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September Ends on a Cloudy Note

September 28th, 2009

None of the three wide releases were able to live up to Thursday's predictions and while the number one film held on a lot better than expected, it wasn't enough to compensate. Overall the box office was down 4.7% from last weekend to $96%, which was 4.2% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date 2009 is still up on 2008 by 7.8% at $7.8 billion to $7.3 billion.

The path to $100 million got a whole lot easier for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs as it had one of the best holds we've seen at the top of the charts for a long, long time. It fell a mere 17.4% during its second weekend of release, pulling in $25.04 million over the weekend for a total of $60.47 million after just ten days of release. Even with the Toy Story double-shot opening wider than I expected, it should have smooth ride to $100 million. And with reviews that are 85% positive, it might actually prove tougher competition for the Pixar movie than expected.

Disney is going to take a bath on Surrogates. The film reportedly cost $80 million to make, but it opened with just $14.90 million at the box office over the weekend. Additionally, with weak reviews and tougher competition, I don't think it will last long in theaters. So unless it wows internationally and on the home market, there's little chance the film will recover its costs for the studio anytime soon.

Likewise, Fame barely matched the low end of expectations with $10.01 million over the weekend and it too had weak reviews. I would suspect it will prove an even tougher sell internationally, while the only good news here is its relatively low production budget of $18 million. MGM probably spend significantly more than that on the movie's ad campaign, so it will take a long time before it sees a profit, if it sees a profit, and I don't think the franchise will continue as some were hoping.

The Informant! came within a rounding error of expectations; however, it was on the north end of expectations with $6.62 million over the weekend and $20.70 million after two. Its per theater average isn't particularly strong, so theater owners might be eager to drop it for new releases, but even so, it has almost topped its production budget and should match original expectations.

Surprisingly, I Can Do Bad All By Myself spent one more week in the top five, adding $4.76 million to take its total to $44.55 million. The film is showing better legs than most Tyler Perry movies, but that's not saying much.

The final wide release for the week was Pandorum, which became yet another example of why studios shouldn't release movies into theaters without advertising them first. The film missed the top five, and the Mendoza Line, with just $4.42 million in 2,506 theaters. Its reviews were not great, but on par with the other two releases, so this result was not a forgone conclusion. Hopefully it will find an audience on the home market, but I wouldn't be too surprised if most moviegoers don't even remember the film by the time it comes out on DVD / Blu-ray.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find both the other two such films held on with nearly identical declines during their second week of release. Love Happens was down 46.5% to $4.31 million over the weekend for a total of $14.71 million after two. Meanwhile, Jennifer's Body was down 46.6% to $3.66 million over the past three days for a total of $12.47 million after ten. Both were relatively cheap to make, and both will show a profit sometime during the home market.

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Filed under: I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Informant!, Love Happens, Jennifer's Body, Surrogates, Fame, Pandorum