FLOP POP FIZZLE, The Obligatory Weekend B.O. Report: Disney Flexes Its Marketing Might And Leads ‘Princess and the Frog’ To #1; Audiences Favor ‘Blind Side’ Over ‘Invictus’
Disney’s back to basics, The Princess and the Frog, took the top spot at the box office this weekend, as expected, with all of the marketing muscle the studio put behind their first 2D animated offering in years. That effort seems to have paid off at the multiplex and at retail stores. According to the LA Times, Princess related merchandise has been going fast. Disney Consumer Products Chairman Andy Mooney, said,
The release date was so close to Christmas, the retailers were very conservative in the quantities of product that they bought. They really underestimated the demand.”
Taking in $25M, the latest Disney offering had a relatively weak first place finish, seeing as both The Twilight Saga: New Moon and 2012 took in $40M+ in their first weeks out. Even so, it’s a step in the right direction after flops like Treasure Planet and Atlantis, led them to abandon 2D in the first place.
Audiences aren’t showing any signs of getting tired of The Blind Side, which stayed strong, taking second place. With a weekend tally of $15.5M, its new cumulative total is $150M. It probably helped that its main competition was the Clint Eastwood drama, Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, which seemed to suffer from the Beloved effect.
Like the Oprah-starring/produced 1998 movie version of Toni Morrison‘s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which audiences stayed away from in droves, Eastwood’s latest had a marketing campaign that made it look like a one hour special that would air on the History channel.
Eastwood told Variety that he was interested in the project, which tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s efforts to take the South African Rugby team to the Rugby World Cup in 1995 first told him about the story. He said,
I had read several things on Nelson Mandela, but the 1995 World Cup and how he used it for reconciliation was new to me. I called back and said, ‘I like this. Why don’t I run with it for a while.’ I went to Warner Bros. and they fell in love with it as well.”
Audiences, however, didn’t quite fall in love with it. The movie only took in $9.09M for a third place finish. Even if it turns out to be a disappointment, Eastwood’s been on a roll with movies like Gran Torino and he’s already started his next project. In the same interview with Variety he said,
I’m working on a film that I’ve shot half of already called Hereafter (a mystery written by Peter Morgan). It features Matt Damon as well, but his part of the story doesn’t start till January. I’ve shot the French part in Paris and Chamonix and a good portion of the English part of the story in London. So that’s kept me off the streets for a month or so. I don’t have another one and I’m kind of enjoying the idea. Two this year is enough. I hope I get time off for good behavior.”
1. The Princess and the Frog NEW $25M, Cume $27.9M
2.. The Blind Side (Warner Bros.) $15.5M, Cume $150M
3. Invictus NEW $9.09M
4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Summit) $8M, Cume $267M
5. A Christmas Carol (Disney) $6.87M, Cume $124M
6. Brothers (Lionsgate) $5M, Cume $17.4M
7. 2012 (Columbia) $4.4M, Cume $155M
8. Old Dogs (Disney) $4.4M, Cume $40M
9. Armored (Buckaroo Entertainment) $3.5M, $11.7M
10. Ninja Assassin (Warner Bros.) $2.71M, Cume $34.3M