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Box Office Scrooged

December 27th, 2005

Christmas wishes went unanswered this year as almost every film missed expectations, some by large margins. This led to a 14.4% drop-off from last weekend, but more importantly, a 18.0% drop-off from last year. Granted, the fact that Christmas fell on a Saturday helps explain some of that, but not all. Year-to-date, 2005 is still down 6% from last year and with less than one week left, that's roughly where it will end up.

I think any talk of King Kong having a Titanic-like run can officially end. Right from the very beginning there were some that thought this film would break the All-Time record, but that was never a legitimate possibility. (In fact, the film never had a realistic shot at becoming the number one film of the year.) Even after the film started much slower than expected, the talk continued. But a nearly 58% sophomore-stint drop-off should kill that kind of talk immediately. That left the film with just $21.3 million over the weekend, but thanks to weaker than expected competition it was still able to retain top spot. It also crossed the $100 million mark, the 17th film to do so this year, but for a film that cost $207 million to make, that's hardly a reason to celebrate.

Narnia was actually able to beat expectations, bringing in $19.8 million over the weekend; add in Monday's $11.9 million and the film has $165.1 million and is sitting in 10th place on this year's chart. Depending on which sources are right, the film has already topped its production budget, but it still has a ways to go before it shows a profit.

On the other hand, Fun With Dick and Jane missed expectations, taking in just $14.4 million over the weekend and $22.0 million Wednesday to Sunday. However, that was still enough for the film to finish third, one spot better than predicted. Reviews finally bottomed out at just 32% positive with many critics complaining how safe the movie was and that any attempt at having a social conscious was way too little and way too late.

The big loser this weekend was Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which earned less than half of Wednesday's prediction. However, its $9.3 million / $14.6 million opening is more in line with original expectations. Also, the film had the best box office boost on Monday, earning $6 million on that day alone. So even with the drag terrible reviews will have on the film's legs, it should still earn enough to make the studio happy.

With $6.8 million over the weekend, Memoirs of a Geisha matched expectations nearly perfectly, but with a cost of $85 million that's hardly a reason for the studio to be happy. The only way this film will show a profit is if it becomes a major player on Oscar night, which is what it was made to do. However, a Tomatometer rating of 27% positive will not get you there. This is yet another Sony film to struggle this year; I count ten duds compared to only 4 hits for the studio this year, only one of which broke $100 million.

While The Family Stone earning a similar box office over the weekend at $6.6 million, practically every other aspect of the film is different from the previous film. This one should show a profit, and it should make the studio happy.

Opening in a surprise seventh place was The Ringer with $5.2 million. That was only marginally better than expected. However, its reviews were much better than most films released this weekend and it could have enough legs to become a surprise hit. Such is the benefit of lowered expectations.

Munich opened in eighth place with $4.2 million, which is below predictions. Its per theatre average of $7,800 doesn't suggest a huge expansion is in the works, but its reviews indicate word-of-mouth should be strong, but not major award-winning movie.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire hit the mark perfectly with $3.9 million over the weekend. Add in Monday's $2.6 million and the film is the second highest grossing entry in the franchise and the 28th highest grossing movie of All-Time Charts.

Rumor Has It opened in fifth place on Sunday with $3.5 million, but that was only good enough to 10th place over the weekend and barely more than half of Wednesday's prediction. Part of the problem was the film's reviews, which plummeted to just 19% positive after going into the extended weekend above 50%.

We've hit tenth place, but haven't quite reached all the new openers this weekend, so lets push on. Syriana finished in 11th place with $3.2 million over the weekend and $28.8 million overall. This is a disappointing result, but no more so than most films released this year.

Brokeback Mountain slipped at the box office falling to 12th with $1.9 million in 217 theatres. However, its per theatre average is still the second best for a non-Imax film and it should still see growth in its theatre count.

Good: Wolf Creek beat expectations with $2.8 million. Bad: reviews have slipped to below the overall positive level. Ugly: The film was the only wide release to see a Sunday to Monday drop-off, falling 25%. In comparison, the second worst result in the top ten was Fun With Dick and Jane, which grew by 9%.

Lastly, there's The Producers. This film really struggled with just $1.6 million on Sunday and $1.9 million including its run in limited release. Its reviews weren't great, but they weren't this bad either and I think this will kill movie musicals for a while.


Filed under: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, King Kong, Fun With Dick And Jane, Brokeback Mountain, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Family Stone, Memoirs of a Geisha, Syriana, Munich, Rumor Has It, The Ringer, The Producers: The Movie Musical, Wolf Creek