Weekend Report: 'Fockers' Frowned Upon, 'Grit' Glows Over New Year's

by Brandon Gray
Lil' Fockers

January 3, 2011

The story of New Year's weekend was the same as Christmas weekend: what's supposed to be one of the most bustling times of the year was shattered by a largely poor slate of movies. Little Fockers was the low-flying top draw, but True Grit (2010) continued to be a beacon. Overall business was off around 27 percent from the same weekend last year, when Avatar dominated, and attendance was off significantly from the last time New Year's weekend landed on Dec. 31-Jan. 2, back in 2004-2005.

When is passing $100 million in just 12 days not so hot? When the preceding movie did it in eight days and had nearly double the attendance. Such was the case with Little Fockers, which dipped 16 percent to $25.8 million over the weekend for a $102.6 million tally in 12 days. Predecessor Meet the Fockers, which played on the same days and dates six years ago, generated $41.7 million over New Year's weekend, held better and had collected $162.5 million in total (the equivalent of over $200 million adjusted for ticket price inflation).

True Grit stood its ground in second place, racking up $24.4 million. With $86.7 million in 12 days, the Western remake topped No Country for Old Men ($74.3 million) to become Joel and Ethan Coen's biggest movie yet, and it surpassed the final estimated attendances of Young Guns II and Shanghai Noon and has set its sights on Pale Rider and the first Young Guns in a matter of days. True Grit's the most attended Western drama since Tombstone from Christmas 1993.

Tron Legacy repeated in third with $18.8 million, down two percent for a $131.3 million score in 17 days. After blazing past the first Tron's estimated attendance, it's about to eclipse the final haul of The Last Airbender.

Family or kids movies often receive the biggest bumps on New Year's weekend, so don't take Yogi Bear's 57 percent jump as a reversal of fortune. The talking-animal comedy maintained its average ways, grossing $12.4 million for a $65.8 million tally in 17 days. The older Tangled was more impressive with its $9.8 million sixth weekend, raising its total to $167.8 million in 40 days.

Gulliver's Travels had its first full weekend, but its woes carried on. The family comedy pulled in $9.3 million, up only 47 percent from its two-day opening for a paltry $27.5 million in nine days. It remained in eighth place and couldn't top its 20th Century Fox stable mate The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which drew $10.3 million in its fourth weekend. With $86.9 million in 24 days, Voyage lost more ground to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but it gained some on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

In addition to True Grit, several dramas continued to post solid numbers, but cumulatively they couldn't stave off the box office doldrums caused by a lack of mainstream successes at the top of the chart. The Fighter logged $10 million, up 32 percent for a $46.4 million tally. Black Swan attracted $8.9 million, increasing 42 percent for a $47.8 million haul. The King's Speech leapt 73 percent (due, in part, to being nationwide for two of the three days last weekend) to $7.8 million, improving its total to $22.9 million.

Last Weekend
'Fockers' Fester, 'True Grit' Has Gumption

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2010 - 'Avatar' Rocks New Year's
2009 - 'Marley' Stays Top Over New Year's

2008 - 'Treasure,' 'Juno' Jumpin' in New Year
2007 - 'Museum' Exhibits Holiday Clout
2006 - 'Chronicles' Conks Out 'Kong' on New Year's
2005 - Moviegoers Flock to 'Fockers' Over Holidays

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