Weekend Wrap-Up

2012 Storms Box Office; Christmas Carol, Precious Strong

By John Hamann

November 15, 2009

He just knows the Reavers are behind all this.

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What's not to like about Emmerich? He makes awful films, and 2012 was no exception. At RottenTomatoes, 171 reviewers chimed in on 2012, and only 65 liked it enough to give it a thumbs up, resulting in a 38% fresh rating, and "top critics" liked it even less, as it scored a 23% fresh rating with that group. This is not new from this director, as other results include a 9% fresh rating for 10,000 B.C., a 45% fresh rating for The Day After Tomorrow, a 62% fresh rating for The Patriot, a 26% fresh rating for Godzilla, a 61% fresh rating for Independence Day, and a 45% rating for Stargate. If you read reviews for each of these films, the running, constant theme is something along the lines of "visually impressive, but hideous storyline". Emmerich could be James Cameron, but the scripts behind all of his films tends to suck. With 2012, at least critics said that every penny was on the screen, and with the Emmerich brand, you knew what you were getting into, even before you put your money down for a ticket.

Moving forward, 2012 should drop 50% plus next weekend, but then has the potential to level off somewhat over the Thanksgiving weekend. Emmerich's films in the past have earned an open to domestic finish of about 3.1, so barring disaster, this should finish in the upper $180 millions, if not crack the $200 million barrier. It should then earn another $350 million plus overseas for Sony, and finish with at least a half a billion worldwide.


Finishing second this weekend is Disney's A Christmas Carol, the 3-D motion-capture event film from director Robert Zemeckis. Last weekend in this column I played down the low opening of $30.1 million, insisting that A Christmas Carol was an opposite to 2012, which opened for long-term legs instead of opening weekend glory. The second weekend for A Christmas Carol was going to be telling – a big drop would have killed it, and a small drop would have set it up for the long haul. A small drop it got, as the $200 million Jim Carrey flick earned $22.3 million in its second weekend, with a fantastic drop of only 26%. The Polar Express, Zemeckis's last Christmas film that used the motion capture technology, opened to $23.3 million, and dropped a slightly worse 33% in its second frame to $15.7 million. The Polar Express went on to earn $162.8 million over its first run. If A Christmas Carol continues to play like The Polar Express, the Disney flick could end up earning as much as $200 million; however, the next two weekends will be key. It will need another strong hold next weekend, and then to pop up by 25% over the Thanksgiving frame. So far, A Christmas Carol has earned $63.3 million, and has a long way to go to match that production budget of $200 million, but at least now there is a glimmer of hope that it will make it there.

Third spot this weekend goes to sophomore The Men Who Stare at Goats, which did very well last weekend opening in third to $12.7 million. The second weekend for the George Clooney comedy was not as successful, as Goats dropped 51% this weekend, earning $6.2 million. The drop was expected, as there aren't too many people outside of the Clooney fanbase who are going to do walk-up business for this one. Goats is a black military comedy, and would not have widespread appeal. For Overture Films, this was a $5 million pickup, so they have easily made their money back already, as this one has grossed $23.4 million so far.

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