SUNDAY PM/MONDAY AM – 7TH UPDATE: Did the Midwest blizzards depress box office? Well, not a single studio exec mentioned it to me, and usually they’ll hide behind any excuse… Here are the Top 10 North American movie grosses for Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Both Walden/Fox’s The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and GK Films’ The Tourist really underperformed domestically. The bright spot were specialty films in an otherwise disappointing weekend. Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman easily cracked the Top 10 at #6 despite playing in only 90 locations. That $37,024 per screen gross average momentum should help its Oscar chances along with the $31,141 per screen gross average in 19 theaters for The King’s Speech from The Weinstein Co. Paramount/Relativity’s The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale platformed as a knockout this weekend — a big $320K from only 4 theaters — also helping its Academy Awards stock:
1. Chronicles Of Narnia/Voyage Of Dawn Teader 3D (Walden/Fox) NEW [3,555 Theaters]
Friday $8.2M, Saturday $9.5M, Sunday $5.9M, Weekend $23.6M
Fox management will be glad to see 2010 end. Narnia 3 didn’t get much of a Saturday kids matinee bounce domestically. A weekend opening of $40 million would have been a home run for the studio restarting this fantasy franchise. Instead, Fox has only the low end of what it wanted for a 3D film. But “the real story of this movie’s performance may well be the multiple off its opening and not the opening itself,” a Fox exec emailed me Friday. “Word of mouth about a great family film will serve us well as we move into the holidays.” And foreign could save it. Fox tells me Narnia 3 has already done $105M with international, “a very good start”. Its budget of under $150 million, with Walden still the co-financier, is nearly $100M below the second film. Plus Narnia 3 was shot in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK because of tax and currency conversion reasons.
Fox really pulled out all the stops, including a London Royal Premiere in London with the Queen herself. The studio dated this PG threequel the same opening time frame as the first blockbuster film, and Fox took great pains to reestablish ties with the faith-based communities who made the first film such a hit and were ignored by the 2nd film, which was released in summer and promoted with a lot of battle imagery. To that end, Fox hired Christian PR consultancy Grace Hill Media to reach out to churches, religious radio, faith-based websites, and so on. “The biggest hurdle was how to resurrect the franchise after the second film left the perception of a failed franchise,” a Fox insider tells me. The Walden franchise had been at Disney, then moved to Fox because of a relationship dating back some years: Elizabeth Gabler at Fox 2000 originally wanted the series and pitched Walden on it before it went to Disney. When it became available again, Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos felt the franchise had a lot of life left in it, and Narnia just needed to be re-configured and re-launched.
2. The Tourist (GK Films/Sony) NEW [2,756 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $6.6M, Sunday $3.8M, Weekend $16.5M
When Angelina says to Johnny in the trailer, “I’m sorry I got you involved in this”, we now know what she meant… Who knew? Not the distributor Sony Pictures which saw a fun sexy PG-13 thriller starring what’s surely the world’s hottest pairing right now and decided it was a big commercial pic that was going to play great during the crowded holiday season. Oops! But The Tourist really struggled on tracking all the way up until Thursday when it saw a jump. “But I think that jump may be more a function of marketing support rather than genuine interest,” a rival studio exec told me Friday. Filmgoers who were predominantly female only gave it a “B” CinemaScore. Said Sony on Sunday, “While the opening was soft, we expect the film to play to a solid holiday multiple and perform substantially stronger overseas where the title rolls out thru the end of the first quarter in 2011.” Indeed, European distributor Studio Canal planned the biggest ever release across Europe because it’s a remake of its own 2005 film, Anthony Zimmer. And during its shoot, The Tourist paralyzed Venice and those parts of Italy where it was filming. (At one point, production was shut down because too many fans showed up trying to get pics.) Talent participated in a worldwide press junket in Paris and the cast and director are currently on a European tour.
GK Films financed the film in association with Spyglass Entertainment and Sony Pictures handled marketing and distribution. It was produced by Graham King and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck who, so the production notes claim, presented his vision of The Tourist to King who took all of 30 minutes to decide to finance and produce the film. English screenwriter Julian Fellowes wrote the original screenplay while American screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie) and Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor) did the rewrites. The production history of this movie was as convoluted as any thriller. Donnersmarck had previously dropped out of directing The Tourist. At that point Sam Worthington was going to play opposite Jolie. And Worthington only came on board after Tom Cruise dropped out. Cruise was originally going to star opposite Charlize Theron as the Interpol agent. Marketing was aimed at women, so the TV spots were bought during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Barbara Walters/Oprah interview, etc.
3. Tangled 3D (Disney) Week 3 [3,565 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $6.8M, Sunday $4.2M, Weekend $14.4M, Cume $114.4M
4. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,577 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.7M, Sunday $2.3M, Weekend $8.4M, Cume $257.6M
5. Unstoppable (Fox) Week 5 [2,967 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $810K, Weekend $3.6M, Cume $74.2M
6. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [90 Theaters]
Friday $987K, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday $1M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $5.5M
7. Burlesque (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 3
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday $800K, Weekend $3.1M, Cume $32.5M
8. Love And Other Drugs (Fox) Week 3
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.2M, Sunday $720K, Weekend $2.9M, Estimated Cume $27.6M
9. Megamind 3D (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) Week 7
Friday $554K, Saturday $1.2M, Sunday $780K, Weekend $2.5M, Estimated Cume $140.2M
10. Due Date (Warner Bros) Week 6
Friday $860K, Saturday $1.1M, Sunday $615K, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $94.9M
The Fighter (Relativity/Paramount) NEW [4 Theaters]
The Kings Speech (The Weinstein Co) Week 3 [19 Theaters]
Weekend $591K, Cume $1.5M
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [416 Theaters]
Weekend $985K, Cume $8.2M
The Tempest (Miramax/Touchstone) NEW [5 Theaters]
Waiting For ‘Superman’ (Paramount Vantage) Week 12 [55 Theaters]
Weekend $17K, Cume $6.3M