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Nine Helps '09 Strive to Become Number One

August 18th, 2009

Nine was the lucky number over the weekend as District 9 topped the charts with better than expected results. Also, nine of the ten film talked about in Thursday's column met or exceeded expectations. This helped the box office bring in $142 million overall, which was only 3% lower than last weekend. More importantly, it was 14% higher than the same weekend last year, which was much better than expected. Year-to-date, 2009 has earned $6.86 billion in total revenue, which is 6.6% higher than last year's pace.

Not only did District 9 win the box office race over the weekend, it did so with a stronger than expected opening of $37.35 million. Additionally, its reviews were amazing at 88% positive. Even the film's internal multiplier was better than anticipated at 2.64. It has already topped its reported $30 million production budget and it should have no trouble showing a profit by the time it reaches the home market, if not sooner. It could also reach $100 million domestically, with a little luck.

Speaking of $100 million, G.I. Joe has very likely already made it to that milestone, as it ended the weekend with $98.58 million. This includes a sophomore stint of $22.32 million, which is just shy of 60% less than its opening; however, this collapse was expected and it was within the range predicted on Thursday.

The Time Traveler's Wife opened in third place with $18.62 million, which is within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction and should be enough to keep the studio happy. Its reviews, on the other hand, are not satisfying and suggest poor word-of-mouth, weak legs and soft home market sales. Assuming it didn't cost a stupidly large amount to make, it should still show a profit, eventually.

Julie & Julia added $12.06 million over the weekend, which matches Thursday's prediction nearly perfectly. At this pace, the film should end its run with $70 million, more or less.

G-Force added $6.92 million over the weekend for a total of $99.06 million after four. It may have been able to reach $100 million on Monday, but if it didn't, it will have no trouble reaching that milestone tonight.

As expected, The Goods placed sixth with $5.64 million. The film had the worst reviews of the five wide releases this week, and with a per theater average of just $3,070, I can't imagine a lot of theater owners will be itching to keep it much longer than they are contractually obligated. Look for it to disappear by the end of the month.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince added $5.14 million to take its running tally to $283.88 million. The film is more than $10 million ahead of The Order of the Phoenix's pace, but that film made $5.43 million during the same weekend in its run, so I don't think this film will be able to maintain such a wide lead over the coming weeks. This will likely prevent it from reaching $300 million in total, at least during its initial box office run. Maybe the studio will re-release all the films just before the last one comes out in theaters, and who knows how much it will make if they do.

The Ugly Truth earned $4.45 million over the weekend and now has $77.45 million after four. It could reach $90 million at the box office, which is great for its genre and more than enough to show a profit.

In ninth place was Ponyo with $3.59 million in 927 theaters. A per theater average of $3,868 is hardly worthy of celebration, but at least it was in the middle of the five wide releases from the past weekend. Excellent reviews and a likely Oscar nomination should help it become a bigger hit on the home market.

Rounding out the top ten was Funny People with $3.01 million over the weekend and $47.91 million after three. The film should reach $50 million by this time next week, but that's as far as it will go.

Missing the top ten was Bandslam, which is a little puzzling given its star and its reviews. Vanessa Hudgens isn't the biggest movie star out there, but she should have more drawing power than this from her performances in the High School Musical franchise. Also, the film earned 81% positive reviews, which is amazing, especially for this time of the year. However, it was only able to reach 13th place with $2.23 million. There's always the home market.

Moving onto the sophomore class, the only such film I haven't already discussed was A Perfect Getaway, which slipped to 12th place with $2.86 million over the weekend for a total of $11.56 million after two. That was barely a 50% drop-off, which is good compared to most films of its genre, and with a low production budget, I think the studio will be satisfied.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, G-Force, District 9, Julie & Julia, The Ugly Truth, The Time Traveler's Wife, Funny People, A Perfect Getaway, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, Gake no ue no Ponyo, Bandslam