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Weekend Wrap-Up: Box Office on Scrooge-Like Run

December 13th, 2011

After an extended slump with only a few bright spots over the past couple months, expectations for this weekend were lowered. Unfortunately, the new releases managed to fail to live up to lowered expectations and we had the worst weekend of the year. That can't be right. It's the worst weekend in three years. The overall box office was down 7% from last weekend to just $75 million, while it was down 18% when compared with last year. With only a few weeks left in the year, 2011 is down by 4% to 2010 at $9.57 billion to $9.95 billion. At this point, 2011 has virtually no chance of catching up to 2010. In fact, the box office is so weak, I think it is wise to reduce all predictions by at least 10%. ... Maybe 20%.

New Year's Eve easily won the box office race, despite earning barely half of predictions with just $13.02 million. By comparison, Valentine's Day opened with $14.54 million during its opening day and made $23.39 million on Valentine's day alone. With reviews that are a mere 6% positive and a weak per theater average, there's little hope for the film's future. By the time New Year's Eve comes around, it might not be in that many theaters. If either wide release does well next week and the Christmas week releases look strong, then I think a lot of theater owners will be dumping this film as soon as they are contractually able to.

The Sitter was even weaker than New Year's Eve opening on the very, very low end of expectations with just $9.85 million. Its reviews were just 22% positive, which is terrible, while its per theater average was middling, at best. Like the above film, it could see its theater count decimated come Christmas week.

The best of the holdovers was The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, which was pushed into third place with $7.82 million over the weekend giving it a total of $259.40 million after four. It is not earning quite as much as originally anticipated, but it is still fiercely profitable, so the studio should be very happy.

The Muppets fell 37%, which would have been a good result for its sophomore stint, but at this point it's just faint reward. Its weekend haul was $6.98 million while in total the film has made $65.74 million. Anything more than $75 million will result in a profit, regardless of what it makes internationally, as it should be a strong hit on the home market. After all, its reviews were close to perfect, while its target audiences of families and Fanboys will help sell plenty of DVDs and Blu-rays.

Arthur Christmas just managed to beat off Hugo for fifth place with $6.51 million to $6.05 million. The two films have nearly identical running tallies at $34.40 million for the former and $34.41 million for the latter.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, New Year’s Eve, The Sitter, The Muppets