Weekend Wrap-Up

New Year's Eve and The Sitter Both Open Ugly

By John Hamann

December 11, 2011

She just snuck onto the set. She wasn't even supposed to be in the movie.

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The Descendants is seventh this weekend, and is a classic example of how to roll out a dramatic film for adults. After opening at 29 venues to over a $1 million, Fox Searchlight expanded to 390 venues over Thanksgiving, and the George Clooney film earned $7.4 million. The following weekend, The Descendants expanded again, to 574 venues, and earned $4.8 million. That brings us to this weekend, where it expanded again to 840 venues, earning $4.4 million and dropping only 8%. With Golden Globe nominations on the horizon and room for further expansion over the Christmas movie lottery period, this one is going to do very well. The Descendants cost Searchlight only $8 million to make, and has earned almost three times that so far, as the domestic total sits at $23.6 million. Where it will finish, no one knows.

Eighth goes to Happy Feet Two, another family film that has struggled. The expensive George Miller film earned $3.8 million, dropping 37% from its $5.9 million performance last weekend. Remember that this one cost Warner Bros. $135 million to make, and so far has a domestic total of only $56.9 million. It has earned an additional $35 million overseas, but it's not going to be enough to turn a profit on this one.

Ninth is Jack and Jill, as the Adam Sandler comedy won't do what it should – die. In its fifth weekend, Jack and Jill earned another $3.2 million, and dropped 40%. The $80 million comedy has earned $68.6 million stateside, and is just getting stated overseas.


Finally in tenth is Immortals, Relativity Media's gamble on Clash of the Titans leftovers. Immortals earned $2.4 million in its fifth weekend, and dropped 45% compared to last weekend. This one cost Relativity $75 million to make, a figure that it has at least earned domestically, as that total sits at $79.8 million. It's also doing quite well overseas, where it has brought in over $100 million, so it appears to be a good gamble for the upstart studio.

Overall at the box office, things are very, very bad. This weekend's top 12 failed to outgross last weekend's top 12, with last weekend being the dreaded weekend after Thanksgiving frame. Two openers combining for $25 million is simply not good enough. Last year, the abandoned Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Johnny Depp's awful The Tourist opened together and combined for $40 million. This year, the top 12 films at the box office amassed only $69.2 million, where last year brought in $84.3 million. For a December top 12 this low, one has to look back to the post-Thankgiving weekend in 2002, when Analyze That flopped badly, and for a weekend this bad that didn't come directly after Thanksgiving, we have to go back to 1998. Next weekend should change things up, though, as Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opens, along with another Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.

Top Weekend Box Office for 12/9/11-12/11/11 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 New Year's Eve New Line Cinema $13,705,000 New $13,705,000
2 The Sitter Twentieth Century Fox $10,000,000 New $10,000,000
3 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 SUMMIT $7,900,000 - 52% $259,483,267
4 The Muppets Walt Disney Pictures $7,100,000 - 36% $65,800,000
5 Arthur Christmas Sony/Columbia $6,600,000 - 11% $33,490,000
6 Hugo Paramount $6,125,000 - 19% $33,489,000
7 The Descendants Fox Searchlight $4,385,000 - 8% $23,635,423
8 Happy Feet Two WARNER BROS. $3,750,000 - 37% $56,850,000
9 Jack and Jill Sony/Columbia $3,200,000 - 40% $68,647,000
10 Immortals Relativity Media $2,442,000 - 45% $79,849,505
11 Tower Heist Universal $2,379,350 - 40% $74,142,880
12 Puss in Boots DreamWorks $1,655,000 - 46% $141,900,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Young Adult Paramount $320,000 New $320,000
  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Fox Searchlight $300,737 New $300,737
  We Need to Talk About Kevin Oscilloscope $24,000 New $24,000
  Shame Fox Searchlight $276,068 - 21% $774,154
  My Week With Marilyn The Weinstein Company $784,000 - 34% $5,121,839
  The Artist The Weinstein Company $292,130 + 38% $885,510
  A Dangerous Method Sony Classics $80,125 - 33% $539,174
  J. Edgar Warner Bros. $1,200,000 - 48% $34,773,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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