In another sign that cinefantastique rules the summer box office, TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN made its debut at #1 despite spite of overwhelmingly negative critical reactions. Michael Bay’s explosive sequel to TRANSFORMERS earned an estimated $112-million in over 4,200 North American theatres over the three-day span from Friday through Sunday. The added revenue from Wednesday and Thursday (the film opened mid-week rather than waiting for Friday) yielded a five-day total of $201.2-million – just shy of the five-day record held by THE DARK KNIGHT.
As for holdover horror, fantasy, and science fiction films…
Up was in fourth place with $13,046,000. Five-week total: $250,218,000
Year One was in sixth place, down from fourth with $5,800,000. Two-week total: $32,207,000
Star Trek warped from #7 to #8 with $3,606,000. Eight-week total: $246,225,000
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian petrified at ninth place, down from sixth, with $3,500,000. Six-week total: $163,248,000
11 8 Land of the Lost dropped out of the Top Ten, dropping from #8 to #11 with $1,143,000. Four-week total: $46,763,000
Terminator Salvation also left the Top Ten, going from tenth place to twelfth with $1,085,000. Six-week total: $121,922,000
This was one of those relatively rare weekends when horror, fantasy, and science fiction did not dominated the box office, mostly because no new titles were released. The one Borderland genre item, YEAR ONE, made its debut in over North American 3000 theatres; the prehistoric comedy, which stars Jack Black and Michael Cera, earned an okay $20.2-million, landing in fourth place. Apparently, Sony Pictures’ promotional campaign for backfired by misrepresenting the film in order to hide the film’s satirical approach to the Old Testament; a little controversy might have boosted those numbers.
As for returning cinefantastique…
UP dropped down from #2 to #3 in its fourth weekend, earning $21.3-million, $152.9-million total.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN was in sixth place, down from fourth, with $7.3-million, $155.9-million total.
START TREK stayed steady at #7, earning $4.7-million for a $239.4-million total.
LAND OF THE LOST petrified in eighth place, three slots lower than the previous week, earning $3.98-million, for a three-week total of $43.7-million.
IMAGINE THAT fell from sixth to ninth place in its second weekend, adding $3.1-million to a miserable two-week total of $11.4-million.
TERMINATOR SALVATION stomped into tenth place, down from #8. $3.1-million in ticket sales raised the five-week total to $119.5-million.
ANGELS & DEMONS dropped out of the Top Ten, landing at #11 with $2.8-million for a six-week total of $128.1-million – not bad but well below the $217.5-million of 2006’s THE DA VINCI CODE.
DRAG ME TO HELL all left the Top Ten, descending to twelfth place, where it earned $1.9-million. That raised the four-week total to $39.2-million. That puts the film just about even with THE UNBORN ($42-million U.S. total) but well behind THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT ($55.4-million) in terms of horror film box office performance for 2009.
Hollywood Reporter informs us that TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, which opened in only a couple of major foreign markets last week, nevertheless managed to blast its way to the top of the overseas box office charts, earning nearly $20-million in Japan and England. The sequel outperformed the opening of the original TRANSFORMERS film in both territories.
Apparently foreign audiences have a taste for high-tech sci-fi hardware this summer, because the #2 film this week is TERMINATOR SALVATION, which grossed over $18-million overseas, after having been #1 last weekend.
New films failed to unseat established winners at the nation’s box office this weekend. IMAGINE THAT, starring Eddie Murphy – the only cinefantastique to debut in wide release – opened in just over 3,000 theatres, where it earned a measly $5.7-million, landing in sixth place.
The weekend’s other genre debut, the low-budget MOON, opened in only a handful of theatres, earning $145,000, which put it in 20th place with an impressive per screen average of $18,000.
Meanwhile, THE HANGOVER, UP, and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN remained in #1, #2, and #4 positions respectively; only newcomer THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 managed to edge into #3.
Ticket sales for returning horror, fantasy, and science fiction films…
UP earned $30.5-million; $187.2-million total
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 earned $9.6-million; $143.4-million total.
LAND OF THE LOST dropped from third to fifth place in its second weekend, earning $9.1-million for a two-week total of $34.98-million.
STAR TREK warped from #5 to #7, adding $5.6-million to its six-week total of $232-million.
TERMINATOR SALVATION blasted its way from #6 to #8 with $4.7-million, yielding a four-week total of $113.8-million.
DRAG ME TO HEL sank deeper into the pit, from seventh to tenth place in its third weekend, earning $3.9-million for a total of $35.1-million.
Down in 12th place, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE made just under a million dollars; its seven-week total stands at $176.1-million.
Pixar’s 3-D animated blockbuster UP remained aloft at the box office during its second weekend in theatres, despite strong competition from THE HANGOVER, which made its debut in second place. Meanwhile, the weekend’s big science fiction film debut, LAND OF THE LOST, came in a distant third.
UP earned $44.24-million, raising its two-week total to $137.3-million.
LAND OF THE LOST made its debut in over 3,500 theatres but earned only $19.5-million, below expectations for a comedy starring Will Ferrell.
As for other returning science fiction, fantasy, and horror films…
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN was in fourth place with $14.6-million, $127.3-million total.
STAR TREK was in fifth place with $8.4-million, $222.8-million total
TERMINATOR SALVATION was in sixth place with $8.2-million.
DRAG ME TO HELL fell from fourth to seventh place in its second weekend with $7.3-million, yielding a two-week total of $28.5-million – typical for a generic horror film these days.
ANGELS & DEMONS was in eighth place with $6.5-million, $116.1-million total.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE dropped out of the Top Ten, falling from #8 to #11 with $1.86-million. After six weeks in theatres, the film has earned $174.3-million.
Variety reports that midnight screenings of TERMINATOR SALVATION last night (technically, this morning) earned$3-million, launching the extended Memorial Day weekend with an early explosive bang. By way of comparison, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE earned almost $5-million at midnight screenings, and WATCHMEN took in $4.6-million the midnight before its official opening.
TERMINATOR SALVATION is in 3,580 theatres today (although not all of them screened it early). Hollywood prognosticators expect it to be the summer’s top-grossing film, thanks to the franchise’s appeal to male viewers.
Science fiction and fantasy films had launched the summer box office season to a great start thanks to STAR TREK and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but this weekend they were passed up by the debut of ANGELS & DEMONS, director Ron Howard’s sequel to his 2006 blockbuster. Not to worry: both TREK and WOLVERINE posted strong numbers, keeping genre titles at the top of the weekend’s ticket sellers.
In second place, STAR TREK added $43-million to its awesome two-week total of $147.6-million. The newest adventure of the Starship Enterprise seems poised to become the summer’s biggest winner if it continues at this warp speed.
Mutating at #3, WOLVERINE was far behind with $14.8-million, raising its three-week total to $151.1-million.
As for other science fiction and fantasy holdovers…
GHOST OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST was in fourth place with $6.8-million, yielding $40.1-million after three weeks.
17 AGAIN dropped one nottch to sixth place weith $3.4-million for a five-week total of $58.4-million.
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS actually went up a notch, from #8 to #7, earning $3-million. Eight-week total is $190.6-million.
Variety reports that Paramount Pictures is going all-out with publicity for their new STAR TREK film, which opens tomorrow evening. In particular, there has been a big promotional push overseas, where the previous films have not done particularly well. Typically, big franchises earn hafl their revenues – or more – internationally, but the biggest grossing TREK film, STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, earned only $23.3-million overseas – less than a quarter of its North American gross, $109.7-million.
In addition to a huge domestic push, Paramount has launched perhaps the biggest international publicity campaign in its history for “Star Trek,” directed by J.J. Abrams and toplining Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Script was penned by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
Par has held premieres for “Star Trek” in Australia, London, Germany and the U.S. There was to have been a premiere in Mexico this week, but it was called off because of the flu outbreak. Next week, there will be a premiere in Japan.
There also have been a number of junkets and pre-release screening, including Austria, New Zealand, Belgium, Holland and Madrid. Also, Abrams traveled to Kuwait to host a screening for U.S. troops.
The article states that the new STAR TREK will need to earn at least $100-million in foreign markets if the big-budget film is to be a success.
In terms of “Star Trek’s” opening weekend gross, Par insiders are predicting $50 million to $60 million domestically, and $25 million to $30 million [overseas]. Rivals agree. Tracking shows younger demos less interested than adults, although the numbers are picking up for the under 18 crowd.
Advance ticket sales for domestic runs surged Tuesday, with 87 Imax shows alone selling out.
Par’s task has been to convince a younger generation that this isn’t the “Star Trek” of old, but a new, pumped-up version with a young cast and state-of-the-art special effects.
The weekend’s one fantasy film debut, DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION, was a dud at the box office. Directed by James Wong (FINAL DESTINATION), the adaptation of the popular anime franchise failed to ignite despite the presence of Chow Yun-Fat (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) and James Marsters (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER). Making its debut in 2,181 North American theatres, the film earned only $4.76-million, bouncing into 8th place.
As for returning fantasy, science fiction, and horror films…
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS dropped one slot into third place on its third weekend of release, earning $21.8-million for a U.S. total of $140.2-million.
KNOWING saw its I.Q. decay one point for a fifth place weekend showing of $6.4-million and a four-week total of $67.77-million.
THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT foreclosed on $5.9-million, good enough for 7th place, down from 3rd last week. Film has earned $46.49-million after three weekends in theatres.
RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN dropped out of the Top Ten, skidding from #8 to #11 with $1.9-million. After five weeks, the U.S. total is 461.96-million.
The debut of FAST & FURIOUS took #1 at the box office, forcing last week’s win-place-and-show trio of fantasy, horror, and science fiction – MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, and KNOWING – into second, third, and fourth place, respectively. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS earned $33.5-million its sophomore session, for a two-week total of $105.7-million. HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT scared up $9.6-million for a two-week total of $37.2-mllion. KNOWING saw its way to $8.1-million in tickets sales, for a three-week total of $58.2-million.
The only other science fiction, fantasy, or horror holdover in the Top Ten was RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN with $3.4-million in its fourth weekend, adding up to a total of $58.4-million. LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT dropped out of the Top Ten, collapsing from tenth to twelfth place with $1.3-million. After four weeks in U.S. theatres the film has earned $30.7-million.