The 12 Days of Box Office

By David Mumpower

December 22, 2009

Why so blue?

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Hello, and welcome to the ninth annual 12 Days of Box Office here at BOP. This year is going to be a bit more interesting than usual due to the calendar configuration. Christmas hasn't fallen on a Friday since 1998 (Leap Year screws up everything, doesn't it?). As always, BOP stresses that historical precedent is huge with regards to late December box office behavior. Unfortunately, 1998 was still the early days of the box office frontloading era, making the value of such data debatable. I mean, we have to go back a full reboot and two bombs in the Star Trek franchise to get back to the last Christmas Friday period. Keeping this in mind...

For those of you new to the process, the time frame of the week before Christmas to the third day of January is the most lucrative box office period on the calendar. The end result of this is that most films will experience daily revenue on a par with a Friday, sometimes even a Saturday. So, we are looking at a 12-day period wherein all films in release experience a run of a dozen consecutive Fridays, give or take a bit. This is a blueprint example of a rising tide lifting all boats.

There is one story that will dominate the 12 Days of Box Office and it is of course Avatar. James Cameron, whose last film pre-dates 1998, spent the past dozen years waiting for technology to catch up to his imagination. Now that this has finally happened, he is once again shredding the box office world. After earning $77.0 million over the weekend, a record total for a new intellectual property, Avatar continued its hot streak yesterday. It earned $16,385,820, a decline of only 33.8% from Sunday's $24,744,346. In terms of percentage drop, it had only the sixth best holdover from Sunday.




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That doesn't sound so great, right? Well, we should probably factor in the fact that it also earned more than everything else in the top 12 combined, meaning that its 33.8% drop is exponentially better than say A Christmas Carol's 25% decline from $1,175,590 Sunday to $881,362 Monday. Avatar is only down 38.8% from Friday's $26,752,099 debut. That is a remarkable demonstration of staying power, one that will bear watching throughout the rest of the columns in this series.

Currently sitting at $93,411,301, Avatar has already crossed the $100 million mark by the time you read this, although that won't be confirmed until tomorrow's numbers are released. It has a chance to hit the $200 million mark by Sunday, Tuesday at the latest by my current calculations. It appears likely to become the seventh (!) 2009 release to cross $250 million. If it keeps on its current pace, no sure thing since we've only got four days of comparison data thus far, it will wind up being the third film to cross $300 million as well. I'm not ready to say that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is in jeopardy of losing the title as biggest film of 2009 just yet, but even that cannot be ruled out just yet. All of us who were around for Titanic know that it's reckless to pass final judgment on James Cameron films after only a few days. His films have demonstrated...staying power. No one is expecting a repeat performance of Titanic here in terms of final box office multiplier (we'd be talking about a domestic total in excess of $1.5 billion if it did), but the glowing word-of-mouth on Avatar makes it something of a potential runaway train of box office.


Daily Box Office for December 21, 2009
RANK
TITLE
DISTRIBUTOR
GROSS
THEATRES
AVG
TOTAL
1 AVATAR FOX $16,385,820 3,452 $4,747 $93,411,301
2 THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG WALT DISNEY $2,915,921 3,475 $839 $47,633,642
3 THE BLIND SIDE WARNER BROS. $2,001,418 3,407 $587 $166,726,943
4 DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS? SONY $1,085,573 2,718 $399 $7,702,144
5 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON SUMMIT $917,582 3,035 $302 $275,515,901
6 A CHRISTMAS CAROL WALT DISNEY $881,362 2,070 $426 $131,694,716
7 INVICTUS WARNER BROS. $746,201 2,125 $351 $16,624,157
8 BROTHERS LIONSGATE $549,047 2,009 $273 $22,898,909
9 UP IN THE AIR PARAMOUNT $526,064 175 $3,006 $8,742,115
10 OLD DOGS WALT DISNEY $487,611 2,630 $185 $44,113,082
11 2012 SONY $447,336 2,242 $200 $159,476,032
12 PRECIOUS LIONSGATE $235,873 1,003 $235 $40,320,285
13 ARMORED SONY $230,827 1,538 $150 $14,485,441
14 PLANET 51 SONY $229,870 1,349 $170 $38,726,640
15 NINJA ASSASSIN WARNER BROS. $178,268 1,155 $154 $36,597,803
16 FANTASTIC MR. FOX FOX $162,081 540 $300 $17,547,997
17 THE ROAD WEINSTEIN $140,214 396 $354 $5,067,163
18 EVERYBODY'S FINE MIRAMAX $107,326 1,003 $107 $8,962,972
19 NINE WEINSTEIN $33,024 4 $8,256 $290,256
20 COUPLES RETREAT UNIVERSAL $32,340 294 $110 $107,895,565
21 A SINGLE MAN WEINSTEIN $23,308 9 $2,590 $498,506
22 ASTRO BOY SUMMIT $21,375 252 $85 $19,190,038
23 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY PARAMOUNT $18,749 237 $79 $107,621,849
24 THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS OVERTURE $18,318 207 $88 $31,865,922
25 LAW ABIDING CITIZEN OVERTURE $18,027 151 $119 $72,461,538
26 A SERIOUS MAN FOCUS $17,114 117 $146 $8,912,008
27 THE FOURTH KIND UNIVERSAL $14,630 217 $67 $25,284,580
28 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE WARNER BROS. $13,987 123 $114 $75,803,673
29 PIRATE RADIO FOCUS $12,401 242 $51 $7,842,405
30 CRAZY HEART FOX SEARCHLIGHT $11,156 4 $2,789 $119,152
31 THE BOX WARNER BROS. $8,521 131 $65 $14,970,452
32 THE LOVELY BONES PARAMOUNT $8,040 3 $2,680 $208,727
33 AMELIA FOX SEARCHLIGHT $3,970 65 $61 $14,176,076
34 NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU VIVENDI $1,050 11 $95 $1,586,909

     


 
 

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