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Thanksgiving Can't Get Enough of Leftovers

November 28th, 2006

As was the case last year, the Thanksgiving long weekend was dominated by holdovers, with the number one film earning almost as much as the four new wide releases combined. Over the 3-day weekend the total box office was $162 million, which was more than 10% higher than last weekend but more importantly it was just over 2% lower than the same weekend last year. Over 5 days the top ten pulled in $197 million, or about 5% lower than the same weekend last year.

Happy Feet won the weekend race with relative ease with $37.0 million over the weekend and $50.6 million since Thursday. This is almost exactly as predicted and leaves the film within a rounding error of becoming the 15th film of 2006 to cross $100 million at the box office. It also shows that despite some weakness in the overall market for digially animated films, as long as the product is good, the people will come. As for the future, it should have little trouble earning its third place finish in a row and depending on how well the December releases fare, it should be on its way to $200 million.

Casino Royale is not only competing against the other wide releases, but also against the previous Bond flick, Die Another Day. While that film got off to a strong start, Casino Royale appears to have better legs, dipping less than 25% during its sophomore stint to add $30.8 million over the three-day weekend and $44.9 million over five. That's still a bit lower than Die Another Day earned, but the gap was just $250,000 over the weekend. This, and the best reviews of the year lead most to assume the film will easily overtake Die Another Day and the biggest grossing film of the Bond franchise. The film could also reach the top five on the all-time chart for films that have never reached number one, perhaps climbing as high as second place. But that will depend on how many theaters it can retain throughout December.

As expected, Deja Vu was able to place third, but its box office was not as robust as predicted. Over the three-day portion of the weekend the film earned $20.6 million, while overall it made $28.6 million. Compared to the previous Denzel Washington and Tony Scott collaboration, Man on Fire, this film earned a little less from Friday to Sunday. And even with better reviews, the post holiday drop-off should result in a swifter decline at the box office to leave it at the bottom of their three movies.

Over the three-day weekend, Deck The Halls nearly matched expectations, earning $12.0 million. However, it really struggled during the midweek period, pulling in less than $5 million for a total of $16.9 million. To put this into perspective, last year's family film, Yours, Mine, and Ours, earned nearly $17.5 million over three days and $24.3 million in total. While this is a bit weaker than expected, it is still better than the film's reviews would normally indicate. Again using Yours, Mine, and Ours as a guide, the film will likely see a very large drop-off next weekend and end its run with about $40 million.

Thanks to lower than expected results for its competition, Borat was able to remain in the top five for the fourth time in its run by adding $10.3 million / $15.3 million. This was more than enough for the film to reach $100 million domestically, the 14th film of the year to reach that milestone.

Bobby's expansion didn't go as planed as it earned just $4.9 million over the weekend and $6.0 million including Thursday. With a per theater average of under $3,000 it is very likely that the movie will start shedding theaters very soon and will be nothing more than a faint memory by the time Oscar voting comes around.

Next up is The Fountain, which barely made 10th place with $3.8 million / $5.5 million. With reviews that are hovering around 50% positive and a per theater average of roughly $2,500, this film is unlikely to stick around long and will be nearly completely out of theaters by Christmas.

The final wide release of the week was Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, which missed the top ten with $3.2 million / $5.2 million. The film opened in seventh place on Wednesday with $1.2 million, which is lower than expected but not too significantly. It could have recovered and nearly matched expectations. However, the film saw the worst drop-off on Friday and could never recover over the weekend. Had it shown the same legs as Deck The Halls, it would have earned more than $10 million over the first five days, but despite earning much better reviews it could barely earn half that. The only good news for the movie: it probably didn't cost a whole lot to make and should be quite popular on the home market, perhaps even enough to earn Cult Classic standing.

Moving onto the sophomore class, there was only one additional wide release from last weekend not already mentioned, Let's Go to Prison. The film had the worst week-to-week drop-off in the top twenty, down 56% to $972,000. The only other film to come close was The Prestige and that film lost more than 60% of its theaters. With a per theater average of just $650 and a running tally of $5.5 million, this film will be nothing more than a bad memory by Friday.

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Filed under: Happy Feet, Casino Royale, Borat, Déjà Vu, Deck the Halls, Bobby, The Fountain, Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, Let's Go to Prison