8 items from 2007
Completing its fifth consecutive weekend as the No. 1 international boxoffice attraction, Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille served up an estimated $14.5 million from 4,381 screens in 29 territories and raised its international gross to $371.8 million.
Overall, the stanza was down slightly from the comparable weekend a year ago, and the ending of school holidays took a toll in key markets, particularly the U.K. But notable were the small-market international bows of American Gangster, Bee Movie and 30 Days of Night.
Universal International's Gangster, the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama that finished first during the weekend in North America, made an estimated $150,000 from 23 screens in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, enough to rank No. 1 in each territory.
DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures International's Bee Movie, Jerry Seinfeld's first big film venture that bowed at No. 2 domestically, also opened at 492 screens in Russia and Ukraine for a combined estimate of $3.2 million.
Sony's horror film 30 Days of Night, the fifth-ranked domestic title, scared up $510,000 from 73 screens in Malaysia and the Philippines, finishing No. 1 in the former territory and grabbing second place in the latter.
In overseas release since June 28, Ratatouille continues powerfully in holdover markets. It finished No. 1 in seven territories -- the U.K., Italy, Sweden, Poland, China, Switzerland and Denmark -- propelling its global take to $577 million.
The animation film about Remy the French rat surpassed 2004's The Incredibles as the second-most-popular Disney/Pixar co-venture ever behind 2003's Finding Nemo. It also stands as Disney's third-biggest-grossing animation title behind The Lion King and Nemo, and the sixth-most-popular animation title from any studio. »
Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille rounded out a full month as the international circuit's No. 1 boxoffice hit during the weekend, grossing an estimated $21.9 million from 4,770 screens in 31 overseas territories.
The family animation title that centers on Remy, a French rat with culinary ambitions, raised its international gross to $346.8 million and worldwide total to $552 million. It now is the 10th-biggest film to be released by Disney (behind 1998's Armageddon, at $553.7 million) and the third-most-successful Disney/Pixar collaboration after 2003's Finding Nemo and 2004's The Incredibles.
Disney is confident that by Tuesday, Ratatouille will surpass both Armageddon and 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" to become the company's eighth-biggest international hit. It now ranks 39th all time overseas for any studio.
Playing strictly holdover markets at this point after opening overseas June 28, Ratatouille recorded No. 1 finishes during the weekend in the U.K., China, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Poland. The U.K. led the pack with an estimated $8.2 million -- up 31% from the previous weekend -- at 533 screens for a market cume of $36.3 million.
Finishing second was the weekend's No. 1 domestic title, Lionsgate's Saw IV, which opened simultaneously overseas in 15 markets, garnering an estimated $12.6 million from about 1,600 screens. The fourth in the grisly horror film series played especially well in the U.K. (No. 2 with an estimated $5.2 million from 395 sites) and Spain ($2.7 million from 300 situations). »
Ranking first in 13 overseas territories including Italy, where it registered a gangbusters opening, Ratatouille coasted to No. 1 internationally for the third consecutive weekend, grossing an estimated $27.7 million from 3,793 screens in 33 markets.
The total overseas tally for the Disney/Pixar animation offering is $308 million and $512.6 million worldwide, making it the 11th-biggest grosser in Disney history and the 51st-biggest title all-time industrywide. Ratatouille, which opened internationally June 28, has completed its overseas run but looms as a dominant factor in holdover markets for several stanzas to come.
Outgrossing the combined totals of the No. 2- No. 5 titles during the weekend by nearly $4 million, the saga of Remy the French rat notched a number of Disney and industry records.
Ratatouille is the sixth-biggest-grossing original animation title ever to be released overseas and the ninth-biggest including sequels. It also is the fourth-biggest Disney animation release (behind 2003's Finding Nemo, 1994's The Lion King and 2004's The Incredibles) and the 48th title (the 10th from Disney) in history to cross the $300 million gross mark internationally.
Actor Casey Affleck, screenwriter Christopher Hampton, director Brad Bird and visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar will be honored at the 11th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on Oct. 22 at the Beverly Hilton.
Affleck, who stars in the upcoming Gone Baby Gone, based on Dennis Lehane's novel and directed by brother Ben Affleck, will receive the Hollywood Breakthrough Actor of the Year Award. The younger Affleck stars opposite Brad Pitt in the soon-to-be released The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Hampton, who will be honored as Hollywood Screenwriter of the Year, won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for 1988's Dangerous Liaisons and wrote the screenplay adaptation for the forthcoming Atonement.
Bird, who won an Oscar for directing The Incredibles, will accept the festival's Hollywood Animation of the Year honor for his summer hit Ratatouille, while Farrar, an Oscar winner for Cocoon, will accept the award for Visual Effects of the Year for Transformers.
"We are honored that Casey Affleck, Christopher Hampton, Brad Bird and Scott Farrar will be honored for their outstanding work and creative vision at this year's festival," said Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive director of the Hollywood Film Festival. »
Ay, caramba! The Simpsons have gone Hollywood. Springfield's most famous nuclear family may never be the same after their first big-screen outing, The Simpsons Movie, rocked the North American boxoffice this weekend. The traditionally animated movie from 20th Century Fox exceeded even the most optimistic expectations as it grossed an estimated $71.9 million.
The movie easily dwarfed the weekend's other new wide arrivals. The romantic comedy No Reservations squeezed into fifth place with an estimated $11.8 million. Barely securing a foothold in the top 10, the suspense thriller I Know Who Killed Me was No. 9 with an estimated $3.4 million, while the culture-class comedy Who's Your Caddy? was No. 10 with an estimated $2.9 million.
The PG-13 Simpsons, helmed by David Silverman, a veteran director-producer of the 18-year TV series, proved that with the right material, 2-D animation can be as potent a boxoffice draw as CGI animation, which is currently in vogue. As far as opening weekends for animated films, Simpsons -- making its stand in 3,922 theaters where it averaged $18,319 per theater -- was eclipsed only by the $121.6 million bow of Shrek the Third this May and the 2004 debut of Shrek 2 ($108 million). If its estimate holds, Simpsons will edge out The Incredibles, the Pixar movie with the best opening weekend -- that film picked up $70.5 million when it opened in 2004. Simpsons also scored the biggest opening for a non-CGI toon, surpassing the previous record-holder The Lion King, which grossed $40.9 million in its first weekend of wide release in 1994.
On Friday, when the movie drew in about $30 million, it played to a slightly male and under-25 audience. But during the course of the weekend, the family audience also turned out, undeterred by the PG-13 rating, and all four quadrants were about equally represented, according to Fox.
"We caught an amazing amount of the family audience," said Chris Aronson, Fox's senior vp distribution. "And that combination of family play and great reviews drove the movie. Who'd have thunk that at the end of the day, this would be a review-driven film? And the exit polls have all been fantastic."
Warner Bros. Pictures' Harry Potter franchise scored a coup of its own this weekend. Domestically, the latest film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, stood in third place with a weekend gross of an estimated $17.1 million and a domestic cume to date of an estimated $241.8 million. »
With no new wide releases scheduled to open Friday, the weekend dynamics already are in gear, with the three dominant holiday players on track to extend their winning streaks.
The PG-13 demolition derby, directed by Michael Bay, roared out of the gate Monday with 8 p.m. screenings, grossing $8.8 million. On Tuesday, it pulled in $27.9 million and jumped another 4.3% on Wednesday. The domestic cume for Transformers now stands at an estimated $65.7 million.
Paramount, which is releasing the film, trumpeted the fact that Transformers racked up the biggest July 4 single-day gross in boxoffice history, beating the $21.95 million that Spider-Man 2 claimed in 2004.
"Typically, when the Fourth falls on a Wednesday, business goes down," DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy said. "So the fact that it went up is a tremendous surprise to all of us. Certainly, it was a record-breaking Fourth of July."
The movie bowed last weekend in first place with $47 million -- a low number for a Pixar title as last summer's Cars arrived to $60.1 million and Bird's previous film, The Incredibles, debuted at $70.5 million -- but Ratatouille now appears to be picking up ground.
On Monday, it grossed $7.5 million, the best Monday performance ever for a Pixar movie, outdistancing the $6.95 million that Finding Nemo took in on its best Monday. »
Consumers spent a projected $10.7 billion on home video in the first six months of the year, down 2% when compared with the midway point of 2006, according to studio estimates and Home Media Magazine market research.
Rental spending was projected to remain flat at $3.9 billion, while DVD sales were pegged at $6.8 billion, down 3%.
One reason for the decline in consumer spending could be the overall weaker boxoffice value of first-half DVD releases, off about 9% year-over-year.
Warner Home Video's Happy Feet was the top-selling DVD released in the first six months with sales of 8.6 million units.
The top-selling DVD in first-half 2006, Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, sold 11.8 million units, while the top seller at the halfway mark of 2005, Buena Vista's The Incredibles, sold about 16.1 million. Happy Feet and The Incredibles were March releases, while Narnia came out in April.
With a U.S. boxoffice gross of $291.7 million, Narnia was the biggest theatrical release of the three. »
Read about the Ratatouille game
At the same time, action fans flocked to 20th Century Fox's Live Free or Die Hard, which ranked second with an estimated three-day tally of $33.2 million. With the sequel opening Wednesday, Die Hard ended the weekend with a five-day estimated cume of $48.2 million, a whisker ahead of Ratatouille's three-day gross.
On the specialty films front, Michael Moore's health-care documentary Sicko received an upbeat diagnosis. After opening in one theater in New York the previous weekend, it expanded into 441 theaters, where it drew an estimated $4.5 million for a ninth-place showing overall. Its per-theater average of $10,204 was the second best in the top 10, behind only Ratatouille's $11,987 average.
Although playing in more than double the number of theaters (977) as Sicko, Focus Features' Evening, with an all-star cast headed by Vanessa Redgrave, pulled in an estimated $3.5 million to squeeze into the top 10.
After four weekends in which business registered a decline from the comparable frames a year ago, an energized boxoffice rebounded. The top 10 films collected an estimated $141.6 million, up 2% from the same weekend last year, when Warner Bros. Pictures' Superman Returns led the list with a $42.5 million bow.
Buena Vista Pictures' release of director Brad Bird's Ratatouille didn't reach the heights of recent Pixar offerings; Cars got off to a $60.1 million start in June 2006, while Bird's previous feature, The Incredibles, debuted to $70.5 million in November 2004. But the G-rated Ratatouille was regarded by many as a tougher sell given that it revolves around a rat, Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), who dreams of becoming a top chef.
In a summer of presold sequels, it was the first nonsequel since the arrival of Disturbia in late April to command the top spot.
The film charmed critics -- it earned a 95% positive rating on the review compilation site RottenTomatoes -- and moviegoers sampled by CinemaScore rewarded it with an A rating. So in addition to attracting the family crowd, the picture should have ongoing adult appeal. For its debut, the studio reported that about 45% of the audience was composed of adults -- both those who accompanied children and those who came on their own -- which is on par with previous Pixar openings. »
8 items from 2007
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