It was a very close race for the top of the rental charts between two new releases. The Ringer
won that race with a surprising $6.32 million while When a Stranger Calls
had to settle for second best with $6.18 million.
It's a pretty average week for DVD releases with a handful of DVDs worth checking out. That said, there wasn't many that were in competition for DVD Pick of the Week and in the end Home Movies - Season Four
was the only one in serious contention. The only other DVD on this week's list than I would rate as a must have is These Girls
, but I admit, that is partially due to my pro-Canada
The latest Asterix & Obelix movie, Asterix and the Vikings, opened in second place in native France
with $3.64 million on 606 screens. The film also made $167,000 during its second weekend in Belgium for a $454,000 two week total. These films are very popular in France and other parts of Europe, but have never made the transition here.
Several films made they international debut this past weekend with even more returning to the charts, but because of the power of Ice Age: The Meltdown
, none of them were able to reach the top five, but a few came close. Leading that list is Jean-Philippe; the French
film debuted in third place in its native home with $3.34 million on 550 screens. It also opened in two other French-speaking markets but was much weaker earning seventh in Switzerland with $62,000 on 12 screens over the weekend and $68,000 in total while in Belgium it managed just ninth with $131,000 on 29 screens over the weekend and $144,000 in total. Add it up and the film pulled in $3.53 million on 591 screens in 3 markets during its first weekend of release.
A few more markets helped Fun with Dick and Jane remain flat last weekend at the international box office with $5.25 million on 1,458 screens in 18 markets for an early total of $18.09 million.
Its best market was Mexico where it opened in first place with $1.87 million on 418 screens while in Germany the film added $1.47 million on 478 screens for a two-week total of $4.39 million.
The film's biggest running total still came from Australia, where the film has managed $7.39 million after three weeks, including $710,000 over this past weekend.
With openings in the U.K. and Australia, Just Like Heaven
shot back up the charts with $4.70 million on 3173 screens in 32 markets for an international total of $32.33 million so far. In the former market is finished third with $2.06 million on 298 screens while in the latter it struggled to a sixth place finish with $932,000 on 168 screens over the weekend and $1.87 million in total.
The Producers brings Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick's stage antics (deservedly) to a wider audience. But I was left more with regrets at missing them live, than gratitude for having seen the movie.
The eccentric nature of the Christmas/Hannukkah weekend made it tough to predict the box office for The Producers.
A large number of readers were willing to give it a shot, but few managed to get close to the (modest) running total of $1,860,042.
Our winner, Mark Hamilton of Tucson, AZ, broke the trend by predicting $1,854,484... incredibly a difference of under $6,000.
Christmas wishes went unanswered this year as almost every film missed expectations, some by large margins.
This led to a 14.4% drop-off from last weekend, but more importantly, a 18.0% drop-off from last year.
Granted, the fact that Christmas fell on a Saturday helps explain some of that, but not all. Year-to-date, 2005 is still down 6% from last year and with less than one week left, that's roughly where it will end up.
Over the next five days a total of eight movies will either open wide or expand wide. With that much competition, there is literally zero chance that all the films will succeed. In fact, chances are none will be able to unseat King Kong as the box office champ. Further complicating the prediction process, there are three groups of releases with two movies opening wide tonight, three more on Friday and three on Sunday. This column will deal with all of them.
To celebrate this weekend's wide release of The Producers, we're running another predict the weekend contest.
The winner will receive an official Producers t-shirt and cap, plus the movie soundtrack.
Since The Producers is already in limited release, and won't go wide until Christmas Day on Sunday, the rules for this contest are slightly different than usual.
The winner will be whoever predicts the movie's total box office as of the close of business on Sunday.
That will include its opening day, plus the money it has made in limited release before Sunday.
The winner will be whoever's prediction is closest to the actual result without going over.
Entries must be received by 10am, Pacific Time on Sunday to be eligible, so don't delay!
Brokeback Mountain remained in top spot on the per theatre charts despite a massive expansion in its theatre count.
It went from five theatres to 69 while its per theatre average remained amazing at $36,355.
Second place went to The Producers with an average of $25,765 in five theatres, which is a good start, but perhaps not as good as Universal was hoping for.
Memoirs of a Geisha slipped to third with $25,045 in 52 theatres; it's not holding up as well as Brokeback Mountain did, but that's hardly a reason for Sony to be upset.
The overall box office champ, King Kong, came in fourth with an average of $14,050 in its 3,568 theatres.
There are several films on this week's list, but only one notable release. Two other releases are getting Oscar qualifying runs this week before their regular release. Both these films will get full write-ups then.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. We've hit another slow patch for movie websites, which is not unexpected since the most of the new site on this list are for films that open months from now so there's hardly any content, or open during the dead zone that is January. I would say the best of the rest would be King Kong
- Official Site
, but it is not strong enough to win the Weekly Website Award.
Brokeback Mountain was the big winner today as Golden Globe nominations were announced. With seven nods, it led all films, which is an important Oscar indicator.
It's Special Edition week, with several such releases just screaming to become last minute Christmas gifts.
Many of these are not A-List gifts and are more for people who are difficult to shop for.
Even so, just a quick glance reveals more than half-a-dozen releases worthy of consideration for the DVD Pick of the Week, with The 40-Year Old Virgin - Unrated Widescreen Edition leading the way.
Other choices include Airplane - Don't Call Me Shirley Edition, Gilmore Girls - The Complete Fifth Season, Rock 'n Roll High School - Rock On Edition, and The Simpsons - The Complete Seventh Season.
And from the Better Late Than Never Category, there's Nothing - Buy from Amazon.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. Despite being there being two weeks between updates, this was not a very strong week. Sure, there were plenty of websites updated, but not a lot that really stood out as being award worthy. In the end it was Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks
- Official Site
that was the best of the bunch and hopefully it will continue to grow and earn that award.
After Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire saved last month, we have two potential monster hits leading the way this month. However, both will be compared to Lord of the Rings, and neither will be able to live up to that high standard.
Even so, it should be a better month than December last year, but will it be too little, too late to save 2005's box office?
Since this is the heart of award season, there are plenty of films that are first opening in limited release.
Some will get a wide release later in the month, while others, like Munich, The New World and Match Point, don't open wide untill after the new year, and will appear in January's preview.
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. Here the list of this week's releases, a couple of new sites and few updates, including this week's winner, The Producers
- Official Site
During the past week promotional websites for several movies were launched and some older ones added additional content. Here the list of this week's releases, a couple of new sites and few updates, including this week's winner, Prime
- Official Site