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Box Office Hangover Pleases Moviegoers

June 9th, 2009

We had a surprise number one at the box office this past weekend, and the films that beat Thursday's predictions outnumber those that failed to reach expected levels, both in terms of the number of films and in terms of total box office generated. This helped the industry to $165 million at the box office over the weekend; however, this was down about 0.2% from last weekend and 5.4% from the same weekend last year. That said, this is better than most were expecting, and 2009 is still way ahead of 2008's pace at $4.34 billion to $3.85 billion.

To say The Hangover surprised analysts is an understatement, as it became one of the biggest R-rated comedies of all time. The film earned $44.98 million over the weekend, which was just enough to top the charts. It was also about 50% more than Thursday's prediction and about $10 million more than it cost to make. Add in excellent reviews and a genre that tends to have better than average legs, and suddenly $150 million or more is well within reach. This is a film that reportedly cost $35 million to make, and even if it cost that much to advertise, it will have no trouble showing a profit domestically. I'm not sure how much it will make internationally, but probably not a lot, while it should have a very lucrative run on the home market, especially with an Unrated DVD / Blu-ray.

Up beat expectations over the weekend after beating expectations during its opening, and Pixar has to be happy about that. On the other hand, it just failed to repeat on top of the box office after Sunday's estimate had it winning by nearly $1 million, which has to be a little disappointing. Don't get me wrong, earning $44.14 million over the weekend for a total of $137.21 million after two is phenomenal, and it makes $200 million the low end of expectations for its final box office number. There's no doubt that this film will show a massive profit for the studio, bringing its winning record to ten in a row.

On the other hand, Land of the Lost is a failure after opening in third place with just $18.84 million over the weekend. This is roughly half as much as analysts were expecting, and with bad reviews, little in terms of international box office potential, and a $100 million production budget, there's little hope it will recover its costs any time soon. I think there are many reasons for this, including messing with the source material and killing whatever nostalgia it had going for it. Also, Will Ferrell needs a new schtick. The grown-man-running-around-screaming routine seems to have overstayed its welcome.

Night at the Museum - Battle of the Smithsonian matched expectations nearly perfectly with $14.63 million over the weekend and $127.33 million after three. It should match its production budget at the domestic box office, while profitability should come sometime during its home market run.

Surprisingly, Star Trek managed to grab the final spot in the top five with $8.31 million over the weekend, while it lifted its total to $222.71 million. The film has made more domestically than any of the previous films made worldwide, and more than the three purely Next Generational movies made combined. One of the best franchise reboots ever, if not the best.

My Life Inn Ruins lived up to expectations, or should that be down to expectations with just $3.22 million during its opening weekend. Hitting $10 million overall is likely out of the question, especially given its reviews.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Drag Me to Hell wasn't able to stay in the top five, but with $7.04 million over the weekend, it was able to live up to expectations -- it was just the competition was tougher than expected. At this pace, the film should earn about $40 to $45 million domestically, which is enough to be considered a low-level hit, assuming it didn't cost significantly more than originally predicted. Given its reviews, this is still disappointing, but perhaps a long run on the home market will mitigate this weakness.

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Filed under: Up, The Hangover, Star Trek, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Land of the Lost, Drag Me To Hell, My Life in Ruins