Friday Box Office Analysis

By Tim Briody

January 2, 2010

He's a lot less free and easy with his blue junk than Dr. Manhattan.

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After last week's spectacular Christmas weekend performance, Avatar (and virtually everything else) benefits from having New Year's Day fall on Friday, as it's up 11% from Christmas Day to $25.7 million. New Year's Day is typically the last hurrah for films as people generally return to work and school afterwards but with it falling on a Friday, expect Saturday to be fairly decent while Sunday behaves normally as people brace themselves for a return to the grind on Monday.

Avatar has now crossed $300 million with ease and $400 million is a mortal lock at this point. Last weekend's multiplier was 3.27. Based on the strength of Friday, there's a good chance Avatar actually makes more this weekend than it did over the first two, unless Saturday is considerably weaker than expected. The extraordinary word-of-mouth this thing has seen has made this awfully difficult to predict, even with two weekends of data. Even using a 3.0 multiplier means a weekend of $77.1 million.


Sherlock Holmes

While all pre-Christmas releases are up, Christmas Day openers all suffer from last Friday. While some aren't down all that much (It's Complicated is off 2%) Sherlock Holmes is by far the biggest offender of the bunch, falling 39% from last Friday to $14.9 million. That's a rather alarming amount considering the next biggest drop is now confirmed flop Nine (down 29%) and then after that it's Alvin and the Chipmunks (down 6%). The moderate to negative word-of-mouth seems to be the biggest factor here as those undecided when they get to the theater appear to be choosing Avatar in large numbers. Give it $37 million for the second weekend.

Notable Holdovers

The drops for the other openers last week have already been covered. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel will cross $150 million in two weekends and It's Complicated certainly holds its own as a choice of older audiences, while Nine is officially a disaster and even with ten nominees likely has seen its shot at a Best Picture nominee evaporate.

The Blind Side has crossed $200 million and may not have enough steam to get to $250 million as we reach the end of the holiday box office money train, it's still by a decent margin the biggest hit of Sandra Bullock's career. Give it another $13.5 million.

The biggest winner due to how the calendar worked is The Princess and the Frog. It's up 89% from last Friday to $3.7 million. It might not duplicate last weekend's 4.28 multiplier but $100 million is still in the realm of possibility, which is great for something traditionally animated. Look for $12.1 million for the weekend.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Avatar 77.1
2 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 43.7
3 Sherlock Holmes 37.0
4 It's Complicated 21.1
5 The Blind Side 13.5
6 Up in the Air 12.7
7 The Princess and the Frog 12.1
8 Did You Hear About the Morgans? 4.7
9 Invictus 4.3
10 Nine 4.2



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