The Twelve Days of Box Office
Daily Box Office Analysis for December 22, 2010
By David Mumpower
December 23, 2010
Two new movies opened in the marketplace on Wednesday. One of them was the third film in a massively popular comedy series. The other was the latest feature from the Coen Brothers. Stating the obvious, expectations were high and interest was piqued by these releases. So, what happened?
Little Fockers had the highest expectations as the sequel to the $279.2 million behemoth that was Meet the Fockers. In a strange happenstance, the third movie in the franchise opened six years to the day after the second one. That makes comparisons easy to make and hard to ignore. Yes, Little Fockers was the number one movie on Wednesday. No, it did not come close to matching its predecessor. A $7.2 million debut for Little Fockers represents only 60% of Meet the Fockers’ Wednesday debut of $12.1 million. Perhaps we’ve gone a Focker too far.
Before you start writing your angry feedback, let me try to place this performance in perspective. No one was realistically expecting Little Fockers to match Meet the Fockers (Three paragraphs in, I think I speak for all of us when I say I’m already tired of the word Fockers…see, it’s apparently funny because it sounds like, well you know.). The gap between the opening days of each title is triggering some alarms. Meet the Fockers had the worst opening of the three films in this series. Meet the Parents debuted to $8.6 million back in 2000. Yes, that was on a Friday, but once we factor in ticket price inflation, the disparity raises an eyebrow.
The way we will be able to determine the progress of Little Fockers is straightforward. What we know from having the matching calendar configuration for Meet the Fockers (it was released in 2004, conveniently the last time Christmas fell on a Saturday) is the following. From December 22 to December 26, 2004, the five-day opening period of its release, Meet the Fockers accumulated a whopping $70.5 million. Ergo, 17% of its five-day opening revenue was attained on opening day. From that point, Meet the Fockers bumped up slightly (2%) to $12.3 million Thursday fell back on the Christmas Eve anti-holiday (we discussed this phenomenon yesterday) to $7.2 million before attaining its best day of $19.5 million on Saturday then effectively matching it with $19.4 million on Sunday. Have you got all of that? The movie started strong, maintained on Thursday, was negatively impacted by Christmas Eve, recovered on Christmas Day and finally maintained on the day after Christmas. That’s the pattern of behavior we should expect from Little Fockers.
Mathematically, what we can take from the above is that Little Fockers winds up with roughly $42.4 million over the five-day holiday. Keeping in mind that BOP is devout in our belief that it’s foolhardy at best to draw such conclusions from a single day of performance, the why of this is simple. If 17% of the revenue for Meet the Fockers came on opening day and Little Fockers mimics this behavior, we simply use the same formula and plug in the $7.2 million debut. Of course, we will know almost immediately whether or not this model holds for Little Fockers. It should earn somewhere in the range of $7.3 million on Thursday then $4.2 million on Christmas Eve. So, if Little Fockers does better than $11.5 million on Thursday and Friday, it’s beating the pace of its record-breaking predecessor. If it does worse, it will probably fall short of $40 million for the five-day period. These are the markers to track as we move forward.