Weekend Wrap-Up

Christmas Bonanza Continues at the Box Office

By John Hamann

December 30, 2007

Dr. Evil has more money than Santa.

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Second place goes to Alvin and the Chipmunks, as the animated rodents are having a Christmas to remember. Alvin, Simon and Theodore earned another $30 million this weekend, which is just ahead of last weekend's haul of $28.2 million (it was up 6% compared to last weekend). For a film that's only 24% fresh at RottenTomatoes, the chipmunks are having a good run. They earned about $28 million over Christmas week, and now have $142.4 million in the box office kitty. The Fox film crossed the $100 million mark on Wednesday, its 13th day of release, and has already doubled the production budget of $60 million. Fox was looking to have a questionable Christmas with only Alvin and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem on the docket, but got a surprise with Alvin, the expected from AVP and a big boost from Fox Searchlight's Juno, which we will get to below.

Finishing third is I Am Legend, which wasn't able to hold up to the mighty kid power of Alvin and the Chipmunks. I Am Legend had a stellar weekend, earning $27.5 million, and was off only 18% compared to the previous frame when it was down 57% against its record-setting debut weekend. Legend earned about $30 million from Monday to Thursday this week, and is already knocking on the door of $200 million. It's doubtful that Legend will become Smith's second $300 million film after Independence Day, but should be close, getting past Men In Black's $250 million to become the Fresh Prince's second biggest film ever. So far, I Am Legend has earned $194.6 million.


Charlie Wilson's War finds itself in the number four spot again, but its gross has improved compared to last weekend, which is always good news. Charlie Wilson grossed $11.8 million from 2,575 venues, an increase over last weekend of 22%. While no blockbuster, Charlie Wilson's War has done respectable business on the back of its stars, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, but is still below what Universal was expecting. Where does Charlie go from here? I expect it to hang on respectably for a few weekends, but without any major award recognition, this one could disappear before reaching $80 or $90 million. Currently, Charlie Wilson's War has earned $34.5 million against a production budget of $75 million.

Finishing a knock-your-socks-off fifth this weekend is indie-upstart Juno, the very small comedy about teen pregnancy that is currently out to fewer than 1,000 venues. Juno grossed an amazing $10.3 million this weekend from only 998 venues, giving it a venue average of $10,321. This is the highest per venue average out of the films in the top 12. Compared to last weekend when Juno earned $3.4 million, the Fox Searchlight release had a percentage gain of 201%. Juno is really the good news story at the box office this weekend, as this is a small, extremely well-reviewed comedy that is only doing this type of business because of word-of-mouth. I would suggest the budget for Juno is somewhere between $5 and $10 million, and it has a gross so far of $25.7 million. Arrested Development fans will be happy, as this is Michael Cera's (George Michael on AD) second hit of 2007, following up on Superbad.

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