Friday box office estimates are starting to roll in, and while we have a clear winner in Disney’s A Christmas Carol, the race for second place will be tight between The Men Who Stare At Goats, The Fourth Kind, and This Is It. Here are Friday’s numbers, along with my early impressions on these results:
A Christmas Carol
With $9 million on Friday, a $30 million weekend seems likely, which is well below my $40 million prediction, yet in line with the starts of other Robert Zemeckis motion-capture films like The Polar Express ($23.3 million) and Beowulf ($27.5 million). I’m kind of frustrated in myself. I wanted to predict this closer to $30 million, but I just believed so much in Disney’s marketing prowess, and I upped my prediction considerably. As I’ve said before, A Christmas Carol could have opened much higher if it had debuted two weeks from now, but the silver lining for Disney is that this Jim Carrey Christmas tale will plug along steadily for the next seven weeks, as the actual holiday of Christmas grows near. If it’s lucky, A Christmas Carol will earn back its $175 million budget, but that will be a tough task. Can’t wait to find out if it does!
The Fourth Kind
The alien abduction (non) thriller began with $5 million on Friday, which isn’t too shabby. But between the terrible reviews, the crowded marketplace, and the way that fanboys rush out on opening day to see this sort of film, I wouldn’t expect much for the rest of the weekend. By Sunday, The Fourth Kind will probably have abducted about $13 million out of American pockets.
The Men Who Stare At Goats
The George Clooney war satire earned $4.6 million on Friday. I had this pegged at earning $2-3 million on Friday, since cynical movies about war don’t tend to sit well with audiences, but I guess the star power and the ambiguous ads were enough to coax people into the theaters. Back in 2005, Jarhead started with $10.5 million on its way to a $27.7 million weekend, giving it an opening weekend multiplier of 2.6. I would expect a similar degree of liberal frontloadedness for Goats, and a $12 million weekend seems likely.
I wanted this to really exceed my expectations, but unfortunately, it just met them. With $2.85 million on Friday, the psychological suspense movie starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden seems destined for the Wal Mart bargain rack in a few years. Give the thriller $8 million for the frame.
This Is It and Paranormal Activity
The Michael Jackson documentary, This Is It, held up well on Friday, earning another $4.2 million. I’m seeing a solid $13 million over three days for this one, good for second place at the box office. Meanwhile, the freight train that is Paranormal Activity is officially coming to a stop. The horror film was down 53% from last Friday to just $2.85 million. An $8.2 million weekend should result.
Friday Estimates for November 6, 2009
1. A Christmas Carol – $9 million
2. The Fourth Kind – $5 million
3. The Men Who Stare At Goats – $4.6 million
4. This Is It – $4.2 million
5. The Box – $2.85 million
6. Paranormal Activity – $2.85 million
7. Couples Retreat – $2 million
8. Law Abiding Citizen – $1.8 million
9. Where The Wild Things Are – $1.2 million
10. Saw VI – $700,000
11. Precious – $585,000