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Despicable is Anything But

July 12th, 2010

It was a great weekend at the box office with four of the top five films beating expectations. The helped the overall box office climb to $192 million, which was an increase of 2% from last weekend and considering last weekend was a holiday, this is impressive. (Granted, July 4th did land on a Sunday, which undoubtedly hurt the industry's three-day weekend haul, but I'm still impressed.) Additionally, the weekend saw 34% growth from the same weekend last year, which is beyond impressive. Year-to-date, 2010 now has a 4.9% lead over 2009, $5.94 billion to $5.66 billion.

Despicable Me topped high end expectations, earning an amazing $56.40 million during its opening weekend. This is one of the best openings for a non-franchise animated film and the best for the studio since Fast & Furious. However, that film had awful legs and Despicable Me will likely outlast that film in the end. There are some troubling signs. Despite earning 80% positive reviews, its internal multiplier was on the low side. Plus, it missed Sunday's estimate by a significant margin. Finally, over the next three weeks, there are three major releases aiming at the same or similar target audience (The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Romana and Beezus, and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore). That said, I think $200 million should be a safe bet.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse topped expectations with a $31.71 million weekend haul and a twelve-day total of $235.37 million. On the one hand, this is more than enough for the film to pay for its production budget and its domestic P&A budget, possibly its total budget. On the other hand, it earned less during its second weekend than New Moon earned, while the two films' running totals are nearly identical. Eclipse does have the summer holiday to help boost weekday numbers, so becoming the first film in the franchise to reach $300 million is not out of the question. Although at this point, reaching $300 million is more of a bragging point than a substantive goal that needs to be reached for financial reasons.

The only film in the top five to miss Thursday's predictions was Predators. That said, it did open with $24.76 million, which is a solid score for a movie that cost about $40 million to make. Throw in a P&A budget of about $30 million, and this movie should have no problem breaking even during its initial push on the home market, if not earlier. Its reviews softened over the weekend, but for most fans of the franchise, this should be a satisfying installment, and it could bode well for a potential sequel.

Toy Story 3 placed fourth with $21.02 million over the weekend and $339.24 million after four. It is now the highest grossing film of the year, and within a rounding error of overtaking Finding Nemo for becoming Pixar's biggest hit. Additionally, with the legs it showed over the weekend, $400 million is a lot more likely.

The Last Airbender fell nearly 60% to $16.64 million over the weekend, but that was still better than a lot of people were predicting. It also lifted its running tally to $99.71 million after just two weeks of release and it has almost assuredly made it to $100 million on Monday. Assuming its reviews and the Fanboy Effect have already done their damage, it should top $125 million domestically, which means its worldwide total should finish anywhere from $250 million to $300 million. The closer it gets to the high end, the better it will be for the studio, but no matter what, a sequel might be a tough sell.

One final note, Cyrus climbed into the top ten for the first time during its run with $1.28 million, while its per theater average suggests it will be able to expand further.


Filed under: Despicable Me, The Last Airbender, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Toy Story 3, Predators, Cyrus