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Shutter Surprises but Can't Save Box Office

February 23rd, 2010

While Shutter Island exceeded expectations, it was the only film in the top five to do so, which hurt the overall box office. The total box office during the weekend was $134 million, 35% lower than last weekend. Then again, it was a post-holiday, post-Valentine's Day weekend, so this collapse isn't as bad as it looks. However, it was 6.0% lower than the same weekend last year and that's certainly not good. Year-to-date, 2010 has pulled in $1.65 billion (1.6% higher than last year's pace) but unless 2010 starts putting together some wins, it won't be long before it loses its lead.

It looks like Paramount's decision to push back Shutter Island was a wise one, as it opened in first place with $41.06 million. This is the best opening ever for Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and even with reviews that were not as strong as some expected, it should have no trouble reaching $100 million domestically. It is important to note that 67% positive is a good score, but compared to Scorsese and DiCaprio's previous three collaborations, it is a little weak. Don't expect the same legs. It could still reach $125 million in total and it should take the lead on the yearly chart, for a little while anyway. (There are a number of films coming out over the next couple of months that could top it, while Iron Man 2 should open with more than Shutter Island will likely make in total.)

Valentine's Day managed second place. Barely. The post-holiday / post-Valentine's Day drop had a larger-than-expected impact on its box office (and its reviews didn't help) as it plummeted more than 70% to $16.67 million over the weekend and $86.93 million after two. That's one of the biggest sophomore collapses for a wide release of all time (it could be in the top ten, depending on how you define "wide release"). That said, it should still reach $100 million theatrically, but it might take a week or two longer than anticipated, while Shutter Island might beat it to that milestone.

Avatar also missed expectations over the weekend, but with an additional $16.24 million it came within a rounding error of getting there and is close enough to call it a victory. In total, the film now has $687.96 million in the bank domestically, and by this time next week it will have become the first film ever to reach $700 million theatrically.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was close behind with $15.25 million over the weekend for a total of $58.71 million after two. It might match its production budget domestically, but unless it is a much larger hit internationally, I don't think the studio will want to turn this into a franchise. It should be profitable, but not profitable enough to risk another installment.

Finally, we get to The Wolf Man, which fell nearly 69% to $9.90 million over the weekend and $50.36 million after two. It will start shedding theaters on Friday and will be gone quite quickly. This was an expensive movie to make and even though it will make more money internationally than it will domestically, I doubt it will break even.


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Filed under: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shutter Island, The Wolfman, Valentine's Day, Avatar