So, the early reports are in and it looks like Burn After Reading will be crowned King of the Weekend, raking in $19.4 million. That number sounds pretty decent, but I would have expected a heavily marketed comedy starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney and directed by the reigning Best Director winners would have done a little better. How much better? I don’t know.

I wasn’t really sure what to compare it to, so I came up with a very unscientific formula. I took the per screen averages of the opening weekend for the last four movies for Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James, Ocean’s Thirteen, Babel, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Clooney (Leatherheads, Michael Clayton, Ocean’s Thirteen, The Good German), and the Coens (No Country for Old Men, The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Wasn’t There). I came up with $8,885.33 per screen. I multiplied that by the screens for Burn (2651) and got $23,555,013.17, with the three parties having equal influence in the equation- (Pitt + Clooney + Coen) / 3. Since the director usually has more impact on the final product, I recalculated with the Coens having twice as much influence- (Pitt + Clooney + (2 x Coen)) / 4. That gave me $21,920,563.64, even closer. I came up with the formula in the hopes of coming up with a number I could use for a comparison, but I was still surprised that the number was that close.

Maybe $19.4 million was about what was expected, and no one can really complain since that covers a good chunk of the movie’s budget. I don’t know if I can really draw much from a formula that took me all of two seconds to develop, but I’ll try using it on some upcoming movies and see what the numbers look like.

yeah a high-profile comedy was something I would suspect as well.

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That’s a pretty close number to what it actually earned. I must say that your calculation is right about there. Those three stars really rake up that much money from the cinemas with their huge following.

Maybe you can try computing for several movies in which several big time stars are featured.