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As usual, there are no new wide releases the first weekend of the year, but that doesn't mean there are no stories to talk about. The most obvious story is the comparison to last year, which was led by Marley & Me with just over $24 million. It is very likely that wouldn't even come close to reaching the top three this weekend.

After two weeks of release, Avatar will have earned roughly $275 million, putting it in a close battle with The Hangover for fifth place on the yearly chart. It will clearly surpass that hit over the weekend. In fact, it will overtake that film, New Moon, Up, and The Half-Blood Prince over the weekend, while it has its sights set on Revenge of the Fallen and top spot overall. Even low end predictions of $45 million over the weekend would give the movie $320 million after three and put it on pace for $400 million overall. On the other hand, high end expectations have it pulling in $55 million, which would put it on track to reach the top five all time. We are going to split the difference on the weekend and predict $50 million. As for the film's final tally, we'll need at least another week before being able to make a solid prediction.

Sherlock Holmes opened in second place, but it has fallen to third during the week, behind Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel. However, New Year's Eve / New Year's Day is one of the more adult-skewing holidays, which means it should bounce back over the weekend. Additionally, good reviews are helping. The film likely crossed $100 million on Thursday, and if it can make anything more than $35 million over the weekend, then $200 million in total becomes very likely. Some are going so far as to predict the film will earn $50 million over the weekend, but while that is perhaps a little too bullish, $40 million is not, which would put it on pace to reach $200 million to $225 million in total.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel reached $100 million on Tuesday, just seven days after it debuted in theaters. In comparison, it took the original 13 days to reach that milestone. Then again, the original opened a couple of weeks before Christmas and didn't have the benefit of constant holidays during its opening weekend run. This factor will also make direct comparison between the two films difficult this weekend. It will need to make $30 million over the weekend to remain on pace to top its predecessor, which is well within grasp. On the high end, it could come close to $40 million, while on the low end $25 million would make $200 million in total a much more difficult milestone to reach. Just over $30 million seems the most likely scenario.

It's Complicated will be well back, but thanks to its more mature target audience, it should hold on relatively well and could maintain a pace for $100 million. Look for $15 million to $16 million over the weekend and about $55 million in total. In comparison, Something's Gotta Give made under $12 million during the New Year's weekend, but made more than $40 million during the rest of its run. If this pattern holds for this film, it will become part of the record breaking crop of $100 million movies released during 2009.

We still don't have final numbers for Up in the Air and The Blind Side, which estimates had in a virtual tie last weekend. It is likely the same thing will happen this weekend with roughly $8 million for each. That would be enough to give The Blind Side $200 million, which would make it the eighth film of the year to reach that milestone (but not the last). For Up in the Air, it is still too early to tell, since its performance during Awards Season could be worth a lot at the box office.

- C.S.Strowbridge Holdovers Ring in the New Year - The Numbers

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Holdovers Ring in the New Year

December 31st, 2009

As usual, there are no new wide releases the first weekend of the year, but that doesn't mean there are no stories to talk about. The most obvious story is the comparison to last year, which was led by Marley & Me with just over $24 million. It is very likely that wouldn't even come close to reaching the top three this weekend.

After two weeks of release, Avatar will have earned roughly $275 million, putting it in a close battle with The Hangover for fifth place on the yearly chart. It will clearly surpass that hit over the weekend. In fact, it will overtake that film, New Moon, Up, and The Half-Blood Prince over the weekend, while it has its sights set on Revenge of the Fallen and top spot overall. Even low end predictions of $45 million over the weekend would give the movie $320 million after three and put it on pace for $400 million overall. On the other hand, high end expectations have it pulling in $55 million, which would put it on track to reach the top five all time. We are going to split the difference on the weekend and predict $50 million. As for the film's final tally, we'll need at least another week before being able to make a solid prediction.

Sherlock Holmes opened in second place, but it has fallen to third during the week, behind Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel. However, New Year's Eve / New Year's Day is one of the more adult-skewing holidays, which means it should bounce back over the weekend. Additionally, good reviews are helping. The film likely crossed $100 million on Thursday, and if it can make anything more than $35 million over the weekend, then $200 million in total becomes very likely. Some are going so far as to predict the film will earn $50 million over the weekend, but while that is perhaps a little too bullish, $40 million is not, which would put it on pace to reach $200 million to $225 million in total.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel reached $100 million on Tuesday, just seven days after it debuted in theaters. In comparison, it took the original 13 days to reach that milestone. Then again, the original opened a couple of weeks before Christmas and didn't have the benefit of constant holidays during its opening weekend run. This factor will also make direct comparison between the two films difficult this weekend. It will need to make $30 million over the weekend to remain on pace to top its predecessor, which is well within grasp. On the high end, it could come close to $40 million, while on the low end $25 million would make $200 million in total a much more difficult milestone to reach. Just over $30 million seems the most likely scenario.

It's Complicated will be well back, but thanks to its more mature target audience, it should hold on relatively well and could maintain a pace for $100 million. Look for $15 million to $16 million over the weekend and about $55 million in total. In comparison, Something's Gotta Give made under $12 million during the New Year's weekend, but made more than $40 million during the rest of its run. If this pattern holds for this film, it will become part of the record breaking crop of $100 million movies released during 2009.

We still don't have final numbers for Up in the Air and The Blind Side, which estimates had in a virtual tie last weekend. It is likely the same thing will happen this weekend with roughly $8 million for each. That would be enough to give The Blind Side $200 million, which would make it the eighth film of the year to reach that milestone (but not the last). For Up in the Air, it is still too early to tell, since its performance during Awards Season could be worth a lot at the box office.

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Filed under: Up in the Air, The Blind Side, It's Complicated, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel