Turtles in a Half Shell! - Mania.com

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Turtles in a Half Shell!

By Jarrod Sarafin     March 25, 2007

Leonardo in Warner Bros. Pictures' TMNT
© Warner Bros

Step right up, Maniacs! Spin the wheel the Box Office Chance! This weekend we have 6 (Yes, that’s right 6) new movies opening up all at once. 300 has dominated the box office report for two weeks and the studios steered clear giving it a week of it’s own for two weeks but now the market is to be flooded with new releases & new choices for audiences everywhere. So which movie wins that spinning wheel of box office chance? Will it be a shoot it up action film? What about a misguided grieving man? How about raving psychotics with a cannibalistic sweet tooth? Or even four turtles with attitude? Who steals the prize this weekend and takes home the cash?  

TMNT…”Teenage… Mutant… Ninja… Turtles, turtles in a half shell!”  

Heh. Old School song popped in my head there. Sorry, folks. The four crime fighting turtles with attitude came swooping into 1st place this weekend, bringing in a total of 25.4 mil on 3,110 screens across the nation. I’d say it won the weekend because it’s a movie for all ages, it has a past mythology which connects to an older audience( like my generation) and it connects with children as well. There’s two PG rated movies in our top 10 this week (The Last Mimzy being another one) and the other choices are pretty serious for audiences with kids. The only other light choice is Wild Hogs and that comedy is targeted towards another demographic. TMNT is also only an hour and thirty minutes long so you include into the equation the amount of showings per that 3,110 screens per day. Its budget is listed at 34 million. Warner Bros has basically ruled the month of March single-handedly with their distributions 300 and TMNT.  

2nd place is the periodic action piece 300. Frank Miller’s adaptation has dominated the competition (what competition there has been since studios avoided the last two weeks) it has been given and even this weekend with 6 new releases debuting, it lands in the second place spot. The legendary 300 soldiers came marching in this weekend adding another 20.5 mil to their grand totals. They’ve massed an eye popping domestic total of 162.3 mil in 17 days here in the states. It’s grabbed another 25 mil overseas so it’s total is now at the 187.8 mark worldwide in alittle over 2 weeks of release. It has a budget of 65 mil so it’s nearly at 3 times its budgetary costs.  

Mark Wahlberg’s action film Shooter blasts his way into 3rd place this weekend cashing in 14.5 mil in its debut weekend. The film directed by Antoine Fuqua opened the weekend up in 2,806 screens and averaged a respective $5,167 per each of those screens per day. I’d have to say it did respectable for landing in 3rd place this weekend for its target audience. The action shoot em up has a budget listed at 61 mil. Not too shabby at all for Paramount, its distributor. 

Disney’s Wild Hogs continues rolling to victory lane this weekend by coming in 4th place. This film has done amazingly well over the last month with great staying power and working well off its competition. It’s provided audiences everywhere with a clear choice and as such, it’s been getting good receipts in our Box Office Reports. This week, it nabbed another 14.3 mil in its 3,401 screens and it’s total domestic take is at 123.8 mil. Disney should be happy about the performance of this comedy. It should also be said that since our estimates of Shooter and Wild Hogs are so close, we could see these two films switching spots when the final numbers are in. The same scenario goes for 5th-7th places this weekend. 

The other PG rated Last Mimzy lands in 5th place this weekend with a 10.2 mil total from audiences everywhere. The film opened up on 3,017 screens which is a respectable amount for a release but it wasn’t as widely advertised or anticipated as the top 4 finishes this week. As such, it comes behind them averaging $3,380 per screen.  

The Sony film Premonition took in another 10.1 mil this weekend thrilling audiences in the 6th spot over the last weekend. Now, I was surprised with this film doing so well over the last box office report because I haven’t seen that much advertising on it but apparently judging by the Maniac Feedback section, I must have living under a rock or something. Heh, you all reading it has seen massive amounts of advertising for it lately so consider myself humbled on why its doing so well. Some people may ask why is landing on 6th place in its second weekend considered doing well? Premonition’s budget is listed at 20 mil and it now has a total of 32.1 mil in two weekends. I’d say its done what it should for Sony/Columbia. By the time its theater run is finished, it could very well be at 2-3 times its production budget before fading out of screens everywhere.  

The Hills Have Eyes II follows behind in 7th place this weekend with a debut opening of 10.0 mil in receipts. The horror based off Wes Craven’s classic and previous updated installment (last year) took in 10 mil in 2,447 screens. Like I said at the end of my Wild Hogs thoughts, the estimate totals for spots 5-7 are so close that when final confirmation of receipts are summed up, these 3 films could be switching spots.  

Another thing should be said which is surprising. According to the estimates, the top 7 spots this weekend all have at least 10 mil in box office totals. This in itself is a surprise for this time of year. I’ll discuss more on this boost of box office with my notes below. 

Adam Sandler’s Reign Over Me brings in 8.0 mil in its debut weekend landing in 8th place. It’s really not that bad at all considering that it was only released in 1,671 screens. It’s not exactly a big push from Sony in comparison to the other films being released this weekend. It has more serious themes, an adult targeted audience and has a budget listed at 20 mil.  

Pride and Dead Silence finish up this weekend’s report in 9th & 10th places. Pride brought in 4.0 mil in 1,518 screens in its debut weekend while Dead Silence took in another 3.4 mil in its second weekend.  

    Rank Movie Title Opening $ Screens Average Total $
    1 TMNT 25.4 mil 3,110 $8,183 25.4 mil
    2 300 20.5 mil 3,280 $6,253 162.3 mil
    3 Shooter 14.5 mil 2,806 $5,167 14.5 mil
    4 Wild Hogs 14.3 mil 3,401 $4,222 123.8 mil
    5 The Last Mimzy 10.2 mil 3,017 $3,380 10.2 mil
    6 Premonition 10.1 mil 2,831 $3,567 32.1 mil
    7 The Hills Have Eyes II 10.0 mil 2,447 $4,086 10.0 mil
    8 Reign Over Me 8.0 mil 1,671 $4,787 8.0 mil
    9 Pride 4.0 mil 1,518 $2,635 4.0 mil
    10 Dead Silence 3.4 mil 1,806 $1,920 13.2 mil

I have to say the month of March has been wild and whacky from a speculation and analytical point of view. In the span of the last 30 days, we’ve had movies which have done so fantastically excellent; it’s becoming easy to forget which season we’re in. Is the summer already here? 300 and Wild Hogs have both perplexed box office predictions around the globe by performing in ways which would have some summer films blush.  

Disney’s comedy Wild Hogs has been out for 24 days now grossing domestically 123.8 mil in receipts, something which wasn’t expected in most analysis’ minds. On the same path to prediction chaos, Warner Bros periodic action based 300 has graced movie screens everywhere for 17 days grossing a total of 162.3 mil domestically and another 25.2 mil overseas.  

Will this box office success trend continue through April and onward to May, June & July? I know the success of the two films listed above has studios and industry insiders secretly optimistic about a possible positive turn for this year’s future. They have to be thinking positive about their own personal investments and movies coming out for their own lineups. Box office trends is the number one game for studios to apply to their own personal future and the manner in which they hypothesize their success chances is by looking at release successes as the year unfolds. In this case, we have two box office smash hits in the period of three weeks in a month which is not considered the best of times to release a movie. We’ve seen speculation and anticipation fuel movie hits before but I think most of us can agree that nobody saw 300 having the success that it has. Nor could anyone rightly think that Wild Hogs was going to test so well with audiences everywhere at that very same time.  

One film breaking the 100.0 mil in March? Sure, that’s to be expected and assumed for every month. Even February releases have at least one successful film breaking that all important 9 figure mark for studios. Ghost Rider was this years February success. What is unexpected are two or three films at the same time in a relatively normal slow month doing so well. In this case, we have two films from the beginning of March averaging totals which astound analysis everywhere with the Benjamins they’re pulling in. Both films are on the opposite side of the genre spectrum, both have altogether different targeted demographics and both have mesmerized the bean counters by bringing in all that cash at the same time the last 3 weeks. Even their daily totals have been amazing. You would almost think the summer season has already arrived. 

The studio executives shouldn’t be breaking out their party hats nor popping those bottles of Champaign bottles just yet. We still have April to get through before the box office season kicks into another gear. We still have one more month where execs are left pondering if they made good decisions or absolute horrendous decisions with their production planning and distribution decisions.  

Here’s the Wide Releases for April: 

April 6th: 

  • Are We Done Yet?
  • Firehouse Dog
  • Grindhouse
  • The Reaping

April 13th: (Note: I’m surprised the horror films aren’t coming out on Friday the 13th) 

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (long title)
  • Disturbia
  • Pathfinder
  • Perfect Stranger
  • Redline

April 20th: 

  • Fracture
  • In the Land of Women
  • The Nanny Diaries
  • Vacancy

April 27th: 

  • The Condemned
  • The Invisible
  • Kickin’ It Old Skool (yes, it’s really spelled that way)
  • Next

We have a lot of thrillers and horror movies coming out in April. So does the box office success trend continue with these thrillers? Does April do better or worse then March? Or do the audiences disappear and elect to save their money for May instead? 

That’s the real question here.  

I’d like to here what you think about the upcoming weeks compared to the past few successful ones. Let me know what you think about our near future and I’ll feature your thoughts in the future Maniac feedback sections. 

Now, what’s coming out next week for us? 

March 30, 2007: 

Wide Releases

  • Meet the Robinsons (3,200+ screens)
  • Blades of Glory (3,000 screens)
  • The Lookout (1,000 screens)

Limited Releases

  • After the Wedding
  • Live Free or Die
  • Race You to the Bottom

That’s going to do it for this weekend’s Box Office Report. If you’d like to see previous reports, click on our Box Office Report Archives page found here! If you make a comment on an older report, Bang It so we know to go read it. Talk to you later, Maniacs!


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bdd 3/25/2007 5:01:22 PM
The new Turtles had a terrible song, terrible.. "Count them off... 1, 2, 3, 4!" Is this TMNT or Barney?
jppintar326 3/25/2007 5:03:43 PM
I actually thought TMNT would do better. $25 million is not that high for something released in 2007. 300 opened to $70 million and it is rated R.
CappyMorgan 3/25/2007 5:15:24 PM
Actually, I'm surprised anyone except boys eleven and younger would want to see a TMNT movie. So, the fact it made any money was surprising. Already saw 300, so there really isn't anything out right now that I want to see. I wish May would hurry up and get here.
theCOLLECTOR 3/25/2007 7:47:48 PM
This is a bit better than I thought TMNT would do. I wrote a review for TMNT if anyone cares. I am not sure why, cuz I don't. As for the box office, it is almost time for the blockbusters to arrive.
ponyboy76 3/26/2007 3:31:21 AM
I finally got to see 300 this weekend and it was fraking awesome! The scenes, were visually beautiful and to me, took nothing away from the story. I was able to suspend my disbelief as far as scenery, just like I did when I watched some of the scenes in LOTR. The battle scenes were done really well and you can tell all those 6-8 hour training sessions the actors went through really paid off. I could have done with less of the person walking through the wheat field scenes ala Gladiator but that wasn`t a big deal. I`ll probably go see it again next week, unless something else comes out. I was going to go see TMNT, cause I usually double bill it on weekends, but I decided to hold off on it. I was hoping TMNT would be a little more like the original comic book, considering it wasn't live action, and could have those bloody fight scenes I loved in the book, but I understand that it had to be family friendly in order to make money. I think I`ll rent that one.
wessmith1966 3/26/2007 7:32:50 AM
Saw Shooter and TMNT over the weekend. I've never understood the fascination with the turtles that some have, but the kids liked it a lot and I spent all day Sunday teaching them how to draw the turtles and explaining the origin of their names. We went to the video store and rented the original TMNT movie and the kids loved watching that one, too, although they thought the costumes looked silly. I really liked Shooter. Sure, it followed the standard "haunted good guy is framed" formula, but I'm a Mark Wahlberg fan and thought he did a good job in the film. Glad to see 300 is still pulling in an audience.
snallygaster 3/26/2007 7:45:22 AM
I was expecting TMNT to do a bit better - not on a par with 300 (which was totally unexpected) but I figured about $30M. I actually went to see The Last Mimzy instead of TMNT. While not a great movie, I was pleasantly surprised - surprised that it apparently stayed true to its sci-fi pulp roots. The concept behind the movie appeared to fly over the heads of the very young kids in attendance, who got fidgety when there weren't some special effects on the screen. I have to give the movie credit for what it was not - this could have become a very broadly played formula comedy about a couple of kids seeking the attention of their workaholic dad with lots of sight gags and farts. The fact that this story was pitched to a studio without some studio head trying to cast Tim Allen and Ben Stiller as the father and the science teacher is a minor miracle itself. Instead, it's a movie that plays more along the lines of E.T. - a bit too obviously so once the Big Bad Federal Agents get involved (damn that Patriot Act!). But overall a decent movie to take kids to, one which might involve a little thinking on their part to follow along. And there's an interesting connection to Alice in Wonderland, for the Lewis Carroll fans out there (like myself).
nax37 3/26/2007 9:24:37 AM
You know it's "Heroes in a half shell" not "Turtles in a half shell."
Captmathman 3/26/2007 9:34:06 AM
One thing after another has managed to keep me out of theaters since 300 was released. But I shall watch this film in all its glory! I swear it!
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