January 21, 2009

Box Office Update 1/16-1/18: Mall Cop Reigns Supreme

When this past weekend began, would you have guessed that Paul Blart: Mall Cop would be far and away the box office champ of the weekend? No? Me neither. How about the fact that the film would cross the $30 million mark? I find that even harder to believe, this coming from someone who helped add to that box office, not to mention someone who genuinely likes the movie. I guess it is a good day to be Kevin James and I hope this leads to more features for the comic. I do not often watch his show, but I think he is a funny guy and has potential as a big screen star (with this box office I do not think I am alone).

Joining the Mall Cop are five other new releases or top ten returns to help make some wholesale changes in the top ten. Yes, this week saw a shift in the dynamic of the top ten. Out with the old, or at least the recent, and in with the new. There is an interesting blend of mainstream appeal, Oscar hopefuls, and limited audience fare to choose from. Whether you want comedy, horror, action, or drama, there is a little bit for everybody.

The next new release to enter the chart is My Bloody Valentine, placing third. The horror film opened not only on your regular cineplex screens, but also in 3D equipped auditoriums around the country. I made the drive to catch it in the 3D, and there is no other way this should be watched. This RealD process that is being used is really quite good and this film, even with the usual pointy objects through the screen gags, does a very nice job of creating depth, as if looking through a window rather than on a flat screen.

Right behind the horror film is the Christopher Wallace biopic Notorious. I have not yet seen this, but must say it looks pretty good. I know it just anecdotal evidence of success, but my local theater had this running on four screens Friday night and was selling out everything, obviously helping it to the best per theater average of the top ten.

Next is Hotel for Dogs from Nickelodeon Films. There is not much to the movie and it is decidedly not realistic. What it does have is a good heart and enough humor to keep you smiling. If nothing else, it is a good cathartic experience for those seeking some puppy satisfaction following Marley & Me.

Rounding out the six interlopers are Defiance and Slumdog Millionaire. The former is a WWII drama starring Daniel Craig that opened in limited release in December and is now entering wide release, it is a good film with a moving story. The latter has been in and out of the top ten a couple of times and has yet to have its wide release, where I suspect it will find a good deal of success.

The few returning films mostly had good showings, save for The Unborn. The anemic horror film dipped more than 50% and will likely have a quick exit from the top ten.

Next week will see new competition from Inkheart and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. In addition to the brand new films, a few films will be seeing their release expanded, not necessarily wide, but more than they have now. These films include Slumdog Millionaire, Revolutionary Road, Frost/Nixon, and one of my most anticipated (if it comes around me) The Wrestler. Oh yes, Warner Brothers is also putting The Dark Knight back in a few hundred theaters for an Oscar promotional run.

Six movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (11), Bedtime Stories (12), Valkyrie (14), Yes Man (15), Not Easily Broken (16), and Seven Pounds (22).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NPaul Blart: Mall Cop$31,832,636$31,832,6361
21Gran Torino$21,979,069$72,976,4806
3NMy Bloody Valentine$21,241,456$21,241,4561
5NHotel for Dogs$17,012,212$17,012,2121
62Bride Wars$11,651,553$37,478,6782
73The Unborn$9,341,985$32,581,1402
94Marley & Me$6,138,859$132,548,1424
1011Slumdog Millionaire$5,849,157$42,686,36210

Box Office Predictions Recap
Not one of my better guesstimation weeks, that fact seems to be becoming a running theme with me. My guesses were uniformly under the actuals, save for My Bloody Valentine and Bride Wars, which actually came in pretty close. This weekend proved to be much more potent than I would have thought. I am sure the studios are happy, while guessing ego remains bruised in the corner. Who would have guessed Paul Blart would be as big a hit as it turned out to be?

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
31My Bloody Valentine 3D$21,241,456$22 million
22Gran Torino$21,979,069$18 million


3Hotel for Dogs$17,012,212$14 million
14Paul Blart: Mall Cop$31,832,636$12.5 million
65Bride Wars$11,651,553$12 million
46Notorious$20,497,596$8 million
77The Unborn$9,341,985$7 million
88Defiance$8,911,827$6.5 million
99Marley & Me$6,138,859$4.5 million
1110The Curious Case of Benjamin Button$5,576,862$4 million


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