The Twelve Days of Box Office

By David Mumpower

December 29, 2009

I bet one of them is about to say 'Playa'.

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There is a lot to talk about this week as we move into the second half of the Twelve Days of Box Office. As you can see from Avatar, things happen fast at this time of year. Seven days ago, the Avatar running total under discussion was $93,411,301. If you'll take a moment to glance at the chart below, you'll note it's now sitting on a lofty box office throne of $232,129,323. After opening weekend, films make $140 million in seven days on very rare occasions. As a point of comparison, The Dark Knight's fourth through tenth days of office had total revenue of $141.4 million. Avatar has effectively matched that number. While we're at it, yes, box office behavior has changed a lot since then. Still, I want to point out that the best Monday-to-Monday total for Titanic was $69.1 million. It needed a full month (31 days) to reach the total Avatar has already managed.

How did we get to this point? I mentioned last Thursday that Avatar's box office behavior was that of a finely tune engine running at maximum efficiency. Nothing has changed since then. As would be expected of any film in release during this particular calendar configuration, Avatar increased Monday over Monday from last week. You'll note on the chart that films like The Blind Side, Invictus and even the disaster Did You Hear about the Morgans all saw similar growth. The only film that didn't have similar growth is Disney's A Christmas Carol, which is down 825 locations from last week. The title also explains the decline as it stopped being quite so relevant last Saturday. Everything else in the top 12 is either new, maintained box office from last week or saw growth.


The difference between Avatar and, say, The Blind Side is that the latter film made $2 million last Monday as opposed to, say, $16.4 million. As we always mention here at BOP, it's more impressive for releases of larger box office scale to maintain pace. 19% growth for last Monday's number one film is tremendous. I had mentioned a couple of times last week that the film should cross the $200 million mark by Tuesday at the latest with Sunday being the best case scenario according to my calculations. As you are already aware by now, it cleared the best case scenario hurdle with a full $12 million to spare. In fact, it has a strong chance to cross $250 million by the close of business today. It should continue this pace for the rest of the week, too.

What does this mean moving forward? As you know, I'm not prone to hyperbole, but I do feel that the producers of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen should be prepared to cede their crown as biggest film of 2009 at some point between now and Valentine's Day. The date this happens goes a long way in defining whether this is a release that winds up between 6 and 8 on the all-time box office top ten or if this is one that takes a run at Star Wars and maybe even The Dark Knight. Yes, the possibility exists that Cameron could conceivably have the two biggest domestic box office performers ever. I'd also place the odds at 70/30 that it does wind up being the second biggest box office performer in terms of worldwide revenue. James Cameron has once again done the impossible and yes, that does make him mighty.

Daily Box Office for Monday, December 28, 2009
Rank Film Distributor Daily Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 Avatar 20th Century Fox $19,418,139 +19% $232,129,323
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 20th Century Fox $12,096,892 N/A $87,685,940
3 Sherlock Holmes Warner Bros. Pictures $11,190,000 N/A $73,580,000
4 It's Complicated Universal $4,272,760 N/A $26,373,580
5 The Princess and the Frog Walt Disney Pictures $3,071,216 +5% $66,750,505
6 The Blind Side Twentieth Century Fox $2,810,000 +40% $186,938,000
7 Up in the Air Paramount $2,264,000 +330% $26,302,000
8 Did You Hear About the Morgans Columbia Pictures $1,105,000 +2% $16,705,000
9 Nine The Weinstein Company $1,096,605 +3221% $6,927,210
10 The Twilight Saga: New Moon Summit Entertainment $959,000 -1% $281,928,000
11 Invictus Warner Bros. Pictures $855,000 +15% $23,875,000
12 DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL WALT DISNEY $268,835 -70% $136,157,378
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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