Rango led the way at the box office this weekend, easily capturing the top spot over last weekend’s champion Hall Pass. The Johnny Depp animated adventure was helped by glowing reviews and quirky trailers that peaked moviegoers interest. Three other films also debuted this weekend, with two of those landing in the 2nd and 3rd place spots, while the other film opening outside the top ten. I was mixed on my predictions this weekend, as I was way off on the number one and three films, but I predicted four of the films in the top five films, placing three of them in the correct finish. Here’s how the weekend broke down:
Debuting in 1st place is the Johnny Depp animated film Rango with a gross of $38 million (I predicted a 1st place finish and a gross of $31 million). The animated adventure had a per theatre average of $9,701, which was easily the highest per theatre average in the top ten. The quirky western about a lizard trying to save a town was a film that audiences wanted to see. I was not overwhelmed by the marketing campaign and it felt more like a film I would see at home then in theatres, but it goes to show you how wrong I was. Rango can now claim to have the highest opening weekend of 2011, surpassing The Green Hornet’s opening weekend gross of $33.5 million. What will be a challenge for Rango is the budget of the film, which is estimated at $135 million. I don’t know if it will make back its budget from its domestic gross, but when the worldwide totals come in, I’m sure this will be a profitable film.
Debuting in 2nd place is the Matt Damon//Emily Blunt thriller The Adjustment Bureau with a gross of $20.9 million (I predicted a 2nd place finish and a gross of $17 million). The Adjustment Bureau had an excellent per theatre average of $7,375 and showing that the film was definitely the film of choice for adults. The film had a slick marketing campaign and the posters for the film definitely had an Alfred Hitchcock vibe to them. This is Damon’s best opening where he was the leading man in awhile, as the gross of The Adjustment Bureau was higher than any of the films that I used in my prediction. See below:
2005 – The Brothers Grimm – $15 million opening weekend
2009 – The Informant! – $10.4 million opening weekend
2010 – Green Zone – $14.3 million opening weekend
2011 – The Adjustment Bureau – $20.9 million opening weekend
This opening is a good test for Damon as the film was marketed mainly on his presence, and for this film, he was able to deliver the goods in terms of a strong opening weekend at the box office. We’ll see how The Adjustment Bureau does next weekend, as it will face some competition in terms of its adult audience from the new film Battle: Los Angeles.
Debuting in 3rd place is the “Beauty and the Beast” update Beastly with a gross of $10.1 million (I predicted a 10th place finish and a gross of $5.5 million). Beastly had a per theatre average of $5,182, so CBS Films has to be moderately happy with the opening. Beastly was a film that kept getting pushed back and back, and when critics reviewed the film we found out why – it was because it was not very good. But CBS Films cast stars in Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, who would not command massive salaries and were able were therefore able to keep the budget in line, as Beastly reportedly cost only $17 million to make. Even though Beastly was only shown 1,952 theatres (the lowest theatre count of all the films in the top ten), it successfully targeted its teenage girl audience and is more than halfway to making back its budget. I don’t think Beastly will be making more than $20-$25 million when all is said and done, but it will make a profit, and that’s the important thing at the end of the day to studios.
Dropping from 1st place to 4th place is the Owen Wilson comedy Hall Pass with a gross of $9 million (I predicted a 4th place finish and a gross of $8.1 million). Hall Pass had a per theatre average of $3,056, and was down 33.4% from its opening weekend. The low percentage drop is a good sign for Hall Pass as it means audiences are liking the comedy, but because the per theatre average is low, I don’t see this being a film that will have a long run in theatres. After ten days, Hall Pass has grossed $27 million from a $36 million budget, so Warner Bros. will be making a profit on this film by next weekend.
Dropping from 2nd place to 5th place is Gnomeo and Juliet with a gross of $6.9 million (I predicted a 3rd place finish and a gross of $8.8 million). Gnomeo and Juliet had a per theatre average of $2,316 and was down only 48.4% from last weekend. Gnomeo and Juliet got hurt by the release of Rango this weekend, which was to be expected as people who are going to theatres tend to want to see the newer release of a film in a genre, rather than one that has been in theatres for awhile. After four weeks, Gnomeo & Juliet has grossed $83.6 million, which makes Touchstone Pictures very happy.
Dropping from 3rd place to 6th place is the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown with a gross of $6.6 million (I predicted a 5th place finish and a gross of $7.25 million). Unknown had a per theatre average of $2,273, and was down 47.3% from last weekend. Like I said last weekend, Unknown is not performing like the recent Liam Neeson thriller Taken, as Unknown is suffering steeper declines every weekend. After three weeks of release, Unknown has grossed $53.1 million from a $30 million budget, so it is making money for Warner Bros. at this point.
Moving up from 8th place to 7th place is the Academy Award winning The King’s Speech with a gross of $6.5 million (I predicted a 6th place finish and a gross of $7.15 million). The King’s Speech had a per theatre average of $2,902 and the film was down 11.4% from last weekend, which is the best hold of any film in the top ten for the sixth weekend in a row. The strong hold can no doubt be attributed to its Best Picture and Best Actor wins at the Oscars last weekend. After fifteen weeks of release, The King’s Speech has grossed $123.8 million from a budget of only $15 million.
Dropping from 5th place to 8th place is the Adam Sandler//Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go With It with a gross of $6.5 million (I predicted a 7th place finish and a gross of $6.4 million). Just Go with It had a per theatre average of $2,226 and was down 38.2% from last weekend. After four weeks of release, Just Go with It has grossed $88.2 million from a budget of $80 million.
Dropping from 4th place to 9th place is the sci-fi adventure I Am Number Four with a gross of $5.7 million (I predicted a 9th place finish and a gross of $5.9 million). I Am Number Four had a per theatre average of $1,964 and was down 48.2% from last weekend’s gross. After three weeks of release, I Am Number Four has grossed $46.4 million and it still has some work to do if it wants to make back its budget of $60 million.
Rounding out the top ten is the film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which suffered a drop from 6th place last week to 10th place this week. The music documentary that chronicles the rise of pop star Justin Bieber grossed $4.3 million this weekend (I predicted an 8th place finish and a gross of $6 million). Justin Bieber: Never Say Never had a per theatre average of $1,919 and was down 53.9% from last weekend. The per theatre average and percentage drop from weekend to weekend were the worst of any of the films in the top ten, which should be expected from the 10th place film. Like I said last weekend, I’ll give the film credit, as it has outperformed almost everyone’s expectations, but I think we’ve hit the point of the release where the hardcore fans have seen it enough times in theatres, and will wait to buy it on DVD. After four weeks of release, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never has grossed $68.8 million from a budget of $13 million.
Now normally I don’t list the 11th place film, but I am this weekend, because it is where the new film Take Me Home Tonight debuted. The Topher Grace comedy grossed an absolutely dismal $3.5 million (I predicted an 11th place finish and a gross of $5 million). Take Me Home Tonight had an absolutely brutal per theatre average of $1,747. How bad is this opening weekend? One of last year’s biggest bombs, MacGruber, had a stronger opening weekend with a gross of $4 million (although Take Me Home Tonight did have a better per theatre average). Unfortunately Take Me Home Tonight was not given a lot of support by the studio, as it did have a dismal theatre count (Relativity released the film in 2,003 theatres) and Topher Grace is not someone who can open a picture, although I’m sure the studio was hoping this would be his breakout film. The film is a flop and will be on DVD shelves in the very near future.
In limited release:
HappyThankYouMorePlease – This film is about a group of young people trying to find their place in this world and the meaning of their own existences (it’s a comedy). HappyThankYouMorePlease grossed $30,000 from 2 theatres giving it a per theatre average of $15,000, which was the best per theatre average of any film in release.
The Human Resources Manager, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and I Saw the Devil have not reported their grosses as of this writing.
So to recap, here were my predictions:
Rango – $31 million
The Adjustment Bureau – $17 million
Gnomeo & Juliet – $8.8 million
Hall Pass – $8.1 million
Unknown – $7.25 million
And here are the actual numbers:
Rango – $38 million
The Adjustment Bureau – $20.3 million
Beastly – $10.1 million
Hall Pass – $9 million
Gnomeo and Juliet – $6.9 million
My predictions were off by $17.7 million.
Next weekend, Rango looks to be the #1 film for the second weekend in a row against three new films: the alien invasion film Battle: Los Angeles, the animated sci-fi film Mars Needs Moms and Little Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman. Check out Biff Bam Pop next Friday to read my predictions!