Tron Derezzes the Competition
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
December 19, 2010
Director David O. Russell made The Fighter for a song at $11 million, and it’s nice to see Mark Wahlberg back in a quality project. This is his third collaboration with helmer Russell, as the two had previously worked together on Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees. The best news about this weekend’s result is that it almost certainly bolsters The Fighter’s Oscar aspirations, particularly since there’s plenty of room in the field of ten Best Picture nominees for movies with a combination of critical acclaim and box office success.
Coming in at number five is The Tourist, which became the subject of much ridicule this week when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated it for a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. Never mind that the movie is neither a musical nor a comedy (it’s a thriller), they seemed to be saying. Also, please disregard its abysmal critical reception (21% fresh at RottenTomatoes – and only 10% from Top Critics). No, they just basically wanted Jolie and Depp in their audience at the awards show. Never mind that the film has only made $30.8 million so far against a reported $100 million budget. For the record, the awards nominations didn’t help The Tourist’s staying power any. It dropped 47% this week in a season where drops are typically supposed to be kinder. Its $8.7 million total is a pretty sad showing, and although Christmas and New Year’s will give The Tourist a boost, it will still have to be considered a disappointment for Sony.
Sixth place goes to Tangled, Disney’s “final” princess film, displayed in glorious CGI. Tangled added another $8.7 million to its coffers, and dropped an okay 39%, meaning that it might have seen just a tiny touch of competition from Yogi Bear (which is sad, really). The Rapunzel retelling has now accumulated $127.8 million and should be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Christmas holiday bump over the next couple of weeks.
Black Swan continues to intrigue audiences with its unique-looking tale of ballerinas, featuring what is touted as a bravura performance by Natalie Portman. Now in 959 theaters, the Darren Aronofsky film earned another $8.3 million this weekend, good for an increase of 151% and a seventh place finish. Fox Searchlight has a fantastic ability to turn these awards bait films into box office gold, and Black Swan should continue to be a story of interest, particularly with Portman emerging as the front-runner for Best Actress so far. Its total – in not-too-wide release – is $15.7 million.
The final opener this weekend, How Do You Know, opened to $7.6 million. The all-star cast of Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson failed to impress North American audiences, as witnessed by its low per venue average of $3,061. Critics weren't much more favorable about it, as the film is only 36% fresh at RottenTomatoes. As a sign of BOP's eternal gratitude to James L. Brooks for giving us The Simpsons, we'll just drop it right her rather than say something regrettable.
Our two remaining entries in the top ten are holdover hits. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 fell 43% to $4.8 million this weekend. It now has a running total of $265.5 million, and should be one of the films that capitalizes the most on holiday box office inflation. Unstoppable finishes in tenth place with another $1.8 million, a drop of 51% from last weekend. With a cumulative box office total of $77.3 million, the Tony Scott. It's going to finish about even with its $85 million budget, and then make a boatload on home video.
Combined box office for the top 12 this weekend is estimated at $127.5 million. While this is technically down 1.8% from the same weekend last year, the fly in the ointment starting now and lasting for the next two months is that Avatar was released 12 months and $760 million ago. The entire holiday box office campaign is going to seem a bit weaker in comparison to what happened last year for this reason. BOP will try to find ways to give you a perspective that neutralizes this factor somewhat. Consider that the top 12 for 2008 had combined box office of only $80.8 million, meaning that 2010 absolutely torched it.
||The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
||20th Century Fox
||Walt Disney Pictures
||How Do You Know
||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
||20th Century Fox
||Warner Bros. Pictures
||I Love You Phillip Morris
||The King's Speech
||The Weinstein Company
||Love and Other Drugs
||20th Century Fox
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations