Black Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
November 29, 2008

Nice hats!

Unlike some years past, this Thanksgiving weekend serves up at least one box office winner instead of the usual leftovers.

Four Christmases

The holiday-themed comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn is the top opener for Black Friday with $11.9 million after $15 million since Wednesday. Easily the safest offering out there, this is a definite winner for the two leads and all involved. It might not be number one (more on that in a moment) for the weekend, but it should have a solid weekend of $27.3 million for a five day total of $42.3 million.


Baz Lurhmann's big epic Australia is several notches lower on the Friday chart, placing sixth with $5.6 million. Add in the $5.2 million that it has earned since Wednesday and that's mildly disappointing. It won't crack $20 million in five days, as it should come in with $12.8 million for the weekend and $18 million since Wednesday.

The Transporter 3

Seeing an increase in stature from Labor Day to Thanksgiving for the third entry, Jason Statham's The Transporter 3 started strong, earning $10.9 million in its first two days (more than Australia) but is down to $4.8 million on Black Friday. By virtue of being a sequel, The Transporter 3 is doomed to a pretty bad weekend multiplier, even by Thanksgiving weekend standards. Look for $10.5 million for the weekend, which gives it $21.4 million (still more than Australia).

Milk and Slumdog Millionaire

Now turning to the Oscar bait portion of our column, Gus Van Sant's Harvey Milk biopic starring Sean Penn earns $500,000 on just 36 screens, while Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire also sneaks in to our column here tied with Milk with $500,000 on Friday, this time in 49 screens. Both of these are impressive per screen averages and aided by a soft lower portion of the top ten, surprise us by making the top ten on such a small number of screens. Both should come in with $1.3 million or so for the weekend and are definitely two films to continue to watch as we head into December and Oscar season.

Notable Holdovers

Bolt, a movie that certain unnamed members of the BOP staff felt disappointed last weekend, sees a Friday-to-Friday increase of 55% to $10.9 million Friday. Yes, you read that right. It's got a decent chance at being the top film when the weekend estimates come in, and I think it comes out just ahead of Four Christmases over the three day weekend with $28.3 million

Last week's big surprise, Twilight, is not so fortunate to benefit from the holiday weekend, plummeting 63% from its impressive Friday a week ago to $10.7 million. The rest of the weekend probably won't be as kind either and look for a three day weekend of $24.6 million.