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Bucket Full of Cash

January 15th, 2008

It's the second weekend of January and we still haven't seen a January release top the charts. This time the biggest hit was a wide expansion from December, which not only finished first, but also helped the overall box office reach $130 million. This is about 7% lower than last weekend, but roughly 1% more than the same weekend last year, and this weekend last year was Martin Luther King Weekend, which helped boost the numbers.

In a minor surprise, the biggest hit of the week was a December release as The Bucket List expanded into nearly 3,000 theaters and grabbed $19.39 million over the weekend. Adding in early limited release results and the film has $20.82 million so far. Apparently the average moviegoer is enjoying the movie a lot more than critics did and it should be able to hold on strong at the box office, and become a solid midlevel hit.

First Sunday finished on the higher end of expectations, earning second place with $17.71 million during its first three days of release. However, there are some serious warning signs here. Firstly, estimates had the film earning $19 million, and missing that number by more than $1 million could be an omen for short legs. Additionally, its reviews worsened over the weekend and that will hurt word-of-mouth. Finally, its target audience tends to come to these movies early, creating a frontloaded run. That said, it has likely already matched its production budget at the box office, and even with no international prospects, it should still show a profit after its initial push into the home market.

Juno beat expectation, again. It seems no matter how bullish one becomes, this film finds a way to outdo the experts. Granted, this time it was close as the film added $13.61 million to its running tally of $70.86 million. If this was a regular release, I would suspect it was heading for a final tally in the mid-to-high $90 million range. However, given its reviews and its Oscar prospects, it should sale past $100 million. In fact, with a per theater average of over $5,000, further limited expansion is likely.

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets finished within a rounding error of Thursday's predictions with $11.30 million. With a total of $187.11 million after four weeks, it should have no trouble reaching $200 million at the box office, and it is not the only holdover aiming for that mark.

Alvin and the Chipmunks added $9.30 million over the weekend, which matched expectations nearly perfectly. It also keeps the movie on track for $200 million, although Book of Secrets will get there first.

Meanwhile, I Am Legend finished within a rounding error with $8.18 million and it still on track to unseat Men in Black as Will Smith's second biggest hit.

The other wide releases did not do as well as most were expecting. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie landed in ninth place with $4.25 million, which is in line with Arthur and the Invisibles' opening more than Jonah's. With reviews that are mixed, and direct competition that is nonexistent, it could have decent legs. However, theater owners will be quick to pull the film if it stumbles next week.

On the other hand, I think many theater owners are regretting the decision to book In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale in the first place. The latest from Dr. Uwe Boll opened with just $2.98 million. It did manage to earn one positive review over the weekend, which is one more than many were predicting, but I wouldn't be shocked if the film earned less over the rest of its run than it did during the first three days. I have serious doubts that Postal will get a theatrical release, and with the changes in German tax laws, this could be the last Boll movie to open wide here.

Moving onto the sophomore class, One Missed Call plummeted by more than 50% to $5.98 million over the weekend. However, its total of $20.49 million still puts it on track to match original expectations.


Filed under: I am Legend, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Juno, The Bucket List, First Sunday, One Missed Call, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale