December 21, 2009

Box Office Update 12/18-12/20: Avatar Takes the Top

Last week we saw Disney rise to the top of the food chain with a film in a style not seen since 2004. A traditional cell-animated feature bearing the Walt Disney name charmed audiences on its way to a decent debut take. While the film is not the greatest, it is a lot of fun and I hope its success is a sign of things to come from the cell-animation division. This week sees that film, The Princess and the Frog, slip to second place as it gets steamrolled by the highly anticipated science fiction adventure film Avatar.

It's final weekend tally may have been shrunk by the blizzard that pounded the east coast, but there is no doubt that Avatar had a strong opening. So strong in fact that its Sunday tally was underestimated by $4 million. That is a pretty wide margin to be off by. The studio must be very happy to see that. Its future is now in the hands of the people, and it looks pretty good. I have seen the film and it is an absolute visual feast. The story is a familiar one, perhaps calculated to draw you in easier to the alien world. In any case, it sets a new bar for the integration of live action and effects in a 3D environment. You may even forget you are often viewing pixels.

The Princess and the Frog slipped to second place, and while slipping nearly 50%. I think this has some life in it yet but I suspect it may die an early death in the face of the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel. If my opinion means anything, I recommend you go check out the beautiful animation, jazzy songs, and classically inspired fun that Disney has created.

Sandra Bullock and The Blind Side continue to perform strongly and beyond expectations of most. I must say my lack of interest has slackened a little, but I am not sure if I will eventually see it on the big screen or not (conversely, I have a strange desire to see the previously mentioned chipmunk movie). Sandra Bullock seems poised to garner herself an Oscar nomination for her performance here, we shall see.

Fourth place is host to Did You Hear About the Morgans? The romantic comedy had what has to be considered a disappointing opening as it fails to even crack the $7 million mark. Am I surprised? Perhaps a little, I figured the tandem of Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker would draw a few more people to the table. Am I disappointed? No. The trailers look awful.

The rest of the list does not hold many surprises. Although, I was happy to see Up in the Air crack the top ten early in its life cycle. I hope the film is actually good.

Christmas is fast approaching, it brings with it a host of new films including Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, It's Complicated, and The Lovely Bones.

Three movies dropped off the list this week: 2012 (11), Armored (12), and Ninja Assassin (14).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
21The Princess and the Frog$12,185,949$44,717,7214
32The Blind Side$10,021,280$164,725,5255
4NDid You Hear About the Morgans?$6,616,571$6,616,5711
54The Twilight Saga: New Moon$4,407,598$274,598,3195
75A Christmas Carol 3D$3,443,464$130,813,3547
811Up in the Air$3,210,132$8,215,7043
107Old Dogs$2,340,575$43,625,4714

Box Office Predictions Recap
Not my best week but far from my worst. After getting through the top three, my gross prediction's actually get pretty good. My placings, on the other hand, are not particularly great, but generally in the ballpark. I would have to say my biggest gaffe was my overestimation of the Morgans movie, which I am glad to have been wrong about. Granted, I was a bit high with Avatar as well, but many were in that vicinity what with the hype machine behind the film. Also, to be considered is the major storm on the east coast that likely prevented a good chunk of box office change. All things equal, Avatar would likely have taken the crown as biggest December opening ever.

Here is how the field matched up:



TitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Avatar$77,025,481$95 million
42Did You Hear About the Morgans?$6,616,571$18 million


3The Princess and the Frog$12,185,949$17 million
34The Blind Side$10,021,280$9 million

$6 million

76A Christmas Carol 3D$3,443,464$5 million
57The Twilight Saga: New Moon$4,407,598$4 million
108Old Dogs$2,340,575$3.5 million
99Brothers$2,889,121$2.5 million
11102012$2,204,588$2.5 million

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