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Holdovers Re-Re-Repeat on Top

December 5th, 2006

Over the weekend all the holdovers were within a rounding error of expectations, but none of the new releases were able to come close to that. This left the overall box office down 42% from last weekend at $93 million. However, it was a post-holiday weekend and the large drop-off should surprise no one. Compared to the same weekend last year, the overall box office was up 7% and that is a much more significant figure.

For the third week in a row, Happy Feet led the weekend box office, earning $17.5 million for a total of $121.5 million. This puts the film in 12th place on the yearly chart, just behind The Devil Wears Prada. By this time next week, the film will have entered the top ten and even with a lot more competition on the way, it will last in theaters long enough to get a little boost from the holidays.

After crossing $100 million on Thursday, Casino Royale added another $15.1 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $115.9 million. Its weekend haul was roughly 17.5% more than Die Another Day earned during its third weekend of release and that film went on to earn an additional $40 million during its theatrical run. If Casino Royale can earn a proportional amount it will finish with nearly $165 million at the box office, making it the top earning film in the Bond franchise.

Deja Vu repeated in third place with $10.9 million over the weekend for a 12-day total of $44.0 million. Good news, the production budget seems to be at the low end of reports at roughly $80 million and assuming the film does well overseas, it could still show a profit before too long.

The first of the new releases was The Nativity Story, which opened in fourth place with just $7.8 million in 3,083. While the reviews did improve over the weekend, they ended up at just 42%. Combine the poor reviews with its low per theater average and even with Christmas just around the corner, it is hard to image many theater owners will want to sacrifice screens to keep this film around any longer than they have to.

Fifth place went to yet another holdover, Deck the Halls. The film may have been hated by critics, but it held up surprisingly well with $6.7 million over the weekend and $25.0 million in total. This is hardly a smash hit, but it should be enough to please the studio.

The next new release of the week was Turistas, which also failed to live up to lowered expectations. The film opened with $3.6 million in 1,570 theaters while earning 19% positive reviews. The only positive to take away from its performance: it wasn't as bad as the next film.

National Lampoon's Van Wilder Deux: The Rise of Taj proved to be an even harder sell than the original, earning less than half of what was described on Thursday as the worst case scenario. Its opening weekend total of $2.3 million on 1,979 screens gave the film an anemic per theateraverage of $1,169. To put this into perspective, it costs roughly $1500 to $1800 to print and ship each copy of the film. Therefore, the studio paid more than $3 million just to get the movie to theaters. Add in its nearly unanimously negative reviews, and this film could lose 60% of its box office this coming weekend and 75% of its theater count the weekend after that. On a positive note... nope, can't think of any.

Neither of the two additional members of the sophomore class managed to do well with The Fountain down 53% to $1.8 million over the weekend and $8.2 million in total. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny had an even worse run, plummeting just shy of 60% to $1.3 million for a total of $7.4 million. The film will likely lose 1,500 theaters this weekend, but at least it has a shot at growing into a cult classic in the years to come.


Filed under: Happy Feet, Casino Royale, Déjà Vu, The Nativity Story, Deck the Halls, The Fountain, Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, Turistas, Van Wilder Deux: The Rise of Taj