Follow us on

Transporter Delivers a Victory on Labor Day

September 6th, 2005

Most films were able to beat expectations over the weekend and that meant that Summer 2005 was able to end on a high note, sort of. The 3-day weekend was down by 3.9% from last weekend, which is no surprise given the nature of the Labor Day long weekend, but it was up 5.4% from last year. Over the four day weekend 2005 was still higher, but by just 1.0% meaning ticket sales were down from last year. Overall Summer 2005 was a massive disappointment bringing in just $3.53 billion, down 9% from last year and the lowest level since 2001's $3.34 billion. While there are a lot of possible reasons being floated around for the slump, the most likely reason is the huge number of really bad movies, several of which were released in the past few weeks.

The Transporter 2 beat even the most bullish predictions with an impressive $16.5 million over the 3-day weekend and $22.1 million overall, easily enough for first place and almost as much as the original earned in total. Both of those numbers are records for a Labor Day long weekend opening, topping 2003's Jeepers Creepers II by just over $1 million over 3 days and just under $2 million over 4. As for its long-term prospects, reviews will neither help nor hurt the film too much as they are exactly what the original earned, but with the faster start it should beat previous expectations.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin also beat expectations, but by a lesser degree with $13.3 million over the 3-day weekend and $16.5 million including Monday. Let's assume the studio spent $30 million on P&A and receives two thirds of the total box office so far. If both of those reasonable assumptions are accurate, then the film is one week away from showing a profit domestically, which is not a very common event. Longer-term, the film should hit $100 million domestically, while likely struggle internationally outside a couple of markets, and become a major hit on the home market.

Next up is The Constant Gardener, which not only finished two places higher than expected, but also earned more with $8.7 million / $11.0 million. With great reviews and a more mature audience the film should have plenty of legs, and if it can garner some award season buzz, then it will really shine.

Red Eye is the first film in the top five to miss expectations, but with $7.6 million / $9.4 million it's close enough that nobody should be worried. The film has already earned $45.5 million at the box office and is closing in on profitability, but will likely have to wait until early in its international run before that happens.

The only film to really miss expectations was The Brothers Grimm; its 4-day total of $9.0 million barely matched its 3-day expectations while its 3-day total of $7.1 million was less than half its opening box office. If it wasn't for recent films like Stealth and The Island this film would be remembered as one of the summer's most expensive bombs. However, if it can have an international run closer to the latter film, then it could still show a profit sometime during the home market.

Underclassman was able to open in the midrange of expectations and normally that would be a good thing; however, in this case expectations were so low that it will still be considered a bomb. The film earned $2.5 million / $3.1 million and with reviews still in single digits, it won't last in theatres long. Even so, Underclassman had a Sith-like opened compared to our next film.

A Sound of Thunder will be remembered as one of the most expensive bombs of all-time, if it's remembered at all. At a cost of $80 million to make, the film opened with just $920,000 over the first three days and $1.2 million in total. With some of the worst reviews of the year, it is unlikely the film will last very long at the box office. Also of note, this film was made by the same production company that was responsible for Battlefield Earth, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, and many, many other financial flops; it's no wonder they went bankrupt.

Submitted by:

Filed under: The 40 Year-old Virgin, Red Eye, The Transporter 2, The Brothers Grimm, The Constant Gardener, Underclassman, A Sound of Thunder