The Twelve Days of Box Office Day Three

By David Mumpower

December 23, 2013

Tiny baby dinosaurs make great pets, right?

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The most magical time of the year for Hollywood is here as we welcome you to BOP's 13th annual Twelve Days of Box Office. Yes, today is technically day three already, but I didn’t write the first two days so please humor me.

By now, you know the drill. The end of December holiday period is the most lucrative time on the box office calendar. Every single title in release is artificially inflated because people have so much free time that they can watch any movie that they think is worth their hard earned money. The proverbial rising tide will lift all boats, at least in theory.

Even so, an unwanted movie is still an unwanted movie. It will earn slightly more in December because consumers have the ability to watch the product. It will earn a lot less because it (presumably) sucks. I mention this aspect because there were a couple of clunkers this past weekend. They will still have solid box office weeks but nobody should be expecting any miracles.

The 2013 calendar arrangement is arguably the least beneficial one for Hollywood. We just had a weekend then we will have a single weekday boost for Monday, one I will discuss tomorrow, then we reach Christmas Eve. As all of BOP’s loyal readers know, Christmas Eve will cause a decline in the box office several titles since it is primarily a travel/celebration holiday. On Christmas Day, box office will spike again. Then, Thursday’s box office will be Saturday-like as will Friday’s. Saturday will actually be Saturday so it will be great as well.


Sunday will be better than usual since so many people will go ahead and take Monday and Tuesday off. Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, is functionally similar to Christmas Eve so box office will drop a bit that day before staging a strong recovery on New Year’s Day. Thursday will again be better than normal despite the fact that the holiday season is technically over because people will still be taking that vacation day. Then, we have reached the weekend and ordinary box office behavior will be restored. So there you have it. You know the next 13 days of your life. That’s what you get as a bonus for reading a site with Prophets in the title.

If you are a new reader, a lot of the above is probably confusing. And that is why we provide detailed analysis for each day of box office during the holiday season. It is an amazing phenomenon to examine. Every year, the rules change slightly based on the calendar configuration with the crucial aspect being the days of the week upon which Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day occur. What is particularly odd is that no matter how much movie consumption changes, the basic rules still apply.

To wit, the last time we had a calendar configuration of Christmas Eve on a Tuesday was 2002 due to a Leap Year issue. Even though social media did not exist, Netflix was in its infancy and Blockbuster still ruled the land, the behavior then will be a solid (possibly perfect) model for the behavior in 2013. What matters about movie consumption has less to do with scale and evolving technologies. Instead, it is about consumer behavior. The nature of December holiday vacation time has not changed even as the basic abilities of humanity have improved at a historically unprecedented rate. Frankly, it’s fun to know how reliable the movie industry at the end of the year.

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