Follow us on

Rocky Looks to Knock Out Competition With Fast Start

December 21st, 2006

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year and this year is no exception with five films opening wide from now to the 25th and another expanding. Because of the crowd, at least one or two will be lost, squeezed out by the competition. However, there are also two or three films that are aiming at $100 million, or more.

Wednesday, December 20

Rocky Balboa - Reviews
Many assumed Rocky Balboa would be a train wreck, a disaster of epic proportions, fodder for late night talk show hosts for weeks to come. However, the first trailer was impressive, and while there were still lingering doubts, a lot of people where sold that there was enough left in the franchise for one more story. Now that the reviews are pouring in, the naysayers have a little egg on their faces. 76% positive is not only the best reviews for a wide release this week, it is one of the best for a wide release this year. It's on par with Dreamgirls and a lot of people think that film is the one to beat at the Oscars this year. As for the film's box office chances, those are not as rosy, but there's certainly reason to be optimistic. It seems unlikely that the film will win the box office race this weekend, especially since it is opening on Wednesday, but it should come in second with just over $20 million and adding in the just under $10 million from Wednesday and Thursday and the film is well on its way to $100 million. This won't be the biggest hit in Stallone's career, but it could be the biggest in more than two decades.

Friday, December 22

Night at the Museum - Reviews
This is another film that many thought would be critically scorned before a single frame was filmed. It is Ben Stiller's first live action kids movie, it is being directed by Shawn Levy who has yet to have a critical success, and it is giving off a Jumanji vibe that would likely hurt its chances of feeling fresh or original. But in this case, given the target audience and its release date, no one seriously thought it was going to bomb. Overall the reviews are more or less in line with expectations (maybe a little on the low side), and tracking has the film winning the weekend race with ease. Low end has the film pulling in an opening weekend of around $30 million while $40 million is not out of the question. Split the difference gives us $35 million for a prediction.

The Good Shepherd - Reviews
A politically charged drama directed by an Oscar winning actor and starring an Oscar winning writer / actor, who is also one of the biggest box office draws of this decade. This looked like a sure thing, but when the Golden Globe nominations were announced it was strangely absent. And now that the reviews are out, we know why. Major complaints focus on the slow pace of the film, which has been called glacial by some, and even positive reviews say the film could lose about half-an-hour of running time. That said, the film does present an interesting look into the creation of one of the most secretive agencies on the face of the planet, and as a character study is does its job. Had it earned some Golden Globe nominations, it could have opened with $20 million, or more. As it is now, $12 million seems a more likely opening weekend with a final total of between $50 and $60 million.

We Are... Marshall - Reviews
An inspirational sports movie based on real life events. We only get about 10 or 20 of those a year. On the one hand, it is really hard to make these movies feel fresh and original. On the other hand, even the bad ones tend to be solid box office draws, which is why they keep getting made. That said, out of the six wide releases / expansions coming out this weekend, this one ranks fifth when it comes to drawing power. $10 million seems to be the ceiling for its opening weekend, which might or might not be enough for fifth place.

December 25, 2006

Dreamgirls - Expanding Wide - Reviews
Expanding on Christmas Day, Dreamgirls is aiming for Oscars, and while it doesn't necessarily need a big box office to get there, it needs to be seen to get votes. So far reviews have been good, but not really award-worthy. Since the last muscial to win big at Oscars, there have been several other major releases: The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, The Producers. This one has earned reviews that were much better than those. However, it is still significantly lower than the 88% positive Chicago earned. The film won't open wide until after the weekend, but on Monday could score $5 million on that day alone.

Black Christmas - Reviews
Opening a horror film on Christmas is becoming a tradition. Last year it was Wolf Creek, the year before that it was Darkness, and this year it's Black Christmas. These films are great for those burned out on holiday cheer, but the trend is downward at the box office going from $3.3 million for Darkness to $2.8 million for Wolf Creek, despite the fact that the latter film earned much stronger reviews. If this trend continues, and tracking suggests it will, then Black Christmas should pull in just over $2 million during its opening day. However, this is probably enough to show a small profit given its likely low production budgets.


There are only two films that have a shot at repeating in the top five: Pursuit of Happyness and Eragon. While holidays should help the films avoid sharp drop-offs, Christmas Eve falls on the Sunday this year and that's a black hole when it comes to the box office. Pursuit of Happyness should perform better with a third place, $16 million sophomore stint while Eragon will battle for fifth with $10 million.


Filed under: Night at the Museum, The Pursuit of Happyness, Dreamgirls, Eragon, Rocky Balboa, The Good Shepherd, We Are Marshall, Black Christmas