|1||The Twilight Saga: New Moon||$140,700,000||$34,965||$140,700,000|
|2||The Blind Side||$34,510,000||$11,096||$34,510,000|
|5||A Christmas Carol||$12,230,000 (-45.2%)||$3,418||$79,791,000|
|7||The Men Who Stare at Goats||$2,773,000 (-52.7%)||$1,349||$27,624,000|
|8||Couples Retreat||$1,952,000 (-53.1%)||$1,140||$105,001,000|
|9||The Fourth Kind||$1,730,000 (-62.4%)||$1,050||$23,343,000|
|10||Law Abiding Citizen||$1,615,000 (-57.5%)||$1,217||$70,027,000|
This just in: Mounting evidence that sisters are doing it for themselves.
In what can be called the week of the ladies, we’ve got New Moon topping the charts, we’ve got Sarah Palin’s book being the center of the media world, and they (women) represent at least half the world’s population. If there is a takeaway from today that’s positive, it’s that Titanic audience can be gotten to, and they can make something huge. Will Hollywood listen? Probably not, it’s a notorious fickle audience that seems to fall in love with something every once in a while, but I think there’s a through line from Gone with the Wind to this film. But part of the reason they only fall in love with films every once in a while is so few are geared toward them well. Where – ironically, perhaps – 1930’s cinema was fueled by female audience members at some point cinema became more for men, and then for 14 year old boys. This weekend there was very little for that lttle boy audience, and yet it’s one of the most successful weekends of all time. If I had a Wayans brother, he’d walk through right now saying something about The Message (perhaps “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head.”)
Okay, so New Moon got over $140 Million. That’s the third biggest opening of all time, behind only The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3. Both of which were summer openings (if SM3 counts as a summer film as it opened in May, but in Hollywood summer is thee and a half months long), so Twilight can call itself the crown of the biggest Fall opening, and biggest non-summer opening. And, unless something catastrophic happens, it should get over $300 Million. Not only that, if this crowd goes back, let’s not rule out the possibility of $400 Million (that’s still less than 3x opening, mind you). It would be nigh amazing if by the end of the holiday weekend the film isn’t over $200 Million. It’ll be interesting to see if international keeps the same pace (it’s already done over $258 Million worldwide), because last film’s international matched domestic. Twilight was already an undeniable phenomenon, but if you’re looking for the weakness of the weekend, it can be that the film did more than half its weekend business on Friday. Then again, that had $23 Million in Midnight shows. And if I was somewhat blase about The Dark Knight‘s numbers, it was only because the hype train on that film started way before the film came out, and started building steam when Heath Ledger died almost six months before release. By the time the film opened, it was poised to be the biggest thing ever. Whereas here, I thought that Twilight was beginning to wane, and that this was more a franchise picture like Harry Potter (slow and steady) than like Batman (exapanding with the next picture). And though others had targeted over $100 Million, and that was going to happen, this number is beyond incredible. And it’s because the target audience for this movie doesn’t normally go to movies, because there’s so little for them like this.
And that number in and of itself would be pretty staggering, but right behind it is The Blind Side. A sports/helping the unfortunate movie starring Sandra Bullock, this too hit a sweet spot, and a $34 Million dollar opening on what looked to be a slightly smaller picture would be big news if New Moon didn’t just break a bunch of records. With a film like this, we’re likely to see a $100 Million dollar gross as well, and a slightly longer play if WOM is good… if this wasn’t just people going to see the new movie after they couldn’t get into the Twilight. Because the film wasn’t as strongly marketed to the coasts, it may have sneaked in there a little, but Warners played their hand right. You know who I feel sorry for in this? The makers of Radio. They probably realized that going (to quote Tropic Thunder) “full tard” killed them.
If you take the top three pictures and add up their gross… Boom. $200 Million dollars. This was a big weekend for movies, though 2012 dropped nearly 60%. That’s to be expected, and the makers are surely hoping for Holiday bump next weekend. They’ve already cleared $100 Million, and may have to settle for $150 domestic, but destruction speaks the international language. Planet 51 wasn’t walking around like it thought it was Tony Montana, so this smaller release may very well do reasonably well for Sony as a pickup. With DVD sales down, it might have been the absent minded basket grab of yore, but Sony grabbed this as a pickup, so I’m sure a $40 Million total would be great, and The Princess and the Frog goes wide 12/11, so if Old Dogs doesn’t kill them, they could play for a little.
A Christmas Carol has yet to show much leg. It’s not tanking, but it’s going to need to get some sort of boost with the holiday weekend. Will Disney keep throwing money at it? And how big or bad will Princess and the Frog be? This could be a ‘orrible quarter for the mouse house, but the fallout of that was already seen. Carol will clear $100 domestic, and the international numbers might help save it. but right now, they’ll be lucky to get to $150 Million, and that’s neither grits nor groceries.
Precious keeps making dollar and expanding. Right now Lionsgate has the picture on 649 screens, and it’s doing boffo business. I don’t know if they know what they’re doing next week yet, but after about 1,200 runs, it gets complicated, because there’s a lot of markets where this isn’t going to have such attendance, and possibly no interest at all, or enough to compete with the end of the year barrage of A titles. Right now – and again this is something of a woman’s picture, adding to this weekend’s femme centric sensibilities – they’re still killing it, but they also want to keep momentum going through the end of the year, because then it’s Oscar season. To a certain extent a faltering box office could hurt the movie, but the film is also on track to get to $100 Million, and that may make it undeniable. We’re only talking about a handful of spoilers left, and that’s mostly Up in the Air, Invictus, The Lovely Bones, Avatar, Crazy Heart, Nine, Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, and – what – A Single Man? There aren’t really rallying Oscar films yet, nobody’s got a torch, and I can tell you that I’ve heard at least one of the pictures I listed would never make the cut (the one with all the CGI animation. Wait, not that one, the other one, but not that one.) Oscar success often requires that audiences have shown that they like it enough.
Everything else is waiting to hit DVD. Ill be back post-Turkey day with some numbers to give even greater clarity.