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Weekend Wrap-Up: Halloween Scares Up a Rare Win for 2011

October 31st, 2011

It was a rare winning weekend at the box office, although it came too late to salvage the month, which was a bloody affair and 2011 fell tens of millions of dollars further behind last year's pace. The lone bright spot over the weekend was Puss in Boots, which easily led the way. However, even here there was darkness, as it failed to live up to the low end of expectations. The overall box office was a macabre $105 million, or 14% lower than last weekend. We did get a jolt with the box office creeping up 11% from last year. However, while double-digit growth would normally send chills up your spine, not having to deal with Halloween on the weekend itself explains much of that success. Year-to-date, 2011 remains lifeless down 4% from last year at $8.52 billion compared to $8.86 billion and unless some dark magic can revive the box office, and soon, we will have the second year in a row of year-over-year declines and 2011 could see the lowest ticket sales in about a decade and a half. That's truly scary.

Puss in Boots may have won the weekend, but I'm not sure the studio will be celebrating all that much. The film's opening weekend haul was just $34.08 million, which was the lowest opening in the Shrek franchise. It made less than half of what the the previous film opened with and about 20% less than the original film debuted with, despite having a decade of inflation lifting its total. Excellent reviews should help the film's legs, but even so, matching its $130 million production budget domestically will be difficult. It should perform better on the international stage and reach profitability early in its home market run.

Paranormal Activity 3 fell faster than expected plummeting 65% to $18.14 million over the weekend for a total of $80.92 million after two. It won't reach the century mark by this time next week like I had expected, but getting to $100 million is still more likely than not, assuming its weekend declines don't accelerate.

As expected, In Time placed third during its opening, but sadly it opened on the low end of expectations with just $12.05 million. This was within a rounding error of the weekend prediction, but it is still the worst opening weekend for a truly wide release in Justin Timberlake's career. Its reviews and mediocre per theater average won't help matters going forward, but at least it didn't cost a huge amount to make and if the film can perform better internationally, it should make a profit sometime on the home market.

Footloose managed fourth place with $5.50 million over the weekend for a total of $38.54 million after three. Hitting $50 million is a reasonable goal to aim for, which would be enough to be considered a solid midlevel hit, especially given its production budget.

The Rum Diary barely opened in the top five with $5.14 million. Critics were almost perfectly split on the film, but most moviegoers decided to skip the film in favor other plans. If it shows any real weakness next weekend, theater owners will dump the film in large numbers over the following few weeks.

Looking in on the sophomore class, The Three Musketeers 3D fell nearly 60% to just $3.51 million over the past three days for a total of $14.85 million after ten. It cost a lot to make, so it will need help internationally to break even. On the other hand, Johnny English Reborn is already in the black thanks to its international run, so the studio won't have to panic over its domestic box office. In fact, it would be best to pretend the film never opened domestically. So far the film has just $6.47 million including $1.69 million over the weekend.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, The Rum Diary, Puss in Boots, Footloose, The Three Musketeers, Johnny English Reborn, In Time, Paranormal Activity 3