|Weekend 24th - 27th April 2003
Another week another new comedy in top place. This time is was How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days raking in dough in its
bid to continue the trend of successful romantic comedies in 2003. Starring Matthew McConoughey and Kate Hudson, the
Donald Petrie helmed flick follows Andie and Ben as two career motivated New Yorkers. Each have a bet running for their
work, the girl's is that she can lose a guy in ten days, and the guy's is that he can make any girl fall in love with
him and they both have their jobs riding on succeeding. Opening with a rosy $2.94 million, How To Lose A Guy In 10
Days became the fourth romantic comedy of the year to launch over $2 million and the sixth best of the year so far.
Opening on a wide 241 screens, the films averaged a hot $12,210 per theatre to count as the third best for a wide this
year, second only to Two Weeks Notice in the romance stakes.
The opening for How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days is a small margin stronger than for the last two romantic comedies to
hit our screens, Maid In Manhattan and Just Married. Having opened 31.0% and 23.5% better than those two
films respectively, How To Lose A Guy benefited more by having stronger reviews and from launching in the middle
of a school holiday period. Two Weeks Notice packed a lot more star power than any of these films and received a
very kind January release which reflects on How To Lose A Guy opening 23.5% weaker than the Sandra Bullock flick
through. Both films enjoyed a weekend of previews, How To Lose A Guy last week hauled in just under $1 million
through the long weekend and now has a total of $4.06 million. All told, How To Lose A Guy is tracking 17.2%
behind Two Weeks after the close of the first comparable weekend with Two Weeks' mid week opening counted in.
How To Lose A Guy has already almost equalled the $4.43 million final total of his 2001 flick The Wedding
Planner, although it will find it difficult to reach a final total anywhere near the $15.8 million of Two Weeks
Notice thanks to its release in a much less profitable period.
Compared to the U.S., How To Lose A Guy managed to open in Australia a good 23.7% ahead* of what was a surprisingly
strong bow for the film in the U.S. back in February. This is a good pick up from his Wedding Planner days which
opened 4.5% weaker* in Australia than the U.S., although that did bow against the third No.1 lap of powerhouse Miss
Congeniality. How To Lose A Guy went on to have some very good to great holding power through its release to
eventually reach the $US100 million club. That holding power should be replicated in Australia as this romantic comedy
will be largely immune from X-Men 2's drawing power. Compared to my opening weekend forecast, How To Lose A
Guy In 10 Days was almost spot on with my $2.8 million prediction.
Last weeks champ Anger Management dipped to second over the weekend but still managed to grab a second weekend take
of $2.26 million. Off a quite good 26% from its strong launch last weekend, the Adam Sandler flick about a guy who is
sentenced to anger management therapy after a few unlucky incidents now has a great two week total of $7.38 million. As a
Sandler film, Anger Management may have expected to be the biggest comedy to come from this Easter holiday break,
however it has been receiving a very good match up from Johnny English. Released a week beforehand, Anger
Management is tracking a mere 8.2% ahead of where the Rowan Atkinson flick was after the close of its second weekend.
Compared to Sandler's other recent films, Anger Management is tracking 45.3% ahead of where Mr Deeds was
after two weeks of release, up from its launch which was 18.7% ahead. After two weeks it is ahead of Big Daddy by
18% which is almost unchanged from last weekend's 18.2% difference due to a very similar 22% second weekend drop of the
1999 flick. Last week Anger Management opened just 3.9% behind The Waterboy, and after its second week is
tracking 2.1% behind despite a much heftier 52% second weekend dip.
Compared to the U.S. pace, Anger Management is now tracking 7.7% behind* the U.S. at the close of its second
weekend here, making up a fair bit of ground after opening a more distant 24.2% behind* last weekend. The catch up is a
result of the second weekend in the U.S. falling a much rougher 40.8% in the U.S., un-aided by the Easter break as much
as releases in Australia are. Released just a week after the U.S., Anger Management may see a larger decline in
Australia than it suffered in its third weekend in the U.S., also 40%, due to the introduction of X-Men 2
Speaking of Johnny English, the Rowan Atkinson film has been doing fantastic business of its own. After what was
expected to be a shaky run at best, Johnny English has turned out to be more of a Goldmember than an
I Spy. Collecting a solid $1.92 million through its third weekend, it was down one position but only saw a decline
of just 15% from the weekend before. Now totalling a hot $9.87 million, Johnny English has elevated itself to number
five on this years highest releases and should see itself jump one or two positions more. Despite its strong performance
the film actually lost screens over the weekend but still managed a top ten second best of $7,980 per screen.
The film may see its good decline rate record fall this weekend with the increased competition and the last of a school
holiday spirit to lift its takings, but whatever it earns from here on in will just be an additional bonus to what would
already be a good final total. Last weekend Johnny English was tracking 11% behind the two week pace of American
Pie after opening almost identically. This week the Natalie Imbruglia co-starrer has reduced that to stand almost
neck and neck, back where it started to be a scant 0.37% ahead. This, despite American Pie's better 7% third
weekend hold is explained by the Easter Monday holiday and the last full mid-week of school holidays adding coin to
English. Even with the holiday wrapping up, Johnny English still stands a good chance of matching the $14.2
million of Pie, as that film suffered a hefty 50% fourth weekend dive, something Johnny English should be
able to slightly better.
Johnny English is now running 5.0% behind^ the U.K. pace after three weeks. This is down from last weekend when it
was sitting 5.6% ahead^ after having made up the deficit from its opening weekend figures. The Australian third weekend
hold was quite exceptional, and the small 10% the film had in the U.K. goes a way to explaining the shift, however the
third weekend in Australia was still 11.3% better^. The difference here is explained by midweek figures where the U.K.,
as normal, has a four day midweek session compared to our three.
The two kids films of the holiday period have been performing mildly at best. However over the weekend they were both able
to score some good third weekend rises, the better of them being Jungle Book 2. Jumping 44%, the animated sequel
saw a third weekend take of $0.98 million and a total climb to $3.63 million. Before now it had been content with a ninth
placed first weekend and sixth placed second weekend where its rise was 76%. After three weeks of release Jungle Book
2 is tracking just 6.9% ahead of rival Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron which scored a third weekend rise of
13% for $0.61 million before a fourth weekend fall, something Jungle Book 2 will follow. Having made most of its
money in its first three weeks, Spirit ended up with an ok $4.29 million. If that turns out to be its final total
that would be a welcomed increase on the disappointing $2.7 million final total of 2002's similarly low budget effort from
Disney when Return To Neverland failed to replicate its U.S. success.
Compared to the U.S. pace, Jungle Book 2 is now tracking 7.3% ahead* of the U.S. pace in Australia at the close of
the third weekend. This is up from the 70.8* deficit* after its opening weekend that, as usual, is largely incomparable due
to animations ever present strategy of gradual increase in Australia leading up to holidays. Unlike most animated films
that usually wind up a good portion behind* the U.S. performance, Jungle Book 2 may end up very close* to the U.S.
Kangaroo Jack just managed to hop up into fifth place through its third weekend. Climbing 40%, the $0.79
million third weekend haul saw its total rise to a fairly uninspiring $3.06 million. Pegged as the film to beat before
the holidays arrived, the film that was proven in the U.S. has certainly failed to bring that same level of success to
Australia. There has been no 'large' family film sapping that target audience away from Kangaroo Jack, rather it
has been spread evenly, and very thinly, over the three family films in the marketplace and after week three there is not
much separating them. Kangaroo Jack is much like Bringing Down The House in a way. Both were surprisingly
powerful performers in the U.S. with each reaching number one. Both have failed to convert in Australia.
The top 20 films collected $13.7 million over the weekend, up 5.8% from last weekend and up 5.9% on this weekend last year
when We Were Soldiers opened on top with decent $2.39 million, although that was underwhelming for Mel. The weekend
was up 53.6% on this weekend two years ago when Brad and Julia teamed up for The Mexican which scored a so-so
Weekend Coming 1st - 4th May 2003
Set to shake up the box office this weekend is the first heavily hyped and anticipated event film of the year. In what is
sure to be a mammoth launch, X-Men 2 explodes onto the scene Wednesday, a day earlier than the regular weekend
starting Thursday. As a sequel to 2000's original, X-Men 2 follows a film that was adored by fans and become a
surprise hit, at least as far as a then uncertain Fox was concerned. Having featured an ensemble cast of actors and
characters, the largely Hugh Jackman and Wolverine centric film's director Bryan Singer returns to oversee a story that
leads on directly from where X-Men finished. X-Men 2 has been able to cram a few more characters into its
story thanks to an increased running time and give a little more focus to some of the characters. The story follows
military colonel Stryker, who like the first film's Senator Kelly has a hatred for mutants. This time however the big bad
isn't content with just mutant registration.
With a launch date of April 30 in Australia, X-Men 2 launches mid week two days ahead of the May 2nd Friday launch
in the U.S. Back in 2000, Australia was also honoured with a release for X-Men a day before the U.S., and given the
time zone differences that extended to a good 36 hours ahead. Perhaps that was to the detriment of the opening weekend in
Australia for X-Men, as the film opened 33.7% behind* the surprisingly powerful U.S. pace. Other films to have
received an opening before the U.S. such as Titanic enjoyed a better opening, but that was the exception, not
X-Men. Usually if a film is good, word that filters from the U.S. can create a buzz down under, so as a method of
free advertising its in a distributors interest to have a release in Australia one or two after the U.S., but, shhh. With
X-Men 2, the film is well known and the formula is tried, any buzz that's created solely in Australia is enough to
power the picture to its fullest potential.
In 2000, X-Men's July 13 launch of $3.6 million counted as the 27th largest of all time. Since then it has dropped
to 54th indicating how much more common large opening weekends have become here. X-Men 2 will be in them and hoping
for a good ranking. Last year's comic book blockbuster flick Spider-Man scored a $10.56 million opening, and while
currently counting as No.4 on the all time openers list, it failed to equal the still current chart topping performance
it scored in the U.S. Spider-Man not performing on par* in Australia wasn't due in any measure to a smaller fan
base here, but rather that it wasn't 'the first' big event film of the year, as in the U.S. it was. That honour belonged
to Attack of The Clones, and it capitalised on it.
X-Men 2 holds some of the same cards that allowed
Clones to achieve a then record opening. Being the first 'big film' of the year means a lot, as it will draw people
out who haven't been to the cinema in months. X-Men 2 won't do it to the degree Clones did, and the upcoming
Matrix sequel is again that much bigger. But while a lot of people will be waiting for that one, X-Men 2 will
grab many of the years first timers. The school holidays have finished in most states, so there's a degree of normality
returned to the charts that's to its detriment, especially considering it's mid week Wednesday launch is taking place with
many people back at school, Uni or work. Released around the world in this weekend, X-Men 2 is having the largest
simultaneous worldwide launch ever and the largest ever screen count in the U.S. It's worldwide take may include around
$7 million from Australia 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.