Weekend Report: ‘2012’ Plagues the Box Office
by Brandon Gray
November 16, 2009
Detonating atop the weekend box office, 2012 swept in with $65.2 million on approximately 6,500 screens at 3,404 sites, ranking as the seventh highest grossing November debut ever. Among fellow disaster movies, it had the second-highest grossing start, behind only director Roland Emmerich's previous disaster, The Day After Tomorrow, which opened to $68.7 million. In terms of initial attendance, though, it trailed Day After Tomorrow by a wide margin, and Emmerich's Independence Day tops all disaster movies. 2012's marketing campaign successfully mimicked its predecessors in story and spectacle, replete with the destruction of the White House and other famous structures. Distributor Sony Pictures' research indicated that 52 percent of 2012's audience was male and 55 percent was 25 years and older.
While the other new nationwide release, Pirate Radio, made less than a ripple, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire had a robust expansion, grossing $5.9 million at 174 sites. That's the second-highest grossing weekend on record for a movie playing at less than 200 sites, behind only Paranormal Activity, and its total stands at $8.7 million in ten days. By contrast, Pirate Radio went the way of most rock 'n' roll-themed pictures, pulling in $2.9 million at 882 sites.
After a relatively modest start last weekend, A Christmas Carol (2009) saw a traditionally small drop-off for a Christmas movie in November, although it didn't excel on this front. The thrill ride version of the classic Christmas tale eased 26 percent to $22.3 million (including $2.9 million from its IMAX runs), lifting its tally to $63.3 million in ten days (including $8.7 million from IMAX). Fellow Robert Zemeckis-directed motion-capture movie, The Polar Express, dipped 33 percent at the same point with a lower total, but Elf and the two Santa Clause sequels fell only 13-15 percent among comparable titles.
Aside from A Christmas Carol, the other second weekend pictures showed no traction. The Men Who Stare Goats retreated 54 percent to $5.9 million for a $23 million tally in ten days. The Fourth Kind dissipated by 62 percent to $4.6 million, bringing its total to $20.4 million in ten days. The Box tumbled 58 percent from its disappointing start, earning $3.2 million for a $13.1 million tally in ten days. Michael Jackson's This Is It also caved following its originally promoted two-week run, down 61 percent to $5.1 million. With a $67.2 million tally in 19 days, though, it surpassed the Hannah Montana concert to become the highest grossing concert movie on record.
Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity and Couples Retreat each crossed the $100 million milestones. Paranormal hit the mark on Friday, its 50th day of release, and Couples reached it on Saturday, its 37th day of release. Paranormal, though, continued to fade over the weekend, off 51 percent to $4 million, while Couples eased 32 percent to $4.2 million.
• Moviegoers Stingy with Scrooge
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2008 - James Bond Takes 'Quantum' Leap
• 2007 - 'Beowulf' Can't Fell Box Office Blahs
• 2006 - Penguins Tip-Tap Past Bond
• 2005 - Harry Potter's 'Goblet' Runneth Over with Cash
• 2004 - Superheroes Slay Santa: 'Incredibles' Tops 'Polar' 2-to-1
• Weekend Box Office Results
• Disaster Movie Opening Weekends
• All Time November Opening Weekends