April 26th, 2011
Despite coming on out on Friday, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I easily won the race on the DVD sales chart this week defeating new releases and holdovers alike. It sold 2.66 million units for total sales of $37.55 million. It will be interesting to see how well it holds up during its first full week of release.
April 11th, 2011
The quality of first-run releases coming out on Tuesday is pretty low, but on this week's list we have The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which came out last Friday, and The Deathly Hallows: Part I, which comes out this Friday. Besides those two releases, the only other potential big seller is The Incredibles on Blu-ray. I don't think that will top the sales, but it should do well on the Blu-ray sales chart and it is this week's Pick of the Week.
January 25th, 2011
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, thus ending months of speculation. Along with a (very) few surprises, the list of nominees is mostly a case of Deja Vu. Leading the way, as it has so often this year, was The King's Speech, with 12 nominations, including six in seven of the most prestigious categories (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and the four acting categories). But it was far from the only multi-nominated film on the list.
January 18th, 2011
2011 continues its trend of performing pretty well against 2010, if you ignore Avatar. This time last year, Avatar earned just over $40 million at the box office over the three-day weekend. This weekend 2011 was behind 2010 by just under $40 million over the same period. (You get a similar result if you look at the four-day numbers.) One could look at this as a small victory, as Avatar is such a rare commodity that it is unfair to expect the box office to compensate for that. However, there are a number of points that makes that thinking dangerous. First of all, even taking out Avatar, 2011's growth is not enough to keep pace with inflation. Secondly, without Avatar as competition, The Book of Eli probably would have earned at least a few million more, as would the rest of the box office. Thirdly, 2011 lost over the four-day weekend by a margin of $210 million to $159 million, which means there were about 7 million fewer people at theaters this weekend, which means there were 7 million fewer people seeing trailers, posters, etc. for upcoming films, and the box office can hardly afford missing out on that much free advertising. Finally, already 2011 is behind 2010 by nearly $200 million, at $798 million to $601 million, and if the conventional wisdom becomes, "2011 will be a disaster at the box office", it will take something special to overcome that negative buzz. And quite frankly, I don't see anything really special hitting theaters till the fall, and by then it will be too late.
January 10th, 2011
It was quite a depressing weekend, as almost no film in the top five topped expectations. Worst still, it wasn't expected to be a good weekend to begin with. This left the overall box office down just over 30% from last weekend to $112 million. More importantly, that was nearly 30% less than the same weekend last year. If you want to really search for good news, you could point to the fact that if you take out Avatar out of the equation, then 2011 would have beaten 2010 over the weekend, but even here the margin of victory would have been lower than the ticket price inflation. It is way too early to judge how well 2011 will do compared to 2010, but so far it is 23% off of last year's pace at $281 million to $365 million. I expect that gap will grow in terms of raw dollars, but by the time Memorial Day rolls around, 2011 could start rattling off some wins.
January 9th, 2011
The post-Holiday hangover at the box office began in earnest this weekend, with the week's new wide release, Season of the Witch, and wide expansion, Country Strong both unable to gain much traction, allowing holdovers to dominate the chart.
True Grit will end the weekend on top with an estimated $15 million, according to Paramount, and a running total of $110 million.
Little Fockers will finish second with about $13.8 million, per Universal's estimates.
January 6th, 2011
So, will holdovers bewitch the box office?
The answer to that is almost guaranteed to be yes.
There is almost no chance either the one wide release, Season of the Witch, or the major expansion, Country Strong, will top the chart. In fact, one could argue there's a better chance neither will reach the top five. This is really bad news for the start of 2011. We knew the holdovers wouldn't be as strong as they were last year, no with Avatar earning $50 million over the weekend, but if the new releases can't keep pace with last year's new releases, we could be in trouble.
January 4th, 2011
The final weekend of the year saw no less than six films topping the $10,000 mark on the per theater chart. Leading the way was Blue Valentine with an average of $48,432 over the weekend and it already has close to $300,000 in just four theaters since Wednesday. Country Strong saw its average grow to $20,753, but it was still pushed to second place due to the competition. Another Year opened in third with $18,645 in six theaters, while Somewhere remained steady with $17,302 in eight. The Illusionist grew by 20% to $15,472, but it did have an extra day, as last weekend it opened on Saturday. The final $10,000 film was The King's Speech, which earned more than $7 million in 700 theaters for an average of $11,108.
January 1st, 2011
Well, 2010 is over and while it started amazingly, it ended on a real down note. I'm not saying December was a disaster. ... Actually I am. There were only ten wide releases, and of those, eight missed expectations, some by very wide margins. Despite having a $200 million lead going into the month, 2010 still managed to lose out to 2009. The bad news continues in 2011, as Avatar made $300 million during January alone. With no strong holdovers to help power the box office, and only one or two potential solid hits among the new releases, 2011 will likely get off to a very weak start.
December 28th, 2010
There was a real battle for top spot on the per theater chart with Country Strong just coming out on top with an average of $17,321 in 2 theaters. That's a pretty good start, but I'm not sure it will be enough to get a truly wide release. Somewhere was right behind with an average of $17,012 in 7 theaters. However, one could argue it had a better opening, since it was playing in more theaters and opened on Wednesday, thus diluting its weekend average. The final film to reach the $10,000 mark was The Illusionist with an average of $12,865 in 3 theaters, but that was over just two days.
December 23rd, 2010
It's a bit of a mess this week for limited releases, with some that opened yesterday, some that open tomorrow, and even one opening on Christmas. Most of them do have something in common: they are aiming for Awards Season glory. Most are not earning the kind of reviews normally associated with success during award Awards Season, or success in limited release in general, but perhaps we will have a surprise on our hands. There is one film, The Illusionist, that is an unqualified hit with critics, while there are a couple, Barney's Version and Somewhere, that are earning good reviews, but not great ones.
December 14th, 2010
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations early this morning, and there are some interesting surprises included in the mix. Leading the way was The King's Speech, which has long been seen as one of the major players this Awards Season. Meanwhile, The Fighter and The Social Network were right behind with six each. There were many, many other films nomination, including more than a few shocks. ... Mostly in one category.