There were a few surprises on the charts this week, including the number one film.
But overall things played out almost exactly as expected, leading to a total of $146 million at the box office.
This was 15% higher than last weekend but 19% lower than the same weekend last year.
However, that was the weekend when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opened and no-one was expecting this year to be able to keep pace.
Happy Feet may have taken top spot on the charts, but I think Harry Potter had a lot to do with that.
Friday marked the first time the teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was shown in theaters and I can guarantee that at least $700,000 worth of tickets were sold to people who wanted to see it in theaters and had no interest in Happy Feet (in fact, I would estimate at least $2 million was a direct result of the Harry Potter trailer).
Even so, Happy Feet did get off to a great start earning $41.5 million over the weekend.
That's just bigger the opening weekend of Chicken Little and that film finished with $135 million. However, Happy Feet's reviews are much stronger at 79% positive to 37% positive and that should help the film's legs giving it about $175 million in total.
Casino Royale may have missed first place at the box office with $40.8 million, but that still has to be seen as a huge success.
It is the second highest opening weekend for the James Bond franchise, which is even more impressive considering the amount of uncertainly surrounding the film, and not just the new Bond.
However, it appears that fans and critics alike approved of the film. On a side note, the 95% positive reviews gives the film the best reviews for a wide release this year and it could top Die Another Day's domestic box office of $160 million, and half a billion worldwide is certainly within reach.
Even if it doesn't make it that far, it should be able to top Star Wars as the biggest franchise at the worldwide box office.
The enigma that is Borat continued this weekend as the movie fell nearly 50% to $14.6 million.
This was enough to lift the film to $90 million and it should have no trouble hitting $100 million over the weekend.
The only real question now it how far up the 2006 chart it can reach.
A placing in the top ten seems unlikely; not that it is impossible for it to surpass Mission: Impossible: III, it's just that both Happy Feet and Casino Royale will beat it to that mark.
Regardless of the film's performance from now on, it is still one of the most profitable films of the season and arguably the most unlikely $100 million film of the year.
Direct competition hurt the kids movies more than expected with Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause falling almost 51% to $8.3 million.
The film now has $51.7 million at the box office and will finish well back of the previous films in the franchise, but it should still match its production budget and might even meet original expectations if it can grab a lift from the holidays.
Rounding out the top five was Stranger Than Fiction with $6.6 million.
This was a bit of a surprise, not that its drop-off was better than expected; it's just that the competition, Flushed Away, was weaker than expected.
That film fell more than 60% to $6.6 million, placing sixth along the way.
Also surprising analysts was 8 Films to Die For as the horror festival grabbed 10th place with $2.3 million.
This could be enough for the distributor to plan another such release next year and at the very least, it will ensure the 8 films get a DVD release relatively soon.
Finally we have Let's Go to Prison, which just missed the top ten with $2.2 million.
As expected, the critics hated this movie and that gave it just 9% positive.
This combined with the pathetic per theater average will result is a massive drop-off in theater count the Friday after this and a total box office of $6 million or so.
Turning to the sophomore class, the best was The Return, which fell 61.52% to $1.7 million over the weekend and $6.9 million in total.
A Good Year didn't suffer as much of a drop-off but it still only managed $1.6 million over the weekend and $6.4 million in total.
Lastly we have Harsh Times as that film plummeted nearly 75% to under $500,000.
I think it is safe to say the MGM label will disappear, again.
Not even James Bond can save a studio that is run this poorly.
Date posted: 2006-11-21