SUNDAY AM: A savvy marketing campaign and a Disney feel-good script launched Disney’s Enchanted into the Thanksgiving weekend stratosphere with a big five-day cumulative of $50 million and 3-day total of $35.3 mil. The studio was boasting that this is the second highest five-day opening at Thanksgiving of all time, surpassing Unbreakable at $46M, and the #1 original film ever to debut over the five-day Thanksgiving Day holiday. (Interestingly, Disney has the Top 5 Thanksgiving five-day openings of all time, with Toy Story 2 tops followed by Enchanted, Unbreakable, A Bug’s Life and 101 Dalmations.) With great reviews and an “A-minus” Cinemascore, this pic mixing fantasy and comedy was well positioned scriptwise before it was ever released into 3,730 theaters.
The star turn for Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy) played more for adults than children or tweens or teens or young adults, with exit polls showing that 47% of the audience was over 25 years old. Saturday’s gross receipts actually went down 10% from Friday’s, indicating the pic wasn’t relying on the kiddie matinees for its box office strength. (However, Disney tells me that this is the historic norm for Thanksgiving weekends when Friday is always the biggest day.) One other point to consider: this movie was greenlit by Disney movie exec Nina Jacobson before she was fired: she also gave Disney its recent hit The Game Plan among others.
This was the biggest family fare weekend anyone could remember in a long time. Seven of the Top 10 films over the holiday were rated G or PG or PG-13. This follows a fall season of mostly R-rated pics so there was pent-up demand for more wholesome movies.
Second place went to Screen Gems / Sony’s This Christmas, a Tyler Perry-style home-for-the-holidays movie with a mostly African-American cast. But, as we’ve seen with Perry’s pics, while 65% of This Christmas moviegoers were African-American, there was plenty of crossover because of its funny family-oriented theme. The film, produced for just $13 million, debuted to $27.1 million on 1,858 screens in its first 5 days. From Friday to Sunday, the movie pulled in $18.6 million and played solidly across the board, receiving a Cinemascore of “A”. According to exit polling, 59% of its opening weekend audience was female, and 43% of its moviegoers were between the ages of 17 and 34 with 35% ages 35 or older and 22% under 17. Screen Gems marketed This Christmas through a grassroots campaign that included singing contests in malls and similar community-based activities.
Fox’s R-rated sci fi thriller Hitman based on the popular video game snagged the 4th spot with an opening of $13 mil from 2,458 runs for the 3-day weekend and $21 mil for the 5-day holiday. So clearly Hitman, which cost only in the high teens, expanded beyond core gamers, which was a question mark going into the holiday weekend. Also debuting was Warner’s PG-rated family melodrama August Rush starring Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; it placed 7th with a modest $9.4 million from 2,310 theaters for the 3-day weekend and $13.3 mil for the 5-day holiday. But The Mist directed and co-written by Frank Darabont performed weakly for a horror movie branded by Stephen King. In yet another loser for The Weinstein Co (its Dimension label) and its long-suffering distributor MGM, the pic could do more than $13 million from 2,423 plays for the 5-day holiday and $9 mil for the 3-day weekend.
The rest of the Top 10 were familiar titles. Here’s the chart:
- 1. Enchanted — 5-Day Holiday $50M, [3-day Wkd $35.3M], (Cume $28.1M)
- 2. This Christmas — $27.1M, [$18.6M], ($27.1M)
- 3. Beowulf — $23.3M, [$16.2M], ($56.3M)
- 4. Hitman — $21M, [$13M], ($21M)
- 5. Bee Movie — $15.9M, [$12M], ($112M)
- 6. Fred Claus — $15.1M, [$10.7M], ($53M)
- 7. August Rush — $13.3M, [$9.4M] ($13.3M)
- 8. American Gangster — $12.7M, [$9.2M], ($115.7M)
- 9. The Mist — $13M, [$9M], ($13M)
- 10. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium — $10.9M, [$8M], ($22.2M)