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Weekend Wrap-Up

Narnia, Tourist Mark Slow Start to Holiday Box Office

By John Hamann

December 12, 2010

She's engineering the collapse of the Metrodome.

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Finishing second is The Tourist, and like The Dawn Treader, this one also struggled. Despite superstars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie showing up, The Tourist found only middling success, earning $17 million from 2,756 venues. This should cue the media to decry the end of star-driven cinema, but that really isn't the problem here. The problem (again) is film quality, as two of the biggest stars in the world sleepwalk through this one. The Tourist was only 20% fresh at RottenTomatoes at the time of this writing, with only a scant 23 critics finding something to like, amongst the 113 critics providing reviews.

The filmmakers threw Depp and Jolie into this one, with the idea that that would be enough - but forgot to make a compelling film. Critics complained of a lack of chemistry between the two stars, something definitely needed in a film that promotes “drama, romance and intrigue”. Sony distributed this GK Films release for a fee, with GK putting up $100 million for the production, with likely a third of that going to the two leads' fees (Depp commands $20 million performance, Jolie $10-15 million). Sony paid for prints and advertising here, with revenue coming as a percentage of the film's performance. The Tourist will be lucky to bring in $60 million domestic, but it should do well overseas given its international setting and big names.




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For the stars, the opening for The Tourist isn't the lowest of their careers, but is a waste of a film when both are in their prime. For Johnny Depp, we have to go back to Sweeney Todd for a lower opening ($9.3 million), but Paramount really missed an opportunity with that one, getting it out to only 1,507 venues at its highest point. The Libertine, Depp's drama from late 2005, earned only $2.2 million at its highest point, but again, it was only out to 819 venues. For a similar opening, we have to go back before the last two Pirates of the Caribbean films to The Secret Window, which opened to $18.2 million in 2004. For Angelina Jolie, I think we also have to go back to 2004 and Alexander, which opened to only $13.7 million. Yes, there were some lower openers over the years, but none were out to more than 2,500 venues. The Tourist is a large disappointment, as this could have been/should have been an Oscar contender.

Finishing third is Tangled, Disney's oddly marketed animated musical. Tangled held a lot better than it did over the post-Thanksgiving weekend, which is good news for Disney. In its third weekend, the very expensive Disney flick earned $14.6 million, off a not bad 33% from last weekend's $21.6 million take. Tangled crossed the $100 million mark on Thursday, its 16th day, the same amount of time it took the animated Paramount/DreamWorks creation, Over the Hedge. The good news for Tangled is that it will likely finish next weekend with more than $10 million (unless Yogi Bear really hits), then slide through the Christmas and New Year's weekends with similar amounts. Currently, the $260 million Disney film has earned $115.6 million.


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