Box Office Barometer 10-10-11: What Audiences Want

Real Steel won the weekend, but it didn’t win the war.  The movie grossed $27.3 million against a $115 million budget, making even the most modest movies blush.  The Ides of March came in a distant second at $10.4 million, even though it was looking to stab it’s way to power.  Nobody broke the bank in October, and that’s not unusual…

…but that means Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, and Ryan Gosling can only muster $37.7 million together.  That’s less than Harry Potter can gross in a hiccough.  If you look farther down the list, Brad Pitt’s Moneyball has only earned $49.2 million in three weeks, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen have only managed $17.3 in two weeks.  James Bond proves his ony enemy is himself with a paltry $14.4 million after two weeks, Anna Faris can’t be saved a whole bunch of cameos (Captain America, et al), and Taylor Lautner may be going back to Taylor Swift to save his career after Abduction.

Since the stars aren’t bringing in the crowds does that mean the movies are bad?. Real Steel is garnering favorable reviews, 50/50 is a smart comedy, and Moneyball and Ides of March are Oscsar nominees.  Rouding out the Top 10 are two family funhouses (Dolphin Tale and Lion King) and a probably boring religious pic (Courageous).  There has to be something to get everybody to the theaters.  If audiences are decrying poor content, perhaps they should prove that studios should take risks.  The top ten movies of this year looks like this:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book/Sequel)
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Toy/Sequel)
  3. The Hangover 2 (Sequel)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Ride/Sequel)
  5. Fast Five (Sequel)
  6. Cars 2 (Pixar/Sequel)
  7. Thor (Comic Book)
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger (Comic Book)
  9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Prequel)
  10. Bridesmaids (Apatow)

There’s only one original title and three first installments.  Essentially, the most successful movies are based on previously successful things.  I’m starting to realize that the movie landscape is very similar to SNL or MTV: people believe that things used to be better in the past, but these shows or companies continue to be successful.  It doesn’t look like things are going to change.

Box Office Results [from Deadline]

1. Real Steel (DreamWorks/Disney) NEW [3,440 Theaters]
Friday $8.5M, Saturday $10.8M, Weekend $27.3M, International $22.1M

2. The Ides Of March (Sony) NEW [2,199 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $10.4M

3. Dolphin Tale (Alcon/Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,478 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday #3.7M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $49M

4. Moneyball (Sony) Week 3 [3,018 Theaters]
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.5M, Estimated Cume $49.2M

5. 50/50 (Summit Entertainment) Week 2 [2,479 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.5M (-36%), Cume $17.3M

6. Courageous (Sherwood/Sony) Week 2 [1,161 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.6M (-49%), Cume $15.8M

7. Lion King 3D (Disney) Week 4 [2,267 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.5M, Cume $85.9M

8. Dream House (Universal) Week 2 [2,664 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.4M (-46%), Cume $14.4M

9. What’s Your Number? (Fox) Week 2 [3,011 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $3M (-44%), Estimated Cume $10.3M

10. Abduction (Lionsgate) Week 3 [2,591 Theaters]
Friday $852K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $2.9M, Cume $23.3M

2 Responses to “Box Office Barometer 10-10-11: What Audiences Want”
  1. sportsattitudes says:

    I think the economy is catching up to the movies at long last. I am starting to see less and less people out at lunch and dinner. I think the cost of films at the theatres is excessive. I think the easy access to them “down the road” On Demand or elsewhere makes it more likely now people will wait on those they are “on the fence” seeing in a theatre. I just think it is a matter of disposable income and not reflective of “bad” movie-making or “unbankable” stars.

    • joellikeshats says:

      Yeah, that’s a huge reason. I think that’s definitely why 3D fell out of favor, in addition to the needless and haphazard conversions. But when people are being smart with their money, they aren’t taking risks. And by not taking risks, I think that means seeing the 8th installment of Harry Potter, the Thor adaptation, or an Apatow-branded comedy. Not the obscurely adapted Real Steel, or implicitly trusted George Clooney.

      But, since I’m insulated within the film and television world, I didn’t think of outside factors. I always hear that the entertainment business flourished during the Great Depression, and adjusted for inflation, Gone With The Wind is the highest grossing movie of all time.

      Also, here are two articles that influenced my thinking:

      1. Bill Simmons’ Grantland article demystifying the idea of the movie star using Ryan Reynolds as his example
      2. Gavin Palone’s (Producer of Zombieland and Curb Your Enthusiasm) explanation that when audiences say “There isn’t anything to see,” they mean “Everything seems like something I’ve already seen.”

      Thanks for the feedback.

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