Weekend Box Office

Box-Office Wrap-Up: Dec. 17 - Dec. 19, 2010

'Tron' wins and the next three films combined can't beat it

Wow, this is one hell of a slow weekend at the cinema. TRON: Legacy is on top as expected, but it's only the smaller indie films that appear to be making any noise worth listening to. Let's break it down.
Laremy predicted the #1 movie correctly 7 Weeks In A Row
TRON: Legacy jumps out of the gates with $43.6 million, a rather unimpressive number that's likely to translate to no more than $150 million domestically. I also have no idea how well this film will play overseas. Is there a large following for Tron around the world?

This result means Laremy was really close with his prediction of $41.41 million, but Oscar Smarty had the best pick in the comments at $42.3, which was one of the lowest predictions out there from the readers. Many guesses were in the $60 million range and some even as high as $75 million. I imagine some of you are quite shocked this morning.

Legacy's opening is the 13th largest December opening of all-time, just ahead of Ocean's Twelve and just behind Alvin and the Chipmunks. It's also the 13th largest opening for a 3D movie, just behind How to Train Your Dragon's $43.7 million.

Result: $43.6 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #1 and his prediction of $41.41 million was $2.19m off for a percentage error of 5.02%.
Laremy continued his spot on predictions with Yogi Bear as he was less than $1 million off when it comes to what looked like an absolute travesty of a film. I didn't have the nerve to go see it and am quite honestly surprised anyone could muster up the courage to watch this movie based on the trailers.

On the reader prediction side of things John-PT was almost spot on with a $16.8 million prediction, but again there were a lot of people way overestimating, some predicted a number double the actual result. Surprised?

Result: $16.7 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #2 with $17.58 million, which is $0.88m off for a 5.27% error.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe made $65.5 million its opening weekend. After two weeks in theaters The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has now cracked the $42.8 million mark. Not a pretty picture for Fox who took a gamble keeping this franchise alive for one more film.
Result: $12.4 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #4 with $14.4 million, which is $2m off for a 16.13% error.
After a soft opening in 4 theaters last weekend where The Fighter made $75,003 per theater it opened up its doors to 2,503 theaters this weekend and $4,874 per theater. I actually watched this one again this weekend and loved it all over again and now think it is the #2 contender for Oscar's Best Picture alongside The Social Network and ahead of The King's Speech. It fits nicely in-between those two films with something for the older and younger members of the Academy, something those two other films will likely split the interest.
Result: $12.2 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #3 with $15.4 million, which is $3.2m off for a 26.23% error.
A 47.2% dip for the Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp starrer means not even multiple undeserved Golden Globe nominations could bring the audiences out to this one for a second weekend and I suspect this will begin dropping like a stone from here on out. Of course, with so few films opening in the next few weeks it may remain in the top ten, just with rather dismal numbers.
Result: $8.7 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #8 with $7.41 million, which is $1.29m off for a 14.83% error.
Tangled dipped only 39% and I imagine it will probably do the same over the next couple holiday weekends seeing how it's the only animated film out there at the moment, behind Yogi Bear of course, but I think we all recognize the distinct difference between those two.
Result: $8.6 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #7 with $9.65 million, which is $1.05m off for a 12.21% error.
If you thought the numbers for The Fighter were good, slow it down a bit... Black Swan would like to tell you a story about a film that took in $8.3 million from only 959 theaters. That's a $8,655 per theater average for those that are counting. Not too shabby eh? But wait, in my conclusion I'll tell you about a film that did even better.
Result: $8.3 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #5 with $12.21 million, which is $3.91m off for a 47.11% error.
Yikes, a $120 million budget and a $7.6 million opening. Not even Laremy had the nerve to go that low and most of the readers were too high, with the highest picks on the board being $40 million. However, three readers went sub $10 million (Check Spot, Athar and John-PT) with John-PT being the closest with a $7.2 million pick. It's not easy to discount a film that much, good on yah.
Result: $7.6 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #6 with $11.17 million, which is $3.57m off for a 46.97% error.
Not much to say here other than this one is going to fall short of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's $301.9 tally last year and won't be besting the $290 million Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire making this the number five grossing Potter film of all-time. However, I have to believe they'll re-release it next year when Part 2 comes out, which will give it a boost and I fully anticipate Part 2 becoming the highest grossing one of them all, especially given the 3D bump it will receive.
Result: $4.8 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #9 with $4.41 million, which is $0.39m off for a 8.12% error.
Unstoppable rounds out the pack with a 51.4% dip. Moving on...
Result: $1.8 million
Laremy's rank: Laremy picked it to finish #10 with $2.28 million, which is $0.48m off for a 26.67% error.

In smaller release, the excellent Rabbit Hole opened this weekend in a whopping five theaters, but did manage to take in $55,000 for an $11,000 per theater average. Yet, that wasn't the highest per theater on the board this week, that went to The King's Speech, which the Weinstein Co. continues to slowly roll out. This weekend it made $1.07 million from only 43 theaters for a $25,000 per theater average. Had they tried just a little harder they could have cracked the top ten with perhaps fewer than 100 theaters, which would have been a nice story heading into the holidays.

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  • m1

    Harvey Weinstein is butchering his Best Picture chances again. Why is The King's Speech expanding at too slow of a rate?

    Can't wait to see Black Swan next weekend!

    • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

      It isn't. Effing. Slow.

      Not every movie has to expand like Black Swan or Precious. The King's Speech is expanding like The Queen back in 2006 and that finished with $56 million. And it's going into 600+ theaters on 25th. Relax.

      • m1

        It kind of is. I know it's a period drama but with so much buzz and a phenomenal opening weekend, shouldn't it already be in around 400+ theaters? Just saying.

  • John-PT

    I made some good predictions this weekend. Solid for Tron, but far from impressive. That is not what Disney was expecting when they greenlighted the sequel.

  • Oscar Smarty

    A couple of things I need to say.

    1.) Thanks for the mention!
    2.) I actually think thats a nice number for Tron. I think opening low for it will be better because I think it will hold nicely now around the holidays. Everyone this is the time of the year when movies open low but come out okay. Sure that was a bad number for HOW DO YOU KNOW but I think it will hold okay and do well overseas. Not the best numbers but it will hold just like 2007's P.S I Love You.
    3.) YOGI BEAR- It will be BIG over the holidays. Christmas Day is one of the BIGGEST movie days of the year and its only competition is GULIVERS TRAVELS which might be too rauncy for the little ones. I see this one holding nicely over the holidays and coming out strong.
    4.) THE KINGS SPEECH expands to 600 theatres on XDAY.

    Every movie on this list will hold well because of the holidays. You just wait.

    TRUE GRIT is going to be a HIT!
    as with Little Fockers winning next week

    • Winchester

      Yep, P.S I Love you had a great multiple over Christmas 2007 when it was released.

      But it also only cost $30 million to produce. HDYK cost 4 times that and opened about the same.

  • Winchester

    I'm totally more into the smaller films out this Christmas - Black Swan, The King's Speech, Rabbit Hole and sort of The Fighter - are way more interesting to me than the big guns scheduled thus far.

    Re the BIG guns -

    I can't decide still whether that opening for Tron: Legacy is good or not. I'm leaning towards not what Disney would have wanted. All these years it's been in development, all the expenditure.............I just don't think that's a particularly great result.

    Will be interesting to see how it holds over the next couple weeks.

    On the How Do You Know front - frankly, I'll be totally honest. I find that opening absolutely HILARIOUS (and by all accounts funnier than any actual joke in the film) given the budget and salaries involved. Even with a great multiple this will be lucky to get to $70 or so and even if it had good international it just won't make any money for Sony at all.

    The Tourist will probably do better than it overall.

    For next week - I'm totally avoiding Little Fockers (never been a fan and the trailer is one of the worst I've ever seen) and Gulliver's Travels to be honest is not a great trailer either. Looks like there's a fair bit of puerility in it that put me off.

    Might not prevent it being a hit of course.

    • m1

      Interesting how Gulliver's Travels looks great on paper, but looks unfunny and childish onscreen. Thank goodness we have Tron, How Do You Know, Black Swan, and The King's Speech.

      • Winchester

        When GT was first announced I was pretty interested in it - but it looks like it's only vaguely connected to the source material.

        I can do without seeing a giant Jack Black peeing on a building to be honest, or his ass falling on a guy (I wonder where the guy ends up?) who doesn't move in time.

  • Stiggy

    Here are some interesting speculations

    Burlesque seems like the sort of film that would be greenlit every day if Simon Cowell was in charge of a film studio.

    The Transformers movies seem to be the sort of movies getting greenlit everyday if Jeremy Clarkson was in charge of a film studio.

    Either way, The Kings Speech and The Social Network wouldn't exist if either of those 2 TV personalities were in charge of the film industry.

  • Colin

    So another fanboy film underperforms. What happens if similar films follow suite? I think the recent failures of How do You Know, and The Tourist have to suggest that there could be a shift in the gaurd. But where are we headed from here?

  • Steve J

    I have to think Tron does well during the week with schools out and two three day weekends for adults. Plus it's only compation is Gulliver's Travels for awhile. Heck, January looks flat out awful, it might be in the top 10 until Febuary.

    • Stiggy

      Don't underestimate the fanboy anticipation for Green Hornet.

  • John Debono

    Might I say that I've never been this happy to be wrong about a prediction (I had Yogi Bear at $33 million.)
    As for Tron, I think it will finish at $175 million with the holiday build-up, which should be okay if Disney didn't think it was a good idea to release a $250 million sequel to a 28 year old film that most people never were that big on to begin with. Seriously, everyone's expectations (Mine included) were too high for the film's box-office promise.

  • mfan

    I predicted a low opening for How Do You Know, but a $3,000 PTA is SHOCKING. Top level talent can almost always pull in around $3,500 per theater. This result reinforces that one needs a sexy male star in a romantic comedy. And we may indeed be seeing a changing of the guard in Hollywood, as young people don't identify with our older stars. Curiously, this is occuring at the same time that the number of well financed production companies are looking to make more and more films. Recent additions include CBS films, MTV films, and I someone else whose name escapes me just now. The point is there will definitely be lot's of new films coming out with the potential to make new stars to fill the vacuum.

    I won't be seeing Tron until tuesday. Did anyone notice how many women were in the audience? I had trouble deciding how many women would embrace Tron.

    • mfan

      But please don't expect thirty year olds to become big stars, and very few twenty-five year olds. We are looking for 20-25 year olds, or younger, like Tom Cruise in Risky Business or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It goes without saying that Will Smith seems determined to see both his children with Jada be stars.

  • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

    So Tron is a legitimate underperformer, but I guess execs at Disney just have to be thankful it didn't flop. While the dip on Saturday is not good, with the aid of holidays the movie should at least bring back its budget domestically. Internationally it will do even better - while not many people are familiar with Tron, the promise of a latest & greatest 3-D spectacle from America will be enough to lure a lot of people in.

    Yogi Bear should just die a quick death. The Fighter debuted solidly, and with the holidays and Oscar buzz it should ultimately be very successful. Same case with Black Swan; I wouldn't be surprised now to see it make 60 or even 70 million. Who'd have thought, and I'm happy for it. It'll be even better when True Grit debuts in over 3000 theaters on Wednesday; I believe there's a fair chance the Coens might be looking at their first $100m movie yet. The fact that it's critically acclaimed won't hurt either.

    Now, Narnia had a fine hold and it's basically following the footsteps of The Princess and the Frog (same opening weekend, $24m opening, $12m second weekend). With that in mind, I think Narnia will surely break $100 million DOM and $300m worldwide. Meanwhile, Potter should come close to 290 and How Do You Know is a complete disaster. Holy shit Jim Brooks, from Terms of Endearment and As Good as It Gets... to this. This is seriously sad.

  • Ian

    Nasty drop for Tron, but it should hold decently over the next couple weeks, unless everyone just runs to the Fockers like they did six years ago. Worthily bad performances by Yogi and HDYK and nice expansion numbers for The Fighter and Black Swan. This ended up being a family weekend for me so I didn't get to the movies, so my priorities (movie-wise) between now and Christmas are Black Swan, The Fighter, and True Grit.

    Next weekend will be all kinds of bizarre in terms of predicting numbers: two wide releases on Wednesday, another on Saturday, expansions of other films on both days, theatres closing early on Christmas Eve (which being a Friday probably hurts a bit more than usual), and then a huge day Christmas Day. It's also the one-year anniversary of Hollywood's biggest weekend ever, though it won't come close to repeating that feat. Little Fockers is an easy choice at the top, but again, predicting the number is tough. And for everyone expecting True Grit to be a big hit, just remember that this is a straight cowboy western, and those haven't made money in years. Now maybe everything is just lined up perfectly for it, but I'm being cautious because westerns have been so unpopular lately.

    • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

      Well, sure it is a western, but the Coens have built a name for themselves with mass audiences like never before (they swept the Oscars, then delivered another commercial hit in Burn After Reading, and The Big Lebowski's cult following is growing on a yearly basis), plus it has Bridges, Damon in an unusual and fun supporting role, Brolin in a fine role. It's a revenge story at its core and it's shot stunningly. Oh, and it's rated PG-13. I think it will be a success similar to Inglourious Basterds, Road to Perdition, American Beauty or recent Scorsese's films: a film that both mass (mostly adult) and arthouse audiences would enjoy. An intelligent crowd-pleaser. It won't be a $150m grosser or anything, but opening in 3000 theaters I can't see it going below $15 million on the weekend. Then the second weekend is a holiday one, it should stay flat if not rise. Three weeks later are the Oscar nominations which always give some box-office push. I just think that everything is in place for True Grit to break out and succeed. If 3:10 to Yuma could make $55m in September, surely True Grit could do a lot better in December-January period.

      • Ian

        I thought about bringing up 3:10 to Yuma (which I really like), but all I remembered was a $14 million OW and then its numbers were so small I you didn't really notice it. I didn't realize it made that much. In that case, True Grit might have a better shot. I'm still disappointed in the PG-13, but apparently it doesn't hurt the film. Though if it ends up being a largely adult-supported film, they could have gone R and been fine.

    • Ian

      Also re: The Fighter's Best Pic chances since Brad mentioned that...obviously it's done well the last couple weeks with nominations and such; I kind of feel like it's slowly taking 127 Hours's place as that third film in major contention along with The Social Network and The King's Speech. And David O. will probably swipe Boyle's Director slot, unless they decide to not nominate Nolan.

  • Devin

    Tron will be fine. I'm guessing 500mil worldwide at the very least.

    • John-PT

      Impossible. The movie had an awful beggining on the 26 markerts where it opened. UK, Spain and Brazil opening are just terrible. Very, very bad.

  • Tommy

    I'm sure it will exceed over $200 domestically...

  • MDW

    Wow, so many of these films have no chance of making back their budgets. This seems like a terrible time for films at the box office. The only films that are seeming to succeed are those with a low-moderate budget. People really aren't going to see movies right now. Kind of sad given the amount of buzz worthy films that have been released in the past couple of months.

  • connor

    Next week Fockers at #1 and an unexpected opening for True Grit, Tron and The Fighter to not drop that much, and Gulliver to open at $20 million

  • Irf

    The next Harry Potter will do super good, but the summer competish from other tentpole movies will rapidly limit its screen count.

  • Greg

    I personally loved TRON Legacy- even more than the original! I'm sad to see it do so poorly.

  • mfan

    Hooray! I had a feeling I would be closest on Yogi Bear when weekend actuals came in. I was only $111,322 off. But a few people were really close. I only wish I was as close on Tron, but I just read that no December release that has opened over $40 million has failed to reach $200 million. We'll see.