Disney’s Hannah Montana: The Movie sings its way to a $34 million debut — and proves that Hannah is no pretendah!
The biggest Easter weekend on record is led by the phenomenal success of the G-rated, family-friendly Hannah Montana: The Movie as the nation's theaters continue to draw huge crowds during the recession. With a perfect release date and the Hannah Montana brand, Miley Cyrus has proven that she can open a concert film (Disney’s Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert in 3-D earned $31.1 million on Superbowl weekend of 2008 — $65.3 million domestic total), and she can voice a character in an animated film and have great success (Disney’s Bolt! earned a $26.2 million debut — $114 million domestic total). Now she proves that she can topline a traditional motion picture and still draw huge crowds. It’s not bad when your theatrically released movies debut in the $30-million range! That certainly says something about Miley’s/Hannah’s drawing power when you combine the two brands. In other words: Disney + Miley/Hannah = box-office success.
At number two is Universal’s Fast & Furious, which has sprinted to $118 million in just ten days of release as it adds more box-office fuel to its already massive tank. With an opening weekend of $71 million, the film posted the best April debut of all time, and the 59 percent second-weekend drop still puts the film at $28.8 million for the weekend.
Third place goes to the ever-popular Paramount/Dreamworks Monsters vs. Aliens with $22.6 million for the weekend on the back of a modest third-weekend drop of 45 percent and a domestic total of $141 million. IMAX and 3-D showings continue to be a major selling point as families immerse themselves in the fun-filled animated experience.
Debuting in fourth with $11.1 million is the critic’s favorite of the weekend, Observe and Report from Warner Bros. The R-rated dark comedy shows the superpopular Seth Rogen in a different and challenging role that many have compared to the disenfranchised Travis Bickel character in Martin Scorsese’s sociopathic vigilante outsider classic Taxi Driver. Considering the dark thematic tone of the film, one has to consider the box-office performance respectable and due to a great and offbeat trailer and marketing campaign that emphasized critical raves for the film.
Rounding out the top five with $6.6 million is Summit Entertainment’s Knowing. The Nicolas Cage starrer dropped a tiny 18 percent in its fourth weekend of release and now has a total domestic cumulative of $68 million. Knowing is showing the same kind of staying power that Fox’s Taken impressed the Industry with for almost the entire first quarter of the year.
Another truly astounding weekend as the steamroller that is the theatrical box office just keeps on rolling. As it stands, we are 16.66 percent ahead on revenue and 14.9 percent ahead on attendance. And with the summer-movie season to start in just three weeks, indications are that this could be a monumentally strong period at the nation’s theaters. If we rewind back one year when revenues were down 3.4 percent and attendance was off five percent, it is obvious that we are set for a massive summer with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Trek to boldly take us where the box office has never gone before.
1. NEW! Hannah Montana: The Movie (Disney) - $34M; 3188 theaters; $10,904 PTA
2. Fast & Furious (Universal) - $28.7M; 3472 theaters; $8,290 PTA; -59%; $118M cume
3. Monsters vs. Aliens (Paramount) - $22.6M; 4136 theaters; $5,468 PTA; -31%; $141M cume
4. NEW! Observe and Report (Warner Bros.) - $11.1M; 2727 theaters; $4,085 PTA
5. Knowing (Summit) - $6.6M; 2925 theaters; $2,280 PTA; -18%; $68M cume
6. I Love You, Man (Paramount) - $6.4M; 2643 theaters; $2,426 PTA; -17%; $58.9M cume
7. The Haunting in Connecticut (Lionsgate) - $5.7M; 2721theaters; $2,098 PTA; -40%; $46.3M
8. NEW! Dragonball Evolution (Fox) - $4.6M; 2181 theaters; $2,132 PTA
9. Adventureland (Miramax) - $3.4M; 1876 theaters; $1,830 PTA; -40%; $11.5 cume
10. Duplicity (Universal) - $2.9M; 1965 theaters; $1,525 PTA; -28%; $36.8M cume
LAST WEEK'S B.O.: A Fast & Furious Finish Line
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Ronnie Barnhardt is a kickass shopping-mall head-security guard with severe delusions of power. He meets his match when a cynical police detective is called in to take care of business after Ronnie and his crew fail to stop a parking lot flasher and can’t foil a jewelry-store robbery. Determined to prove his worth in the trade and in his personal life Ronnie applies for a job as a cop pursues a cosmetics salesgirl and tries to solve some crimes using his own unorthodox methods.
WHO’S IN IT?
Tailor-made for the considerable comic talents of Seth Rogen Barnhardt is a funny Travis Bickel a guy with severe self-worth issues who carries on a dialogue with himself in his head. Unlike Paul Blart this is a mall cop out to maul first and ask questions later. Rogen fits the bill and singlehandedly makes it all worth seeing. Anna Faris as his prospective girlfriend is given lots of opportunities to overact — and takes all of them. Still she’s quite funny in a drunken dinner scene that ends with her passed out in the bedroom under Rogen’s huge girth. Ray Liotta pretty much walks through his role as the pro detective who thinks Barnhardt is a total joke. Michael Pena is strong as another security guard while twins John and Matt Yuan and Jesse Plemons are hilarious as their dim-witted mall cop colleagues. Although he only has a couple of scenes Aziz Ansari steals them both as a smart-aleck hanger-on. Celia Weston and Rogen as mother and son have some wonderfully droll moments together but it’s first-time actor Randy Gambill as the flasher who gets the real comic workout and exposes himself as one to watch (hopefully with his clothes back on next time).
A cynical acerbic attitude rules the day here and the idea of putting a real wacko in the mall-cop position has more bite than the PG-13 Blart a movie that was blessed with the likable presence of Kevin James but suffered major credibility lapses.
Writer/director Jody Hill had a great idea but too often goes for the easy joke or gross-out gag when he should have drifted straight into hell with this character and really let Rogen loose. It’s hilarious in parts but the overall tone is wildly uneven and not totally satisfying.
The final confrontation between Rogen and the flasher has to be seen to be believed and on its own more than enough to merit the film’s well-deserved restricted rating.
SHOULD THERE BE A SEQUEL?
Yes and it should pair Blart vs. Barnhardt in a food-court showdown. It could be the best thing since Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.
It was a Fast moving weekend at the box office as Universal's The Fast and the Furious sped away with over $41 million.
The PG-13 action drama pulled into theaters with a high octane ESTIMATED $41.6 million at 2,628 theaters ($15,830 per theater).
Fast, which only cost $38 million to produce, appears to be well on its way to a very profitable $100 million in domestic theaters.
Fast's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide or limited release this weekend.
Directed by Rob Cohen and produced by Neal H. Moritz, it stars Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster.
"It's the eighth all-time June opener and Universal's sixth highest opener ever," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "And it ranks in the Top 25 of all time openers in history, which is a lot to say for a little film that cost $38 million. It's Rob Cohen's biggest opener and Neal Moritz's biggest opener."
(Exhibitors Relations Co., a film industry statistical research firm, lists The Fast and the Furious as the seventh best June opener if estimates hold.)
Pointing out that Fast is playing in 2,628 theaters, which she felt was the perfect number of theaters for it to open in, rather than in 3,000-plus locations, which has become typical for summer releases. "This is a lesson that you don't need to be in 3,500 playdates to do a huge gross," Rocco said. "I want to point out to filmmakers that if you're not in (over 3,000 theaters) you can still have a blockbuster."
Focusing on Fast's high speed launch, Rocco observed, "Obviously, the grosses speak for themselves as an indication of the enormously successful opening that we've had. What I'm absolutely excited about are the exit polls. To see an excellent rating for all [demographic] categories come in at 60 percent where the norms are 35 percent is extraordinary. The core audience [which is the under-25 group] is 68 percent excellent. These are enormous exit polls.
"The Top Two boxes [excellent and very good] is 89 percent. Now remember, you're taking into consideration [in this score people who are] over 25 years of age. For the core audience, it's 91 percent. The Definite Recommend is 71 percent and 78 percent for the score. It's unbelievably impressive."
Rocco noted that the exits were done Saturday night, "so we're not just getting the must-see people who go out on a Friday night. These were polled on Saturday night. That's what's so amazing to me. The breakdown of the audience last night was 55 percent male and 45 percent female. That's not heavily loaded to males. And it was very ethnically mixed. It was 50 percent white, 24 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian, 10 percent black and 5 percent others. So it had a good ethnic mix. And it bodes well for today's business between kids being out of school and Sunday being a good day for films [that play well to ethnic audiences]. That's why we're counting on the business being extraordinary today. There are no [major televised] sporting events to interfere with us.
"I'm just so excited for Rob Cohen and Neal Moritz. And I have to commend our production group and Scott Stuber (co-president of production). This was an in-house developed project. Scott found an article in Vibe magazine about streetcar racing and he developed this. So it's kudos to the production group. Our marketing, distribution and production people have proven -- and this is just a further example -- how we can tap into a certain culture. We did it with Bring It On. We did it with American Pie. And now we've done it with The Fast and the Furious."
Focusing on the film's release, Rocco commented, "The distribution strategy was absolutely perfect. In an environment where it's almost a must that you find 3,000 playdates, we've just proven that 2,600 playdates gets the job done as well as any film opening with over 3,000 playdates. That's not to say that we won't have 3,000 playdates on other films, it's just to say that you go with the flow and do what the marketplace demands of you."
Rocco also tipped her hat to Universal Pictures vice chairman Marc Shmuger "for having the enthusiasm and the drive to convince us to move it from March or April to the summer. After the second test screening, Marc looked at everybody and discussed with the filmmakers the fact that this would be a perfect summer programmer."
Rocco noted that at the time she believed Fast was going to be hit and felt she needed it on the studio's spring release schedule. "Marc had the vision and the guts to say, 'We could do it, team. Let's move it to the summer.' The only date that we felt comfortable with was this date, which was sandwiched between Tomb Raider and A.I. I have to give him a lot of credit for having that vision and the faith.
"I like to space out all my hits and we needed a film in the spring. But everything that Marc said made so much sense that we moved it. He convinced us, so we found this date. We knew we weren't going to go on the Tomb Raider date (or) the A.I. date. We had Jurassic Park 3 set for mid-July, so we didn't want to go there. This was the only reliable date that I could pick. And I didn't want to go earlier and cut into The Mummy Returns."
20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment's PG rated comedy sequel Dr. Dolittle 2 kicked off in second place to a solid ESTIMATED $26.71 million at 3,049 theaters ($8,761 per theater).
The 1998 original -- inspired by the 1967 musical -- opened the weekend of June 26-28, 1998 to $29.01 million at 2,777 theaters ($10,448 per theater). In its second weekend (July 3-5), the original fell 32% and placed second with $19.68 million at 2,871 theaters ($6,853 per theater). It went on to gross $144.2 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Steve Carr and produced by John Davis, it stars Eddie Murphy.
"I'm looking at the overall weekend and I can't believe it -- it's up [over] 40 percent from last year," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said Sunday morning. "It's astonishing. How much can a market expand? What it says is that there's enough pictures that they do want to see. You're looking at five movies over $10 million. It's just amazing."
Looking at Dolittle's opening weekend, Snyder noted, "We were up 16 percent from Friday to Saturday. I was looking for a little bigger bump, but I guess there's just so much business out there. I was also looking at Atlantis and Shrek, which are family movies [like Dolittle]. They did almost $24 million between them and with our $26.7 million, you're looking at $50 million in family movies. It was a terrific weekend and I'm thrilled with our number. I believe we'll be around all summer with it."
Some observes had expected Dolittle to open in first place, which Snyder said had looked likely until this week's tracking data became known.
"If you had asked me that two weeks ago, I would have told you I thought so, too," he said. "As of this week, you could see the heat building on the teenage movie. One thing about teenage movies is that the kids have to get in there immediately. Dolittle you can see this week, next week, the week after. When it comes to teenage movies, (you've got to be there right away), which is why it goes down from Friday to Saturday. [Fast] was off 10 percent, which is not a big drop on such a huge number, but it's indicative of the teenage moviegoing habit vs. family [audiences]."
Looking for a long run on Dolittle, he added, "We'll be talking about it in August."
Paramount and Mutual Film Company's PG-13 rated action adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider fell sharply in its second week by two rungs to third place with a less sexy ESTIMATED $20.2 million (-58%) at 3,312 theaters (+4 theaters; $6,099 per theater). Its cume is approximately $84.2 million, heading for $125-130 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Simon West, Tomb stars Angelina Jolie.
"I think it's $125-135 million, in there somewhere, if it continues along this same pattern that X-Men did, which frankly it's just virtually mirrored every day as far as percentage drops," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "Actually, on Thursday X-Men dropped 10 percent from the Wednesday figure and we were flat with Wednesday, so we were a little bit on the positive side. But the percentages have been virtually the same. They were down 57 percent their second weekend."
Buena Vista/Disney's PG rated animated feature Atlantis slid two pegs in its third week, but held well with an ESTIMATED $13.2 million (-35%) at 3,071 theaters (+60 theaters; $4,298 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.3 million.
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, its voice talents include Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer and Leonard Nimoy.
DreamWorks' PG rated computer animated blockbuster Shrek dropped two notches to fifth place in its sixth week, continuing to hold strongly with an ESTIMATED $11.0 million (-16%) at 3,007 theaters (-310 theaters; $3,663 per theater). Its cume is approximately $215.8 million on its way to $250 million or more.
DreamWorks said Shrek hit $200 million on June 19, almost exactly one month after its wide release on May 18.
"Crossing $200 million this early out puts Shrek in the kind of rarified atmosphere that would be a fairy tale come true for any studio," DreamWorks distribution head Jim Tharp said in announcing the milestone. "The film's success speaks volumes about how well this movie plays to audiences across every geographic and demographic divide. We are thrilled that moviegoers are not only continuing to discover the magic of Shrek for the first time, but are going back again and again -- and taking friends. The resulting word of mouth has been a big part of the box office success and should continue to carry it throughout the summer."
Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, its voice talents include Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's R rated action thriller Swordfish dropped two rungs to sixth place in its third week with an OK ESTIMATED $7.7 million (-39%) at 2,660 theaters (-28 theaters; $2,900 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.2 million, heading for $72-73 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Dominic Sena and produced by Joel Silver and Jonathan Krane, it stars John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle.
"It's sensational given the competition in our demographic the last two weeks from Tomb Raider and Fast and the Furious, these are great," Warner Bros. Distribution executive vice president & general sales manager Jeff Goldstein said Sunday morning.
Looking ahead to what looms as next weekend's big film, Goldstein reminded, "A.I. opens up Friday in over 3,000 locations."
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' PG-13 rated three hour epic action romance Pearl Harbor fell two rungs to seventh place in its fifth weekend with a less explosive $7.0 million (-29%) at 2,668 theaters (-472 theaters; $2,618 per theater). Its cume is approximately $172.1 million, on its way to $200 million by late summer.
Directed by Michael Bay, Pearl was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay. Starring are Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnet, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and Alec Baldwin.
20th Century Fox's PG-13 rated romantic musical drama Moulin Rouge held on to eighth place in its sixth week, continuing to hold well with an ESTIMATED $3.84 million (-24%) at 1,592 theaters (-492 theaters; $2,411 per theater). Its cume is approximately $43.4 million.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.
"It's off (only) 24 percent and yet we lost 25 percent of our theaters," Fox's Bruce Snyder said Sunday morning. "I think something's happening there. (The cut-back in theaters) funneled the business back into the theaters that were strong."
Where is it going? "I've got to think we can get to $55 million and that will be delightful," Snyder said. "This is not an easy movie. It doesn't fit the cookie cutter molds that I'm accustomed to dealing in, so I'm delighted."
DreamWorks' and Columbia's PG-13 rated sci-fi comedy Evolution fell three pegs in its third week with a calm ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-46%) at 2,258 theaters (-355 theaters; $1,578 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.6 million.
Directed by Ivan Reitman, it stars David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore.
Rounding out the Top 10 was Columbia's release of Revolution Studios PG-13 youth appeal comedy The Animal, down three rungs in its fourth weekend with a quiet ESTIMATED $3.0 million (-48%) at 2,228 theaters (-513 theaters; $1,346 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.3 million, heading. for $55 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Luke Greenfield, it stars Rob Schneider.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Fox Searchlight's R rated drama Sexy Beast widen in its second week with a very sexy ESTIMATED $0.65 million at 57 theaters (+48 theaters; $11,426 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.97 million.
Directed by Jonathan Glazer, it stars Ben Kingsley.
"It's playing extremely well across the country -- from Boston to Houston to Seattle to Chicago," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning. "I think what's happened is that the Don Logan character than Ben Kingsley has created is fascinating people. It's a larger than life character and people are really talking about it. It's almost like a Travis Bickel or a Hannibal Lecter. People are just mesmerized and they're talking about it.
"In New York, where we're in our second week, all of the four theaters went up this weekend, which is just excellent. We're adding another 21 markets this week and we'll go to over 100 theaters and we have additional cities (that we'll be adding) every weekend in July. We're going to get to 150 to 200 theaters."
Focusing on where it's playing best at this point, Gilula noted, "It is not crossing over yet into the pure commercial suburbs. But our suburban runs in New York were actually quite good. We seem to be the art film or the limited release film of the summer so far. (Fine Line's) Anniversary Party is doing pretty well, in addition."
Asked where Beast is heading, Gilula replied, "I hesitate to give you a number yet in terms of where we're going to end up, but I think we'll get past $5 million, which for us on a small film will be just fine.
"Even in a mega-summer, there's an audience out there that really seeks out alternative sort of smart film entertainment. It is not a monolithic market, at all. There are audiences that are out there all year long always looking for all kinds of movies."
Fine Line Features' R rated comedy The Anniversary Party went wider in its third week with a still encouraging ESTIMATED $0.62 million at 85 theaters (+69 theaters; $7,335 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.2 million.
Written and directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, its ensemble cast includes Jane Adams, Jennifer Beals, Phoebe Cates, Alan Cumming, Kevin Kline, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gwyneth Paltrow, Parker Posey and John C. Reilly.
Lions Gate Films' PG-13 rated drama Songcatcher expanded in its second week with an uninspired ESTIMATED $0.06 million at 13 theaters (+6 theaters; $4,630 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.12 million.
Directed by Maggie Greenwald, it stars Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $14.33 million, up about 42.34% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $100.69 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 10.97% from last weekend this year when key films took in $129.15 million.
Last year, Fox's opening week of Me, Myself & Irene was first with $24.21 million at 3,019 theaters ($8,019 per theater); and DreamWorks' opening week of Chicken Run was second with $17.51 million at 2,491 theaters ($7,028 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $41.7 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $68.3 million.