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Presidents' Weekend Was Lovely

February 16th, 2010

Okay. Wow. All three wide releases beat expectations, some by massive margins, which helped this year shatter the previous Presidents' Day long weekend record. The three-day tally this year was $205 million, ahead of the previous record by more than $16 million. And, adding in Monday, the total box office over four days was $239 million, nearly $20 million more than the previous best. (In both cases, the previous best was last year.) This helped push the year-to-date box office to $1.48 billion, which is 1.6% higher than last year's pace. However, ticket sales still lag behind, albeit by less than half a percent.

The timely debut of Valentine's Day helped it pull in a record-smashing opening with $56.26 million over the three-day weekend and $63.14 million over four. This is not substantially more than Thursday's predictions, but it is the new record for the Presidents' Day long weekend, beating Ghost Rider, which made $52.02 million over four days in 2007. With terrible reviews and the artificial boost from Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day, the movie could have a hard time in the coming weeks. However, it has already made more than it cost to make, so there's almost no chance that the film will not show a profit sooner rather than latter. Also, it will become the first film of 2010 to reach $100 million at the box office, most likely sometime during the coming weekend.

Both The Wolf Man and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief can make the claim that they finished in second place, depending on whether you are talking about the three-day or the four-day weekend.

The Wolf Man came out of the gate just a tiny bit faster, earning third place over three days with $31.48 million from Friday to Sunday. Over the four-day weekend, it pulled in $35.56 million. However, it was a very expensive film to make, its reviews are lackluster, and it has a rather weak internal multiplier. All of this adds up to weakness going forward. There's little hope of reaching $100 million during its domestic run. Maybe it will perform stronger internationally, but it is still too soon to tell.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief just missed second place over the three-day weekend with $31.24 million. But on Monday it rose to first overall and over four days it placed second with $38.66 million. Given its target demographic and its mostly positive reviews, it has a chance at getting to $100 million domestically, which would be a quite a coup. Also, depending how much it makes internationally, it could be enough to convince the studio to make this film the first of a franchise.

After one weekend of weakness, Avatar again crushed expectations by earning $23.61 million / $28.78 million over the weekend for a total of $666.39 million after two months of release. At this point, $700 million domestically and $2.5 billion worldwide is almost guaranteed.

On the other hand, Dear John was the only film in the top five to undershoot expectations, earning just $16.07 million / $18.20 million over the weekend. This faster-than-expected decline is partially the result of its reviews, but the direct competition was also a factor. That being said, its total is now $56.08 million after two weeks of release, which is still pretty good.

From Paris With Love was the only sophomore film to not reach the top five with $5.50 million / $6.35 million over the weekend and $17.47 million after two weeks. It will likely soon fade from memory.


Filed under: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Wolfman, Valentine's Day, From Paris With Love, Avatar, Dear John