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Hellboy is Hot, Box Office is Not

July 15th, 2008

As expected, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army debuted in top spot, but the overall box office was a little on the light side with a total of $151 million. This is 5.5% lower than last weekend, and more disturbingly, 16.6% lower than the same weekend last year. Year to date, 2008 is not behind 2007 by 2.4% at $5.04 billion to $5.16 billion. It is too early to push the panic button, but there is certainly reason to be concerned, especially if things don't turn around.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army opened in first place with $34.54 million, which is a little lower than my prediction on Thursday. However, it is still more than most analysts were expecting. I am a little concerned about its 2.52 internal multiplier, but its strong reviews should help mitigate the Fanboy Effect. Direct competition will hurt the film this coming weekend, but it still has a solid shot at $100 million domestically, while early word gives it a shot at matching that total internationally. A $200 million worldwide total would guarantee a third entry in the franchise, at the very least.

Hancock again beat expectations, falling less than 50% to $32.08 million over the weekend for a total of $164.12 million after two weeks. At this pace, the film could hit $200 million as early as next weekend, but even if it has to wait a day or two more, it will get there shortly. This would be Will Smith's fourth $200 million hit in his career, and the second in a row. There are few actors with more $100 million hits or with a better career average than he has. Money in the bank.

Journey to the Center of the Earth came within a rounding error of expectations, landing on the north end with $21.02 million. Given the film's target audience, and its reviews, it should earn between $60 and $80 million. This is not monster hit territory, but it will be enough for the movie to be considered a solid midlevel hit, and a moneymaker for the studio assuming it does as well internationally.

For some reason not explained by its reviews, WALL-E is not showing the same legs as most other Pixar films. This weekend it fell 42% to $18.79 million. Its total of $163.06 million after 17 days is still great, and it is on pace to hit $200 million. No one is losing money because of this movie, but its shorter than expected legs are unusual.

Coming in fifth place was Wanted, which held up better than WALL-E. (This makes no sense given the two films' target demographics, relative reviews, level of direct competition, etc. Nothing explains this adequately, at least in my mind.) Wanted added just under $12.00 million over the weekend for a total of $112.46 million, making it the 11th film to reach that milestone this year (Get Smart beat it there by a couple days, although Wanted now has more in total). Add in the film's international numbers so far, and it is a hair shy of $200 million worldwide, and there's little doubt that the movie is already in the black.

The final wide release of the week was Meet Dave, which missed the low end of expectations by a wide, wide margin. Very few people thought it would make less than $10 million over the weekend, so to see it earn just $5.25 million over the past three days was quite a shock. This is the worst opening for an Eddie Murphy movie since The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Granted, its reviews were not good, but WOW, I wasn't expecting this. Mike Myers should send Eddie Murphy a thank you card for stopping The Love Guru from being this year's biggest bomb. I could go on talking about the film's internal multiplier, legs, foreign prospects, but at this point it just feels mean. There's almost no realistic way for the film to recover at this point.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl was the only member not to reach the top five this week. In fact, it opened outside the top five, so this is not a shock. However, it held up well, down a mere 30% over the weekend and adding $2.30 million for a total of $10.99 million. Perhaps strong home market numbers, and an increase in doll sales, will help the film be a financial hit eventually. Eventually.

One last not, Kung Fu Panda joined Get Smart and Wanted as films that hit milestones since last week. The CG martial arts-fest became the third film of the year to reach $200 million at the box office, and while that is the last milestone the movie will reach domestically, it is more than enough to be considered a monster hit.

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Filed under: Hancock, WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, Wanted, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Meet Dave