'Tron: Legacy' Set to Top Weekend Box-Office with $18 Million on Friday

Tron Legacy

I gave TRON: Legacy an average review, but I didn't do so out of wanting. I would have preferred to praise it to the high heavens because I want there to be a third Tron installment, but with numbers like these against a reported $200 million budget I wonder what Disney will do.

Legacy debuted with $3.6 million on midnight, a number that not only beats the $3 million posted by Inception earlier this year, but is also $100,000 better than Avatar's midnight opening. By end of day Friday it made an estimated $18 million, which should have it ending somewhere around the $48 million mark

Talk of a Tron sequel has been around for some time, which is why I believe some people have the budget posted at $200 million, while the New York Times reported a $170 million budget. This is more likely the number director Joseph Kosinski was working with and it's a number the film should be more able to work with itself. I'm not sure if it will be able to push the $200 million mark domestically, but I think it's a film families and younger audiences will be able to embrace. It's got some fun visuals, a solid set of heroes and villains and could do some big business over the holidays. We'll just have to wait and see.

In a distant second as Yogi Bear with an estimated $4.7 million, which I'd guess will translate to something around $16 million, but my gut wants me to say closer to $14.5 million. Will there be good buzz? Negative buzz? The reviews were certainly negative, but not in any way as vitriolic as I'd expected with those atrocious trailers.

The week's other new wide release was the $120 million budgeted rom-com from James L. Brooks, How Do You Know, which tied with the Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie starrer The Tourist at $2.55 million. How Do You Know is looking at an $8-9 million weekend, which is not what Sony was hoping for when they spent that much money.

Like previous weekends, the more interesting stories come from the smaller independent releases hoping for not only box-office glory, but Oscar glory.

First off, Paramount's The Fighter went wide with 2,503 theaters and brought in an estimated $3.925 million and Searchlight's Black Swan continued to impress coming in #5 with $2.7 million in 959 theaters. Both films have done very well in the awards circuit, garnering a healthy dose of nominations. The Fighter took home six nominations from the Golden Globes with Black Swan taking home four.

As for the rest of Friday's top ten, I have the complete list below and will be back on Sunday morning with a complete weekend recap.

  1. TRON: Legacy - $18 million
  2. Yogi Bear - $4.7 million
  3. The Fighter - $3.925 million
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - $3.7 million
  5. Black Swan - $2.7 million
  6. How Do You Know - $2.55 million
  7. The Tourist - $2.55 million
  8. Tangled - $2.16 million
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - $1.5 million
  10. Unstoppable - $675,000
  • Winchester

    Pretty awful start for 'How Do You Know' I think by any estimation.

    But over Christmas low starts can still end up having healthy multipliers. Passing $100 million doesn't look likely though unless it's multiple is superb and I doubt international will be very much better - not enough to save it from that $120 million budget - so it looks like Sony has a bit of a bomb on it's hands.

    But...........you know............I don't feel bad for them. It was a stupid level of expenditure for that type of film in the first place (didn't a couple of Universal exces get fired last year after greenlighting 'It's Complicated' at $85 million budget after all?). Even if it was a great or good rom-com it still was ludicrously high.

    Tron - after all the years of hype and development I can't decide if that's a good or a bad start. Even if the budget was $170 Disney dropped a hell of lot more on top for P&A etc so it will have a long way to start being in the black. But it should do well internationally.

    Great for Black Swan/The Fighter.

    • mfan

      The executives who greenlit "It's Complicated" probably got a bonus. It had to have made at least a $50 million dollar profit.

      It's wait and see for Tron. Remember, Avatar had virtually no drop until January 3rd. It's just too early to tell how well Tron will hold up. I think it will do fine here, and possibly three times it's U.S. gross overseas. Overseas audiences like to see the latest and the greatest from America, which is what this film will be sold as.

    • Andrew

      I need some of what they're smoking at Sony Studios now a days.

      They poured 55 million into Burlesque which even on paper seems like an bad decision. Then 100 million on The Tourist and another head scratching 120 million on How Do You Know.

      The funniest thing is, when the smoke clears and the international grosses come in Burlesque may be the only one of the three to even come close to making a profit.

      The bigger question is....will they learn a lesson from any of this? Maybe focus more on fixing a film's problems while in development with something other than a blank check perhaps?

      • mfan

        The gossip about Burlesque is that the head of Screen Gems gay lover wanted Burlesque made badly and used his influence to get it greenlit, and then to keep upping the budget. This caused fights between the two of them because Screen Gems only makes movies with modest budgets. Apparantly, they are now broken up. There should be no fallout, though. Because Screen Gems has been a consistent moneymaker for a long time. I can't even think of one of their films that lost money.

        Other than the films you mention, Sony has been on a roll, overall.

      • Andrew

        @mfan, that has to be the single greatest reason for a film to be green lit ever. The Studio exec's gay lover wanted to make a musical starring Cher. lol

      • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

        Another funny thing is, Sony has been having nothing but nice hits with relatively modest budgets all year (Dear John, The Bounty Hunter, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, Salt, Eat Pray Love, Takers, Resident Evil, Easy A, The Social Network) only to fall so flat right at the end of the year. Burlesque, The Tourist and How Do You Know = three overbudgeted underperformers bordering on bombs.

  • Colin

    And the tides start to shift. To where, who knows.

  • JM

    It looks like Dawn Treader is going to hold okay. I want to see it in theaters, but I'm a bit low on money, and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" takes priority. Also, I want to watch either "127 Hours" or "Black Swan" (once again, low on money, so while I want to watch both, I'll have to choose only one).

  • http://joker93.livejournal.com Nick

    Pretty good for Tron after all. With weekend numbers landing anywhere in the $45-55m range, it should do 175-225 million domestically, and I'd guess 450-650 million worldwide. Complete with merchandise, it'll be a success, but I don't feel like the third installment is any close to guaranteed. We'll have to wait and see.

    Nice to see most abandoning Yogi Bear. Narnia should hold fine and bring in over $100m with the aid of the holidays. Tangled is holding quite nicely too. Great numbers for The Fighter and Black Swan. The Tourist pretty much disappears and with these reviews, this budget and this time between his films, I don't even know if Jim Brooks is likely to ever make another movie again.

  • Feedback

    You say "took home six Golden Globe nominations" as if it means something.

    The little credibility the Golden Globes had left vanished with the Tourist nominations.

  • joa

    nobody didn't surprise when Meryl streep nomination for Julie & Julia and It's Complicated but for JD 's nomination they protest.why didn't protest when he didn't nomination for Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, blow,...public enemies?