The Twelve Days of Box Office

By David Mumpower

December 30, 2010

It's difficult watching two people we love sell out so shamelessly like this.

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We will be a bit more conventional in today's daily box office analysis. As we approach the finish line of the most lucrative period on the movie calendar, this is a good time to step back and look at how each movie is doing. In other words, today's column will not be math intensive. You're welcome.

Last week's debut of Little Fockers brought a conversation about how it should compare to Meet the Fockers. As I stated at the time, no one involved with this production ever expected it to match/exceed the performance of its immediate predecessor. Unreasonable expectations are the fatal flaw of movie productions. What I said last week is that Little Fockers should aim for roughly two thirds of the pace of Meet the Fockers. The 2004 release was sitting at $108.5 million after eight days in theaters. Little Fockers is at $69.0 million, meaning its current box office is pacing at 63% of Meet the Fockers. And yes, I still get a bit aggravated each and every time I have to type Fockers. It's my problem and I'll deal with it. Refocusing on the issue at hand, if the current pace of Little Fockers holds, it will wind up with approximately $175 million. Even if it falls $10-15 million short of that, we are still talking about a productive sequel performance for a title with a $100 million production budget. This is a clear win for Universal.


I have tried not to repeat myself each time I have mentioned True Grit. This is difficult to do. As previously mentioned, for all of the lavish praise heaped on the collective works of the Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel have never been significant box office draws. To wit, True Grit became their third most lucrative performer by the middle of its sixth day in theaters. With the updated running total of $56.4 million, it is poised to pass Burn After Reading's $60.4 million domestic tally by the close of business today. The eventual surpassing of No Country for Old Men's $74.3 million is not only a foregone conclusion but in fact one that is a matter of 72-96 hours away. This should happen on New Year's Day, January 2nd at the latest. We are talking about a scalding box office performance for a movie currently picking up rather than losing steam. Awards performers can be tricky to anticipate in terms of overall behavior. I say with some degree of confidence that True Grit will eventually match the combined box office of the Coens' two previous box office winners, $135 million. The odds are better that it does much more than that rather than that it dies off quickly once we enter 2011 as most holiday releases do. The buzz is so strong that I believe this one to be relatively bulletproof.

I discussed Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear at some length in yesterday's column and the situation for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the same as it was on Tuesday. Let's instead focus on the rest of the top 10 beginning with Tangled. When that movie was released at Thanksgiving, I made the criminal mistake of talking Reagen Sulewski down from the ledge when he told me that he believed this one would break out. Having carefully considered the recent track record of non-Pixar animated titles from Disney, I maintained that he was off his rocker. He was right and I was wrong and I want to apologize to him for calling this one perfectly yet taking the hit for my grotesque error in judgment.

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