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Voyage of the Damned

December 13th, 2010

Well that sucked. Both new releases underperformed at the box office this past weekend, by a large margin. In fact, combined Dawn Treader and The Tourist earned less than many were thinking Dawn Treader alone would earn. Needless to say, this hurt the overall box office. It was still able to grow by 6.5% from last weekend to $92 million, but that's more than 5% lower than the same weekend last year, and the same weekend last year was a disappointment to begin with. 2010 still has a lead over 2009, but that lead is down to 1.5% at $9.90 billion to $9.75 billion, and by this time next weekend, that lead could be cut in half. And by the end of Christmas weekend, it could be gone entirely.

Someone over at Fox is seriously regretting their decision to pick up the distribution rights to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Granted, it did open in first place, but with just $24.01 million on a production budget of $140 million, or more. This is easily the weakest opening in the franchise; in fact, it is less than The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe earned during its biggest single day. There are a couple pieces of good news going forward. Firstly, there's the holiday break starting on Friday, which should help boost its box office. Secondly, it is performing a lot better overseas. On the other hand, it has to deal with more direct competition than the first film faced, while it also has weaker reviews and the Sequel Effect to deal with. Maybe with a little luck it can earn more than $100 million domestically and over $300 million worldwide, but I don't think that will be enough to continue with the franchise.

The Tourist had a lot going for it, including a lot of star power and amazing talent in nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process. By most accounts, it had a good script, excellent direction, it was beautifully shot, etc. The only thing it didn't have was any chemistry between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. This resulted in a Tomatometer Score of just 20% positive, which in turn could explain its opening of just $16.47 million. Its audience is skewing a little more female and a little older than most action movies (although it is better described as a thriller and not a pure action film) so it could help with the legs a little. On the other hand, I don't think it will be enough.

Tangled held on a little better than expected adding $14.33 million over the weekend for a total of $115.40 million after three. It is still on pace for $150 million in total, maybe a little more, while it should surpass that on the international scene with relative ease.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I earned $8.48 million, which was in line with expectations. However, its running tally of $257.67 million is a little lower that I would have liked at this point in its run. Perhaps with Dawn Treader crashing during its opening, it will survive a little longer at the box office, which means it might have enough legs to reach $300 million. However, the comparisons with Goblet of Fire make that seem unlikely.

As expected, Unstoppable grabbed fifth place earning $3.71 million over the weekend lifting its total to $74.23 million.

However, Black Swan was the more impressive number earning sixth place with $3.31 million in just 90 theaters. Its per theater average of $36,726 and 87% positive reviews suggest massive expansion over the coming weeks. If it starts picking up major nominations, that is doubly true.

Finally we get to the sophomore class, which consisted of The Warrior's Way. This film collapsed during its second weekend of release, earning just $976,000 over the weekend for a total of $4.95 million after two. It will be little more than a vague memory by Christmas.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Tangled, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Unstoppable, The Warrior's Way, Black Swan, The Tourist