It's a weekend of leftovers at the movies, just like the pounds and pounds of turkey, stuffing and potatoes you no doubt still have laying around. As is traditional, no new films open in wide release on the final weekend of the year, leaving the charts pretty much in stasis.
Weekend Forecast for December 31, 2010 - January 2, 2011
By Reagen Sulewski
December 31, 2010
Just out of the configuration of the calendar, most films will see at least a small increase over last weekend's figures – New Year's Eve holds some of the same problems as Christmas Eve for late showings, but not nearly to the same degree. Not as many people are traveling and the issue of getting kids to bed early that night isn't as bad. Even a 9 p.m. showing can get you out in time for the Times Square ball drop. New Year's Day, for that matter, is even better than Christmas Day, as toys are all unwrapped, boring and broken by this point.
Just five out of the top 20 films the last time the calendar configured this way earned less over this weekend than Christmas weekend. Two were Christmas themed, one was a horror movie that every single person on the planet has wiped from their collective memories, one was The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and the last was (dun dun dun) Meet the Fockers.
With Little Fockers already running $40 million behind Meet the Fockers' total at this point, that's a troubling piece of history. Note that this isn't a make or break figure, as Little Fockers still stands to make around $150 million or more. Compared to the monstrous film that the second film was, though, this is an indication that Universal can't count on another holiday weekend kicking the film back in gear. With these numbers and the film's tepid reception, we may have seen the last of this dastardly franchise. Watch for it to come in with around $28 million.
This gives an opportunity to the Coen Brothers' western remake True Grit to sneak in for top spot. It's been running solidly behind Little Fockers for the last three weekdays so it's probably not going to happen, but if any film could, it would be this one. A serious Oscar contender, it's about to be the most successful western since Unforgiven just 12 days into its release. Give it a slight bump to $27 million over this weekend, which will bring it to around $90 million total.
The Jeff Bridges-athon continues in third place with Tron: Legacy, which has proven itself quite durable over the Christmas week, with weekdays holding steady to the week before, about what you'd expect for an action movie. This could go a long ways towards justifying this project financially, as we're now looking at about a $175 million domestic gross. Give this $22 million this weekend.
The remainder of our returning films are unfortunately not working with that large of a figure to make their potential boosts all that interesting. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader should see the best bump of the weekend, though, by as much as one-third, with its New Year's Eve box office restored and a weekend figure of $12 million. That might push this film towards $100 million total domestically, which is a nice symbolic figure to reach in order to make Sony make a bad decision and continue on with the Narnia series.
Yogi Bear may also see a nice increase this weekend as well, thanks to the generally strong performance of family films on this weekend. Add the $11 million it'll earn this weekend to the $52 million it'll have in the bank by Friday morning, and we're starting to see a world in which Yogi Bear was actually a small success. $100 million probably doesn't happen, thankfully, but $80 million is almost certain to.
The Fighter and Black Swan need nice bumps to carry them through January, and should probably get them. Jumping up to $10 million and $7 million respectively should help them get through to the Oscar nominations with a significant box office figure to build on. The King's Speech should also get to around $6 million, but still has some expansion of screens to go.
Finally we have two more family films, Tangled and Gulliver's Travels. With over $150 million in the bank, Tangled is now solidly in the realm of Disney films that they'll willingly talk about (pro tip: don't bring up Home on the Range to a Disney exec). Gulliver's Travels, though, is a an irredeemable bomb by any standard. With just $15 million in the bank after a week of box office, we're looking at a final box office of under $50 million, and possibly lower. Note my lack of tears for this prospect. Each should earn about $6 million this weekend.