Weekend Wrap-Up

New Moon Eclipses Box Office Records

By John Hamann

November 22, 2009

We know where her hand is.

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Finishing third this weekend is last weekend's big winner, 2012. Considering the size of the openings for New Moon and The Blind Side, one might think 2012 could drop by as much as 65% this weekend, but it isn't the case. Still the main choice for adult males, 2012 did about what we expected, earning $26.5 million from 3,408 venues. It drops by 59%, but I think in this environment, Sony is going to be quite happy with the dip as the disaster epic heads into the Thanksgiving weekend. 2012 has already earned $108.2 million at the domestic box office, with an additional $160 million from overseas grosses.

New release Planet 51 finds itself in fourth place, as it tries to overcome an iffy-at-best marketing campaign. Planet 51 earned $12.6 million from 3,035 venues, and had a so-so venue average of $4,152. Planet 51 was the worst reviewed film of the three openers – yes, lower than New Moon – as it garnered an ugly 19% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. This $50 million Sony production is not likely to recoup its production budget.

Fifth spot goes to Disney's A Christmas Carol. The Jim Carrey 3-D flick earned $12.2 million this weekend and was off 45%. This may sound like devastating news for the $200 million production; however, I see its grosses jumping up again over the Thanksgiving frame, and then staying solid until Christmas. So far, A Christmas Carol has grossed $79.8 million.

Sixth goes to Precious, as Lionsgate moves the venue count from 174 last weekend to 629 this weekend. The move to the higher screen count worked: last weekend, Precious earned $5.9 million from 174 screens; this weekend Precious earns $11 million from 629 venues, an increase of 87%. Its venue average moves to $17,500. The $10 million production has now accrued $21.4 million, and has a lot of earning still to come.


The box office falls off the cliff as we get to the lower rungs of the top ten. The Men Who Stare at Goats finishes seventh with a gross of only $2.8 million. That gives the George Clooney flick a weekend-to-weekend drop of 53% and a total so far of $27.6 million. It won't be a disaster for Overture Films, who picked it up for $5 million.

Eighth goes to Couples Retreat, which earned $2 million and dropped 53%. The comedy crossed the $100 mark last weekend and has a running total of $105 million. Ninth is Universal's The Fourth Kind, which earned $1.7 million and drops 62%. It has a total of $23.3 million. Tenth is Law Abiding Citizen, which in its sixth weekend earns $1.6 million. It drops 57%, and has a cumulative total so far of $70 million.

Overall, the box office is simply huge, thanks to a very strong top six films. The top 12 this year earned a staggering $248.6 million, which makes this weekend the second biggest in history, behind only July 18, 2008 (the weekend The Dark Knight opened), and ahead of the weekend of July 7, 2006, when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest opened. Last year's pre-Thanksgiving/Twilight weekend brought in a top 12 of $156.7 million. Next weekend brings four more wide releases. They include the expansion of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ninja Assassin, Old Dogs with John Travolta and Robin Williams, and the much anticipated The Road, with Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall.

Top Weekend Box Office for 11/20/09-11/22/09 (Actuals)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Actual Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon Summit Entertainment $140,700,000 $142,839,137 New $142,839,137
2 The Blind Side Twentieth Century Fox $34,510,000 $34,119,372 New $34,119,372
3 2012 Paramount $26,500,000 $26,410,206 - 59.5% $108,131,263
4 Planet 51 Sony/Columbia $12,600,000 $12,286,129 New $12,286,129
5 Disney's A Christmas Carol Walt Disney Pictures $12,230,000 $12,275,024 -45.0% $79,836,002
6 Precious Lionsgate $11,007,500 $10,881,772 + 85.2% $21,277,521
7 The Men Who Stare at Goats Overture Films $2,773,000 $2,829,031 - 51.7% $27,680,089
8 Couples Retreat Universal $1,951,680 $1,943,075 - 53.3% $104,992,030
9 The Fourth Kind Universal Pictures $1,730,400 $1,747,085 - 62.1% $23,359,890
10 Michael Jackson's This Is It Columbia Pictures (Sony) $1,575,000 $1,617,417 -68.0% $70,258,545
11 Law Abiding Citizen Overture Films $1,615,000 $1,606,053 - 57.7% $70,018,193
12 Pirate Radio Universal Pictures $1,448,919 $1,460,592 - 49.7% $5,184,068
  Also Opening/Notables
  Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans First Look Studios $257,267 $245,398 New $245,398
  Broken Embraces Sony Pictures Classics $107,597 $107,111 New $107,111
  The Sun Lorber Films N/A $11,588 New $15,122
  Defamation First Run N/A $4,725 New $4,725
  Mammoth N/A $4,531 New $4,531
  Fantastic Mr. Fox 20th Century Fox $199,142 $203,512 - 23.5% $562,048
  Paranormal Activity Paramount Pictures $1,400,000 $1,401,112 - 65.3% $106,082,922
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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