December 2, 2008

Box Office Update 11/28-11/30: Four Christmases Proves to be a Winner

This holiday weekend was not a big winner, as it slipped below last week's combined total, but it was not a complete bust as three films topped the $25 million mark. I have to say that the overall state of the mainstream cinema is not all that great. Yes, there are good films but it is missing that spark that a big, tentpole style film would bring. I thought that last week's huge opening of Twilight would provide that lift, but it suffered a precipitous drop in its second go around.

This week was led by the first Christmas (well, it has Christmas in the title) film of the season, Four Christmases. The holiday-centric romantic comedy features Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the lead roles with an impressive supporting cast that is severely underused. The film tries to marry manic physical comedy with heartfelt relationship stuff and winds up half baked in conclusion. It has its moments and does have its laughs, but it is not nearly what it could have been.

Three other new releases made their way onto the charts providing an even spread of new film banding throughout the top ten. In fifth place is Baz Luhrman's sprawling epic Australia. A movie that is a little undercooked, but entertaining nonetheless, although with it's rather tepid opening (against budgetary expectations) would seem to make it a tough bet to reach it's $130 million production budget. Slip down to seventh place and you will find Transporter 3 opening with just over $12 million opening right in between the first two entries, right on target. Finally, right down at the bottom of the list is the new Gus Van Sant film Milk, a film that is sure to tempt Oscar's fickle finger. The film stars Sean Penn and seems ready to do well when it hits wide release. After all, it averaged over $40,000 per screen at 36 theaters, the best average of the top ten.

As for the returning films, Twilight has to be seen as a disappointment with it's 62% drop from last week. Sure, it is still pulling in money, it looks like it will be a quick drop. Could be the repeat viewing potential and widespread fandom may have been overstated. I guess the proof will be seen when the already announced sequel reaches theaters.

At the other end of the spectrum is Bolt, which seems to have benefited greatly from its word of mouth. It finished in second place with a tally that was greater than it was in its opening weekend. It is a highly enjoyable film that is a genuine crowd pleaser. It is not the most original film of its kind, but it is nice to see it enjoy this second week growth.

Next week sees only one film hitting wide release with Punisher: War Zone. It does not look great, but at least it is rated R. Two other films get mid-level releases in crime thriller Nobel Son and drama Cadillac Records.

Four movies dropped off the top ten this week: Changeling (12), High School Musical 3: Senior Year (13), The Secret Life of Bees (15), and Zack and Miri Make a Porno (16).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NFour Christmases$31,069,826$46,054,4681
42Quantum of Solace$18,833,552$141,418,5343
64Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$14,207,329$159,066,3694
7NTransporter 3$12,063,452$18,230,7581
85Role Models$5,284,000$57,780,8204
98The Boy in the Striped Pajamas$1,696,187$5,169,4954

Box Office Predictions Recap
Well, the numbers are in. Once again they prove just how mediocre to poor I am at figuring these things. Sure, sometimes I nail it and get a bunch right, but I have to say that without any real figures and numbers from studios based on their expectations and research, this is pretty tough. It is fun to try, but I have to recognize the fact that the audience at large is a fickle beast. It's all in good fun, right?

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
31Twilight$26,344,032$32 million
12Four Christmases$31,069,826$24 million


3Australia$14,800,723$18 million
24Bolt$26,581,002$17.5 million
45Quantum of Solace$18,833,552$16.5 million
76Transporter 3$12,063,452$15 million
67Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$14,207,329$9 million
88Role Models$5,284,000$4.5 million
99The Boy in the Striped Pajamas$1,696,187$3 million
1210Changeling$1,207,240$2 million


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