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Summer Continues to be Soft

May 25th, 2010

I'm starting to get a little concerned about summer. Granted, we are only three weeks in, but so far we have had two films that came short of high expectations and another that was expected to struggle at the box office and did. This time around, the number one movie failed to meet even the low end of expectations and the overall box office managed just a hair under $150 million. This was 8% more than last weekend, but 15% lower than the same weekend last year. Granted, this time last year was Memorial Day long weekend, so the comparison isn't entirely fair. But still troubling. Year-to-date, 2010 has amassed $4.04 billion, which is 4.8% higher than last year, but the boom in 3D films and the higher ticket prices that go with it means that attendance is down 1.7%.

If it wasn't announced that Shrek Forever After was going to be the final chapter in the Shrek franchise before the weekend, a lot of people would be talking about the end of the franchise after its opening. Granted, $70.84 million over three days is hardly a bad start, but it is well back of Shrek the Third's record breaking debut from 2007. In fact, there's a strong chance that it might not top the original Shrek's box office total, despite nine years of ticket price inflation to help it out. On the positive side, it does have the long weekend next weekend and the upcoming school holidays. On the other hand, its reviews are only mixed. It does have the next three weeks before direct competition comes along. It should be at $200 million before then. But this is well below original expectations.

Iron Man 2 held on a little better than expected with $26.36 million over the weekend and $251.03 million after three. It is still aiming for $300 million domestically and $600 million worldwide.

Amazingly, Robin Hood avoided a 50% drop-off during its sophomore stint, which is practically unheard of for a film like this. During the past three days the film added $18.77 million to its running tally of $66.17 million after ten. Given the film's solid hold, $100 million is a lot more likely. We will have a much clearer picture after this weekend. Will the holiday give it a boost, or will direct competition sink it?

Letters to Juliet topped expectations by a small margin with $9.01 million over the weekend and $27.33 million after two. A 33% decline is encouraging and the film could finish its run with north of $50 million, which would be enough to be consider a midlevel hit.

Just Wright was not as fortunate, falling 48% to $4.29 million, still enough for fifth place. So far the film has made $14.70 million, which is not great. But it is likely that the film didn't cost too much to make, so it could still be profitably by the time the film hits the home market.

The final wide release of the week was MacGruber, which missed the top five with a mere $4.04 million and its per theater average was well below the Mendoza line. Early reviews were amazing, but in the end its Tomatometer Score fell below 50% positive. The only good news here is its production budget, which was reportedly just $10 million. It should match that domestically, while it could still show a profit if it is a strong performer on the home market. On the other hand, this might be the last SNL film for a long, long time.

One final note... Kites managed to grab the final spot in the top ten despite opening with less than $1 million. $959,000 in 207 theaters is a good beginning. More importantly, it is the first Bollywood film to open in the top ten, although it is not the biggest opening for the niche market.


Filed under: MacGruber, Shrek Forever After, Letters to Juliet, Robin Hood, Iron Man 2, Just Wright, Kites