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.
For the first time during its international run, Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel missed the top five and placed sixth with $7.10 million on 3,699 screens in 42 markets for a total of $200.87 million internationally and $413.03 million worldwide.
With no major market openings left, the film will likely fall further down the chart over the coming weeks, but it has already made a huge profit, so Fox will be more than happy.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs led all new releases to grab top spot on the DVD sales chart for the week ending January 10 with 1.10 million units and $19.90 million in consumer spending at retail.
None of the new releases were able to take top spot on the DVD sales chart for January 3, leaving The Hangover in first place for the third week in a row. It added 692,000 units and $12.43 million to take its running tallies to 6.63 million units and $125.40 million.
Up in the Air started its international run in sixth place with $5.83 million on 936 screens in 9 markets. This includes a fifth place debut in the U.K. where it earned $2.13 million on 325 screens while it also managed fifth in Australia with $1.61 million on just 173 screens. While it is hard for films to open in limited release domestically and expand wide, it is usually a lot harder for these films to thrive internationally. After all, many international markets are simply too small to have a thriving limited release marketplace. It will be interesting to see if this film will be able to take its performance during Awards Season and turn it into a successful international run despite this.
More than half the films on this week's International Details column were international films, starting with sixth place Io, loro E Lara. That film placed first in Italy with $7.56 million on 608 screens over the weekend, giving it $12.91 million in total.
Black Lightning opened in sixth place internationally with $8.42 million on 798 screens in 5 markets.
Those markets include Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The latest from Timur Bekmambetov debuted in second place in his native Russia behind Avatar with an estimated $8 million on 700 screens.
It has been a long, long time since a horror film opened in limited release and was able to expand truly wide. In fact, you have to go back a decade to The Blair Witch Project to find a film that accomplished that feat.
This is quite coincidental, as Paranormal Activity shares a lot in common with that earlier film, including its ultra-low budget, and even the setup of being "found footage" / faux-reality.
It would be obvious in this review to continue the comparison between the two movies, especially since they earned very similar reviews.
However, I never saw the earlier film, so it is with fresh eyes that I go into this one.
After a one week absence caused by the total lack of activity at the box office, the box office prediction contest is back. The target film this week is Daybreakers, which could be the first big hit of the year. Or it could be crushed by three holdovers. Regardless, in order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Daybreakers.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a Paranormal Activity prize pack, which includes a backpack, ouija board kit, and more.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
The Tuesday after Christmas might seem a strange week to release a DVD or Blu-ray because it's too late to be a Christmas gift.
On the other hand, it's perfect for Boxing Week sales.
Overall we have a very short list this week, but there are still a few releases of note, including 9, which is bit expensive on Blu-ray, but still Pick of the Week material.
Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity is also a Pick of the Week contender, but the screener is late, so I can't say for sure.
I blame the Christmas shipping rush for the delay in getting here.
Arthur And The Revenge Of Maltazard fell out of the top five, but still did relatively well, earning $8.14 million on 2,198 screens in 19 markets for an early total of $23.58 million. In its native France it added $6.27 million on 925 screens over the weekend for a total of $17.57 million after two. This is not that much weaker than the original, which at this point had made just over $20 million in France.
A trio of films hit major milestones at the international box office this weekend, starting with The Twilight Saga - New Moon.
That film remained in first place with $41.83 million on 8,144 screens in 61 markets for a total of $320.04 million internationally and $575.40 million worldwide.
This week, it opened in South Korea with $4.07 million on 622 screens over the weekend and $5.68 million in total.
This is not a lot for the market compared to other Hollywood blockbusters, but it is almost as much as the original made during its entire run and it will surpass the earlier film by next week.
Meanwhile in Germany, the film did just that with $5.76 million on 703 screens over the weekend and $25.39 million after two, which is significantly more than the $22.65 million the original made there.
At this pace, New Moon will have little trouble earning more internationally than Twilight made worldwide, while it will crack $600 million worldwide by the weekend.
As always, the Independent Spirit Awards represent the unofficial start of Awards Season with the announcement of their nominations.
This year The Last Station and Precious topped the list of nominees with five each.
For the former, it should help build buzz for its 2010 release.
For the latter, it is the first step towards possible Awards Season glory and further enhances its already lofty box office potential.
The Twilight Saga - New Moon remained in the top spot on the international chart with $82.38 million on 8,292 screens in 52 markets for a total of $251.33 million internationally and $482.28 million worldwide.
This includes a number of new markets for the film, but most were of the smaller variety.
It did place first in Germany with $16.95 million on 703 screens, but that includes previews.
On the other hand, it bombed in Japan, opening in fifth place with just $792,000 on 197 screens and was even worse in South Korea, debuting in eighth place with $129,000 on 47 screens over the weekend and $166,000 in total.
As far as holdovers go, the film was surprisingly consistent at roughly 60% down in most major markets.
This includes the U.K. where it was down 63% to $7.11 million on 504 screens; however, it still managed first place in that market, while it now has $33.57 million after just two weeks of release compared to the lifetime total of $16.31 million for its predecessor.
It is important to note that Twilight was surprisingly weak in the U.K. compared to its box office performance in most major markets.
That said, New Moon has topped the lifetime total of the earlier film in every single major market it opened in last weekend, which is an amazing feat.
It has yet to open in only a few other markets, but unless the film cost a lot more to make than has been reported, it has already shown a sizeable profit.
Planet 51 started its international run in a limited fashion, but was only a little better than its domestic opening. Its biggest market was Russia, where it placed fourth with $1.49 million on 344 screens, which is on par with its opening here, perhaps a little bit stronger.
The film also placed fourth in Italy with $1.16 million on 255 screens, which is again on par with the US, but perhaps a little weaker.
Overall, it landed in sixth place with $3.22 million on 894 screens in 6 markets during its opening weekend, but should improve this weekend when it opens in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil.
Great news at the box office, as the number one film topped expectations by a significant margin.
In fact, the top three films all did much better than expected.
On the down side, the rest of the films we talked about on Thursday struggled and this hurt the overall box office.
The total take was up 16.9% from last weekend at $140 million, but this was 5.8% lower than the same weekend last year.
Year to date, 2009 has pulled in $8.91 billion, which is 7.0% higher than last year's pace, and by this time next week 2009 will be only the seventh year to cross $9 billion in total ticket sales.
It was a mixed weekend at the box office as the overall ticket sales reached $120 million. This was 32% higher than last weekend; however, Halloween had a lot to do with that. More importantly, it was 16% lower than the same weekend last year. Even so, 2009 remains solidly ahead of 2008 by a 7.3% margin. In fact, its total of $8.72 billion is not only well ahead of last year's pace of $8.13 billion, it is almost as much as 2005 in total, and is already the eighth best yearly total ever.
The holiday season unofficial starts this weekend with the first Christmas release of the year.
Disney's A Christmas Carol is clearly the favorite to top the chart, but it is the only big release coming out this week, and it is unlikely to match last year's winner, Madagascar 2.
This means 2009 will have a tough time keeping up with last year's pace.
It was a tough weekend at the box office, then again, that's always the case when Halloween lands on a weekend. Halloween in one of the worst days at the box office; it's almost as bad as Christmas Eve. And at least with Christmas Eve, you have Christmas Day to look forward to. The overall box office was down 21.8% from last weekend to just $91 million; however, that was 3.5% higher than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 remains well head of 2008 at $8.56 billion to $7.95 billion.
Michael Jackson's This Is It topped the box office chart in the United States this weekend, but with a relatively disappointing $21.3 million Friday to Sunday, according to Sony's estimates.
While that's good for a concert/documentary film, it's some way behind the $31.1 million opening three-day weekend of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert released in 2008.
In fact, This Is It's five day total of $32.5 million only just beats out the Disney concert pic.
This Is It got off to a record-breaking start, kind of, while the rest of the top five will be filled with holdovers over Halloween weekend. This weekend last year Halloween was on a Friday, while this year it is on Saturday, neither of which help the box office one bit. But it won't take too much for the number one film this year to top the number one film from last year, and the rest of the box office should follow suit.
We had three wide releases this weekend, and not one of them matched expectations. Additionally, last week's number one film fell dramatically at the box office. This led to an equally dramatic decline at the box office with overall ticket sales at just $116 million. This is 16% lower than last weekend, but more importantly 13% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2009 still has a 7.6% lead over 2008 at $8.43 billion to $7.84 billion, which is a lead that might be insurmountable at this point.
Antichrist was the only new release to reach the $10,000 club over the weekend earning a strong average of $11,900 in six theaters. An Education was just $49 behind at $11,851, which is about 5 or 6 tickets per theater. Finally, Paranormal Activity was able to reach first place on the overall chart while maintaining an average $10,850 in nearly 2000 theaters.
Over the past six years, the Saw Franchise has dominated the horror box office over Halloween, scoring four consecutive $30 million-plus openings.
The last four episodes were also the top-grossing films for Lionsgate each year, helping the studio earn a solid 3% market share, after years picking up less than 1% of the total US box office.
This weekend, however, the franchise took a body blow, thanks to a terrific guerrilla marketing campaign from Paramount that took Paranormal Activity to an estimated $22 million weekend in 1,945 theaters, and pushed Saw VI into second place with a disappointing $14.8 million (the worst opening weekend for the franchise).
It's the weekend before Halloween and among the three wide releases, there are two with a horror feel to them.
(One is straight up horror while the other features Vampires.)
Among the holdovers that should land in the top ten, there are three more horror or horror-like films, so there's a lot of competition for a rather narrow target audience.
In comparison, last year there was only one such movie, and it didn't even come in first place.
The level of competition will likely prevent the number one film this weekend from topping last year's number one film, High School Musical 3, but overall the box office should be a bit stronger this year.
Paranormal Activity remained on top of the per theater chart with an average of $25,711. The film finally saw its per theater average drop this past weekend, but it should still have no trouble expanding. Second place went to The Maid, which earned $17,036 in one theater. An Education remained in the $10,000 club with an average of $12,882, while A Serious Man took in more than $800,000 in 82 theaters for an average of $10,275.
It was an excellent weekend at the box office even though the number one film didn't live up to me admittedly bullish expectations. It came close enough to be considered a hit, while the other two new releases topped expectations by substantial margins.
Overall, $138 million was spent on movie tickets over the weekend, which was 26% higher than last weekend and more importantly 38% higher than the same weekend last year.
So far this year, 2009 has earned $8.28 billion, which is 7.9% higher than 2008's pace.
Where The Wild Things Are got off to a strong start over the weekend, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
The Spike Jonze adaptation of the Maurice Sendak book earned a very healthy $30.47 million, according to Warner Bros. estimates, making it one of October's biggest openers (see full list).
There are a trio of three wide releases this week, including one opening in close to 4,000 theaters.
This time last year there were four wide releases, but none were sizable hits, which gives 2009 a great chance for expanding its lead over 2008 at the box office race.
No less than six films broke the $10,000 per theater average barrier over the weekend.
Paranormal Activity topped the per theater chart with its record-breaking weekend, earning an average of $49,379 in 160 theaters.
An Education was relatively close behind with an average of $39,754 in 4 theaters, which is a spectacular result at any time.
A Serious Man remained strong with an average of $21,872, which is enough to suggest further significant expansion over the coming weeks.
The number one film at the box office, Couples Retreat, was next with an average of $11,429.
Yes Men Fix the World and Bronson had nearly identical averages at $10,956 vs. $10,940.
There was only one new release coming out this weekend, but it topped expectations, and there was a surprise film in the top five, and both these events helped the market as a whole earn $110 million over the weekend.
This was 2.9% higher than last weekend and 7.7% higher than the same weekend last year.
Year to date, 2009 has now brought in $8.10 billion so far, which is 7.5% higher than the same pace last year.
The Columbus Day holiday weekend produced two big winners, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
At the top of the chart, Couples Retreat exceeded expectations with $35.3 million.
A per theater average of nearly $12,000 for the poorly-reviewed comedy is a testament to Universal's marketing campaign and the box office power of its ensemble cast.
A great marketing campaign from Paramount can also be attributed to the success of the weekend's other big success: Paranormal Activity, which jumped into the top 5 with an estimated $7.066 million in just 159 theaters.
That's the smallest number of theaters for a movie to hit the top five ever, beating the performance of Platoon, which hit 4th place the weekend of January 16, 1987 playing in 174 theaters.
A Serious Man showed the competition who was serious by earning first place on the per theater chart earning an average of $41,890 in six theaters. Paranormal Activity climbed into the $10,000 club with a sophomore average of $16,129 and now there's a push to get it into 1000 theaters nationwide. More Than a Game earned an average of more than $10,000, $13,067 to be precise, placing third in the process. Coco Before Chanel repeated in the $10,000 club with an average of $12,878, but it will need some strong word-of-mouth if it wants to stay they one more week.
Capitalism - A Love Story lead the way on the per theater chart with an average of $57,991 in four theaters over the weekend, while it made nearly $300,000 in just five days.
Coco Before Chanel was well back, but it still made an impressive average of $35,427 in five theaters.
For both films, this is a good portent for its potential to expand.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men was the only other film in the $10,000 club after it made $18,510 in its lone theater.
As September ends, we move closer to the start of Awards Season and there are a number of films that look on paper to be Awards Season contenders. There are also a lot of films that are earning terrible reviews and while likely disappear from theaters in short order. Amazingly, the widest release of the week appears to be a Canadian film, Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day.