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Being Thankful for the Holdovers

November 26th, 2009

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It's Thanksgiving long weekend, one of the best holidays in terms of box office drawing power. However, none of the new releases seem like they have what it takes to really draw in moviegoers. On the other hand, New Moon broke a number of records last weekend, and it has a slim chance at breaking a few more this weekend. Even if it doesn't, it should top the top film from last year, Four Christmases, which should lead to another gain year-over-year.

Last year, Twilight opened with nearly $70 million, while it fell more than 60% during its second weekend of release to add $26.34 million over the three day weekend and $39.54 million over five. If New Moon can match this performance in terms of percent declines, then it will come close to topping Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the best performance for a film over the Thanksgiving weekend, currently at $57.49 million / $82.39 million. There are some concerns going forward, including the weak reviews, which might prevent crossover appeal, which is key for a movie's legs at the box office. Also, the Fangirl Effect is likely going to be immense, and there's already some evidence that it is coming into play to a much greater degree than it did with the first film. This could result in a 70% drop-off this coming weekend, which would give the film about $43 million over the three-day weekend and $65 million over five. That might be a tad too pessimistic, but $48 million / $72 million is not. This will likely leave it tied for third place for fastest to $200 million behind The Dark Knight and Revenge of the Fallen. It's hard to complain when your box office run is being compared to those two films, even if you come up short more often than not.

There could be quite a battle for second place between Old Dogs and The Blind Side. In fact, it might be so close that their places might change if you look at the 3-day or the 5-day weekend.

Old Dogs has the advantage over the five day weekend, because, as a new release, it should pull in more moviegoers on Wednesday. That said, its reviews will likely crush it moving forward. I wasn't expecting this movie to be good, as I thought the trailer was terrible, but I wasn't expecting it to be this bad. Its Tomatometer Score of 8% positive puts it at one of the worse saturation level releases of the year, and even the holidays might not be enough to help it thrive long-term. Look for $13 million on Wednesday and Thursday and $23 million over the weekend for a total of $36 million.

The Blind Side won't make as much on Wednesday and Thursday, earning close to $10 million, but thanks to the best reviews in the top five, it should hold on better as the weekend progresses. Look for $24 million over the three-day weekend, which would give the film a total of $66 million after ten days of release. This will keep it on pace to reach $100 million sometime early in December.

Just as there was a tight battle for second spot, there could be an equally close fight for fourth place between 2012, Ninja Assassin, Disney's A Christmas Carol, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Two new films, two holdovers. Two action films aimed at men, two family films. It could be so close and any of these four films could take fourth place, while any two of them could miss the top five.

2012 took a hit last weekend and this weekend has to deal with direct competition from of Ninja Assassin. However, while this will initially hit the film, once the shine comes off Ninja Assassin, 2012 will climb into fourth place where it should / could remain for the weekend. Look for just under $7 million on Wednesday and Thursday and close to $20 million from Friday through Sunday.

Ninja Assassin is a rather generic action movie starring South Korean superstar, Rain. Yeah, I have no idea who he is either, except he has a faux-rivalry with Stephen Colbert. The reviews are quite bad, but the target audience likely won't care, at least for a little while. This could give it fourth place on Wednesday but by Sunday it could fall out of the top five. Look for just over $6 million on Wednesday and Thursday and just over $13 million from Friday through Sunday.

Disney's A Christmas Carol should see some significant growth over the three-day weekend, as families will take advantage of the holiday and will be in the mood to check out a movie or two. The Polar Express grew by nearly 24% during the three-day portion of the long weekend and if this film can do the same it would earn $15 million from Friday to Sunday. However, The Polar Express didn't lose more than 500 theaters on Thanksgiving. Look for just under $4 million on Wednesday and Thursday and just under $14 million over the three-day weekend. That would leave the movie on pace to reach $100 million on Sunday. Maybe. It will likely be very, very close.

Finally we get to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is expanding to 2,000 theaters on Wednesday. I'm struggling to come up with a prediction for this film for Thanksgiving weekend. On the one hand, it is a family film opening on Thanksgiving weekend, which should be a huge help to its box office. Additionally, it is earning some of the best reviews of any film in wide release at the moment and it has done fantastic business in limited release. On the other hand, competition for its target audience is tight, and it is only playing in 2,000 theaters without a large advertising blitz. I could surprise and grab fourth place with $6 to $7 million on Wednesday and Thursday before earning $25 million over the weekend. However, it could also fail to earn half that. Look for just over $4 million on Wednesday and Thursday and just over $13 million over the weekend.

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Filed under: The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Blind Side, Disney's A Christmas Carol, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ninja Assassin, Old Dogs, 2012