Weekend Wrap-Up

Thanksgiving Bountiful at the Box Office

By John Hamann

November 30, 2008

Vaughn finally said 'Vegas, baby!' one too many times.

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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa manages a sixth place finish this weekend and like Bolt, the winners of the weekend are aimed at the kids. Madagascar 2 pulled in $14.5 million, just a 7% drop from last weekend's take of $15.7 million. The hold will be a relief for Paramount and DreamWorks, as last weekend Madagascar 2 dropped 55% against Bolt and Twilight. So far, Madagascar 2 has earned $159.5 million, and while it doesn't look like it will approach the $193 million the original did, $185 million for the sequel isn't out of the question.

Seventh is Transporter 3, the unnecessary sequel for the long holiday weekend. Transporter 2 managed to earn $20 million over the Labor Day weekend in 2005, but the third entry in the series doesn't quite find the same success over the Thanksgiving weekend three years later. Over three days, Transporter 3 earned $12.3 million from 2,626 venues, and found $18.5 million over five days. It will earn 2.5 times that over its run - and half of that again on foreign shores - before doing well on DVD.

Eighth goes to Role Models, as the counter-programming comedy continues its healthy run. Role Models earned $5.3 million over three-day portion of the weekend, and despite new comedy competition, only drops 28%. The $28 million comedy from Universal has now earned a very respectable $57.9 million.

Ninth goes to The Boy in Striped Pajamas, the Miramax surprise that finished in eighth last weekend. Miramax added about 175 venues this weekend, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas earned $1.7 million. This small film has now earned $5.2 million domestically, and has taken in $20 million plus overseas.


Sean Penn's Milk is a complete surprise in tenth, as it opened the weekend in only 36 venues. Despite the tiny count, Milk managed to earn $1.4 million and had a remarkable venue average of $38,375. Since Milk is 93% fresh at RottenTomatoes, we are going to hear a lot about this one in the weekends to come, as Penn is the current favorite for a Best Actor nod.

Finally, Slumdog Millionaire finishes 11th with a gross of $1.4 million from only 49 venues. It's another Oscar favorite. Slumdog had a venue average of $27,890 and has a total so far of $3.6 million.

Overall, the 2008 Thanksgiving box office had a strong showing. The top 12 films this weekend earned a powerful $156.7 million, blowing away the same weekend in 2007's tally of $75.9 million (and keeping it ahead of last year's three-day Thanksgiving weekend tally of $150.6 million). Next weekend brings two small films and one big film. Openers include Cadillac Records and Nobel Son (the smaller films) and Punisher: War Zone, a sequel even more unnecessary than Transporter 3.

Top Weekend Box Office for 11/28/08-11/30/08 (Actuals)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Actual Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Four Christmases New Line Cinema $31,680,000 $31,069,826 New $46,054,468
2 Bolt Walt Disney Pictures $26,596,000 $26,581,002 + 1.4% $66,848,840
3 Twilight Summit Entertainment $26,370,000 $26,344,032 - 62.2% $119,706,509
4 Quantum of Solace Columbia Pictures (Sony), MGM $19,500,000 $18,833,552 - 29.5% $141,418,534
5 Australia 20th Century Fox $14,815,000 $14,800,723 New $20,004,456
6 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa DreamWorks $14,500,000 $14,207,329 - 9.3% $159,066,369
7 Transporter 3 Lionsgate $12,330,000 $12,063,452 New $18,230,758
8 Role Models Universal $5,284,463 $5,191,180 - 29.1% $57,780,820
9 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Miramax Films $1,690,000 $1,696,187 + 3.0% $5,169,495
10 Milk Focus Features $1,381,484 $1,453,844 New $1,941,472
11 Slumdog Millionaire Warner Independent Pictures $1,366,617 $1,346,039 + 42.0% $3,544,374
12 Changeling Universal $1,206,698 $1,207,240 - 55.2% $33,849,632
  Also Opening/Notables
  Oye Lucky! Oye Lucky! Utv N/A $42,399 New $61,507
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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