Weekend Wrap-Up

Post-Thanksgiving Doldrums Fail To Wipe Out Box Office

By John Hamann

December 2, 2012

That's good acting right there.

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Third spot for the third straight weekend is Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, another out-and-out hit. Last weekend, Lincoln earned a powerful $25.7 million over three days; this weekend, on the same 2,018 venues it had last weekend, the historical drama earned $13.5 million, and dropped 47%. While the drop for Lincoln may seem high, keep in mind that The Blind Side dropped 50% over the post-Thanksgiving Day frame, which shows that no film is impenetrable to the post Turkey blues. The thing that Lincoln really has going for it is that lower venue count, as it can still expand in the weeks ahead should the market warrant it. Lincoln had a budget of only $65 million. It has already reached $83.7 million in domestic box office, and should get to at least $125 million.

Like last weekend, the duel between Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians continues to play on. Last weekend, the two films were in a virtual tie, with the Guardians holding a slight lead over three days, as it earned $23.8 million versus Pi’s $22.5 million. This weekend, the race was still just as tight. Still at number four is Rise of the Guardians, which earned $13.5 million, while number five is Life of Pi, which took in $12 million. In the percentage drop category, Rise of the Guardians wins with a 43% decline, where Life of Pi fell 47%.


While the two films are very close in terms of box office dollars, their fates are different. Rise of the Guardians was supposed to be the big holiday movie, and it’s turning into a bit of a turd. Life of Pi was filled with risk, and was supposed to be the much lesser film, but remains neck and neck with the animated flick, and is still playing above its supposed weight. Guardians on the other hand, is playing even worse than The Polar Express did, as that film managed four weekends above the $10 million mark, on its way to $165 million. Rise of the Guardians is looking like it will only have two weekends above $10 million. Kids aren’t out of school for another two weeks, so daily box office figures won’t improve for Rise of the Guardians for a long time to come.

The DreamWorks animated film cost $145 million to make, and with only three moviegoing weekends to come before Santa arrives, it’s going to end up below its budget figure, and will have to hope that foreign box office saves it. Life of Pi, on the other hand, does not have that countdown to Christmas, and does not have the expectations that Rise of the Guardians had. It also has award attention where Guardians does not. At this point, I see Life of Pi, which cost $25 million less to make than Guardians, having a better month ahead of it than the animated flick, and also a much better opportunity away from domestic shores. At this point, Rise of the Guardians has earned $48.9 million and Life of Pi has pulled in $48.4 million. This race may be the one to watch over the next few weekends.

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