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Weekend Forecast for November 27-29, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

November 25, 2009

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It's difficult to imagine this being embraced by a particularly large audience because of its genericness, and the male/female splits will be about the reverse of New Moon's last weekend. Really, it just looks like warmed over Tarantino, and should suffer as a result. Look for around $16 million over five days.

Fantastic Mr. Fox expands from limited release to around 2,000 screens, and while this weekend can always use more family films, this film has more challenges than most. Adapted from a lesser-known Roald Dahl story, it's a stop-motion animated film from Wes Anderson, who has pretty much never screamed mainstream. The Royal Tenenbaums is his "break-out" with $52 million, with decreasing returns following that as he's gotten considerably weirder with his choices.

With a voice cast that includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson (of course), Willem Dafoe and Jason Schwartzman, it's definitely got some appeal for adults, but it's a rare case of a family film that may not have sold itself to kids. Aesthetic choices here should probably keep this away from being more than a couple weekend phenomenon, with maybe cult appreciation in its future. For now, give it about $12 million over five days.

This brings us to New Moon, which smashed any number of records last weekend, including the figure for the top day of all time, with $72 million on Friday. That was in large part thanks to midnight sneaks, which almost beat out Sunday's total figure, something that doesn't bode well in the long term.

Still, it's difficult to find fault with that $142 million performance on opening weekend, unless we're talking about the people who parted with their hard earned dollars to see it (and there, I certainly do).




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So now the race is on for New Moon to see if it can beat Twilight's mark of 2.72 times opening weekend, as unimpressive as that is. If it could, that would put it right up against $400 million, a rather outstanding and depressing figure. Despite, or maybe because of, this strong start, I don't see that happening. While the Twilight craze has obviously grown in the last year, it's also grown in fanaticism, and most of the die-hards hards have already seen the film. While there will undoubtedly be a number of repeat viewers (why? Nothing happens in this film), they never amount to as many as they think they will, and I'd say we're looking towards a drop to about $53 million over three days, or about $75 million over five days.

The Blind Side shocked a lot of people with a $32 million opening weekend, grabbing both female and male audiences with the combination of Sandra Bullock and football. It's so simple it's a wonder no one's come up with it before! This is actually pretty likely to find a strong family audience over the Thanksgiving period, and come in with about $29 million over five days.

The year that The Polar Express came out, this was the weekend where it really started to take off, increasing week-over-week not just on the holiday period, but from Friday to Sunday as well. There's nothing in the cards to indicate that A Christmas Carol will be immune to this phenomenon, and Zemeckis' big screen adaptation of Dickens should come away with about $20 million over the holiday period.

Also still in theatres and hoping to make impacts this weekend are 2012, which is quickly collapsing as expected and should earn around $18 million over five days, Planet 51, which is probably the third best choice for family entertainment but still should grab around $10 million, and the feel-bad movie of the holidays, Precious, which expands slightly and should also earn around $10 million over five days.


Forecast: Weekend of November 27-29, 2009
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 4,042 +18 53.7
2 Old Dogs 3,425 New 26.6
3 The Blind Side 3,140 +30 23.7
4 A Christmas Carol 3.013 -565 16.0
5 2012 3,444 +36 13.1
6 Ninja Assassin 2,503 New 11.5
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox 2,033 +2,029 9.6
8 Precious 663 +54 7.1
9 Planet 51 3,305 0 7.0
10 Couples Retreat 860 -852 2.0

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