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New Year Brings Little to Celebrate

January 3rd, 2011

2011 has begun but it didn't get off to a strong start. It didn't even get off to a better than expected start, as only one film in the top five really topped expectations. Overall, the box office grew by 10% from last week hitting $159 million, but that's not great given Christmas Eve landed on a Friday. It was also down 28% from the same weekend last year, so 2011 is off to a bad start. Granted, it's incredibly early, but there are not a lot of hopeful signs for the rest of the month and double-digit declines will likely be the norm.

Little Fockers remained in first place with $25.77 million during its second weekend of release for a total of $102.58 million. This is not a small amount of money, but Meet the Fockers had earned earned $162 million by this point in its run. That difference is only going to grow, as Little Fockers is falling much faster and will soon start losing theaters. Given its reviews, this sharp decline is not a surprise. But there is some good news, as the movie has now made more at the box office than it cost to make, so it should break even sooner rather than later.

True Grit was close behind with $24.42 million over the weekend for a total of $86.67 million after two. It is already the biggest hit in the Coen Brothers' career, while it will shortly become the first film of theirs to reach $100 million domestically. If it can pick up some more nominations, and perhaps a few wins, it could stay in theaters for a while. It could perhaps even win the race next weekend. Depending on how much it cost to advertise, it might even make enough to show a profit before international and home market numbers are taken into account. That's a very rare feat.

Tron: Legacy was also down, but by only 2%. Granted, this was weaker than expected, but given the Fanboy Effect, it could have been worse. It was able to add another $18.76 million over the weekend for a total of $131.30 million after three. It will have no trouble reaching $150 million domestically, but it will need to perform a lot better than that internationally to show a profit anytime soon.

Surprisingly, the top hold in the top five came from Yogi Bear 3D, which grew by 57% to $12.39 million over the weekend and $65.76 million after three. Yes, it is a family film, so a strong hold on the holidays is not a huge surprise, but it also earned terrible reviews and there are better options. I'm still not willing to call the film a success, but unless it cost a whole lot more than expected, it will top its production budget domestically, which should put it on track to show a profit some time during its home market run.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader slipped to fifth place with $10.25 million over the weekend, giving a running tally of $86.93 million. It is still running a little ahead of The Princess and the Frog's pace, which is good news for its quest to get to $100 million. Of course, at this point, $100 million is more of a propaganda win than a financial one and it will take a lot internationally and on the home market to break even.

Just missing the top five was The Fighter with $10.01 million over the weekend. With $46.39 million so far and plenty of Awards Season left ahead, it is fair to call the film a success.

It's a little harder to judge Tangled's box office success, due to its complicated route to theaters. This weekend it added $9.80 million for a total of $167.82 million after a month of release. This is more than the studio spent on this movie, but they also spent $100 million on the first attempt, which was scrapped. It might eventually make enough to pay for its entire production budget, but not before it hits the home market.

Gulliver's Travels grew by 47% to $9.30 million over the weekend and $27.45 million after nine days of release. Since the film cost more than $100 million to make, this is nothing short of a disaster.

Rounding out the top ten were two Oscar hopefuls, Black Swan and The King's Speech. The former added $8.88 million over the weekend for a total of $47.81 million after a month. It is safe to say it is a mainstream success. Meanwhile, the latter added $7.78 million in just 700 theaters for a total of $22.93 million. With its per theater average still over $10,000, further expansion is likely, while it is already Weinstein's biggest hit of the year and their biggest hit since Inglourious Basterds.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Little Fockers, Gulliver's Travels, The Fighter, Tron: Legacy, Tangled, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Yogi Bear, True Grit, Black Swan, The King’s Speech