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Spartans Too Much for Rambo

January 29th, 2008

We are one month into 2008 and so far there are a lot more positives than negatives at the box office. On the negative side, the box office was down 7% from last weekend to $144 million. But on the positive side, that was an increase of 21% from the same weekend last year and year-to-date 2008 has a 16% lead on 2007. Granted, it is early and it is unlikely the box office will remain this hot for long, but it is still good news.

Meet the Spartans was able to beat expectations and come out on top despite a genre that has shown weakness lately and reviews that make it an early contender for worst movie of the year. It was very, very close with Meet the Spartans earning $18.51 million, which was barely more than $300,000 more than its nearest competitor. This is on par with Epic Movie and Date Movie. However, these films have been showing weaker and weaker legs and there is a chance this one will make less during the rest of its run than it made over the first three days. Regardless, there will be another similar movie released this time next year, or as soon as they can bang one out after the writer's strike ends.

Rambo was marginally ahead of expectations, pulling in $18.20 million, but it still had to settle for second place. Poor reviews, sequel effect, and the massive shift in the industry will likely lead to a lower multiplier than other films in the Rambo franchise managed and it might not even match its production budget. Profitability depends heavily on the international markets and the home market, but it should get there eventually.

27 Dresses landed within a rounding error of predictions with $13.36 million over the weekend for a total of $45.11 million after 10 days. This is already more than original expectations and enough to call the film a solid midlevel hit.

On the one hand, Cloverfield is the biggest hit of the year so far and the owner of a few records. On the other hand, it fell more than 68% during its second weekend of release to $12.71 million. That's not the biggest sophomore collapse ever -- not even the biggest sophomore collapse for a number one film, in fact -- but with a running tally of $64.31 million it does put $100 million out of reach.

Untraceable grabbed the final spot in the top five with $11.35 million, which is within a rounding error of expectations. Reviews continued to plummet and are now in the disaster range and combined with the genre this suggest short legs.

How She Move missed the top ten with $3.96 million despite earning the best-reviews of any wide release of the week. However, this was to be expected as strong reviews can't compensate for a weak ad campaign. Given the film's per theater average, I can't see many theater owners keeping this movie any longer than they are contractually obligated to and that could lead to a sub-$10 million final box office.

There was only one movie in the sophomore class that failed to make the top five and it was Mad Money. That film fell just over 40% to $4.58 million over the weekend and $15.25 million after two.

Also of note, there were more than a few major milestones reached this past week as Juno hit $100 million over the weekend, just. Alvin and the Chipmunks reached $200 million early in the weekend while National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets made it there late last week. Finally, I am Legend has reached $250 million during its run.


Filed under: I am Legend, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Juno, Cloverfield, Rambo, Meet the Spartans, Untraceable, Mad Money, How She Move, 27 Dresses