|Weekend: May 25 - 28 2006
Written By Nick Bailey
Note: Due to time constraints, chart indexes and updates will be finalised later in the week.
With Paul on holidays and otherwise unavailable, I'll be filling in and writing the Winter reports for the next few weeks. It was another bumper weekend for the Australian Box Office, with X Men: The Last Stand and The Da Vinci Code going head to head over the weekend and achieving stellar numbers. A strong opening from Take The Lead in third place meant that this weekend's top 5 was up 20% on last weeks excellent takings, putting this weekend inside the Top 50 of all time. The top 5 total of $13.26 million was the best weekend since the Boxing Day 2005/ New Year's Day 2006 frame. This weekend was eons ahead of the same frame last year($8.8 million Top 5), when Sith carried the box office on its own in its second week($6.4 million), and Coach Carter (792K) and The Wedding Date (670K) both had lacklustre debuts. Compared to this weekend 2 years ago ($10.3 Million Top 5), it was once again well ahead, when The Day After Tomorrow opened eerily similar to X3 ($6.66 million), and Troy enjoyed a solid third week outing ($2.5 million).
Whilst not as explosive as its truly exceptional US debut, X Men: The Last Stand managed a very good debut of $6.68 million. On a fairly wide 408 screens, it made for a superb per screen average of $16,396. One wonders what might have been possible with a Da Vinci Code-like screen count, but the figures X3 has produced are certainly not to be sneezed at, since it made some good inroads on some all time and yearly charts with its efforts.
* The opening was #21 on the all time list, just behind Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and pipping The Day After Tomorrow.
* The opening day of $1.37 million was similarly placed at #24, just behind End of Days' 1999 launch and once again just ahead of The Day After Tomorrow.
* It hits the 2006 openers chart at #2, bumping Ice Age 2 to third place, and falling in behind The Da Vinci Code's opening last week.
* It's opening weekend alone has it the top 15 total grosses for the whole year, it should still be top 10 by year's end, and could be in the Top 5 if it holds well.
* For the traditionally strong month of May, it comes in at #5 for openers, behind Star Wars' Sith and Clones , The Matrix Reloaded , and of course, The Da Vinci Code.
Records aside, it was just a good old fashioned blockbuster opening for the film, which early on many were predicting could be an expensive failure. Given the performance of other third installments, including current release MI:3, such concerns were understandable, but X3 has done well, and hasn't disappointed too many with this performance.
To look for where this film might go, one need look no further than the aforementioned Day After Tomorrow. Opening on the same frame two years ago, its opening weekend was less than $24K shy of X3. With X3 also sure to enjoy a frutiful Queen's Birthday long weekend in two weeks time, their final tallys may not be all that different. If X Men: The Last Stand could make it to $20 million, as Tomorrow did, then it will have done very very well. Amazingly well. Tomorrow enjoyed remarkably slimmer than usual declines over its first three weeks, in what was a magical 2004 winter. It would seem that a $20 million total could be tough to achieve for X3, given the genre and history of the X Men movies. Declines of only 46% and 39% in the second and third weeks respectively for Tomorrow also seem beyond the reach of X3. Taking into consideration X2's drops of 55% and 53%, and final tally of $16.3 million after a $6 million opening, the $20 million goal takes off into dreamland. Whilst a certainty to clear the $15 million total barrier, X3 could fall in the $18 million total range. which would put it neatly in the top 100 of all time. For comic book adaptation openings, X3 is an impressive third, behind both Spiderman films, nothing to be ashamed of. X3's $6.6 million bow was a bit under Paul's fan-inspired $8.2 million prediction, to the tune of 81% accuracy.
In number two spot this week was the year's box office juggernaut, The Da Vinci Code. Off a slightly heavy 51%, the film managed to rake in $4.24 million in its second outing, for a less than awe inspiring average of $7,582 from its still mammoth 560 screens. This gives the film a white hot two week total of $15.6 million, placing it at #17 on the all time two week cumulative charts. If it can hold that position it will be looking at $33 million, which is of course impossible, but it is a certainty to make it well into the $20 million bracket. It will knock off Ice Age 2 to become the number one movie of 2006, a position it may yet hold onto come December 31. Around $25-27 million seems reasonable, if it can hold better than it has this weekend. A good Queens Birthday weekend should see it achieve this. In terms of second weekends it sits at #23, just behind 2006 rival Ice Age 2, though thanks to its bigger opening, its cume is about $4 million ahead. It needs to be however, as this year's great Easter school holidays saw Ice Age: The Meltdown hold very well. Given that Code had an all time #14 opening, it has slipped a bit more than would have been liked, but was unavoidable given the addition of another blockbuster to the slate.
For the film's main stars, The Da Vinci Code is crawling its way up some impressive resumés. Code finds itself in Tom Hank's all time top 5, having jumped Catch Me If You Can , You've Got Mail, and Toy Story over the weekend. By next weekend it will be very close to catching Toy Story 2 and Cast Away, which both collected around $20 million. Da Vinci Code should end up at number two on the Hanks chart, since the $30.5 million of Forrest Gump would now seem beyond it. For Ian McKellen it's a busy time on the charts, with X3 joining Da Vinci on the climb up his leaderboard. Da Vinci Code overtook the first X-Men on his chart, and will pass X2 midweek. Number four is where it will stay however, as the $45 million plus tallies of the Lord of The Rings films are more than just a little out of reach. Whilst not a second weekend to knock anyone's socks off, after a great debut Da Vinci Code has held up solidly in the face of critical poison, and very strong competitior. Next week will be the acid test to see if it can take on true blockbuster status, in an increasingly busy marketplace.
In third place was the other wide release debutante of the weekend, Take The Lead. The Antonio Banderas led effort had a stronger than expected opening, holding its own with $1.4 million. On a slim 128 screens, the film managed an excellent $10,982 screen average for the weekend. The bow is inside the top 20 for the year, in at #18 behind Failure to Launch and above The Producers . Given that the film wasn't expected to perform spectacularly, and given a low confidence screen count, a tally of almost $1.5 million is pleasing enough for those involved. The performance of this film highlights two things, a) the value of healthy promotion by the star, and b) the power of the "dancing" phenomenon. Antonio Banderas worked hard for his money on this film. He did the obligatory "warm and fuzzy" interview on the Nine Network's 60 Minutes program, even throwing in a saucy tango with reporter Tara Brown that was heavily plugged by the network. He also appeared by video on the biggest show in Australia, the Seven Network's Dancing With The Stars, promoting the movie and allegedly presenting a special sneak peak on the show's website. On that topic the Dancing With the Stars phenomenon has boosted what would have otherwise been a middling to disappointing box office result. Similar to the remarkable performance of Shall We Dance? the power of this show has led to an increased awareness and appreciation of ballroom dance. If dance classes are at all time record numbers, why shouldn't movies about dancing also be doing well? Perhaps the hip hop element scared off the grey brigade that flocked to Shall We Dance , but the end result is still more than acceptable, since it could have been completely crushed by the above pair.
The costly disappointment that is Mission: Impossible 3 dropped two spots to number four this week, taking in a meagre 530K from a slashed screen count of 273. The resulting average of 1,950, and 56% drop, have ended any hopes the film could recover, and perform even partially to expectations. The film slumped over the $10 million total mark this weekend, and despite opening with almost identical figures to the first instalment, now has no chance of matching its $15 million final. MI:3 really has been a big failure, and whilst not a complete and utter disaster, just goes to show what a little negative publicity can do for a film. That and the fact that the second installment was pretty weak as a film, despite is impressive $22 million performance here. What should have been a certainty for $15 million plus blockbuster is now little more than another OK action flick. Since as a film it's better than the second, it is disappointing it couldn't shake the TomKat phenomenon. Since it will bid farewell to the Top 5 next week, the film could hope for a $12 million final, similar to fellow Cruise -led underachiever Minority Report .
Continuing to impress for another week in the Top 5 was the Rob Schneider comedy The Benchwarmers . In fifth spot, the film ruslted up 390K, in what was a top heavy weekend. Down 41%, the film did well for its third weekend, and with a solid cumulative total of $2.16 million, has performed as well as could have been expected. Whilst it will collapse and disappear next week, it is an achievement it managed to spend 3 weeks in the Top 5, at a competitive time of year. It will probably end up with something similar to Just Friends' $2.6 million tally.
NUMBERS SIX TO TEN
It was an intruiging bottom half this week, with a new Aussie release leading the way, Candy . The film, like so many recent Australian efforts, held high hopes and once again disappointed. From 38 screens, the film could only collect 267K, for a just OK 7K average. Whilst it may have some longevity, the Heath Ledger / Abbie Cornish flick will struggle to break a million total, and despite being similarly themed, was no Little Fish. In seventh place was the Tom Wilkinson-Emily Watson drama Separate Lies . Walking the well trodden path of an affair gone wrong, the film netted 158K from its 36 screens, and will be all but forgotten in three weeks' time. The Easter mega hit Ice Age 2 occupied position 8 this week, dropping four places and 46% to scrape together 146K from its 162 screens. This brings its tally to $24.2 million in its 8th weekend, leaving it embedded in position one for 2006 (for now), and moving on up to #40 on the all time chart, eclipsing Saving Private Ryan. With a little help next week, it could trump both Spiderman 2 and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory next week, which would be two scalps worth having. In ninth was the Anthony Hopkins indie smash World's Fastest Indian . With 132K, the film is just shy of $6 million, an excellent performance, really the "March of the Penguins" for Australian audiences for sleeper hit. Its spot inside the Top 15 for the year is something to be very proud of. Finally in 10th spot is a perplexing entry, the Bollywood drama Fanaa. Despite screening in 8 locations nationwide, the film produced a $13,890 screen average to power into the top 10. Defeating top 10 wannabes Last Holiday and Three Burials , it was a remarkable effort for the film, which had no publicity whatsoever, and still managed 125K. Considering Queen Latifah's Last Holiday couldnt manage that from 60 screens, congratulations to Fanaa! Special mention also goes to number 12 this week, Warren Miller's Higher Ground , which netted 107K from just 2 locations. Its screen average of 53K is the ninth best ever, behind no fewer than 5 previous Warren Miller efforts.
Weekend Coming: 1st - 4th June 2006
POSEIDON AND RV
As we officially head into Winter, things are starting to get interesting at the box office. What was thought to be a lacklustre US Summer is proving to be quite strong, and the results here have been very good so far for the season. This week will be crucial to the ultimate evaluation of this year's crop of big name titles. X Men: The Last Stand and Da Vinci Code will be under scrutiny, and two middle level films, Poseidon and RV will enter the marketplace. If these films perform well, then the season will be solid, since it will mean audiences aren't just flocking to the massive titles and ignoring medium range fare. If they fail, then the season, much like last year, will have a few big hits but ultimately disappoint. First to Poseidon, the biggest flop of the year so far in the US finally arrives this weekend. With non existent buzz and limited promotion, there is every chance this film could emulate its US performance. The Kurt Russell-Richard Dreyfuss-Emily Rossum remake has had some TV spots, but poster and preview exposure has been limited, so the film won't get near first place, with X Men 3's second frame sure to be better. It could even end up in third place, with around $2.1 million for its efforts this weekend. When it comes to RV, or, for us ignorant Australians, Runaway Vacation, the promotion has been non existant. Not a preview, tv spot, or publicity attempt in sight. Given that it has been a good performer in its US run so far, its mysitfying as to why Sony havent tried harder, especially since Robin Williams is very popular in Australia. This one looks set to fall through the cracks, and will play fourth fiddle to X3, Code and Poseidon. Look for about $1.4 million if its very lucky, and this is a fruitful Winter afterall.
Stars: Kurt Russell (Executive Decision, Escape from L.A., Tango and Cash, Stargate, Sky High) Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland's Opus, Jaws, Close Encounters), Emily Rossum (Phantom of the Opera, Day After Tomorrow, Mystic River)
Director: Wolfgang Petersen (Air Force One, Perfect Storm, Troy, In The Line of Fire)
Production Budget: US$160 million
Released in US: May 12 2006
US Opening Weekend: US$22 million
US Cumulative Gross: US$45 million
Predicted Australian Opening: $2.1 million
Stars: Robin Williams (Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Patch Adams) Jeff Daniels (Arachnaphobia, Speed, Dunb and Dumber)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, Get Shorty, Men in Black)
Production Budget: $US55 million
Released in US: April 28 2006
US Opening Weekend: US$16.4 million
US Cumulative Gross: US$55.9 million
Predicted Australian Opening: $1.4 million
* Based on a US index of 10/1 ($US/$AU) with currency, ticket prices, population and cinema visits per head.
^ Based on a UK index of 1.27/1 (£/$AU) with currency, ticket prices, population and cinema visits per head.
The Top 20 Films
Written By Nick Bailey
© 1997-Present MovieMarshal