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Autumn Box Office Starts a Little Soft

September 15th, 2009

The first official weekend of Autumn was not great at the box office, as every single new release missed expectations, some by small margins, others quite dramatically. This was enough to push the total box office down to $92 million, off 6.7% from last weekend and 8.7% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 is still up on 2008 by a significant margin, leading $7.53 billion to $7.00 billion.

I Can Do Bad All By Myself performed almost as predicted, landing in first place with $23.45 million. That was a bit lower than Thursday's prediction, but it was close enough to call a victory. Additionally, the reviews were excellent, at least compared to the rest of Tyler Perry's career, and it is the first film he's directed to earn overall positive reviews. That said, his films have not shown much in the way of legs, so the reviews might not be enough to overcome the Fanboy Effect that has plagued his career as of late.

9 was able to grab second place, albeit with a slightly weaker weekend haul of $10.74 million and $15.16 million since Wednesday. Its five-day figure is within a rounding error of Thursday's prediction and likely enough to make Focus happy. On the other hand, the reviews have softened somewhat, and it could have trouble in terms of legs, but I see a strong run on the home market.

Inglourious Basterds slipped a spot to third with $6.14 million over the weekend, while it became the 20th $100 million hit of the year on Saturday. By this time next week, it should be able to overtake Pulp Fiction as Quentin Tarantino's biggest domestic hit, but it likely won't be in the top five when it does.

All About Steve was a surprise holdover in the top five despite falling nearly exactly 50% from its opening. It added $5.64 million over the weekend for a total of $21.65 million, which puts it on pace to earn just over $30 million total. This is not a great total, but in line with original expectations.

The Final Destination fell from first to fifth with $5.52 million over the weekend and $58.28 million after three. That's enough to become the biggest hit in the franchise and there's little doubt another installment is on the way.

As expected, there was a close battle between Sorority Row and Whiteout; however, instead of fighting for third place with $10 million, they both missed the top five with roughly $5 million. Sorority Row opened with $5.06 million, while its reviews sank to just 28% positive. The only good news here is its price-tag, which by some reports is just $16 million. It might match that domestically, but I wouldn't bet on it. That said, it is very likely that there is an Unrated DVD and Blu-ray in the film's future, and that should help it easily earn enough on the home market to cover its expenses.

On the other hand, Whiteout opened with less ticket sales ($4.92 million) despite opening in more theaters (2,745) and costing a lot more to make (estimated at $40 million). Given its reviews, there's little hope for long legs, especially since it missed the Mendoza Line by a significant margin and theater owners will be itching to dump the film as soon as they are contractually able to.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Gamer was down 64% to $3.29 million over the weekend for a total of $16.26 million after two. Extract held on better, down just 50%, but it also started slower. It earned $2.16 million over the past three days for a total of $8.60 million after ten. Both movies earned nearly identical per theater averages over the weekend, and both will take a major hit in theater count this Friday.


Filed under: Inglourious Basterds, The Final Destination, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, All About Steve, 9, Gamer, Extract, Sorority Row, Whiteout