Black Friday Box Office Analysis

By Tim Briody

November 29, 2008

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Unlike some years past, this Thanksgiving weekend serves up at least one box office winner instead of the usual leftovers.

Four Christmases

The holiday-themed comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn is the top opener for Black Friday with $11.9 million after $15 million since Wednesday. Easily the safest offering out there, this is a definite winner for the two leads and all involved. It might not be number one (more on that in a moment) for the weekend, but it should have a solid weekend of $27.3 million for a five day total of $42.3 million.


Baz Lurhmann's big epic Australia is several notches lower on the Friday chart, placing sixth with $5.6 million. Add in the $5.2 million that it has earned since Wednesday and that's mildly disappointing. It won't crack $20 million in five days, as it should come in with $12.8 million for the weekend and $18 million since Wednesday.


The Transporter 3

Seeing an increase in stature from Labor Day to Thanksgiving for the third entry, Jason Statham's The Transporter 3 started strong, earning $10.9 million in its first two days (more than Australia) but is down to $4.8 million on Black Friday. By virtue of being a sequel, The Transporter 3 is doomed to a pretty bad weekend multiplier, even by Thanksgiving weekend standards. Look for $10.5 million for the weekend, which gives it $21.4 million (still more than Australia).

Milk and Slumdog Millionaire

Now turning to the Oscar bait portion of our column, Gus Van Sant's Harvey Milk biopic starring Sean Penn earns $500,000 on just 36 screens, while Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire also sneaks in to our column here tied with Milk with $500,000 on Friday, this time in 49 screens. Both of these are impressive per screen averages and aided by a soft lower portion of the top ten, surprise us by making the top ten on such a small number of screens. Both should come in with $1.3 million or so for the weekend and are definitely two films to continue to watch as we head into December and Oscar season.

Notable Holdovers

Bolt, a movie that certain unnamed members of the BOP staff felt disappointed last weekend, sees a Friday-to-Friday increase of 55% to $10.9 million Friday. Yes, you read that right. It's got a decent chance at being the top film when the weekend estimates come in, and I think it comes out just ahead of Four Christmases over the three day weekend with $28.3 million

Last week's big surprise, Twilight, is not so fortunate to benefit from the holiday weekend, plummeting 63% from its impressive Friday a week ago to $10.7 million. The rest of the weekend probably won't be as kind either and look for a three day weekend of $24.6 million.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Bolt 28.3
2 Four Christmases 27.3
3 Twilight 24.6
4 Quantum of Solace 20.2
5 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 15.4
6 Australia 12.8
7 The Transporter 3 10.5
8 Role Models 4.8
9 The Boy In the Striped Pajamas 1.5
10 Milk 1.3



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