In today's analysis, we take a look at the true meaning of Christmas...box office. Again, there will not be a lot of complexity in today's discussion. We are going to give you a midway update on the benefits of having a wide release during Christmas week.
The Twelve Days of Box Office
By David Mumpower
December 28, 2010
The way that we will do this is by examining the titles that were already in release prior to last week. That means that Little Fockers, True Grit and Gulliver's Travels are not a part of today's topic. I'm going to skip a couple of titles for now and focus on Tangled as our first and best example of how Christmas week inflates box office.
The huge winner of the Thanksgiving holiday period, Tangled had a running total of $127.9 million after the weekend of December 17th - 19th. For the Monday-through-Thursday period of that week, December 13th - 16th, Tangled earned $3.74 million. I've taken this out one significant digit from BOP's ordinary site standards to be as precise as possible. Over that December 17th - 19th weekend, Tangled earned $8.78 million. This is a grand total of $12.52 million for the week prior to Christmas week.
For the Monday-to-Thursday portion of Christmas week, the start of the lucrative holiday box office period, Tangled earned $9.35 million. Just to be clear, that Monday-Thursday total surpasses the prior weekend's total for a title in its fifth week of release. That's James Cameron movie behavior at any other time of the year. For the December holiday period, it's not even abnormal. Factoring in Tangled's weekend box office total of $6.43 million, Tangled increased 26% to $15.78 million during Christmas week. I will also note that its box office total yesterday, $3.25 million, represents a 63% increase from last Monday's $1.99 million. Yes, it's getting stronger rather than weaker right now. That's the holiday box office season summarized.
We will demonstrate this in greater detail in a summary column around January 5th, but just in case you think Tangled may be an exception due to its popularity, here are a couple of other examples. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has virtually nothing going for it right now. Reviews are mixed, word-of-mouth is okay but not great, and the franchise is widely viewed as fading fast. This premise is easily demonstrated empirically. Even so, Narnia increased from $18.75 million two weeks ago to $19.84 million last week. Monday's $3.49 million total also represents a 57% improvement from the prior Monday.
Even box office underachievers are propped up by this odd quirk of the box office calendar. Consider that The Tourist earned a pathetic $5.62 million over his first four weekdays, a dreadful holdover from its too modest opening weekend of $16.47 million. By all logic of regular box office behavior, its second batch of weekdays should have seen a decline of at least 40% with 60% not being outside the realm of possibility. Instead, Christmas week's Monday-to-Thursday revenue for The Tourist was $4.86 million, a drop of only 14%. Its box office for this Monday, $1.75 million, is a 43% increase from last Monday's $1.22 million. It will have its best set of weekdays during its third week in release. Holiday movie consumption is hiding the overall failure of this project, at least somewhat anyway.
To a larger point, a quick comparison of Monday's box office chart to last Monday's reveals an impressive detail. EVERY TITLE that was in release last Monday has seen significant improvement this Monday.