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Box Office Watchers Have Limited Reasons to Cheer

March 21st, 2011

It was another poor weekend at the box office and none of the new wide releases were blockbusters, but on the plus side, none were bombs either. The overall box office was down 11% from last weekend to $115 million, which was 9% lower than the same weekend last year. However, that was actually much better than 2011 has managed for most of the year. Year-to-date, 2011 is still off of 2010's pace by 20% at $2.52 billion to $2.02 billion and that likely won't change till Memorial day. Hopefully it won't be too late to turn things around by then.

Bradley Cooper managed to score his first post-Hangover first place win, as Limitless opened with $18.91 million. Granted, this is not a blockbuster opening by any stretch of the imagination, it's barely in the top 50 opening weekends for March, but it was more than enough for first place. As for its long-term prospects, the film's reviews are solid enough to be considered a selling point and while it will likely miss original expectations, it could come close.

Rango placed second with $15.08 million over the weekend and now has $92.34 million after three. It is already the fourth biggest hit of the year, and by this time next weekend it will be the first film released in 2011 to top $100 million. The film's strong legs are certainly helping, but with a massive production budget, it might not be enough to show a profit anytime soon. It will need to make $300 million worldwide have a shot at earning a profit during its initial run on the home market. That's not out of the question, but it could be tough.

Battle: Los Angeles landed within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction with $14.54 million over the weekend to give it a total of $60.54 million after two. At this pace, $100 million seems out of the question. However, reports vary on how much the film cost from $70 million to over $100 million, so depending on which is true, and how well in does internationally, it could be headed for profitability early in its home market run.

The Lincoln Lawyer took part in a Groupon promotion, which seems to have paid off, as it was able to score fourth place with $13.21 million. With its stellar reviews, it should have no trouble topping original expectations. That said, I don't expect a revitalization of the genre as a result.

Paul only managed fifth place with $13.04 million during its opening weekend; however, that is still by far the best opening for a Pegg and Frost film. In fact, it is almost as much as Shaun of the Dead earned in total and by this time next weekend it will likely have overtaken Hot Fuzz's final figure. The Fanboy Effect will limits its legs, but its strong reviews will probably help it enough on the home market that earning a profit won't be an issue.

Looking in on the sophomore class, Red Riding Hood saw its box office decline 49% to $7.19 million over the weekend for a total of $25.90 million after two. It might finish with $40 million, which is on the low end of the estimations for the film's production budget, so if it can do well internationally, it will earn a profit sometime during the film's run on the home market. On the other hand, Mars Needs Moms may have killed a studio, despite its spectacular hold over the weekend. It was down a mere 23% to $5.32 million over the past three days for a total of $14.50 million after ten. Had it not bombed during its opening weekend, this kind of hold would have been enough to save it. As it is, theater owners will still be looking to drop the film as soon as possible and it will see its theater count plummet on Friday.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Rango, Battle: Los Angeles, Mars Needs Moms, Limitless, Paul, Red Riding Hood, The Lincoln Lawyer