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Happyness Back at Movie Theatres

Weekend Wrap-Up for December 15-17, 2006

By John Hamann

December 17, 2006

Stop calling me the 'Fresher' Prince!

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Well back in third is Charlotte's Web, and I imagine that the people at Paramount are shaking their collective heads at this one. Charlotte's Web grossed a dismal $12.0 million from a huge 3,566 venues, leaving it with an awful average of $3,364. Critically, Charlotte was the best received film of the weekend; however, it didn't pay off for the studio. At RottenTomatoes, 93 chimed in on Charlotte's Web, with 74 on the good side, and only 19 on the bad. That leaves the Dakota Fanning picture with a very fresh rating of 80%, but little to show for it. The good news for Paramount is that this is a very healthy moviegoing time of the year. Last year, a lame movie like The Family Stone opened to $12 million over the same weekend, and was able to turn that opening into a domestic gross of over $60 million. Moviegoing from December 22nd until after the New Year will be extremely healthy, and there is little family competition upcoming. An arguable point is Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller, which is rated PG, and with a Dinosaur in the TV ad, could upset some things next weekend. I'm still looking for Charlotte's Web to be a winner - the question now is how big.

Even with Charlotte's Web and Eragon, Happy Feet was still able to hold up well. The Warner Bros. flick from Village Roadshow grossed a solid $8.5 million in its fifth weekend, and dropped a not bad 34%. With this weekend's gross and the Yuletide season upon us, Happy Feet is now in a position to become a phenomenon. The animated penguin movie could finish with as much as $180 million or more domestically, before being huge again on home video.

Fifth spot goes to The Holiday, which has the best ranking but not the best legs out of last weekend's crop of openers. The Holiday grossed $8.2 million over its second frame, and was off 36% from last weekend. The Holiday is like the aforementioned Family Stone – it opened in the $12-$13 million range, and will most likely finish with an okay $60 million. It's not What Women Want, but won't be a disaster either. Currently, The Holiday has $25.3 million in the box office kitty.

Apocalypto didn't have the great word-of-mouth that Buena Vista was hoping for, and sees a nasty slide this weekend. Apocalypto grossed $7.7 million, off a larger-than-expected 49% from last weekend, when it was the number one film. Is the film a victim of Mel Gibson's drunken rage a few months ago? No. People simply don't flock to movies without a lick of English, unless it stars Jesus Christ. Apocalypto has now earned $27.9 million.

Blood Diamond sees a decent gross in its second frame, thanks mostly to Leo DiCaprio's double Best Actor nomination from the Golden Globes. This may have helped Blood Diamond earn $6.3 million and drop only 27% from the previous frame. Also helping this Warner Bros. release is the news coverage that this release is generating, due to its take on the diamond industry in Africa. So far, Blood Diamond has earned $18.4 million.




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Casino Royale finishes eighth, as the latest James Bond flick is beginning to run out of steam. Casino Royale grossed $5.7x million, off 36% from last weekend. It's not dead yet with a current total of $137.6 million. The Christmas season should see it earning another $20 million before the month is out, but still leaving it short of Die Another Day, which finished with $161 million.

Still hanging on to a top ten spot is The Nativity Story, which had the best hold in the top ten this weekend. The Nativity earned $4.7 million, off a slight 18% from the previous frame. This one has now earned $23.1 million, which isn't bad considering the opening weekend of only $7.8 million. Look for The Nativity Story to increase on this weekend's gross in the next frame.

Tenth spot goes to Unaccompanied Minors, this year's shot at being the next Home Alone (it missed). The Warner Bros. release grossed $3.7 million in its second frame, off a decent 37% from the previous weekend. I sense the kids like this one; however, it's too little, too late. Currently it sits with $10.2 million.

Overall, things are much better than the last frame, but still lagging behind last year. The top ten films earned $107.3 million, thanks to the strength of the top two films. Last year, with King Kong on top and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in second, the top ten films earned $119.7 million. This year did improve on the 2004 tally, when the top ten films earned about $97 million.


Top Ten for Weekend of December 15-17, 2006
Rank
Film
Number
of Sites
Percentage Drop from Last Week
Estimated
Gross ($)
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 The Pursuit of Happyness 2,852 New 27.0 27.0
2 Eragon 3,020 New 23.5 23.5
3 Charlotte's Web 3,566 New 12.0 12.0
4 Happy Feet 3,335 -34% 8.5 149.4
5 The Holiday 2,614 -36% 8.2 25.3
6 Apocalypto 2,465 -49% 7.7 27.9
7 Blood Diamond 1,910 -28% 6.3 18.4
8 Casino Royale 2,437 -36% 5.7 137.6
9 The Nativity Story 2,574 -18% 4.7 23.1
10 Unaccompanied Minors 2,775 -37% 3.7 10.2

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