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Box Office Suffers as Most New Releases Miss Their Mark

April 11th, 2011

Ugh. It's time to break out the thesaurus to look up different ways of saying, "disappointing". This past weekend three of the four new releases missed expectations, while the holdovers were not able to compensate. This led to a 7% drop-off from last weekend to $116 million, which was 9% lower than the same weekend last year. 2011 continues its depressing pace and is now behind 2010 by 21% at $2.49 billion to $3.13 billion. Hopefully things will turn around next weekend. We need at least one win going into summer, or we could be in desperate trouble.

Despite missing Thursday's predictions, Hop was able to repeat on top of the box office with ease. It added $21.30 million over the weekend and now has $67.75 million after two. It should have little trouble getting to the century mark before its run is over, even with direct competition opening next weekend. Given the dearth of $100 million films that have opened this year, this is welcome news, and at this point I will take any reason to celebrate.

Amazingly, Hanna was the best new release of the weekend and a lot of people didn't see that coming. It's not that the film didn't deserve to do well, after all, it did earn the best reviews out of the four new releases, but many thought it would be too hard to sell to a wide audience. Then again, $12.37 million is hardly a blockbuster opening and it will likely barely match its $30 million production budget domestically. But if it can do well internationally, then it should reach profitability early during its home market run.

Arthur was right behind with $12.22 million during its opening weekend. However, with some of the weakest reviews of the week and a poor per theater average, it likely won't stick around very long. I don't know if it will match original expectations, but it could come close. On the other hand, despite 30 years of inflation, it will fall far short of the original, which made $81 million back in '81.

Soul Surfer opened in fourth place with $10.60 million, which is a little on the low end of tracking, but well above original expectations. In fact, depending on how well it holds up, it could top $15 million early this coming weekend. On the positive side, its reviews are better than most wide releases and it is aimed at a traditionally underserved demographic, so there's not much in the way of direct competition. On the other hand, sometimes these niche market films suffer from a form of the Fanboy Effect. Either way, with a $12 million production budget, it's should break even some time during its home market run.

Insidious's sophomore stint drop-off was a tiny 29%, which is even more impressive given its genre. With $9.37 million over the past three days and $26.73 million after ten, it has already topped original expectations and even with direct competition, the film should hit $40 million before the end of its run, perhaps even more than $50 million.

The biggest bomb of the weekend was Your Highness, which missed the top five with just $9.36 million. Maybe its target audience was too stones to find make it to the theater. Or maybe they were too sober when they read the reviews. Either way, I don't expect it to stick around in theaters very long, but its home market run should be relatively more lucrative.

Source Code was the only sophomore film to not reach the top five, earning seventh place with $8.65 million. So far it has pulled in $28.22 million and while it likely won't match original expectations, it should come close enough to be considered a victory.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Your Highness, Scream 4, Arthur, Soul Surfer, Insidious, Hanna, Source Code, Hop