December 1, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>Very lame weekend ahead, as is normal for the first weekend in December.  Coming off the last two weekends, which are usually the #1 and #15 weekends of the year in terms of total dollar volume, this weekend is usually ranked 50th overall.  After the extravaganza of movie-going leading up to and through Thanksgiving weekend, Americans prepare for the holidays and movies are put on the back burner until the next huge burst of attendance the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Nothing is opening wide this weekend.  As you can see in the track for this weekend the last two years below, nothing works this weekend.        

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 will duke it out with The Muppets for the #1 spot, with each looking like they will barely hit $15 million for the entire weekend.  We are going to give a slight edge to Twilight as it has outgrossed Muppets $5.2 million to $2.1 million Monday-Tuesday this week.  Hugo should have a much lower than normal decline in its second weekend as it embarks on a slow and steady expansion in theaters.   

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
December 2-4                    vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*

Twilight Breaking Dawn 1Sum       -64%      $14.8     $302 
The Muppets             Dis       -50%      $14.7     $121 
Hugo                    Par       -31%      $ 8.0     $ 55 
Happy Feet Two          WB        -53%      $ 6.5     $ 78 
Arthur Christmas        Sony      -51%      $ 6.0     $ 50 
The Descendants         Fox       -26%      $ 5.5     $ 40 
Jack and Jill           Sony      -54%      $ 4.7     $ 77 
Immortals               Rel       -49%      $ 4.5     $ 87
Tower Heist             Uni       -47%      $ 3.8     $ 82
Puss in Boots           DW/Par    -55%      $ 3.5     $166

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $80 million total, ranking 50th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $78 million, and the same weekend in 2009 was $91 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like $77 million, down 2% from this weekend last year and down 4% from the four-year average for this weekend.       

This Weekend Last Two Years

 The Warrior’s Way REL R Kate Bosworth Danny Huston 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $5  Actual: $3
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $7  Actual: $6
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $5
 Brothers LG R Jake Gyllenhaal Natalie Portman 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $7  Actual: $10
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $30  Actual: $28
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $14
 Armored SONY PG13 Matt Dillon Laurence Fishburne 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $9  Actual: $7
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $19  Actual: $16
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $5
 Everybody’s Fine MIR PG13 Robert DeNiro Kate Beckinsale 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $5  Actual: $4
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $12  Actual: $9
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $5

Come back throughout the weekend to see how the movies actually perform.  Saturday morning we will have an early look at how weekend is shaping, on Sunday we will have initial studio estimates (based on Friday and Saturday actuals), and Monday we will have the final weekend numbers.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.