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Millions Love the End of the World

November 16th, 2009

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Great news at the box office, as the number one film topped expectations by a significant margin. In fact, the top three films all did much better than expected. On the down side, the rest of the films we talked about on Thursday struggled and this hurt the overall box office. The total take was up 16.9% from last weekend at $140 million, but this was 5.8% lower than the same weekend last year. Year to date, 2009 has pulled in $8.91 billion, which is 7.0% higher than last year's pace, and by this time next week 2009 will be only the seventh year to cross $9 billion in total ticket sales.

As expected, 2012 took top spot, but it did so with a much higher than expected $65.24 million, which was Roland Emmerich's second biggest opening to date -- only The Day After Tomorrow managed more during its first three days. The reviews are bad, but not catastrophic, while Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so there's a good chance the film will have reasonable legs. $200 million might be asking too much, but it isn't completely out of the question either. On the other hand, even if the film collapses at the box office, it should hit $100 million by this time next week.

Disney's A Christmas Carol might match The Polar Express at the box office after all. The Polar Express fell almost 33% during its second weekend of release, which is an excellent hold, but Disney's A Christmas Carol was down just 26% to $22.31 million over the weekend and $63.27 million after two. This gives the movie a nearly $12 million lead over its rival; however, the third weekend in that film's run was Thanksgiving, so that lead will likely evaporate by this time next week. That said, there's little doubt now that Christmas Carol will be a $100 million hit soon.

Third place went to Precious, which was a bit of a shock. This was partially due to its better than expected weekend haul of $5.87 million in just 174 theaters. It was also partially due to the fact that every other film that was expected to place ahead of it stumbled. So far it has made $8.70 million and where it ends is anybody's guess. It all depends on the number of major nominations it can secure over the coming weeks and the number of awards it wins next year.

Men Who Stare At Goats slipped a spot to fourth with just $5.86 million over the weekend and $23.04 million after two. It has almost matched its production budget already and it should little trouble showing a profit during its run on the home market.

This Is It fell more than 60% to fifth place with $5.08 million over the past three days and $67.19 million after 19 days of release. Add in its international numbers and its brought in nearly $200 million already, which is more than enough to be profitable.

The other wide-ish new release was Pirate Radio, which just missed the top ten with $2.90 million in 882 theaters. With reviews that are just a hair below the overall positive level it could hold on rather well, but with a per theater average of just under $3,300, I don't expect a lot of theater owners to want to pick it up over the coming weeks.

Looking in on the sophomore class, The Fourth Kind just missed the top five with $4.61 million, which was more than 60% lower than its opening weekend. Then again, with $20.45 million so far, it might have already matched its production budget. The Box barely hung around the top ten, earning just $3.16 million over the weekend and $13.18 million after two. On the plus side, it was relatively inexpensive to make, so it could still show a profit, eventually.

One final note. Make that two final notes. Both Paranormal Activity and Couples Retreat hit $100 million over the weekend, becoming the 22nd and 23rd movies of the year to reach that milestone. There are two films currently in theaters that are a lock to hit $100 million, while there are two more opening this month that are almost as likely to reach $100 million. At this point, I find it hard to believe that 2009 won't tie or break the record for most $100 million movies in a single year.


Filed under: Couples Retreat, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Paranormal Activity, Michael Jackson's This Is It, Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), The Fourth Kind, The Box, Disney's A Christmas Carol, The Boat That Rocked, 2012