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That's A Spicy Box Office

September 21st, 2009

As expected, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs finished in first place over the weekend, and it beat industry expectations by earning more than $30 million. This helped the overall box office grow by 9.9% from last weekend. The total weekend haul of $101 million was also 14.9% higher than the same weekend last year. Year to date, 2009 has made $7.70 billion at the box office, which is 7.9% higher than last year's pace. This isn't as large a lead as the box office has had this year, but it's still fantastic.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs beat industry expectations with $30.30 million during its opening, which was just a little bit lower than our prediction. It turns out the 3D theaters did not pull in a significantly higher per theater average, which could explain the slightly lower final figure. However, it's close enough to call a victory. Adding in the films impressive internal multiplier and its even better reviews and there's little reason to doubt the its long term chances, especially since there isn't another kids movie coming out until the re-release of Toy Story at the beginning of October. Compared to Open Season, Meatballs has had a much faster start, earned better reviews, but has more competition. (Open Season was the only kids movie in theaters for a full month.) I think that adds up to a $100 million box office, but a lot of that depends on how well it holds up and how many theaters Toy Story opens in.

The Informant! matched expectations (nearly) perfectly with $10.46 million during its opening, but thanks to weaker than expected competition, it managed second place on the chart. Black comedy is a tough to market, and given its release date, the studio should be happy with its start. Very good reviews and a lack of direct competition could help it last in theaters, which means it should have no trouble matching its production budget domestically, while it should earn a profit early in its home market run, if not sooner.

I Can Do Bad All By Myself came within a rounding error of expectations with $9.88 million over the weekend and $37.75 million after two. This is likely more than its total costs, meaning it will have no trouble showing a profit during its initial push into the home market, even if it does no business internationally, which is very likely.

The bland romance with the generic name, Love Happens, also came within a rounding error of expectations with $8.06 million over the weekend. Lack of direct competition was likely a big draw, but terrible reviews will kill its chances for repeat business, which in turn will shorten its legs considerably.

Rounding out the top five was Jennifer's Body, which was the biggest disappointment of the weekend as it only managed $6.87 million. It was expected to place second with $14 million, so it didn't even come close. Its reviews are mixed, but that's better than average for this time of the year, while the horror / comedy genre is admittedly a little harder to market than the average film, this is still very disappointing. I doubt the studio is overly happy with this beginning, but it cost just $16 million to make, so it should make enough on the home market to cover that.

Looking in on the sophomore class we find 9 in sixth place with $5.56 million over the weekend and $22.92 million after two. It should have no trouble matching its production budget domestically, which means it is on pace to reach profitability by its initial push into the home market. The same can be said of Sorority Row, which added $2.50 million over the weekend and now has $8.88 million after two. Its low, low production budget and a very likely Unrated DVD / Blu-ray means there's almost no chance it won't break even. On the other hand, Whiteout was the most expensive of the three films to make at $35 million, and it is performing the weakest at $8.55 million in total and $2.13 million over the weekend. It could lose more than half its theater count on Friday and be all but a memory by the first weekend of October.

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Filed under: I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 9, The Informant!, Love Happens, Sorority Row, Whiteout, Jennifer's Body