Weekend 10th - 13th March 2005
It was Will Smith that had all the moves as Hitch impressed all the ladies over the weekend, while a lack of coolness saw John Travolta continue to struggle in his latest chart entry. Co-starring Eva Menendez, the romantic comedy that follows a New York date doctor was off a fine 34% over the weekend. Collecting $2.32m, Hitchís total has risen to an excellent $6.95m, a running total that will see it pass the $8.48m of Racing Stripes by next weekend to stand as 2005ís biggest film.
The fine current cume for Hitch has already seen it pass the $6.82m final that his 2002 boxing flick Ali collected through its whole run. Itís currently tracking 19.7% ahead of Bad Boys 2 after two weeks, up from the 14.6% better bow. Itís running 17.5% behind the two week pace of I, Robot, up from the 24.3% smaller opening. Hitch is running 9% ahead of How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and 13% behind Starsky and Hutch. Given that, Hitch is aiming to finish somewhere between the $11.53m final of 10 Days and the $13.44m of Starsky, with about $12.5m.
Compared to the U.S. pace, Hitch is now tracking 22% behind* after two weeks in Australia. This is down from the 19% smaller* opening weekend, while the second weekend frame was 26% weaker* in Australia. Hitch has been a phenomenally strong performer in the U.S., passing such all-time romantic-comedy hits as Notting Hill, As Good As It Gets, The Wedding Singer, My Best Friendís Wedding and Two Weeks Notice. Itíll likely not pass any of those titles in Australia, not because Hitch has done poorly, but because romantic comedies, and especially those listed above, have historically far and away done better* locally than in the States.
The sequel to 1996ís Get Shorty wasnít as with it as Fox/MGM would have hoped, as Be Cool opened in second position with a quite subdued $1.20m. With a re-pairing of the dancing Pulp Fiction duo and names like Danny DeVito and Vince Vaughn populating the production, Be Cool would certainly have been hoping for a better local reception. Launching on 239 screens, Be Cool averaged a quite soft $5,063 per screen, which ranks it second last behind Spanglish in screen averages for 2005ís top 15 openers. Counting in some small previews, Be Cool has $1.23m in the bank.
For Travolta, Be Cool is his 9th best opening, coming in just behind the $1.21m launch of 1999ís Fox war flick The Thin Red Line. The Sean Penn and George Clooney co-starring flick ended up with a so-so $4.60m in Australia. Up from there 1996ís Phenomenon opened with a similar $1.27m on its was to $5.87m. Recently, Ladder 49 opened with a better $1.66m and closed with a little over $6m. For Thurman, Be Cool is her fourth best opener, beating the $1.04m of 1996ís The Truth About Cats And Dogs, and comes in behind her Kill Bill entries and Batman and Robin. Be Cool failed to match the $2.01m opening of itís predecessor Get Shorty, and will be lucky to make half of the great $9.03m that the Rene Russo co-starring flick gathered.
Compared to the U.S. pace, the opening for Be Cool in Australia comes in a large 48% weaker*. Although it also opened in second place, Be Cool initially did alright for itself in the U.S., doubling the opening of Get Shorty. A hefty second weekend fall will mean it wonít match the final total of the first film, but it was strong out of the gates. Compared to my opening weekend forecast, Be Cool was far from it, collecting just half of my $2.4m prediction.
Constantine is continuing to pull its expected figures. Off 48% through its third weekend, the Keanu Reeves starring apocalyptic saga has brought in a nice tally on the back of its admirable opening weekend, despite large declines. Collecting $0.67m through the weekend, Constantineís total is now running at $6.13m
For Keanu, Constantine now ranks as his eighth strongest release to date, passing the $4.61m of 1998ís A Devilís Advocate and the $5.73m of 2001ís The Gift. While Constantine may not reach the $8.13m heights of the hellish 1992 flick Dracula, itís looking good to cap the $7.60m of the same yearís surf and heist drama Point Break.
Compared to the U.S. pace, Constantine is now tracking 1% ahead* in Australia after three weeks. Unable to choose a stable direction, itís a reversal of the 1% weaker* pace of last weekend, and the very small lead* it began with three weeks ago. The third weekend itself was 10% better* in Australia than in the U.S., where it was off a comparable 49%.
There was a surprising entry in fourth position, the family comedy Are We There Yet? debuted with $0.66m, which is arguably an unexpectedly high amount, even though it canít be classified as strong or praiseworthy on many scales. Starring Ice Cube and Nia Long, Are We There Yet? follows the adventures of guy who transports the two kids of his girlfriend on a trip from Portland to Vancouver so they can spend New Yearís together. Opening on 168 screens, Are We There Yet?ís average of $3,973 is rather telling of the appeal.
Still, itís an opening with potential. Are We There Yet? has launched from one to three weeks ahead of the Easter school holidays; one of the most profitable times of the year, especially for family themed films. The only downside to a national opening (sans-QLD ATM) with this timing is that is could burn out before states like WA, ACT, NSW (two weeks away) and especially SA (three weeks away) get out of school. TAS and QLD leave at the start of next weekend, with VIC and NT the week after. Sony would in theory be hoping for at least a profitable five week run, but with Robots and The Pacifier opening with better dates in two weeks, the aim was probably to milk any scarce early family dollars while available. Still, Are We There Yet? quite figuratively kicked the arse of Friday Night Lights, which opened with an amazingly poor $214k.
Compared to the U.S. pace, the launch of Are We There Yet? stands 63% behind* in Australia. Appealing to a core demographic that Australia just doesnít have, means that obviously the film was never going to match the U.S. pace, with it having opened on top of the charts back in January and scoring some amazing holds. I hadnít given Are We There Yet? an opening prediction, assuming it wouldnít go north of $500k, although that just highlights how bad my predictions were this weekend, having assumed Friday Night Lights would draw a little better from Australiaís Ďmassiveí pool of American football fans and open with $0.8m.
Oscar champ Million Dollar Baby is still doing good business, no matter how other analysts look for ways to down sell the extra business generated from its awards victories. Off 29% through weekend six, Million Dollar Babyís weekend punch of $487k helped the Hillary Swank starring boxing drama reach $5.55m.
For actor Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby sits now just behind the $5.68m of Unforgiven, while for director Eastwood, itís behind only that flick and Mystic Riverís $6.52m final. Head to head, Million Dollar Baby is 72.7% ahead of where the Sean Penn Oscar winner was after six weeks, although Mystic River had collected only half of its final total in six weeks. Million Dollar Baby is well over half way through its monetary run, but passing River is assured.
Compared to the U.S. pace, Million Dollar Baby is now tracking 27% behind* in Australia, out from the 25% weaker* fifth weekend cume. This compares the current cume in Australia to the 12th official weekend in the U.S., or the sixth comparatively wide weekend. The sixth weekend was 40% behind* the sixth wide weekend in the U.S.
The top 20 films collected $7.45m over the weekend, down 14% from last weekend and down 2.0% from this weekend last year when The Butterfly Effect was tops in its opening frame with $1.34m, ahead of The Passion's third weekend of $1.30m. The weekend was up 5.5% on this weekend from two year ago when Maid In Manhattan was still the leader in its second weekend with $1.53m ahead of the second weekend of Final Destination 2 with $0.67m.
Weekend Coming 17th - 10th March 2005
A massive 10 films open next weekend, with some of them sure to be casualties. So then try to make sense of only one film opening this weekend, a frame thatís the direct lead up to the school holidays. Itís Hating Alison Ashley. The question of whether or not other distributors were scared of the local pic crushing them, or were just too stupid to bring some of their product forward a week has an obvious answer. Robots, for example, could have done much better for itself being released this weekend.
But this is about Hating Alison Ashley, the first headlining feature role for songstress Delta Goodrem and also stars Saskia Burmeister. The follows Yuk, a girl whoís attempts to befriend the new girl in school doesnít work out so well. She them decides that this new, smart, pretty and wealthy new girl must become her enemy since being friends didnít work out. From then on itís a competition between the two girls to be the star of their class and a play Yuk has written.
Directed by Geoff Bennett, the Hating Alison Ashley director has spent most of the last 10 years helming various Australian produced TV shows such as Water Rats, All Saints and Farscape. Written by accomplished author Robin Klein, the book Hating Alison Ashley may not have the same penetration as Looking For Alibrandi did before adaptation, but it boasts Goodrem in the title role. The 2000ís film starring Pia Miranda opened to a great $1.25m against Gladiator, and ended up with a superb $8.30m. Can Hating Alison Ashley do better?
Last year was an all-time low for Australian films, collecting just $12m all up, or a mere 1% of the box-office take. From 16 released, only Strange Bedfellows did any mildly respectable business with $4.81m. Somersault did ok with $1.81m. Hating Alison Ashley will be hoping lead into a 2005 for Australian film that stumbled last weekend with The Illustrated Family Doctor dead on arrival. As the only new wide release and Goodrem doing the rounds, Hating Alison Ashley has a chance to collect $1.4m this weekend.
* Based on a US index of 10/1 with currency, ticket prices, population and cinema visits per head.
^ Based on a UK index of 2.1/1 with currency, ticket prices, population and cinema visits per head.
The Top 20 Films
Written By Paul Boschen
© 1997-Present MovieMarshal