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The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Three

By David Mumpower

December 24, 2012

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Welcome to day three of the 12th annual 12 Days of Box Office. Yes, you read that correctly. We have been analyzing these dozen days for a dozen years now. That’s like 365 days worth of box office analysis! And for all of these years, you assumed I was good at math…

Ordinarily, I handle this introduction on the first day but since December 22nd fell on a Saturday this year, Tim Briody and John Hamann had the honor. Tim did a wonderful job in hitting the highlights. I am not going to bury you with statistics and calculations today. That’s more of a Wednesday column. For now, all I want to do is reinforce his comments with a couple of data points. There will be a little math but it’s fairly straightforward. I promise, Christmas pinky-swear.

The purpose of the 12 Days of Christmas box office analysis is to demonstrate how the rising tide lifts all boats. This is the strongest period for movie revenue on the calendar each year. There is no debate on the issue. If you have ever wondered why there is always so much great product available in movie theaters at the end of the year, you now know why. The cause is that consumers have ample free time to watch as many theatrical releases as they like. The effect is that movie studios seed the marketplace with some of their finest products.




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Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let us consider the rising tide aspect. The only two examples I plan to use today – I realize it is Christmas Eve so I will be less verbose than normal – are Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph. These two titles were released at Thanksgiving. The first rule of the movie release cycle is that when new product is available, old product is pushed aside. In December, there is an exception to this rule. Any title that maintains exhibitions until the end of the year receives the Holiday Bump.

Rise of the Guardians is a great example. Consider its weekdays for the first week of December. During that Monday-to-Friday period, the Thanksgiving release garnered roughly $2.54 million in box office receipts. All of you who read the Daily Box Office columns at BOP each summer know that this total just depreciates between 40 and 60% each week, depending on the film/genre. Rise of the Guardians fell modestly to $2.17 million during its second set of weekdays. This is a 15% weekly decline, a very solid figure for a title.

Last week is when the situation grew more interesting. Rise of the Guardians increased to $2.71 million during the Monday-to-Thursday box office timeframe. This particular title gained 25% from the previous week and is up 6.7% from the first week of the month to the third week of the month. Generally, the only titles that do this are runaway blockbusters such as Taken and The Sixth Sense that demonstrate borderline unprecedented box office stability. In December, this is modus operandi for all titles in release.


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