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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by Ho Ho Klady

Again… this is a weird weekend to track in connection to the holidays. It’s unusual to have a Christmas Eve—a traditionally bad box office day—on a Monday. The last time was 2007. And that pre-Christmas weekend slaughtered this one… by over $50 million. This weekend’s Hobbit gross was nearly matched by the #2 movie from that weekend (weekend 2 of I Am Legend)… and the #1 film, National Treasure 2, opened to $45 million. This weekend’s #2, Jack Reacher, would have been #4 that weekend, also behind weekend 2 of Alvin & The Chipmunks.

And how about this for some irony… what is missing from this weekend that there was a lot of back in 2007? Movie stars. Nic Cage in a sequel to one of his biggest hits, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp… even the stardom of The Chipmunks counted for a lot. Some of these were stronger, some weaker. But all five of the top five that weekend could be argued to be movie star-driven. This weekend? Hobbit? No. 40? No. Guardians? No. Lincoln? No. You have Tom Cruise doing nothing close to “Tom Cruise money,” which is somewhat better than where Hanks and Roberts were in 2007, which may be a function of genre.

So this was not a thrilling weekend for anyone in wide release. But it was fine for many. The tale will really be told in the week to come.

In exclusive releases, the conversion is a little brighter, though not conclusive in a longterm way. Zero Dark Thirty, the beneficiary of both controversy and what feels like a wide-release advertising push. (It goes wide January 11.), had an estimated $82k per screen on 5. This is not quite Lincoln‘s $86k on 11. Nor is it The Master or Moonrise Kingdom‘s 6-figure per-screen launch. But it’s very muscular.

The other big per-screen hit was Amour, which was at $23k per on 3. Again, nothing close to record-breaking. But a nice start.

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28 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by Ho Ho Klady”

  1. BoulderKid says:

    int. Fort Collins, CO

    A thirty something woman asks her fiancee as they sit around the kitchen table, “hey, how about we see Silver Linings Playbook tonight? I like Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games and Bradley Cooper was funny in the Hangover.” Her fiancee checks his phone and replies, “huh, doesn’t seem to be playing within 20 miles of here. I guess we can just bang out another few episodes of Boardwalk Empire tonight.”

    ext. Denver, CO.

    A similar couple who have been out Christmas shopping downtown, stare up at a theater marquee. The female disappointingly asserts “Silver Linings still?” “Aren’t they suppose to change it up after a month or so?”

  2. Krillian says:

    Been dying to see Silver Linings for a while, but for precious date night, why drive 35 miles to see a movie when we have 30 screens within 4 miles? Jack Reacher it is. (Stupid Weinsteins).

  3. etguild2 says:

    This weekend is a great example of DP’s mantra that people only go to see movies if they are appealing. Who the hell wants to see any of these four films?

    As far as SILVER LININGS goes, the rollout for KING’S SPEECH is practically identical to this film. Actually, SILVER LININGS has played in many more theatres in its first four weeks. And I remember similar griping in 2010. Look how that turned out….

  4. BoulderKid says:

    etguild, silver linings has been stalled at 370 theatres for FIVE weeks now. King’s speech gradually platformed and then maintained 700 theaters (twice as many as SLP) before going wide. Silver Linings also seems like a movie that will get less of an awards boost. It’s the kind of thing that young people are either going to go for or not a la “Juno.” I think the next few weeks will show that the Weinsteins really blew it here.

  5. LYT says:

    Surely the stardom of Lord of the Rings: The Franchise is equivalent to that of the Chipmunks, no? Or does it have to be a specific anthropomorphic thing to count?

  6. Pj says:

    On SLP, 2 of those 5 weeks were the worst box office weekends of the year and one featured the Hobbit. It is expanding to 745 for Christmas with future expansions to come. Oscars are marathon, not a sprint. Kings Speech played well into March. Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi wont be able to do that. SLP will with this slow rollout.

  7. movieman says:

    Pj: Agree re: “Argo” and “Pi,” both of which are basically done in first run release.
    But “Lincoln” has evinced massive legs, and with Oscar in its sights could sail to $200-million domestic.
    I do hope that “SLP” is more “King’s Speech” than “The Artist” re: slllllowwwwwwwlllyyy
    rolled out Weinstein awards-seekers.

  8. Amblynman says:

    My god The Hobbit was boring as shit. The 14 hour dinner sequence in the beginning nearly drove me out of the theater. I just can’t muster interest in this material anymore. At least LOTR was telling an epic story. Who wants to watch the 7 dwarfs retake their gold mine for 9 hours stretched over three years?

  9. BoulderKid says:

    Just got back from “Life of Pi.” Definitely the best family friendly film of the year and one of the best overall. I’m glad that international is making up for the domestic underperformance.

  10. ABC says:

    Amblynman: Clearly you have no interest, but it’s not fair to say this s just about dwarves taking back their gold. Tolkien told us a lot more than that about that time period. And unlike LOTR where Peter Jackson had to compress and leave out bits the fans wanted to see, with The Hobbit he has time to tell it all.

    Many of us are thrilled by that, as the box office shows. Some of us enjoyed the 30-minute dinner sequence that takes up the first chapter of the book. You have thirteen dwarves to learn about, the quest to be laid out, and the character of Bilbo to be explained to the audience. Time was taken, and thankfully so from me if not from you.

  11. scooterzz says:

    fwiw — sat down with friends and fam to watch ‘the hobbit’ last night and, after about an hour, no one was awake…NO ONE… i’m thinking that ‘the hobbit’ and ‘les miz’ are two movies that will thrill the already converted and bore the crap out of the rest…

  12. ABC says:

    And fortunately for both Les Mis and The Hobbit, the army of the converted in both cases is massive.

  13. scooterzz says:

    …and, apparently, very defensive…

  14. christian says:

    I don’t think a lazy living room is the optimal viewing situation with a big widescreen epic. Not saying it works but still…

  15. scooterzz says:

    christian — this was hardly a ‘lazy living room’… more a group of hard-core movie fans anxious to see something they didn’t get… no one dozed off during ‘django unchained’….

  16. ABC says:

    Not defensive; these movies will live or die regardless of posts on a message board. I just don’t like the common online concept of I-don’t-like-it-therefore-no-one-does. Not saying you are like that, but it’s common.

    But a Django audience and a Hobbit audience are probably different on the whole. Those who geek out on one will probably react viscerally against the other, as seemed to be your case.

    Me? I geek out on both actually, but different parts of my brain are doing the geeking.

  17. The Real Vince says:

    I only stop in here every once and awhile to see what LexG thought of the latest Tom Cruise movie.

  18. movieman says:

    Scooter- You’re a BFCA member like me, right?
    What other group do you belong to?
    BFCA-ers never got “Django” or “Hobbit.”

  19. scooterzz says:

    movieman — i just responded in the wrong thread…sorry..

  20. Amblynman says:


    “Not defensive; these movies will live or die regardless of posts on a message board. I just don’t like the common online concept of I-don’t-like-it-therefore-no-one-does. Not saying you are like that, but it’s common.”

    No one here has argued that. You’re being extraordinarily defensive. It’s certainly your right to enjoy a boring series of filmed appendices to a 300 or so page book.

  21. etguild2 says:

    Still don’t really get the hand-wringing over SLP release pattern. Through 6 weeks, KINGS SPEECH had grossed 22.8 million, SLP 19.9 million. THE ARTIST was barely over 5 million through six weeks.

    Most interestingly, INTOUCHABLES had only $2.5 million through six weeks this year, not cracking 100 theatres by then….but it went on to quadruple its gross, and became the top-grossing foreign language film in five years. The Weinsteins know what they’re doing. SLP is a slown-burn buzz type movie.

  22. ABC says:


    They are not boring — to you, yes, subjectively they are boring. To me, no, subjectively they are NOT boring. Thus objectively neither one of us can claim truth on this subject.

    I think you are right, btw. These movies will probably only appeal to those who are already fans. But my entire point on this issue is that it just doesn’t matter when the fan base is so large. It’s like saying only Bond fans will turn out for the next Bond film, or only Star Wars fans will turn out for VII. Could be, and…? That still makes them all huge financial successes and crowd-pleasing films overall.

  23. chris says:

    I’d agree with everything you say etguild except the last sentence and I think that’s where the hand-wringing comes in. It’s a romantic comedy, for crying out loud. With big stars. What about that says “slow burn?”

  24. Bulldog68 says:

    Looks like Skyfall finally overtook Twilight yesterday.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Chris: Ay, but there’s the rub: It isn’t just a “romantic comedy.” And many folks who walk in expecting just a “romantic comedy” are going to be disappointed, maybe even upset. I think Weinstein might be doing well to let the word spread regarding what type of movie this is.

  26. cadavra says:

    Yeah, SLP definitely does not qualify as a comedy. Yes, it has funny moments, but most movies do.

  27. Randy Mathew says:

    Skyfall is on his way to top on this coming 2013 I guess. Hopefully.

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