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Moviegoers Can't Stay Away

April 28th, 2009

The final weekend of April is usually slow, but that was not the case this year, as nearly every film in the top five beat expectations, sometimes by large margins. That helped the overall box office total climb by 5% from last weekend to $114 million. More importantly, that represents a leap of 25% from the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 has now made $3.06 billion, which is 17% above last year's pace, and that is a phenomenal number. The real test starts this weekend, as 2009 goes head-to-head with 2008's record-setting run, but if it can run even, it will be seen as a major victory.

It's no surprise that Obsessed won the weekend; however, the ease at which it did it was, as the film dominated the competition by earning $28.61 million over its opening weekend. This is $10 million more than Thursday's prediction, and more than original expectations for its total run. Assuming the film didn't cost too much more than estimates, which range from $20 to $40 million, then it will have no trouble showing a profit. It's just a matter of when. Will it make it there internationally? Will it have to wait until the home market? Will it be able to get there domestically? We will know more this time next week once we get a grip on its legs, but given its reviews, I'm not overly optimistic.

17 Again slipped to second place with a near perfect weekend haul of $11.52 million, giving the film $39.82 million after two. I have a hard time believing this film cost $40 million to make, so it is likely that it is well on its way to profitability, it is also just a matter of when.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was Fighting, which placed third with $11.02 million. This was on the high end of expectations, and even with weak reviews, it should have little trouble making the studio happy. That said, I don't think it will be remembered fondly by many, and will be mostly forgotten by the time it reaches the home market.

The Soloist landed within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction, pulling in $9.72 million over the weekend in just 2,024 theaters. This gives it a per theater average just below $5,000, which is not enough to suggest any real strength to expand, nor is it weak enough to suggest theater owns will be itching to drop it as soon as contractually obligated. Call it solidly average. Likewise, the film's reviews are good, but not great, and are currently exactly at the 60% positive needed to rate overall positive on Rotten Tomatoes. The only concern is the price-tag; there have been reports that it cost $60 million to make, and if that is true, it will be hard for the film to recoup its costs any time soon.

On the other hand, Earth was a profitable venture before it even opened here thanks to its run in international markets like Germany. The film started with a record-setting debut of $4.02 million in 1,804 theaters, which is the biggest opening day for a documentary, and the widest release for a documentary. However, this result was obviously boosted by Earth Day, as the film fell nearly 60% on Thursday, and didn't quite recover over the weekend as I was anticipating. That said, an opening weekend of $8.83 million and $14.47 million in total is still very impressive, and with some of the best reviews of the year could lead to strong legs.

Moving onto the sophomore class, State of Play fell from second to seventh, down more than 50% to $6.85 million over the weekend for a total of $25.06 million after two. With a reported production budget of $60 million, the film will need some help internationally to show a profit. Next up was Crank 2 - High Voltage, which tumbled more than 60% to $2.62 million for a ten-day running tally of $11.74 million. Only a low production budget and a built-in home market audience will save this movie.


Filed under: Obsessed, 17 Again, State of Play, Earth, The Soloist, Fighting, Crank 2: High Voltage