Post-Thanksgiving Doldrums Fail To Wipe Out Box Office
By John Hamann
December 2, 2012
With movies on fire over the Thanksgiving Day frame last weekend, this weekend feels like a hangover, and not the Todd Phillips $277 million kind. In reality though, this is a holiday season that keeps on giving.
The post-Thanksgiving weekend has always been a very slow moviegoing period. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview mirror, Christmas shopping starts to take people’s lives over and the movies usually take a weekend off. The good news this time out is that we are coming off the biggest Thanksgiving weekend ever (by a country mile), so, despite only having Brad Pitt’s Killing Me Softly opening (and softly it is), the sheer largeness of the last frame is propping this weekend up.
Last year over the post Turkey frame, with Breaking Dawn Part 1 on top, the top 12 films at the box office took in $73.6 million. This year, we are 28% higher, due to better films peppered throughout the top 12. The average weekend-to-weekend drop is staggering for almost every film, but the overall, it is still the best post-Thanksgiving Day weekend ever.
Unfortunately, our number one film for the third weekend in a row is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, repeating on top again this weekend. After a three-day turkey holiday gross of $43.6 million (and a drop of 69% compared to its debut), Breaking Dawn Part 2 earned $17.4 million this weekend, and fell 60%. Once again, the comparison to Part 1 is the most apt, as on Part 1’s third Friday, it grossed $5.5 million, while Part 2 grossed $5.6 million. After three weekends, Part 1 had earned $246.9 million. Part 2 has earned $254.6 million domestically. Both of these films lag behind The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which had pulled in $264.8 million and cost about half as much to produce ($120 million for Breaking Dawn Part 2 vs. $68 million for Eclipse). The good news now is that the fall of the House of Twilight begins, as it should be out of the top ten after only two more weekends. Drinks are on me at that point.
Skyfall brings balance to the force of the top 10, as the James Bond film continues to sizzle, holding strong in the top two for the fourth straight weekend. Last weekend, the mightiest of Bond films earned $35.5 million over three days (and $50 million over five days, or $10 million a day), and was so strong that I thought the bottom might really fall out this weekend, possibly matching Twilight's 60% drop. Thankfully, the news is better than that, as Skyfall earned another $17 million and dropped an okay-for-the-frame 52%. In Quantum of Solace’s post-turkey frame, it earned only $6.7 million, and did the Twilight plunge at 64%.
The question now is whether or not Skyfall can be a $300 million film. There is another opportunity for it to hold well again next weekend, as only a rom-com opens (all films fear The Hobbit). Then, it should play well as counter-programming against the Peter Jackson behemoth. Following that, the daily Christmas box office begins to take over and Skyfall could do quite well over what has become two solid weeks of moviegoing, from about December 17th to January 1st. Skyfall will have tough row to hoe to get to $300 million, but it is possible. Currently it has $246 million in the bank domestically and is approaching $600 million overseas.