Sunday, 13 November 2011

Box office news; Immortals takes number 1 with $32m, but Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill barely beats out Puss In Boots in North America...

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Tarsem Singh’s Immortals may not be wowing the critics (38% / 5 score on Rotten Tomatoes; 47 on Metacritic) but it still managed to find $32m worth of business to take the number 1 spot in North America. It’s definitely a good news / bad news situation though. On the one hand an opening over $30m is not to be sneezed at; but on the other hand Relativity (however much Tarsem didn’t like it)   have been using 300 to sell this film since day 1 and 300 opened to $70m 4.5 years ago. Still it is definitely a pick up for Tarsem Singh who saw Snow White & The Huntsman steal yet another march on his Mirror, Mirror as the Snow White film most people are interested this weekend. Having stolen headlines with casting, images and finally the trailer this week, SWATH has raced to 5,193,480 YouTube views in less than 48 hours! (More on that at this link)... 

Snow White & The Huntsman Trailer passes 2.3 million YouTube hits in a day! UPDATED now 5.1m

 It is also a good opening for Henry Cavill and has given a fair number of  viewers (who for reasons unknown have not seen Cavill's excellent work in TV show 'The Tudors' a glimpse at the new Superman.

The film pulled 66% of its takings from 3D screenings and managed to grab the elusive “young” audience. 60% of the audience were male, which is perhaps not as high as some would like o suggest. (There was an impression from some films like this are almost exclusively watched by males.)

“Visionary director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) and producers Gianni Nunnari (300), Mark Canton (300) and Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter) unleash an epic tale of treachery, vengeance and destiny in Immortals, a stylish and spectacular 3-D adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful. The brutal and bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his murderous Heraklion army are rampaging across Greece in search of the long lost Bow of Epirus. With the invincible Bow, the king will be able to overthrow the Gods of Olympus and become the undisputed master of his world. With ruthless efficiency, Hyperion and his legions destroy everything in their wake, and it seems nothing will stop the evil king's mission. As village after village is obliterated, a stonemason named Theseus (Henry Cavill) vows to avenge the death of his mother in one of Hyperion's raids. When Theseus meets the Sybelline Oracle, Phaedra (Freida Pinto), her disturbing visions of the young man's future convince her that he is the key to stopping the destruction. With her help, Theseus assembles a small band of followers and embraces his destiny in a final desperate battle for the future of humanity.”

Locked in a neck & neck battle for the number 2 spot are new release ‘Jack & Jill’ and 2 time number 1 ‘Puss In Boots’. Falling short of the “standard” $30m+ openings of Sandler’s comedies Jack & Jill has still managed open over $25m at a time when big openings are few and far between in North America and when it was thought that his “routine” may have been wearing more than a little thin. The best news though is that after years of being a virtual non-event in the international market, Sandler’s films now regularly make comparable amounts outside North America to the domestic takings, so a weaker domestic performance is no longer the end of the story. The film also stars Katie Holmes & Al Pacino.

“Jack and Jill is a comedy focusing on Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler), a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife and kids, who dreads one event each year: the Thanksgiving visit of his identical twin sister Jill (also Adam Sandler). Jill's neediness and passive-aggressiveness is maddening to Jack, turning his normally tranquil life upside down. Katie Holmes plays Erin, Jack's wife.”

DreamWorks Animation continue to laugh loudest at the doomsayers as Puss In Boots held extremely well in its 3rd weekend to collect  $25.5M for a total of $108.8M so far. The film has shown remarkable legs since it opened to $34m 2 weeks ago and this 22% drop bodes well for DreamWorks Animation’s hopes of a new ‘franchise’. 

Dropping 45% to $13.2m was Tower Heist. Brett Ratner’s week of hell as been extended as this film does not appear to be displaying the kind of legs that it will need to be even a modest hit. The Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy starrer lost a sizeable chunk of its audience to fellow comedy Jack & Jill; it also lost some of the ‘adult’ audience it has been counting on to Clint Eastwood’s Leonardo DiCaprio starrer J Edgar.

J Edgar is a bit of a curious one. Despite being a film that is clearly “awards friendly” it has received some pretty harsh reviews; it has a 41% / 5.8 on Rotten Tomatoes and a 59 on Metacritic. An $11.4m opening weekend is actually on the high end for recent Eastwood directed films (where he doesn’t also star at least)

“During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover would rise to be the most powerful man in America. As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for nearly 50 years, he would stop at nothing to protect his country. Through eight presidents and three wars, Hoover waged battle against threats both real and perceived, often bending the rules to keep his countrymen safe. His methods were at once ruthless and heroic, with the admiration of the world his most coveted, if ever elusive, prize. Hoover was a man who placed great value on secrets--particularly those of others--and was not afraid to use that information to exert authority over the leading figures in the nation. Understanding that knowledge is power and fear poses opportunity, he used both to gain unprecedented influence and to build a reputation that was both formidable and untouchable. He was as guarded in his private life as he was in his public one, allowing only a small and protective inner circle into his confidence. His closest colleague, Clyde Tolson, was also his constant companion. His secretary, Helen Gandy, who was perhaps most privy to Hoover's designs, remained loyal to the end...and beyond. Only Hoover's mother, who served as his inspiration and his conscience, would leave him, her passing truly crushing to the son who forever sought her love and approval. As seen through the eyes of Hoover himself, "J. Edgar" explores the personal and public life and relationships of a man who could distort the truth as easily as he upheld it during a life devoted to his own idea of justice, often swayed by the darker side of power.”

The here new entries helped this weekend to a 15%+ improvement on the same period last year. Paranormal Activity 3 has now passed the $100m mark in North America; Footloose continues its steady dance into profit and Real Steel & In Time continue to puzzle at why their international successes haven’t been replicated at the North American box office. Although with Real Steel the alack of interest or even knowledge of the game ‘Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots (Which has absolutely nothing to do with the film and was created after the story on which the film is based) may have helped avoid the negative connotations many Americans had with the film.

North America
Weekend Gross
Total Gross
*$75m - $120m
Jack & Jill
Puss in Boots
Tower Heist
J Edgar
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
In Time
Paranormal Activity 3
Real Steel
* The budget for Immortals was initially reported by Relativity as $120m, but recently has been stated as $75m. It may be that they have deducted the money earned from selling the film to international markets, but the budget is unclear. ( confirm)

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