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Box Office Update 11/20-11/22: New Moon Destoys the Box Office

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Absolutely unbelievable. Wow. That is all I can say. Who in their right mind would have predicted such a gigantic opening? I certainly couldn't. I knew it would be big, heck, I am pretty sure we all knew that. The phenomenon that was Twilight has become a juggernaut with The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The first suspicion I had that it would be bigger than expected was when the local 16 screen theater has 13 screens sold out for the midnight show. Yes, you read that right. Speaking to friends who work there, it was a mad house with the line wrapped around the theater, out the doors into the mall, out of the mall and into the parking lot and on down towards the far end of said mall. It all seems pretty unreal. To think I was impressed by the long lines I saw inside when I went to see Pirate Radio Friday night.

The vampire teen romance film set a new record for midnight shows, taking in more than $23 million and besting The Dark Knight's $16.7 by a wide margin. It would end the day north of $72 million, again besting The Dark Knight's single day record of $67 million. I saw those numbers (or rather the pretty close estimates) on Saturday and was just in awe of what I saw. And considering my interest level, just a little disappointed that it was not a better overall received film. It would go on to finish the weekend with more than $142 million, making it the third biggest opening weekend of all time coming in behind Spider-Man 3 and The Dark Knight.

What is going to be interesting is to see what kind of legs it exhibits. It will likely do well through the Thanksgiving holiday, but what about after that? By that time I am sure all of the hardcore fans will have burned through their multiple viewings. The movie does not exactly have widespread appeal across the demographics, and with a good portion of the fanbase headed back to school, weekday numbers will suffer more so than they would during the summer. Something else to consider is how this will translate to the third film, slated to open next June.

Coming in second place, considerably stronger than I was expecting, is the inspirational drama The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron. It tells of a homeless teen taken in by a well-to-do family that fosters his academic work and shepherds him as a football player. It is based on the life Baltimore Ravens draft pick Michael Oher. It is undoubtedly an inspirational, feel-good sort of movie. But it does not really stand out to me. I am sure it would tug at the heart strings and I would leave feeling like I saw something special, but I doubt it would last long. Perhaps I am wrong and will be proven such when I eventually see it.

Falling to third place, but still pulling nearly $30 million is Roland Emmerich's disasterpiece 2012. I saw this film, enjoyed it to an extent, but cannot say I am interested in seeing it again anytime soon. I actually think I prefer The Day After Tomorrow. This new one feels a bit bloated and unfocused, but the effects are spectacular.

Fourth place is another newcomer to the fold, Planet 51. It had a respectable open, taking in more than $12 million as it clawed its way past A Christmas Carol for its fourth place finish. I have not yet seen the animated film, but look forward to it. It looks like a fun throwback/twist on '50s era science fiction where the alien ships always landed on Earth.

The latter half of the chart does not contain all that much excitement aside from the continued success of Precious. It is slowly widening its release, gaining new fans everywhere it goes. I had the opportunity to see it this weekend, and it really is a special film. Moving, unsettling, yet with a strong sense of hope.

This week's releases will be here on Wednesday and include the Robin Williams/John Travolta comedy Old Dogs, which seems to be cut from the same cloth as Wild Hogs, which I found surprisingly effective. Old Dogs also features the last big screen appearance of Bernie Mac. Also arriving is the action film Ninja Assassin from James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers. In more limited release is the Viggo Mortensen starring post-apocalyptic thriller based on a Cormac McCarthy novel The Road.

Three films dropped off the list this week: Law Abiding Citizen (11), Paranormal Activity (13), and The Box (17).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N The Twilight Saga: New Moon $142,839,137 $142,839,137 1
2 N The Blind Side $34,119,372 $34,119,372 1
3 1 2012 $26,410,206 $108,131,263 2
4 N Planet 51 $12,286,129 $12,286,129 1
5 2 A Christmas Carol 3D $12,275,024 $79,836,002 3
6 3 Precious $10,881,772 $21,277,521 3
7 4 The Men Who Stare at Goats $2,829,031 $27,680,089 3
8 7 Couples Retreat $1,943,075 $104,992,030 7
9 6 The Fourth Kind $1,747,085 $23,359,890 3
10 9 Michael Jackson's This Is It $1,617,417 $70,258,545 4

Box Office Predictions Recap
All things considered, I don't think I did all that bad this week. Sure, I was way off on a certain hot new sequel, but would have thought? Seriously, I would never have predicted that kind of an opening. The rest of my predictions were generally spotty. They were close but not quite right. I can live with that. I like being close.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual

Prediction

Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $142,839,137 $86 million
3 2 2012 $26,410,206 $33 million

2

3 The Blindside $34,119,372 $15 million
5 4 A Christmas Carol 3D $12,275,024 $13 million
4 5 Planet 51 $12,286,129

$12 million

6 6 Precious $10,881,772 $10 million
7 7 The Men Who Stare at Goats $2,829,031 $3 million
10 8 Michael Jackson's This Is It $1,617,417 $2.5 million
8 9 Couples Retreat $1,943,075 $2 million
13 10 Paranormal Activity $1,401,112 $2 million

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