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Superbad Extends Summer

August 20th, 2007

Summer abruptly ends during August, sometimes before the month even really begins. Even in the best years, you only get Summer-like openings during the first two weeks. However, this year we got a third Summer weekend, as Superbad opened with more than Evan Almighty's debut figure in late June. Granted, the overall box office dropped to $130 million, which was 15% decline from last weekend. However, that's still a softer decline than expected, an 18% improvement from last year, and enough to say it is still summertime. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Judd Apatow has the golden touch as everything he touches becomes a hit, at least when it comes to movies. (I bet the people who canceled Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared are kicking themselves now.) His streak continued this week as Superbad, which he produced, opened in first place with $33.05 million. That's better than almost all predictions; it's even better than Sunday's estimate by nearly $2 million and that bodes very well for the film's long term chances. Also suggesting strong legs are the film's reviews, which were close to the level Knocked Up earned and beat The 40-Year Old Virgin. Using those films as a guide, Superbad could earn $150 million at the box office; that's a little optimistic, but $125 million isn't and even if it fails to reach $100 million, it will still be a huge financial success.

Rush Hour 3 did not collapse as badly as expected but its 55% drop-off to $21.35 million is still not something the studio will celebrate. With $87.68 million in the bank after 10 days, the film will have difficulty matching even the more conservative production budget reports. Even if it does well internationally, I can't see the studio producing yet another installment in the franchise.

The Bourne Ultimatum also beat expectations, adding $19.87 million to its total of $164.69 million. At this pace, $200 million domestically will be no trouble to obtain, but may or may not make it there before Ratatouille does.

The winning streak continues as The Simpsons Movie topped expectations, albeit by just a rounding error at $6.83 million. The film now has $165.27 million at the box office, more than $100 million of which probably went to the studio. This means the $75 million production budget has been covered and the P&A budget isn't far behind. Earning a profit with just the domestic theatrical take is something only 1 in 10 films can do, so the studio has to be ecstatic with its run so far, even it is did turn out to be more front-loaded than expected.

The second wide release of the week was the only film in the top five not to beat expectations. It didn't even come close, in fact. The Invasion had more star power than the other two wide releases combined, and a production budget to match it, but it could only manage $5.95 million during its opening. After re-shoots the film reportedly cost $65 million, or more, and there's little hope this film will ever recover those expenses.

Finally we get to The Last Legion, which missed the top ten with just $2.75 million. A tiny per theater average plus terrible reviews equals a very short run and a lot of red ink for the studio.

Moving onto the sophomore class, we see Stardust just missed the top five as it fell 38% to $5.65 million for a total of $19.49 million. That total is terrible for a film that cost $70 million to make, but the sub-40% drop-off suggest very strong word-of-mouth and that should translate into better home market numbers. Should the film make $150 million worldwide, it should earn a profit after its initial push into the home market. On the other hand, Daddy Day Camp will never get there, as it added just $1.95 million over the weekend for a total of $8.92 million after 10-days compared to a production budget that is as high as $76 million by some reports. Skinwalkers didn't cost nearly that much, but with an 80% drop-off to just $103,000 over the weekend and $958,000 in total, it doesn't matter.

One last note, Hairspray reach $100 million over the weekend, the 18th film to do so this year. Apparently some people are treating the film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which means it might be playing in a few theaters for a long, long time. But even if the film didn't earn another dime, the studio must be pleasantly surprised by its success.


Filed under: The Bourne Ultimatum, The Simpsons Movie, Rush Hour 3, Superbad, Hairspray, Stardust, The Invasion, Daddy Day Camp, The Last Legion, Skinwalkers