Weekend Wrap-Up

Thanksgiving Big For Kids at the Box Office

By John Hamann

November 27, 2011

I'm just slumming in between prestige films, dearie.

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That puts Scorsese’s Hugo in fifth over the Thanksgiving frame, and considering this one is out to only 1,277 venues, I think Paramount will be pleased with the result. Hugo earned $11.4 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and $15.4 million over five days. With that limited venue count, Hugo scores a very strong venue average of $8,888, and also positions itself very nicely for the weekends to come. Like its kid flick brethren, Hugo was 97% at RottenTomatoes; however, it will likely play differently in the weeks ahead. As word-of-mouth evolves, the audience for Hugo has the potential to go way beyond that of Arthur Christmas, and into Muppet territory. From there, as awards season heats up, Hugo by far stands the biggest chance of gaining even further attention, especially if the business expands in the weeks to come. I say that because this is not only a Scorsese film, but also a movie about movies, which might strike a chord with Oscar voters.

GK Films and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil co-produced Hugo, and even with Scorsese at the helm, Hugo carried a lot of risk (Paramount is distributing for a fee). Old-school and old fashioned, Hugo is not your usual kids' film – or 3D film – usually filled with lots of bright colors. It cost $150 million to make, and has no big star to hang its hook on. Despite the opening amount and its rank over opening weekend, my money is still on Hugo to be the film of the season. Next weekend, no new releases hit screens, so I'm looking for Hugo to expand, and fall less than its compatriots in the next frame.

Sadly, Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill is in sixth this weekend. The ridiculously bad Sandler film grossed $10.3 million over its third weekend and dropped only 12% compared to last weekend. The $80 million Sony release has now earned $57.4 million.

Immortals is seventh, as it slips behind Jack and Jill for the first time. The Tarsem Singh action flick earned $8.8 million in its third weekend, but was off 29% compared to last weekend after losing 62% in its previous frame. The $75 million Relativity release has now earned $68.6 million on the domestic side, and a similar amount overseas.


Puss in Boots falls to eighth, as the DreamWorks Animation product continues to get beat up by new product. The $130 million release earned $7.5 million in its fourth weekend and dropped 31%. Puss in Boots has now earned more than its production budget stateside, as it sits with $133.4 million, and has pulled in another $50 million plus from overseas.

Ninth is Tower Heist, the comedy featuring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, directed by Brett Ratner. Now in its fifth weekend, the film earned $7.3 million, an increase of 3%. So far, the movie has made $65.4 million against an approximately $85 million production budget. It's also pulled in about $27 million from overseas venues.

Finally, tenth place goes to The Descendants, the well-received George Clooney film directed by Alexander Payne. Fox Searchlight expanded the film to 433 venues after outstanding results in its small-scale debut, and they have to be thrilled with the result. The Descendants earned an additional $7.2 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and had a five-day total of $9 million. Its three-day venue average was $16,628. As this movie gains more awards cachet, look for it to continue to expand both its theaters and its earnings.

Overall this weekend, the box office is down compared to last year's Thanksgiving frame. The top 12 films earned $156.7 million over three days, well back of last year's top 12 score of $171.1 million and 2009's New Moon-driven top 12 of $175.2 million. Next weekend, things slow down as no new large releases hits theatres. That might give you a chance to see expanding releases like Hugo, or smaller platformers like My Weekend With Marilyn, The Descendants, The Artist, or A Dangerous Method. Do me a favor, though, and stay away from Breaking Dawn.

Top Weekend Box Office for 11/25/11-11/27/11 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 SUMMIT $42,000,000 - 70% $221,303,162
2 The Muppets WALT DISNEY $29,500,000 New $42,000,000
3 Happy Feet Two WARNER BROS. $13,400,000 - 37% $43,773,000
4 Arthur Christmas SONY $12,700,000 New $17,000,000
5 Hugo Paramount $11,350,000 New $15,380,000
6 Jack and Jill Sony/Columbia $10,300,000 - 12% $57,417,000
7 Immortals Relativity Media $8,800,000 - 29% $68,632,100
8 Puss in Boots DreamWorks $7,450,000 - 31% $133,361,000
9 Tower Heist Universal $7,323,040 + 3% $65,384,540
10 The Descendants Fox Searchlight $7,200,000 + 505% $10,740,894
11 J. Edgar Warner Bros. $4,950,000 - 16% $28,822,000
12 My Week With Marilyn The Weinstein Company $1,773,000 New $2,085,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  The Artist The Weinstein Company $210,414 New $210,414
  A Dangerous Method Sony Classics $181,852 New $240,944
  A Very Harold And Kumar 3d Christmas WARNER BROS. $1,640,000 - 43% $31,600,000
  Like Crazy Paramount Vantage $425,000 - 19% $2,478,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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