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Weekend Estimates: Christmas Carol Looks to the Future

November 8th, 2009

Disney's A Christmas Carol got off to a disappointing start over the weekend, according to studio estimates. While a $31 million debut is nothing to sniff at, it's well below expectations and might leave the movie outside the top 50 November weekends (see list). This might be a case of opening a Christmas movie too soon, and Disney will be looking for long legs through Thanksgiving and into the Holiday Season proper, so all is not lost yet, but the next couple of weeks will be key.

Further down the chart, two of the three other wide openers made satisfactory debuts. The Men Who Stare at Goats posted a $13.3 million opening for third place, behind Michael Jackson's This Is It, which fell a respectable 40% from its opening weekend. The Fourth Kind showed that suspense movies can work after Halloween and earned $12.5 million. The Box, however, disappointed with $7.9 million and a per theater average under $3,000.

There were a couple of other note-worthy performances in the top 10. Couples Retreat fell only 0.5% from last weekend (when it was undoubtedly hurt by Halloween), and is now within striking distance of $100 million. Law Abiding Citizen, meanwhile, rode good word-of-mouth to a 17% drop in its fourth weekend. Although it's going to struggle to hold on to theaters, Overture will be pleased with the movies performance.

The real stand-out further down the chart, however, was Precious, which posted an amazing $1.8 million from 18 theaters for a per theater average of $100,000. That puts it just short of the all-time record opening for a live action movie, currently held by Dreamgirls at $126,317 per theater. Dreamgirls opened in only three theaters, though, and the Precious will blow past the record for a movie opening in more than ten theaters, formerly held by The Blair Witch Project, with $63,812 back in 1999.

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Dreamgirls, Couples Retreat, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Michael Jackson's This Is It, Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), Law Abiding Citizen, The Fourth Kind, The Box, Disney's A Christmas Carol