The Box Office Report — December 23-25

Last week, in Box Office…

I love when a $40 million weekend is considered soft.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows wins the weekend with $39.6 million. Most films (especially this year) would kill for such an opening. Soft… fucking Hollywood, man. They complain that no one’s going to see the films and then bitch that they didn’t make more money when people do go to see them. Amazing.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked finished second with $23.2 million. This makes me happy. Finally, one of these films did not come back with more money than the last one. Of course, there’s still international money to take into account, but at the moment — it looks like this will be the last one of this franchise. At not too soon, either.

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol finished third this weekend, with an incredible $12.8 million. In 425 theaters! That means Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible is more bankable than Robert Downey, Jr. Take that, naysayers. I bet Tom is feeling pretty happy right about now. Praising that Christmas Thetan.

New Year’s Eve continued its mortal plunge, finishing with$7.3 million, bringing its two week total to just under $25 million, and less than half its $56 million budget. Good.

And in case you couldn’t believe it (and with those top three films, why not?), nothing else finished above $5 million.

The Sitter made $4.6 million (though it has made $18 million after two weeks, and only cost $25 million to make, so they’re doing just fine), Twilight made $4.2 million (which was really a make or break weekend for them, I feel), Hugo made $3.7 million (putting it just shy of $40 million total, which is also kind of weak. Come on, Oscar nominations, help this film make money!), and Arthur Christmas, which I just saw and was delighted by, made $3.6 million and is also just shy of $40 million.

That’s the mainstream (for the most part) shit. Now for the good stuff…

Young Adult, expanding to about a thousand theaters, made $3.4 million this weekend, and has made about a third of its budget back. My guess is it will continue to do well over the next month and will prove to be a nice little success for them. Which is nice, because it’s a great film.

The Descendants has pulled in $28.7 million so far, which is really nice for it. It’ll get a boost once it becomes the frontrunner for Best Picture (along with the next film I’m going to talk about) next month.

The Artist — oh, sweet, sweet film — has crossed the $1 million threshold. Good for it. This film deserves every good thing that comes its way.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has made $880,000 so far. And I’ve done my part.

Shame has made $1.2 million, which must have been about what it cost to make that film. No way anyone put up more than $2 million to fund something like that. (But whoever they are, god bless them.)

My Week with Marilyn has made $6.1 million so far, which is quite good for it, as well.

All right then…New releases!

Big week, this one.

Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol is expanding by 3,000 theaters this week. In fact, it did it on Wednesday. So we already know how well it’s doing. And that’s very well. This automatically becomes the favorite to win the weekend. Most people are expecting this to do somewhere between $25-30 million for the weekend and about $40 million for the five days, Wednesday to Sunday. Given the unorthodox releasing for this, I don’t have a problem with the five day thing here. Plus, Christmas is on a Sunday, and that’s throwing things out of whack. Plus, isn’t Monday technically the legal holiday? So then there’s like six days here for films to make money. This is actually really good for the box office.

Anyway, since Ghost Protocol has already made $8 million or so from Wednesday, we can figure about a $40 million weekend for it.

The Adventures of Tintin also opened on Wednesday. As expected, people are not expecting that to do that well domestically. What a surprise. I seriously had no idea what Tintin was until they announced this movie. I vaguely knew of it, and only then knew of it because I remember other people saying they used it in language classes. I couldn’t imagine this doing well domestically. This is totally an overseas film.

Estimates on it are about $10 million for the weekend and $15 million for the five days. Give or take. I’m figuring it’ll do like $12 million for the weekend. You know. It’s all — in the area. Still, this shouldn’t finish higher than fourth this weekend.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also opened on Wednesday. God-damn, with the good films. And it’s doing well, too. It’s on track for a $20 million weekend and almost $30 million for the five days. Good for it. I’m gonna go check it out at some point this weekend. I hope it does this kind of business.

We Bought a Zoo didn’t want no part of that shit, and stuck by the traditional Friday opening. Most people are expecting somewhere between $10-12 million for the weekend for this, though this is definitely a film that will hold well, just because you have all this other stuff here, which is very top-heavy, meanwhile this is something that could, if it catches, do plus business into January (much like True Grit. Though obviously more family friendly. And less, “Best Picture”).

War Horse, unperturbed by all this release bullshit, said “Fuck that shit. That don’t make me no nevermind,” and stuck by the Christmas opening, and will open on Christmas day, no matter what. Good for it. I doubt this really makes that much money to matter for the weekend. This will factor into stuff next weekend.

The Darkest Hour is also opening on Sunday. Not sure why, but hey — why not? This wasn’t screened for critics, looks ridiculous, and is the absolute last thing anyone wants to see for Christmas. So I can’t see how this makes virtually any money at all. I can’t even see this hitting $4 million.

Both of those are only opening in about 2,000 theaters apiece, which probably means they’ll (and by that I mean, War Horse) expand next weekend.

Also opening, in much smaller quantities, are Albert Nobbs, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (expanding wide next week), The Artist (170 theaters, bitch!) and My Week with Marilyn (400). Those should not really factor into the box office that much, but I mention them because they’re all likely to get major awards nominations.

Now for the holdovers…

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is facing really stuff competition from Mission: Impossible this weekend. We saw what it did to it last weekend. I can only expect that this time, it’s worse. One has to figure at least a 50% drop for this, putting it at $20 million at best for the weekend. The five day total will probably be somewhere closer to $25 million or so. Which still isn’t that bad for it. Almost $80 million for ten days is not exactly something to scoff at. Still, this might not hold very well at all.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — well, it’s gotta fend off Tintin. And then We Bought a Zoo will certainly get kids there. Still, these hold well, so, at best, it’s a 50% drop and $12-13 million. I’d expect around $13 million here for the weekend. I don’t care what this does over the five days.

And then — New Year’s Eve, Arthur Christmas and Hugo — they’ll hit $5 million over the five days, but for the weekend, I don’t think so.

At this point, I’m gonna stop guessing and see how things do.

Here’s generally how things should play out this weekend:

1. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol — ~$25 million for the weekend

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — ~20 million for the weekend (skewing higher)

3. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows — ~$20 million for the weekend (skewing lower)

4. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked — ~$13 million for the weekend

5. The Adventures of Tintin — ~$10-12 million for the weekend

6. We Bought a Zoo — ~$10 million for the weekend

7-10 will be a mixture of War Horse, Arthur Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Hugo. And possibly Twilight, if for some reason War Horse doesn’t make any money on Sunday. And possibly even Darkest Hour. That might sneak in there as well.

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