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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Pre- Weekend Box Office

The big ugly story of the weekend to come… from the two days that came… is Alexander and its projectable $25 – $32 million five-day opening on the way to a domestic cume of under $100 million.  And that projection isn’t even severe.  End of Days and Spy Game both started over Thanksgiving weekend with over $30 million and ended up with less than $70 million domestic. 

The smaller ugly story is not nearly as ugly.  Christmas With The Kranks, which opened Wednesday in sixth place, leapt to second place and what looks like its own $30 million range opening and what seems likely to be status as the biggest new movie of the weekend.  And the good news for Revolution is that the equally horribly reviewed comedy, The Haunted Mansion, got to $75 million domestic.  In fact, no comedy opening this time of year with a number anywhere near where Cranks projects to land has done worse than that. 

In the happy column is National Treasure, which had as strong a Thanksgiving Wed/Thur as all but a handful of films (Toy Story 2, Harry Potter 2) has ever had.  That includes movies opening on the holiday weekend.  That should translate to another strong weekend of sales, leaving the title at around $85 million for 10 days, well ahead where Elf was at the 10-day mark last year and a little ahead of Disney’s highest November grosser ever, The Waterboy.

On the dark side again, Finding Neverland, Sideways and Kinsey all widened out and all disappointed heading into the weekend, averaging between 40 and 75 people per show in each of the cases in spite of the widest release of the trio being 513 screens.  As all three films head into awards season, the critical importance of the critics groups to these three titles is now blatantly apparent.

More as the weekend progresses….

12 Responses to “Pre- Weekend Box Office”

  1. TheLifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Yeah. That limited releasing sure does help films
    in this day and age doesnt? I always enjoyed how
    a movie experience should be all NEW AND FRESH for
    me. When the coast and other larger markets have had
    them for either weeks or months, and all the national
    mags have hyped them issues ago. Yeah. Really
    strong strategy for these studios to use to kill
    their films.
    IF Sideways, Finding Neverland, and Kinsey do not
    get those critcs awards in a fairly decent quip
    then they will all be picked up in Blockbusters
    in February in Nebraska. Who will probably wonder
    why they never had a chance to see the flick in
    the theatre if they really like it.
    LIMITED RELEASE KILLS MOVIES! HOO-AH!

  2. Martin says:

    Yeah dude, opening Sideways in 3,000 theaters would have done a ton of business.. just admit it, you’re a moron.

  3. Sandy says:

    I have seen all three limited releases because I live in a major city, but what did you expect, Dave? Thanksgiving weekend box office was never about the small indie films anyway. Please give me one example of an Oscarbait film that opened on Thanksgiving and that reached $100 million, other than animated films. There can’t be many.

  4. Sam says:

    Dave, you are jumping the gun with your dire predictions for Kinsey, Sideways and Finding Neverland….they will do better Fri/Sat/Sun.

  5. Mark says:

    How many movies the past 15 yrs have opened limited then became huge hits? Especially with no stars? Open up big. Get your dough. Then ride the award season out.

  6. MQBlank says:

    Please explain to me how opening Sideways a month ago in 3,000 theaters would have accomplished anything other than embarrassing all involved? (and quickly leaving theaters thereafter).

  7. JeffMcM says:

    How is National Treasure’s weekend hold a “Happy” story?For anyone except Team Bruckheimer? That movie isn’t just garbage, it’s _boring_ garbage.

  8. Filipe says:

    Platform releases have worked to many films over the years (Napoleon Dynamite and The Motorcycle Diaries this year, both of which certainly make their studios happy, or if your idea of success means 100m+ BO Chicago a couple of years ago).
    Sideways itself should be a indie sucess, if wasn’t for the ridiculous 18m budget.
    Now, outside from a few oscars winners/nominees like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the only film that started limited and went wide to make 100m that I can think of is Blair Witch Project, but then most films that need to do platform relases aren’t chasing 100m but 10, 20, 30m at best.
    But sometimes being a little more ambitious may indeed be better. In 95, Columbia started Before Sunrise semi-wide in 363 screens to 1.6m in it’s way to 5.5m. This year WIP was slower with Before Sunset (which got better reviews) and ended with 5.8m (which given inflation was a little worse).

  9. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Martin, you called me a ‘moron’, but missed my entire
    point. Thus making you the moron, but that seems like
    semantics more than anything. I never said Sideways
    should be released in 3000 screens. I simply implied
    that the release schedule that it, Finding Neverland,
    and Kinsey have been put on are just detremental to
    any chance of these films being in any way successful
    in theatres.
    Flicks such as this should open, in my mind, to no
    more than 500 theatres in the top 30 to top 50
    markets in this country. These flicks should at
    least be playing in one theatre, in each major city,
    in each state, across this country. Openning a flick
    like Kinsey in only 8 screens combined on both coast
    does nothing for them film outside of putting it
    at a disadvantage financially, and later in the
    award season.
    Not all films fit this criteria in the indie/dependie
    film world, but more than enough do this time of year.
    All three of these films are fucked. They are fucked
    and they are fucked thanks to the release schedule.
    Of course they can get unproperly fucked if they
    win a lot of critics awards, but it makes no sense
    in 2004 to open a Johnny Depp flick the way they have
    openned finding Neverland. It makes no sense to
    open an Alexander Payne film the sameway after the
    grosses of Schmidity nor a flick with Qui-Gon in it.

  10. Victor says:

    Finding Neverland averaged almost 3500 per theater on Friday. Disappointing, I think not.

  11. David Poland says:

    Love Actually – November 7–9 – $6,886,080 – 576 screens
    Never got to $60 million
    Finding Neverland – Holiday weekend – Nov 26-28 – 513 screens
    Where does $5 million for this weekend leave the film… besides at $8 million total?

  12. Zachary Freiesleben says:

    Christmas with the Kranks should be spelled with a K, not a C. :)

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4