Borat, Family Films Trump Openers

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for November 10-12, 2006

By John Hamann

November 12, 2006

The driving instructor got an unpleasant surprise when Borat sneezed on him.

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The Departed finishes in seventh spot, as a crowded slate drives down the holdovers, no matter how good. Martin Scorsese's epic crime drama grossed $5.2 million in its sixth weekend. The Departed dropped a mere 32% this weekend, which means it now has five consecutive drops of close to or less than 30%. The Departed has now earned $109.8 million, a few million more than Scorsese's former biggest, The Aviator, which finished with about $102 million.

The Return, a horror film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, finishes eighth for Rogue Pictures. The Return earned only $4.8 million from 1,986 venues, giving it an average of $2,407. Rogue dropped the ball on this one, refusing to screen it for critics and mishandling the marketing completely. The good news for the distributor is that this one cost only $15 million to make, a figure it won't earn domestically, but an amount it will see from home video sales.


Ninth goes to The Prestige, which grossed $4.6 million in its fourth weekend. The Chris Nolan film dropped 38% compared to last weekend and now sits with a solid $46 million.

Tenth is an embarrassment for Russell Crowe, as his latest, A Good Year, does a Tom Cruise in MI3 impression, but to a much worse degree. A Good Year earned only $3.8 million from 2,066 venues, which means it cost more to make prints for this one than it earned in opening weekend box office. Crowe was wondering if audiences had forgotten the phone-throwing incident that happened in New York following the brutal opening of Cinderella Man in 2005. I would say obviously not, as movie fans seem to be passing judgment on star behavior via their ticket buying habits in 2006. The good news for distributor Fox is that the budget for A Good Year is rumored to be as low as $35 million, so even if this one fails to make $10 million, it isn't the end of the world. For Russell Crowe however, this is two consecutive disappointments (or one disappointment and one brutal flop).

Our last opener, Harsh Times, fails to register a top ten position this weekend. Released to only 956 venues, the Christian Bale flick grossed only $1.8 million this weekend. This one should have been bigger. It had an urban setting and starred Batman along with Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria.

Overall, the hot streak continues at the box office, again thanks to Borat. The top ten grossed a combined $107.2 million, which is more or less dead even with last year, when the top ten rang up about $107.5 million. Next weekend, things get even more interesting with the release of the new James Bond film, Casino Royale, as well as the new animated feature, Happy Feet from Warner Bros.

Top Ten for Weekend of November 10-12, 2006
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Gross ($)
Gross ($)
1 Borat 2,566 +9.6% 29.0 67.8
2 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 3,458 -13% 16.9 41.1
3 Flushed Away 3,707 -11% 16.7 39.9
4 Stranger Than Fiction 2,264 New 14.1 14.1
5 Saw III 3,013 -56% 6.4 69.7
6 Babel 1,251 +515% 5.7 7.5
7 The Departed 2,210 -32% 5.2 109.8
8 The Return 1,986 New 4.8 4.8
9 The Prestige 2,236 -38% 4.6 46.0
10 A Good Year 2,066 New 3.8 3.8

Continued:       1       2       3



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