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Traditional Animation Reigns Atop the Chart

December 14th, 2009

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The box office was a little mixed this weekend with good news balancing the bad news. For instance, the two new releases in the top five both disappointed, but all three holdovers topped expectations. Overall business was down 2.3% from last weekend, but up 6.0% from the same weekend last year, which is always the more important number. Year-to-date, 2009 has now pulled in $9.79 billion, which is 8.6% higher than the same pace last year and more than $100 million more than the previous record.

As expected, The Princess and the Frog earned topped spot at the box office, but it was softer than expected with $24.21 million over the weekend and $27.09 million including its two-week limited release run. There are some reasons to be concerned, including the fact that its final figure was lower than Sunday's estimate. That said, its reviews are amazing and with its obvious appeal to families and the upcoming school holidays, it could have extremely long legs. For instance, fellow G-rated film, Charlotte's Web, opened with just $11.46 million but finished with $82.99 million. Now, I'm not saying this film will have the same multiplier, but it could still be a financial success.

The Blind Side continues to beat expectations with $15.06 million over the weekend for a total of $149.82 million after four. The film was down just 25% compared to last weekend, which means it should have little trouble spending a month in the top five, while by this time next week it will likely be the biggest hit in Sandra Bullock's career. At this point, $200 million in total cannot be discounted.

Third place went to Invictus with what can only be described as a disappointing opening of $8.61 million. With Clint Eastwood coming off the biggest hit of his career and with strong reviews and a few Awards Season wins, it goes without saying that most people were expecting more. Its legs could still be good, but $40 million might be as good as it gets, while matching its $50 million production budget could be out of the question, especially if it shows any weakness this coming weekend.

New Moon was close behind in fourth place with $7.96 million over the weekend for a total of $267.32 million after four. Its per theater average is now low enough that a lot of theater owners will be looking to drop it in order to book fresh releases, but it is already an absolute monster hit, and not only has it earned enough to pay for its production and P&A budgets, but it has made enough to pay for this film and the next one in the franchise.

Disney's A Christmas Carol was a surprise entry in the top five, down just 12% to $6.83 million over the weekend for a total of $124.43 million after more than a month of release. The Polar Express had $123.43 million after its sixth weekend in release, putting it just $1 million behind this film's pace. There are two mitigating circumstances, however. First, Polar Express earned $8.41 million during its sixth weekend of release, which suggests Christmas Carol's lead won't last long. On the other hand, Express had two extra days to earn this money, so the comparison is not exactly precise.

Looking in on the sophomore class, Brothers just fell out of the top five with $5.01 million over the weekend and $17.42 million after two. Perhaps it is still too soon for a movie about the Iraq War. Armored landed in ninth place with $3.50 million over the weekend for a total of $11.75 million after two, while Everybody's Fine was even further down list with $2.19 million over the weekend and $7.33 million after two. Both films will disappear from theaters soon. Speaking of which, Transylmania already did so, down a record 94% to just $15,400 during its second weekend. I feel bad mentioning it.


Filed under: Everybody's Fine, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Brothers, The Blind Side, Transylmania, Invictus, Disney's A Christmas Carol, The Princess and the Frog, Armored