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Carol Gets a Chilly Reception at the Box Office

November 10th, 2009

It was a mixed weekend at the box office as the overall ticket sales reached $120 million. This was 32% higher than last weekend; however, Halloween had a lot to do with that. More importantly, it was 16% lower than the same weekend last year. Even so, 2009 remains solidly ahead of 2008 by a 7.3% margin. In fact, its total of $8.72 billion is not only well ahead of last year's pace of $8.13 billion, it is almost as much as 2005 in total, and is already the eighth best yearly total ever.

On the one hand, Disney's A Christmas Carol did open in first place with $30.05 million. On the other hand, that was well below expectations. This was better than Robert Zemeckis' other two motion capture movies, but unless is has incredible legs, it won't be enough to show a profit any time soon. Then again, The Polar Express did have incredible legs, and this movie does have a lot in common with the earlier film, including similar Tomatometer scores, as well as the obvious Christmas theme. Should the film last in theaters past Christmas Day, there's a chance the studio will earn back its massive production budget, eventually.

After stumbling out of the gate last weekend, Michael Jackson's This Is It showed better than expected legs this weekend, down just 43% to $13.16 million over the weekend for a total of $57.01 million after two. At this pace, it should have no trouble earning $80 to $90 million domestically, which is well above the $60 million Sony spent acquiring the worldwide rights to the concert footage. Even if it has a higher than average P&A budget, it should have no trouble showing a profit once its international run is taken into account.

The Men Who Stare At Goats opened on the high end of Thursday's prediction at $12.71 million, which is close enough to call a victory, even if it finished in third place instead of second. The film did earn the best reviews for any wide release of the week, but they were still just below the overall positive level, so I don't expect that to help too much in terms of legs. Holidays are coming up, and depending on how well the new releases perform, the film could either show strong legs thanks to the increase in overall ticket sales, or it could be quickly squeezed out at the box office. We will have a much clearer picture next week.

The Fourth Kind was right behind with $12.23 million over the weekend despite earning the worst reviews of any wide release of the weekend. Given these reviews, and the genre, it is unlikely the movie will last in theaters very long. In fact, by the end of the month it could be all but a memory to most moviegoers.

Paranormal Activity finally took a serious hit at the box office, down just shy of 50% to $8.28 million over the weekend; however, the film how has $97.11 million in total and by this time next week with break the record for least expensive movie to reach $100 million at the box office. Additionally, it is well on its way to becoming the most profitable movie of all time on a percentage basis.

The Box just missed the top five with $7.57 million, which is just below Thursday's prediction, but close enough to call it a victory. Its reviews were almost at 50% positive, which isn't bad, but not bad isn't good enough to suggest long legs, nor does its per theater average. Look for a quick exit from theaters, but perhaps it will perform better on the home market.

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Filed under: The Men Who Stare at Goats, Paranormal Activity, Michael Jackson's This Is It, The Fourth Kind, The Box, Disney's A Christmas Carol