Friday Report: 'Tron' Raves
by Brandon Gray
December 18, 2010
Twenty-eight and a half years after the original Tron disappointed, Walt Disney Pictures tasted some box office revenge with Tron Legacy, which blasted off with energizing numbers on Friday. The other new nationwide releases were largely modest by comparison, and overall business was off slightly from the same Friday last year when Avatar was unleashed.
Tron Legacy raked in an estimated $18 million on approximately 5,600 screens at 3,451 locations, nearly tripling the opening day gross of Speed Racer and posting slightly higher initial attendance than past December release The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008). Those may sound like low hurdles, and one could point out how Tron Legacy fell short of Avatar's $26.8 million opening day (after a comparable midnight opening gross of around $3.5 million) or the Star Trek reboot. But Tron Legacy had a greater uphill battle than those titles, given the potential niche appeal of its premise and the status of its 1982 predecessor. Legacy appears to have sold about as many tickets in a single day as the original Tron did in its entire first weekend.
The 3D illusion was a big part of Tron Legacy's marketing, and 2,424 locations presented the picture in the format, accounting for 83 percent of the gross. That included 234 IMAX 3D venues, which made up 23 percent of the gross. Last year, Avatar had a 71 percent 3D share at a smaller 3D location count (2,038).
Yogi Bear wasn't better than your average talking-animal movie, snaring an estimated $4.6 million on close to 4,800 screens at 3,515 locations. That was a fraction of what the first Alvin and the Chipmunks earned on the same Friday in 2007 and was only a tad bigger than Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
The Fighter delivered a solid estimated $3.9 million in its expansion to around 3,000 screens at 2,503 locations. Black Swan wasn't as spectacular nationwide as it was in limited release but nonetheless posted an estimated $2.5 million on nearly 1,150 screens at 959 locations, bringing its tally to $9.9 million in 15 days.
How Do You Know may have been the biggest bust, collecting an estimated $2.55 million on 2,800 screens at 2,483 locations. That was less than Morning Glory last month and worse than Spanglish on the same Friday in 2004.
Among holdovers, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had a better second Friday percentage hold than The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Golden Compass and Eragon. The fantasy sequel dipped 57 percent to an estimated $3.55 million. Its $33.9 million tally in eight days was still below par. The Tourist tumbled 58 percent in its second Friday, grossing an estimated $2.55 million for a tepid $24.6 million sum in eight days.
Meanwhile, Tron's Disney stable mate Tangled lost most of its 3D venues (dropping from 2,300 to 800) yet still held well. The animated comedy was down 37 percent to an estimated $2.2 million, lifting its total to $121.3 million in 24 days.
• Weekend Briefing: 'Tron' and Four Others Enter Nationwide Arena
• Grosses for Friday, Dec. 17