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Treasure Tarnished but is Still Golden

January 2nd, 2008

2007 ended on a high note. Whole not every film was able to meet expectations, there was a trio of films that hit milestones, either just before the weekend, on the weekend, or just after the weekend ended. Overall the box office added $186 million over the weekend, which was up 16% from last weekend. More importantly, it was up 15% from the same weekend last year given 2007 a total box office of $9.68 billion, which was 4% more than 2006 and 2% more than 2004's record. Ticket sales, on the other hand, was flat down less than 0.1% from last year and this is the fourth down year out of five for this vital stat.

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets sophomore stint was on the low end of expectations with $36.67 million over the weekend. However, that was more than enough for first place and easily enough to cross $100 million over the weekend. It joins a group of 27 films released during the past year that made it to that milestone, which is just two shy of the record. More importantly, it is still ahead of Night at the Museum's pace, and that film reached $250 million in the end. Given Book of Secrets' drop-off, this number is out of reach, but $200 million might not be. It depends on how well the film holds up and how much competition the new releases prove to be over the next few weeks.

Speaking of $200 million, Alvin and the Chipmunks earned $29.03 million over the weekend for a total of $141.40 million, which puts it on pace for $200 million as well. There are some issues here, for instance, the film's family friendly nature means it received a much stronger boost from the holidays and that will result in sharper drop-offs, especially during the weekdays. But this will also aid the film on the upcoming weekends and the lack of direct competition should give it the edge it needs to make that milestone.

And speaking of $200 million, yet again, I Am Legend just missed getting there over the weekend earning $27.41 million over those three days for a total of $192.49 million after 17. We don't have numbers for New Year's Eve, so we can't tell if the film managed to hit $200 million before the end of the year, but it will be very, very close. Even if it didn't get there, it should be on pace to top Men in Black becoming Will Smith's second biggest hit of his career and the sixth biggest hit of the year.

Charlie Wilson's War beat expectations over the weekend with $12.01 million and now sits at $34.75 million in total. It could end up matching its production budget domestically and should show a profit eventually, which is better than most films that have dared touch the topic of terrorism.

Wow. Juno didn't just climb a spot, it shot into the top five with $10.63 million over the weekend and $26.02 million in total. This is already more than original expectations, and more than several wide releases, including The Nanny Diaries. And with a per theater average of more than $10,000, it still has plenty room to expand. Add in its numerous award nominations, there's no telling where it could end up.

Over the weekend, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem barely earned more than it did opening day pulling in just $10.06 million. Its total of $26.90 million is less than the first Aliens vs. Predator's opening weekend, and in the end it won't top that's films debut of $38.29 million by a large margin before it leaves theaters.

P.S., I Love You beat expectation by a wide degree landing in seventh place with $9.29 million over the weekend. However, its running tally of $23.59 million is still disappointing.

In eighth place The Water Horse with $9.19 million, which matched expectations nearly perfectly. However, with a weak per theater average and the end of holidays, it won't be able to add enough to its 6-day total of $16.80 million to matter.

The Fanboy Effect was higher than expected with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as it slipped into ninth place with $8.19 million over the weekend and $26.91 million in total. On the other hand, it could win an award or two and it will likely become a big seller on the home market. In fact, it could become the only musical a lot of people will buy.

Tenth place went to an older film as Enchanted grabbed the final spot more than a month after it was first released. Over the weekend it added $6.43 million for a total of $110.58 million after 40 days of release.

Just missing the top ten was The Great Debaters with $6.01 million, which was less than it made before the weekend. Reviews that would be considered excellent just about any other time of year were sub-par for award season and the level of competition was just too much. On the other hand, it should perform well on the home market.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story was the only film in the sophomore class not to reach the top ten, as it placed 13th with just $3.85 million over the weekend and $12.42 million in total. I suspect a lot more people will give it a rental than saw it in theaters, and those who do will be impressed enough to buy it.


Filed under: I am Legend, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Juno, Enchanted, Charlie Wilson's War, P.S. I Love You, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, The Great Debaters, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story