After two weeks of soft sales by new releases, this week's DVD sales chart was dominated by a new release, namely Avatar. That film sold 3.96 million units, generating $75.87 million in sales. This performance was made even more impressive, since the DVD was released on the 22nd, meaning it was only for sale for three days instead of the customary five days for the opening week of sales. In those three days, the film has become the third best selling DVD of 2010 in terms of units sold and second best in terms of dollars generated.
Paradoxically, this is arguably the biggest week of the year on the home market, as well as one of the slowest. It is the biggest because it marks the release of Avatar on DVD and Blu-ray. However, it is also one of the slowest, because Avatar scared away a lot of other releases. Looking down the list of top sellers and it isn't long before you find busted Oscar bait, TV movies, Direct-to-DVD releases, etc. I expect records could be broken this week, but it is a top-heavy list. As for Pick of the Week contenders, Avatar is obviously a contender, but I'm holding off until the screener arrives.
The Lovely Bones was Peter Jackson's first film in four years. In the five years previous to his absence, he had four films released. Combined, those four films earned close to $3.5 billion at the worldwide box office, not to mention 20 Oscars and countless other awards. Granted, no one thought The Lovely Bones would do that well at the box office, but there were still a lot of high hopes for the film. In fact, there was plenty of Awards Season buzz months before the film was released, while $100 million domestically was a possibility, especially if it picked up some major awards. However, early reviews were less than kind and it didn't exactly live up to the higher end of box office predictions. Is the film really disappointing, or is this just a case of great expectations ruining a film's chances?
The Round Up opened in sixth place with $6.32 million on 632 screens in 3 markets. Of that, $5.67 million was earned on 602 screens in France, which was easily enough for first place in that market.
The Princess and the Frog remained in sixth place with $5.18 million on 3019 screens in 35 markets for a total of $149.82 million internationally and $253.53 million worldwide. This past week it opened in Japan, struggling into fifth place with $1.02 million on 363 screens. Even with that disappointing result, it should do well enough on the home market to show a profit relatively soon.
The Princess and the Frog may have slipped out of the top five internationally, but it still added $8.32 million on 3053 screens in 28 markets for a total of $143.18 million. It had no major market openings again this week, but it added $2.84 million on 689 screens over the weekend in France for a total of $27.30 million after a month of release there. This weekend the film debuted in Japan, which could help it return to the top five. Regardless, it has made enough money that it should show a profit, eventually.
With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Supporting Actor, which might be even less competitive than the Best Supporting Actress.
Shutter Island started its international run with a sixth place finish this past weekend, earning $9.28 million on 1229 screens in 9 markets. The film opened in first place in Spain with $3.25 million on 406 screens. It had to settle for second place in Australia, in a virtual tie with Valentine's Day at $2.50 million on 250 screens. It's way too early to tell where the film will end up, but matching its domestic run internationally is a solid goal.
As expected, The Princess and the Frog reached $100 million internationally just before the weekend started, ultimately overtaking its domestic total. It had no major market openings over the past weekend, but it managed to rise to first place in France with $4.09 million on 697 screens for a total of $17.31 million after three. It also remained solid in the U.K., adding $2.36 million on 501 screens for a total of $6.58 million. Overall, it pulled in $11.29 million on 3349 screens in 34 markets for a total of $111.94 million internationally and $213.69 million worldwide.
Oceans opened in its native France and that helped it climb into sixth place with $9.52 million on 888 screens in 4 markets for a total of $16.98 million. It earned third place in its native market with $5.39 million on 542 screens while it was down just 7% during its sophomore stint in Japan with $3.48 million on 303 screens over the weekend for a total of $10.81 million after two.
Oscar nominations were announced at 5:38 this morning, continuing a tradition that have never been adequately explained to me. (Why so early in the morning? Does earning an Oscar nomination become sweeter if people have to wake you up to congratulate you?) Leading the way in nominations were Avatar and The Hurt Locker, both of which pick up nine nods each, many of them in the same categories.
January is coming to a close and we've yet to have a new release top the charts as Avatar reigned at multiplexes again this week. The weakness in the new releases is starting to take its toll, as the overall box office slumped to $144 million, which was 15% lower than last weekend and 10% lower than the same weekend last year. 2010 is still ahead of last year's pace by 9.7% at $888 million to $810 million, so there's little reason to panic at this point.
There are a few new releases hitting theaters tomorrow, but most people are still talking about Avatar and whether or not it can stay on top one more week, and perhaps set a few more records in the process.
The other major question of the weekend is whether or not it will top last year and end 2010's one-week losing streak.
It was a record breaking Martin Luther King long weekend, as Avatar remained in top spot at least for three out of the four days, and for the weekend as a whole.
Its record-breaking weekend helped the overall box office hit $170 million over three days and $210 million over four.
This was down compared to last year by 12% over three days and 9% over four, which makes it the first down weekend in two months.
Even so, year-to-date, 2010 is still ahead of 2009's pace by nearly 15%, $707 million to $616 million, but this is the first bit of bad news we've had so far.
Perhaps next weekend will be strong and this will be nothing but a minor blip.
Avatar was pushed from top spot for a day, but came back to comfortably win its fifth straight weekend, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
With another $41.3 million in the bank, Avatar was down just 18% from last weekend (helped somewhat by the MLK long weekend), and will pass $500 million on Monday after just 32 days in release, easily beating the record held by The Dark Knight (see chart).
It also tops Titanic's record for the biggest fifth weekend at the box office (see chart).
It's Martin Luther King long weekend, the first long weekend of the year, but not the biggest.
It is also the weekend the Golden Globe awards will be handed out and that could have a larger effect on the box office in the long term.
However, it might have a negative effect in the short term as people stay home to watch the awards.
This could prevent the new releases from keeping up with last year's crop, which included the first $100 million movie of 2009 — a feat that is very unlikely to happen again this year.
In fact, Avatar will probably continue to rule to box office as it overtakes yet another film on the All-Time Chart.
Avatar returned to the top of the per theater chart thanks to its record-breaking weekend result. It earned more than $50 million in 3,422 theaters for an average of $14,701. Crazy Heart was very close behind with an average of $14,004 in 33 theaters, which suggests further room to expand. Likewise, The Lovely Bones could do reasonably well this Friday when it expands after pulling in an average of $12,857 this weekend; however, there is a note of caution, as the film is still playing in only three theaters.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus topped the per theater chart this weekend, based on reports from theaters in the United States.
The film earned $128,000 in 4 theaters for an average of $31,909, which is roughly what it made last weekend.
It is also playing in many more theaters in Canada, but numbers have not been reported from those locations, at least so far this week.
The final figures may therefore, as last week, push the final average down considerably.
Second place went to to Lovely Bones, which climbed more than 54% to an average of $21,559 in three theaters.
This is excellent news for its planned expansion in a couple of weeks, assuming it doesn't fall by the same amount next week.
White Ribbon opened next with an average of $19,949, also in three theaters.
The overall number one film, Avatar, was just a fraction behind, earning an average of $19,789.
At this point, we've nearly run out of superlatives to describe the film's box office run and it is far from over.
Crazy Heart saw growth over the weekend, up 38% to an average of $18,416.
3 Idiots expanded somewhat and earned a very impressive average of $11,322 in 132 theaters.
A Single Man returned to the $10,000 club with an average of $10,586 in 46 theaters.
The final film in the $10,000 club was Sherlock Holmes, which fell sharply but still managed an average of $10,097.
2009 ended breaking lots of records, so 2010 starts both on a high note, and with a bit of trepidation.
On the one hand, there are several holdovers that should continue to be major players at the box office for the next few weeks, which can only help.
On the other hand, there's almost no chance 2010 will get off to as strong a start as 2009 did, since some of what happened at the box office during January of 2009 was unprecedented.
As it did on the overall chart, Avatar led the way on the per theater chart, earning an average of $21,880.
Second place went to the overall second place film, Sherlock Holmes, which pulled in an average of $18,031.
3 Idiots did something most Bollywood films don't manage to do, namely top $10,000 on the per theater chart.
Additionally, it was a wider release than most of its compadres, which makes this opening even more impressive.
Crazy Heart expanded somewhat, but still remained strong with an average of $13,321 and this makes hitting milestones much more likely.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel was the third wide release to crack $10,000 with an average of $13,210.
Finally we get to Lovely Bones, which is down to an estimated average of $12,667.
This is roughly a third of its opening weekend average and it still hasn't expanded, which doesn't bode well.
Like last week, the number one film on the per theater chart managed that feat despite mixed reviews.
This week it was Nine, which opened with an average of $64,308, but I am concerned about its ability to expand, especially if its word-of-mouth match its reviews.
The number one film on the overall chart, Avatar, placed second with $22,313 while Crazy Heart was not that far behind with an average of $20,666.
Up in the Air's expansion continues but it remained strong on the per theater chart with an average of $18,344 in 175 theaters.
Finally, Lovely Bones saw its average plummet this weekend to $15,032, which is more than 60% lower than last weekend.
Had this been accompanied by an expansion this wouldn't be an issue, but it is still playing in just three theaters.
The SAG nominations were announced this week, and the trend of the year continues with Up in the Air leading the way, but no one film dominating. This time around Up in the Air was in a three-way tie with Inglourious Basterds and Precious, which makes the race even more interesting.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations this week, but looking over the list of films chosen, it is hard to declare any one film as the big winner. Up in the Air did pick up six Golden Globe nominations, including several of the most prestigious nominations, but it is far from the only major player.
Lovely Bones defied critics to open on top of the per theater chart with $38,872 in three theaters.
Up in the Air remained in second place with an average of $33,255 in 72 theaters, while it nearly reached the top ten on the overall chart.
A Single Man opened with more than $200,000 in 9 theaters for an average of $24,148.
Broken Embraces spent its fourth weekend in the $10,000 club with an average of $18,255 in six theaters.
It is starting to expand, so it should start hitting major milestones soon.
Disney claimed top spot at the box office this weekend as The Princess and the Frog expanded nationwide.
But with a weekend box office estimated at $25 million, the movie will need to have great legs over the holidays if Disney's going to recoup its investment.
The movie has good reviews and is ideal family fare, so its chances are good, but the studio is looking at the same nail biting exercise as they're going through with A Christmas Carol, which opened with $30 million and reached an estimated $124 million this weekend.
Another week, another batch of limited releases. This time of year we normally see a lot of Oscar hopefuls being released; however, half the film's on this week's list have no shot at Awards Season glory, and only one of the Oscar bait movies seems to have fulfilled its potential.
November turned out to be a good month with more films meeting or exceeding expectations that missing.
We also saw records broken as 2009 marches closer to the all-time record, and the possibility of becoming the first year to hit $10 billion in total ticket sales growing.
It won't need that much to get there, and even if just one or two of the predicted $100 million hits this month get to that milestone, we will still finish the year by breaking records.
This week's round of new movie release information contains release dates for Bottle Shock, Milk, The Lovely Bones and more!
This week's round of new casting information contains updates for Four Christmases, My Sister's Keeper, Quarantined, and more!
This week's round of new movie release information contains release dates for The Lovely Bones, The Taking of Pelham 123, G.I. Joe and more!
This week's round of new casting information contains updates for Game, Meet the Browns, The Taking of Pelham 123, and more!
This week's round of new casting information contains updates for The Burning Plan, Cry of the Owl, Helen, and more!