Film 3 Day Per Screen Total
1 Four Christmases $31,680,000 $9,571 $46,710,000
2 Bolt $26,596,000 (+1.4%) $7,279 $66,862,000
3 Twilight $26,370,000 (-62.1%) $7,699 $119,688,000
4 Quantum of Solace $19,500,000 (-27.0%) $5,570 $142,056,000
5 Australia $14,815,000 $5,607 $20,000,000
6 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $14,500,000 (-7.4%) $3,909 $159,511,000
7 Transporter 3 $12,330,000 $4,695 $18,500,000
8 Role Models $5,284,000 (-27.9%) $2,407 $57,896,000
9 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas $1,690,000 (+2.6%) $2,904 $5,160,000
10 Milk $1,381,000 $38,361 $1,866,000

This just in: Ugg Boots. Again. Seriously, doesn’t anyone in this work have taste?

The nice thing about taking a holiday weekend off from writing about box office while tryptophan makes its way through your system is that you don’t have to make guestimates about films that look like weak sisters, but end up doing some business. After Fred Claus - which from all accounts is a terrible film – I figured Four Christmases, with its second helping of Vincent Vaugh-related Xmas hijinks would not find much of an audience. But with Reese Witherspoon, and likely some well cut TV spots with Femme-centric running during Oprah, and Male-centric running during sporting events, you have a film that tops the sensation that is Twilight. 4 XMases supposedly cost $80, so it may need some help getting to profitability but with DVD sales next year, I’m sure it’ll prove to be big enough.

Actually, Bolt beat Twilight for the three day. That’s what you call getting a Holiday bounce. The 3-D might help keep the film going a bit longer than normal, and the film received some positive reviews, so likely it’s playing well, but since the film is the product of the Pixar takeover, and was likely in motion to the point that it could not be stopped, a modest win (say $120-ish) with solid home video is all that can be asked for. And that – with those numbers is just barely in reach. Thankfully – for everyone – next weekend is soft, but that means with the holidays over, the numbers are going to drop like they are too warm to handle (and to cold to hold).
Jeffery Wells was suggesting early on in this weekend – when the numbers favored a Twilight second weekend score – a $200 total for Twilight domestically. With the over 60% drop, that’s just not going to happen, as next weekend should also be brutal. The best that can be hoped for is a limp to $150, which is in the cards. Maybe even $160. That’s about it. But if the sequel is cheap enough, we could get at least to a third or fourth film. It could become Summit’s Saw franchise. But diminishing returns are all that can be hoped for as the film doesn’t seem to attract outside interest, except people who want to call it lame. They’re not coming back for the sequel to say it again.

Speaking of falling off, Quantum of Solace will also fall short of $200, and should just get past Casino Royale’s $167 Million domestic total. But even if the third film is significantly better, it’s still going to take a bit of a hit from a film that most people think is just okay. I think the way to watch the two is to stop Casino Royale after Bond is Tortured, and then start Quantum with the recovery period.

Australia… Cost at least $130 and will probably not make that in total around the world. Maybe just a little over. Moulin Rouge did well enough for a hard sell (and the nominations helped), though domestically it was a modest title. But that had some heat, and this has a couple good reviews from people who are making apologies for it. When it does four to five million next weekend, and finishes out around $30-$40, the question now is if 20th Century Fox decides to throw more money at it to hopefully get more people interested. My guess is they let it go. And my guess is that the last run of Fox titles will eventually cause something of a shake up and someone’s getting a golden parachute. Transporter 3 must have been cheap seeing as how there’s supposedly no action for the first hour, so if it gets to $40, and the international sales are good enough it may yet spawn a fourth film. How’s that for good news?

You know how you know we’re in Oscar season? Look at the second half of the chart. You’ve got The Boy in the Stripped PJs and Milk doing excellent per screens. The former didn’t have any heat, but if it keeps doing business we may yet see some traction if it becomes something of a crowd pleaser. The latter definitely has that Best Actor nom in its sights.

Ultimately, I think Sasha Stone has a certain value, but I think the prognosticators are going to start getting domesticated this year, and it’s unfortunately changed the discourse. I haven’t seen too many reviews of Benjamin Button that don’t talk about its Oscar chances, and though there’s definitely some aspect of the film that makes it such, it either doesn’t speak well for the discourse or the movie. Expect such jockeying to continue for the next three months or so. Won’t add up to much, though.