Post-Thanksgiving Frame Sleepy Affair at the Box Office

Weekend Wrap-Up for December 1-3, 2006

By John Hamann

December 3, 2006

Conceptual art can be so freaky.

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Reviews were not great for The Nativity Story. Of the 101 reviewers who voted at RottenTomatoes, only 41 liked it enough to give it a thumbs up. Even the reviews that liked it called it safe, something that Mel Gibson shied away from in The Passion of the Christ. But before you think that The Nativity won't earn much box office because of bad reviews, don't forget that The Passion was only 51% fresh, not far off the 41% rating that The Nativity earned. The Nativity will only be big in the next few weeks if Christians get on board like they did with The Passion.

Deck the Halls (or is that Dreck?) finishes fifth this weekend, and I can only hope that teenagers were paying for this one this weekend and sneaking into Turistas or Van Wilder 2. Deck the Halls grossed $6.7 million this weekend, off a delightfully large 45% from the previous frame. Maybe the word on this one (8% fresh at RottenTomatoes people) is getting out. Currently it sits with $25.0 million.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is sixth over the first weekend of December, as it earned $5.0 million. The Tim Allen comedy was dropped on its head following the long weekend, as it lost 49% of its audience. The Santa Clause 3 should see some smaller drops from now up to Christmas, as it hopes to hold on and finish with about $90 million.

Finishing seventh is Borat, as the magnificent one slowly slides down the top ten list. Borat earned $4.8 million in its fifth weekend and was off 53%. The lawsuit target has now earned a huge $116.3 million against a budget of only $18 million. Look for Borat to finish with about $135 million.


Fox Atomic's Turistas finishes well back in eighth this weekend, as the appetite for horror/thrillers in December just isn't there. Turistas grossed a slim $3.5 million from only 1,570 venues this weekend, giving it a venue average of $2,255. The biggest opening for a non-sequel horror film, not opening on Christmas Day, is the remake of Psycho, which tanked over the same weekend in 1998 when it earned just $10 million. This release date was just a bad idea, and like last weekend's Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, would have been much better off with a launch date over the September long weekend.

Ninth goes to Stranger Than Fiction, the Will Ferrell flick that didn't work with moviegoers. Stranger earned $3.4 million and was off 41%. Personally, I'm already looking forward to seeing this one on DVD. Stranger Than Fiction has now earned a disappointing $37.0 million.

Finally in tenth is the film that should have gone straight to DVD, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj. The National Lampoon flick earned only $2.3 million from 1,979 venues. That's quite a way from the $7.3 million the original Van Wilder earned over its opening frame in 2002. Currently, this version of Van Wilder has zero positive reviews out of a possible 16 at RT. Somebody flush the toilet.

Overall, the soft openers didn't leave this year behind last year's totals. Over the same weekend in 2005, the top ten earned about $73.5 million. This year, the top ten earned a better $76.9 million. Next weekend the heat should go back up at the box office, as openers include DiCaprio's Blood Diamond, The Holiday with Jack Black and Cameron Diaz, and as Mel Gibson's Apocolypto.

Top Ten for Weekend of December 1-3, 2006
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Gross ($)
Gross ($)
1 Happy Feet 3,804 54% 17.1 121.0
2 Casino Royale 3,386 51% 15.1 115.9
3 Deja Vu 3,108 46% 11.0 44.1
4 The Nativity Story 3,183 New 8.0 8.0
5 Deck the Halls 3,205 35% 6.7 25.0
6 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 2,617 50% 5.0 73.2
7 Borat 2,237 53% 4.8 116.3
8 Turistas 1,570 New 3.5 3.5
9 Stranger Than Fiction 1,804 41% 3.4 37.0
10 National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj 1,979 New 2.3 2.3

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