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Weekend Report: 'Wall Street' Sequel Yields Solid Returns

by Brandon Gray
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
 

 
September 27, 2010

Gordon Gekko proved to still be a commodity after all of these years, but the weekend closing bell rang on a bearish note for upstarts Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and You Again. Overall business was up four percent over the same weekend last year, when Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was on top.

After acquiring approximately 5,100 screens at 3,565 locations, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps accrued $19 million, which was above par for an adult-oriented drama but relatively modest for the scope of its release. On-the-money comparables are hard to come by, but the Wall Street sequel's first weekend gross was close to Burn After Reading and nearly twice as much as The Informant! and Michael Clayton. Distributor 20th Century Fox's exit polling indicated that 65 percent of Money Never Sleeps' audience was over 30 years old and evenly split between genders.

The first Wall Street debuted nearly 23 years ago and earned $4.1 million its first weekend, or the equivalent of double that adjusted for ticket-price inflation, but it played at a fifth of the theaters that Money Never Sleeps had. Its $43.8 million final tally would equal close to $87 million today, a sum that the sequel is unlikely to reach based on its first weekend returns. Though the original was far from a blockbuster, it continued to resonate through the years, as Gordon Gekko's "Greed is good" speech was a go-to clip in the media, and the country's current financial crisis made a sequel potentially topical. But topicality doesn't necessarily translate to box office, so the movie's advertising was all about the return of the outrageous Gekko and Michael Douglas' reprisal.

Despite packing around 5,300 screens at 3,575 locations, including a record 2,479 venues presenting the movie in the 3D illusion, relatively few gave a hoot about Legend of the Guardians. The animated adventure mustered $16.1 million, or less than twice as much as the less-hyped Alpha and Omega did last weekend. The Owls were below average by genre standards, generated far less business than How to Train Your Dragon as well as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Action-oriented animation, though, can be a tough sell as seen with such recent titles as 9, Astro Boy and Battle for Terra, and matters weren't helped by Legend of the Guardians' awkwardly bland title and the marketing's presentation of generic and unrelatable fantasy. 3D accounted for 72 percent of the gross (61 percent from 2,286 normal 3D venues and 11 percent from 193 IMAX venues), and distributor Warner Bros.' research showed that 54 percent of the audience was female and 56 percent was under 25 years old.

Even though it had a big marketing push and the presumably golden touch of Betty White, ensemble comedy You Again floundered with $8.4 million on close to 2,800 screens at 2,548 locations. The opening was less attended than such tepid similar titles as When in Rome and Mr. Woodcock. You Again's premise of a woman's high school rival becoming her sister-in-law was convoluted in the movie's advertising, which threw a lot on the screen, including a multi-generational angle and tacked-on, predictable quips from Ms. White. According to distributor Walt Disney Pictures, nearly 75 percent of the audience was female, while close to 75 percent was over 25 years old.

The other new nationwide release, The Virginity Hit, bagged $301,885 at 700 locations, which was one of the worst openings of all time, ranking as the fourth lowest-grossing for a nationwide release on record.

In third place, The Town boasted $15.6 million for a $48.7 million ten-day haul. It was down only 34 percent, but it didn't hold as well as The Departed at the same point. Easy A had a normal 40 percent drop to $10.6 million, lifting its total to $32.7 million in ten days. Business was typical for the rest of the holdovers as well: Devil dipped 46 percent to $6.6 million for a $21.9 million ten-day tally. Alpha and Omega retreated 48 percent to $4.7 million for a $15.2 million sum in ten days. Resident Evil: Afterlife took a 51 percent hit to $5 million for a $52.1 million total in 17 days, surpassing Resident Evil: Apocalypse's $51.2 million to become the series' highest grosser (though it's still last in attendance).

Last Weekend
'The Town' Bustles

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2009 - Blue Skies for 'Cloudy,' Hazy Starts for 'Surrogates,' 'Fame'
2008 - 'Eagle Eye' Lands on Top
2007 - 'Game Plan' Sacks 'Kingdom'
2006 - 'Open Season,' 'Guardian' Lead Weekend
2005 - 'Serenity' Moseys to Tame Start

Related Charts
Weekend Box Office Results
2010 Grosses



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