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Disney's Stockings Stuffed with TREASURE

The sequel returns for its second consecutive win..

By Jarrod Sarafin, News Editor     December 30, 2007

Nicolas Cage as Ben Gates in NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS (2007).
© Walt Disney Pictures
None of the films released on Christmas day had any print distribution over 2,800 so this weekend’s numbers reflect that. This translates to the top 5 films being returning movies from previous weekends. The top 3 films have at least 3,484 theaters playing for their respective studios, which accounts for all three having at least 124 million or higher in domestic totals, taking full advantage of the holiday audiences.
Leading the top of the box office food chain for this weekend is last week’s returning champion, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The Disney sequel took in another 72.3 million since Christmas day, 35.6 million of it being from the weekend. The studio has it showing in 3,832 theaters so this makes for an average of $9,298 per showing in its second week of release. While the studio hasn’t released its budget for this project, it’s safe to say a film accumulating 124.0 million in only 10 days makes for a successful bout at the box office. It took the original film 4 weeks to get this exact number back in 2004 so this sequel is clearly a success.
Now, we come to the surprise blockbuster for 20th Century Fox. I knew Alvin and the Chipmunks would be a success for the studio because it has a small budget (60 mil) and it seems to be the only straight-up children-focused film out this week other than the debuting Water Horse tale. That said, not even I expected these kinds of numbers. Not 142.3 million in 17 days. Alvin and his singing friends grabbed 53.9 million over the 6-day holiday, 30.0 of it being this weekend’s totals. As I say above, in 17 days of domestic release, the film has attracted 142.3 mil in cash for Fox.
Next up is the returning I Am Legend for Warner Bros., which follows in 3rd place with 27.5 mil over the weekend. Over the course of the 6-day holiday, the film has picked up another 53.4 million. Basically, it was neck and neck with Alvin, having only $500,000 less since Christmas. As with the previous two films, WB clearly has a blockbuster on their hands with the latest Will Smith vehicle. Legend has 194.5 million in domestic receipts thus far and it has another 61.3 million in its foreign release as well. In 17 days of release, it has a worldwide gross of 255.8 million.
And with those films accounted for, it’s time to talk about the smaller distributed flicks for this holiday week. No film has a distribution over 2,800 and the best performance of the group goes to the limited released Juno, which only has 998 theaters and averaged the highest of the top 10 with $10,320.
Following behind Legend in 4th place is the returning Charlie Wilson’s War for Universal Pictures. The film pulled in 22.9 mil since the holiday began and 11.7 of it are from this 3-day weekend. The Tom Hanks-Julie Roberts vehicle has a theater distribution of only 2,575 so this makes for an average per showing rate of $4,570. Not bad at all for Universal since the studio did release the budget at only 75 mil. It has half that in only 2 weeks of release and will likely surpass its budget with change when everything is said and done, not to mention all the critical appraise it’s having with the various award nomination races.
Director Diablo Cody has been getting some praise for Juno and while the studio has kept it in limited release for its first three weeks, Fox Searchlight is now expanding it into its wide distribution. It expanded on 694 theaters this weekend and brought in 10.3 million, which makes for the best average showing this weekend with $10,320. Next weekend, it will have 1,850 more theaters added to its distribution so it should be interesting to see how much of a box office increase it gets in next week’s report. Thus far, the film has 25.6 mil in domestic receipts.
This brings us to the only 2 new wide releases, which opened up on Christmas day. One is rated-r genre film while the other is a PG-family genre film. Landing in 6th place is Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem with a weekend total of 10.0 million in receipts. Since its launch on Tuesday, the film has pulled in 26.8 million in its moderate 2,611 theaters across the nation. Not a bad set of box office numbers for Fox here considering that this film is definitely a hard R affair with a much smaller theater distribution then the top films in the report. Fox hasn’t released a budget for the film but 27 mil seems to be a good opener for the studio given its overwhelming competition. We’ll know more of the success (or lack there of) when this film hits some foreign markets.
Following in 7th place is the debuting Water Horse: Legend of the Deep for Sony, which pulled in 9.2 mil for the 3-day weekend. Since Tuesday, it has grabbed 16.8 mil in domestic receipts. Again, the studio has released no budget for this film. It had a respectable theater distribution of 2,772 prints across the nation, which makes for an average of $3,318 per showing.
P.S I Love You lands only $100,000 short of Water Horse by pulling in 9.1 mil for the weekend. As with films like Charlie Wilson’s War, this release is more of an alternative choice for audiences with the studio targeting said demographics with only 2,464 prints. In two weeks of release, the film has pulled in 23.3 mil in domestic receipts.
One has to wonder what Paramount & Dreamworks would be making if they released Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in a wide distribution…The genre-focused musical starring Johnny Depp has done very respectable numbers for a film which only has 1,249 prints going in the states. This weekend, it lands in 9th place with 8.0 mil for the weekend while it took in 16.3 mil since Tuesday. As I said with the Tom Hanks film, this movie was primarily released to get into theaters before nomination ballots were sent out but it seems to me that this film would have some serious box office cash if they gave it more of a wide release. In 10 days, it has taken in 26.7 million on its 1,249 theaters.
Landing in last place for the top 10 is the returning Enchanted. Disney has begun pulling this film out of theaters but the film is still showing in 2,262 theaters here in the states so it managed another ranking in its sixth week of release. The film pulled in 6.5 million over the 3-day weekend. Like the National Treasure sequel, Disney very clearly has a success on their hands here even if they haven’t released a budget. In six weeks, it has accumulated 110.6 mil domestically and another 54.3 internationally, which makes for a worldwide gross of 164.9 mil.
Weekend $
Total $
Week #
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
35.6 mil
124.0 mil
Alvin and the Chipmunks
30.0 mil
142.3 mil
I Am Legend
27.5 mil
194.5 mil
Charlie Wilson’s War
11.7 mil
34.5 mil
10.3 mil
25.6 mil
Aliens vs. Predator:Requiem
10.0 mil
26.8 mil
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
9.2 mil
16.8 mil
P.S I Love You
9.1 mil
23.3 mil
Sweeney Todd
8.0 mil
26.7 mil
6.5 mil
110.6 mil
For all intensive purposes, the same films which ruled over the box office this past holiday week will also be in the top slots for the next ten days, which gives all the films to make some serious cash in a short amount of time.
We have only one wide release next weekend and it’s a horror film, a genre that hasn’t done very well over the past few months. Add on the fact that it’s getting released in only 2,200+ theaters and it’s easy to see it has no shot against the widely distributed family-focused competition which you see above in this weekend’s numbers.
Another year has ended with this box office report and I’ve enjoyed listening to all of you fellow Maniacs discuss the numbers game over the course of the past year so I’ll end this with one final note...
Have a kick-ass & safe New Years holiday!
Friday January 4, 2008 releases:
 Wide Releases
One Missed Call (2,200+ theaters)
Juno (added to 1,850+ theaters)
Limited Releases
The Orphanage


Showing items 1 - 10 of 14
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snallygaster 12/30/2007 1:50:24 PM
I saw Sweeney Todd and Enchanted this weekend. It was an odd experience - they're actually very similar stories and genres (musical/comedy/fantasy), but are as different as the front and back of Two-Face's coin. Both are delightful in their own way, with terrific performances all around. Did anybody see The Water Horse? I've seen some very positive reviews for that movie. The same for next week's The Orphanage, though I'm not expecting to see that hit my local cineplex anytime soon (it's a foreign film, so hopefully it will get an Oscar nomination and maybe - just maybe - a wider release). The Chipmunks are a much bigger success than I ever expected. After the recent lackluster box office of other cartoons-turned-CGI-with-live-action movies like Underdog and Garfield 2, I never expected to see the 'munks doing so well. Looks like all the new releases were not kind to The Golden Compass and Walk Hard - both got bumped off the top ten.
almostunbiased 12/30/2007 3:06:16 PM
Yes, Snallygaster, my wife and I took the kids to see Water Horse and we all liked it. Chimpmunks were still selling out screens for the second week in a row. I thought they might be number one this week, but I'm glad it was NT2. Though admittedly I have not seen that yet. Still I hope to soon as my friends and family have told me it was good. I've seen Enchantd as well and it was disgustingly, sweetly good. I don't know what the hell I just said, but I laughed at the movie so that's a good thing right. I'd like to see Sweeney but I'll probably wait and rent it. Glad the movies are doing well.
hanso 12/30/2007 3:41:06 PM
Caught National Treasure: Book of Secrets this weekend. I enjoyed it, good fun. What happened to Dewey Cox? That movie was pretty sweet, but I guess no one went to see it. Going to try and catch Juno next. I hope, AvP does enough to warrant a third film. The movie wasn't the greatest film to hit the screen, much better than the first I thought, regardless i hope a 3rd in space takes place.
jppintar326 12/30/2007 4:13:16 PM
Walk Hard was hilarious. It was certainly one of the best comedies I have seen in a long time. I also liked I Am Legend. I remember watching Alvin and the Chipmunks cartoon show on Saturday morning when I was young. It was okay but nothing special. I don't understand why the new movie is doing so well. I guess I am in the wrong age group now.
wessmith1966 12/30/2007 7:31:24 PM
I wonder how much of Alvin's money was underage kids sneaking into AVP-R? The kids I took to see Alvin really liked the movie and it made me laugh at times. I also went with friends to see NT2 again. It's a fun movie. Helen Mirren, at 60 , is a darn sexy woman! Snally...Water Horse was a good family movie, too. The kids really liked it (didn't have to make one bathroom run during the movie), while for me it was just ok.
almostunbiased 12/30/2007 8:22:16 PM
Well, just since my last post on this thread, I've seen NT2. It was really fun. I'm not going to say it was as good as the first, because it wasn't close, but I still had a great time. Very fun, with some funny, and great action. Great popcorn flick. I'll probably buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.
akiraakobus 12/30/2007 9:17:09 PM
Dang I have fallen behind on my movie watching, the last I saw was I Am Legend, that one was awesome, the next I plan to see are National Treasure 2 (might be seeing that one this week) and AVP R and One Missed Call, I will probably see them this coming weekend. For the record Aliens Vs Predator Requiem's budget was around $40 miillion, so an almost $27 million opening is not bad, and according to Variety it made about $16 million more internationally so its already made $43 million worldwide so far.
chaotic 12/30/2007 10:31:10 PM
I love AVP: R. Much better than the first and had tons of action.
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