Box Office Barometer 8-1-11: Somebody Got Left Behind

Cowboys & Aliens won the weekend (or tied for #1!), just barely beating out The Smurfs.  It made much less than the $45 million weekend that was predicted ($36.2 million, to be exact).  Why did it underperform? Was it the leads?  The concept? The quality?  The answer became apparent while watching the previews before it and the list of movies that are coming out in December: there are just too many of the same movies out at the same time.

Jaws started the summer blockbuster back in 1975, and it’s been that way ever since.  With many movie studios all aiming for the same thing, it’s inevitable that a few will get left behind.  Starting with the June 28 weekend onward, audiences saw Transformer: Dark of the Moon, Horrible Bosses, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and Captain America: The First Avenger come out, leading up to this weekend’s Cowboys & Aliens.  Conan would have lasted on The Tonight Show with that lead-in.  With all those movies still in theaters, perhaps people put those higher on their priority lists.

As for December, it looks like a few might get left out like Cowboys.  In order of release, here are all the movies that will come out in December: Garry Marshall’s “sequel” to Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, (rom-com); Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (family); Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (action); Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (action); The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (mystery); The Adventures of Tin-Tin (family/action/3D); We Bought A Zoo (Cameron Crowe); and War Horse (a Steven Spielberg joint).  They can’t all break the bank.

It’s clear that movie studios have broken down release dates into a science: Summer is for blockbusters, December is for Oscar-contenders, spring is for movies that aren’t quite blockbusters, and February is for movies that could be direct-to-DVD.  But, when you have to contend against a series juggernaut, a saga-concluding finale, and a well-known superhero, there’s not much room for something that isn’t that different.  Just look at Horrible Bosses.

Box Office Results [from Deadline]

1. Cowboys & Aliens (DreamWorks/Universal) NEW [3,750 Runs]
Friday $12.9M, Saturday $13M, Estimated Weekend $36.2M

1. The Smurfs – 3D (Sony) NEW [3,395 Runs]
Friday $13.4M, Saturday $12.7M, Estimated Weekend $36.2M

3. Captain America – 3D (Marvel/Disney/Paramount) Week 2 [3,715 Runs]
Friday $7.8M, Saturday $9.9M, Weekend $24.9M (-62%), Estimated Cume $116.7M

4. Harry Potter/Hallows Pt 2 – 3D (Warner Bros) Week 3 [4,145 Runs]
Friday $6.6M, Saturday $8.5M, Weekend $21.9M, Cume $318.4M

5. Crazy, Stupid, Love (Warner Bros) NEW [3,020 Runs]
Friday $7M, Weekend $19.3M

6. Friends With Benefits (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,926 Runs]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $9.3M (-48%), Cume $38.2M

7. Horrible Bosses (New Line/Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,510 Runs]
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $7.1M, Cume $96.2M

8. Transformers 3 – 3D (Paramount) Week 5 [2,604 Runs]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.9M, Estimated Cume $337.8M

9. Zookeeper (Sony) Week 4 [2,418 Runs]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.2M, Estimated Cume $68.7M

10. Cars 2 – 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 6 [1,763 Runs]
Friday $671K, Saturday $921K, Weekend $2.3M, Estimated Cume $182M


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