Monday, 30 May 2011

Box office news! Hangover II breaks records whilst Pirates steals global box office again and Panda’s Kung Fu is strongest abroad.

As there are holidays around the world tomorrow the estimates will include be around a little longer, so no charts until tomorrow at the earliest.

The biggest news of the weekend, in N. America, is the record breaking debut of The Hangover part II. With an estimated  FIVE day take of $138m making it the biggest comedy debut of all time there. Put another way in just 5 days the film is expected to have grossed about half as much as The Hangover did in its entire run! Also impressive is the way the film has been earning its gold. Taking $31.6m on its opening Thursday (Including midnight previews) the Friday gross Barely budged at all at $30m; Again the takings almost froze at $29.7 for Saturday and a holiday boosted $26.7m for Sunday! All figures are estimates of course and Monday’s gross is projected at the $20m mark. All of this shows that despite the terrible reviews the word of mouth on the film appears to be pretty strong; a view further supported by an impressive A- Cinemascore rating.

The number 2 film was Kung Fu Panda 2. I’m currently half way through a piece about why I thought releasing that film head to head with The Hangover pt II was a risk, and the gross for that film, whilst certainly good, appears to support those concerns. Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed $48m for the 3 day weekend, $54.6m since Thursday and is projected to have grossed $68.2m by the end of Monday. Now don’t let anyone tell you $68.2m in 5 days is bad, because it aint (Please let my first film make that much money) but given that the first Panda made $60m in 3 days, 3 years ago without the extra price of 3D, it is below expectations. (Which were more in the $80m+ range over 3 days) I’ll be going further into that in my Kung Fu Panda 2 piece later on, but suffice it to say that a company whose biggest hits rely on at least 40% of their grosses coming from non families and people over the age of 13, releasing a film against the most anticipated film of the year for 17 – 30 year olds (and doubtless many 13 – 16 year olds, given the American ratings system) seems to have made a miscalculation to me. (Rough maths to drive this home, a typical Dreamworks movie could expect 40% of its audience to be non families. Originally analysts were looking at a 3 day weekend of $80m for Panda. It ended up with a 3 day of $48m; now you take 40% off $80m you get... $48m! Ta da! I know it isn’t that simple, but do think it is relevant.  The film has earned strong reviews and an especially impressive A Cinemascore! Of course this does add hope that the film will, as most good animations do, play well for a long period and make up its gross in the long haul.

Dropping from 1st to 3rd, but only sustaining a 56% drop (good for modern blockbusters and similar to films 3 & 4) Pirates Of The Caribbean: OST with $39.3 for the weekend and a projected $50m for the 4 day total. This is pretty good news for the film with 2 big movies having just come out against it and means it could make a far more respectable North American tally than was originally thought.

In fourth Bridesmaids continues to wow all with its staying power, especially given the direct competition of another R rated wedding comedy with The hangover sequel. Dropping just 21% from last weekend the film took $16.4m to bring its total to just under $85m. The only questions remaining are how much over $100m the $32.5m costing film can go , and can it repeat the Hangover’s difficult trick of translating North American comedy success to global box office success.

Rounding out the top 5 was Marvel Studios’ Thor with $9.4m, bringing its North American total to $159.7m. that’s perhaps better than may have been expected in that market, given the general aversion to Fantasy and the tricky prospect of taking science fiction, fantasy, other worlds, aliens and having them fit into the same world as Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Whilst the International gross had all but guaranteed Thor’s return wouldn’t be limited to next year’s Avengers film, the good showing in Marvel Studios’ home market seals the deal.

All of this [including excellent specialty box office for Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, $1.9m & a screen average of $33,000; and Terrence Malik’s Tree of Life $352,000 & a screen average of $88,000!] led to a record breaking Memorial day weekend. With box office project to reach $270m, which easily beats the current record of $254m from 2007.

The bigger picture

The international box office was again dominated by the fourth Pirates of The Caribbean movie, which has sailed past the $600m mark in just 12 days! Estimates put its international gross for the weekend at $122.9m! It’s expected to have $646.5m in the bank by the end of Monday. Even with the high cost of making these films it seems certain now that the film will have made enough to warrant a sequel within  another week, let alone by the end of its run.

Not to be outdone The Hangover appears to have stolen 2nd place with its opening in 40 markets, whilst Kung Fu Panda is, perhaps the biggest winner of them all with a multi record breaking weekend in just 11 markets! The Hangover Pt II estimates are $59m, including a massive $16.4m from the UK, a record opening for a comedy.

Kung Fu Panda kaboomed its way to an amazing $57m from just 11 territories; breaking the highest ever animated opening in 7 of those markets. Following on from the first movie’s record breaking run in China Panda 2 kicked up China’s biggest ever 3 day weekend for a foreign film with $18.5m.

So that’s $177m for The Hangover II, around $162m for Pirates 4 and $110.5m for Kung Fu Panda 2. Not a bad weekend for the top 3 movies eh?

Charts and final figures as soon as they are available.


  1. My immidiate reaction is that it is a lousy picckings of films right now. It is not like I longed for anyone of these top three films. Well, perhaps Kung Fu Panda. No, I think my film night with the kids beat all of the above.Ponyo and Spirited Away seem like a a much better alternative. Lord bringeth me something worth watching soon is all I'm saying!

  2. Well let's be honest Met, an evening with 2 Hayao Miyazaki movies beats almost any trip to the cinema doesn't it?! :)

    Pirates 4 is absoloute garbage so you're doing well to avoid that. I do like Kung Fu Panda though and we're all looking forward to seeing that this week.

    We're actually having a Miyazake week! we're watching all of his films, and 2 TV shows; Panda Go Panda and Sherlock Hound! Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess mononoke (my youngest is too scared an confused by that one :) ) Can't wait