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Most New Releases are Anti-Social

October 4th, 2010

October started in such a way that it feels like September was extended a weekend. The top film wasn't bad, but the other two wide releases bombed. Overall the box office brought in $95 million, which was down 6% from last week and 11% from the same weekend last year. 2010 is still ahead of 2009 by 4% at $8.19 billion to $7.90 billion, but if it were to lose 11% each weekend, that lead would evaporate by the end of the year.

The Social Network rode Oscar-worthy reviews to top spot at the box office with $22.45 million. This is a little lower than predicted and a little lower than David Fincher's previous release opened with. However, assuming Award Season buzz translates into actual nominations and perhaps even awards, then it should still be enough to reach $100 million in the end.

Owls of Ga'Hoole held on a little better than expected, which allowed it to remain in second place with $10.89 million over the weekend for a total of $30.08 million after two. On the one hand, this is down just 32%, which is better than its reviews would otherwise indicate, and it could mean the film will earn about $60 million domestically. On the other hand, the film cost $100 million to make, so it will need a lot more than that to show a profit anytime soon. Perhaps it will be a bigger hit internationally.

Wall Street 2 fell less than 50% to $10.00 million over the weekend and it had $35.78 million after ten days of release. At this pace, it should overtake its predecessor by this time next week, while getting to $50 million is all but assured, which means it will be considered a midlevel hit. Matching its reported production budget of $70 million will be really tough, so it will have to do better overseas and on the home market to show a profit any time soon.

That won't be the case for The Town, which had another amazing hold down a mere 38% to $9.75 million over the weekend for a total of $64.06 million after three. If its reviews can translate into Awards Season nominations / wins, then $100 million is in the film's future. Meanwhile, there's a chance it has already made more theatrically than its total budget, meaning it just needs a halfway decent run international or on the home market to show a profit.

Easy A was a surprise entrant in the top five with $6.75 million over the weekend, giving it a running tally of $42.18 million after just three weeks of release. At this point, reaching $50 million is a mere formality, and since it only cost $8 million to make, that could be enough to show a profit. (It's P&A budget was likely $20 to $30 million, on the other hand.)

The next wide release of the week was Case 39, which only managed seventh place with $5.35 million in 2211 theater for a per theater average of $2,420. Given its reviews and its genre, its will likely see a sharp drop-off next weekend before seeing its theater count slashed the following weekend. On a positive note, at least it came within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction.

Finally we get to Let Me In, which opened in eighth place with a mere $5.15 million, which is barely above the worst case scenario I mentioned on Thursday. This is further proof that geek buzz doesn't translate into ticket sales, and I blame the studio. They see internet chat and think the film has a huge amount of buzz and therefore they don't have to advertise a movie. This is 100% stupid. Geeks talk, a lot, but they talk to other geeks. If you want a movie to be a hit, you have to advertise the film to the general population. If you don't, it will bomb, even if it earns awesome reviews like this movie did. We've seen this with Serenity, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Kick-Ass, etc. Maybe the first few times this happened, you could forgive the studio for becoming complacent, but not anymore. "Fool me once, shame on you..."

Looking in on the sophomore class, there's just one film that didn't reach the top five, You Again, which was down just 32% during its second weekend of release, which is awesome. It is also a case of "Too little, too late" as the film managed just $5.72 million over the past three days for a total of $16.61 million after ten.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, You Again, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Case 39, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, The Town, Let Me In, The Social Network, Easy A