Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hostel Brutalizes the Box Office

Source: Comingsoon.net

The first weekend of the New Year followed last year's tradition of a new horror movie bringing in the most business with Eli Roth's gory thriller Hostel taking a definite place in the box office's top slot with an estimated $20.1 million in less than 2,200 theatres, an average of $9,157 per theater. Produced for less than $5 million, it is Lionsgate's second horror film in a row to become immediately profitable, and presumably, it will become another franchise ala Saw, because Roth has said in interviews that he wouldn't be adverse to making a sequel. This was confirmed by the film's lead Jay Hernandez when he spoke to ComingSoon.net on Thursday. "Yeah, it's a possibility and people have mentioned it," Hernandez told us. "Like for me to come back in a 'Bourne Identity' sort of thing where you're trying to get back at the people who were involved, but who knows?"

Remaining in the top 2 for its fifth consecutive week, Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe fell 40% from the New Year holiday weekend, adding another $15.4 million to its total gross of $247 million. Dropping to third, Universal Pictures' remake of King Kong, directed by Peter Jackson, earned $12.5 million in its fourth weekend, widening the gap with Narnia after losing first place to it last week. The $208 million film has yet to earn back its production budget in North American theaters, although its current gross of $192 million points to it getting there by the end of next week's extended holiday weekend.

The Jim Carrey remake of Fun with Dick and Jane held up well, dropping a mere 26% with $12.2 million in its third weekend, while Steve Martin's comedy sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2 also dropped down a notch to fourth with a third weekend take of $8.3 million, bringing its total gross to $66 million compared to Dick and Jane's $81.3 million.

Steven Spielberg's political thriller Munich expanded into just under 1,500 theatres, where it grossed roughly $7.5 million to move up to sixth place with its total reaching $25 million.

Remaining in seventh place for a second week, Sony Pictures' adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, starring SAG nominee Ziyi Zhang, added another $6 million to its total, which is sitting just below $40 million.

Dropping down three places to #8 in its third weekend, the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Rumor Has It... grossed just under $5.9 million. The only Warner Bros. release in the Top 12 has grossed $35.3 million in three weeks.

With a number of guild nominations under its belt, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain reentered the Top 10 at #9, after expanding into 483 theaters in its fifth week. The unconventional love story grossed an estimated $5.7 million, giving it the highest per-theater average in the Top 20. With a total gross of $22 million, its distributor, Focus Features, will likely continue to expand the film into more markets leading up to the Oscars in early March.

The Top 10 was rounded off by the first of three comedies from Fox, The Family Stone, which earned $4.6 million to bring its total to $53 million. Their indie subsidiary Fox Searchlight's The Ringer, starring Johnny Knoxville, made slightly less, dropping down three places to #11.

On Friday, Touchstone Pictures expanded Lasse Hallström's action-comedy Casanova nationwide into over 1,000 theaters, and it grossed $4 million in its third weekend to round out the Top 12.

With both returning comedies holding up well after the holidays, Fox's third comedy Grandma's Boy, produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, failed to find much of an audience, ending up just outside the Top 12 with $2.9 million, a dismal average of less than $1,500 per theater.

On the other hand, Woody Allen's thriller Match Point, which expanded into just over 300 theatres, earned $2.8 million, a more impressive theater average of $9,000. Its $3.8 million box office take in its first 12 days is more than Allen's last film for DreamWorks, Anything Else, grossed in its total theatrical run. Match Point is scheduled for a nationwide release on January 20.

And then there was Dr. Uwe Boll's latest BloodRayne, released by the new distributor Romar Releasing, who apparently sent about a thousand prints to theaters who didn't feel like wasting a screen on playing it. In a last minute turnaround, it ended up playing in only 985 theaters over the weekend, and it reported an estimated weekend gross of $1.2 million, a pathetic theater average of $1,244, which might not even be enough to get into the Top 20.