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A Legendary Opening

Published December 17, 2007 in Box Office
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Warner Bros Pictures, Variety.
I Am Legend Poster I Am Legend
Warner Bros. has reason to celebrate. While I figured I Am Legend would do pretty well, I would have never guessed that the film would take in a whopping $76.5 million. And, speaking of predicting incorrectly, who would of thought that Alvin and the Chipmunks would pick up whatever slack was left over to earn an estimated $45 million during its debut.

Box Office Glory: I Am Legend

Audiences only wanted two things over the weekend: either severe depression (I Am Legend) or some cheap family laughs with a few CG chipmunks. Thanks to the success of both films, the weekend box office is up as much as 37% over the same weekend last year. With rumors of moviegoing on the decline, 2007 is now guaranteed to have a box office that rivals that of 2006.

“It was the perfect storm of two pictures coming into the marketplace that everyone wanted to see,” Fox senior VP of distribution Chris Aronson said.

While other films showed strength by holding onto the top ten spots, New Line's The Golden Compass still can't find an audience. The epic fell 65% in its second frame to earn an estimated $9 million. With a budget that roars past $180 million, earning a miniscule $41 million in the first ten days isn't going to cut it. Just when we though New Line had fantastical epics perfected...

By earning $76.5 million during its opening bow, I Am Legend has bested all three The Lord of the Rings films, all of which opened in December; Return of the King held the title with $72.6 million. Both Warner Bros. (I Am Legend) and 20th Century Fox (Alvin and the Chipmunks) thanked their marketing teams for the impressive numbers.

“The market can certainly expand when there is interest,” said Warner prexy of distribution Dan Fellman. “For a non-franchise movie, it’s the best opening we’ve ever had. And we are well-positioned to play through the Christmas holiday.”

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros Pictures, Variety.

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