SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: (Updated with official studio numbers.) This will be the final weekend this Christmas season that two pre-Thanksgiving holdovers boringly dominate, as new movies start to release fast and furious with the expansion of Disney’s The Princess And The Frog, the coming of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-touted Invictus, and the unveiling of James Cameron’s Avatar. So contemplate what could have been. Fox could have had The Blind Side but put it in turnaround. And Paramount could have had Twilight but put it in turnaround. This is the stuff that gives moguls nightmares. Now Warner Bros is watching its 2009 market share soar even higher as Alcon Entertainment’s Sandra Bullock heartwarmer continues its rush for box office yardage at the start of its 3rd week with a cume of $129.2M and $20.4M weekend and $6.8M Friday and $8.5M Saturday. It took Blind Side 3 weekends to grab the brass ring, and then it won by a huge margin. WB believes that, with the lucrative holiday play time ahead, the pic will easily cruise past $200M at the domestic box office.
Summit Entertainment’s New Moon is beginning to flag domestically, but only after reaching an enormous $255.6M North American cume for a $15.7M weekend and $5.2M Friday and $6.5M Saturday. Internationally, this weekend’s take was $40.7M, bringing the overseas cume to date to $314.5M. Worldwide gross to date is a humngous $570.1 million. Not bad for a $50M budget, eh?
Which brings us to Relativity/Lionsgate’s newcomer Brothers and the many things going against it box office-wise, like a grim storyline cursed by its Afghan/Iraqi war connection. But that was supposed to be offset by the lure of the combined starpower of Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man), Natalie Portman (Star Wars prequels) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Day After Tomorrow), all directed by Jim Sheridan. The pic ended with a gross of $3.5 million Friday and $3.6M Saturday from 2,088 plays. Brothers only ended the weekend with $9.7M. But the paltry per screen average of $4,646 total indicates little audience excitement for the Oscar-touted sparks among this quartet. Sad that, though the grosses took a huge spike around 6 PM PT Friday indicating that the film’s under age-25 core audience came out for the late shows. Let the debate start over how much better or worse this movie would have done had it starred an older generation of actors.
As for other newcomers, Screen Gems/Sony’s low-budget thriller Armored, starring Matt Dillon and Lawrence Fishburne, couldn’t penetrate audience ennui. The opening weekend audience breakdown was 51 % male and 49% female, with 61% aged 25 or older. Nor could Radar Pictures/Miramax remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 pic Everybody’s Fine starring Robert DeNiro and Drew Barrymore. I found all those TV ads pushing his Oscar campaign instead of the actual movie to be overkill. Meanwhile, I didn’t see a single piece of advertising for the vampire spoof Transylmania, which Full Circle Releasing played in 1,055 dates, and that’s my good fortune.
Sony’s 2012 in its 4th week of release has earned a domestic cume to date of $148.7M and an international cume of $517.5 for now the 18th biggest foreign release of all time and still moving up the list. (It should pass #17 Finding Nemo‘s $525M in a matter of days.) That’s now a gargantuan worldwide total of $666.2M. Then again, the pic cost over $300M and Rolan Emmerich gets 25% of the gross. But it helped the studio for the first time ever pass $2 billion in foreign ticket sales, making 2009 Sony’s best year ever in terms of worldwide boxoffice.
Meanwhile, Paramount’s Best Picture Oscar hopeful Up In The Air had a perfect start for its release after winning top awards from the National Board Of Review Of Motion Pictures this week. (For years the NBR was considered out to lunch because of its membership and its selections. But Hollywood majors and minis now like to point out that the last two years the NBR’s best picture winner has won the Oscar.) Starring George Clooney directed by Jason Reitman, the film opened on 15 screens in markets, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas and Seattle. It debuted with $320K Friday and $475K Saturday for a $1.1M weekend and about a $79K screen average. If the pic shows at least moderate momentum as it expands despite stiff competition, and doesn’t underperform like Clooney’s Michael Clayton, then its awards chances get even better.
Overall box office remained hot for $101M, or +22.5% over last year.
Here is the weekend’s Top 10:
1. The Blind Side (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,326] Wkd $20.4M, Cume $129.2M
2. New Moon (Summit) Week 3 [4,124] Wkd $15.7M, Cume $255.6M
3. Brothers (Relativity/Lionsgate) NEW [2,088] Wkd $9.5M, Cume $9.7M
4. A Christmas Carol (Disney) Week 5 [2,456] Wkd $7.5M, Cume $115M
5. Old Dogs (Disney) Week 2 [3,425] Wkd $6.9M, Cume $33.9M
6. Armored (Sony) NEW [1,914] Wkd $6.6M
7. 2012 (Sony) Week 4 [3,220] Wkd $6.6M, Cume $148.7M
8. Ninja Assassin (Warner Bros) Week 2 [2,503] Wkd $5M, Cume $29.7M
9. Planet 51 (Ilion/Sony) Week 3 [2,904] Wkd $4.3M, Cume $33.9M
10. Everybody’s Fine (Radar/Miramax) NEW [2,133] Wkd $4M
Other movies of interest:
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox) Week 4 [2,034] Wkd $2.8M, Cume $14M
Precious (Lionsgate) Week 5  Wkd $2.3M, Cume $36.2M
Up In The Air (Paramount) NEW  Wkd $1.1M
The Road (The Weinstein Co) Week 2  Wkd $759K, Cume $3.2M
The Princess And The Frog (Disney) Week 2  Wkd $744K, Cume $2.4M
Broken (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2  Wkd $81K, Cume $446K
An Education (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9  Wkd $483K, Cume $5.7M
Me And Orson (Freestyle Releasing) Week 2  Wkd $40K, Cume $150K
The Messenger (Oscilloscope Pictures) Week 4  Wkd $71K, Cume $460K
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