Weekend Wrap-Up for November 21-25, 2007
Enchanted Saves Box Office From Disaster
By John Hamann
November 25, 2007
The box office blahs could have been much worse over the long Thanksgiving weekend, but Disney's Enchanted, a mix of live action and animation, has given the extremely slow November box office a big time pulse. It took four new releases - the aforementioned Enchanted, Screen Gems' This Christmas, Fox's Hitman, MGM's The Mist, and Warner Bros.' August Rush - to breathe some life into a troubled box office. With the top 12 films failing to combine to earn $100 million over the last two weekends, we had a long way to go to beat last year's three-day tally of $147 million. Did the box office serve up a Thanksgiving surprise, or was it another turkey weekend? Read on to find out.
The number one film of the weekend is Enchanted, Disney's latest Thanksgiving flick aimed at families. After quietly picking up steam heading toward release, Enchanted earned a breakout gross of $35.3 million over the three-day, Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend. Since opening Wednesday, Enchanted has earned an electric $50 million. Released to a huge venue count of 3,730, Enchanted earned a venue average of $9,472 over the three-day set. Disney has to be thrilled with this result. The studio hadn't offered a new release over Turkey weekend since 2003, when Eddie Murphy's Haunted Mansion disappointed with a three-day opening of $24.3 million; Haunted Mansion ended up as a big miss over the holiday season, earning $75 million domestic against a $90 million budget. Disney had been burned in 2002 as well, with Treasure Planet - that one opened to an ugly $12 million over the holiday frame, and finished with less than $40 million, against a $140 million budget. Disney had owned Thanksgiving previously, as some of the studio's early projects with the upstart Pixar had debuted over the long weekend (Toy Story 2, $57.4 million opening, A Bug's Life $32.8 million opening) and 101 Dalmatians debuted to $45.1 million in 1996. Enchanted is a return to form for the studio, and it's somewhat ironic that a film based around and includes old-school animation was the movie to do it, as Treasure Planet was a big reason Disney shifted direction in terms of style of animation.
Reviews, demographic target and timing made Enchanted a hit. The nation's reviewers were thrilled with Enchanted, with only six critics out of a possible 90 not liking Enchanted at RottenTomatoes. That's a 93% fresh rating, which will give this one legs to Christmas with ease, and will make the cash register ring for a long time at movie theaters. Disney aimed this directly at teenage girls much like The Princess Diaries 1+2 (combined domestic box office, about $200 million). After this demo ignored Mr. Magorium last weekend, Disney ramped up the advertising, and have had a huge launch for their Thanksgiving enterprise. While budget data isn't available, I would imagine that costs aren't over the top with Enchanted. The film stars Amy Adams, who is probably best known for her role in the quirky Junebug, and stars alongside Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy fame - two low budget actors who wouldn't put a budget sky high. I bet this one cost somewhere between $50 and $75 million, and ends up earning $200 million domestic.