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WALL-E has First Place Launch

July 1st, 2008

June ended on a high at the box office with the combined ticket sales reaching $185 million. That's close to 30% more than last weekend and nearly 20% more than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2008 was able to extend its lead over 2007, but it is still above last year's pace by less than a percent, $4.52 billion to $4.49 billion. With almost nothing but good news recently, it's hard not to get optimistic about the state of the industry right now.

WALL-E rocketed its way to the top of the charts, earning $63.09 million, although not all the news is rosy. It earned a record opening day of $23.16 million, the best ever for a Pixar film, but then it fell from Friday to Saturday. Granted, it didn't fall by a lot, just 4.5%; additionally, most openers fall from Friday to Saturday, but Pixar films are not most films. That said, $63.09 million is still an amazing start and is the second best opening for the month of June. Combined with the film's reviews, which are the best for any wide release this year, it should still have a fantastic run. $300 million is likely out of the question, unless something unusual happens, but $200 million is not. In fact, $200 million is on the low end of expectations now, with $250 million being a more likely target. On a side note, I've heard the film described by some critics as a great date movie, which is not a term usually used to describe animated films. If it does become a date movie, then we are in rarely traveled territory and predicting its final box office becomes problematic.

Wanted surprised analysts with a very strong opening of $50.93 million, which was more than $10 million above Thursday's prediction. The film's internal multiplier was a little weak compared to its positive reviews, but not so much so that I fear for its longevity. It won't have great legs, but a domestic tally of $150 million is within its reach, while it should earn even more internationally. This will likely give the film a tidy profit before it reaches the home market, while it seems equally likely that someone is already working on a sequel.

Speaking of sequels, Get Smart came within a rounding error of expectations with $20.21 million over the weekend for a total of $77.48 million. There's little doubt in my mind that the studio is happy with the film's domestic run so far (it's too early to tell about its international run). If this movie can make $115 million to $120 million domestically, it should be able to make anywhere from $200 to $250 million worldwide. This in turn should be more than enough to show a profit by its initial push into the home market, at the latest, which should be more than enough to convince the studio to make a sequel.

Kung Fu Panda matched expectations nearly perfectly, adding $11.69 million to take its total to $179.28 million. The film is still on pace to reach $200 million, which would make it just the third such hit of the year. This may or may not be enough to keep it ahead of WALL-E at the box office; we will know more this time next week after that film's sophomore stint.

The Incredible Hulk earned $9.58 million over the weekend for a total of $115.86 million. This is close enough to Thursday's prediction to call it a victory, while by this time next week it should overtake Hulk's total at the same point in that film's run.

Moving onto the sophomore class... I haven't written about it in nearly two months, because that's how long it has been since a film failed to reach the top five during its second weekend of release. This weekend, The Love Guru slipped to sixth place with $5.34 million, which was down more than 61%, giving the film a total of $25.22 million. At this point, $35 million is likely the best the movie can hope for, which is bad news given its estimated production budget.

One final bit of news, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull became the second film of the year and the 28th film all-time to reach $300 million. It did so late on Sunday, its 39th day of release. This isn't close to the record, but still impressive nonetheless.

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Filed under: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Get Smart, The Love Guru