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Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Seven

By David Mumpower

December 27, 2006

They're auditioning to be briefcase girls on Deal or No Deal.

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Day Seven of the Twelve Days of Holiday Box Office is a look forward at the rest of the weekdays by researching historical examples. Earlier in our discussions, I mentioned how in-release productions would all behave as if they were accumulating Friday box office every day of this week. I recognize that this seems unlikely, so today's analysis will focus upon the underlying data supporting this assertion.

Before we get too far into the numbers, however, there are two examples that are not applicable. The careful wording above indicates that in-release titles have such expected behavior. Dreamgirls and Black Christmas, however, were not in theaters last Friday. Their debuts on Christmas make their performances more complicated. We will leave those out of the equation when we discuss behavior. All you should care about with regards to these two titles is their holdover from Monday to Tuesday.

Dreamgirls debuted with a blistering $8.4 million in only 852 venues, but its momentum was slowed a bit after the holiday. The Beyonce musical fell 32% to $5.8 million on Tuesday, giving it a running tally of $15.1 million. Don't be too concerned about this decline, though. Simply recall that Rocky Balboa's drop in a similar situation last week was 45%. Also factor in the similar drop of the other December 25th opener, Black Christmas. Like the Sylvester Stallone production, it fell 45% on day two while also falling out of the top ten. $1.8 million on Tuesday gives the movie a running total of $5.1 million and also indicates that it is a box office non-factor long term. Apparently, people don't want to see a horror thriller on Christmas. Go figure.

Now that we have separated the openers from the rest of the top ten, we can go into deeper detail about the odd behavioral pattern of this week. Those of you who have been reading the other entries for the column will recall that I used two examples for prior box office comparisons. The first was 2005, the most recent year, while the other was 2000, the last time we had a similar calendar configuration to the 2006 schedule. Since the actual day of the week upon which Christmas Eve (as well as New Year's Eve...but I'm getting a couple of days ahead of myself) falls is important, it is imperative to consider the 2000 model when anticipating future behavior. Keeping this in mind, we will now take a look back at how the titles did during the post-Christmas to pre-New Year's weekday period for these titles.




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The totals we are discussing for 2005 are the weekdays (Tuesday through Thursday) after December 25th but before December 31st. In this example, it's December 27-29, 2005. We also want to consider the prior Friday's performance for each film. In this example, it's December 23rd. Here is the top 10 for each date:

12/23/05

1) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: $7.9 million
2) King Kong: $7.8 million
3) Fun With Dick And Jane: $5.3 million
4) Cheaper by the Dozen 2: $3.9 million
5) Memoirs of a Geisha: $2.7 million

12/27/05

1) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: $9.2 million
2) King Kong: $7.9 million
3) Fun With Dick And Jane: $5.0 million
4) Cheaper by the Dozen 2: $4.9 million
5) Memoirs of a Geisha: $2.4 million

12/28/05

1) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: $8.8 million
2) King Kong: $7.1 million
3) Cheaper by the Dozen 2: $5.1 million
4) Fun With Dick And Jane: $4.7 million
5) Memoirs of a Geisha: $2.4 million

12/29/05

1) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: $8.9 million
2) King Kong: $7.1 million
3) Cheaper by the Dozen 2: $5.2 million
4) Fun With Dick And Jane: $4.7 million
5) Memoirs of a Geisha: $2.4 million

Notice the uncanny behavioral patterns for the titles in release. Fun with Dick and Jane never fluctuates by more than $300,000 either way. Memoirs of a Geisha winds up at $2.4 million every weekday. Cheaper by the Dozen not only offers Friday-like performance during the week but, in fact, exceeds the prior week's $3.9 million number by over a million in receipts on each of its weekdays during this time frame. King Kong offers an improved performance on Tuesday before leveling off a bit on Wednesday and Thursday due to its lackluster buzz. Even this frontloaded title performs within $800,000 of its prior Friday total with its worst weekday numbers. Narnia is the most impressive of all. Despite having the biggest Friday of any film the prior week, it still exceeds this number on each and every weekday during the crucial holiday week box office period. When a movie does better business on a Wednesday than it did the prior Friday, you know something strange is going on.


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