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Bah Humbug!

December 27th, 2004

Despite records set for biggest Christmas Day box office, the total box office over the weekend was down significantly from last year. This is partially due to Christmas Eve falling on a Friday, but also has to do with the poor selection of films being released. The weekend was up by 27% from last weekend, but down 28% from last year, leaving 2004 just 0.4% up on 2003 with $8.894 billion to $8.854 billion. With a lead of just $40 million going into the final stretch, 2004 will most likely finish slightly ahead of 2003 in terms of total box office, but will finish behind in term of ticket sales.

Meet the Fockers broke records for biggest Christmas Day box office with $19.6 million and biggest Boxing Day box office with $19.4 million. That helped the film to a $46.1 million weekend and $70.5 million five-day total. Comparing its amazing box office returns and its lowly reviews makes you wonder how well the film would have done it if was actually good.

The expensive Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was hurt the most this weekend dropping 58% to just $12.6 million. So far the film has earned $59.4 million dollars and will struggle to match its production budget, which was at least $100 million and some estimates have it as high as $150 million.

Coming in an inexplicable third place was Fat Albert with $10.0 million, twice expectations. Despite its lousy reviews, this film got off to a better start than expected, but it won't have the legs to be considered a hit.

It looks like The Aviator will have to rely on award season hype to earn back its $105 million production budget. During its first weekend of wide release, the film could only make $8.6 million, which can't be what the studio had in mind. Granted, the film did play in less than 1,800 theatres, but even so, its per theatre average is too low to justify another massive expansion.

Rounding out the top five was Ocean's Twelve with just $8.4 million. That leaves the film more than a week away from crossing the $100 million mark, which would make it the 20th film to do so this year, unless Meet the Fockers beats it there.

The Darkness opened with $6.2 million over two days, good enough for seventh place. So even with short, short legs that come with horror films, (especially ones with such poor reviews), this film should easily top its production budget of $10.6 million.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is Wes Anderson's most expensive film to date, but with just $4.5 million over the weekend it won't his highest grossing film by a long shot.

The last new film of the weekend was Andrew Lloyd-Webber's the Phantom of the Opera, which barely made the top ten with just $4.0 million. In the end it was just a bad movie based on a bad musical written by a bad composer.

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Filed under: Meet the Fockers, Ocean's Twelve, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Aviator, The Phantom of the Opera, Fat Albert, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Darkness