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G.I. Joe Fires Up the Box Office

August 11th, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra topped expectations and that helped 2009 finally snap its month-long slump at the box office. Overall the industry brought in $146 million, which was 17% higher than last weekend, and more importantly, 22% higher than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 has brought in $6.64 billion, which is 6.6% higher than 2008's pace; however, while that's impressive, it is seriously off its highs for the year and 2009 will need to work to make sure ticket sales don't fall behind last year's pace.

G.I. Joe had one of the best non-sequel openings for an August release, pulling in $54.71 million. That's an impressive amount of money, but the film cost $170 million to make, so unless it has long legs (not likely) or is a much bigger hit internationally (also not likely) it will have trouble showing a profit any time soon. The reason it is unlikely the film will have strong legs is twofold: the Fanboy Effect and the reviews. This is the epitome of a Fanboy film and, after suffering strong declines from Friday to Saturday, it is likely that box office receipts will continue fall through the rest of the week. As for the reviews, they have continued to weaken for the reasons speculated on Thursday. It turns out the studio did let a select group of "Fanboy" critics in to see G.I. Joe in hopes of creating a swell of positive reviews before the film was released and the rest of the critics saw it. This seems like a lot of work for a film that was mostly critic proof. After all, were fans of the toys / cartoon going to run over to Rotten Tomatoes and decide to go see the movie based on whether it hit 60% positive or not? No. If the film can reach $150 million domestically and match that internationally, then it will likely show a profit sometime during its home market run. It's doable, but far from guaranteed.

Julie & Julia matched expectations, more or less, with $20.03 million over the weekend on a $40 million production budget. By this time next week, the film should have matched its budget, while with the best reviews of the week and a more mature target audience, it could surprise and reach $70 million in total. That would be enough to ensure a profit, even if it struggles internationally.

G-Force fell to $9.87 million over the weekend for a total of $86.18 million after three. Reaching $100 million won't be an issue, but it will take more than a week to get there.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince lost a lot of theaters and that left it $8.93 million over the weekend to lift its total to $273.85 million. $300 million is likely out of reach after that performance, but it is still a monster hit regardless.

Ouch. Funny People failed to hold on like most of Judd Apatow's films have and it plummeted 65% to just $7.99 million over the past three days and $40.54 million after ten. The reviews don't explain this collapse, but perhaps there's not a lot of crossover appeal between Judd Apatow's and Adam Sandler's fan bases.

A Perfect Getaway's reviews were better than expected, but it still struggled at the box office with $5.95 million to land in seventh place. It reportedly only cost $14 million to make, and it should match that with ease, so sometime during its home market run it should show a profit.

The limited release, (500) Days of Summer, made its first appearance in the top ten with $3.74 million, which lifts its running tally to $12.36 million. With a still healthy per theater average of $4,577, there's a chance it could expand further and remain in the top ten for a couple more weeks. Regardless, it is safe to say the film has earned some measure of mainstream success.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find Aliens in the Attic in eighth place with $4.02 million, which was just shy of 50% less than its opening. Overall, the film has made $16.31 million and it will struggle to reach $25 million. The Collector was even weaker, down 64% to $1.28 million over the weekend and $6.35 million after two. I suspect it was cheap enough to show a profit, eventually.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, G-Force, Julie & Julia, Funny People, (500) Days of Summer, Aliens in the Attic, A Perfect Getaway, The Collector