Sunday, December 26, 2010

'Fockers' Fester, 'Grit' Has Gumption Over Christmas Weekend

Box Office Mojo: Brandon Gray
 December 26, 2010

Box office spirits weren't lifted over Christmas weekend, which marked the seventh down weekend in a row compared to last year. Relatively few joined the Focker family reunion, yet the box office was so tepid that it still drew enough to lead. One bright spot was True Grit (2010), but it's unreasonable to expect a Western to save the collective bacon.

Due in part to Christmas Eve landing on Friday, but mostly due to an unappealing slate of movies, overall business was down 44 percent from Christmas weekend last year, which featured a parade of big hits (Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel). The last time Christmas Eve fell on a Friday was in 2004, when Meet the Fockers was on top, and attendance was down considerably from then.

Little Fockers bagged an estimated $34 million on approximately 5,000 screens at 3,536 locations, bringing it five-day opening to $48.3 million. By comparison, Meet the Fockers made $46.1 million on the same weekend in 2004 for a five-day start of $70.5 million, and it had close to double the attendance. Little Fockers' also had lower five-day attendance than Meet the Parents (which had no holiday boost).

Despite the muting effect of Christmas Eve, True Grit posted the top-grossing opening weekend ever for a straight-forward Western, capturing an estimated $25.6 million on around 3,900 screens at 3,047 locations. It was also the biggest launch of the Coen brothers' careers, passing Burn After Reading. With a $36.8 million tally in five days, it's already the highest-grossing Western since 3:10 to Yuma (2007), which started much lower and earned $53.6 million in total.

Gulliver's Travels was the other new nationwide release for Christmas, and it opened on Saturday, pulling in an estimated $7.2 million in two days at 2,546 locations, ranking seventh for the weekend. While it is uncommon for movies to open on Saturday, there are comps from Christmas 2004 and 1999: Fat Albert grabbed $10 million (or close to $13 million adjusted for ticket price inflation) in its two-day launch in 2004, while Galaxy Quest blasted off with $7 million (or the equivalent of $11 million adjusted) in 1999.
In third place, Tron Legacy slipped 54 percent to an estimated $20.1 million, raising its score to $88.3 million in ten days and surpassing the final sum of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader held well enough in its third weekend to pull ahead of Yogi Bear's second weekend. Down 13 percent, Voyage enjoyed the smallest decline among nationwide releases, grossing an estimated $10.8 million for a $63.9 million tally in 17 days. Yogi Bear, on the other hand, collapsed by 46 percent, picking up an estimated $8.8 million for a $36.8 million sum in ten days.

Retreating 30 percent, The Fighter collected an estimated $8.5 million for a $27.6 million haul in 17 days. Black Swan jumped to 1,466 locations (from 959 last weekend) and dipped 21 percent, making an estimated $6.6 million for a $29 million sum in 24 days. Tangled ranked ninth with an estimated $6.5 million for a $143.8 million total in 33 days.

The King's Speech marched into nationwide release on Saturday (700 locations) and landed in 11th place with an estimated $4.6 million for an $8.4 million tally in 31 days. Playing at three and a half times the theaters of The King's Speech, How Do You Know's woes continued, taking a steeper hit than Spanglish in 2004 with even lower grosses. How Do You Know packed an estimated $3.7 million for a $15.2 million sum in ten days.

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