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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

North American box office: ‘The Hangover’ lingers; aspirin not helping

Oh, my head hurts:

1. The Hangover: $32.8 million (2nd week; drops 27%)
2. Up: $30.8 million (3rd week; drops 30%)
3. The Taking of Pelham 123: $23.4 (NEW)
4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: $9.6 million (4th week; drops 34%)
5. Land of the Lost: $9 million (2nd week; drops 52%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Again with the estimates not matching the actuals. The Hangover and Up were off just a tad — one was up, the other was down, and it doesn’t really matter which was which, because the actuals are always off a little bit. But Pelham 123 was off a lot… and not in the way you want to be off. Far fewer people were checking out that new thriller on Sunday than the early Sunday estimates figured. Not good…

The Hangover and Up were off only very modestly over the previous week, which means people really, really like them. And however unintentional it is, these two movies are the perfect counterprogramming: one movie is raunchy and rude and suited to grownups and older teens, and the other is sweet and colorful and gentle and suited to families and kids. That’s what makes big weekends: something for everyone.

And yet, according to Box Office Mojo:

overall business was down 24 percent from the same weekend last year and had the lowest attendance for the timeframe in over a decade.

What’s that all about? The pinch of Great Depression II getting hurtier, maybe?

In better news, Star Trek dropped out of the top 5 in its sixth week, but it has now sailed past $230 million, and looks to easily surpass $250 million domestically before it’s done.

In per-screen news, it’s all about indies with the tiniest of releases. The films with the best per-screen averages this week:

Food, Inc.: $20,171/3 screens
Moon: $17,006/8 screens
Tetro: $15,252/2 screens
Magnificent Desolation: $12,985/3 IMAX screens (real IMAX screens, presumably; but it’s been available on DVD for ages)
Away We Go: $12,463/45 screens
Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Want: $10,866/3 screens
Le combat dans l’île (rerelease of a 1962 film!): $10,217/1 screen

And then down at No. 8 is The Hangover, at $9,775 at each of 3,355 venues.

I really do wonder what would happen if the audiences flocking to these arthouse flicks were better served by “mainstream” movies. I doubt a movie like Moon would ever play at 3,000 multiplexes with showings at 7, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, etc. But what if it opened on 1,000 screens, and was well-marketed to the not-quite-artsy but not-quite-mallsy crowd? It might do quite well indeed…

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]



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