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Weekend Box Office Overview 12-20

Published December 20, 2005 in Box Office
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of respective holders.
King Kong Poster King Kong
Hey folks! Sorry about the delay, Iíve been out of touch with the rest of the world due to my internet connection being down at my house. Itís been a tough week, but enough about me, letís get on to the good stuff. Here are the box office totals for the weekend of December 16-18:

December 12 Box Office Overview


1. King Kong $50 million ($66 million total): Do you hear that sound? That was the folks at Universal choking on their morning coffee when they got the news that Kong came in well under expectations. They can try to spin this in to some kind of positive all they want, but the fact of the matter is the $50 million total is nowhere near what they wanted out of a first weekend. Universal was totally expecting Return of the King numbers and with the opening numbers of Chronicles of Narnia being so good, they considered that to be an easy target to meet. I had pretty much assumed that Universal was right, but during the week leading up to its release I started to hear a lot of feedback on King Kong that kind of explains the underwhelming numbers. Despite the heavy promotion there wasn’t the same type of buzz going for this film like there was with the LOTR franchise. Add that in with the fact that news outlets were emphasizing the fact that this was a three hour movie and you can understand why people shied away. Granted, I have seen King Kong and loved it, but I can totally understand people’s reservation about committing three and a half hours of their day to see a film about an ape and a woman. The sleek trailers and positive reviews did all they could to bring in whatever audience they could, but in the end if people aren’t interested in it, they aren’t going to see it. Still, $50 million is by no means a failure and King Kong can easily rebound with a string of low drops over the next few weeks. The big test will be how it will perform this weekend. With a string of comedies being set to be released, families might be in the mood to see what King Kong is all about.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe $31.8 million ($113 million total): This film was destined to take a drop this weekend due to the release of King Kong. The question was how far would it drop? Personally, I was expecting a huge drop in business to my personal feelings of the film and the upcoming release of Kong. The reality of the situation is that yes it did suffer a pretty big drop (50% from last week), but by no means was that big drop a sign of imminent doom. Very few films with monster openings their first week manage to retain a majority of their audience the second week. Add in the fact that a film appealing to the same audience is being released during its second week of release and the 50% drop seems pretty reasonable. I’m pretty sure that Disney won’t have to worry about anymore 50% drops for at least the next couple of weeks. Chronicles has more positive buzz going for it than King Kong does at the moment and with the church groups strongly behind it, there should be enough support to keep this film afloat in the top 5 for a while. Chronicles should have no trouble coming close to, if not matching its production budget of $180 million which will no doubt give Disney a good enough reason to greenlight production on the next few books in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

3. The Family Stone $12 million (1st week of release): They couldn’t have picked a better time to release this film. With four comedies set to be released this week, Fox did an excellent job making sure Family Stone was released before the rest of the pack in order to not get lost in the shuffle. For some reason these types of comedies (Meet the Parents, Home for the Holidays) always seem to do well this time of the year and Fox did an excellent job of making the trailers seem like Family Stone was going to be like Meet the Parents. Sure some of you may be thinking that $12 million isn’t really a great opening, but with a budget of only $18 million, The Family Stone is already close to making its money back and should do so by the end of the week. The Family Stone can drop a huge number next week and I don’t think it would faze the folks at Fox too much based on how well it performed this week.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $5.9 million ($253 million total): Another week, another $5 million more to add to its monster total of $250 million. It’s amazing that Goblet of Fire has been out for five weeks now and the film has yet to be kicked out of the top 5. Potter fans are still flocking to see this film and while they may not be like the numbers that showed up the first few weeks, they’re still enough to inch it closer and closer to being one of the top, if not the top moneymaker of the year. Despite continuing to shy away from the 50% drop mark, odds are with the slew of new releases this week Goblet of Fire will finally bow out of the top 5 gracefully. Not to worry Potter fans. Goblet of Fire still has a lengthy run ahead in the bottom 5 and should make enough to finish out its run with close to $270 million.

5. Syriana $5.6 million ($22.4 million total): Folks, there is one reason and one reason only why Syriana managed to stay afloat in the top 5 despite a 52% drop from last week; there was nothing else better to see. I have yet to see this film, but from the word of mouth I’ve been hearing, Syriana hasn’t been living up to the Oscar buzz it had going for it prior to it’s release. George Clooney may have scored a Golden Globe nomination, but the buzz for this film has been less than stellar. With the majority of the films in the bottom 5, with the exception of Brokeback Mountain, going into their 4th week of release there was nothing new and fresh enough to kick Syriana out of the top 5. That will certainly change this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Syriana drop big time when the numbers are released on Monday.



Brokeback Mountain Poster Brokeback Mountain
The rest of the pack:

6. Walk the Line $3.7 million ($82 million total)
7. Yours, Mine and Ours $3.5 million ($45 million total)
8. Brokeback Mountain $2.5 million ($3.5 million total)
9. Just Friends $2 million ($29.5 million total)
10. Aeon Flux $1.7 million ($23 million total)

There really isn’t much to add to these films that I haven’t already said in the previous month they’ve been in the top 10. Aside from the fact that Aeon Flux seems to be dropping faster (another 62% this week) than my Raiders are in the AFC west, the only other thing I would like to comment on is the incredible performance of Brokeback Mountain. The fact that it made $2.5 million in only 69 theaters is impressive. Thanks to a ton of Critic’s awards as well as being the front runner for both the Oscars and the Golden Globes audiences were flocking to see this film. Brokeback Mountain should have no problem continuing to increase its weekend total as its theater count increases and could easily cement its place in the top five in the next few weeks.

Box office predictions from last week:

1. King Kong $75 million
2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe $30 million
3. The Family Stone $13 million
4. Syriana $9 million
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $6 million

Fun With Dick and Jane Poster Fun with Dick and Jane
Awwwwwww yeah!!! Another week goes by and I’m getting closer and closer to hitting 1.000. Sure I may have overestimated King Kong’s popularity, but I nailed the totals for both Chronicles of Narnia and The Family Stone. Plus, for the first time in a long time I had picked all the movies that would finish in the top 5 correctly. Boo yah!! Canmag.com reader Joshua Crispin thought I was smoking crack when I said that Chronicles of Narnia was going to drop at least 50% in its second week of release and all I have to say to that is…who’s laughing now!! Well…..he did also say that King Kong wasn’t going to do nearly as good as I predicted it to be so he does get some props for that (just kidding Joshua, thanks for the feedback).

Box office predictions for next weekend:

1. King Kong $35 million
2. Fun with Dick and Jane $25 million
3. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 $22 million
4. Chronicles of Narnia $18 million
5. The Family Stone $8 million

I want to hear from you guys what you think the totals are. Agree with me? Disagree? E-mail (vince@canmag.com) me your totals and I'll post the person who comes closest to the actual totals.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Vince Palomarez
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