‘The Day the Earth’ Spins Out Among Holdovers

by Brandon Gray

December 22, 2008

The debuts of Yes Man, Seven Pounds and The Tale of Despereaux were modest by past standards, but the holdovers were part of the box office malaise as well, due to age or to not being very big in the first place. Falling into the latter category, The Day the Earth Stood Still collapsed in its second weekend as movies of its ilk often do, including last December's blockbuster I Am Legend. Down 68 percent, the science fiction remake grossed $9.9 million for $48.4 million in ten days. Its drop was in the same range as The Matrix Revolutions and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer among similar movies (though both had much higher grosses).

Crossing the $100 million mark on its 26th day, Four Christmases remained in the fray with $7.7 million, off 41 percent. Twilight held steady again with $5.2 million, down 35 percent for $158.4 million in 31 days. Slowing 44 percent, Bolt followed with $4.1 million for $94.9 million in 31 days. Lower down the chart, Nothing Like the Holidays plummeted 63 percent in its second weekend, despite its Christmas theme, for a barren $5.9 million in ten days.

In limited release, Slumdog Millionaire had a major expansion to 589 venues, up from 169 last weekend, and it rose 40 percent to a decent $3.1 million for a $12 million tally. For the first time, the drama ranked higher than Milk, which delivered $1.7 million at 356 sites and crossed the $10 million mark. Doubt and Gran Torino expanded slightly to maintain flashy per theater averages. Doubt is scheduled for nationwide release at around 1,200 theaters on Christmas day.

The latest picture to show off a high per theater average with a limited debut was The Wrestler. The drama garnered $202,714 at four locations, averaging a hefty $50,679 per site. The usual caveat applies: such an early gross doesn't necessarily mean the picture will succeed down the road. For instance, Frost/Nixon has shown signs of wear, going from a $60,236 average at three theaters its first weekend to $9,694 at 41 in its third. Its weekend gross was down 40 percent.

'Yes Man,' 'Seven Pounds' Lead Quiet Pre-Christmas Weekend...

Weekend Preview:
'Seven Pounds,' 'Yes Man,' 'Tale of Despereaux' Enter Fray

Last Weekend:
'The Day the Earth' Stalls
'Four Christmases,' 'Twilight' Stay Solid Against 'Day'

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2007 - 'Legend,' 'Chipmunks' Enliven Box Office
• 2007 - 'National Treasure' Leads Christmas Rush
• 2006 - 'Pursuit' Overtakes 'Eragon,' 'Web'
• 2005 - 'King Kong' Mighty But No Monster
• 2005 - 'Kong' Clings to Christmas Top Spot
• 2004 - 'Lemony' Licks Competition

Related Chart
Weekend Box Office Results

10/19 Weekend Report: 'Fury' Topples 'Gone Girl,' 'Birdman' Soars in Limited Release
10/19 Around-the-World: 'Guardians' Passes 'Captain America,' 'Spider-Man' Sequels
10/18 Friday Report: 'Fury' Rolls in to First Place on Friday
10/16 Forecast: 'Fury' to Invade Top Spot This Weekend
10/16 Forecast (cont.): 'The Best of Me,' 'Men, Women & Children,' 'Birdman'
10/5 Weekend Report: Moviegoers Thrill to 'Gone Girl,' 'Annabelle' This Weekend
> MORE: News | Features
10/21 DVD/Blu-ray Releases
WEEKEND: Actuals (98 tracked)
SCHEDULE: 'The Conjuring 2'
WEEKEND: Studio Estimates vs. Actuals
DAILY: Sunday, 10/19 (53 tracked)
DAILY: Saturday, 10/18 (53 tracked)
DAILY: Friday, 10/17 (53 tracked)
ALL TIME: Opening Theater Averages - 'Birdman' ranks 18th >
GENRES: World War II Openings
ACTORS: Brad Pitt Openings
DIRECTORS: David Ayer Openings
PRODUCERS: Guillermo del Toro Openings
BRANDS: Nicholas Sparks Openings
DIRECTORS: Michael Hoffman Openings
ALL TIME: Worst Wide Openings (600+ theaters)
DIRECTORS: David Fincher Movies