The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Two

By Tim Briody

December 24, 2016

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The Twelve Days of Box Office officially kicked off Wednesday with three new releases and another joined the fray on Friday as the most interesting box office week of the year begins.

Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year and the last time we had this calendar configuration was 2011, when the big winner was Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, a movie that actually opened in a few hundred theaters the weekend prior to Christmas. We’ve got essentially the same scenario this time, albeit at a degree of magnitude or two higher. As far as new releases go, much like this year, 2011 saw a couple of Wednesday new releases in the form of the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and family release The Adventures of Tintin, a proper Friday release with We Bought a Zoo (a film that still deserves an exclamation point at the end of its title) and even Christmas Day releases War Horse and The Darkest Hour. We do have a Christmas Day release this year with Denzel Washington’s Fences, which looks to maximize its earnings over the busy box office week and pick up some awards attention as well.

Christmas Eve is a notorious anti-box office day, and falling on a Saturday is the worst case scenario for the box office, as the strongest day of the week in theaters is no match for the day when people generally spend it with families. The boost on Christmas Sunday helps, but there’s always money lost that’s never made back compared to if the holiday was another day of the week. We’re going to look at the movies in theaters now and see what fate awaits them this weekend, using the 2011 films as a comparison.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

To nobody’s surprise, the top film on Friday is Rogue One, with $22.7 million. That’s a 68% decline from last Friday, but if you take out the amount attributed to Thursday night showings, it’s only a 46% decline from Friday to Friday. That’s pretty good, considering, and it’s now earned $244.7 million in just eight days in theaters. Comparisons to last year’s The Force Awakens don’t really work since Christmas fell on a Friday last year, and it had also earned $440 million through its 8th day of release, so Rogue One just pales in comparison here.

As mentioned, the December box office money train winner in 2011 was Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the film that revitalized the franchise and arguably resuscitated Tom Cruise’s career. For reasons nobody remembers at this point, Ghost Protocol opened the previous weekend in just 425 theaters, earning $12.7 million. Expanding the Wednesday before Christmas to over 3,400 theaters, it earned $9.6 million on Friday. It then took a Christmas Eve dip to $6.2 million, before jumping back up to $13.6 million on Christmas Day. That’s a $29.5 million with a 3.05 weekend multiplier. Another top earner that year was the Sherlock Holmes sequel Game of Shadows. An actual holdover and not some weird platform release, it grossed $6.7 million on the 23rd (a 53% drop from its opening Friday) and then plunged to $3.9 million on Christmas Eve before rebounding to $9.6 million on Christmas.

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