's target demographic fell in love. (It earned the best CinemaScore of the four wide release this weekend.) Granted, $9.85 million isn't a monster hit, but given its production budget, the studio should be happy. However, even with strong word-of-mouth, don't expect strong legs, as these films tend to crash. That said, it's already more than halfway to its production budget, so it should reach profitability sometime during its home market run.

Hall Pass fell from first to fourth with $8.86 million, but this was better than expected. With $26.85 million in the bank, it is on pace to reach original expectations, or at least come close enough to call it a victory.

Gnomeo and Juliet fell just a little bit faster than expected adding $7.24 million over the weekend for a total of $84.02 million after four. While this is already better than a lot of people were expecting, it might not be enough to reach $100 million in total, especially if the studio shifts it out of the marketplace to make room for Mars Needs Moms.

As for Take Me Home Tonight, the less said the better. It missed the Mendoza Line with just $3.46 million in just over 2000 theaters. With weak reviews it will likely fall quite sharply next weekend before vanishing from theaters the weekend after. By the time the month ends, it will be but a memory.

Moving onto the Sophomore Class, Drive Angry collapsed, down 57% to just $2.23 million over the weekend and $9.10 million in total. With a sub $1000 per theater average, I can't imagine a lot of theater owners will be interested in keeping the film past Friday.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Beastly, Gnomeo and Juliet, Rango, The Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight, Drive Angry, Hall Pass