Sure, technically Jim Carrey and company won the weekend with the 3D animated adventure A Christmas Carol, but the real reason everyone’s talking about this weekend’s box office is because of another movie’s totals.
Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about how unbelievable it was that Paranormal Activity had a per screen average of $44,000? Well a little indie called Precious came in and mopped the floor with those totals. Precious played in just 18 theaters and grossed $1.8 million. Folks, that’s a $100,000 per screen average. To put that in perspective, if A Christmas Carol had the same per screen average, it would have grossed over $360 million (instead of $31 million).
This indicates a high degree of interest in the movie, and this weekend’s total will only add to that. Additionally, some people have been throwing around the “O” word, as in Oscar. It received a standing ovation at Cannes, and an audience award at Sundance. It will slowly be rolling out over the next few weeks, and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
As for the rest of the box office, as mentioned, Disney’s A Christmas Carol won the weekend, with $31 million. This is less than predictions, but I think this film will perform in a similar manner to Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Rather than having a spectacular opening, I expect it will build on momentum, especially as we get closer to Christmas. I think a lot of people simply aren’t in the mood for Christmas fare yet.
Michael Jackson’s This Is It did not drop like a stone as many (myself included) thought it would. In its second weekend, the film brought in a respectable $14M. George Clooney’s latest The Men Who Stare At Goats came in third with $13 million. With a budget of only $25 million, this should be profitable for Overture.
The Fourth Kind came in…you guessed it, fourth place with $12.5 million. It doesn’t appear the movie will be able to duplicate the success of Paranormal Activity, which came in fifth, and in its 7th week in release still brought in $8.6 million.
Richard Kelly’s The Box had critics split, but according to Entertainment Weekly, it received a CinemaScore of F from audience members. For the record, I’ve never heard of such a low CinemaScore. Despite star power (Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, and Frank Langella), the film only made $7.8 million on 2,600+ screens. That gives it a dismal per screen average of less than $3,000 per screen. Yikes.
Rounding out the top 10 were holdovers Couple’s Retreat, Law Abiding Citizen, Where the Wild Things Are, and Astro boy.