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Summer's Final Tally Sets Records

September 8th, 2009

Labor Day long weekend is over and, as we already knew, the summer of 2009 set records. Over the summer months, the box office earned $4.31 billion, which was well ahead of 2007's previous record of $4.16 billion. Granted, as mentioned before, this summer not only had two years of inflation, but also one additional weekend. Even so, there's a lot to cheer about. This past weekend, the industry pulled in $99 million over three days and $125 million over four. This is a huge amount compared to same weekend last year; however, because summer lasted one week longer, this weekend last year was the weekend after the Labor Day long weekend, so the comparison falls apart. Year-to-date, 2009 has earned $7.41 billion, which is 7.8% more than at the same point in 2008. The lead in terms of raw dollars is more than $500 million, and it would take a massive collapse for this lead to evaporate. Hopefully that will not happen, but given the performance of the three new releases this week, it is not impossible.

Terrible reviews, a genre that is not known for long legs, and being a sequel wasn't enough to kill The Final Destination. In fact, the film remained on top of the box office chart with $12.37 million over three days and $15.30 million over four. This has lifted its total box office to $50.44 million, which is more than it cost to make by a significant margin. At this point, it would be nearly impossible for the film to not make a profit, meaning there will be yet another installment in the franchise.

Inglourious Basterds remained in second place with $11.63 million from Friday to Sunday and $14.95 million if you add in Monday. After 18 days of release, the film now has $95.15 million in total, and it will hit $100 million this coming weekend.

Amazingly, All About Steve landed in third place with $11.24 million / $14.06 million, which is a little better than expectations. Despite having some of the worst reviews of the year, the film had the best per theater average in the top ten. Low quality expectations that are common for romantic comedies, but a Tomatometer score of just 5% positive is still shockingly low and suggests really poor legs, but it could end its run with $40 million, or at least come respectably close, which would be more than enough to show a profit sometime during the film's home market run.

Many thought Gamer would win the box office race over the weekend. That didn't happen. In fact, the film only managed $9.16 million / $11.20 million during its opening weekend, which is at the very low end of expectations. Its reviews are in the typical range for a September release, that is to say they are terrible, and with an equally weak per theater average, I don't expect it to last long in theaters.

It was a milestone weekend for District 9, which reached $100 million over the weekend. The film added $7.08 million / $9.11 million giving it a total of $103.39 million and making it the 19th film to make it to that milestone this year.

Extract opened on the lower end of expectations with $4.34 million / $5.51 million. This is better than Mike Judge's last two films, and with overall positive reviews it could last a little while in theaters. With a production budget of just $7.5 million, there's little chance that this film won't show a profit early in its home market run.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Halloween 2 just missed the top five with $5.75 million over the weekend for a total of $26.93 million after two. This is a severe 65% drop-off, which is even more extreme since it was a holiday weekend, but it was an inexpensive movie to make, so it is well on its way to profitability. On the other hand, Taking Woodstock will need some help to break even. So far the film has made just $6.44 million after Monday's box office, including $1.48 million over the three-day portion of the weekend.

One final note, District 9 wasn't the only movie to reach a milestone over the weekend as Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen finally made it to $400 million. It took 74 days, which is the longest ever for a film to reach that milestone during its initial box office release. (Both Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and E.T. took longer, but they reached $400 million after they were re-released into theaters.


Filed under: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, The Final Destination, Halloween 2, All About Steve, Gamer, Extract, Taking Woodstock