Thanksgiving Bountiful at the Box Office
By John Hamann
November 30, 2008
Third goes to Twilight, which didn't enjoy the same success as Bolt in its second weekend. Instead it found the complete opposite. After earning a huge $69.6 million in its first three days, Twilight was grounded badly over the Thanksgiving frame, as it took in only $26.4 million - good for a drop of 62%. Again, releasing a film prior to Thanksgiving is supposed to give a film two solid weekends, but that is not the case with Twilight. Teen girl viewers did not return for second helpings, leaving Twilight with a huge drop despite a second weekend ad blitz. The good news for Summit Entertainment is that their film managed to cross the $100 million mark on Friday, only its seventh day of release. It accomplishes this feat one day faster than our other November $60 million plus openers, Madagascar 2 and Quantum of Solace. The other good news for Summit is that Twilight was cheap to make at only $37 million, so with a total so far of $119.7 million, the upstart distributor can afford to pay off the production and advertising budget for this one, as well as fund the upcoming sequel. At this point, knowing where Twilight will finish is a tough bet, but a good guess puts it somewhere around $170 million.
Like Bolt, Quantum of Solace had a fantastic follow-up frame to last weekend, when the James Bond flick earned $26 million. This weekend, with a big $8.2 million Friday, Quantum of Solace approaches $20 million again, earning $19.5 million. It was off 27%, but that's a huge improvement over last weekend's drop of 60%. Casino Royale's second weekend was Thanksgiving, and in 2006 it dropped 25% over the turkey frame. Casino Royale finished with about $167 million on the domestic front, and Quantum of Solace already has $142.1 million after only three weekends. Quantum looks like it will approach $200 million, but a lot will depend on how it does in the weekends leading up to Christmas.
Well down in fifth is Australia, the Baz Luhrmann epic/travelogue starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Australia got off to a tough start on Wednesday, opening to only $2.3 million and seventh place, behind even the likes of Madagascar 2 and Transporter 3. It bounced back somewhat on Thursday with $2.9 million, good for fifth, but then only improved on Friday to $5.7 million. It finishes with a not-so-great three-day total of $14.8 million, and a five day cume of $20 million. This is a tough opening for a film that cost $100 million to make, and has reviews split down the middle. RottenTomatoes gathered 126 reviews and 65 were positive, leaving Australia with a 52% fresh rating.
As for box office, Australia is another example of how dollars are not coming from lavish star driven vehicles. Instead, they are coming from gimmicks, like Twilight or High School Musical 3. For Nicole Kidman, this is more bad news for a career that has paled since the early 2000s (Cold Mountain, The Hours, The Others). Jackman, on the other hand, should look at this as a success, as his last two films, The Fountain and Deception, hardly saw the light of day. Australia isn't dead yet, as it should see some big foreign grosses, but domestically, it will need a very good hold next weekend to keep its head above water.