Team Spielberg Can't Catch the Hobbits

By Tim Briody

December 28, 2002

Potential suitors for Anna Nicole Smith.

The Two Towers continues to speed ahead towards $200 million as it took in another $15 million on Friday. Meanwhile, the holiday's only new wide release, Catch Me If You Can, holds on strong when it counts.

This weekend falls smack in between Christmas and New Year's Day, arguably the best box office time of the year. Not including The Two Towers, all the remaining holdovers in the top ten will beat last weekend's take, or have a minimal dropoff at the very worst. This is what makes the holiday period remarkable; the high tide rises all boats.

The Two Towers

With a $15.05 million Friday, the second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy isn't leaving the top spot on the box office charts any time soon. Continuing strong as we head into 2003, The Two Towers should end up with $47 million for the weekend, off just 23.5% from its three-day total last week. This puts it just under $200 million after the weekend, but it will blow by that Monday, its 13th day of release. Fellowship of the Ring didn't do it until day 19.

Astute readers may have noticed that The Two Towers took $15.8 million Thursday, and is the only film in the top ten to depreciate from the day after Christmas to Friday. Is this drop cause for any concern? Probably not. First, we're talking $750,000, basically a drop in the bucket when you see the big picture. Second, Christmas falling on a Wednesday and the subsequent storm that day that crippled much of the east threw a big monkey wrench into everything. We'll never know how it would have turned out otherwise.

Catch Me If You Can

Was the Leonardo DiCaprio/Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg triumvirate really going to produce a bomb? Catch Me If You Can caught $10.1 million Friday after earning nearly $19 million in its first two days. While there were fears that it might fall off quickly after a hot Christmas Day start, this clearly isn't another Ali. The entertaining caper will continue to bring them in over the rest of the weekend, and a $32 million weekend gives the film a nifty $50 million in five days.

As for the rest of the holdovers, the effect of the holiday season is in full force. Two Weeks Notice is up 12.6% from last Friday. Maid In Manhattan is up 32%. Gangs of New York helps its cause by gaining 23.6%. The Wild Thornberries improve 63%. Want to know what someone means by "December legs?" This weekend is textbook.

Check back tomorrow for David Mumpower's weekend wrapup.

Extrapolated Estimates for the Top Ten
Estimated Gross (M$)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Catch Me If You Can
Two Weeks Notice
Maid In Manhattan
Gangs of New York
The Wild Thornberrys
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Hot Chick
Die Another Day

Internal multiplier = A comparison of Friday's numbers to the rest of the weekend. So if Catch Me If You Can makes $5.1 million on Friday and $17.8 million for the whole weekend, then its internal multiplier is 3.5 ($17.8 million / $5.1 million = 3.5). Analysts use this number in reverse to predict weekend numbers from Friday's numbers.



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