Sunday, July 1, 2012

Box Office Report: "Ted" and "Magic Mike" Stronger Than Expected

Well I continue to prove time and time again that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to predicting the weekend box office numbers. And maybe no one else does either, but I always figured if we looked at it more historically we could find other comparables and show that dollar performance wasn't as random as it seemed. Well, it is. While it’s still interesting to me to research the numbers that way, it’s not proving to be nearly as accurate as I hoped.

Anyway, I say this all because this weekend might have been my worst yet. I guess I was able to predict which films would be in the overall top five this weekend, but who wouldn't have been able to guess that? And actually, three of my five predictions weren’t too far off monetarily-wise, either. This weekend, it was really just “Ted” and “Magic Mike” that threw a wrench into everything. Both more than DOUBLED what I projected they’d do. Both are rated-R, and apparently the adult audiences decided to show up this weekend! It's nice to see though, I was wondering if they still existed…

So we need to start with “Ted”. As I said, the film basically doubled the expectations I had for it this weekend, and somehow managed to pull together $54.1MM. Even if you didn't do quite as badly as I did with the predictions, I don't think anyone thought the film would do quite this well. For a point of reference, the $54MM it made this weekend is good for the second-highest opening ever for an R-Rated Comedy, just behind "The Hangover 2" ($85MM). And even though this might not be an "official" category, Box Office Mojo lists this as the best opening weekend by a wide margin for films that fall into the Slacker/Stoner assortment.The film had a projected budget of $50MM, which is actually still pretty high for a comedy, but that already isn't of any concern anymore since it's already surpassed that. Apparently I completely underestimated the Family Guy crowd here. The film looks more annoying than anything to me, but this proves I'm in the vast minority on that - at least for my demographic. Nathan saw the film this weekend, and I'll be very interested to hear about it for the upcoming CinemaCast. Maybe he'll be able to show me what I'm missing with this one.

Let's jump right to "Magic Mike", which also doubled my expectations. It ended up with a very impressive $39.1MM, good for second place this weekend. Not only did I underestimate the female crowd and their interest in attractive males with their shirts off for two hours, but I also underestimated Channing Tatum's continued rise in popularity. After this spring's "21 Jump Street" (which I loved), Tatum blew up. The film outdid Jump Street by $3MM for its opening weekend, proving that Tatum is still rising - and this showing and the films critical response isn't going to stop that. I thought Tatum was the best part of "21 Jump Street", so I'm glad that he's finally getting some good roles for him - trying to make him an action or romantic comedy star just wasn't working. The aspect of this that seems most impressive to me is that this is now the strongest opening weekend for a Steven Soderbergh-directed film. With 25 different releases in his filmography and various popular titles, this rose above all of them.

There aren't really any fun little comparables for this film, because it's kind of a unique subject. If you want to lump it in with all of the dance films that have released over the past ten years or so, then you can see that it pretty easily has the strongest opening of all of them. And I guess what's probably more important than that is that the film's budget is estimated at a mere $7MM. Even in my lowest projections I had the film more than doubling this budget. This had to exceed even the studios strongest projections, and they have to be thrilled with these results.

Finishing third in what I thought would have a pretty easy time of taking the top spot for the second weekend, was "Brave". This was a fairly easy film to project numbers-wise, as many second weekend films are. I actually had it a touch higher than this, but the $34MM it made this weekend still reflected a 48% drop, which was decent, but a little lower than usual for a Disney/Pixar film. Nonetheless, it's now raised its domestic totals to just over $130MM, which puts it about $50MM short of its $185MM budget. The film hasn't been nearly as strong as previous Pixar films internationally either, only bringing in about $26MM so far. So it's looking like this will end up being one of the worst-producing Pixar films ever. While a few who saw the film at this site enjoyed the movie, they definitely noted flaws. And even though the film has a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, that's still the second-worst rating from any of them, most usually in the 95% range.

In fourth place this weekend was "Madea's Witness Protection". It opened with $26.3MM, which actually is about where I predicted. This is the fifth Madea movie in the franchise, and this total fell right in the middle of the series, pretty much as expected. I don't really see many more comparable stats for this one, but with a budget of only $20MM, this film also has already exceeded its numbers. Madea movies are generally pretty consistent, and fans of the franchise generally show up similarly for each installment. The reviews have been pretty negative for this film - currently sitting at a 29% - but this isn't anything new for the series. Other than "Madea's Big Happy Family" that blew past the other films in the franchise with a 38%, every other film has been in the 20%-range. But again, the audience for these films is there, and ratings have never affected the box office numbers for these. You generally know what you're getting with these films - and it's good enough to make money.

Rounding out the top five was "Madagascar 3", which was the only other film to break the $10MM+ mark this weekend. I expected this would be the case for the film, but actually its 40% drop in its fourth weekend is pretty impressive. It continues to put together strong numbers. The film just hit the $180MM mark domestically, but more importantly, what "Brave" is failing to do, it's put together more than $240MM internationally, bringing its worldwide gross up to an impressive $425MM so far. It still probably won't catch either previous film for worldwide gross, but with only $13MM more to go to become the highest grossing of the franchise domestically, it should get there in the next week or so.

Otherwise it's probably worth mentioning the totals for "People Like Us", the fourth new release this weekend. I didn't think there'd be a huge market for this film, but it still actually only made about half as much as I thought it would. With an opening weekend of $4.3MM it's going to have to work hard and get great word-of-mouth to get anywhere near its budget of $16MM. That's not a big budget, so it's not too alarming, but having two bankable Hollywood stars in your picture and only recording $4MM in your opening weekend is. The film has received mixed reviews so far, but leaning towards the negative end. My interests in this film took a hit this weekend with everything considered. I'll still check it out at some point, but I'm in no real hurry now. I'm very curious to see what the film will do in its second weekend.

And I don't see any real noteworthy achievements anywhere else in the top 15, so we'll leave it at that. Check out the graphic below for the full rundown on all of the weekend totals, courtesy of Box Office Mojo: