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Box Office Update 1/11-1/13: The Bucket List Rises to the Top

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Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson proved a strong tandem, leading The Bucket List to box office dominance in its first weekend of wide release. The buddy comedy about a pair of men with terminal cancer who embark on a globe trotting adventure of self discovery garnered lukewarm response from critics (including a one star review from Roger Ebert).  My own anecdotal evidence showed it to be a hit with general audiences though. I suspect that it will have strong legs over the next few weeks. As for my experience? I cannot say that I cared for it all that much, although it does have some good laughs.

Following up the buddy flick is the latest from Ice Cube, First Sunday. I cannot say I expected much based on the advertising. I was pleasantly surprised however to find a film that offered up a positive message while still providing some big laughs. No, it did entirely not work and it did travel in the way of stereotypes, but it was still an enjoyable romp. Tracy Morgan made good use of his highest profile movie role yet, while Katt Williams left a big impression as he stole many of the scenes in which he appeared.

There was one other new entry to the top ten this week, the latest Veggie Tales adventure, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything reached ninth place. It had a lackluster debut, totaling $4.2 million.  Granted, its audience is a bit smaller than the audience for the rest of the top ten. I suspect it will do stronger business once it reaches DVD.

Among the returning films, Juno had the strongest hold, slipping a mere 14% from last week. It is proving to be a genuine powerhouse as it packs houses nationwide. It's $70 million take is climbing and has got to be seen as a huge success for Fox Searchlight. Let's not forget that the film itself is fantastic and deserves all of the attention its getting.

Also buried within the top ten are a trio of big moneymakers. I Am Legend will be crossing the $250 million mark soon, making it a huge hit and one that was certainly bigger than expected. Meanwhile, both National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Alvin and the Chipmunks are both heading towards $200 million, a mark that no one expected either to attain, particularly Chipmunks.

Next week will see the arrival of the much anticipated Cloverfield, which will easily top the coming frame. Also entering the fray will be the Katherine Heigl comedy 27 Dresses, and the heist comedy Mad Money. Not only that, Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men will head back to wide release in the build up towards the Academy Awards, plus There Will Be Blood expands a bit more.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: Charlie Wilson's War (11), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (12), and The Water Horse (13).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 23 The Bucket List $19,392,416 $20,816,129 3
2 N First Sunday $17,714,821 $17,714,821 1
3 2 Juno $13,612,682 $70,862,478 6
4 1 National Treasure: Book of Secrets $11,302,002 $187,114,947 4
5 4 Alvin and the Chipmunks $9,302,895 $187,943,374 5
6 3 I Am Legend $8,179,610 $240,283,451 5
7 5 One Missed Call $5,981,373 $20,493,337 2
8 7 PS I Love You $4,827,212 $46,830,324 4
9 N The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything $4,251,320 $4,251,320 1
10 1o Atonement $4,221,866 $25,130,656 6

Box Office Predictions Recap
Rather mediocre week on the prediction front. In some cases I had the dollar number spot on, while others were way off, same for the positioning. I overestimated Juno's ability to take over the top spot, while underestimating both The Bucket List and First Sunday, both of which proved to have rather potent weekends. My biggest mistake, aside from those already mentioned, was the belief that Uwe Boll's latest disasterpiece would be able to crack the top ten. There's always next week.

Anyway, here is how I picked the field:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
3 1 Juno $13,612,682 $14 million
1 2 The Bucket List $19,392,416 $13.5 million
4 3 National Treasure: Book of Secrets $11,302,002 $11 million
2 4 First Sunday $17,714,821 $9 million
5 5

Alvin and the Chipmunks

$9,302,895 $8.5 million
6 6 I Am Legend $8,179,610 $7 million
9 7 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything $4,251,320 $5.5 million
8 8 PS I Love You $4,827,212 $4.5 million
7 9 One Missed Call $5,981,373 $4 million
14 10 In the Name of the King $2,984,524 $3.5 million
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