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Inception Starts Strong, but will it have Long Legs?

July 20th, 2010

Neither of the two new releases were able to match expectations, while the holdovers were not able to compensate. This left the overall box office down 7% to $178 million for the weekend. That was still 11% higher than last year, lifting 2010's lead over 2009 to $6.22 billion to $5.97 billion. Attendance is still down by 2%, but revenue is higher by 4% thanks to the increased price for 3D tickets.

Inception won the weekend box office race, but with $62.79 million it was well below expectations, and only enough for 13th place on the best July weekend chart. On the other hand, it was the best for a movie based on an original screenplay. Also, Christopher Nolan's latest offering does have some positive signs going forward. Firstly, the final number was significantly higher than Sunday's estimate, and the internal multiplier was a healthy 2.88. Add in reviews that are among the best of any wide release this year, and the film could have long legs. On the other hand, it could be taken apart by the Fanboy Effect, as Christopher Nolan is developing a huge following. I'm hoping the reviews and the film's obvious replay value will help it reach $200 million, but that's far from a sure thing.

Despicable Me was within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction, coming in on the high end with $32.80 million. After two weeks of release, the film has earned $118.43 million and is still on track to reach $200 million, while a sequel is very likely at this point.

On the other hand, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is likely a movie Disney will want to forget as soon as they can. The film made less in five days than many were expecting it would earn over three with an opening of $17.62 million / $24.71 million. Its reviews don't suggest there will be a huge uptick in sales due to word-of-mouth either, although it is far from a terrible movie. This was an expensive movie to make, so unless it is a huge hit internationally, this one can be considered a bomb.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse added another $13.42 million over the weekend for a total of $264.79 million after three. At this point, $300 million seems out of reach, but it could match New Moon, or at least come very close.

Toy Story 3 came within $2,000 of Thursday's prediction, falling just a hair shy of $12.00 million over the weekend. Its running tally rose to $362.97 million after a month of release, and while it likely has spent its last weekend in the top five, it could have one more major milestone ahead of it.

Standing Ovation wasn't able to reach the top ten. It was barely able to reach the top 20 with just $343,000 over the weekend. Given its per theater average and its reviews, there's a good chance this film will disappear from theaters as fast as contractual obligations allow.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we find we actually have one. For the past few weeks all wide releases have managed at least two weeks in the top five, but this time around Predators fell more than 70% to $7.02 million. On the other hand, it has already made more than it cost to make at $40.30 million, so as long as it can do respectable business internationally, it should show a profit sometime during its home market run.


Filed under: Inception, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Despicable Me, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Toy Story 3, Predators, Standing Ovation