In some recent years, the post-Thanksgiving weekend has risen above its status as a dead weekend at the box office. This is not one of those times.
Weekend Forecast for December 2-4. 2005
By Reagen Sulewski
December 2, 2005
The sole new wide opener is Aeon Flux, an adaptation of the popular MTV cartoon series. Set in a dystopian future, it follows the title character, a scantily clad, hyper-flexible secret agent from the country of Monica (no, really). When an assassination attempt she leads goes wrong, she discovers incriminating evidence that marks her for elimination. Will she take that lying down? A thousand times no! So then it's on to the gadgetry and the flips and the ‘splosions.
The main attraction for this film is lead actress Charlize Theron, getting her first attempt at an action franchise. However, it appears we're still waiting for the female-centric comic or cartoon adaptation that doesn't suck. Ads have been, to say the least, underwhelming, with fairly nonsensical and unenlightening clips featured throughout. If these are the good clips, then what is the rest of the film like? Few of us will probably find out.
So it joins an illustrious group of films that includes Elektra and Tank Girl and Catwoman of "good ideas done badly" (to not pick on the women, you can throw Judge Dredd and Timecop in there). Preview screenings have been cancelled for the film, which is as good as throwing in the towel for Paramount. Premiering on 2,608 screens, it's got the mark of stinker all over it. A weekend of $13 million is my prediction, which may even be optimistic.
So, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gets to take the weekend again, repeating the feat of the first film's three weeks at the top spot of the box office. It's still slightly ahead of that film's pace, at close to $210 million going into the weekend, though it will eventually fall short unless it picks up some Christmas staying power. Sorcerer's Stone dropped nearly 60% in its similar weekend, and I'm hard-pressed to see why this film won't do likewise. The only real difference here is that its audience has aged a few years, not just from the passage of time, but from the way it has picked up adult converts. This may keep audiences from diminishing so strongly, but not likely to any great degree. Look for a $25 million third weekend for Goblet of Fire.
Walk the Line showed what older audiences can do for a film, especially a critically acclaimed biopic, by leading it to its second straight second place finish, and with a strong holdover. Only 14% of its business dropped away, a very good standard even for a holiday weekend. The story of Johnny Cash moved from likely Oscar contender to "start booking some tuxes" with this weekend. A more sizable drop to around $10 million should be seen this frame, but that will still put it close to the $70 million mark.
For some unknown reason, legions of parents and their brood swarmed to the theaters last weekend to see Yours, Mine, & Ours to the tune of $17 million. Could there be that many people wanting to see Dennis Quaid falling in some sort of slop every five minutes? People somehow thinking this was a really obtuse sequel to The Thomas Crown Affair? I don't really get it. And we still have Cheaper by the Dozen 2 to look forward to. Thankfully, we have a really big drop off coming for this film, to around $7 million this weekend.
Another children's movie followed it in the rankings, as Chicken Little rebounded some from its trouncing at the hands of Harry Potter. Falling just 14%, it came in at $12.5 million for its third weekend, crossing the $100 million mark just before the weekend. Although not a resounding success, it's poised to end up in the same Shark Tale/Robots neighborhood as other recent CGI films, with around $140 million. Look for about $6 million this weekend.
The latest attempt to cash in on musicals fell with a bit of a thud, as Rent earned just $10 million last weekend. The popular Broadway play failed to break out of its core demographic, and although it finished second on its first day of release, the fanboy factor reared its ugly head and dropped the film to fifth by the end of Thanksgiving. More troublingly, it has continued to fall sharply since then. The play that ran for years seems to have a big screen life span measured in just a few weeks. Look for it to fall to just under $5 million this weekend.
Pride and Prejudice expands slightly this weekend after an impressive leap in total box office on 1,300 screens. The Jane Austen adaptation earned just over $7 million on these screens, bringing it to $16 million total. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when Keira Knightley is the sole drawing card as an actor, it's something of an achievement. It will fall to around $4 million this weekend, for around $22 million so far.
One significant limited release this weekend is Transamerica, a potential Oscar candidate. The film stars Felicity Huffman as a male-to-female transsexual (that casting call has to be good for the old ego) that discovers she has a son and rescues him from the streets of New York where he's hustling for a living. Huffman's performance is getting calls for Oscars, and while the subject matter might turn off mainstream America, this could be an indie hit. It opens on two screens this weekend, in New York and Los Angeles.