Friday Box Office Analysis (9/17)
Sky Captain poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published September 18, 2004
{Sky Captain} opened in line with Thomas Jane?s comic book flick, The Punisher, which grossed $5.2 million on opening day for a $1,955 average in 2,649 theaters.
Despite Jude Law?s bold decision to produce this $80-million budgeted monster, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow hardly made a dent at the box office. Grossing $5.1 million on Friday, the sci-fi adventure flick averaged a tame $1,623 per-screen. The movie boasted an ad-campaign with trailers that dated back to The Passion, and debuted in the right spot to perform similarly to last year?s September release, Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

The film?s light PG rating might have been a daunting sign to questionable moviegoers, but with simply Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow as the leads, the feature might have lacked a dazzle in its offerings. The two co-starred in The Talented Mr. Ripley opposite Matt Damon, which was a box office success, but that film was very mature and was based off a well-known and respected novel, and it was no mystery as to what demographics it was chasing for. With Sky Captain, the actors? presence suggested that it would possibly target young moviegoers between 20 and 30, but the tone in the trailers never quite made it clear whether the movie was family oriented or more thrilling than that.

The movie opened in line with Thomas Jane?s comic book flick, The Punisher, which grossed $5.2 million on opening day for a $1,955 average in 2,649 theaters. Punisher played to an equivocal $5.2 million ($1,958 per-screen) on Saturday, but given Sky Captain?s sci-fi genre (a genre that is notorious for being frontloaded), a slight drop could be in order. Saturday could be at $4.9/5.0 million ($1550 - 1600/screen), which would give Sky Captain a weekend take of roughly $14.0 million, similar to Punisher?s $13.8 million weekend figure.

Bernie Mac tried to make his leading man debut this weekend with the baseball comedy, Mr. 3000. As much as moviegoers loved him in Bad Santa in his supporting part, he will have to rely on his remake of Guess Who?s Coming to Dinner, with Ashton Kutcher, for box office spice. Mr. 3000 opened to the tune of $2.9 million on Friday, averaging a slow $1,055 per-screen in 2,736 theaters. Even with a PG-13 rating, the movie was a chance to break out for Bernie and even attract families and some of the young crowds that flocked to Drumline.

The advertising was very noticeable, but the material in the ads didn?t hint a sense of urgency. The ads put Bernie in wacky situations and merely relied on his facial expressions (as well as the fact that he?s Bernie Mac) for the comedy. Bad Santa became a sleeper hit after moviegoers gradually discovered its bold, foul tone, which they loved, and people liked Bernie Mac with R-rated material. Mr. 3000 is evidently restricted in the comedy it can achieve, and the story looked ordinary, which likely scared off his more dedicated fans. An increase to $3.5 - 4.0 million could be in store on Saturday, which would give the movie a 3-day gross of roughly $9.0 million.

Desperately trying to convince its target audience that the movie indeed really is as good as Bridget Jones, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Universal?s marketing attempt didn?t quite work, as Wimbledon opened sub-par at the box office. Grossing $2.7 million in ticket sales, the romantic comedy averaged a modest $1,306 per-screen, in line with Julia Stiles? formulaic romantic flick, The Prince & Me ($3.3 million - $1,248 per-screen).

While Kirsten Dunst is riding off of the Spider-Man?s and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Paul Bettany hasn?t proven to be a box office draw, and the ads for Wimbledon portrayed more of an average, cute romance than anything to really rush to. With more star-power or a cleverer premise, Mona Lisa Smile ($4.3 million - $1,606 per-screen) business could?ve been a possibility. Instead, Wimbledon will be added on to the list of traditional teen performers, right next to Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. A Saturday increase to around $3.0 million is likely, which would lead to a $7.5 - 8.0 million weekend.
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'Sky Captain' Articles
  • Greg's Sky Captain review B-
    September 19, 2004    Despite the fact that {Conran's} debut film is not great, it is still an enjoyable film, and I think we can expect good things from {him} in the future. -- Greg Ward
  • Craig's Sky Captain review C-
    September 18, 2004    The plotting never develops past the point of trying to find this mysterious Totenkopf and so it just feels bland and overly familiar. -- Craig Younkin
  • Gareth's Sky Captain review C
    September 18, 2004    The performances by Paltrow and Law are remarkably understated and the talented cast often comes across as bland. -- Gareth Von Kallenbach
  • Crowd Report: "Sky Captain"
    September 18, 2004    The attendance was right around Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Hellboy on their opening nights: a $8.5 - 9.5 million Friday gross would not surprise me. -- Lee Tistaert
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