By Walid Habboub
December 27, 2002
We might be starting to sound like a broken record but the success of
The Two Towers continues at an undeniably solid pace. Towers held strong
in its Boxing Day total as it increased its daily take by 24%, while
Steven Spielberg's cat-and-mouse film Catch Me If You Can held firmly at
second by dropping only 14%. The daily changes saw the kid-friendly
films take giant leaps forward while the adult targeted films saw
moderate to minimal gains.
The Two Towers pulled in $15.5 million on Thursday, December 26th, its
ninth day of release. With a total of $151.2 million, the film has
averaged a whopping $16.8 million per day over that time span.
Comparatively, The Phantom Menace’s average over its first nine days was
$15.5 million and the average for Fellowship of the Ring in that same time span
was $13.2. Clearly, we are talking about massive numbers here. The Two
Towers has that rare box office blend of huge early gates and strong,
The 24% increase by Towers easily beats the increase of Fellowship from last
year and is definitely a positive sign for New Line. What is currently unclear is whether the snowstorms on Christmas Day are inflating the film's Thursday totals. The strong holdover might be solely due to unmet demand or it could be an indication that holiday box office was negatively impacted by inclement weather. If it's the former, we have a portent of an excellent second weekend for the epic film.
Simply stated, Towers' two-day trend from December 24th to December 26th beats Fellowship’s by 81% to 78%. This number helps us see the forest for the trees; the verdict so far is that Towers is holding on just as strong as Fellowship did.
Catch Me if You Can also did very well yesterday as it only dropped
12% when a drop of 25% would have been considered a
positive sign; the film held on to second place by
pulling in a strong $8.9 million. When compared to Ali, last year's big Christmas
film, we can see that this is a strong sign for the
Tom Hanks/Leonardo DiCaprio starrer. Ali dropped 43% in the same
time frame last year and went on to fizzle at the box office. On the
other side of the coin is The Talented Mr. Ripley, which
dropped only 1.5%; however, it is important to note that in 1999, the
year of Ripley’s release, the 26th was a Sunday, thereby inflating the number. With the total for Catch Me if You Can falling in between those two films, this
frolicking thriller seems to have a strong future ahead.
The rest of the pack falls in line with what our expectations were. The
kids' films increased dramatically; The Wild Thornberrys and Harry
Potter led the way with 150% and 100% gains respectively. Another
film proving to be popular with the younger set is Star Trek, which
increased its total by 60%. Star Trek was one of the kid-friendly films
that were hurt on Christmas Day but have now rebounded masterfully
as expected. Maid in Manhattan also saw a steady rise as it increased
its total by 43%.
Finishing up the top ten, we see that the less a film is targeted
towards children, the less dramatically it increased its total. More
adult-skewed pictures such as Gangs of New York didn’t see that much
improvement. With Gangs sitting at $18.9 million and its best days
possibly behind it, only one thing is clear: the movie needs Academy
Award wins to make back its huge budget. It only increased 6% and
was the weakest day-to-day performer of all the top ten films.
Two Weeks Notice maintained a strong presence in third place, increasing
by 25% as it pulled in a decent $4.7 million. The romantic comedy's total currently stands at a
respectable $27.5 million. Drumline came in sixth as it
increased 21% and pulled in $2.2 million for an overall total of $28.5 million.
Rounding out the list at number ten is Rob Schneider’s The Hot Chick,
which increased 18% to $1.2 million and currently stands
at a not-so-hot $17.4 million.
Friday marks the beginning of a very exciting weekend for The Two Towers
and Catch Me If You Can. The ultimate fate of both films rests in these
numbers. While huge daily takes will fade away with the holidays,
weekends become more and more critical. The weekend will be the true
barometer for the word of mouth that Towers is receiving and Catch Me’s
first weekend will define whether the interest in the film is real and
goes beyond its initial release, which was the case with Ali. All in
all, Towers should hang onto the top spot, dropping between 15 and 20%, while
Catch Me should be in second place with a take of approximately $25
to $30 million. Tune in tomorrow for our regular Friday Numbers Analysis
feature and find out the results.