Archive for the ‘December 7-9’ Category

Weekend Fix: Compass Leads The Box Office South

December 11, 2007

     The box office is in serious trouble.  After a gigantically lucrative Summer, a poor selection of movies left the Fall box office with no huge, breakout successes, and some absolutely awful weekly grosses.  The small hope that many analysts were holding out for, however, was the one-two punch of The Golden Compass and I Am Legend to kick off the holiday season with booming business.  Unfortunately, this was far from the case this weekend, as The Golden Compass had a massively disappointing opening.  In what should have been a pretty good weekend at the movies, the December 7-9 weekend saw a 4% decrease from last weekend’s awful box office total, and the top 12 earned a measly $72.8 million.  Year-to-year, this represents at 16% drop from the top 12 this same weekend last year.

     The Golden Compass led the charts with a $25.8 million opening weekend.  To anyone who needs some perspective, The Chronicles of Narnia this most certainly is not.  C.S. Lewis’ fantasy epic opened with a fantastic $65.3 million, but Compass could not earn even half of that.  With a $180 million price tag, a super-wide venue count in 3,528 theaters, a loyal fan following, and heavy promotion, The Golden Compass may have seemed like a sure thing for the folks at New Line, but this will end up a gigantic loss for the studio, which was hoping for another Lord of the Rings type franchise.  Sadly, the picture played much more like last year’s Eragon, an adapted fantasy film about a dragon that also opened in December.  That film opened with $23.2 million on its way to $75 million overall.  With tepid reviews and a tepid per theater average of $7,308, I’m thinking The Golden Compass will finish with a very similar $75 million total.

     Enchanted remained one of the few bright spots at the box office, holding up extremely well to the competition.  This week, Disney’s princess movie dropped a small 35%, earning a fantastic $10.7 million in its third weekend.  This is enough to keep it playing throughout the holidays, when children are out of school, parents are not working, and movies make some real money.  Disney must be thrilled with Enchanted‘s performance so far, as it has grossed a sweet $83.8 million.

     This Christmas also held up well, earning $5 million this weekend, a good 38% drop.  Christmas-themed movies are starting to show their legs as the holiday draws near, and ScreenGems must be full of Christmas cheer with this film’s wonderful performance.  After three weekends, This Christmas has earned $42.7 million, which is more than triple its $13 million budget, and it should keep plugging along until Christmas.

     Fred Claus had a wonderful hold this weekend, dropping a tiny 16%, earning $4.6 million, and moving from sixth to fourth place.  Drops like this could redeem Fred Claus‘ mediocre box office beginnings, and it might not be the bust it once looked like, but it still would have been better placed as a December release.  After five weekends, the Santa comedy has earned a not-half-bad $65.5 million.
     At fifth is Paramount’s attempt at the fantasy epic, Beowulf.  The computer animated adventure dropped 45% to $4.5 million this weekend, bringing its total to $76 million after four weekends.  It’s the same story this weekend as every other one… that’s not a terrible result in and of itself, but the film simply cost too much to make ($150 million), and it won’t show a profit anytime soon.
     The best hold of the weekend comes from No Country For Old Men, which expanded into 330 extra theaters.  The Coen Brothers’ Oscar bait added another $4.1 million over the weekend, dropping just 6% in the process.  Of course, the extra theaters diluted the per theater average to $3,109, but that’s still the second highest in the top 12, so no one over at Miramax is worried.  No Country For Old Men has collected a great $28.7 million in five weekends.
     At seventh place is August Rush, which saw a small 30% decrease to $3.5 million over the weekend.  With $25.1 million in the till after three weekends, the Warner Bros. film could find another $10 million by the end of its run.
     Hitman falls to eighth place this weekend with a 42% drop to $3.5 million, which gives Fox’s mindless video-game action movie a moderately good $35.8 million over three weekends.
     In just its second weekend, Awake is already back in ninth place.  The sleeping thriller (oxymoron?) earned $3.3 million, dropping 43% this weekend.  Overall, the MGM flop has cumed a terrible $10.7 million in ten days.  Enchanted accomplished this in its third weekend alone!
     The Mist fell 42% this weekend, earning $2.6 million.  This is also a big MGM disappointment, as the Stephen King adaptation has made just $23.5 million in three weekends.  Thank goodness it was cheap to make.
     Rounding out the top 12 are the films that refuse to go away- Bee Movie and American Gangster.  Bee Movie fell 41% to $2.6 million, for a $121 million total.  American Gangster fell 40% to $2.5 million, for a $125.5 million total.  They have both been playing for six weeks.
     Don’t let the small drops fool you- this was a terrible weekend at the movies.  Ten of the top 12 films earned less than $5 million, and moviegoers just aren’t excited by this year’s offerings.  It doesn’t seem fair that for the past three weekends, we’ve relied on a sweet, little Disney princess to do all of the heavy lifting at the box office.  Here’s hoping that next week a bona fide action star (Will Smith) can contribute with I Am Legend.
Top Twelve for December 7-9
1. The Golden Compass – $25.8 million
2. Enchanted – $10.7 million
3. This Christmas – $5 million
4. Fred Claus – $4.6 million
5. Beowulf – $4.5 million
6. No Country For Old Men – $4.1 million
7. August Rush – $3.5 million
8. Hitman – $3.5 million
9. Awake – $3.3 million
10. The Mist – $2.6 million
11. Bee Movie – $2.6 million
12. American Gangster – $2.5 million
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Friday Estimates: I Still Love You, Nicole

December 8, 2007

     Uh oh.  The box office is not in good shape right now.  The Golden Compass, the only new wide release, looks like it’s going to undercut my prediction substantially.  It earned $8.8 million on Friday, but it probably won’t have a great weekend multiplier, due to fanboys who rushed out to see the adaptation on its first day. This is not good news for New Line, who spent $150 million to make the film, and that’s not including advertising costs.  A $25 million weekend is a terrible result, but that’s where The Golden Compass looks headed.  Alright- I’m declaring it now, Nicole Kidman is box office poison.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why her salary is $10-15 million per movie, when all her movies perform so poorly!  Look at her last three films she’s acted in: Bewitched: $63 million ($80 million budget).  Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus: $0.2 million.  The Invasion: $6 million ($80 million budget).  All of these were huge financial busts.  Granted, The Golden Compass‘ sub-par start can’t really be blamed on her, but I’m just saying, she isn’t as bankable as you would think an Oscar-winning actress should be.

     In news that makes me delighted, though, Juno and Atonement opened fantastically!  In 30 theaters, Atonement earned $225,000, and in just 7 theaters, Juno made $125,000.  That means that their daily per theater averages were $7,000 and $17,800, respectively! Wider releases are guaranteed with numbers like that!
Friday Estimates for December 7
1. The Golden Compass – $8.8 million
2. Enchanted – $2.9 million
3. This Christmas – $1.5 million
4. Beowulf – $1.3 million
5. Fred Claus – $1.3 million
6. No Country For Old Men – $1.3 million
7. August Rush – $1.2 million
8. Awake – $1.1 million
9. Hitman $1 million
10. The Mist $0.8 million
11. American Gangster $0.8 million
12. Bee Movie $0.6 million

Weekend Preview: Will Compass Strike Gold?

December 7, 2007

     For the second weekend in a row, there is only one new wide release hitting screens, and the Top 12 will look much the same as it did last weekend.  As Christmas nears, family films start to see some smaller weekend-to-weekend decreases, based mostly on the fact that so many people are out and about while shopping, and this increased traffic helps the movie business tremendously.  Unfortunately, there’s only one new release in The Golden Compass and a whole bunch of holdovers, so don’t expect the box office to be too exciting.

     The Golden Compass will easily win the weekend, although I’ve already argued (rather extensively) why I don’t think it will be a major success.  The reviews are still lackluster, and I just don’t see this project earning back it’s $150 million budget, unless it really shines right out of the gate.  I think a big problem is that the movie’s tone is being called “cold,” and that’s not just because of the snowy land it takes place in- the holidays are all about warmth and cheer, not gloom.  It will have to perform like a champion overseas if any sequels are to be justified.  Launching in a huge 3,528 theaters, The Golden Compass might find about $35 million for the weekend.
     Other than that, very little has changed since last weekend.  Enchanted should have a fairly small 35% drop to about $11 million, which is good for second place.  Beowulf and This Christmas will duke it out for third place, with about $5 million each. The biggest change is that No Country For Old Men launches into 329 more theaters, raising its overall count to 1,324.  This should hurt its per theater average, but help it have the best hold in the Top 12, landing it in fifth place with about $5.2 million.   Awake should fall hard.
Predicted Top Twelve for Dec 7-9
1. Golden Compass – $35 million
2. Enchanted – $11 million
3. Beowulf – $5.1 million
4. This Christmas – $5 million
5. No Country For Old Men – $4.2 million
6. Fred Claus – $3.8 million
7. August Rush – $3.5 million
8. Hitman – $3.2 million
9. Awake – $3 million
10. The Mist – $2.4 million
11. Bee Movie – $2.2 million
12. American Gangster – $2.1 million