There’s really no point in rehashing the love of Apatow this week, is there? The film to see, undoubtedly, is Superbad. Jump on it.

AS SUMMER COMES TO A CLOSE

The internet allows for expediency heretofore unimagined, so let’s do an analysis of the summer grosses, shall we? This week: THE WINNERS (sort of)!


# Title Gross to Date
(with estimate, if applicable)
Opening Weekend Listed Budget
1
Spider-Man 3 $336,436,184 $151,116,516 $258,000,000
2
Shrek the Third $321,012,359 $121,629,270 $160,000,000
3
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End $307,592,347 $114,732,820 $300,000,000
4
Transformers $303,719,648 $70,502,384 $150,000,000
5
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix $273,600,922 $77,108,414 $150,000,000
6
Ratatouille $194,142,609
(Est $200 Mil)
$47,027,395 $150,000,000
7
The Bourne Ultimatum $138,444,055
(Est $200 Mil)
$69,283,690 $110,000,000
8
The Simpsons Movie $155,555,996
(Est $180 Mil)
$74,036,787 $75,000,000
9
Rush Hour 3 $58,770,000
(Est $155 Mil)
$49,100,158 $140,000,000
10
Knocked Up $146,925,445 $30,690,990 $30,000,000
11
Live Free or Die Hard $132,071,238 $33,369,559 $110,000,000
12
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer $130,852,424 $58,051,684 $130,000,000
13
Ocean’s Thirteen $116,357,188 $36,133,403 N/A (somewhere in the $100 range)
14
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry $105,344,560
(Est 120 Mil)
$34,233,75018 $85,000,000
15
Hairspray $94,255,000
(Est 120 Mil)
$27,476,745 N/A (rumored $80-100 Mil)


Though this has been the case for a while now, the biggest thing to note with these summer behemoths is that this is a global market. Those top grosses may look impressive until you look at the budget (and you have to asume all listed budgets are a bit… fudged), and then these titles look like break-evens or less. Whether it is smarter (or nobler in the mind) to try and compact your budget ala Michael Bay and his Transformers, it’s worth noting that with almost all of the super-titles the international gross is either the equal or twice as much as the domestic take.

Standardized Hollywood math suggests that a film has to gross at least twice its production budget to become profitable, but only Knocked Up (with a 5x cost) truly made a return on investment that astounds, while Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie and Transformers are just over two times, with Harry Potter and Bourne coming close. Then again, something like Live Free or Die Hard looks poor domestically, but with it having doubled its take internationally, it was a reasonable investment, whereas Knocked Up‘s international will likely be a piffle.

The global and ancillary markets are part of the business structure now, so it’s fair to say that the $900 Million that Spider-Man and Pirates did worldwide is how these films are judged, and with Harry Potter already over $800 Million, it will likely be in the "near or over ten digit" club with those two. Transformers may not get its initialed smoking jacket as it’s only done over $600, but it also has the toy line, and likely some better product placements. The same could be said for Ratatouille, which doesn’t look like a sound investment until you realize how well it will do on DVD, and the toys and related ephemera that will take it into the black. With these synergetic titles, it’s more than just the gross – it’s the branding that leads to a whole spectrum of products that make it more than the sum of its gross. And all these suckers will be hitting DVD just in time to be stocking stuffers.

Then again, there are so many X factors involved in these numbers. Some of the people involved may be getting a chunk of the gross, like with Rush Hour (which will strain to be profitable) while many of the top name talent are likely getting those gross chunks. The losers (such as they are) are in the lower half, with Hairspray, Chuck and Larry, The Fantastic Four and Oceans likely all too expensive to truly be flush. No one’s losing money, but none will inspire sequels.

It used to be you could tell how much a film was liked by comparing how it performed on its opening weekend versus how much it grossed after, but because of the weekday-centric openings this summers, you can’t just point and say "most of these films did half their totals opening weekend" because most of these films opened on Wednesdays (or Tuesdays, or Thursday night at 8 pm, etc.). But that said, most of these films did half their business in their opening week. Audiences wanted to be FIRST! to a certain extent or have been trained to be and then after that it’s that much less of a priority.

But I made this list not to analyze the dollars (or at least, only partly) but to note – as I often like to – how few of these films are actually good. Knocked Up can be considered a word of mouth hit, and to a certain extent so can the Rat, Bourne and Hairspray, but otherwise the industry is geared is towards that three day (or four, five or six day) number, and this is taking over the "off" seasons as well. That said, of the top 15,
Ratatouille, Knocked Up and The Bourne Ultimatum turned out to be pretty great. I don’t know if that’s settling or not, but it seems in the scheme of things, three good movies doing well is not so bad.

Next week, I’ll beat up on the losers.

ALAS, POOR PREDICTIONS, I KNEW THEM WELL

Superbad had a percieved awareness problem, but perhaps the internet carpet bombing will pay off. We shall see how that changes over the weekend. The problem is that the film is filthy in its language, and sweet in its characters. It’s a loveable degenerate (which is how my Seventh grade English teacher described me, but that was before her… let’s just call her pre-op at that point). But audience who should be responding to this may have seen the youtube clips, the R rated trailers, everything that online has to offer/done to sell it. And as much as "from the guys who gave you" stuff will help, if this film gets over it will be all about the internet. So, yay us.

The Invasion, however, is being dumped plain and simple. What is unfortunate about this movie is that Daniel Craig has a real shot at stardom outside of Bond and if he keeps making movies like this (which, in all fairness, is no longer the script or film he signed up for), it’ll be harder to shake the Bond stigma, and the man looks like he can handle more than just action. But word is it’s hilarious, so it could be The Wicker Man remake of this summer.

I’ve seen a number of TV spots for The Last Legion. I assumed it was financed by a religious group or something, but likely it’s just a negative pick-up for the The Weinstein Company, as it’s got an international cast that probably played well in St. Petersburg. Expect the expected. Nothing. So let’s say four million.

Rush Hour 3 should drop more than 50%, while Bourne should play strong into September. And it goes a little something like this:

1. Superbad – $26.4 Million
2. Rush Hour 3 – $21.8 Million
3. The Bourne Ultimatum - $19.7 Million
4. The Invasion - $10 Million (reduced on Monday to 9.4 Mil)
5. The Simpsons Movie - $6.3 Million

Sunday, same as it ever was. Into the blue again, after the money’s gone, Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.