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Watchmen Tops 2009 Chart but Below Record Levels

March 10th, 2009

Watchmen opened with the biggest weekend box office of the year so far, but it was below the record-breaking levels some predicted. That said, the overall box office was still up 4% from last weekend, and more importantly, up 8% from the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 has brought in $1.96 billion, which is about 14% more than last year's pace. This is down from earlier in the year, but still very impressive nonetheless.

Watchmen opened in first place with $55.21 million, which is exactly what I predicted it would open with... over here. The consensus among analysts had the film pulling in more than $70 million while setting records along the way, which caused me to increase my prediction on Thursday. (I have to start trusting my gut more, because the same thing happened with The Jonas Brothers, but more on that later.) Looking at how front-loaded the film's weekend run was, even with reviews that are the second best for any wide release this year, I think its legs will be shorter than earlier anticipated. $100 million is practically guaranteed at this point, while $150 million is the long-term goal. I don't know if it will get there, but with a reported budget of $120 million, hopefully it will at least come close.

Madea Goes to Jail recovered over the weekend, down just 47% to $8.53 million, while the film has $76.24 million after three. Had it had a sophomore stint drop-off that was closer to 47% than the 61% drop-off it had, we would be talking about the film's chances at reaching $100 million domestically. As it is, it should make it $90 million, but I don't think the studio will be willing to give it a shove to the century mark.

Taken also beat expectations, climbing a spot to third with $7.33 million over the weekend and $117.93 million after more than a month of release. It should start shedding theaters at an accelerated pace, but it could earn $140 to $150 million. Simply amazing. I'm at a lack of words to describe this film's run so far.

Slumdog Millionaire struggled over the weekend, down 43% to $6.81 million, and it now has a total of $125.32 million. Of the five films nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, only The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has made more at the domestic box office, and that will change shortly.

And our "Huh?" moment of the week... Paul Blart: Mall Cop returned to the top five after a three-week absence. This is not something that is supposed to happen. Over the past three days, the movie made $4.15 million and now has a total of $133.59 million after 52 days of release. Kevin James' career box office is nearly $700 million from six movies in just five years. Not counting voicework, he has four $100 million hits in a row. That's an amazing track record, and one that makes him one of the hottest actors around.

Moving onto the sophomore class, The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience fell 77% to $2.83 million over the weekend for a total of $16.84 million after two. At the beginning of February, I figured this movie would make $20 million during its opening weekend and another $20 million during the rest of its run, which was lower than most analysts were predicting. However, it turned out that was too optimistic, as the movie might not make $20 million during its entire run. Then again, adding in the home market sales, and it will likely still make a tidy profit for the studio. The only other sophomore film this past weekend was Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which held up better, but not by enough to make a real difference. The film was down 69%, earning $1.49 million over the weekend for a total of $7.25 million after two. I can't image there being another film made in this franchise, not unless it goes direct-to-DVD.


Filed under: Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Slumdog Millionaire, Watchmen, Madea Goes To Jail, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li