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B.O. Analysis July 26: Disney Takes the Box Office By 'Force'

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Jul 26, 2009 | 8:25am EDT

Disney is on a roll in the wake of the success of both the Pixar animated Up and the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy The Proposal, as the Jerry Bruckheimer produced animal action-adventure exceeds expectations and rockets to number one with $32,152,000. A great marketing campaign and a premise that had people scratching their heads while simultaneously grabbing the family and rushing to the theatre, the film became an instant PG-rated family-friendly hit.

At number two is Warner Bros. juggernaut Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which drops to second place with $30 million in its second weekend of release and has already amassed a magical $221.8 million in just 12 days of release at the domestic box-office.

In third with $27 million for the weekend is Sony’s The Ugly Truth which posted the highest per-theatre average ($9,368) of any movie in the Top 10 and proves once again the power of the female audience at the box-office. With a modest reported budget of around $38 million, the Katherine HeiglGerard Butler R-rated romantic comedy will be another winner for the studio.

In fourth is the R-rated horror scare-fest Orphan. The Warner Bros. film earned $12.8 million against a modest budget and thus successfully used the strategy of keeping the cost factor and the star power low, while delivering an effective genre film with a great marketing campaign for a nice ultimate return on investment.

Rounding out the Top 5 is Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs from Fox which continues to be a summer favorite after a month of release dropping only 53% and grabbing another $8.2 million and a domestic total at just over $170 million.

Notable news outside of the Top 5 includes Paramount’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which is nearing the $400 million mark in domestic receipts an now stands at $379.1 million after 5 weeks in release. In addition, Warner Bros. The Hangover continues to be the Summer season “go to” comedy with another $6.5 million and a cumulative domestic total of an impressive $247.1 million.

On the Indie front, Fox Searchlight has another hit on its hands with (500) Days of Summer adding 58 theatres to good effect with the highest per-theatre average in the Top 12 of $19,176. This audience and critic’s favorite looks to capitalize on the momentum it has created as it expands in the coming weeks. Summit’s The Hurt Locker also continues its strong run with another 144 theatres added to the mix as this, possibly the best reviewed film of the year thus far, adds an additional $1.5 million, jumps up 97% over last weekend and finds its cumulative domestic total at an explosive $4 million.

On the down side, we have had three consecutive “down” weekends at the box-office as comparisons to last year’s “Dark Knight” fueled bonanza are making it tough on this year’s summer revenues. Our “Transformers” boosted 5% summer revenue advantage of three weeks ago has now dwindled to virtually dead-even as the summer box-office tug-of-war vs. last year continues. Year-to-date revenue still robust with a 8% advantage over 2008 at this point. The home stretch of summer looms as we approach the final month of August and another 5 weeks or so to wring out a summer box-office record.

THREE DAY ESTIMATES:

1. NEW! G-Force (Disney), $32.1M, 3697 theaters, $8,697 PTA; $32,152,000 cume (3 day gross)

2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Warner Bros) $30M, 4325 theaters, $6,936 PTA; -61%; $221,834,000 cume

3. The Ugly Truth ( Sony/Columbia) $27M 2882 theaters, $9,368 PTA, $27,000,000 cume

4. Orpan (Warner Bros.), $12.7M, 2750 theaters, $4,644 PTA; $12,770,000 cume

5. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Fox) $8.2M, 3300 theaters, $2,485 PTA, -53%, $171,290,671 cume

6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount/D'Works) $8M, 3237 theaters, $2,471 PTA, -42%, $379,090,000 cume

7. The Hangover (Warner Bros.) $6.4M, 2285 theaters, $2,829 PTA, -21% $247,077,000 cume

8. The Proposal (Disney)$6.4M, 2779 theaters, $2,311 PTA, -23%, $140,086,000 cume

9. Public Enemies (Universal) $4.1M, 2291 theaters, $1,820 PTA, -46%, $88,095,850 cume

10. Bruno (Universal) $2.7M, 1895 theaters $1,435 PTA, -67%, $56,515,845 cume

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