Box Office - Decade at a Glance: September - December 2005

By Michael Lynderey

October 28, 2009

These bears would go on to be stunt doubles in The Golden Compass.

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By Monday the 31st, Halloween night, box office analysts everywhere stared at the weekend chart in terror. From that point and until at least the end of the decade, every Halloween would bring with it yet another Saw movie. There was no escape.


With the early fall's endless onslaught of movies now behind us, November turned into a fairly ordinary blockbuster month. November 4th brought along Chicken Little, your standard CGI concoction. What's to say about it except that it opened with $40 million, finished with $135 million, and contained the usual collection of pop culture references, celebrity voices, and quirky talking animals? At this point, the CGI party platform laid out by Shrek back in 2001 was being followed to the letter, and box office-wise, it certainly kept paying off. The week's other movie was Sam Mendes' heavily-anticipated Jarhead, an adaptation of Anthony Swofford's Gulf War epic that teamed rising star Jake Gyllenhaal with 2004's Oscar darling, Jamie Foxx. This one certainly had a good trailer - with that Kanye West song, Jesus Walks - but the iffy reviews and lack of action are probably what dragged it down to a $27 million open, $62 million total.


November 11th took a break from blockbusters, with not one but two possible hits underperforming. Jon Favreau's follow-up to Elf, the entertainingly-jokey Zathura, finished with only $29 million, while Get Rich or Die Tryin', rapper 50 Cent's attempt to emulate Eminem's 8 Mile, totaled a mild $30 million. They didn't get any help from the week's other challengers, Clive Owen-Jennifer Aniston thriller Derailed ($36 million total) or Keira Knightley's big Oscar bid, Pride and Prejudice ($38 million). It was up to next week, the 18th, to bring the month back to life - and it did: the fourth Potter picture, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, delivered the franchise's then-highest opening, starting at $102 million and finishing with $290 million. The third Potter film finished at a series low of $249 million in June of '04, but the fourth entry helped bring the series back into the upper realms of the $200 millions. The week's other title, Johnny Cash biography Walk the Line, opened at $22 million but took its gushy reviews and Oscar-season legs all the way up to $119 million. Its leads, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, both received Oscar nominations, but only Witherspoon won hers, cementing her status as one of the decade's biggest female stars.

As usual, Thanksgiving weekend dished out a motley collection of films, hoping one or two would stick. Well, the Dennis Quaid-Rene Russo team-up Yours, Mine & Ours did pretty well, finishing with $53 million, and George Clooney's Syriana eventually also climbed up to a $50 million sum. Russo, a popular '90s star, hasn't appeared in a film since. As for Clooney: while he never really headlined very many $100 million movies outside of the Ocean's Eleven films - 2005 represented an epoch for him as both director and actor: he won the Oscar for his acting in Syriana and received another nomination for helming and writing Good Night and Good Luck.

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