The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Six

by David Mumpower

December 27, 2012

She thought The Dark Knight Rises would do better.

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The wonderful aspect of the Twelve Days of Box Office is the predictability of it. The results for December 26th were a perfect demonstration of this. Almost every title in the top ten declined from Christmas Day to Wednesday and the only two that did not were studio estimates. Those two titles, Monsters, Inc. and Rise of the Guardians, could be altered after the fact to reflect the fact that everything dropped.

The most predictable results of all involved the Christmas Day openers. All of them dropped almost exactly the same amount, between 31% and 33%. In terms of actual dollars, Les Miserables experienced the largest revenue decrease from Tuesday to Wednesday. After earning a stunning $18.1 million on Christmas, it fell to $6 million to $12.1 million yesterday. After only two days in theaters, it has already grossed $30.2 million. Ignore the expected decline and focus on the fact that the musical-iest musical of all time is tearing up the North America box office thus far.

Django Unchained and Parental Guidance behaved similarly. The Jamie Foxx/Leonardo DiCaprio feature lost almost exactly $5 million of revenue on Wednesday, falling from $15 million to $10 million. This 33% drop allowed The Hobbit to sneak back into second place with $11.4 million, ostensibly an increase from $11.3 million on Tuesday. It should hold that spot indefinitely unless Django Unchained surprises. There is even a scenario where The Hobbit works its way back into first place if Les Miserables fails to sustain its current momentum.

Parental Guidance technically had the best hold of the three Christmas releases, dropping 31% from $6.3 million to $4.3 million. As a reminder, a similar hold on a larger number is always better. While the numbers may support Parental Guidance as having the best second day hold, the reality is that Les Miserables is the most impressive of the trio in major capacities.


Is there a way to place these second day performances in contest? Not cleanly, no. Yesterday, I mentioned four previous Christmas Day releases. Those are War Horse from 2011 and Valkyrie, Marley & Me and Bedtime Stories from 2008. While they were relevant yesterday as Christmas Day openers, these are not good comparisons for second day behavior. The reason why is that three of the four were Thursday releases. Their second day in theaters was a Friday, so there was obviously not going to be inflated numbers on that day. With War Horse, the inverse was true. Its second day was a Monday, which was the national holiday so consumers had vacation as if it were Christmas Day.

The example that is at least marginally applicable is Ali. I mentioned that the Will Smith vehicle was as frontloaded as any December film ever released up until that point. After earning $10.2 million on its first day, Ali fell 43% to $5.8 million. Effectively, nothing that debuted two days ago has demonstrated the precipitous degree of decline as that title. The titles should normalize from this moment forward with the only upcoming strangeness occurring on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thursday box office should be universally in decline a moderate amount. Then, Friday will contain a modest bump for all titles in release. Weekend days do matter in late December, just not as much as they do at any time of the year.

The rest of the top ten is static. Jack Reacher fell 27% to $3.8 million. This Is 40 held even better with a 24% drop to $3.3 million. With running totals of $27.4 million and $20.8 million, both of these titles are still in the wait and see phase. Meanwhile, Lincoln is one of the box office triumphs of Steven Spielberg’s career. Another $2.1 million on Wednesday brings its domestic total to $122.4 million.

The Guilt Trip maintains its modest pace with $1.7 million for a grand total of $12.8 million. The two titles that increased are Monsters, Inc. and Rise of the Guardians. The Pixar classic grossed $1.6 million, an incremental gain of 13% from Christmas. More impressively, it is roughly double the movie’s Monday take of $826,910. Still, the re-release has earned only $10.2 million in eight days, not yet enough to justify the attempt.

Rise of the Guardians merited a 19% bump to $1.4 million, which makes it the outlier. The most festive, timely release in theaters had better days on Monday and Wednesday than on Christmas Day itself. I…have no explanation for this.

The numbers that exemplify the power of holiday box office are the combined revenue titles for the top 10. Wednesday’s tally of $51.9 million bests almost every day from the summer of 2012. Still, it is down considerably from Christmas Day’s $68.4 million. The 24% drop is respectable, all things considered since Wednesday was not the official holiday. All these numbers reinforce is that Christmas Day is beastly for movie revenue.



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