With some extra days off built into moviegoers’ holiday vacations, distribs can be rest assured that multiplex traffic isn’t going to slow. The weekend following Christmas –which is sometimes the first full non-holiday FSS of January or like this year has the New Year’s holiday built into it for four-day frame– is not a slouchy time at the box office. Typically, the frame can dip anywhere from 18-28% from the previous Christmas weekend.
However, there are some years when the holidays fell on a Sunday and the New Year’s frame (2012 specifically) actually spiked 36% over the 2011 Christmas weekend. If the right four quad film is in the market, such as 2010 when the third weekend of Avatar made $68.5M, the first weekend of the year can rally to a total B.O. of $200M+.
Typically, this is a frame dominated by holdovers, so expect last weekend’s triad of The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, Into The Woods and Unbroken to conquer. In recent years during this weekend, the types of frosh wide releases entering the market are horror films. This year it’s Relativity’s The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death unspooling in 2,602 theaters tomorrow with special previews starting tonight at 7 PM. Horror films have proved to be solid counter-programming during the post-Christmas period. Not only have such horror titles such as last year’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones ($18.3M opening) and 2012’s The Devil Inside ($33.7M) posted solid bows during the first weekend of January, it’s also where the Weinstein Bros. (under Miramax) proved that a great horror title, read 1996’s Scream, can leg its way out to $103M. 2012’s Woman In Black starred Daniel Radcliffe and it opened to $20.9M, and finaled at $54.3M. The sequel is set 40 years after the actor’s character Arthur Kipps left the haunted Eel Marsh house in the British countryside. A group of orphans are relocated to the domicile and start to witness its horrors. Woman In Black 2 doesn’t star Radcliffe, rather War Horse star Jeremy Irvine, and is expected to bring in an estimated $9-11M over three days. The film was acquired by Relativity for $1M and it’s the only horror title in the market until Relativity/Blumhouse’s The Lazarus Effect opens on February 27.
Expanding tomorrow from 331 to 580 theaters, in addition to a number of streaming outlets, is Sony’s Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy The Interview. The Sony comedy rang up an estimated $166K yesterday. Paramount’s The Gambler is also expected to inch up its theater count from 2,478 to 2,494.
Warner Bros.’ Five Armies which nabbed $6M on a slow New Year’s Eve last night for No. 1, should cross the $200M mark this weekend (current cume is at $189.5M). Universal’s Unbroken took second yesterday with $5.9M ($62.5M cume) and could conceivably see $20-$25M over four. Disney’s Into The Woods, which made $5.3M yesterday in third (cume to date $64.1M), is looking at a four-day of $28-30M. Paramount’s The Gambler is looking at a four-day of $8-10M in its second sesh. Weinstein Co.’s The Imitation Game should count $11M over Thursday-Sunday and its Big Eyes is showing a sophomore hold of $4-4.4M.
Not all studios are reporting figures from yesterday’s slow New Year’s Eve. Fox is showing Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb with $4.88M off 3,914 and a running cume of 69.4M. Industry estimates show Annie in fifth yesterday with $3M ($57M cume). Searchlight’s Wild continues to be strong with a $1.265M Wednesday at 984 hubs and a cume of $19.7M. Exodus:Gods And Kings minted $990K with a running B.O. of $55.7M.
Disney’s Big Hero 6 made $1.38M and a cume of $204.6M while DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins Of Madagascar via Fox posted $910K with a $74M total B.O. Warner Bros.’ American Sniper has collected $1.3M in eight days, with $125K coming from 4 NY and LA locales yesterday.