Saturday, December 22, 2007

Insanely crowded weekend yields zany box office...

I guess it was inevitable, what with "Sweeney Todd," "National Treasure," "Walk Hard," "P.S. I Love You" and "Charlie Wilson's War" all going wide, "I Am Legend," "Alvin" opening huge last weekend, and "Juno" and "Atonement" both expanding, that there would be some casualties. I started to get the sneaking suspicion yesterday that "Sweeney," "Charlie" and "Walk" all could potentially bomb.

Well the numbers are in, and while only one did actually outright bomb, it looks like the rest will be a case of wait-and-see. Okay, we knew "National Treasure" would open big, and indeed it did; based on Friday, it's expected to do between $55 and 60 million for the weekend. Yeeesh. Second place, with an expected $40 million take this weekend (bringing it to $130 million after 10 days) is "I Am Legend," following by *cringe* "Alvin and the Chipmunks" with around $30 million in its second weekend.

In terms of the three major newbies, "Charlie" is on track to do just under $10 million for the three days, which is not as bad as some were predicting, but not nearly as good as it needed to do. Luckily, it's opening at this time of year, and may stick around and eventually turn a profit, but as of right now it looks like another (if smaller) casualty of the "Americans don't want to watch anything about the geopolitical situation right now" trend; I finally saw it yesterday, and I should have a review up soon. "P.S. I Love You" bombed, but sadly not quite as hard as it deserved to, with an expected gross of $7.3 for the weekend. Sadly, "Walk Hard" bit the bullet, as I thought it might, in 8th place, and likely won't get past $4 million this weekend. I saw this again last night, and it only re-inforced how fucking funny and well-made this parody is, and it's a shame it's dying at the box office. I don't know what's to blame exactly, but it might be that the advertisements never looked very funny.

My baby, "Sweeney Todd," should end up in 4th place with $12 million, despite playing on only half as many screens as all the flicks listed above. This is a very solid opening, considering the release pattern, indicating about a $10,000 average, but we'll see how it plays in weeks to come. I'm shuddering at numerous reports of aghast audiences who didn't realize it was a musical. Hopefully, this is just a small minority, and not substantial enough to kill word-of-mouth.

"Juno" expanded to 304 screens with pretty good results; it should make about $2.7 million by the end of the weekend, which would leave it with a $8,000-$9,000 average. "Atonement" expanded as well, though to a bit more of a middling effect; it'll do $1.6 million on 297 screens, giving it about a $5,000 average. Both expand significantly in the weeks to come, so we'll see what happens.

As of right now, with all the factors in play, it seems like "National Treasure" is the only one that can be assured its "hit" status. Sigh.


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