News

'Museum' Exhibits Holiday Clout

by Brandon Gray
Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum
January 2, 2007

Despite a schedule lacking a blockbuster franchise or event picture, business bustled over the holidays, led by better-than-expected results for Night at the Museum and The Pursuit of Happyness among other pictures. As a whole, this past December ended up out-grossing 2005's Narnia-and-King Kong-fueled December.

For the final weekend of 2006, overall attendance was on par with the last two times New Year's Day fell on a Monday: the weekend of Dec. 29, 2000, which was led by Cast Away, and Dec. 29, 1995, when Toy Story was tops.

Over the four-day frame, Night at the Museum devoured $48.2 million on around 4,900 screens at 3,768 theaters, up 14 percent from its opening for a smashing $127.3 million in 11 days. 20th Century Fox's comedy has been the only current picture to appeal to the entire family over the holidays, clicking as a movie for kids as well as a comic event.

The Pursuit of Happyness became Will Smith's sixth picture in a row to cross the $100 million mark for a career tally of ten. Sony's $55 million drama earned $25.5 million in its third weekend, up 13 percent for $104.5 million in 18 days.

Dreamgirls glittered in initial wide release. Though its first national day, Christmas, was its busiest at $8.7 million, Paramount and DreamWorks' hyped musical brought in a potent $18.4 million over the weekend on about 1,330 screens at 852 theaters for a cumulative gross of $41.3 million. Scheduled to expand to 1,800 venues on Jan. 12, it remains to be seen whether Dreamgirls will have longevity or not. The closest comparison in terms of genre and release pattern is Chicago, though that hit had a more staggered release and never made as much on a single weekend.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa
Lumbering into theaters 16 years after Rocky V disappointed, Rocky Balboa delivered a respectable $13.8 million in its second weekend, though it was down 19 percent. MGM's $24 million boxing drama has collected $51.1 million in 13 days and, while it's nowhere near the league of the first four Rocky's, it's poised to sell more tickets than Rocky V.

Looking similar to many recent sports dramas like Glory Road and Gridiron Gang, not to mention contending with Rocky Balboa, may have muted We Are Marshall's impact. Warner Bros.' football drama drew $10.4 million in its second weekend, though it was up 22 percent for a modest $27.5 million in 11 days.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures' The Good Shepherd posted a decent $14.2 million, flat from its opening for $38.3 million in 11 days. The Robert DeNiro-directed drama was unique in the market with its adult-appealing CIA thriller subject matter and name cast, but lacked a concise hook to break out.

Generally, movies enjoy a New Year's boost over Christmas weekend when the holidays are on Monday and this year was no exception. Since kids movies are often the greatest beneficiaries, Charlotte's Web saw the biggest increase among wide releases, up 56 percent to $14.9 million. November stalwarts Happy Feet was still in the fray with a 52 percent jump.

RELATED ARTICLES
• Review - Night at the Museum
• Review - Dreamgirls
• Review - The Good Shepherd
• Review - We Are Marshall
• 1/3/06 - 'Chronicles' Conks Out 'Kong' on New Year's

RELATED CHARTS
• 4-day Weekend Box Office Results
• 3-day Weekend Box Office Results
• Musical
• Sports Dramas

NOTE: This report was originally written on Monday, Jan. 1 and was revised on Tuesday, Jan. 2 with actual grosses.



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