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Jennifer Aniston Strong, Kevin James Weak: Box Office

Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Transformers 3

July 10

Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon topped the North American box office for the second consecutive weekend (July 8-10), grossing $47.02 million, down 52 percent from a week ago, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Featuring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, and Frances McDormand, Transformers 3 will be passing the $250 million milestone in North America some time today, its 12th day out.

Second-weekend comparisons to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are iffy. Revenge of the Fallen's second Saturday – the strongest box office day of the week – fell on July 4, a notoriously poor day for movie attendance. Revenues were down 40 percent from the day before, seriously impacting Transformers 2's overall box office gross for the weekend. As a result, Revenge of the Fallen was down 61 percent compared to the previous weekend.

It's also worth noting that Revenge of the Fallen was coming from a higher box office level than Dark of the Moon: $108.96 million vs. $97.85 million – and without the revenue-boosting 3D gimmick. In all fairness, I should add that Dark of the Moon's 51 percent drop-off rate isn't at all bad, considering that last weekend's figures were inflated because Sunday fell on a pre-holiday July 3; in other words, Transformers 3 had the equivalent of “two Saturdays.”

With an estimated cume of $261 million, Transformers 3 can now boast the title of biggest box office hit of 2011, surpassing some time today The Hangover Part II's $250.8 million. One shouldn't forget, however, that bigger box office doesn't necessarily mean more ticket sales: The Hangover 2 remains ahead of Transformers 3 in that regard, as 3D can add up to 40 percent to the cost of a movie ticket; i.e., approximately 60 percent of Transformers 3's first-weekend revenues originated from 3D houses.

Note: By its 12th day out, Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which starred LaBeouf, Duhamel, and Megan Fox, had bagged $293.35 million at the domestic box office in 2009, or about $307 million today.

Despite Dark of the Moon's box office impact, U.S. and Canada 2011 box office figures remain down 8.3 percent – or about $500 million – compared to 2010. Earnings for July 2011 are down 11 percent from last year, when movie theaters were offering Pixar's Toy Story 3, Universal's Despicable Me, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner combo The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Adam Sandler's Grown Ups.

Internationally, Transformers 3 has collected an estimated $297.08 million. Worldwide total: $558.08 million. And that's why movies like Transformers 3 continue to get made.

Photo: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Mark Fellman / Paramount Pictures)

Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses
Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey, Seth Gordon's Horrible Bosses earned a solid $28.1 million this weekend (July 8-10) at the North American box office, as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The R-rated comedy was #2 on the box office chart, behind Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

At 3,040 theaters, Horrible Bosses averaged a quite good $9,247 per site. Reviews have been widely mixed, with a mediocre 62 percent positive rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Also in the Horrible Bosses cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, and Donald Sutherland.

For comparison's sake: two weeks ago, the Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake-Jason Segel R-rated comedy Bad Teacher opened with $31.6 million and a $10,365 per-theater average. In mid-May, Paul Feig-Kristen Wiig's Bridesmaids debuted with $26.24 million and an $8,995 per-theater average. Perhaps not exactly a good sign: whereas the extremely well-received Bridesmaids was up 35 percent on Saturday, Horrible Bosses was up a minuscule 5 percent.

Directed by Frank Coraci, the Kevin James vehicle Zookeeper opened in third place with $21 million at 3,482 locations. Its per-theater average was a so-so $6,031. Kiddie flicks usually perform best on the weekend proper, but Zookeeper was up a tiny 2 percent on Saturday. Expect this latest Kevin James entry to disappear as fast as Ron Howard's dismal The Dilemma, especially considering upcoming competition from a behemoth such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

For comparison's sake: Jim Carrey's Mr. Popper's Penguins, another kiddie movie featuring animals and humans, opened with $18.44 million. The Carrey vehicle was also handicapped by a tiny 2 percent rise on Saturday; the following weekend it was down 45 percent, and has been dropping within that range since then. After four weeks, it's now in the #10 slot on the domestic box office chart.

Internationally, Zookeeper has collected about $7.5 million at 19 territories, averaging less than $5,000 per site. Kevin James isn't exactly a box office draw outside the United States: Paul Blart: Mall Cop may have taken in $146 million in North America in early 2009, but its overseas cume was a mere $36.9 million. The Dilemma fared even worse, collecting a paltry $17 million.

Photo: Horrible Bosses (John P. Johnson / New Line / Warner Bros.)

Michael Sheen, Nina Arianda, Rachel McAdams, Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Michael Sheen, Nina Arianda, Rachel McAdams, Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

More box office news: John Lasseter's Cars 2, featuring the voice of Owen Wilson, was no. 4 on the North American box office chart this weekend (July 8-10), with earnings of $15.2 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Having grossed $148.2 million to date in the U.S. and Canada, Cars 2 will pass the $150 million milestone some time this week; it'll thus become only the eighth movie to reach that mark so far in 2011. The others are: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Fast Five, Thor, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Bridesmaids. As you can see, six (including Cars 2) of those movies are sequels; one is based on a comics character; one is an original screenplay. Not one is a “straight” drama, i.e., one without super-heroes or super-effects. Yeah, now let's start complaining about Hollywood's lack of imagination.

Internationally, Cars 2 has collected an estimated $121.6 million, opening at the top of the box office chart in Spain and Argentina this weekend. The Disney/Pixar animated feature's worldwide total stands at $269.8 million.

At no. 5, the Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake-Jason Segel R-rated comedy Bad Teacher drew $9 million, lifting its domestic total to $78.75 million. Worldwide: $124.45 million.

Adults take their time to go to the movies, we're told. Well, obviously not the adults who were interested in watching Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks together in the poorly received Larry Crowne. The Hanks-directed comedy was down 52 percent, pulling in only $6.26 million at no. 6. Domestic total to date: $26.52 million. That's not good even for a relatively low-budget – $30 million – effort.

At no. 7, J.J. Abrams' Super 8 brought in $4.82 million, for a domestic cume of $118.05 million. It was followed by the Selena Gomez vehicle Monte Carlo, which took in $3.8 million, down 49 percent from last weekend's already underwhelming grosses.

After 10 days, the romantic comedy Monte Carlo has grossed a paltry $16.12 million in North America. As in the case of Larry Crowne, that's bad even for a movie that cost only $20 million – especially considering that Monte Carlo, marketed to teenagers and young women, is no heavy drama. Without special effects and action scenes, dramas usually have a harder time at the domestic box office, as was the case with the Robert Pattinson vehicle Remember Me last year, which ended its North American run with a modest $19 million. (Somewhat ironically, Pattinson's Water for Elephants is the top drama on the domestic chart this year.)

Rounding out the twelve this weekend were:

  • Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern with $3.12 million (down 52 percent). Domestic total: $109.07 million. Worldwide: $143 million. Cost: $200 million.
  • Jim Carrey's Mr. Popper's Penguins with $2.45 million (down 49 percent). Domestic total: $57.74 million. Worldwide: $84.24 million. Cost: $60 million.
  • Kristen Wiig's Bridesmaids with $2.76 million. (-24 percent). Domestic total: $158.18 million. Worldwide: Cost: $206.68 million.
  • Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris with $2.7 million. (-24 percent). Domestic total: $38.6 million. Worldwide: $69.35 million (up to the beginning of July). Cost: $30 million.

And definitely not: Allen's Midnight in Paris will not become the director's biggest hit ever at the North American box office. Regardless of the inevitable studio hype, it would be downright stupid not to consider that $40 million in 2011 is a lot less than $40 million in 1986, the year Hannah and Her Sisters came out. More on the inflation-adjusted performances of Woody Allen movies.

Michael Bay-Shia LaBeouf's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with the assistance of 3D surcharges, had the highest per-theater average, $11,503, followed by Jennifer Aniston-Colin Farrell's Horrible Bosses' $9,247. Mr. Popper's Penguins had the lowest, $1,428.

Green Lantern and Larry Crowne suffered the steepest box office drop-off rates compared to last weekend, down 52 percent. Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris had the lowest, down 24 percent.

Source for international box office grosses: The Hollywood Reporter.

Photo: Midnight in Paris (Roger Arpajou / Sony Pictures Classics)

July 9

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon topped the North American box office on Friday, grossing $14.92 million, down 56 percent from a week ago, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Josh Duhamel, Transformers 3 passed the $200 million milestone in North America on Wednesday. Though still trailing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon will likely pass the $250 million milestone by Sunday evening.

The latest R-rated comedy to hit North American screens, Horrible Bosses collected $9.92 million on opening day. Pundits had been predicting a first weekend hovering between $27m-$30m; that may still happen, depending on how well Horrible Bosses fares on Saturday. For comparison's sake: the Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake R-rated comedy Bad Teacher opened with $12.24 million and, generally mediocre reviews notwithstanding, went on to gross $31.6 million on its debut weekend.

Directed by Seth Gordon, Horrible Bosses stars Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jason Sudeikis, and Jamie Foxx. Reviews have been mixed, with a 62 percent positive rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Horrible Bosses' per-theater average was a solid $3,263 at 3,040 sites.

The Kevin James vehicle Zookeeper opened in third place with $7.4 million at 3,482 locations. Its per-theater average was a so-so $2,125. Kiddie flicks usually do quite well on the weekend proper, which means Zookeeper could end up grossing more than $20 million by Sunday evening.

For comparison's sake: Jim Carrey's Mr. Popper's Penguins, another kiddie movie featuring cute animals and unappealing humans, opened with $6.36 million and a $1,908 average. On its first weekend out Mr. Popper's Penguins drew $18.44 million – nearly tripling its Friday take – despite a surprisingly tiny 2 percent rise on Saturday.

Rounding out the top five on Friday were John Lasseter's Cars 2 with $4.82 million and Bad Teacher with $3 million.

Photo: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Mark Fellman / Paramount Pictures)

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3 Comments to Jennifer Aniston Strong, Kevin James Weak: Box Office

  1. zac

    @JohnP

    That's the whole point of using inflation-adjusted figures: having an idea of how many tickets each movie sold. MANHATTAN, ANNIE HALL, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, to name three, sold approximately 2 1/2-3 times more tickets than MIDNIGHT IN PARIS — which, of course, is nonetheless a solid Woody Allen hit.

  2. JohnP

    It's true that Midnight In Paris will have brought in more dollars domestically than any of his other films - it's just that those dollars don't buy as much as the old dollars. Another way of looking at this is that when Annie Hall and Manhattan were playing, movie tickets sold for $3 or $4 not the $12 we pay now. Perhaps a better way to measure is how many seats were sold for each film? It's probably true that more seats were sold for Annie Hall and Manhattan than will be sold for Midnight In Paris, but who cares — this is clearly one of his biggest films of his career and for that he deserves congratulations.

  3. JackMcBrayer

    Yes, but to not note that EVEN adjusted for inflation, Midnight in Paris is still in the top 8 of Woody's Box Office earners. An amazing feet for a 75 year old director with 42 (!!) films.