Weekend box office reports rely on estimated numbers and, as of Sunday morning, the estimates are just too close to call a definitive winner. The way it looks at the moment, Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It is slightly ahead of the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: $31 million to $30.3 million. The crowning of the number one film, therefore, may have to wait until official totals are released on Monday morning.
|1||Just Go With It||$31,000,000||$31|
|2||Bieber: Never Say Never||$30,300,000||$30.3|
|3||Gnomeo & Juliet||$25,500,000||$25.5|
|6||The King’s Speech||$7,410,000||$93.8|
|7||No Strings Attached||$5,645,000||$59.8|
|10||The Green Hornet||$3,600,000||$92.3|
This week we finally have a box office battle that is both competitive and profitable. Our top two films have each earned more than double what last weekend’s top grosser (The Roommate) brought in. Unfortunately, this weekend will still not be as profitable as the same period in 2010 – down 25% – but the bigger numbers at least give me hope that 2011 can pull itself out of its death spiral.
Twelve months ago three movies debuted to over $31 million each: Valentine’s Day, The Wolfman and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Of course, the first of those films actually made much more than $31 million ($56 plus) which is what accounts for this year’s decline. Valentine’s Day had the advantage of having its namesake holiday fall on a Sunday, however, so this weekend’s numbers can be viewed as a positive sign – all things considered.
Paramount’s 3D biopic/concert film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never was Friday’s champ – opening to $12.4 million in 3,105 locations. Bieber fever was no guarantee that the film would be a success, however. Recall that two years ago the Jonas Brothers saw their own 3D Concert Experience tank at the box office despite what we were told was a rabid teenaged fan base. Pop music’s newest heartthrob can thank higher ticket prices and brisk pre-sales for his success this weekend. And though his grosses declined from Friday to Saturday, the drop was nowhere near as steep as was predicted, putting Bieber neck and neck with the king of the cross over target demo release: Adam Sandler.
Those of you who have been watching TV spots for Sandler’s latest feature Just Go With It may have noticed an interesting marketing approach. Depending on where and when the spots aired, the relatively dull trailer was followed by an announcement that guys should tell their girlfriends that “It’s a romantic comedy” and that girls should tell their boyfriends that “It’s a Sandler movie.” Note that neither spot encouraged either sex to reveal that Jennifer Aniston is also in the film. Just Go With It saw a wider release into 3,548 locations and had no 3D ticket price premium to boost its numbers. Once again, Sandler has shown himself to be the king of the reliable debut: think of how much more impressive his numbers would have looked without that perky teen idol nipping at his number one heels.
The animated family film Gnomeo and Juliet placed third for the week with $25.5 million from its 2,994 locations. That is a higher Friday to Saturday jump than many expected and is more proof that this weekend’s box office has finally offered moviegoers what they have been missing in recent weeks: decent product. Speaking of interesting marketing, did anyone else notice that the official website for this Touchstone/Disney release was sponsored by Travelocity?
Of the week’s four new films, box office watchers held out the thinnest hope for Kevin MacDonald’s The Eagle. The historical drama hit 2,296 locations on Friday, bringing in a $8.6 million for the three day weekend. That is less than the $10.6 million that Season of the Witch saw during the first week of January, but the good news is that the rumored budget for The Eagle is just half of the earlier film’s $40 million.
Next weekend three more major releases hit theatres including the PG-13 sci-fi film I Am Number Four (starring one of the blonde chicks from Glee), an inexplicable return to the Big Momma’s House franchise from Martin Lawrence and a much more explicable return to the thriller genre for Liam Neeson in Unknown. Remember, it only looks like the sequel to Taken…