Weekend Forecast for December 22-25, 2006

by Reagen Sulewski

December 22, 2006

The situation grows uncomfortable after Fox refuses to get naked and play the bongos.

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McConaughey is a hit and miss box office draw, with his hits mostly coming in romantic comedies. Ominously, his most recent miss was in a sports themed film, Two For the Money. However, this is a much more sympathetic story, and should have much more of a built-in audience. Look for this to come in with about $14 million in four days.

The Good Shepherd stars Matt Damon in a Cold War spy thriller that looks at the early days of the CIA when it was starting after World War II. Directed by Robert DeNiro, it follows Damon as an idealistic young covert agent as he is gradually affected by the paranoia of the Cold War and the difficulty in being a spy and keeping a family life.

It also stars Angelina Jolie as Damon's wife, with other supporting roles going to Alec Baldwin, Billy Crudup, Joe Pesci, Timothy Hutton and others. A three hour epic, it feels for all the world like a pet project, which it is for DeNiro. That rarely turns out well, and critics have been taking it to task as a bloated film, but at least one that tries hard. It's not the most dynamic looking film, either, and the extended running time and relatively small screen count are going to work against this one. I look for a weekend of about $12 million.


Dreamgirls expands on Christmas Day to 852 theaters, after a tremendous limited run, earning over $100,000 per theater in three locations. Based on a Broadway musical about a fictional girl group in the 1960s that is totally not based on the Supremes - just ask DreamWorks' lawyers - this film boasts a stellar cast and has garnered a tremendous amount of early Oscar buzz. It only has one day in the reporting period for this weekend and just a few screens, but even at that should be able to bring in about $4 million on Christmas Day.

There is also a horror film opening Christmas Day, much to the consternation of some. Black Christmas is a remake of the 1974 'classic', updated here by Final Destination's Glen Morgan. The plot is simple - nubile young sorority sisters are terrorized by a cannibalistic psycho bent on killing them all in elaborate ways. Two of the potential victims are people you've possibly heard of, Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert, but the rest are relative unknowns.

Christmas may not seem like the idea time to launch a horror film, but always remember that this is about the time Scream started and launched a phenomenon. Black Christmas will be nothing of the sort, I'm thinking, but there's always that possibility. Opening on only 1,278 screens, Dimension seems to have a realistic expectation for the film, i.e. not much. Look for just around $2 million on its Christmas Day bow.

Finally we get to the returning films. The Pursuit of Happyness was a surprise winner on the weekend, earning $26 million and upsetting a family film adaptation and a CGI extravaganza. Will Smith proved to be an even stronger box office draw than expected outside what might be considered his natural element. This should hold up strongly as a family option over the holidays, and should see another $20 million over the next four days.

Eragon, the $100 million fantasy project, started off a bit poorly for the size of its budget with a $23 million opening weekend, but a lot better than it probably deserved, based on the reviews. Positioning itself as this year's Narnia or Lord of the Rings, it was clearly not up to that lofty task. Look for a pretty steep decline for this one, with about $12 million coming in through Christmas Day.

Charlotte's Web has a shot at Christmas-week success, though the $11 million it started off with has to be considered a disappointment based on the source material and voice casting. People just don't care for Julia Roberts without Julia Roberts on screen, apparently. Aside from Thanksgiving, this is the best weekend for multiple family films to survive, but I'll give this one about $9 million through the 25th.

Forecast: Weekend of December 22-25, 2006
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Night at the Museum 3,685 New 36.4
2 The Pursuit of Happyness 2,863 +11 20.5
3 Rocky Balboa 3,017 New 19.2
4 We Are Marshall 2,606 New 14.4
5 The Good Shephard 2,218 New 12.4
6 Eragon 3.030 +10 12.1
7 Charlotte's Web 3,728 +162 9.7
8 Happy Feet 2,565 -770 6.3
9 The Holiday 2,635 +121 5.8
10 Apocalypto 2,144 -321 4.8

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