Twelve Days of Box Office

By David Mumpower

December 29, 2006

What do you mean, you haven't seen Dreamgirls yet?

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Thursday's box office results went pretty much as expected. There was but one noteworthy performance, another signal that the lasting appeal of Dreamgirls might be quite a bit less than most analysts, myself included, were expecting.

In day seven of the Twelve Days of Box Office, I confidently stated that the numbers for the titles in the top ten would remain fairly static throughout the rest of the weekdays. After a day of Tim Briody taking a break from my "manifesto" to discuss the most important box office stories from the holiday mid-week, let's take this opportunity to study the past two days of data to see how well my theory held. I am not going to lie. A couple of the movie performances were much less uniform than I had anticipated.

A look at day seven's top ten shows that A Night at the Museum earned $13.4 million, The Pursuit of Happyness earned $7.1 million, Rocky Balboa earned $4.5 million and The Good Shepherd earned $4.1 million. Dreamgirls also earned $5.8 million on Tuesday, but that's a project we identified as an exception. So, we will deal with it later in the discussion. For now, let's focus upon how the rest of the top five held up over Wednesday and Thursday.

After the $13.4 million Tuesday, Ben Stiller's comedy blockbuster fell only 10.9% on Wednesday to $11.9 million. There was further depreciation on Thursday as the project fell another 5% to $11.3 million. As was noted earlier in these discussions, the films that see the most fluctuation are the ones with the largest totals. As such, it's not surprising to see the $2.1 million correction from Tuesday to Thursday. Some of the other productions in the top ten are a bit more surprising.


The Pursuit of Happyness declined from $7.1 million to $5.7 million to $5.4 million. Those are drops of 20% and 5% as well as an overall fall of $1.7 million from Tuesday to Thursday. Rocky Balboa saw an even stiffer fall from $4.5 million to $3.3 million to $3.0 million. Those are declines of 27% and 9% as well as an overall decline in revenue of $1.5 million to Tuesday to Thursday. Finally, The Good Shepherd started at $4.1 million then fell to $3.0 and $2.7 million. Those are drops of 27% and 10% with $1.4 million fewer receipts from Tuesday to Thursday.

Looking at these numbers, there appears to be uniform behavior throughout the top five. Every title listed above started off very strong on Tuesday then lost a lot of momentum on Wednesday followed by even more of a decline on Thursday. Oddly, this was not the case throughout the top ten. Two notable exceptions occurred. Charlotte's Web moved from sixth place on Tuesday with $3.9 million to $4.2 million on Wednesday (an 8% boost in business) followed by $4.3 million on Thursday, good enough for third place on each day. Happy Feet followed this model as well. The penguin CGI flick started in ninth place on Tuesday with $2.4 million before eighth place on Wednesday with $2.6 million then seventh place on Thursday with $2.7 million. You don't need a doctorate in rocket science to deduce the reason for this anomalous behavior. With so many families on vacation this week, genial, comfortable titles such as these are bulletproof in terms of holdover appeal. This allows them to escape the otherwise consistent behavior throughout the top ten.

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