Box Office: Portman and Kutcher Pull All the Right ‘Strings’

The Reject ReportSometimes timing really is everything. Blue Monday (it’s a real date) came and went, and moviegoers were looking for something to make them laugh. Something that didn’t include Kato vision and Christoph Waltz shooting people in the face. Add into that the love Natalie Portman is raking in for her own downer performance in Black Swan, and you’ve got a formula for success in No Strings Attached.

The romantic comedy was anything but a monster success. It claims the biggest opening for an Ivan Reitman film besides Ghostbusters II. It’s a long ways from being the biggest opening for either Portman or her co-star Ashton Kutcher. You do have to remember she was in the Star Wars prequels, each of which made more in their opening day than what No Strings Attached pulled in the last three days. Nonetheless, the R-rated rom-com succeeded in opening in the #1 slot and pulling in a bit more than what was expected. With a reported budget of only $25 million, the film is already well on its way to being a decent success. Because Kutcher needs more success in his life. Poor guy.
The people behind the film No Strings Attached knocked out of the top spot, The Green Hornet, are probably feeling a bit envious of that budget-to-gross ratio. Their film will be lucky to reach $100 million in domestic sales. It’s pulled in $15 million outside of the US so far. It’s chances of reaching the $120 million Columbia reported as its budget are fairly decent, but there won’t be much more made to get it well into the black. DVD and Blu-Ray sales might be the deciding factor in whether or not we get a Green Hornet 2, but don’t hold your breath.

The big winners were the Oscar hopefuls, and we’re not talking about The Dilemma, though I’ve heard buzz Kevin James’ makeup is astounding. Films like The King’s Speech, True Grit, Black Swan, and The Fighter continue to pull in large audiences. In fact, all of these films except for The Fighter expanded this past weekend helping their box office numbers even more so. You can expect them to continue this level of sales in the coming weeks. With the Academy Awards nominations hitting this coming Tuesday, more and more movie goers will want to catch up on all the hopefuls before the February 27th awards ceremony.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. No Strings Attached – $20.3m NEW
  2. The Green Hornet – $18.1m (-46%) $63.4m total
  3. The Dilemma – $9.7m (-45.4%) $33.3m total
  4. The King’s Speech – $9.1m (-.2%) $58.6m total
  5. True Grit – $8m (-27.3%) $138.6m total
  6. Black Swan – $6.2m (-25.7%) $83.5m total
  7. The Fighter – $4.5m (-11.5%) $73m total
  8. Little Fockers – $4.3m (-38.9%) $141.1m total
  9. Yogi Bear – $4m (-24.3%) $88.8m total
  10. Tron Legacy – $3.7m (-34.7%) $163.2m total

With these numbers, the top 10 were able to generate $87.9 million in ticket receipts. Sure, January is usually a month where ticket sales are down, but this is the lowest grossing month since 2007. The weekend in question saw the release of Epic Movie, so you can kind of compare the current crop of films how you see fit.

Next weekend might be a little more hopeful, as two films open wide. Those films, of course, are The Rite and The Mechanic, not exactly a couple of flame carriers for the wintry months. Nonetheless, two big hitters are always better than one, and those Oscar hopefuls will likely continue their current trend of augmenting the box office well.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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