Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire put in another stellar weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday, as did Walk the Line, but the box office was let down by an inferior crop of new films. While there were few outright turkeys this weekend, the overall box office could only pull a draw versus last year, despite big totals from the top three films this weekend.
Leftovers Rule Thanksgiving Weekend
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for November 25-27, 2005
By John Hamann
November 27, 2005
The number one film of the weekend is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (were you expecting In the Mix?), as again, the teen British wizard hit the jackpot over the long weekend. The $150 million production with the $100 million plus opening weekend grossed $54.9 million in its second frame, meeting expectations. Compared to its fabulous opening, that's a decent-but-not-incredible drop of 47%, which compares somewhat favorably with the 36% drop that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had over Thanksgiving weekend in 2001. The true jaw-dropper, though, is its total. So far, after only ten days of release, The Goblet of Fire has grossed an amazing $201.1 million, keeping it well ahead of its predecessors. The largest second weekend of all time still belongs to Shrek 2 at $72.2 million, followed by Spider-Man at $71.4 million, and Goblet of Fire could not slide into third, failing to get ahead of Sorcerer's Stone's second weekend at $57.5 million. Where does Goblet of Fire go from here? In terms of weekend-to-weekend drops, expect Harry to plummet next weekend versus the long weekend and ticket buyer fatigue. After that it will have a tough go of it in the following frame versus the Chronicles of Narnia. While all of this is true, Goblet of Fire will still have a chance to outgross The Sorcerer's Stone, which is so far tops in the Harry Potter realm with a domestic total of $317.6 million.
Second spot this weekend goes to Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Walk the Line had another absolutely stellar frame this weekend, earning a super solid $19.7 million and dropping a slim 12%. Fox made a smart move in adding 177 venues to Walk's venue count. It is now playing at 3,138 venues and had an average of $6,277. With good Oscar buzz and superlative word-of-mouth, Walk the Line could play for a long time, and will have absolutely no problem outgrossing Ray's $75 million. Currently, Walk the Line has grossed $54.7 million, with $100 million certainly not out of the question.
Third spot goes to Yours, Mine & Ours, the insipid looking comedy from Paramount. Why this film grossed $17.5 million this weekend is beyond me, as the trailer was painful to sit through, especially when combined with Cheaper by the Dozen 2. The Dennis Quaid/Rene Russo flick was released to 3,206 venues, and had an average of $5,450. Since Wednesday, Yours, Mine & Ours has grossed $24.5 million against a budget of about $40 million. For Paramount, this is a nice change from the string of flops they have had recently, save for Four Brothers. While no flop, this is one of the worst reviewed flicks of the year, and brings back painful memories of Ice Cube's Are We There Yet? At RottenTomatoes, 67 reviews were counted, and of those, only four were positive. My heart goes out to unsuspecting parents who were dragged to this one. Just think, next year we could have a movie with 20 kids, instead of the 18 seen here, and the dozen involved in Cheaper by the Dozen. Yay.
Chicken Little manages to hold off most of the crop of weak openers this weekend, despite the animated feature playing against Potter Mania. Chicken Little grossed $12.4 million in its fourth weekend, and the sky didn't fall on the little Chicken, as the drop this weekend was a kid-friendly 16%. Currently the Disney flick has $118.2 million in the domestic kitty, but its chances of reaching $200 million are pretty much zilch. I doubt the folks at Disney care too much, as they are too busy prepping The Chronicles of Narnia for world domination.
The list of sad sack openers begins in fifth with Rent from Sony and Revolution Studios. What with its built-in audience and legions of fans, one has to wonder where they all were beyond opening day. Over the three-day portion of the weekend, Rent grossed $10.7 million from 2,433 venues, good for a venue average of $4,397. Since its opening on Wednesday (when it placed second) Rent has grossed $18.1 million. The $40 million production failed to capture any buzz heading into opening weekend, and reviews didn't help much either. Critics were almost evenly split, as only 57 reviewers out of a possible 112 liked this one enough to recommend it. That's not enough to cut it for a musical. Why Sony and Revolution chose Chris Columbus to helm Rent is beyond me. Look for Rent to disappear quicker than I would have ever expected.
Sixth spot goes to Just Friends, Ryan Reynolds' latest attempt to dominate movie theatres before his 15 minutes are up. Just Friends didn't do much better than the last Reynolds/Anna Faris pairing, Waiting, which opened to $6 million. Just Friends grossed $9.3 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and $13.6 million since opening on Wednesday. Released to 2,505 venues, the comedy had a three-day average of $3,702. This is another of the Thanksgiving releases to review poorly, but at least with this one I expected worse. It has a 41% fresh rating at RT.
Seventh goes to Pride and Prejudice, which in wide release failed to excel like it did in limited venues. P&P grossed $7 million in its first wide release weekend, albeit from only 1,299 venues. Its venue average of $5,409 was the fourth best in the top ten. From Focus Features, this version of P&P features Keira Knightley as Elizabeth, and has a total so far of $15.9 million.
Eighth goes to Zathura, the other less popular kid title in the top ten. The Sony feature grossed $4.9 million in its third weekend, dropping a slim 5%, despite losing over 600 venues this weekend. Made for $80 million, this one is going to hurt the parent company, as the gross so far sits at only $26 million.
Ninth goes to Derailed, one of the few hangers on from last weekend's top ten. The Jennifer Aniston/Clive Owen thriller grossed $4.7 million in its third weekend from 2,061 venues. It was down 28% compared to last weekend, and the $20 million production has now grossed a decent $29.4 million.
Tenth goes to Usher's In the Mix, as this Lions Gate release failed to match the pattern of its most recent films. Mix grossed an unexciting $4.5 million this weekend from 1,608 venues. It has earned $6.2 million since opening on Wednesday, and will be forgotten by next weekend.
Speaking of forgotten, The Ice Harvest failed to make the top ten, despite starring Billy Bob Thornton and John Cusack. The comedy grossed $3.7 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and $5 million since opening on Wednesday.
In limited release, The Polar Express did very well in 3-D at IMAX screens, grossing $1.2 million from 66 venues. George Clooney's Syriana also did extremely well, grossing $372,000 from 5 venues this weekend. That's an exciting average of $74,400.
Overall, this year's Thanksgiving numbers put up a good fight against last year, but came up just short for the zillionth time this year. Last year, with the top ten led by National Treasure and The Incredibles, the top ten grossed about $146.5 million. This year, the top ten came in at about $145.5 million, leaving this year about $1 million short versus the same weekend in 2004.