SATURDAY PM UPDATE: Sources tell me that the studios are having difficulty getting their nightly Rentrak numbers. But initial intel is that this back-and-forth North American box office battle for #1 isn’t over yet and may continue until Sunday night. Sony Pictures’ Just Go With It, starring the sometimes funny Adam Sandler and the always annoying Jennifer Aniston had a big Saturday jump (+41%) from Friday with $13.4M in grosses. If that holds, then this latest Valentines Day-timed rom-com could come in at $31.2M for the weekend. As for Paramount’s PG-rated Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D, “Bieber fever hasn’t broken but at least he’s sweating,” a rival studio exec said tonight. Even with higher 3D ticket prices but about 450 less theaters, the punk kid held strongly from Friday to Saturday with only a -13% drop for $10.7M which would put the kid at $30.2M for the weekend. As for other openers, Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet 3D opened with a soft $6M Friday but that was doubled Saturday by the matinee kiddie bump for a $25.4M weekend. And Focus Feature’s PG-13 The Eagle had decent numbers in both major cities and suburbs.
Here’s the Top 10:
1. Just Go With It (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,548 Theaters]
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $13.4M, Weekend $31.2M
If the rom-com holds at No. 1, then like him or not, Adam Sandler’s track record as one of the most consistent top performers in the business continues. This latest is based on the old Cactus Flower play/movie (which itself was based on a French play) by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company and directed by Dennis Dugan. But by now who hasn’t seen this dumbass premise of a single man who pretends to be married all over The Hallmark Channel? Yet it received an “A-” CinemaScore overall and an “A” from females despite lousy reviews. Just Go With It, should also be the main Date Night movie choice on Valentine’s Day so expect to see a substantial spike on a typical non-holiday Monday. Last weekend, Adam did a lot of press during the Superbowl as well as MTV Networks (including VH-1, Spike, and Comedy Central) where special interstitials were created with footage from the film. Additionally, there was a TNT and NBA promo tied to the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, while Sony worked with ESPN for a special “Just Go With It Moment” promo which was cut using footage from last year’s Game 7 final match-up, and a clip from the film.
2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,105 Theaters]
Friday $12.5M, Saturday $10.7M, Weekend $30.2M
In terms of Disney comps, this is less than the $31M opening weekend of Disney’s 2008 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour pic but massacres 2009’s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience opening weekend of $12.5M. Considering Bieber’s pic had a budget of only $13M, the punk did fine. (But if he’s “living his dream” at soon-to-be age 17, then mine is to send him packing from Hollywood until his testicles descend.) Born out of production boss Adam Goodman’s Paramount Insurge initiative overseen by Amy Powell to find talent from the Internet, this is the first offering. Goodman came up with the idea of pursuing a Bieber pic, so he, Powell, Megan Colligan, and Rob Moore traipsed to the Target Center in Minneapolis to watch the kid’s concert first-hand at the end of June. Negotiated with LA Reid of Island Def Jam records and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, the idea was to follow Bieber’s journey to a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Justin’s Internet army of fans were enlisted to submit photos and videos that would be incorporated into the film and the initial one-sheet. At the end of November, the decision was made to let fans pay $30 to sneak the film complete with souvenir purple glasses and wrist bands. About 60,000 fans saw the film Wednesday so they could spend Thursday and Friday spreading the word at schools. Paramount only included the value of the ticket in its box office reporting, though. The premiere featured a stunt with Ellen DeGeneres (who early on identified Justin as a star) after his Tuesday appearance on her show: Usher showed up with a fleet of vans and brought Ellen’s entire audience of over 300 people to the premiere. The promotion included sister company MTV’s Jersey Shore and The Situation to let teens know this film was not just for tweens. Meanwhile, Bieber’s mom went on Christian Radio to make inroads with faith-based audiences.
3. Gnomeo and Juliet (Disney) NEW [2,994 Theaters]
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $11.5M, Weekend $25.4M
The project was at Miramax and, as part of the recent sale, Disney kept the film which was distributed by Touchstone. Executive Produced by Elton John and his Rocket Pictures, Gnomeo & Juliet is the only animated film in the marketplace right now. The soundtrack released February 8th from Buena Vista Records features 9 songs from the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Sir Elton. (There’s a remake of Elton’s 1973 hit, “Crocodile Rock” sung with Nellie Furtado.) The voice cast included James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton, and Hulk Hogan. Shrek 2‘s Kelly Asbury directed what was billed as “the greatest love story ever told” starring… garden gnomes with plastic pink flamingoes and lawnmower races in the mix.
4. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8.5M (-43%), Cume $26.1M
5. Eagle (Focus Features) NEW [2,296 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.5M
Focus will hit projected numbers if the film makes $8 million for the weekend. Tracking best with men both over and under 25 (strongest with men over 25), the film had a budget of mid-$20sM and strong international pre-sales. Reviews were only mixed (35% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, 55% on Metacritic). The film drew a mostly male, ethnically diverse audience: 64% Male, 47% Under 30, 62% Under 35, 38% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 21% African American, 13% Asian. (more…)