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Bond, Happy Feet Rule Pre-Thanksgiving Box Office

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for November 17-19, 2006

By John Hamann

November 19, 2006

And most of all, son, beware of creepy cameramen here to film your march.

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After two weekends on top, Borat finally got a taste of reality. The Sacha Baron Cohen flick got dumped into third spot, as some real box office heavyweights brushed Borat to the side. Still, the oddball comedy managed to keep its drop below 50%, earning $14.4 million from 2,611 venues. It dropped 49% compared to the previous weekend, when it earned $28.3 million, up 7% from its debut frame. Borat will have to wait another weekend to celebrate reaching $100 million, as its total currently sits at $90.5 million. Still, this weekend's gross is close to the film's production budget of $18 million, so I don't think 20th Century Fox will be too disappointed with a third place finish.

Finishing fourth is The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, as it gets some separation from the other family friendly holdover, Flushed Away. Santa Clause 3 got hammered hard, grossing $8.2 million over its third frame and dropping a serious 51%. The debut of the animated penguins rocked both of the family holdovers this weekend, and raises serious questions about how they will finish. They should get a reprieve over the Thanksgiving weekend, by will be hung out to dry the weekend after that. Currently, The Santa Clause 3 sits with $51.6 million, and will have to work hard to reach $80 million.

Flushed Away gets hurt the worst by Happy Feet, as the Aardman animated flick gets decimated by the mighty penguins. Flushed Away grossed only $6.8 million, off a disastrous 59% compared to last weekend. The Veteran's Day holiday artificially inflated last weekend's grosses for both Flushed Away and Santa Clause 3, and the heat is being felt this frame. Flushed Away has now grossed $48.8 million for Paramount, against a budget of about $90 million.

Will Ferrell's Stranger than Fiction couldn't get any traction at the box office, either, as adult moviegoers chose action or animation over a thinking man's comedy. Stranger than Fiction rang up only $6.6 million in sales, off an unexpected 51%. This one looks like it will play like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and despite being a great film, will fade into the sunset more quickly than it should. Currently the Will Ferrell comedy has earned $22.9 million domestically.




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Even good films weren't spared the wrath of the percentage drop, as even the Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett feature Babel was left out to dry. Babel, from Paramount Vantage, earned only $2.9 million and was off 48% compared to last weekend's take. Out to only 1,251 venues, it had a venue average of $2,318, and has a current domestic total of only $12.0 million. Unless something strange happens, this one should be gone by next weekend, as four new flicks hit screens to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend.

Saw III finished eighth, as horror fanatics have had their thrill and moved on. Saw III earned $2.8 million, off a huge 60% from last weekend. Saw III has now seen drops of 56%, 53% and now 60%, and currently sits with $74.9 million in the box office kitty.

The Departed finishes ninth, as Martin Scorsese's crime drama continues to wind down. The mob flick earned $2.6 million in its seventh weekend, and was off 50% compared to the previous frame. The Departed has now earned $113.9 million at the domestic box office.

Tenth place goes (somewhat unexpectedly) to Eight Films to Die For, an ambitious project from After Dark Films. The three night indie horror film festival exhibited in 488 different theaters across the country, has to be viewed as a roaring success. This is a win for After Dark as well as indie horror as a whole.

Out of the top ten is the worst idea of the weekend. Let's Go To Prison opens in 12th, earning $2.1 million. Thank you for not seeing this movie.

Overall, even with two strong openers the box office couldn't hold a candle to what was happening last year at this time. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opened to $102.7 million over the same weekend last year, and was followed by Walk the Line at $22.3 million. That $124 million the two openers earned last year was just about equal to the $129.7 million the entire top ten found this year.


Top Ten for Weekend of November 17-19, 2006
Rank
Film
Number
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Estimated
Gross ($)
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 Happy Feet 3,804 New 42.3 42.3
2 Casino Royale 3,434 New 40.6 40.6
3 Borat 2,611 -49% 14.4 90.5
4 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 3,359 -52% 8.2 51.6
5 Flushed Away 3,307 -59% 6.8 48.8
6 Stranger Than Fiction 2,270 -51% 6.6 22.9
7 Babel 1,251 -48% 2.9 12.0
8 Saw III 1,942 -60% 2.8 74.9
9 The Departed 1,611 -50% 2.6 113.9
10 8 Films to Die For 488 New 2.5 2.5

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