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Studios are Hoping Christmas Box Office Won't Be Little

December 22nd, 2010

This weekend could be a disaster at the box office. Not only is it likely that the biggest release will under-perform, but Christmas Eve lands on the Friday. Christmas Eve is a black hole at the box office and it basically cuts nearly a full day off the weekend. Worse still, last year was incredibly strong and it is very possible that the number one movie this year won't make as much as the third place film did last year.

Meet the Parents was a big hit with moviegoers and especially with critics. Meet the Fockers was an even bigger hit at the box office, but struggled with critics. So far, Little Fockers is earning some of the worst reviews of the year, while most expect it to see its box office shrink by quite a bit. The good news is that the franchise does have a lot of fans and that should boost the film's chances, at least for a little while. It could be incredibly front-loaded, at least for a Christmas release. Look for $22 million before the weekend and $42 million on the weekend. This would be just a little bit lower than Meet the Fockers, but it won't have nearly the same legs.

The only other film opening tonight is True Grit and its box office chances are surprisingly strong for a Coen Brothers' film / Western. The biggest opening for the genre in the past decade came from Hidalgo at just under $19 million, while the best opening for the Coens came from Burn After Reading at just over $19 million. Despite opening on a Wednesday and despite having to deal with Christmas Eve on Friday, this film should top both those movies with $22 million over the weekend and $32 million in total. And thanks to the holidays and its Oscar-worthy reviews, $100 million won't be out of the question.

With the weekend effectively missing a day, not to mention the Fanboy effect, Tron: Legacy will see its box office sliced in half, maybe a tad more. This will give it a weekend total of $21 million, which might be enough for second place. It will also be enough to put the film on track for $100 million by sometime next week.

I think when Gulliver's Travels was given the green light, the studio was hoping for a run similar to Night at the Museum. That's not going to happen. Firstly, the film's reviews are much weaker, while it was pushed back to Saturday at the last minute. I see it performance similar to Fat Albert, despite the six years of inflation backing it up. Look for $10 million over the weekend, more or less, but better legs than its reviews would indicate, thanks to the holidays.

Yogi Bear 3D will also earn about $10 million over the weekend, of course this film will have three days in which to do that and the 3D effects should really booth its box office. If it does grab fourth place, it still won't be enough for the studio to celebrate, as it was likely a relatively expensive movie to make.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, Little Fockers, Gulliver's Travels, Tron: Legacy, Yogi Bear, True Grit