|Weekend 4th - 7th October
After a very profitable two week stint in second place, the family film Cats and Dogs
proclaimed with a loud voice that it had finally taken over the world, albeit the Australian
Box Office. After a successful bow behind The Fast and The Furious two weeks ago, and a
very solid second weekend behind another heavily hyped film in Rush Hour 2 last weekend,
Cats and Dogs was eventually able to rely on its holiday driven word of mouth to claim
pole position with $2.69 million. Rising a commendable 12% from the comparable 4 day period
last week, Cats and Dogs saw a third week that was only 2.5% behind its opening weekend
haul of $2.76 million. The last film to display this kind of holding power was Shrek, a
film that was also positioned to take advantage of school holidays. Cats and Dogs
certainly won't achieve that level of success, but with $12.5 million in the bank already, it
has a good chance of getting to $18 million or so. The Jeff Goldblum film took great advantage
of mid week sales, scoring a fantastic $2 even through the two day mid week period Tuesday and
Wednesday. This is especially brilliant; considering Monday the 1st was counted in with the
weekend take last week. Cats and Dogs won't be able to fend off the 50%+ falls that
family films always see when the entire country goes back to school.
Rush Hour 2 slipped one spot to No.2 over the weekend, but still managed to obtain some
credibility after being beaten by animatronic cats, falling a fair 35%, which is acceptable
considering its large launch. As a comparison, Rush Hour 2 dipped by 50% in its second
week in the U.S., although to be fair, it's U.S. launch was unusually large when compared to
the comparative* Australian effort. After 11 days, Rush Hour 2 now has a fine total
of $8.1 million. After two weeks, Rush Hour 2 is currently 23% ahead of the pace the
original film set in Australia in January of 1999. Rush Hour 2 is currently 40% behind*
the pace Rush Hour 2 set in the U.S.
Opening well, but with relative modesty was the new Julia Roberts headlined film America's
Sweethearts. Co-starring John Cusack, Billy Crystal and Catherine Zeta Jones, the film about
Hollywood's most famous couple who must temporarily get back together to promote their latest
film opened with $2.17 million. Launching wide on 263 screens, the Joe Roth directed feature
managed a good $8,284 screen average, third only to Cats and Dogs and the awesome
$28,713 Lantana scored from 15 screens, it was also, of course behind the IMAX films who
are perpetual average leaders. The launch is 30% weaker* than the $US30 million launch
America's Sweethearts enjoyed in the U.S. After one full weekend and a couple of weeks
of small to wide ranging previews, America's Sweethearts has $3.6 million in the bank.
The launch of America's Sweethearts was identical to my $2.2 million prediction.
Reflecting last weekend's effort by lifting itself up one position in the charts to slot
four was the other family film Spy Kids. Rising a fine 64% through its third weekend,
the Antonio Banderas film brought in $1.34 million over the weekend, upping its cume to a just
ok $4.5 million.
Widening its preview run from 67 to 157 screens, and scoring itself a top five position in the
process was the Reese Witherspoon starring Legally Blonde. Co-starring Selma Blair and
Luke Wilson, Legally Blonde tells the story of a girl who is dumped by her boyfriend
because she's not smart enough. To get him back, she decides to enrol in Harvard to study law,
and prove that she's got what it takes to be his girl. Legally Blonde has $1.3 million in
to its name so far, and prospects for the film look good as the film scored a fine $7,742
average over the weekend. The MGM film was a stunning success for the studio which included
Legally Blonde in an ambitious release schedule to try and claw back a market share in
the U.S. Launching with a brilliant $US20 million and going on to earn $US94 million so far,
the $US18 million budgeted film was one of the summers most profitable films. Directed by
first timer Robert Luketic, the PG rated film is distributed by Fox down under. Legally Blonde
has received some fine critical praise, a rare thing for a teenage girl skewed film nowadays.
Maybe it's a couple of weeks late to gain all the dough it could have from the school holidays,
but a launch of $2 million this weekend will see Legally Blonde on it's way to doing
fairly well anyhow.
Slipping three notches to sixth place, and dipping 33% through its third weekend was the Paul
Walker and Vin Diesel starring The Fast and The Furious. Taking in $1 million for a total
of $8 million, The Fast and The Furious should end up just rolling over $10 million.
The top 20 films made $13.9 million over the weekend, down a great 9% from last weekend's five
day period, which means that it was an indeterminable amount up from last weeks comparative four
day weekend period. The weekend was up an insane 162% from this weekend a year ago when
exhibitors were feeling the pinch of the Olympics as Space Cowboys opened on top with
a soft $1.1 million. The weekend was up 33% from this weekend two years ago when all films
in the top suffered a 50% or more drop thanks to the enormous $4.7 million launch of
The Sixth Sense.
|Weekend Coming - Weekend 11th - 14th October
Also opening this weekend is the Jet Li starring flick Kiss Of The Dragon. The Fox film
co-stars Bridget Fonda and deals with a Chinese intelligence officer who goes to Paris on an
assignment, and is soon caught up in a deadly conspiracy. Directed by first timer Chris
Nohan, the $US25 million budgeted film opened with a fair $US13.3 million in July in the U.S.,
and went on to make a mediocre $US36.5 million. Also distributed by Fox in Australia,
Kiss Of The Dragon is seen as another generic action film in the vein of a Silver
produced flick by most people. Jet Li may be very popular in some sections, but he hasn't got
enough appeal to ensure the success of a film that most critics agree wouldn't stand on its
own if he wasn't there. Fox hasn't been wildly promoting Kiss Of The Dragon, and with
Rush Hour 2 and The Fast and The Furious satisfying a large portion of the action
market, Kiss Of The Dragon may open with a mild $1 million this weekend.
* Based on an index of 10/1 with currecy, ticket prices, population and cinema visits per