Season of the Witch Kills Box Office Momentum
By John Hamann
January 9, 2011
Finishing up four spots from where it placed last weekend, Black Swan manages to swim upstream and take fifth. The Natalie Portman film earned $8.4 million and fell a tiny 6% compared to last weekend. That drop is key. After the New Year's weekend, where movie-going was strong on Saturday and Sunday due to the holiday Monday, big percentage drops are almost expected this weekend. For Black Swan (and others below) to hold this well is a remarkable feat. Let's not forget that the Darren Aronofsky film cost Fox Searchlight only $13 million to make, and has so far grossed $61.5 million – a profit films like Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear can only dream of. Black Swan is on an awards season roll, and I won't even hazard a guess as to where this one will end up.
Sixth goes to Country Strong, starring for some strange reason, Gwyneth Paltrow (was Taylor Swift busy?). Country Strong, which for some strange reason opened in limited release for Oscar qualifying, expanded to 1,424 venues this weekend, and earned $7.3 million. It had a venue average of $5,126. Country Strong is from Screen Gems, which failed on the musical front earlier in 2010 with Burlesque. The good news for Screen Gems is that they went back to their business model for this one, spending little ($12 million), and looking only for moderate success. Country Strong was not a win in the minds of critics, as this one only had 13 positive reviews out of a possible 76, giving it a 17% rotten rating. However, considering the reviews, Screen Gems has to be somewhat happy with the venue average, even if further expansion is not recommended.
The Fighter finishes seventh this weekend, and also has a decent hold. The Mark Wahlberg/Christian Bale film earned $7 million in its fourth weekend of wide release and dropped 30%. Like Black Swan, The Fighter is riding the awards wave. This one cost Paramount only $25 million to make, and the David O. Russell flick has turned in $57.8 million so far. The Fighter and Black Swan are easily the big winners of the holiday sweepstakes – they may not be huge films with hundreds of millions in revenue, but their profitability may push Hollywood toward more quality films. Please?
Eighth place goes to The King's Speech, another award contender that had a solid holiday season, albeit on an even smaller scale than The Fighter and Black Swan. This weekend, The King's Speech added 58 more venues to bring its run up to 758 screens, and the Colin Firth film earned $6.8 million. It had a strong venue average of $8,986. Like its award brethren, the budget here is low ($15 million), and the success apt to be huge. The King's Speech may be a front-runner for Best Picture, and with a win, this small picture could turn into an even bigger success. The King's Speech is 95% fresh at RottenTomatoes, and has negative reviews from all the right people (Hi Armond!). Give The King's Speech $33.3 million so far, with much more to come.
Yogi Bear manages to hold onto a top ten spot this weekend, but the animated 3D flick drops hard. Yogi and friends earned $6.8 million and dropped 45% compared to the previous frame. The $80 million Warner Bros. film has now earned $75.6 million.
Finally in tenth is Tangled, Disney's now seven-weekend-old animated musical. The $260 million production earned $5.2 million in what is likely its last weekend in the top ten, and dropped 47%. It has a domestic cume of $175.9 million, and has earned $150 million overseas.
Overall this weekend, the box office is way down in the first weekend in 20011. The top 12 earned only $100.2 million, which pales in comparison with last weekend ($148.6 million) and last year ($148.5 million). Things will improve next weekend, the question is by how much. Openers include The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz, and The Dilemma with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.
||Season of the Witch
||The King's Speech
||The Weinstein Company
||Walt Disney Pictures
||The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
||20th Century Fox
||20th Century Fox
||Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune
||First Run Features
||The Weinstein Company
||Sony Pictures Classics
||How Do You Know
||Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations