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Weekend Forecast for November 26-30, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

November 26, 2008

Stop trying to look up my skirt! My mom is sitting right there!

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Luhrmann's aiming for nothing less than Gone With the Wind here, though he's more known for his fever dream kinetic filmmaking as opposed to straight ahead storytelling. This kind of shows in the finished product, which appears to have gotten away from him to some regard, though you could hardly call it epic if it hadn't in some way.

And for all Kidman's fame, she's never actually been that reliable at the box office and has had a lot of notable flops in recent years (The Invasion, Bewitched, The Stepford Wives). Jackman hasn't had a lot of luck outside of X-Men and Van Helsing, though that's almost nitpicking given how much of his career those roles have taken since he started to become famous. Combining the two for an epic film seems like it would work in theory, though, which is I'm sure how the calculus of casting these two went.

In practice, however, the operative adjective from my first sentence seems to be "messy", and the cultural story is one that isn't really familiar to North American audiences, any maybe not even that interesting to them. Opening at about 2,600 venues, Australia could be in big trouble. I look for a $13 million total over three days, and $18 million over five.

This opens the door for Twilight to repeat as box office champ. The latest "out of nowhere" sensation shattered everyone's expectations with a $69 million opening weekend, preying on preteen and teen girl romantic angst and the vampire mythos. Although it's made virtual overnight stars of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, a couple of questions remain about the series. One, is it a one weekend sensation, or can it actually get enough repeat business to make a significant impact and two, will this enthusiasm carryover for the inevitable sequels?




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The second question won't be answered soon, but this weekend should be very telling about the first, even if Thanksgiving muddles things somewhat. It has to be a little troubling that over 50% of the film's opening weekend was earned on Friday and in preview screenings. That doesn't always mean disaster, but it rarely means good things. And the film's demographic, while they can be extremely passionate about films (see: Titanic), can also be pretty fickle. I'm looking for a pretty massive falloff from its opening weekend, to $30 million in three days, and $42 million over five days, which should still propel it well over $100 million total.

Quantum of Solace had what has to be a pretty disturbing drop last weekend to $26 million after starting in the mid $60s. That's of course mitigated by it being by far the fastest starting Bond film in history, but you always have to worry about burning out your audience too quickly. Have we grown tired of Daniel Craig as the new Bond so quickly? I don't see another 60% drop over Thanksgiving weekend, mostly out of disbelief that it could happen, but it's clearly this isn't going to turn around overnight into a 27 week sensation. Watch for about $13 million over three days and $21 million over five.

A couple of family films round out the rest of the weekend's important films at the box office. Bolt should actually sneak past Bond in the standings, as the number one family film typically does very well this weekend. $26 million was probably a little disappointing for a Disney animated feature, but it's in strong shape to move up on the strength of Pixar's John Lasseter in the producer's chair and some bright and attractive visuals. Look for it to pick up about $19 million in three days and $28 million over five.

Madagascar 2 will play a bit of second fiddle here, even though it's earned significantly more to this date. It should move past the $150 million milestone this weekend with around $9 million in three days and $13 million in five days. And if nothing else, this bodes well for Bolt 2.


Forecast: Weekend of November 28-30, 2008
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Twilight N/A N/A 30.5
2 Four Christmases 3,200 New 26.9
3 Bolt N/A N/A 18.7
4 Transporter 3 2,626 New 15.4
5 Quantum of Solace N/A N/A 13.2
6 Australia 2,617 New 12.9
7 Madagascar 2 N/A N/A 9.7
8 Role Models N/A N/A 4.9
9 The Changeling N/A N/A 2.3
10 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas N/A N/A 2.0

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