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Weekend Box Office Overview 12-12

Published December 12, 2005 in Box Office
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of respective holders.
Chronicles of Narnia Poster The Chronicles of Narnia
Hey folks! Here are the box office totals for the weekend of December 9-11:

December 12 Box Office Overview

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe $67 million (1st week of release): This was a clear cut favorite to finish in the top spot, but the big question was, exactly how big was this film going to be? Was it going to be Lord of the Rings big? The answer to that question is a yes, which in a way, kind of surprises me. The $67 million opening for Narnia beats out the opening totals for both Fellowship of the Ring ($47 million) and The Two Towers ($62 million). This film was a major risk for Disney which was desperately trying to capitalize on the LOTR and Harry Potter money train. While the studio was not banking its entire business on one film like New Line was with the LOTR series, Disney did have a lot invested in this film and would have had a lot to answer for had it flopped on its opening weekend. It didn’t and one of the major reasons why may be the presence of the Christian audience thanks to the religious theme in the movie. It was always known that Narnia was heavily influenced by Christianity and in order to capitalize on that the way The Passion of the Christ did to the tune of $370 million, Disney went out and hired the same marketing firm that was used for Passion for the specific purpose of promoting to that particular audience. Now the big question is will Chronicles of Narnia continue to be a hit? In all honesty, I don’t think it will. Sure there were sell out lines for most of the weekend, but at the screening I went to, I noticed that audiences didn’t seemed as involved with the story like they were with LOTR and Harry Potter. You could hear them talking, but there was no activity from the crowd during any of the big emotional moments, which is not a good sign for repeat viewings. There are a lot of “ifs” attached to Narnia and next week’s release of King Kong only adds more. Look for King Kong to take a way a huge chunk of Narnia’s audience and if the Christian crowd fails to show up, expect it to take a major drop as well.

2. Syriana $12 million ($13.5 million total): With nothing but fantasy films and comedies in theaters right now audiences were dying for something with a little more meat to it and Syriana was going to be it. It may not have been a huge advertising campaign, but the marketing people at Warner Bros. made sure to get the word out on this film way in advance by advertising it heavily at the theaters. This film had a lot of question marks surrounding it, specifically with the controversial plot and a fat, bearded George Clooney in the lead role. The fact that it was promoted as being from the makers of Traffic (it was written and directed by the screenwriter for Traffic, Stephen Gaghan) was a helpful boost and by releasing it in limited release for a few weeks, Syriana was able to get some fairly positive buzz going for it. Syriana looks to be following the same pattern that Traffic did in terms of box office performance. Both films were in limited release for a few weeks and had very similar opening numbers during the first week of wide release (Traffic grossed $15 million its first week of wide release). I still have my doubts about Syriana and can’t see it equaling Traffic’s success. Over the next few weeks, Syriana will see its theater count increase and while it won’t be able to increase upon $12 million opening, it won’t take any major drops for at least a few more weeks. Don’t expect it to match Traffic’s domestic total of $124 million though. Syriana may have a majority of positive reviews, but it lacks the Oscar buzz that surrounded Traffic which is important to keeping a film afloat in a holiday season filled with big budget blockbusters.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $10.3 million ($244 million total): I was expecting Goblet of Fire to suffer a drop similar to last weeks 62% plunge. But Potter fans are a stubborn bunch and they refused to let that drop happen…..for at least one week. Realistically, this was Goblet of Fire’s last week to rake in as much money as it can before it gets left behind by the crowds flocking to see King Kong and Chronicles of Narnia. With Chronicles of Narnia being a serious threat to Goblet of Fire’s business, the fact that it still managed to make $10 million in its fourth week of release is pretty impressive. Despite the decent total, this film is on its way down and next weeks release of King Kong almost guarantees that Goblet of Fire will suffer a major drop. Still, with over $244 million made so far Goblet of Fire is on it’s way to being one of the top moneymakers of 2005 and should finish close to the $275 million mark by the time its run a the box office is over.

4. Walk the Line $5.7 million ($77 million total): Here is another film that had a pretty big drop last week only to rebound this weekend. Walk the Line’s $5 million weekend may not seem too impressive, but for a film in its fourth week of release and with some pretty stiff competition, that total is pretty impressive. Tomorrow is the day Golden Globe nominations are announced and with Walk the Line almost certain to score a few nominations; this film shows no signs of slowing down.

5. Yours, Mine and Ours $5 million ($40 million total): For three weeks straight I’ve been complaining about how this film doesn’t deserve to be in the top 5 and yet it continues to do so. Is there some kind of joke I’m missing out on here? How is it that people are still going out to see this? It’s a poor mans version of Cheaper by the Dozen! There really is no way I can explain how Yours, Mine and Ours is still hanging around the top 5. Aeon Flux must really be that bad for audiences to choose this film over that. There are a slew of family films out right now and people still decide to see a generic film that stars Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid? For crying out loud, the film only has a 6% approval rating according to I know audiences don’t like to listen to critics, but when the majority of critics say its crap, odds are it is. I am seriously at a loss for words here. Sorry if didn’t go into detail about the numbers for this film, but to tell you the truth…..I have no clue why it’s still here.

Aeon Flux Poster Aeon Flux
The rest of the pack:

6. Aeon Flux $4.6 million ($20.2 million total)
7. Just Friends $3.9 million ($26.4 million total)
8. Pride and Prejudice $2.5 million ($26.4 million total)
9. Chicken Little $2.3 million ($127 million total)
10. Rent $2 million ($27 million total)

The makers of Aeon Flux and Rent better start looking at ways to make their films profitable once they hit the DVD market because right now these films are tanking big time. Aeon Flux looks to be the worse of the two falling 63% from last week and out of the top 5. In just two weeks of release Aeon has managed to make only $20 million and is still a long ways away from recouping the $62 million it cost to make it. This film was doomed from the start due to the timing of its release (in between Goblet of Fire and Chronicles of Narnia) and the majority of negative reviews. Rent on the other hand just canít seem to find an audience the way Chicago and Moulin Rouge! was able to. In its third week of release the film continues to tumble dropping another 55% and looks to be out of theaters shortly.

On the other hand, Just Friends seems to be doing quite well finding a niche audience and enough buzz to make it a fairly successful film in the bottom 5. Just Friends only dropped 30% in its third week of release and has grossed a respectable $26 million so far. With one more week to go before The Ringer and Fun with Dick and Jane are released, Just Friends shouldnít drop too much next weekend and could probably hang around the bottom 5 for a little while eventually finishing with close to $40 million. Box Office predictions for next weekend:

Box office predictions from last week:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe $65 million
2. Syriana $15 million
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $12 million
4. Walk the Line $7 million
5. Aeon Flux $6 million

King Kong Poster I give you King Kong!
If youíre wondering why I havenít talked about my predictions for the past few weeks, it was because I wasnít even coming close to accurately predicting the totals. Not anymore!! Not only did I predict the top four films correctly I missed the correct totals by $2 million. My only two mistakes were thinking too highly of Aeon Flux and assuming people would stay the hell away from Yours, Mine and Ours (6% approval rating peoplesÖ..6%). Go me! Itís about time I give myself a pat on the back.

Box office predictions for next weekend:

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

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

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Vince Palomarez
Sources: Images property of respective holders.

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