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Ocean's Luck Runs Out

June 12th, 2007

After three monster hits, it appears moviegoers might be undergoing some type of blockbuster fatigue. All three new releases wilted under the pressure at the weekend. Overall, the box office still increased from last week, but it was up less than 1% to $136 million and compared to the same weekend last year it was down 11%. Worse yet, 2007 has fallen below 2004's record setting pace for the summer season and that year wasn't as front-loaded as this year. On the bright side, we still have a tremendous number of potential $100 million movies and that's one record that is still within reach.

There were very few people who thought Ocean's Thirteen would be in the same league as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, for instance, but most thought it would live up to previous installments in the franchise. However, Ocean's Thirteen turned out to be the weakest outing of the three films, with a $36.1 million opening. Given the film's reviews, its internal multiplier, and the summer holidays, it should be able to cross $100 million, but this is only in line with the film's estimated production budget and not nearly enough to be a smash hit. Will it show a profit? Eventually. Its domestic run should pay for its worldwide P&A budget while its international numbers should cover most of its production budget, leaving the rest for its initial push into the home market. But, I strongly doubt there will be another installment in the series.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End rebounded from week midweek numbers to take second place with $21.1 million over the weekend. On the other hand, its running tally of $253.4 million is well off the pace Dead Man's Chest set last year. In fact, it is below what that film made after two weekends. And the film's third weekend haul of $21.1 million is less than the $23.1 million Curse of the Black Pearl made during its third weekend. At this point, $300 million will be the last milestone the film reaches domestically, and even that isn't a sure thing anymore.

Knocked Up had the best week-to-week drop-off in the top five, and the second best in the top ten, down 36% to $19.6 million over the weekend and $65.9 million in total. In a marketplace where a 50% drop-off is looked at as something to cheer about, this is amazing and makes $100 million a (nearly) sure thing. Had The 40-Year Old Virgin merely lived up to expectations, this would have been an unbelievable start. As it is, it is showing relatively strong growth and should give everyone involved a strong boost in their career.

Surf's Up showed just how much shine has come off of the digital animation genre. The film opened in fourth place with just $17.64 million. That's barely more than Antz made during its opening weekend, and that movie was made nearly a decade ago. With the high level of competition coming out in a couple of weeks, even with the best reviews of any wide release of the week, it will be almost completely knocked out of theaters by the time July starts in earnest.

Rounding the top five was Shrek the Third, which was a bit of a surprise. It's weekend box office of $15.3 million wasn't above and beyond expectations, but the competition really struggled, allowing it one last appearance on this list.

The last wide release of the week was also the biggest loser of the week. Hostel II earned less than half of Thursday's prediction, pulling in just $8.2 million. With sequelitis, horror genre, slightly weaker reviews, and much stronger competition, this film will likely have shorter legs than its predecessor did. This gives the film a upward cap of about $20 million, and makes earning a profit difficult to do, even with a production budget of less than $10 million.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Mr. Brooks placed seventh with $4.9 million over the weekend and $18.6 million in total. It fell just over 50% and will be all but forgotten in just a couple of weeks. Gracie, on the other hand, won't even last that long as it was down more than 60% to $514,000. On Friday it will lose most of its remaining 1,093 screens and prove, yet again, that soccer just can't carry a movie here.

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Filed under: Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Knocked Up, Ocean's Thirteen, Surf's Up, Mr. Brooks, Hostel: Part II, Gracie