December 9, 2008

Box Office Update 12/5-12/7: Four Christmases Holds Strong

The box has been counted and the numbers are out and they are not pretty. Well, not as pretty as many would like them to be, but they are up over the past few years, when viewed as a whole rather than its parts. You see, despite the relatively low grosses of the films in the top ten, this is generally seen as the transitional weekend from the big Thanksgiving titles (this year being Twilight) to the big build towards Christmas beginning with next weekend's The Day the Earth Stood Still.

This weekend was topped by last weekend's winner, Four Christmases. The holiday-centric film is a bust with critics, but seems to be doing quite well with the general movie-going populace. I will not deny that there were a few moments that made me laugh, but it is not a terribly good film and certainly not one that is destined to be remembered for any length of time. Next weekend will see it begin it's decline to the bottom.

There were three new releases hitting theaters across the nation this past weekend, with only two of them making it to the top ten, and then just barely. First up is the latest comic adaptation Punisher: War Zone, the third attempt at translating the vigilante to the big screen. It is not nearly the best of the bunch, but it just may be the most entertaining. The Ray Stevenson starring actioner is wild and over the top and an absolute blast to see on the big screen; however, it's paltry $4.2 million opening take does not bode well for its future. My recommendation is to see it soon before it disappears.

Following close behind is Cadillac Records, a movie filled with great music that gives an interesting, if cursory, look at the creation of Chess Records and its roster of talent that included Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, and Etta James. That is quite the collection! The film gives a glimpse into the development of the sound, its influence on the birth of rock and roll, and the lives of those who lived it. I liked it, but thirst for something a bit more in depth. It suffers from having so much material to work with and being forced to pare it down to the length of a movie. This may have just brought in $3.4 million, but it has not quite reached the level of a wide release, playing at 686 theaters, look for it to go wider in coming weeks.

The last release entering theaters is Nobel Son, a crime thriller that plays out like a low-rent Tarantino or Ritchie flick. This one, despite playing on more screens than Cadillac Records, opened to a pitiful $333K. Look for this to have a quick exit, with a wider release unlikely. It does feature a deliciously despicable Alan Rickman and the lovely, yet underused, Eliza Dushku.

As for the returning films, they mostly took considerable dives from last week. Bolt suffered the most in my eyes, as I expected its legs to hold out a bit longer, instead it dropped 63% from last weekend. The strongest hold, believe it or not, is Twilight. I guess it got its big drop out of the way during Thanksgiving and it will level off now.

Next week sees the highly (?) anticipated The Day the Earth Stood Still remake hit theaters and if you have not seen the original, do so, there is a nice two disk edition that comes with movie money to see the remake for free. Also hitting theaters is the awful looking animated film Delgo, I'll pass having already been burned by Doogal and Space Chimps (I know, you don't have to say anything). Lastly is a new Christmas film called Nothing Like the Holidays, which actually looks pretty good.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: Milk (11) and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (13).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
11Four Christmases$16,755,478$69,418,1702
54Quantum of Solace$6,752,390$151,620,1344
66Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$5,079,120$165,653,8525
77Transporter 3$4,668,898$25,549,4542
8NPunisher: War Zone$4,271,451$4,271,4511
9NCadillac Records$3,445,559$3,445,5591
108Role Models$2,574,460$61,617,8055

Box Office Predictions Recap
The returns are here and I did moderately well. When I was on, I was on, but when I was off, well, you know. Neither my placements nor my gross predictions were all that bad. My biggest gaffes were Punisher, which severely underperformed, and Bolt, which took a much steeper than anticipated hit.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
11Four Christmases$16,755,478$17 million
32Bolt$9,796,149$15 million


3Twilight$13,046,722$11 million
84Punisher: War Zone$4,271,451$10.5 million
55Quantum of Solace$6,752,390$9 million
66Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa$5,079,120$7.5 million
47Australia$7,050,261$6.5 million
78Transporter 3$4,668,898$5.5 million
99Cadillac Records$3,445,559$3.5 million
1010Role Models$2,574,460$2.5 million


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