News

'Goblet' Gobbles 'Rent'

by Brandon Gray
Brendan Gleeson and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
November 28, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was always going to be Thanksgiving weekend's cornucopia, and it delivered the second overall up tick in a row relative to 2004. The new crop of movies, though, was anything but bountiful, ranging from the middling Yours, Mine and Ours and Rent to the anemic The Ice Harvest.

Harry Potter's fourth adventure soared past the $200 million mark in ten days, out-pacing the franchise's previous pictures in terms of gross, though trailing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's attendance.

Goblet of Fire pulled in $54.9 million over the weekend, but was down an alarming 47 percent. By comparison, Sorcerer's Stone, which also opened the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, dropped 36 percent to $57.5 million in its second frame. Family pictures tend be buoyant over the holiday, followed by massive drops the weekend after, which means Goblet of Fire's box office glory could be short-lived.

Harry Potter was still potent enough to propel the second-highest grossing five-day Thanksgiving frame ever, behind 2000. The six new wide releases weren't much help for the most part.

Yours, Mine and Ours yanked $17.5 million from 3,206 theaters over the weekend, bringing its five-day haul to $24.3 million. According to distributor Paramount Pictures' exit polling, families made up 60 percent of the audience, though, curiously since the picture is about two parents overwhelmed by 18 kids, there were nearly twice as many parents as there were children.

Looking like Cheaper by the Dozen and a half, the $45 million remake of the 1968 comedy proved chintzy compared to Cheaper, The Pacifier, Daddy Day Care and other recent big screen sitcoms, including last Thanksgiving's Christmas with the Kranks, which banked $30.8 million in its first five days. Next courting the same audience will be Cheaper by the Dozen 2 on Dec. 21.

Bohemians can't pay the Rent and apparently can't afford many movie tickets either. Director Chris Columbus' adaptation of the 1996 Broadway musical scrounged $10 million from 2,433 venues over the weekend for a $17.1 million five-day tally. Columbus last directed the first two Harry Potter pictures, which were the top movies of Thanksgiving 2001 and 2002.

Idina Menzel and Tracie Thoms in Rent
Rent raised hopes after a solid $4.8 million opening day, but demand turned out to be frontloaded—the average Thanksgiving release makes around 30 percent of its five-day gross on Wednesday and Thursday, but for Rent it was 42 percent. Distributor Sony's exit polling indicated that 58 percent of the audience was female and 51 percent was over 25 years old.

Recent major musicals—Moulin Rouge!, Chicago, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera—all started with limited release patterns to build buzz. Rent relied on its rabid fan base for a successful national launch out of the gate, but Sony's marketing didn't pitch the movie to those unfamiliar with the show. The songs were the selling point in the ads, but no story accompanied them—merely images of people hanging out. Rent will need powerful word-of-mouth and repeat business to reach the attendance level of last year's Phantom of the Opera.

New Line's Just Friends made $9.2 million at 2,505 theaters. With $13.2 million in five days, it's slightly above par for a low brow romantic comedy without a major actor.

Best-selling singer Usher headlined his first movie, Lions Gate's In the Mix, and the reaction was indifference—a $4.4 million weekend at 1,608 sites for a $6.1 million five-day gross. The picture had limited potential due to its unpopular romantic crime comedy genre, but matters were made worse by its focus on how all the ladies supposedly can't keep their hands off of Usher.

The Ice Harvest was no Bad Santa, the last Christmas-set black comedy featuring Billy Bob Thornton that opened on Thanksgiving, falling more in line with Pushing Tin, the last black comedy Thornton made with Ice Harvest lead John Cusack. The genre is a tough sell, and Ice Harvest's $3.7 million weekend at 1,550 theaters is pathetic but within the norm. The five-day start for the Focus Features release was $5 million.

Expanding into nationwide release, Pride and Prejudice boasted $7.2 million from 1,299 locations. Scoring the biggest weekend ever for a direct Jane Austen adaptation, Focus' romantic comedy has collected $16 million in 17 days. Sense and Sensibility's $43.2 million is the Austen benchmark for total gross.

Among last weekend's leftovers, Walk the Line held firm, down 14 percent to $19.2 million. With $54 million in 10 days, the drama about Johnny Cash is on track to top Ray as the top grossing music biography on record.

Syriana uncovered $374,502 from two theaters in Los Angeles, two in New York City and one in Toronto, averaging a promising $74,900 per site. Since opening Wednesday, the political thriller has grabbed $553,530. Distributor Warner Bros. plans to expand the picture to over 2,000 theaters on Dec. 9.

RELATED ARTICLES
• 11/28/04 - 'Kranks' Out-Rank 'Alexander' Over Thanksgiving
• Review - 'Rent'
• Review - 'The Ice Harvest'

RELATED CHARTS
5-day Thanksgiving Box Office Results
3-day Weekend Box Office Results
All Time Top Thanksgiving Openings
Musicals

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Nov. 27 and was updated on Monday, Nov. 28 with actual grosses.



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