Sunday, August 13, 2006

Box Office Updates: Little Miss Sunshine, Superman Returns

The best movie of the year, Little Miss Sunshine, continues to impress at the Box Office with a magnificent $17K per screen average on just 153 screens (an increase of 95 screens over the previous weekend).

The hottest property at this year's Sundance was purchased by Fox Searchlight for a record $10M back in January, though it cost only $8M to produce, and has now earned $5.64M in just three weeks of limited release. It is expected to go wide over over the course of August. By September, it will be on over a thousand screens. (Ironically, Fox will probably end up spending more on the marketing than they did on the film.)

The picture's not so rosey for my second favorite film of the year, Superman Returns. Budget estimates on this range from $260 to well over $300 million... Though bear in mind, SR got tagged with a decade's worth of development costs for Superman revivals that--mercifully--never happened. Still, it was a hugely expensive film, no matter how you look at it.

Any film needs to make between 2 and 2.5 times what it cost to break even. (That's the rule of thumb, anyway.) In this case, that would be about $625-750 million.

Superman Returns is at $339 -- and that's global. :(

Lowering the bar, Warners has said it will pull the trigger on a sequel if the film hits $200M domestic. It currently stands at $192.5... and may limp across the finish line in another ... Well, OK, it probably won't make it.

But, according to director Bryan Singer (speaking to an audience at San Diego Comic Con), it's close enough, and the sequel is on for Summer 2008 or 2009. He refers to it as his opportunity "to get all Wrath of Khan with it."

There's yet to be an official greenlight. However, one thing is certain: if the sequel does happen, Singer will be expected to deliver the goods on a much lower budget. And that's probably for the best: as much as I loved it, SR was bloated. Singer's best work--X2--has been lean, and on a tight budget.


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