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Leftovers for Thanksgiving

November 29th, 2004

It was the leftovers that ruled Thanksgiving weekend as neither of the new films could meet expectations. That helped the some of the holdovers excel, but not enough for any big gains over the weekend. Comparing the 3-day weekend we see gains of just 7.0% from last weekend and 0.25% from last year. Over the 5-day weekend, this year was up a mere 0.55% from last year. Year to date, 2004 know sits at $8.277 billion at the box office, up approximately 2.4% from the same point in 2003.

National Treasure again surprised analysts coming in first with $32.2 million over the 3-day weekend and $45.6 million over the 5-day weekend. There are a few theories on why this film is doing so well, but my favorite has to do with the Disney / Pixar negotiations. Since Disney is the distributor for both National Treasure and The Incredibles, if they were to plug one film it would mostly likely result in a reduced box office for the other. And there are two reasons why National Treasure is the film they'd rather see do well at this point. First, they would get a larger percent of National Treasure's second weekend box office than from The Incredibles' fourth weekend box office. And second, they are still in negotiations with Pixar for distribution rights, so a weaker result for The Incredibles helps their negotiation position.

While it didn't quite live up to expectations, Pixar should be very happy with The Incredibles' performance this far. Over the weekend the film not only earned $23.6 million / $32.8 million, but it also crossed $200 million in just 22 days. That's a little slower than Finding Nemo but well ahead of the pace set by Monsters Inc.

It's clear that every year we'll have a really bad Christmas in November movie. And it's clear that every year people will go to see these movies despite the horrible reviews. Christmas with the Kranks took in $21.6 million / $30.8 million and while this is below expectations, the film is well on its way to profitability.

The big winner this weekend was The Polar Express which jumped up nearly 25% during the 3-day period to $19.4 million and with $26.5 million over the 5-day period it makes hitting $100 million a lot more likely. Granted, that's small consolation for a film that cost nearly $300 million to make and advertise, but it might save someone's job.

In a textbook case of the FanBoy effect, SpongeBob SquarePants plummeted more than 44% over the 3-day weekend to just $17.8 million. Even comparing the 5-day weekend to last week results in a more than 25% drop to $23.5 million. On the positive side, the film has already brought it almost as much as it cost to make and advertise, and after taking into account increased viewership for the TV series, increase toy sales, etc. this has been a hugely successful film for Paramount and Nickelodeon.

Even with lowered expectations, Alexander couldn't deliver the goods with just $13.7 million / $21.8 million over the weekend. Pathetic reviews will likely result in poor legs, but the film can redeem itself by having a King Arthur like international run. But even so, it will be hard pressed to match its combined production / P&A budget estimated at well over $200 million.

Finding Neverland was another surprise this weekend, albeit a pleasant one. Not only did the film crack the top 10 it finished in 8th place with $4.7 million / $6.4 million. And with a per theatre average closer to $10,000 over the 3-day weekend, the film should have at least one more major expansion before its run is over.


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Filed under: The Incredibles, The Polar Express, National Treasure, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie, Christmas with the Kranks, Finding Neverland, Alexander