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Weekend Box Office Overview 1-09

Published January 9, 2006 in Box Office
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of respective holders.
Hostel Poster Hostel dominates box office.
Hey folks! Hope everyone had a great holiday, I know I did. Here are the box office totals for the weekend of January 6-8:

January 9 Box Office Overview


1. Hostel $20.1 million (1st week of release): You knew it had to happen. Eventually somebody was going to come around and interrupt the ongoing war between King Kong and Chronicles of Narnia, but did anyone expect that film to be Hostel?!!?! It was a little surprising to see that Hostel finished number one this week, but if you look at the facts a little closer, it may not be as much of a surprise as you think. The horror crowd may be a niche audience, but they are a consistent lot and will watch anything regardless of how good it is. As long as it has blood and is somewhat scary they will make their presence known. For instance, look at the opening weekends of Saw II ($31 million) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose ($30 million). The horror crowd is a lot stronger than the general movie fan gives them credit for. That wasn’t the only reason though. With so much emphasis on Oscar and holiday films right now, movie audiences crave for anything different. There’s only so many biopic’s and over dramatized films with a meaning that fans can take. Occasionally they want a film that takes no thought to watch and is slightly entertaining. It’s the reason why we constantly see horror films throughout the year. Not only are they a different alternative to the glut of drama’s and comedies that usually flood the market, they are also very cheap to produce and are almost always guaranteed to make their money back. Hostel is no exception either. With a production budget of only $4.8 million, Hostel is already in the black. Don’t expect this success to last though. Since horror films lack the repeat audience that most films get, expect Hostel to take a huge nosedive in the standings in the coming weeks.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe $15.4 million ($247.5 million total): Five weeks later and this film continues to steam roll the competition. You’d figure after five weeks audiences would start to disappear, but in Chronicles case they continue to keep coming back. The film has yet to drop below 50% week to week and some of it might be due to the lack of new releases, but the big reason is audiences have found enough of a connection to come back again. Repeat viewings are always vital to attaining blockbuster status and Chronicles seems to have them coming back in droves. I remember a few weeks back I mentioned how I wasn’t too sure if Chronicles was going to make its money back…..boy was I wrong (what else is new?). With $247 million in the bank, Chronicles of Narnia has easily recouped its production budget and amazingly is only $40 million behind Goblet of Fire’s eight week total gross of $281 million. That’s pretty amazing for a film with so many question marks leading up to the release. Now that Chronicles of Narnia is firmly entrenched in the top grossing movies of the year how much higher will it go? If it stays consistent with the week to week drops (which it has), it could have a possibility of hitting the $300 million mark by the time its run is over…..and boy will I be eating crow if it does.

3. King Kong $12.5 million ($192.5 million): When King Kong opened; there was so much talk about how well it would do. With all the success that Lord of the Rings had, there was no reason not to expect King Kong to repeat that success. Even the monster first week take Chronicles of Narnia had didn’t change those expectations. Then Kong opened up to moderately good numbers and people started to freak out (myself included). Only $50 million?!?!? How can this be? It was like all the people that expected USC to win the Rose Bowl, when it didn’t happen people were stunned. That’s exactly how the folks at Universal felt and it got even worse as King Kong continued to do decent business. A lot of analysts predicted that it was never going to be able to recoup its whopping $207 million budget. Flash forward to today and perceptions have changed. Despite some big drops the past couple of weeks and decent business on the weekends, King Kong has managed to do steady numbers throughout the week which has helped put it back into a favorable position. With a domestic total of $192 million after four weeks, King Kong has an excellent shot of making back it’s production budget by this weekend. I know that this film has been killing it overseas, but there was a ton of skepticism about its performance domestically. When it comes down to it a films success is measured by its domestic total and thankfully Universal and Peter Jackson can breathe a little easier from now on.

4. Fun with Dick and Jane $12.5 million ($81.4 million total): Jim Carrey refuses to die. After a un-Jim Carrey like opening ($14 million), Fun with Dick and Jane has rebounded to do some solid business. It has yet to hit the 50%+ drop analysts were predicting it to do, dropping only 26% from last week. If the week to week drops stay consistent, Fun with Dick and Jane has a pretty good shot of recouping its production budget of a $100 million dollars. Any studio analyst--after looking at the first week take—would’ve told you that was a serious long shot. This has to be good news for Jim Carrey who had a lot of questions surrounding his marketability after being out of the limelight for so long.

5. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 $8.3 million ($66.4 million total): I won’t go into too much detail about this film seeing as how I never in my wildest dreams expected it to do as well as it did. For starters, even though the first film made some decent money ($138 million), was there really a need for a sequel? With a 43% drop from last week and only $66 million so far, I think the majority of moviegoers are on the same page as me. With no information in terms of production budget, odds are Cheaper by the Dozen 2 cost a pretty penny to make and Sony doesn’t want to admit they might have made a mistake. More than likely they were expecting that family audience to show up, but their mistake was releasing it during a time when there is a glut of family/holiday films. If they would have released it in the summer, like they did with the original, they might’ve had a better shot at box office success. Still, $66 million isn’t bad and the folks at Sony will make their money back once this film hits DVD.



Munich Poster Munich
The rest of the pack:

6. Munich $7.5 million ($25 million total)
7. Memoirs of a Geisha $6 million ($39.8 million total)
8. Rumor Has it $5.8 million ($35 million total)
9. Brokeback Mountain $5.8 million ($22.5 million total)
10. The Family Stone $4.6 million ($53 million total)

With the exception of Brokeback Mountain—which is only playing in 483 theaters—the totals for the rest of the films in the bottom 5 are a serious disappointment. All of these films were expected to be huge holiday moneymakers and Oscar contenders and they are failing miserably. Munich and Memoirs are the biggest stinkers of the bunch. With two big name directors (Steven Spielberg and Rob Marshall) and a ton of Oscar buzz leading up to their release dates, both films were expected to do monster business. They may only be playing in 1,500 theaters, but that hasn’t stopped other films this year in similar release. Neither film has managed to get close to their respective budgets (Munich-$70 million, Memoirs of a Geisha-$85 million) and at the rate they're going, this trend looks like it will continue

The same can be said with Rumor Has It. Here was a film that had a ton of hype around it due to the cast involved (Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine) and was expected to be one of the big moneymakers of the holiday season only to fall flat on its ass. Despite a ton of hype and a huge release (2,766 theaters), Rumor Has It can’t seem to find a way to dig itself out of the bottom 5 dropping another 37% from last week. In three weeks of release, the film has made only $35 million and with so much bad buzz surrounding it, the end looks to be drawing near

Box office predictions for next week:

1. Glory Road $17 million
2. The Chronicles of Narnia $13 million
3. King Kong $9 million
4. Hostel $9 million
5. Last Holiday $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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