‘Hangover,’ ‘NATM2′ Holds Are Strong, ‘Land’ is Lost

Sunday, June 14, 2009
By Kevin Crossman
Will Ferrell in Land of the Lost

Will Ferrell in Land of the Lost

While it’s true that box office success does not automatically qualify as quality, and that not every box office bomb won’t eventually be looked upon fondly (see: Office Space, Idiocracy, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny), it’s clear that success at the box office is (as they say) “a very big deal.”  Box office success is what greenlights sequels or gives the creative team negotiating power to make new projects in their own way with minimal studio interference. Vince Vaughn cashed in his Wedding Crashers check by making The Break-Up with his own handpicked writing team and a host of friends in various roles in the film.  The incredible success of Talladega Nights allowed Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly to make the R-rated film they wanted to make. $100 million later, Step Brothers was viewed as a success. And Will’s latest Land of the Lost? Not so much.

Here are the weekend box office estimates for this past weekend.

  1. The Hangover  $33,415,000 weekend (-25.7%), $ 105,389,000 total
  2. Up $30,515,000 weekend (-30.9%), $187,179,000 total
  3. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 $25,000,000 weekend
  4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian $9,600,000 weekend (-34.4%), $143,447,000 total
  5. Land of the Lost $9,153,000 weekend (-51.4%), $34,980,000 total

The Hangover becomes the first summer movie to stay at #1 for two consecutive weeks. The -25% hold is very similar to Wedding Crashers and indicates excellent word of mouth and repeat viewing, and almost guarantees the movie will cross $200 million in grosses.

Looking deeper at the numbers, Night at the Museum is holding well despite “kid friendly” competition from Up and Eddie Murphy’s new film that opened outside the top 5. In major newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle, promotion for the film continues with ads focusing on The Thinker and his “firepower” bit from the movie (a quote my seven year old was repeating numerous times this weekend).

As for Land of the Lost, if you look at the “hold” numbers, you can see that this movie dropped far more than the other returning films in the top five (and top ten) by a large margin. And the promotion for the second weekend? Basically nonexistent. It’s pretty sad when this was the only movie in the top ten to receive not a single advertisement in the Chronicle and San Jose Mercury-News. It surely looks like Universal is dropping this one like a stone in a well.

After relentless ads promoting the kid-friendly aspects of LOTL, then pushing the racier scenes in the final week leading to the film’s opening, perhaps Universal doesn’t know how to promote this movie?  It’s clear from the “Firepower” ads that NATM2 knows where it’s bread is buttered, and certainly the success of the film makes it easy to focus on a popular character.



I just have to think that perhaps Land of the Lost should have taken a page from what I’ve called the best TV spot for a movie ever. “Not. Your. Fathers. Star Trek” was a brilliant ad campaign to tell the 13-25 crowd that this wasn’t the same old Star Trek you’d heard of. It was hip. It was fast-paced. It featured lens-flare!  Now if only Land of the Lost had a campaign that said “Its. Not. A. Kids. Movie” then perhaps it might have found a place for teens unable to get into The Hangover due to the R-rating.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to compete in the same market space as a movie that is literally a phenomena. Even with a brilliant ad campaign, Land certainly would have “Lost” to The Hangover.

2 Responses to “‘Hangover,’ ‘NATM2′ Holds Are Strong, ‘Land’ is Lost”

  1. Drew Hunt

    I still haven’t seen the hangover :/

  2. Rick Duran

    Hangover is one of the best comedies of the decade. Even better than many of the Frat Pack classics.

    The joke pacing is out of control. It’s a movie that never slows down.


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