Sunday 9 December 2012

U.S Box Office Report - 7th - 9th December 2012

1. Skyfall - $11M - $261.6M
2. Rise of the Guardians - $10.5M - $61.9M
3. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 - $9.2M - $268.7M
4. Lincoln - $9.1M - $97.3M
5. Life of Pi -$8.3M - $60.9M
6. Playing For Keeps - $6M - $6M
7. Wreck-It Ralph - $4.9M - $164.4M
8. Red Dawn - $4.2M - $37.2M
9. Flight - $3.1M - $86.2M
10. Killing Them Softly - $2.7M - $11.8M

We're now in the calm before the storm. This weekend in December is generally the quietest of the entire year. There's rarely more than a single wide release, and 2012 is no different, with rom-com Playing For Keeps being the only new offering this weekend. Next  Friday sees the long-awaited release of Peter Jackon's The Hobbit, followed by Judd Apatow's This Is 40, The Guilt Trip, Jack Reacher and many others, leading into a very busy holiday period.

Skyfall managed to cross $250M in domestic takings on Thursday, its 28th day on general release. It also unseated Breaking Dawn 2 on Tuesday and held onto the top spot as we entered the weekend. With incredibly strong word of mouth and no competition, the 23rd James Bond film made $3.1M on Friday, and kept the vampires at bay throughout the remainder of the frame, finishing up Sunday with $11M, a drop of 34% on last weekend. That brings Skyfall's cumulative gross to $261.6M, with a domestic finish in the range of $285-290M on the cards ($300M can't be ruled out entirely). Internationally the picture remains incredibly popular, crossing $640M in the last few days to give it a total global figure of $918M. It is also the most successful film ever in the UK, beating out Avatar for the title this past week. [According to Box Office Guru, with that $918M total, Skyfall is now Sony's biggest ever release, besting previous record holder Spider Man 3]
Rise of The Guardians may have hit $50M in this last week but that's a figure it should have seen at the end of the Thanksgiving frame - not two weeks later. The animated release dropped a not-bad 44% last frame but that was in part only because its initial weekend total was low. With no new competition, Guardians should have cleaned up this weekend and did at least move up into second place with a $10.5M 3-day finish. But that still gives it a disappointing (not to mention worrying) running total of $61.9M, meaning the film has next to no chance of seeing $100M domestically (indeed, $85M looks a stretch at this point). Overseas, where Dreamworks pictures generally do well (Kung Fu Panda 2 made $500M, Madagascar 3 saw $525M), Rise of the Guardians is fairing slightly better than its domestic performance and currently sits on a $90.5M total.

On Thursday, Breaking Dawn 2 finally pulled ahead of where BD1 and New Moon were in the same time period - but only just. By Thursday night, BD2 was sitting on a $259M total, which highlights how well Skyfall has continued to perform - BD2 opened more than $40M higher than the Bond flick yet the gap between them before this weekend was down to just $9M. The final Twilight film looked unlikely to retake the top spot, robbing it of the chance of becoming the only film in the series to see four weekends at no.1. On Friday the picture made $2.8M, managing to stay ahead of Lincoln (something it had failed to do on Wednesday). By Sunday night it had added a further $6.4M, giving it a three day total of $9.2M ($268.7M since release). In comparison, New Moon made $7.9M during its fourth weekend, while Breaking Dawn Part 1 saw $7.8M - so this is well within expectations. Eclipse' $300M total is still the figure to chase at this point, though it looks as if Breaking Dawn 2 may fall just short of that, but should surpass BD1's $281M total. The film is already the best performing of the series on the international market, and was up to $482.4M as of today.

Lincoln has continued to play well this week, even managing to move up a chart position on Wednesday. The Daniel Day-Lewis drama saw a 47% drop last week, in part due to a very strong performance over the Thanksgiving weekend. This frame, its fourth in wide release, saw the picture make $9.1M, bringing its overall total to a very impressive $97.3M. Not bad for a film which hasn't seen a release wider than 2,018 theatres. Lincoln should see $100M within the next few days and could top out at around $125M. If it does see that kind of finish, it would make it Spielberg's fourteenth most successful film, just behind Minority Report.

Drama Life of Pi moved ahead of Rise of the Guardians during the week and entered its third weekend on release standing at $52.6M. A Friday total of $2.26M put it at fifth place, with the Ang Lee picture adding another $6M over Saturday and Sunday. At this point in it run, Life of Pi has made $60.9M, a decent enough total given that it wasn't an easy sell (and did get off to something of a bumpy start). It should play well over the holidays but may find itself pushed out of theatres (and consequently the top ten) by some of the bigger films due in the next two weeks. Abroad, Life of Pi is tracking similar to its domestic counterpart, having made $60M at the time of writing.

Our only wide release this weekend is the romantic comedy, Playing For Keeps. The story follows George, an ex-soccer player who returns home and ends up coaching his son's team, while trying to get his life back in order. As the new, good-looking guy in town, he finds himself having to contend with the not so pure intentions of the gorgeous soccer mums while attempting to reconcile with his ex-wife, who is about to get re-married. There's also a potentially life-changing job at ESPN in the offing, if George is willing to leave his son behind once more. Director Gabriele Muccino got his start in Hollywood on the 2006 Will Smith drama, The Pursuit of Happyness, but had been directing in Europe a number of years prior that. He would reunite two years later with Smith on Seven Pounds before signing on to direct what was at that point known as Playing The Field, late in 2010. Working from a script written by Robbie Fox (So, I Married an Axe Murderer), Muccino began looking to cast the film for an April 2011 start.

Gerard Butler signed on to play George in February 2011, and was soon joined by Jessica Biel, who would play his ex-wife Stacie. The supporting roles were filled by Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid (as another soccer dad) and Catherine Zeta Jones, an ex-sportscaster with links to ESPN. With shooting completed by late May, little was heard from the production until June of this year, when Film District announced the newly-renamed Playing For Keeps would be released in early December. A trailer appeared online in August and was followed up by three featurettes and numerous clips. Butler has seen success in the rom-com genre previously, with P.S I Love You, The Ugly Truth and The Bounty Hunter, but was coming off back to back disappointments Chasing Mavericks and Machine Gun Preacher. Critics certainly weren't impressed, with just 2% finding something they liked about it. Playing for Keeps limped to $2.1M on Friday, just about good enough for sixth place. Come Sunday it had made just $3.9M more, for a weak opening total of $6M. If it's lucky, Playing For Keeps might manage another top ten showing next weekend given that there is only one wide release, but even that would be a hollow victory.

Wreck-It Ralph is still hanging on in there. The videogame themed picture made $4.9M this weekend, to bring its 38-day total to $164.4M - a stone's throw from its $165M production budget. This last week has seen director Rich Moore talking up a potential sequel, and while it has yet to be officially greenlit, all concerned felt it was more of a 'when' than an 'if'. From its staggered international release, Ralph has so far made $44M.

80s Remake Red Dawn clocked up $1.3M on Friday, landing Sunday night with a third frame total of $4.2M. A finish of around $45-50M looks to be on the cards, leaving the film's international release to pick up the shortfall. For completists, the 1984 original made $38M during its run, which equates to $84.6M in 2012 dollars.

Flight manages another frame in the top ten, making $3.1M, bringing its gross to date to $86.2M. The film is now the eighth most successful of Denzel Washington's career to date.

After a disappointing opening last weekend, which saw it make $6.8M, Killing Them Softly managed to rise one place during the week, seeing Tuesday's $703K as its best take (Friday aside). On its second Friday, the Brad Pitt drama made $881K, a fall of 65% on its opening day, and landed with a $2.7M total by Sunday night ($11.8M overall). The only saving grace is that this wasn't a costly film to put together, $15M, but will have all but vanished before Christmas.

Finally this weekend is Hyde Park on Hudson, a comedy drama featuring Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Laura Linney as Margaret Suckley, a distant cousin of the president who would become a close friend. The main focus of the film is a visit by King George VI to Roosevelt's estate (The Hyde Park of the title), it being the first time a British Monarch had ever visited the United States. The trip would have long term implications for both sides, especially with Word War 2 looming.  Roger Michell directed the picture, which shot in mid-2011 and received its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2012. Opening at four theatres this weekend to make it eligible for Academy Award contention, Hyde Park on Hudson made $83K. The film expands wider in the new year.

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