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Moviegoers Say No to New Releases

December 23rd, 2008

For the second weekend in a row, all three wide releases missed expectations, and unlike last week, the holdovers were not able to compensate. This caused the overall box office to slip to just $89 million; that's down 3% from last weekend, and more troubling, 44% from the same weekend last year. This two-week slump has been so bad that 2008 has lost its lead vs. 2007 and is now behind $9.25 billion to $9.23 billion. Unacceptable. If the Christmas releases are not stellar, we will see a decline in the yearly number for the first time in three years, while we are nearly guaranteed to see a drop in ticket sales for the fifth time in six years.

Yes Man opened in first place, as expected, but its performance at the box office was incredibly weak, as it opened with $18.26 million. Sadly, this is Jim Carrey's best opening for a live action movie since Lemony Snicket, which itself underperformed expectations. There is still a chance the film could reach $100 million overall. After all, Fun with Dick and Jane managed that milestone and it opened with even less. However, with mixed reviews, it will be tough.

So much for the $100 million streak. To be fair, it is not impossible for Seven Pounds to have the legs needed to reach nine digits, but with an opening of $14.85 million and reviews that were just 28% positive, it will have a very hard time getting there. That said, it should match its production budget, while earning a profit sometime on the home market.

New releases went zero for three as Tales of Despareaux missed even the lower end of expectations with just $10.10 million during its opening weekend. With the holidays started and school kids looking for entertainment for the next two weeks, it could have long legs, especially since it earned reviews that were quite good. However, $100 million seems completely out of the question, and that would end Emma Watson's streak at five films. However, her performance in non-Potter films is still better than both Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint.

Like the new releases, The Day the Earth Stood Still was unable to match expectations, down a stunning 68% to $9.89 million over the weekend for a total of $48.37 million after two. Even with the holidays, $100 million seems out of reach.

On the other hand, Four Christmases became the 23rd film of the year to reach the $100 million mark after pulling in $7.70 million over the weekend for a total of $100.11 million. It should quickly climb the charts and has likely already reached the top 20 for 2008.

Looking at the sophomore class, Nothing Like the Holidays fell 63% to $1.31 million over the weekend and $5.92 million after two. Most expected the film to perform better. Numbers for Delgo were not released, and I don't expect them to be released.


Filed under: Four Christmases, Yes Man, Seven Pounds, The Tale of Despereaux, Nothing Like the Holidays, Delgo