Weekend Report: ‘2012’ Plagues the Box Office

by Brandon Gray


Detonating atop the weekend box office, 2012 swept in with an estimated $65 million on approximately 6,500 screens at 3,404 sites, ranking as the seventh highest grossing November debut ever. Among fellow disaster movies, it had the second-highest grossing start, behind only director Roland Emmerich’s previous disaster, The Day After Tomorrow, which opened to $68.7 million. In terms of initial attendance, though, it trailed Day After Tomorrow by a wide margin, and Emmerich’s Independence Day tops all disaster movies. 2012’s marketing campaign successfully mimicked its predecessors in story and spectacle, replete with the destruction of the White House and other famous structures. Distributor Sony Pictures’ research indicated that 52 percent of 2012’s audience was male and 55 percent was 25 years and older.

While the other new nationwide release, Pirate Radio, made less than a ripple, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire had a robust expansion, grossing an estimated $6.1 million at 174 sites. That’s the second-highest grossing weekend on record for a movie playing at less than 200 sites, behind only Paranormal Activity, and its total stands at $8.9 million in ten days. By contrast, Pirate Radio went the way of most rock ‘n’ roll-themed pictures, pulling an estimated $2.9 million at 882 sites.

After a relatively modest start last weekend, A Christmas Carol (2009) saw a traditionally small drop-off for a Christmas movie in November, although it didn’t excel on this front. The thrill ride version of the classic Christmas tale eased 26 percent to an estimated $22.3 million, lifting its tally to $63.3 million in ten days. Fellow Robert Zemeckis-directed motion-capture movie, The Polar Express, dipped 33 percent at the same point with a lower total, but Elf and the two Santa Clause sequels fell only 13-15 percent among comparable titles.

Aside from A Christmas Carol, the other second weekend pictures showed no traction. The Men Who Stare Goats remained in third place for lack of competition, retreating 51 percent to an estimated $6.2 million for a $23.4 million tally in ten days. The Fourth Kind dissipated by 61 percent to an estimated $4.7 million, bringing its total to $20.6 million in ten days. The Box tumbled 58 percent from its disappointing start, earning an estimated $3.2 million for a $13.2 million tally in ten days. Michael Jackson’s This Is It also caved following its originally promoted two-week run, down 61 percent to an estimated $5.1 million for a $68.1 million tally in 19 days.

Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity and Couples Retreat each crossed the $100 million milestones. Paranormal hit the mark on Friday, its 50th day of release, and Couples reached it on Saturday, its 37th day of release. Paranormal, though, continued to fade over the weekend, off 49 percent to an estimated $4.2 million, while Couples eased 31 percent to an estimated $4.25 million.

Last Weekend

• Moviegoers Stingy with Scrooge

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2008 – James Bond Takes ‘Quantum’ Leap

• 2007 – ‘Beowulf’ Can’t Fell Box Office Blahs

• 2006 – Penguins Tip-Tap Past Bond

• 2005 – Harry Potter’s ‘Goblet’ Runneth Over with Cash

• 2004 – Superheroes Slay Santa: ‘Incredibles’ Tops ‘Polar’ 2-to-1

Brandon Gray Reports:


Box Office Mojo

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