Holdovers Not as Merry as ‘Marley’
by Brandon Gray
December 29, 2008
While overall business hit a high note with the openings of Marley and Me, Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Valkyrie, the nationwide holdovers weren't as compelling. Last weekend's trio of openers, Yes Man, Seven Pounds and The Tale of Despereaux, did not pick up steam beyond holiday norms after relatively modest initial grosses that studios had blamed, in part, on bad weather.
Yes Man fell nine percent to $16.7 million for $49.8 million in ten days, nearly the same as Fun with Dick and Jane through the same point. Seven Pounds was off 11 percent, grossing $13.2 million for $38.8 million in ten days, substantially less than The Pursuit of Happyness at its ten-day mark. The Tale of Despereaux was down 12 percent to $8.9 million for $27.4 million in ten days, a tally on par with Charlotte's Web.
At other times of the year, weekend drops of 12 percent or less would be sensational, but it's within expectations for Christmastime. This year, Christmas landed on a Thursday, and the last times that happened, such as in 2003 and 1997, some pictures even gained business. For instance, Mouse Hunt, a family movie that had about the same opening weekend attendance as The Tale of Despereaux, jumped 60 percent in its second weekend in 1997.
The Day the Earth Stood Still had a steeper slide in its third weekend, down 22 percent to $7.7 million. With $63.5 million in 17 days, the science fiction remake's chances of reaching $100 million are bleak. Bolt, on the other hand, crossed that mark over the weekend on its 36th day of release. With its titular holiday now past, interest in Four Christmases waned. The comedy was off 37 percent to $4.8 million and has racked up a nifty $111.6 million in 33 days.
Without increasing its theater count significantly, Slumdog Millionaire rose 41 percent to $4.3 million at 614 sites for a $19.5 million tally, further snowballing into a sleeper success. Playing at triple the theaters, Twilight was a smidgen ahead of it with a solid $4.7 million in its sixth weekend for an excellent $167.3 million total.
In limited release, Gran Torino expanded to 84 theaters (up from 19) and garnered a sturdy $2.3 million. The per theater average for the Clint Eastwood action drama actually grew. With $4.2 million in the till, the picture is scheduled to hit nationwide release on Jan. 9 with approximately 2,300 theaters. Meanwhile, Revolutionary Road was the highest profile limited opening with $189,911 at three sites. The period drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet rolls into the top 15 markets next week.
• 'Marley' Retrieves Box Office Luster...
• 'Yes Man,' 'Seven Pounds' Lead Quiet Pre-Christmas Weekend
• 'The Day the Earth' Spins Out Among Holdovers
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2007 - 'National Treasure' Leads Christmas Rush
• 2005 - 'Kong' Clings to Christmas Top Spot
• Weekend Box Office Results