Category Archives: Box Office

How to Podcast: ‘Minions’ Mania


This week on the Joel and Kit Save the Movies podcast, Joel Amos and I discuss Minions, the stand-alone animated film centering on those little yellow dudes from the Despicable Me series. The movie is good fun for the kiddies, who will no doubt want to rush out and buy Minions sheets and birthday cakes, but are these side characters worthy of a whole film?

Plus, we talk about the sci-fi thriller Self/Less, in which Ben Kingsley brain is put into Ryan Reynolds body (not a bad deal). In all seriousness, it’s one of Reynolds’ better performances and a decent thrill-fest. We still could have used more Kingsley.

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How to Podcast: “Ted 2” and More


In the first episode of my new podcast — Joel & Kit Save the Movies (and we do) — Joel Amos, Editor-in-Chief of, and I talk about Ted 2, comedy sequels, Jurassic World smashing the box office and much more!


How to Make Cash: Go to Shutter Island

Scorsese and DiCaprio hit it again. As the movies released start getting better, we’ve got our second score in a few weeks with Shutter Island, which took the top spot from last week’s Valentine’s Day.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. NEW! Shutter Island (Paramount) – $40.2 mil; 2,991 theaters; $13,440 PT
2. Valentine’s Day (Warner Bros.) – $17.1 mil; 3,665 theaters; $4,682 PT; $87.4 cume
3. Avatar (Fox) – $16 mil; 2,581 theaters; $6,238 PT; $687.8 mil cume
4. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Fox) – $15.3 mil; 3,396 theaters; $4,505 PT $58.7 mil cume
5. The Wolfman (Universal) – $9.8 mil; 3,223 theaters; $3,055 PT; $50.3 mil cume

Slowly but surely the movies are getting better and bigger. I think holding Shutter Island‘s release date until now (it was supposed to open last October) may have been a smart move since the movie gained some anticipation in those months. Could it have been an Oscar contender? Perhaps. The acting is certainly good enough and the film’s aesthetics are top-notch, so it could have had a chance at snagging some nods. But it seems like the studio didn’t have enough faith and wanted to open it with less competition — and obviously, it paid off.

This upcoming weekend isn’t AS strong, but movie-going peeps might be into a buddy cop flick with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in Cop Out. OR they might be into zombie movies with the horror film The Crazies. Either way, it’s all just gearing up for the Mar. 5 release of Alice in Wonderland, which should open huge. How huge, though? Anyone want to take a guess? I’m going to say between $70-$80 million. That’s high, I know, but I think audiences are ready for a tentpole movie.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the trailer for The Crazies, cause that’s just the kind zombie-lovin’ gal I am:

How to Make Cash: Open a Movie Called “Valentine’s Day” ON Valentine’s Day

Pretty brilliant marketing, eh? I thought maybe Valentine’s Day would be the one to topple Avatar, but that was taken care of last weekend, when the other romantic flick Dear John did the honors. But V-Day still managed to help break records this past weekend, earning $66 million over the three-day Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. NEW! Valentine’s Day (Warner Bros.) – $66.8 mil; 3,665 theaters; $18,241 PT
2. NEW! Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Fox) – $38.7 mil; 3,356 theaters; $11,546 PT
3. NEW! The Wolfman (Universal) – $36.4 mil; 3,222 theaters; $11,325 PT
4. Avatar (Fox) – $30 mil; 2,685 theaters; $11,173 PT: $667.6 mil cume
5. Dear John (Screen Gem) – $18.8 mil; 2,975 theaters; $6,319 PT; $56.6 mil cume

With the top four all making $30 million or more, this President’s Day weekend is now the best one to date. I’m just glad things are getting rolling again, after a particularly dull January. This coming weekend, we’ve got Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller Shutter Island, which got bumped from a fall release last year with a few new changes. I’m seeing it tomorrow night and can’t wait!

How to Make Cash: Show Channing Tatum’s Abs

Finally, FINALLY Avatar has been knocked off its box office throne – and it took one sexy dude to do it. Dear John, starring the incredibly hunky Channing Tatum, opened at No. 1, just as Avatar lost some of its steam after an eight-week run on top.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. NEW! Dear John (Screen Gem) – $32.4 mil; 2,969 theaters; $10,913 PT
2. Avatar (Fox) – $23.6 mil; 3,000 theaters; $7,867 PT; $630 mil cume
3. NEW! From Paris with Love (Lionsgate) – $8.1 mil; 2,722 theaters; $2,983 PT
4. Edge of Darkness (Warner Bros.) – $7 mil; 3,066theaters; $2,285 PT; $29 mil cume
5. Tooth Fairy (Fox) – $6.5 mil; 3,218 theaters; $2,020 PT; $34.3 mil cume

Of course, Avatar couldn’t hold onto the top spot forever. There’s only so many people who’ll keep seeing it again and again. Plus, the testosterone surrounding the Super Bowl – the most watched Super Bowl of all time, apparently — probably hurt Avatar‘s business as well, while Tatum and his onscreen love Amanda Seyfried wooed the predominantly female audience. I thought maybe this coming weekend’s rom-com ensemble Valentine’s Day would dethrone Avatar, but at least I was in the same ballpark: romance + pretty people + a lovers holiday = box office success.

The other two films besides Valentine’s Day opening this weekend include Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, an kids book adaptation about a kid who finds out he’s the son of the Greek God Poseidon, and The Wolfman, with Benicio Del Toro as the guy who turns into a werewolf. I’m most curious about Wolfman, only because of Del Toro and Emily Blunt. Here’s the creepy trailer:

How to Make Cash: Ask James Cameron

Ooops, he did it again. James Cameron’s Avatar has surpassed James Cameron’s Titanic as the highest grossing movie of all time worldwide. According to Nikke Finke at Deadline Hollywood, the final numbers from the past weekend have put Avatar at $1.859 billion in worldwide revenue in just 39 days, beating Titanic‘s $1.843 billion set in 1998. Finke reports:

No one thought that record could be broken, but Avatar‘s higher 3D ticket prices not adjusted for inflation did it. And News Corp insiders think Avatar‘s worldwide revenue will reach $2 billion — especially with after next week’s Oscar nominations and the Mar. 7 Academy Awards — and add $400 million to News Corp’s bottom line.

As far as North American box office grosses, Avatar‘s $555 million still trails Titanic‘s $600.8 million, but that should change very soon, especially since there isn’t any opening movies that could challenge Avatar‘s six-week streak as No. 1. Legion couldn’t do it, opening this past weekend in second place with a measly $17.5 million, or The Rock’s Tooth Fairy, which opened fourth with $14 million.

And I’m pretty sure Mel Gibson’s politically charged thriller Edge of Darkness or the rom-com When in Rome won’t knock Avatar off its throne this coming weekend, either. And next week the Academy Award nominations will be announced (Feb. 2), so you can bet there will be a bump in all the 10 Best Picture nominees, including — you guessed it — Avatar. What upcoming movie WILL end Avatar‘s reign? Maybe Valentine’s Day (opening Feb. 12), since it’s just the right kind of feel-good, ensemble romantic comedy everyone wants to see on the lovers’ holiday. We’ll see. For this coming weekend’s spotlight, though, here’s the trailer to Edge of Darkness:

How to Make Cash: Get “Avatar”-ed, What Else?

It’s like a broken record at this point. I didn’t even post a box office story last week because it was just more of the same: Avatar, Avatar, Avatar. I sort of liked what Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger proposed at the Golden Globes, when he asked James Cameron to give half the proceeds from Avatar to the California state budget. Yeah, right.

Here is the top five at the box office this MLK weekend:

1. Avatar (Fox) – $54.6 mil; 3,285 theaters; $16,621 PT; $505 mil cume (Geez!)
2. NEW! The Book of Eli (Warner Brothers) – $38 mil; 3,111 theaters; $12,221 PT
3. The Lovely Bones (Paramount) – $20.5 mil; 2,563 theaters; $8,013 PT; $21 mil cume
4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) – $15 mil; 3,296 theaters; $4,551 PT; $196 mil cume
5. NEW! The Spy Next Door (Lionsgate) – $13 mil; 2,924 theaters; $4,446 PT

I thought maybe The Book of Eli would knock Avatar off its multi-million dollar throne, but no such luck. Do you think The Rock playing The Tooth Fairy will do it? Certainly the medical drama Extraordinary Measures, starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser won’t do it, and neither will the angels-vs.-man thriller Legion. So it’s up to the Rock – and his appeal to the kiddie set – to topple the Na’vi. I’m thinking Avatar is STILL gonna stay on top, especially after winning the Golden Globe, but here’s the Tooth Fairy trailer, anyway, just for something different:

How to Make Cash: Get an “Avatar”

Avatar continued it’s crushing sweep at the box office over the New Year’s weekend, picking up another $68 million domestically and reaching over $1 billion worldwide – only the fifth movie ever to hit that mark, according to the Associated Press.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. Avatar (Fox) – $68.3 mil; 3,461 theaters; $19,734 PT; $352.1 mil cume
2. Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.) – $38.3 mil; 3,626 theaters; $10,586 PT; $140.6 mil cume
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) – $36.6 mil; 3,747 theaters; $9,768 PT; $157.3 mil cume
4. It’s Complicated (Universal) – $18.7 mil; 2,897 theaters; $6,455 PT; $59.1 mil cume
5. The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) – $12.6 mil; 2,926 theaters; $4,323 PT; $209 mil cume

Apparently, I was wrong about my guesstimate that Alvin and the Chipmunks would shoot ahead over the weekend. I should never underestimate the power of a visually groundbreaking James Cameron film, I suppose. “It’s like a runaway freight train. It just keeps doing business,” Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston told AP. “Here’s what’s happening: I think everybody has to see Avatar once. Even people who don’t normally go to the movies, they’ve heard about it and are saying, ‘I have to see it.’ Then there’s those people seeing it multiple times.” The same thing happened with Cameron’s Titanic; the guy simply knows how to craft a film you have to see on the big screen AND, for many, have to see again and again.

As for this coming weekend, Avatar just may win again, since there isn’t anything earth-shattering to knock it off its throne – which is actually pretty typical for the first week of the new year. Still, you gotta open something, so what we have is Youth in Revolt, another Michael Cera-starrer where he comes of age. There’s the romantic comedy Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. And finally, what I think looks kinda creepy and cool, is the horror flick Daybreakers, about a future plague that turns everyone into vampires — and then the blood starts to run out. Neato. Check out the trailer:

How to Make Cash: Christmas Miracles

I had a feeling this Christmas weekend was going to be a big one at the box office, and boy was I right. With Avatar once again in the lead – and lots of other choices – the holiday weekend set a record with an estimated $278 million in weekend box-office revenue. That broke the previous record of roughly $253 million set in July 2008 on the weekend The Dark Knight was released, according to the Associated Press. Not too shabby.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. Avatar (Fox) – $75 mil; 3,456 theaters; $21,701 PT; $212.2 mil cume
2. NEW! Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros.) – $65.3 mil; 3,626 theaters; $18,031 PT
3. NEW! Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) – $50.2 mil; 3,700 theaters; $13,568 PT: $77 mil cume (opened Wednesday)
4. NEW! It’s Complicated (Universal) – $22.1 mil; 2,887 theaters; $7,660 PT
5. Up in the Air (Paramount) – $11.7 mil; 1,895 theaters; $6,203 PT; $24.5 mil cume

Of course, having Christmas fall on a Friday is a big help, but I can’t remember a holiday season in which there were so many different and equally entertaining movies to choose from. Studios really should take note on this trend.

I’m particularly pleased to see Sherlock Holmes did so well since, well, I want it to get a Best Picture nomination. The reviews have been mixed, which may hurt a little, but then again, so were the reviews for Avatar and that seems to be a shoo-in (I know, I know – a shoo-in for all the technical awards but still …)

So since there aren’t any new films opening New Year’s weekend, which one of these fine films do you think will gain speed? Avatar and Sherlock Holmes may slide a little, with the repeat business dwindling a little. So, believe it or not, I’m thinking Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel may actually forge ahead. It’s a kids’ flick. It’s something they might want to see again. And it’s short. I’m just saying … Here’s a clip of the girl chipmunks singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”:

How to Make Cash: “Avatar” Soars

Yes, of course James Cameron’s Avatar emerged victorious at the box office this weekend. Did anyone have any doubt? It didn’t knock it out of the park nearly as far as New Moon, though.

Here is the top five at the box office this weekend:

1. NEW! Avatar (Fox) – $77 mil; 3,452 theaters; $22,313 PT
2. The Princess and the Frog (Buena Vista) – $12.1 mil; 3,475 theaters; $3,507 PT; $44.7 mil cume
3. The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) – $10 mil; 3,407 theaters; $2,941 PT; $164.7 mil cume
4. NEW! Did You Hear About the Morgans? (Sony) – $6.61 mil; 2,718 theaters; $2,434 PT
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit Ent.) – $4.4 mil; 3,035 theaters; $1,452 PT; $274.5 mil cume

Now, while Avatar beat Titanic‘s opening numbers, I’m not sure Avatar will have the same kind of lasting power as James Cameron’s 1997 blockbusting Best Picture winner. Not enough teenage girls clamoring to see it again and again (hence, New Moon‘s success). Titanic is still the record holder as the highest grossing movie of all-time, but Avatar should make some decent coin over the next few months – at least enough to recoup the cost it took to make it.

This coming Christmas weekend should be another banner one at the movies – if the weather holds out. We’ve got the Squeakquel to Alvin and the Chipmunks, Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin playing footsie in It’s Complicated and Robert Downey Jr. as the sly Sherlock Holmes. Personally, I’m rooting for Sherlock, since I’ve seen it and LOVED it (review to come). I’m hoping it’ll open big and become a more attractive Best Picture contender. Here’s the trailer again, enjoy!