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Weekend Wrap-Up: Box Office Makes Faustian Deal

January 10th, 2012

Wow. That was a shock. The first weekend of 2012 was amazingly strong. Not only did the only new wide release start off much, much stronger than expected, but almost all of the holdovers also held on better than expected. Maybe a lot of people made New Year's resolutions to watch more movies. Compared to last week, the box office was down just shy of 10% to $139 million; however, it was a post-holiday weekend, so this dip was to be expected. In fact, it was rather shallow. Compared to last year, the overall box office was up 25%, which is fantastic. Let's hope this is a sign of things to come.

Almost no one was predicting The Devil Inside would be this strong. It was nearly record-breaking earning the second best January opening of all time with $33.73 million. (It's third best if you consider the Special Edition release of A New Hope as a new release.) This is great news for a film that cost just $1 million for the distribution rights. However, there are some really bad signs going forward. First of all, the reviews are awful. Critics were split with about half saying it was a moderately acceptable horror film ruined by a horrible, horrible ending, while the other half are saying its was a terrible movie made worse by a terrible ending. Moviegoers tend to agree with the film's critics and its internal multiplier was just a hair over 2.0. It could have an epic collapse next weekend, but profitability is all but assured at this point.

Impressively, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol beat expectations at the box office, but still had to settle for second place with $19.87 million over the weekend for a total of $169.57 million in total. At this point, reaching $200 million is practically guaranteed, as is another sequel.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows also held on better than expected with $13.69 million over the weekend for a total of $157.05 million after four. It won't match original expectations, but it has done well enough to earn a profit and the studio might want to wrap-up the franchise with a third installment.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo grabbed fourth place with $11.36 million over the past three days for a total of $76.90 million after nineteen. Should it continue to earn major award nominations, it could eventually break $100 million domestically. If it matches that internationally, then it will have made enough money to justify completing the trilogy.

The only film in the top five to not match expectations was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and it came within a rounding error of doing. (That's close enough to call a victory in my book.) The film added $9.50 million over the weekend giving it a running tally of $111.59 million, which is disappointing compared to the previous installments in the franchise, but likely enough to show a profit sometime during its home market run. I do think it's time to put the franchise to rest, on the other hand.

While Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is not picking up awards like I thought it would, it's first major expansion went well. The film earned ninth place with $5.48 million in 809 theaters. It also crack $10 million in total and now sits at $10.13 million. Its per theater average and its reviews suggest some further expansion is likely.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Devil Inside