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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Tangled has become the little film that could, one that we used as a baseline for our December holiday box office conversations in Monday Morning Quarterback. as we talked about all of the non-Potter films and how they should perform, a uniform opinion from the site was that Tron: Legacy and Little Fockers would battle it out for the best performance of the holiday season. Instead, Tangled appears likely to beat out at least Little Fockers if not Tron: Legacy as well. Given the relatively unheralded nature of what had been a troubled production, I am flabbergasted to see it sitting at $154.3 million while also performing brilliantly in terms of holiday toy sales. That chick's hair may as well be made of pure gold.

The anti-Tangled in terms of reviews, audience reception and box office -- you know, everything that matters about a feature -- is Gulliver's Travels. Let's get right to the point here. This movie cost $112 million to create. It has a running box office total of $15.1 million after five of the most lucrative movie money-making days on the calendar. If it makes another $12 million or so between now and Sunday, a reasonable estimate, we would almost definitely be looking at final box office of under $50 million. And that estimate is me trying to give it the benefit of the doubt on legs.


I mentioned this once before, but I will say it again because the idea makes me laugh every time I think about it. When Survivor had that awkward tie-in of a Gulliver's Travel screening as a reward challenge prize, what happened was inimitable. Here were people who had not see a television in over a month. They had been staring at sand, trees and water, bored out of their brains. A movie...ANY MOVIE...should have been received like it was the new Casablanca. Despite this, the way the contestants behaved was indicative of the fact that they secretly resented the people who got to stay back at camp and not watch the movie. It was the show's first reward punishment. People on a deserted island would have rather not watched anything than suffer through Jack Black's latest work. That was the tell-tale sign that there was no good news in the offing for Gulliver's Travels.

Due to the holiday, tomorrow's column will be brief. While the twelve days of lucrative box office period ends at the close of business on Sunday since vacation time will be over for most North Americans, I will write one more recap column next week. We will also start the Top 12 Film Industry Stories as well. So, you have positive reinforcement to keep checking back next week even if early January's movie titles look...Gulliver's Travels-ish.

Gross ($)
Per-Venue ($)
Percentage Decline
Domestic Total ($)
1 Little Fockers Universal 7,712,225 3,554 2,170 -0.9 68,990,905
2 True Grit Paramount 6,275,000 3,047 2,059 +2.0 56,417,000
3 Tron: Legacy Walt Disney 6,111,457 3,451 1,771 -3.7 106,167,050
4 Yogi Bear Warner Bros. 4,545,000 3,515 1,293 +1.0 48,475,000
5 Tangled Walt Disney 3,718,717 2,582 1,440 +2.6 154,278,547
6 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Fox 3,377,655 3,350 1,008 -8.9 73,166,297
7 Gulliver's Travels Fox 3,123,270 2,546 1,227 +6.5 15,053,794
8 Black Swan Fox Searchlight 2,587,327 1,466 1,765 +3.8 36,220,093
9 The Fighter Paramount 2,435,000 2,511 970 +8.7 34,681,000
10 The Tourist Sony 1,745,000 2,756 633 -1.4 46,185,000

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