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Heartbreaking Start to the Year

February 15th, 2011

On the one hand, we are only six weeks into the year, which means it is far too early to push the panic button. On the other hand, there's everything else. It was yet another disappointing weekend at the box office with the top two films barely earning more than last year's number one movie. In fact, even if you ignored last year's number one movie, this year was still weaker in terms of ticket sales. The total box office was $149 million, which was 71% higher than last weekend, but while that seems impressive, it was still 27% lower than last year. 2011 is already closing in on $400 million behind 2010 at $1.17 billion to $1.54 billion. Maybe this coming weekend we can catch a break and finally turn things around.

Adam Sandler proved yet again that he doesn't need great reviews to have a number one hit. Just Go With It took top spot, albeit in a close race, despite earning just 18% positive reviews. Granted, its opening was just $30.51 million, which is below Adam Sandler's recent average for this type, and lower than expected at the begging of the month, but it was the best non-holiday opening of the year so far. At this point, we will take our victories where we can get them, no matter how small they are.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never matched Thursday's prediction perfectly with $29.51 million over the weekend and $30.26 million including midweek midnight shows. Next weekend it will run into the Fangirl Effect, which will likely decimate the film's box office numbers, despite its better than expected reviews. That said, it likely didn't cost too much to make and it will reach profitability early in its home market run, if not sooner.

When I first heard of Gnomeo and Juliet I thought it had an outside chance at $100 million. After all, it's a digitally animated film released by Walt Disney so even with a release date that's pretty early in the year, $100 million shouldn't be dismissed. However, most analysts did dismiss that idea and $50 million seemed to be the consensus. After an opening weekend of $25.36 million, it will have no trouble surpassing $50 million. In fact, it might still have a shot at $100 million. It opened slightly better than Meet the Robinsons did, while their reviews are relatively similar. Let's hope that's the case, as 2011 could really use some good news.

The Eagle beat expectations with $8.68 million during its opening, but that's still mediocre, as are its reviews. If it shows any weakness next weekend, I don't think many theater owners will want to keep it around much longer after that.

The Roommate also beat expectations, falling less than 50% to $8.13 million over the weekend for a total of $25.78 million after two. At this pace, it should have no trouble getting to $40 million theatrically, which is likely what it cost to make and advertise. Given that, unless it bombs overseas it will reach profitability early in its home market run.

On a side note, The King's Speech also beat expectations with $7.23 million, but that wasn't enough to keep it in the top five. It did lift its running tally to $93.68 million, meaning hitting the century mark by the end of next weekend is all but guaranteed.

Looking in on the sophomore class, the only member not to reach the top five was Sanctum, which fell to eighth place with $5.66 million over the weekend for a total of $18.04 million after two. It did fall just 40%, but that's small comfort at this point.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Roommate, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Eagle, Sanctum, Just Go With It, The King’s Speech, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never