Friday Box Office Analysis

By Tim Briody

December 19, 2009

A young man fulfills his lifelong dream of getting jiggy with Ripley.

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James Cameron's Avatar, the biggest wildcard to hit theaters in a long time earned $26.8 million on Friday, with $3.5 million attributed to midnight showings. There's a couple of things that are really going to affect the weekend estimate here. How much opening night demand was there for Avatar, the increased prices for 3D viewings of the film and the snowstorm that has shut down much of the east coast are all things that make this one really hard to predict. Suffice to say, $26.8 million is an excellent start and given near rapturous word-of-mouth, Avatar is now set up pretty nicely to cash in big time over the holiday box office gravy train.

Snowstorm aside, Avatar should have an above average weekend multiplier. The added ticket price to a 3D viewing plus the ridiculously positive word-of-mouth already will push this to around a 3.3 multiplier, using the Friday figure minus the $3.5 million earned on midnight viewings. Add that money back in at the end and that would give Avatar a weekend of $80.4 million.


Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Clearly, not many people have. Or if they did, they just didn't care. The Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker romcom disappoints with $2.3 million on Friday. The best it could hope for this weekend is a total of $6.6 million, and it's probably not going to get much better from there.

Notable Holdovers

The Princess and the Frog falls 51% from last Friday to $3.5 million but it's the weekend where it will really shine, given last weekend's 3.44 weekend multiplier. A second weekend of $12 million should be in store.

Invictus continues to be a disappointment down 55% from last Friday to $1.3 million. Its award hopes likely take a serious hit here, with a second weekend of $3.9 million

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Avatar 80.4
2 The Princess and the Frog 12.0
3 The Blind Side 9.8
4 Did You Hear About the Morgans? 6.6
5 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 4.5
6 A Christmas Carol 3.9
7 Invictus 3.9
8 Up In the Air 3.2
9 Brothers 2.7
10 Old Dogs 2.4



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