Weekend Forecast for December 23-25, 2011 Part 2

By Reagen Sulewski

December 23, 2011

This zoo has *people* in cages!

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The other Christmas Day opener is bound to wind up in the same category as the aforementioned Wolf Creek, a footnote to history. The Darkest Hour puts together a cast of marginally popular young actors in a somewhat novel location for an English language film (Moscow) for a sci-fi survival film. Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor and Max Minghella are the names in the film you might recognize, and are pitted against an alien invasion that comes through the power supply and turns people into ash on contact.

While there are some okay-looking effects here, the whole package has a strangely assembled-on-the-cheap feel, and really seems to be targeted at the international market. I'm almost surprised that this isn't a film that's getting to the North American market several months, or even a year after being released around the world. I'd look for a meager $2 million on Christmas Day.

This takes us back to the films that have already opened this week, and the returning films that are hoping to make some box office noise this week. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol led Wednesday with $8.9 million, an excellent number for this time of year, considering that the film has already been seen in IMAX by a significant number of people, and people are still at work and in school. Again, going back to 2005, the biggest Wednesday film was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with $4.9 million, while the biggest opening film was Fun With Dick and Jane at $3.7 million. These films proceeded to earn $20 million and $14 million, respectively, on the Christmas weekend. Opening days are usually stronger than returning film days, and there are also genre effects to consider, as children's films are usually depressed outside of the holidays. This leads me to revise downwards a bit on my opening weekend prediction, to $44 million.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in with $5 million on its opening day, which is towards the more disappointing end of the scale. Perhaps people are waiting a bit on this one, with more significant box office to come following Christmas. Right now, I'd look for a weekend of about $26 million.


As well, we've got The Adventures of Tintin, which earned just $2.3 million on Wednesday. It's hard to put a nice spin on this number, but look above at those figures from 2005, particularly that Narnia figure. It's also well behind Alvin and the Chipmunk's number for Wednesday, for which it should feel shame. There's definitely hope for it after Christmas, but it's going to start with about $12 million, which is not an auspicious beginning.

Sherlock Holmes remains the biggest of the returning films, after a $40 million start and a $4.2 million Wednesday. Those figures point to a relatively steep drop-off for this weekend, though - and I'm sounding like a broken record here - it's got a good chance following Christmas. I'd give it $22 million this weekend.

Alvin and the Chipmunks, as mentioned, isn't doing all that well relative to the previous entries in the franchise, starting with $23 million. I'm expecting it to carry over well for Christmas week as the top family choice but let's not look for miracles here. It should come in with about $15 million this weekend.

Other films that could factor into the weekend and Christmas Week box office are New Year's Eve, The Sitter, The Muppets, Arthur Christmas and Hugo, though none are likely to make more than $5 million this weekend.

Forecast: Weekend of December 23-25, 2011
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol 3,448 +3,023 44.7
2 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 2,914 New 26.1
3 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 3,703 0 21.9
4 We Bought a Zoo 3,117 New 18.8
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked 3,734 +11 15.3
6 The Adventures of Tintin 3,087 New 11.7
7 War Horse 2,376 New 6.3
8 New Year's Eve 2,225 -1,280 4.4
9 The Muppets 1,752 -1,056 3.0
10 Hugo 1,236 -1,296 3.0

Continued:       1       2



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