November 11, 2008

Box Office Update 11/7-11/9: Madagascar 2 Escapes to the Top

As expected Dreamworks latest animated feature climbed to the top of the box office heap in what can be termed a decisive victory. It's opened weekend gross is more than triple that of its nearest competitor. It may not be the best example of the genre, but it does show that families are thirsty for entertainment and the Chihuahua craze has run its course. The fact that it is a sequel to a generally well received film just makes the family choice that much easier.

The tale of zoo animals loose in Africa flew to the top of the charts behind numerous sold out shows and a final tally north of $63 million. It's gross came in $16 million more than its predecessor did in the summer of 2005. With no new competition on the family front next week I would expect it to hold strong until Disney's Bolt arrives on November 21st.

The nearest competition for our leading animated film is the R-rated comedy Role Models. The Paul Rudd/Seann William Scott team up returned a surprisingly potent $19 million. Frankly, I did not think it had the strength for such an opening. Well, the film was actually better than I expected, so I guess that has to count for something.

One other new release landed on the top ten chart, Soul Men. Unfortunately, despite this being a very funny film, it did not open all that strongly, scratching out a sixth place finish. This film features the duo of Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac in a road movie that vaguely reminded me of The Blues Brothers. It has some fun musical numbers and some of the most poetic uses of profanity on screen this year. This is one to see before it disappears.

Overall this weekend's box office held pretty strong as the returning films suffered small dips. Clint Eastwood's true crime drama Changeling led the way with a dip of merely 22%. What made me the happiest was Zack and Miri Make a Porno doing quite well in its second weekend out. It looks likely to end up being Kevin Smith's most profitable movie to date, and that is not a bad thing.

Next week sees only one new movie going wide but it is a big one. The highly anticipated new James Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace, hits theaters nationwide. This is sure to be a big hit as evidenced by the $160 million it has already made internationally. I think the bigger question now is if it will become the biggest opening Bond film, that title is currently held by Die Another Day with its $47 million open. Beyond that, will it over take Casino Royale and become the biggest moneymaker (unadjusted for inflation) of the series? It has to top $167 million.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (11), Max Payne (12), and Pride and Glory (16).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NMadagascar: Escape 2 Africa$63,106,589$63,106,5891
2NRole Models$19,167,085$19,167,0851
31High School Musical 3: Senior Year$9,159,523$75,573,9933
52Zack and Miri Make a Porno$6,274,530$20,686,9072
6NSoul Men$5,401,605$5,401,6051
73Saw V$4,067,071$52,187,3373
85The Haunting of Molly Hartley$3,318,694$10,063,3482
97The Secret Life of Bees$3,089,467$29,902,3634
109Eagle Eye$2,541,602$96,348,8297

Box Office Predictions Recap
This week wasn't all that great. At the same time it was not all that terrible either. It was one of those weeks that just was. Madagascar outdid my (and many others) expectations as did Role Models, which nearly doubled my expectations. On the other hand Soul Men failed to rise as high as I was expecting. On the whole, the box office held pretty steady and fell within the general area of the majority of my expectations.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$63,106,589$52 million
62Soul Men$5,401,605$12.5 million


3Role Models$19,167,085$10 million
34High School Musical 3: Senior Year$9,159,523$7.5 million
55Zack and Miri Make a Porno$6,274,530$6.5 million
46Changeling$7,252,940$6 million
77Saw V$4,067,071$5 million
118Beverly Hills Chihuahua$2,518,049$3 million
89The Haunting of Molly Hartley$3,318,694$2.5 million
910The Secret Life of Bees$3,089,467$2 million


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