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The Box Office Report — December 16-18

Last week, in Box Office…

Oh, you fucking know I’m happy.

New Year’s Eve wins the weekend (as expected. How could it not?), but not in the landslide I was expecting. Hell, not in the landslide anyone was expecting. Most estimates put this at mid 20s for the weekend, and I wasn’t convinced that it wouldn’t do higher than that (since Valentine’s Day, the unofficial first entry into this ensemble holiday series, did $5o million its first weekend. I underestimated how little of a fuck people give about New Year’s). But, lo and behold — a very, very, very soft $13 million opening. That’s crazy. And yet — I’m so fucking ecstatic about that.

The Sitter opened to $9.9 million. It’s a little softer than expected, but not much. And considering the overall weekend — it did fine. What I’m hearing about this is varying from awful to “lot of fun.” So I don’t know. I’m expecting 3 stars and moderately funny at parts, and stupid/by the numbers for others. Which is fine. Also, since they only (reportedly) spent $25 million on this, it should end up okay. This will make much more money in ancillary than it will now.

Finishing third, by default, really, was The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 — you really need to go the full nine with the title, I feel. It pulled in another $7.8 million (dropping 50%, as expected), which are pennies for this film. It’s just shy of $260 million domestically, which is more than double its budget (not to mention the extra $400 million it’s pulled in from overseas).

The Muppets finished fourth, making another — call it $7 million. (It was $6.98 million.) That’s really solid. It’s $20 million over its budget, so that’s good. I like that this film is doing well.

Arthur Christmas almost did positive business this weekend, dropping only 12%, which was good enough for a fifth place finish and $6.5 million. I had a feeling that Christmas season was enough to keep this up there. Still, though, it’s only made $33.4 million so far and its budget was definitely close to (if not over) $100 million. To compare —

Hugo, in about 700 less theaters than Arthur Christmas (over 1,000 less the week before, and 2,000 less the week before that), also has made $33.4 million (not fudging the numbers, either. They literally have made almost the exact same amount of money) in the same time span as Arthur. And this week, Hugo finished sixth and pulled in another $6.1 million (20% drop), which is pretty solid. It’s getting great word of mouth, so it might help the film get some extra business in the coming weeks.

And to recap all the other films — The Descendants pulled in $4.3 million to bring its total to $23.6 million. (That has to be more than its budget.), J. Edgar is about to reach its $35 million budget, My Week with Marilyn is at $5.1 million, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has opened to $310,600 (a $77,000 per-theater average. To give perspective, New Year’s Eve had a $3,700 per-theater average), Young Adult opened to $310,000 as well (a $38,800 per-theater average, as it opened in 8 theaters to Tinker, Tailor‘s 4), The Artist is at $888,000, and Shame is at $781,000. Most people wouldn’t care about the numbers, but I’m hoping the constant mention of all of these films will get you to go out and see them.

Okay, that’ll cover us for last week. Now, onto the new releases…

There are two big films opening this weekend. The first is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The first Sherlock Holmes film opened to a strong $62.3 million weekend. It did not, however, win the weekend, since some film named Avatar also opened that week. One expects this film to hopefully tread water and be almost as good as the first one was, though it’s hard, seeing as how most sequels today just go for bigger and “better” and end up being bigger and worse.

Estimates say that this should not do as well as the first film, and will more than likely open to a weekend in the neighborhood of mid-$50 million. Honestly, at this rate, it’s going to win, an will almost certainly make more than $50 million, so, to me, a specific number doesn’t even matter. It’ll win.

The other film opening this weekend is Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Almost all the sequels to animated films have been really supbar this year, and I seriously doubt this will be the one that breaks through. Estimates here have it at around $32-35 million, and that’s what I’d figure for this. No more than $35 million for sure. 30-35. I’d be happier if it didn’t even hit $30 million.

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol is opening to 400 theaters. This is one of the strangest release schedules I’ve seen, and yet — it just might work. They’re doing 400 theaters this weekend, I guess as sort of a sneak preview sort of thing (or maybe because they don’t know how well it’s gonna open, which also would make sense). Then, it’s opening wide on Wednesday the 21st. And the reason it’s doing that is because, on Friday the 23rd, opening wide are The Adventures of Tintin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and We Bought a Zoo. (Not to mention that on Sunday, Christmas Day, War Horse and The Darkest Hour are also opening wide.) So it’s actually a nice way to sidestep everyone else and do some nice business, since you know there’s a core audience there. I’m curious to see if it works out for them.

Estimates figure it making somewhere between $9-10 million, so, let’s go with that.

As you can tell, I really don’t care this weekend. Two big films, lots of money, they’ll say they saved the box office. I don’t care. Personally I want everything to fail. That’s what it’ll take to change things. I’m through quibbling over whether something makes $55 million or $59 million.

Young Adult is also expanding to about 1,000 theaters this weekend. This won’t make too much money, because it’s of quality. Plus, it’s also very off-putting, and America doesn’t like that. The ceiling on this is $7 million.

Carnage is also opening in a few theaters. It won’t make much money, but I’m mentioning it, because it’s a very good film.

Okay, so that’s all the new stuff. Onto the holdovers…

Well it won’t be much.

I expect New Year’s Eve to fall off the face of the earth with those two other films opening. I can’t imagine this pulls in more than $6-7 million, tops.

The Sitter, maybe it holds a bit better, since it’s rated R, but I still can’t see this doing more than $5-6 million at best.

Twilight might do $5 million, but I doubt it. If it does, it’s barely.

The Muppets should also be hovering around $5 million, maybe over, maybe under.

Arthur Christmas and Hugo will need to hold really well to get above $5 million, and I think they might do it.

Honestly, I’m not gonna list the films, since there’s a huge logjam down at the bottom. Just know that Sherlock should win the weekend, Alvin will be second, and after that, everything else will be less than $8 million.

(I’m clearly out of Box Office mode and am in Oscar mode. You’re gonna see me not giving a shit for the next week or two. Once the new year kicks in, that’s when I’ll be back on top of my shit.)

How it should go:

1) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows — ~$55-60 million

2) Alvin and the Chipmunks — ~$28-34 million

3) Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol — ~$9-10 million

4) Young Adult — ~$6-7 million

5) New Year’s Eve — ~$6-7 million

6) The Sitter — ~$5-6 million

7) Hugo — ~$5 million

8) Arthur Christmas — ~$5 million

9) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 — ~$5 million, probably less.

10) The Muppets — ~$5 million, probably less.

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