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Holiday Guests Hang Around Another Week

December 9th, 2008

The results at the box office were mixed over the weekend with a couple of films topping expectations while a few others failed at that task. Overall, box office receipts were $82 million, which was 50% lower than last weekend; however, it was Thanksgiving long weekend last weekend so a sharp drop-off was expected. Compared to the same weekend last year, 2008 was better, but by only 0.5%. Year-to-date, 2008's lead on 2007 is now 0.5% at $8.72 billion to $8.68 billion.

As expected, Four Christmases led the way, but with $16.76 million over the weekend and $69.42 million in total, it performed better than expected. At this pace, and with Christmas close enough to give the film a boost, I think $100 million is more-or-less inevitable. And even with a higher than expected production budget, it should earn a profit, even if it has to wait until next year when it comes out on the home market.

Surprisingly, Twilight didn't collapse over the weekend, adding $13.05 million to its running tally of $138.40 million. Talk has already moved on to the sequel, which apparently is in need of a new director as Catherine Hardwicke will not be returning to the franchise to direct New Moon. The reason for this is either she is giving the film a pass to concentrate on smaller, more personal films, or the studio is looking to bring in someone who is more experiences in big budget special effects laden films. It depends on whom you talk to.

Strangely, despite earning some of the best reviews of the fall, Bolt collapsed this weekend, down more than 60% to $9.80 million over the weekend for a total of $79.38 million after three. At this pace $100 million is looking less likely and that would make it the third Disney family film in a row to earn more than $90 million but less than $100 million.

Australia didn't exactly beat expectations with $7.05 million over the weekend, but most of the rest of the top five struggled. That gave it fourth place, which was a couple of places higher than expected. However, with $30.92 million after nearly two full weeks of release, and a $130 million production budget, it is hard to rate the domestic run a success. On the other hand, tax rebates helped mitigate the costs, while its international run should be more successful and profitability is not out of the question. We shall have to wait and see how well it does when it expands worldwide.

Quantum of Solace slumped to $6.75 million over the weekend, but its running tally still reached $151.62 million. It is now on pace to reach somewhere between Die Another Day and Casino Royale during its domestic run.

The Punisher - War Zone was the biggest wide release of the week, but it barely matched the low end of expectations with $4.27 million in 2,508 theaters. This gives it a per theater average below the Mendoza line, which will result in a very fast exit from theaters.

Just one place back was Cadillac Records, which beat expectations with $3.45 million in 686 theaters. Its per theater average was nearly the best in the top ten behind Four Christmases by a dollar. With reviews that are solid, if unspectacular, it could see some growth in its theater count going forward, but I don't think 2,000 theaters are in its future, or even 1,000.

Nobel Son was an unmitigated disaster, earning just $334,000 in 893 theaters. There is absolutely no positive spin one could bring here, and any attempt just seems insulting.

Moving onto the Sophomore Class, Transporter 3 performed about as well as one could expect, down more than 60% to $4.67 million. It now has $25.55 million after 12 days of release, which is off the pace of the previous film.


Filed under: Twilight, Quantum of Solace, Four Christmases, Bolt, Australia, Transporter 3, Cadillac Records, Punisher: War Zone, Nobel Son