July 8–10 weekend box office: Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon topped the North American box office for the second consecutive weekend, grossing $47 million, down 52 percent from a week ago, according to studio estimates found at boxofficemojo.com. 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 $297.1 million. Worldwide total: $558.1 million. And that’s why movies like Transformers 3 continue to get made.
At 3,040 theaters, Horrible Bosses averaged a quite good $9,247 per site. Reviews have been widely mixed, with a mediocre 62 percent approval 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 R-rated comedy Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel, opened with $31.6 million and a $10,365 per-theater average. In mid-May, Paul Feig-Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids debuted with $26.2 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 the Ron Howard-directed global bomb 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 $18.4 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.
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 $78.8 million. Worldwide: $124.5 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.
July 6: Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, has become “the top R-rated female comedy of all time,” having surpassed Sex and the City according to The Hollywood Reporter. Impressive? Well…
First of all, how many “R-rated female comedies” have ever been released?
Second, there’s something called inflation, which, well, inflates movie-ticket prices. Back in 2008, Sex and the City earned $152.64 million at the North American box office as per Box Office Mojo. In 2011, Bridesmaids has thus far earned $153.78 million.
However, taking inflation into account, Sex and the City‘s box office take represents approximately $167 million in 2011 dollars. In other words, the Sarah Jessica Parker-Kim Cattrall-Cynthia Nixon-Kristin Davis vehicle remains quite a bit ahead of Bridesmaids. (Admittedly, chances are the the extremely well-received Feig-Wiig comedy will eventually surpass that figure – but that hasn’t happened, yet.)
Third, there’s something called The World Outside the United States (and Canada). Hollywood studios are fully aware of that. In fact, that’s why they will keep on making movies like Pirates of the Caribbean 24, Transformers 86, and Son of Harry Potter Part 128.
Bridesmaids has collected a relatively modest $34.8 million in ten markets, performing well in English-language Australia ($12 million), the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, while doing poor business in a crucial market like Russia/CIS. The original Sex and the City grossed $262.6 million overseas, representing nearly two-thirds of the film’s worldwide take of $415 million. Even Sex and the City 2, considered a box office disappointment in North America, went on to gross $288.3 million worldwide thanks to an estimated $193 million originated overseas – or more than two-thirds of the film’s total take. Bridesmaids worldwide total to date? $188.5 million.
That studios would want to hype their product is understandable; it’s less clear why journalists would choose to go along with the farce. Anyhow, apparently ignoring inflation, Universal claims Bridesmaids has become the studio’s biggest “romantic comedy ever”; it’s also the seventh biggest “romantic comedy of all time,” according to tracking service Cinesys. Now those two feats are particularly impressive, considering that Bridesmaids isn’t exactly a romantic comedy.
Also worth noting is that both Judd Apatow’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ($148.2 million in 2006, approx. $178 million today) and Knocked Up ($148.76 million in 2007, approx. $165.7 million today) remain ahead of Bridesmaids in number of tickets sold. In other words, Bridesmaids is Apatow’s biggest hit only if you opt to ignore inflation.
Photo: Bridesmaids (Universal Pictures)