I have quite a bit to say about the box office results and the win for Four Christmases this Thanksgiving week. Basically, I didn’t think this film was going to do as well as it was going to do. But I guess Vince Vaughn has a lot of fans, and Reese Witherspoon has a lot of fans, and there must have been a lot of families looking for a Christmas movie to go see to kick off this holiday season. So they went to Four Christmases, which made $31 million for this weekend and $46,710,000 for the five-day Thanksgiving release period.
Honestly, I would not have been motivated to go pay money to see this thing based on the trailers. Most of the critics hated it, too, but who cares what the critics think, right? I thought maybe Twilight would still show some signs of life, but the drop off from last week’s performance was even worse than expected and it fell to third place, behind Bolt. That’s right: the reports are that Twilight got beat by Bolt. Bolt got an estimated $26,596,000 while Twilight went down to $26,370,000. It’s been a steady drop for Twilight the last few days: it was in first place on Wednesday, but Four Christmases beat it on Thursday and it has been downhill ever since. Twilight dropped by a whopping 62 per cent this weekend: meanwhile Bolt held on like gangbusters and did much the same business as last weekend.
I think it’s fair to say that Twilight-mania is over, at least until the sequel comes out. Overall, the flick has made almost $120 million domestically but it doesn’t look like it will make tons of money for weeks on end like these other flicks.
I have nothing to say about Transporter 3 which made $12,330,000 this weekend and $18 million for the week; pretty much in the ballpark of what people thought it would make.
Australia also made about what was expected, or feared, depending on where you sit. Given that this was a $130-million epic I don’t think anyone at Fox can be happy about a $14,815,000 weekend or a $20 million week.
I keep on reading about how the studio heads expected this great epic movie to be a big hit. I have to say; if the people who greenlit this thing really expected a box office smash hit then they are NUTS. If the movie has superheroes or funny animals in it, or is based on an established franchise of some sort like a series of books or a TV show or something, you can usually expect a movie like that to maybe make a lot of money. But you’re taking your chances these days if you are trying to do the same with subject matter like what we got here. You can’t expect to make a fortune if you try this type of “epic” movie set in Australia with Nicole Kidman in the cast. Maybe you can shoot for a $25 million dollar opening, but fat chance that fanboys or teenage girls will show up. Same for most of these families who have been making hits out of nice, clean family movies all year.
I know there are also plenty of movies that don’t fit this mold that have become big hits in the past, but people who greenlight those kind of movies need to know going in that they’ve taken a bit of a risk. Sometimes the risk pays off big, as it did with Titanic which was expensive as all hell to make. People back then, though, thought Titanic was a really big gamble. In the end it turned out great, but it doesn’t work out that way for most movies. Anyway, all I am saying is that the folks who greenlit Australia, in my view, should have known this flick was a big risk at $130 million. They gambled, and they lost.
If you’re going to make a movie like Australia, they should have made it for a lot less money. Then maybe you stand a chance of getting your money back. (People will also say they should have made a better movie while they were at it, but that’s beside the point.)
I’m going to talk briefly about two movies that weren’t in a lot of theaters this weekend. Milk, the Gus Van Sant-directed biopic about Harvey Milk that starred Sean Penn in the lead role, finished tenth at the box office for Focus Features this weekend even though it was in only 36 theaters. But it made $1,866,000 in its five-day release, including a three-day weekend haul of $1,381,000. Slumdog Millionaire was close behind at $1,367,000 this weekend, and it was only in 49 theaters. The per-screen averages for these two movies were through the roof. Milk made an average $38,361 and Slumdog Millionaire averaged $27,898. I’ll talk some more about Milk this week when it goes into wide release. This flick is bound to make a bit of money with all the Oscar buzz surrounding Sean Penn and so on.
The weekend results are as follows:
I have run out of things to say this holiday weekend. That is all for now; I’ll be back later this week as we usher in the month of December at the box office here at the Reject Report.