Tron Derezzes the Competition
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 19, 2010
Yogi Bear was hoping to be more Alvin and the Chipmunks than Marmaduke this weekend, and in the weeks leading to its release, tracking was showing that there appeared to be greater and greater interest in the abominable-looking adaptation of the classic Hanna Barbera cartoon. A month ago, this was a film that was looking so awful that breaking into double digits for opening weekend would be a pipe dream, but repetitious marketing and a dearth of new kiddie fare meant that although it didn’t reach the lofty heights of Alvin and friends ($44.3 million opening in December of 2007), it did at least surpass Marmaduke’s $11.6 million from earlier this year. Yogi Bear, featuring the voices of Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake, took in $16.7 million from 3,515 venues, good for a second place finish. It had a very so-so location average of $4,752.
One of the big problems for Yogi Bear is that it truly appeals to children only. Adults would only begrudgingly drag a kid to the film, and since the bears don’t have silly voices or eat poop like in Alvin and the Chipmunks, there’s nothing super special to make kids beg their parents to go. Consider, too, that the film was propped up to a large degree by 3D showings, and you’ll realize that the original Alvin and the Chipmunks number is all the more impressive.
It will come as no surprise to anyone over the age of seven that the film received positive reviews from only 13% of critics at RottenTomatoes – though oddly, 19% of “Top Critics” gave it a thumbs up. That’s probably not going to matter over the long haul, though, as it will be a compromise family choice throughout the holidays. Warner Bros. had an $80 million price tag for the bears-stealing-pic-a-nic-baskets film, and the holiday season inflation may just do its part to get it to a finish right around that number. We’re all just biding time until December 16, 2011, anyway, when we’ll endure yet another Alvin and the Chipmunks horror film. At least Jason Lee is making money.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader limps into third place this weekend with $12.4 million, giving it a ten-day total of $42.8 million. The third Narnia release drops 48.3% from its already disappointing opening frame. While this is technically the best second weekend decline of the franchise, consider that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe didn’t earn this little until its sixth (!) weekend in release, while Prince Caspian wasn’t in the $12 million range until its third weekend. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had earned more by the end of its second day and Prince Caspian by the end of its third day than Dawn Treader has managed after ten days. That’s how quickly and dramatically the franchise has fallen in just two sequels. The works of C.S. Lewis deserve a better box office fate than this.
Awards hopeful The Fighter expanded from four venues to 2,503 this weekend, and the move to wide release was good enough to bump the movie to a $12.2 million weekend total (an increase of 3,967%). The film, which is drawing the bulk of its attention for supporting performances from Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, now has a running total of $12.6 million, and given its 88% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, should continue to ride a wave of positive word-of-mouth to a tidy little box office total for Paramount Pictures.