Steve’s Box Office Report: May 2006

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I have had a bunch of interests growing up with wrestling being one of the biggest, but one of those that wasn’t that big was movies. I liked to watch movies and had plenty of favorites growing up, but I actually didn’t go out to the movies that often when I was a kid. This was during the 1990s when ticket prices were a fraction of what they are today, and please don’t get me started on the concession prices. However, my love for movies has grown over the last decade which is partially due to the fact that I have worked with Regal Entertainment Group since 2007. I was an employee for 6 years before being promoted to associate manager, which is the position I still hold to this day. Of course, things are somewhat easier for me since I do get to see the movies for free, but I digress.

So with that in mind, I thought it would be cool to look back at the last 10 years of film and more specifically, the box office figures. One of the main things that is attributed to a movie’s success, or lack thereof is how well it does when it is released in theaters. Typically the movies overachieve on their expectations, meet their expectations, or underachieve their expectations with some completely bombing all together. Having worked in a movie theater for 9 years, it has been simply amazing to see the range of movies and their successes of failures in making money. Whether it’s a major blockbuster that does not meet back its budget or a small film that ends up becoming an unexpected smash, the difference is pretty staggering.

So what I am going to do here is recap each month of the year and see the various box office figures for the movies that opened that month, and I have decided that if a movie was released limited in one month and released wide the next month, I will include it in the month it was released wide since that’s where it made the majority of its money. I may also include some honorable mentions of some movies that did not make the top 10, but deserved to be mentioned. Even though I started with Regal in March of 2007, I will officially start with May 2006 so that it’s been 10 years between then and today. For each month, I will list the top 10 movies of that month along with the amount of money that it made. I will name the winners and losers of the month, and I will also name a surprise or story of the month whether it be a movie or something else. In addition, I will also give my overachiever and underachiever of the month and also list movies that won awards before finally giving a brief overview and grade for the month. Once I get to the end of the year, I will do a yearly recap which I will go into more detail when we get there. With all that being said, let us begin what is sure to be a pretty fun project.

Riddlr2’s Box Office Report: May of 2006

Top 10 Films for the month of May (Domestic Figures Only):

  1. X-Men: The Last Stand – $234,362,462
  2. The Da Vinci Code – $217,536,138
  3. Over the Hedge – $155,019,340
  4. Mission: Impossible III – $134,029,801
  5. Poseidon – $60,674,817
  6. An Inconvenient Truth – $24,146,161
  7. Just My Luck – $17,326,650
  8. An American Haunting – $16,298,046
  9. See No Evil – $15,032,800
  10. Hoot – $8,117,637 

Honorable Mentions of May 2006:

None 

May Winners: X-Men: The Last Stand, The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, and an Inconvenient Truth

Up to this point, the year of 2006 has been a pretty tepid one with only one movie finishing with over $100 million and that was March’s Ice Age 2. One can say that it mainly is due to the fact that May is the unofficial start of summer and everyone is waiting for those movies to come out. So after a slow start to the year, 2006 gets a shot in the arm here in May with several successful movies. The first one of these is what appeared to be the end of the trilogy with X-Men: The Last Stand, Building off the goodwill from the previous two films and coming out on the critical Memorial Day weekend, this movie proved to be a major success despite being the worst-reviewed movie of the trilogy. Even though it did finish first for the month, perhaps an even bigger success for the month was the Da Vinci Code. Based on the highly popular and controversial novel, this movie came out at the right time coming off a mediocre two weeks from M:I 3 and was able to build a strong foundation going into Memorial Day weekend. Due to this, it ended up exceeding expectations (more on that later on) and almost came close to taking first place away from X-Men for the month. One of the more interesting winners for the month was the lone new family film released during the month and that is Over the Hedge. While its opening was on the lower end of other Dreamworks films, it had some strong legs going into June and being the lone family film for Memorial Day weekend was a major advantage for the movie. The last big winner for the month of May ends up not being the third Mission: Impossible, but instead a small independent film that became a big deal. The documentary an Inconvenient Truth, the controversial global warming film hosted by Al Gore proved its staying power by finishing where it did and lasting the longest of the May films.

May Loser: Poseidon

May 2006 is a pretty interesting month in that there were very clear-cut winners, but not so much when it comes to the losers. On the surface, M:I 3 might be considered a disappointment though that did end up making a lot of money so it can’t be classified as a loser. The remaining films of the month mainly had low budgets only to end up making a slight enough profit that didn’t merit being considered in this category. However, there was one film that clearly belongs here and that is the film Poseidon, a modern day remake of the 1972 film. The reviews for the movie were not stellar and it also had the misfortune of being released on the second weekend of May, a weekend that doesn’t see a lot of films succeed following the first weekend of May. It didn’t help that this remake did not see very interesting on paper and given its large budget, the fact that it did end in the top 5 of the month doesn’t help its cause as it ended up becoming a pretty big flop.

The Surprise/Story of May 2006: The Da Vinci Code steals thunder from M:I 3 and X-Men 3

When it comes to the month of May in 2006, it was pretty much anchored by two third part movies. M:I 3 got the month off to a good start while X-Men 3 dominated Memorial Day weekend with a record-setting weekend. However, to me the month of May will be remembered for the unexpected success of The Da Vinci Code. On the surface, it looked like that this movie would end up being overshadowed by both movies though on the contrary it ended up standing out as perfect counter-programming to both movies. Its release date also worked in its favor as it came out on the third weekend of May, coming in at the right time as M:I 3 started to slip. It also had a good chunk of change going into Memorial Day weekend so it was able to make a great profit even going up against X-Men 3. As mentioned, it did so well that it ended up almost surpassing X-Men 3 at the top of the month and thus ends up being one of the big success stories of not just May, but of 2006 overall.

Overachiever(s) of May 2006: The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge, and An Inconvenient Truth

When it came to picking an overachiever for the month of May, it was pretty tough as there were a few movies that deserved to be in the running so I decided to include the movies that I feel best belong in this category. Obviously, the first one that belongs in here is the Da Vinci code as that ended up doing much better than I think anyone ever expected it to do. The movie received harsh reviews from critics and it was deemed highly controversial much like the book it was based off of, but that did not seem to sway the general public as they came out to see it and drive it to the numbers that it ended up getting. The next film that deserves it spot as an overachiever is Over the Hedge, though this might be cheating a bit since as mentioned it was the only real family film released this month. However, being the only family film released during a month doesn’t always guarantee success and the fact that this movie did very well is a testament to its staying power and its release date. But I think the ultimate overachiever for this month has to be An Inconvenient Truth though this is the same case with any documentary. When you create a documentary on a very low budget and can make a lot of money in profit, you have done something right especially when considering the nature of the controversial topic of global warming. 

Underachiever of May 2006: Mission: Impossible III

As hard as it was to choose an overachiever for the month, it was actually pretty easy to choose the underachiever of the month. On paper, it seems that this would be tailor made for Poseidon though I don’t think that movie had high expectations to begin with and it ended up bombing. The other films of the month that didn’t make a lot of money still at least met their budgets and therefor don’t belong here either. To men, the underachiever for the month of May has to be Mission: Impossible III by a long shot. While on the surface it did end up making a lot of money and ended up finishing with over $130 million, there is a sense that it should’ve done much more in its run. It did debut at number one in its first weekend, but even that was a bit disappointing and from there it was all downhill as it would get lapped by the Da Vinci Code and X-Men 3 as well as Over the Hedge to finish in 5th place for the month. This was a case where the film suffered from “franchise fatigue” as this finished lower than the previous two installments and it would be a while before the franchise would rebound from this. 

May 2006 Awards Watch: The Da Vinci Code, Poseidon, An Inconvenient Truth, and Just My Luck

Even though the awards season for 2005 is over, it is around this time that the awards season for 2006 can get tentatively started. First up, we have the Da Vinci Code as it received one Golden Globe nomination (Best Original Score) and one Golden Raspberry nomination (Worst Director) though it would lose in both categories. The next film on the list is Poseidon which at first glance doesn’t seem like it belongs in this category, but it would receive a Golden Raspberry nomination (Worst Remake or Rip-Off) which it would end up losing. The next film is An Inconvenient Truth as it would be nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Documentary and Best Original Song) and it would win both awards in a mini-sweep. The final film from May 2006 on the list is Just My Luck as it would be nominated for one Golden Raspberry award (Worst Actress) though it would lose that award. 

Overall Thoughts of May 2006:

Overall, the month of May in 2006 was clearly to this point the best month of the year by a mile. Usually to this point, there would’ve been at least a few big films to have come out and given the year a slight bump heading into May and the beginning of the summer. However, the year of 2006 to this point has only had one film surpass $100 million dollars and the rest either underperformed or hardly did anything to help the months out. Thankfully, this month had plenty of hits come out that essentially turned 2006 around and get it right back on track. We will see if the momentum can keep going into the summer as the months of June and July look to have some hits that will breakout. As for the month of May, it was a very good month with some big hits though it was not without its share of slight misses.

Final Grade: B+

Author: Steve Riddle

I have been a wrestling fan since 1993 and that is probably my biggest love, with movies being a close second due in part to being employed at a movie theater for over 9 years.