SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Sources have given me these Top 10 results with Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday grosses for North America as well as estimated 3-day weekend, 5-day holiday, and cume numbers. The Thanksgiving break is adding up to an overall $255 million moviegoing weekend, the 2nd biggest Thanksgiving ever. (And only -6% down from last year’s record when Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Blind Side, and 2012 led the way.) Out of the gate Wednesday, four movies released — Disney’s Rapunzel retelling toon Tangled 3D, Sony/Screen Gems’ garish musical Burlesque, Fox’s R-rated adult dramedy Love And Other Drugs, and CBS Films’ actioner on the cheap Faster. But none were able to unseat holdover Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 from atop the box office. All three non-family openers started the holiday weekend very slow while Harry Potter and Tangled and DreamWorks Animation holdover Megamind 3D galloped into the lead. After Friday, the race was easily won by HP7A with Tangled surprisingly close behind. Fox’s Unstoppable showed strength three weeks in release after a mediocre start. The rest of the weekend was a humilitainment contest to see which newcomer faded fastest:
1. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 (Warner Bros) Week 2 [4,125 Runs]
Wednesday $14.4M, Thursday $11.5M, Friday $20.7M, Saturday $18.7M
3-Day Weekend $50.3M, 5-Day Holiday $78M, Cume $220M
This 7th Harry Potter in the franchise is the best performer on the single best moviegoing day of the year. The big Friday-to-Friday drop is due only to last week’s enormous midnight screenings number that was loaded into the whopping $125.1M opening weekend.
2. Tangled 3D (Disney) NEW [3,603 Runs]
Wednesday $11.8M, Thursday $8.1M, Friday $19.7M, Saturday $18.7M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $49.1M, 5-Day Holiday $69M
According to some media, this 50th animated Disney film is the kind of movie that the new regime doesn’t want to make anymore. Which is why a Magic Kingdom denizen warned me in advance “not to buy into that. The Los Angeles Times is beyond idiotic in its death toll on animation as you well know. Though this is not Toy Story and should not be compared to that.” Maybe so, but Tangled really overperformed by doubling Hollywood’s expectations for the 2nd best Thanksgiving weekend opener ever (not adjusted for higher 3D ticket prices). Add the international weekend tally of $13.8M, and that’s a global cume after 5 days of $82.8M. Then again, Disney has done well on previous Thanksgiving weekends (Enchanted, 101 Dalmations, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story), boasting five of the last top six #1 movies during this time slot. This renamed Rapunzel also benefitted most from the Warner Bros decision not to release HP/Deathly Hallows in 3D, allowing Tangled more breathing room on its 2,413 3D screens. And though I and many others took early swipes at new marketing czarina MT Carney, she ensured this “A+” CinemaScore toon wasn’t dismissed as just another Disney fairy tale princess story, taking pains to attract boys by emphasizing the toon’s male hero and making some surprising TV ads aimed at parents. (I especially liked the clever hair growth spot during a recent Saturday Night Live.) Mandy Moore voiced/performed all the songs opposite Zachary Levi and both promoted the heck out of the movie. This was the largest U.S. word-of-mouth screening program for a Disney animated film ever — 250 screenings in 50 U.S. markets over 5 weeks — and the first global junket held at Disneyland. Tangled is already positively impacting other lines of business. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider also made appearances at 17 NBA games, 4 NHL games, 4 NFL games, 1 NCAA football game, etc. Most important to the Disney money machine is that Tangled merchandise is selling very well in advance of the holiday season for the corporation’s Consumer Products division.
3. Megamind 3D (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) Week 4 [3,401 Runs]
Wednesday $2.6M, Thursday $2M, Friday $5.3M, Saturday $4.9M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $12.8M, 5-Day Holiday $17.5M, Cume $130.4M
4. Burlesque (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [3,037 Runs]
Wednesday $2.4M, Thursday $2.4M, Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.6M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $11.8M, 5-Day Holiday $17.2M
Why anybody bothered to make Burlesque or give it such a wide release might be a mystery. Until it’s revealed that Screen Gems chief Clint Culpepper greenlighted his boyfriend’s $55+ million passion project. (Their on-set strife over budget, schedule, and creative decisions resulted in the most expensive film in Screen Gems history, and word is they’re now broken up after 20 years. Awkward.) But novice director Steven Antin deserves at least some credit for bringing back Cher to the big screen: they both dated David Geffen, and the mogul urged Cher to take the role. She hasn’t had a major film since 1999’s Tea With Mussolini and is a bonafide national treasure. But am I the only one who can’t stand Christina Aguilera’s hammy vocal stylings or Steven’s sister Robin Antin “Pussycat Dolls” slutty dance gyrations? No matter. The studio claims this is an event musical made “for women young and old and it offers pure moviegoing fun” for the holidays. Too bad no one showed up in theaters even if the soundtrack opened to #1 on iTunes and is currently #11 overall. Screen Gems did its best to market this clunker by arranging for live performances with Christina on the Dancing With The Stars season finale as well as on the American Music Awards. And for Cher to do her first major interviews in 10 years and have her hand and feet immortalized in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The studio also did grassroots marketing in the gay community and sponsored pride parades in LA, NY, and San Francisco, as well as Burlesque-themed nights and “Cher-aoke” in gay bars across the country.
5. Unstoppable (Fox) Week 3 [3,183 Runs]
Wednesday $1.9M, Thursday $2.5M, Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.7M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $11.7M, 5-Day Holiday $16M, Cume $60.7M
At first, Fox film mogul Tom Rothman despaired that yet another of his studio’s movies was struggling this terrible year. But now, perhaps, he can stop bitching and moaning and burying his face in his hands. Though slow off the mark, this old-fashioned Tony Scott-directed thriller derided as “Speed-on-a-train” is testament to the importance of word of mouth and Denzel Washington’s impressive staying power as a box office star. Its opening weekend “A-” CinemaScore helps as well as solidly above-average exit polls across all demographics to give 20th Century Fox reason to still hope for a long run and decent multiple off of a meager $23.5M opening. Audiences have been very balanced by gender and are skewing older.
6. Love And Other Drugs (Fox) NEW [2,455 Runs]
Wednesday $2.1M, Thursday $1.9M, Friday $3.8M, Saturday $3.8M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $9.8M, 5-Day Holiday $14.5M
It’s been decades since Ed Zwick directed a romantic comedy-drama, and that was the now classic About Last Night based on the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity In Chicago. So it’s a shame that a quality adult pic like Love And Other Drugs is having difficulty meeting even modest mid-teens expectations for the 5-day holiday. Based on the non-fiction title Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman written by Jamie Reidy, this pic is underperforming even with the very appealing stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. (But clearly, after Zodiak and Prince Of Persia, Jake can’t carry a major studio picture.) Though tracking best with women over 25, one roadblock could be its R rating because of a topless actress and a bottomless actor. Though reviewers were only lukewarm about the pic, Hathaway and Gyllenhaal should garner Golden Globe heat in the comedy/musical category (despite some killer dramatic scenes) because those Hollywood Foreign Press Association hacks care mostly about star wattage. But that will come too late to help box office.
7. Faster (CBS Films/Sony) NEW [2,454 Runs]
Wednesday $1.6M, Thursday $1.9M, Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.4M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $8.7M, 5-Day Holiday $12.2M
Newcomer CBS Films struck out with its first two modestly budgeted films. Now its actioner costing $24 million split with Sony and featuring Dwayne Johnson is another swing and miss at bat after the studio hoped for $15+M. At least the movie division didn’t spend big marketing dollars because Faster was so targeted to the men who make up the CBS TV audience and promoted on shows like the rebooted Hawaii Five-O. Then there are the 29 TV stations, 2nd largest radio outfit, and largest billboard company to exploit as well. So shouldn’t this film have hit it out of the ballpark? “The biggest problem, honestly, is that The Rock lost his credibility with action fans when he did those family films,” an insider emails me. “It’s hard to be a badass when you’ve put on a tutu in The Tooth Fairy.” Good thing Les Moonves has vowed to be patient.
8. Due Date (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,455 Runs]
Wednesday $1.3M, Thursday $1.7M, Friday $2.8M, Saturday $2.9M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $7.3M, 5-Day Holiday $10.5M, Cume $85M
9. The Next Three Days (Lionsgate) Week 2 [2,564 Runs]
Wednesday $760K, Thursday $1M, Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $4.8M, 5-Day Holiday $6.5M, Cume $14.5M
10. Morning Glory (Paramount) Week 3 [2,441 Runs]
Wednesday $610K, Thursday $840K, Friday $1.6M, Saturday $1.5M
Estimated 3-Day Weekend $4M, 5-Day Holiday $4.5M, Cume $26.4M
WEDNESDAY 8:45 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Disney sources now tell me that Tangled opened with $10M-$11M today and the studio is still looking for a high $60sM Thanksgiving 5-day holiday weekend.
WEDNESDAY 5 PM UPDATE: Disney sources are now predicting that Tangled looks like it will end up in the high $60sM for this 5-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “But we’ll know more later this evening as we see how late in the night the film plays. I hope you need a new headline…”
WEDNESDAY 2:45 PM: Rival studios just told me that Walt Disney Studios’ animated Tangled is opening today “much bigger than expected” than Hollywood’s 5-day estimates of $35M to $40M. One source says it’s double but that may be exaggerated. Yet even cautious Disney is telling me they’re “seeing an uptick in our expectations”. Interesting because the Thanksgiving holiday weekend estimate for blockbuster holdover Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is $90M. Clearly the new Disney regime did a great marketing job moving the Rapunzel fairy tale out of its Little Misses & Moms niche and into a wider demographic arena by emphasizing its comedic flair. Stay tuned tonight to see if I can legitimately use my planned-in-advance headline: “Hair No Match For Harry”. I’ll have a full box office report and analysis later on.