December 16, 2008

Box Office Update 12/12-12/14: The Day the Earth Stood Still Rises to the Top

This weekend, and December in general, is off to a rather weak start. It is a state that is likely to carry through the end of the year as the slate of offerings seems to be less compelling than we would like. This weekend was topped by the opening of the expected blockbuster The Day the Earth Stood Still, a science fiction remake of a great film from the 1950's. Unfortunately, it was greeted with poor reviews and lack of audience. I am sure Hollywood will place blame on the state of the economy, but there is no denying the idea of a remake held much more promise than what we received.

The Day the Earth Stood Still opened with a disappointing take just barely north of $30 million. I am sure the studio had hoped for another run along the lines of I Am Legend, the Will Smith science fiction movie (and remake) that opened on the comparable weekend last year to the tune of $77 million. For that matter, the Alvin and the Chipmunks film opened the same weekend and saw a take of more than $44 million. That fact has to rub some salt in the wound. If only the Keanu Reeves film had been good, who knows what could have happened. Seriously, the cautionary tale of the threat of nuclear war told in the original film is one that could seemingly be easy to update for a bit more current relevance, unfortunately the script fails to deliver anything worthwhile at all.

Also debuting this weekend is the Christmas-centered family reunion film Nothing Like the Holidays. It centers on a Puerto Rican family living in a suburb of Chicago and the drama that arises when the whole family gets to together and learns their parents are on the verge of divorce. It is a movie that is funny, dramatic, a little unreal, and a whole lot welcoming. It is not the best movie of its kind, but it is one that will make you want to spend more time with it and its characters. This is one to sit back and enjoy. I would recommend soon as it opened with a less than stellar $3.5 million and placing 7th.

One other film entered wide release, but it was poorly marketed and just looked like a bad film to boot. The movie is the animated feature Delgo that sought to make up for any perceived lack of quality with a who's who list of B-grade celebrities. It finished in 16th place and will likely disappear completely in a week or two. So, if you want to see it, make sure you do so soon.

As for the rest of the returning films, they pretty much just moved a bit down in order. None of them suffered big drops, which is actually a pretty good sign for them as we head deeper into the season. Still, there is nothing lighting up the box office at the moment.

Next week will see new films featuring Will Smith (the enigmatic Seven Pounds) and Jim Carrey (Yes Man). Will either have what it takes to bring some life into the box office? If I were to bet, I would have to go with Yes Man, it looks pretty funny and features a broad comedic style sure to appeal to a wide swathe of the mainstream audience. One other film will make a run for the money, The Tale of Despereaux, an animated feature about a swashbuckling mouse voiced by Matthew Broderick.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Cadillac Records (12), Role Models (13), and Punisher: War Zone (14).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NThe Day the Earth Stood Still$30,480,153$30,480,1531
21Four Christmases$13,074,470$87,775,9743
65Quantum of Solace$3,715,522$157,583,2325
7NNothing Like the Holidays$3,531,664$3,531,6641
86Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$3,181,231$169,937,3946
107Transporter 3$2,351,229$29,377,0883

Box Office Predictions Recap
Interesting weekend. The big release of the weekend failed to come anywhere near what I was expecting, of course I was not expecting the chilly reception it received (despite deserving it). It did win the weekend by an expectedly large margin, it just failed to be impressive while doing so. Now, if it were not for the tepid reception of another wide release this weekend, Nothing Like the Holidays, I would have nailed a larger portion of the placings, as it is, the middle four were all displaced by one due to my mistaken guesstimation. Still, I think I did all right for the weekend.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11The Day the Earth Stood Still$30,480,153$45 million
22Four Christmases$13,074,470$10 million


3Nothing Like the Holidays$3,531,664$8 million
34Twilight$7,951,131$7 million
45Bolt$7,464,282$5 million
56Australia$4,169,277$4 million
67Quantum of Solace$3,715,522$3.5 million
88Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$3,181,231$3 million
169Delgo$511,920$2 million
910Milk$2,598,638$2 million


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