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Dreaming of a Green Christmas

December 18th, 2007

We finally got some really good news this weekend as I Am Legend smashed all expectations and broke records along the way. Overall, the box office pulled in $161 million over the weekend, which was almost double last weekend's number. More importantly, it was 35% more than the same weekend last year. Hopefully this isn't the last positive surprise of the holiday season and 2008 can end on a high note.

I Am Legend earned the biggest opening weekend, pulling in an incredible $77.21 million over the weekend. This is the largest weekend haul for a December opening, the biggest opening for a Will Smith film, as well as the fourth best opening of the year. Not only is this a major accomplishment, but the film's reviews and the strong hold as the weekend wore on means there's little doubt that the film will enter the top ten and finish with more than $200 million; in fact, $300 million isn't out of the question here. If it can just match those numbers internationally, the film will be able to recover is high costs before it reaches the home market and that is not an easy feat.

Second place was also a pleasant surprise as Alvin and the Chipmunks earned an amazing $44.31 million over the weekend. This is a higher opening than any film since Rush Hour 3 opened in August, so its second place finish is hardly reason not to call its debut an unqualified success. Even with reviews that are, well, dismal, the holidays should mean an easy time to $100 million. Even with a hefty production budget, profitability is all but assured, and so is a sequel, much to the delight of fans, but much to the chagrin of certain critics.

Any hope The Golden Compass had of recovering died this weekend, and so did any hope New Line had of creating a new franchise. Far from being able to avoid a 50% drop-off, it crumbled by nearly 66%, falling to just $8.83 million over the weekend and $40.77 million in total. I suspect it will lose more than a few theaters this Friday and come Christmas day it will lose a sizable chunk more and in the end will be remember as one of the most expensive bombs of the year at the domestic marketplace. It will have to make between $200 and $300 million internationally just to have a shot a recovering its costs, and even then, that wouldn't happen until the tertiary markets.

On the other hand, Enchanted came one week closer to reaching $100 million, taking in $5.53 million over the weekend for a total of $91.80 million. This is a little weaker than Thursday's predictions, but the competition was stronger than expected.

As expected, The Perfect Holiday continued to fade, which allowed No Country for Old Men to climb into fifth place with $2.83 million over the weekend and $33.39 million in total. Old Men is also racking up many awards, including a trio from the National Board of Review and being named one of the ten best movies of the year by American Film Institute.

Meanwhile, The Perfect Holiday opened in sixth place with $2.28 million over the weekend and $2.93 million in total. Given its reviews and its per theater average, it will disappear from theaters as soon as most theater owners are contractually allowed.

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Filed under: I am Legend, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Enchanted, No Country for Old Men, The Golden Compass, The Perfect Holiday